Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

Spring Tides At The Starfish Cafe Jessica Redland 5* #Review @JessicaRedland @BoldwoodBooks #BlogTour @rararesources #Romance #Friendship #Heartwarming #UpLit #Family #Relationships #Love #secrets #BookReview#boldwoodbloggers #WhitsboroughBay #cafe #SpringTidesAtTheStarfishCafe #bookandtonic

Welcome back to The Starfish Café – where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.

A new season…
As winter turns to spring, Hollie – the owner of The Starfish Café – is feeling content as she settles into her new life with her loving boyfriend, Jake, and their adorable dog Pickle.
But when an unwelcome visitor threatens the future of her café, Hollie must stay strong to protect her family’s legacy…
A leap of faith…
Emerging from an unhappy relationship, Tori finds herself with nowhere to stay and nobody to talk to. The long-hidden secrets of her past weigh heavily on her until a chance encounter with Finley, struggling to come to terms with his own secrets, provides an opportunity to open up.
Can she find the strength to stop hiding from her past and face up to her family? Especially when that would mean letting her guard down and learning to trust again…
A fresh start…?
Little do Hollie and Tori know that their lives are about to collide at The Starfish Café and they may be able to help each other with a fresh start. After all, with good friends in your life, nothing is impossible…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

My Thoughts…

A springtime visit to the seaside is always welcome. Add in some believably created characters, a complex mix of emotion and drama and a welcoming cafe, and I’m in book heaven. The second story in the Starfish Cafe series continues from the first with many favourite regulars and some intriguing new faces.

I enjoyed finding out about Hollie and Jake’s relationships and their home life, which is relatable and uplifting to read. This story takes the reader on an emotional journey full of laughs, shocks and tears with new characters Tori and Finley, whose tentative friendship is a focus of this.

The authentically created setting makes the story stand out. It’s full of realistic details that bring it and the characters to life. It’s the perfect book to escape with for an hour or two.

Jessica Redland

Jessica Redland is the top 10 bestselling author of over thirteen novels, including The Secret to Happiness. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

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Read my review of Snowflakes Over The Starfish Cafe

Posted in Book Review, Childrens Books, Friendship, New Books

Keiller the Cathedral Cat in Trouble Jane Phillips Drawings by Lorna Gray 5*#Review @cosybookbinder #picturebook #JanePhillips #ChildrensBook #kidlit #BookReview #humour @CrumpsBarn #cats #pets #KeillertheCathedralCatinTrouble

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Crumps Barn Studio in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a lovely story about Keiller, the Cathedral cat. His latest adventure begins when a new member of the family arrives. Keiller is a charming character guaranteed to appeal to the young and everyone who loves animals. The story captures the nuances of a cat’s life, particularly when a new puppy disrupts Keiller’s calm. Humour is at its heart. The importance of community and friendship for everyone defines this story and leaves the reader with an uplifting feeling.

The drawings make this story memorable and bring the characters to vibrant life.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

Christmas Wishes At The Chocolate Shop Jessica Redland 5* #Review @JessicaRedland @BoldwoodBooks #BlogTour @rararesources #Romance #Friendship #Heartwarming #UpLit #Family #Relationships #Loss #Love #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers #WhitsboroughBay #Christmas #festive #chocolate #ChristmasWishesAtTheChocolateShop @bookandtonic

Sometimes you just need a little Christmas magic to make your wishes come true…

When master chocolatier, Charlee, takes the leap to move to the picturesque seaside town of Whitsborough Bay, she is determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps and set up a chocolate shop.

Luckily, she finds the perfect location for Charlee’s Chocolates on beautiful Castle Street… Now she just has to refurbish it in time for Christmas!

With a useless boyfriend and countless DIY disasters, Charlee doesn’t know if she’ll make it in time. With no ‘traditional’ family to support her, she feels lost in her new surroundings and the secrets of the past are weighing her down.

But the warmth and festive spirit of the Whitsborough Bay community will surprise her, and when plumber, Matt, comes to the rescue, it might be that all of Charlee’s dreams could come true this Christmas, and she could learn what family really means…

Escape to Castle Street for the perfect uplifting, festive read from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland.

Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop was originally released as Charlee and the Chocolate Shop. Now re-released with a new title and new cover, this version has been freshly edited and features several new chapters.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story has everything a festive read needs, cleverly crafted characters, conflicts and chocolate.

Charlee is feeling the loss of her grandparents when she decides to relocate to Whitsbrough Bay. She makes chocolate and decides to buy a shop. It’s on Castle Street, familiar to regular readers of this series. It needs work, before she can open, and her boyfriend doesn’t have the inclination or skills to help. Meeting Matt, who has professional DIY skills, gives Charlee chance of opening in time. There’s chemistry between Charlee and Matt but many hurdles to their happiness to overcome.

This is a heartwarming read with believable characters and some lovely festive touches.

Jessica Redland

Jessica Redland writes uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community set in Yorkshire where she lives. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast and her Hedgehog Hollow series takes them into beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Romance

High Blue Sky Victoria Connelly 4*#Review @VictoriaDarcy #TheHouseintheClouds @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #renovation #secrets #friendship #healing #family #life #relationships #HighBlueSky #SussexDowns

What would you sacrifice to be with the person you love?

Summer has arrived and it’s over a year since strangers Abigail and Edward bought Winfield Hall at auction and restored it together. Now, two new tenants are about to join them at their beautiful Georgian home.

Workaholic Harry Freeman has forgotten what it is to relax so when he meets healer, Aura Arden, and learns to meditate with her, he can’t believe how good he feels and he soon finds himself falling for her. But, with her bare feet and crystal beads, Aura’s not a big hit with Harry’s old-fashioned parents, and he finds himself torn between the people he loves most in the world.

It isn’t just Harry and Aura finding love. Summer has woven its spell over Edward and his brother Oscar, and both are making a play for Abi. But Abi isn’t happy at having to choose between these two very different men and, when Oscar’s behavior spirals out of control, she realizes that some decisions can have devastating consequences.

High Blue Sky is the second novel in the heart-warming trilogy from the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and The Book Lovers series.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest reveiw.

My Thoughts…

Book two introduces two new residents to the idyllic Winfield Hall, the house Edward and Abi co-own. Harry, an advertising executive, needs to find a better work-life balance. Aura, a healer, focuses on the natural world and the power of crystals. They form an unlikely but valuable friendship that blossoms as the story progresses despite significant external conflicts. The house renovations continue, and it remains an intrinsic influence.

Edward and his brother Oscar’s romantic focus is Abi, causing her problems and threatening her developing friendship with Edward. This gently paced story has believable character development. There is an insightful exploration of family relationships, and at points, in the story, they threaten the positive ethos of Edward and Abi’s home.

Character-driven, this is an absorbing read, and the ending leaves the reader wanting to see what happens in the series’ final instalment.

Victoria Connelly

Victoria Connelly lives in a 500-year old thatched cottage in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, The Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in Germany. Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

Snowflakes Over The Starfish Cafe Jessica Redland 5* #Review @JessicaRedland @BoldwoodBooks #BlogTour @rararesources #Romance #Friendship #Heartwarming #UpLit #Family #Relationships #Loss #Love #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers #WhitsboroughBay #BonfireNight #festive #cafe #SnowflakesOverTheStarfishCafe @bookandtonic

Welcome to The Starfish Café – where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.

Two broken hearts.

Since she inherited The Starfish Café, Hollie has poured her heart into the business, striving to keep her mother’s traditions and warm-hearted spirit alive. But behind closed doors Hollie is searching for true happiness, as she grieves the tragic loss of her family who were once the beating heart of the café…

An unexpected meeting.

Jake lives by two rules: don’t let anyone get close and don’t talk about what happened. Little does he know that a chance meeting at The Starfish Café, facilitated by a fluffy lost dog, is about to turn his world upside down…

The chance to love again.

Can Hollie and Jake break down the barriers that have been holding them back from finding love and happiness, before Christmas comes around? Afterall, with courage, nothing is impossible…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Hollie and Jake’s path to future happiness is emotional and ultimately uplifting. Both have experienced loss, and the resultant grief has shaped their view of life. Hollie copes by fulfilling her mother’s dream, Jake follows his vocation and avoids personal relationships. The story unfolds from their dual perspectives beginning in the past.

It explores loss and its emotional effects sensitively. The community and the main protagonists are vividly portrayed and easily visualised. There is an intricate balance of humour and poignancy which is authentic.

The wintery coastal setting is vibrant and is the perfect background for this heartwarming read.

Jessica Redland

Jessica Redland writes uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community set in Yorkshire where she lives. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast and her Hedgehog Hollow series takes them into beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, New Books

The House in the Clouds Victoria Connelly 4*#Review @VictoriaDarcy @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #renovation #secrets TheHousein theClouds #Friendship

Artist Abigail Carey has always dreamed of a life in the country and, when Winfield Hall comes up at auction, she’s desperate to make the place her home. The only trouble is that businessman, Edward Townsend, has exactly the same idea.

With its position high on the Sussex Downs, Winfield is a stunning house, but it hasn’t been a home for a long time and there’s a lot of work to do to restore it to its former glory. It’s going to take a lot of time and money, so Edward and Abi decide to take a risk and share the house, each living in their own wing.

But can these two strangers agree on a vision that suits them both? And will free-spirited Abi ever get the rather reserved Edward to reveal the secret he’s been hiding for so long?

The House in the Clouds is the first novel in a brand new trilogy from the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and The Book Lovers series.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest reveiw.

My Thoughts…

As the first book in a trilogy, this book has detailed world-building. The two main characters are diverse from the outset sharing only their love of Winfield Hall, an old run-down mansion full of potential but with lots to do to make it habitable. Edward is a slightly mysterious, solemn character, he’s harder to empathise with than Abi, who is open and kind, but both have secrets that define them.

Gentle pacing and an interesting plot immerse the reader in Abi and Edward’s stories. There is the possibility of friendship and romance, but the road is liable to be an emotional rollercoaster for these two. The plot is engaging and original and leaves the reader wanting to know more.

Victoria Connelly lives in a 500-year old thatched cottage in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, The Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in Germany. Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Friendship, Noir, Suspense

The Memories We Bury H.A. Leuschel 4* #Review @HALeuschel @LoveBooksGroup #lovebookstours #Relationships #Psychological #Suspense #Fiction #Mother #Parenting #DomesticNoir #BlogTour #BookReview #TheMemoriesWeBury

An emotionally charged and captivating novel about the complexities of female friendship and motherhood, from the author of Manipulated Lives.

Lizzie Thomson has landed her first job as a music teacher, and after a whirlwind romance with Markus, the newlywed couple move into a beautiful new home in the outskirts of Edinburgh. Lizzie quickly befriends their neighbour Morag, an elderly, resourceful yet lonely widow, who’s own children rarely visit her. Everything seems perfect in Lizzie’s life until she finds out she is pregnant and her relationship with both Morag and Markus change beyond her control.

​Can Lizzie really trust Morag and why is Markus keeping secrets from her?

In The Memories We Bury the author explores the dangerous bonds we can create with strangers and how past memories can cast long shadows over the present.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The sense that something is not right hits you from the reading the initial pages of this story. The author creates a claustrophobic ethos with undercurrents of menace as the two main characters share their stories.

Morag and Lizzie are unreliable protagonists. This is evident from the outset, but what the reader doesn’t know is which viewpoint is the least trustworthy. Morag and Lizzie are believable characters. Lizzie’s lack of nurture in childhood left her with low self-esteem and vulnerable to manipulation. Morag’s childhood was similarly lacking in parental care. The fallout from her childhood only manifested when she became a mother.

The disturbing elements and suspense build as the story progresses. Guessing the outcome, as I did, makes the story a satisfying read. Both characters engender empathy, but in addition to poignancy, this story has a distinct domestic noir theme which is disturbing and makes you think.

Helene Andrea Leuschel

​Helene Andrea Leuschel gained a Master in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She later acquired a Master in Philosophy , specializing in the study of the mind.

Helene has a particular interest in emotional, psychological and social well-being and this led her to write her first book, Manipulated Lives, a collection of five fictional novellas, each highlighting the dangers of interacting with narcissists.

She lives with her husband and two children in Portugal.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Motivational

The Beauty of Broken Things Victoria Connelly 5*#Review @VictoriaDarcy @AmazonPub @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #Bereavement #Grief #Fear #Loss #TheBeautyofBrokenThings #UpLit #Friendship #Love #MondayThoughts #MondayBlogs

United by tragedy, can two broken souls make each other whole?

After the tragic loss of his wife, Helen, Luke Hansard is desperate to keep her memory alive. In an effort to stay close to her, he reaches out to an online friend Helen often mentioned: a reclusive photographer with a curious interest in beautiful but broken objects. But first he must find her—and she doesn’t want to be found.

Orla Kendrick lives alone in the ruins of a remote Suffolk castle, hiding from the haunting past that has left her physically and emotionally scarred. In her fortress, she can keep a safe distance from prying eyes, surrounded by her broken treasures and insulated from the world outside.

When Luke tracks Orla down, he is determined to help her in the way Helen wanted to: by encouraging her out of her isolation and back into the world. But Orla has never seen her refuge as a prison and, when painful secrets and dangerous threats begin to resurface, Luke’s good deed is turned on its head.

As they work through their grief for Helen in very different ways, will these two broken souls be able to heal?

Amazon UK Amazon Amazon.com.au

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest reveiw.

My Thoughts…

This story immerses the reader in the characters from the first page. Helen is likeable and about to pursue her dreams when fate intervenes. Helen is integral to the story and resonates throughout. Luke is lost and desperate to hold on to his wife’s memory. Taking a present to her online friend is a positive way to do this, but it fraught with difficulties.

Reclusive Orla is hiding from herself and life, but with good reason. Luke visit draws her back into the world, painful though it is forcing her to confront her fears. I like Orla and enjoyed her courageous fight back to life rather than existence.

The community surrounding the cottage are positive and supportive of Orla. The analogy of seeing the beauty in broken things is the major theme of this story and shows the power of acceptance, understanding and life experience.

This is a lovely story of serendipitous friendship and overcoming fear. It shows that through acceptance and understanding, life can be beautiful, despite being less than perfect.

Victoria Connelly studied English Literature at Worcester University, got married in a medieval castle in the Yorkshire Dales and now lives in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a young springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in 2008 by Ziegler Films in Germany. The Runaway Actress was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Comedy Novel award.

Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Suspense

The Memories We Bury H.A. Leuschel #Book #Promo @HALeuschel @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #Relationships #Psychological #Suspense #Fiction #MondayBlogs

Amazon UK

An emotionally charged and captivating novel about the complexities of female friendship and motherhood, from the author of Manipulated Lives.

Lizzie Thomson has landed her first job as a music teacher, and after a whirlwind romance with Markus, the newlywed couple move into a beautiful new home in the outskirts of Edinburgh. Lizzie quickly befriends their neighbour Morag, an elderly, resourceful yet lonely widow, who’s own children rarely visit her. Everything seems perfect in Lizzie’s life until she finds out she is pregnant and her relationship with both Morag and Markus change beyond her control.

​Can Lizzie really trust Morag and why is Markus keeping secrets from her?

In The Memories We Bury the author explores the dangerous bonds we can create with strangers and how past memories can cast long shadows over the present.

Helene Andrea Leuschel

Helene Andrea Leuschel gained a Master in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She later acquired a Master in Philosophy , specializing in the study of the mind.

Helene has a particular interest in emotional, psychological and social well-being and this led her to write her first book, Manipulated Lives, a collection of five fictional novellas, each highlighting the dangers of interacting with narcissists.

​She lives with her husband and two children in Portugal.​

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Posted in Blog Tour, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Guest post, Literary Fiction, Romance

One Last Shot – Stephen Anthony Brotherton #GuestPost #Shots #triology @freddiejojo1 @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #Romance #Relationships #FirstLove #Life #LiteraryFiction #Contemporary#Secrets #Love #Friendships #BlogTour

CAN FIRST LOVE EVER BE REIGNITED?

One Last Shot concludes the trilogy of Freddie and Jo-Jo, which has moved through time in a series of flashbacks, showing how the couple fell in love as teenagers, why they drifted apart, what happened in their lives away from each other, and what happens when they meet up again over three decades later. At the end of the second book, An Extra Shot, Jo-Jo tells Freddie about her dark secret. Confused, vulnerable and in a state of shock, he says he needs time to think about what to do next. Jo-Jo’s right to be worried. Freddie doesn’t react well…

Blackwells Waterstones Amazon UK Amazon

An original, unpublished piece of flash fiction

by Stephen Anthony Brotherton, Author of the Shots trilogy.

Hunting for Ghosts

1.00 AM. Rocky tosses the remains of a double Monterey Jack burger into his mouth and swallows it in one. He settles back in a tweed covered Sherlock chair, wipes grease from his chin with the back of his hand, and closes his eyes.   

‘Is everything okay, young man?’

‘Jesus,’ says Rocky, his eyes flashing open. ‘You scared the crap out of me.’

Ned tightens his dressing gown belt, sits down on the settee and nods at the monitor on the glass topped coffee table. ‘You getting anything?’

‘Not yet,’ says Rocky. ‘They’re unpredictable things, spooks. Invisible prey most of the time.’

‘You’ve hunted a lot then?’

‘Yeah, of course. Don’t worry. I’ve got motion detectors in every room. Nothing squeaks in this house without it flashing up on my screen. If there’s a ghost here, I’ll find it.’

*

3.00 AM. The monitor crackles awake. Ned nudges Rocky.  

‘She’s here, son. In the bathroom.’

Rocky rubs his eyes and stares at the screen. A flickering head and shoulders shadow has anchored itself on the white porcelain tiles. Suddenly, the shower gushes into life. Rocky grabs Ned’s arm. ‘Who’s in the house? Who else is here?’

‘It’s the ghost. What are you waiting for?’

The grandfather clock stops ticking. Someone turns off the shower.

‘If this is your idea of a joke, old man.’

*

4.00 A.M. Alice looks up from her knitting. ‘How did you find him?’  

‘He’s got a ‘Ghouls for Us’ logo in the Yellow Pages.’

‘How exciting. What did he do?’

‘Nothing. He’s a charlatan.’

‘So why was he here?’ 

‘To relieve the boredom.’ 

She stands up and walks over to the window. Ned puts his arm around her shoulder and she snuggles into his chest. They watch in silence as Rocky drags his trolley load of equipment down the driveway back to his white transit van. The wheels of the trolley wedge in the flint chippings. Rocky stumbles. Alice laughs. Ned squeezes her closer and kisses the top of her head.

‘I miss you,’ he says. ‘I will always miss you.’

Stephen Anthony Brotherton

I was born in Walsall, grew up in the West Midlands and now live in Telford with my two cats, Boris and Tai.

After working in the health and social care sector for over thirty years, I have now written the trilogy that has been rooted in my head for most of my life.

The Shots trilogy is based on a first love relationship I had as a teenager. It tells the story of Freddie and Jo-Jo, who are reunited in a coffee shop three decades after the end of their teenage romance. How they originally met, why they parted, what happens in their lives apart, and what happens when they reunite is all told through a series of first person vignettes.

Getting these stories down on paper has been a cathartic process. I hope you enjoy them.

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