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An original, unpublished piece of flash fiction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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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance, Travel

Summer in Provence Lucy Coleman 5* #Review @LucyColemanAuth @BoldwoodBooks #BoldwoodBloggers #BlogTour #BookReview #Romance #France #FamilyDrama #Provence #Relationships @rararesources #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation #SummerinProvence

Is a change as good as a rest?

When married couple Fern and Aiden have a windfall, their reactions could not be more different. While Fern is content to pay off their mortgage and build a nest egg before starting a family, her husband is set on traveling the world.

Fern’s not much of a back-packer so, before she knows it, the idea of a ‘marriage gap year’ takes shape. And, as Aiden heads off to the wilds of Australia, Fern chooses the more restful Provence for her year out.

Set amidst the glorious French scenery, Château de Vernon offers a retreat from the hustle and bustle of normal life, and Fern agrees to help out in return for painting lessons from the owner – renowned, but rather troubled, painter Nico.

As their year unfolds in very different ways, will the time apart transform their marriage, or will it drive Fern and Aiden even further apart…

Let Lucy Coleman whisk you off on a heart-warming, sun-drenched and magical French adventure.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Fern is sure something is going to happen, to disturb her life’s status quo, but she doesn’t know what it is. If her body’s reaction is an indication it’,s not going to be good. I love the intuitive protagonists the author creates. They give the story an added dimension, adding to the characters’ complexity and depth.

Fern finds that money isn’t everything when her stable world implodes. She finds herself in Provence, not sure what to expect, or why she’ s there. The characters she meets are diverse and all have a story. The group dynamics that develop are authentic. They provide a sympathetic setting for Fern’ s emotional journey.

Nico is an enigma, a successful artist he has the moody temperament and a magnetic personality. Drawn to the latent talent he sees in Fern, he mentors her. Fern enjoys his focus, appreciated for something other than her problem-solving skills. There is romance in this story, but it’s a meeting of minds, rather than physical completion. There is one sensual scene, towards the end that is beautifully written and makes Fern challenge, everything she believes about her life and relationship.

The story is easy to read, full of interesting people and activities. Character-driven it takes you on a sensual journey of exploration. With its touches of drama, poignancy and romance you enjoy a lovely escape from reality. The ending is full of twists and completes this journey of minds and spirits in a satisfying way.

Lucy Coleman

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels – including Summer on the Italian Lakes, Snowflakes over Holly Cove, The French Adventure and A Cottage in the Country. She is represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture, working in the garden, or practising Tai Chi.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she is an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the SoA and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

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Giveaway to Win a signed paperback of ‘A Springtime to Remember’ and a Boldwood Tote bag (Open INT)

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Giveaway Link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will behttp://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494365/?passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship

The Afternoon Tea Club Jane Gilley 4*#Review @AvonBooksUK @JaneGilley2 #Friendship #Intergenerational#FamilyDrama #Community #BlogTour #BookReview #Ageing

#TheAfternoonTeaClub

Everyone’s welcome at The Afternoon Tea Club…

Marjorie, Stacy, Raymond and Dora each hold a different story to their chest – lost loves abandoned dreams, crippling self-confidence issues, and simply feeling invisible. For each of them, the thought of letting those stories out is almost as terrifying as letting strangers in, and that makes for a very lonely life indeed.

But when these four strangers who have struggled to “fit in” end up on the same table for an event at their local community centre, little do they know that their lives are about to be entwined and changed forever because of an Afternoon Tea club.

Cue an unexpected journey of self-discovery, some unlikely new companions, and plenty of tea and biscuits along the way…

Heart-warming and poignant in equal measure, this is a story about loneliness, kindness, and the power of friendships that span generation, proving that the most simple of human connections unite us all

Amazon UK


TheAfternoonTeaClub

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

My Thoughts…

A contemporary story that deals with the invisibility and loneliness of being older.

The story begins with a gathering of individuals from the community, mostly, but not exclusively older. Most do not want to be there, but gradually realise that it may add something to their lives. The story has lots of characters and perhaps would benefit from a character list at the beginning.

This a gentle story, where the characters earlier lives are explored, so that the reader knows how they came to be in the situation they find themselves in. The story charts laughter, sadness, and an unmistakable camaraderie between its characters. It is diverse and reflects how an increasingly significant portion of the population feel about their lives.

Older people often feel surplus to requirements and invisible, and this story reflects this well but gives hope that with a little understanding and courage, life can be fun and worthwhile at any age.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane Ellen Berry 5*#Review @AvonBooksUK @FionaGibson #BlogTour #PublicationDay #FamilyDrama #Romance #Loss #VillageLife #Relationships #Friendships #SecondChances #UpLit #BookReview

SnowdropsonRosemaryLane

Lucy fell in love with tumbledown Rosemary Cottage as a child. So thirty years on, when she loses her city job and discovers the cottage is for sale, it feels like fate. She’ll raise her children in Burley Bridge and transform the cottage into a B&B with her husband.

But a year can change everything . . .

Now Lucy is juggling two children and a B&B but on her own. Christmas looks set to be their last on Rosemary Lane – until she meets James, a face from her past and someone who might offer a different kind of future . . .

Should Lucy leave the cottage behind? Or could this winter on Rosemary Lane be the start of something new?

Amazon UK

#SnowdropsonRosemaryLane

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

My Thoughts…

Childhood memories can be powerful, and Lucy’s love of the cottage on Rosemary Lane stayed with her for thirty years. When her career reaches a crossroads, she convinces her husband that living there would be perfect for their family. For a while it is. Then life happens and tragedy strikes and Lucy is left to rebuild her family, but will it be at the cottage on Rosemary Lane?

Whilst this story is not exclusively festive, there are many Christmassy references and touches, which show the best and worst of the season. Told from mainly from Lucy’s point of view, this is a lovely tale of family life in a small Yorkshire village, it is a story of bereavement and loss and starting over. There are some strong friendships, and interesting romantic possibilities overlaid with courage, emotion and humour. The story draws you in, and it becomes important what happens to Lucy and her young family.

The rural setting is well described and the cast of characters diverse and realistic. James’ story is intricately woven into the main plot in a believable way, with just the right amount of serendipity. The story brings hope out of tragedy and leaves the reader with a feel-good hug.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance, Travel

Let It Snow Sue Moorcroft 5*#Review @AvonBooksUK @SueMoorcroft #Festive #FamilyDrama #Romance #Travel #Friendship #Relationships #Music #Switzerland #BlogTour #BookReview

#LetItSnow

Family means everything to Lily and Zinnia Cortez and, growing up in their non-conventional family unit, they and their two mums couldn’t have been closer.

So it’s a bolt out of the blue when Lily finds her father wasn’t the anonymous one-night stand she’s always believed. She is, in fact, the result of her mum’s reckless affair with a married man.

Confused, but determined to discover her true roots, Lily sets out to find the family she’s never known – an adventure that takes her from the frosted, thatched cottages of Middledip to the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, via a Christmas market or two along the way…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I’m starting to get in the festive vibe now, well it is the last day of September, and this story is a festive gem. The conflicted romance between two likeable protagonists, Lily and Issac, is at the heart of this story. Rather like a festive ‘pass the parcel’, it has so many layers, with a surprise every time you peel one-off.

There is a family drama, as Lily’s search for the other half of her family, raises hidden secrets in the other half. There tumultuous consequences. for Lily, Zinnia and their mothers. This story is wonderfully contemporary, internet dating and same-sex relationships are interwoven into the complex plot, which adds to the story’s authenticity.

A significant part of the story takes place in Switzerland, where Lily and some of the villagers, take their choir to deliver some quintessentially British Christmas cheer. This is where the title really comes into its own, The ambience, food and scenery are beautifully vivid.

The darker themes explored in this story are a good contrast to the festive frivolity and fun, It reads perfectly as a standalone, even though it features characters from the Middledip series.

The perfect book to get you in the festive mood. With family, friends and sparkling romance wrapped beautifully in a snow covered world.

#SueMoorcroft

Award-winning author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. She’s won a Readers’ Best Romantic Read Award and been nominated for others, including a ‘RoNA’ (Romantic Novel Award). Sue’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, a past vice-chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and editor of its two anthologies.

She also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a creative writing tutor.

The daughter of two soldiers, Sue was born in Germany and went on to spend much of her childhood in Malta and Cyprus. She likes reading, Zumba, FitStep, yoga, and watching Formula 1.


Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Medical Romance, Romance

A Return, A Reunion, A Wedding Annie O’Neil 4* #Review @MillsandBoon #Romance #MedicalRomance #SecondChanceRomance #Insiders #PublicationDay @AnnieONeilBooks

A second chance with her GP… 
Dare she follow her heart this time?

Jayne had been so happy! Engaged to gorgeous Sam Crenshaw, planning an idyllic life together as GPs in Whitticombe’s close-knit community. Until the day her twin sister died, compelling Jayne to leave the man she loved to fulfil her sister’s dreams. Now a paediatric cardiologist, Jayne’s hit crisis point—and coming home to heal reminds her that her own dream is still life with Sam!

Amazon UK

Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story is driven by powerful emotions, grief, guilt and love. It is a second chance romance, my favourite kind, between two medics, whose fairytale ending was obliterated by a tragic accident.

The story begins with an intense medical drama, that reveals that Jayne is finally unable to run from her past. It should be the pinnacle of her career, so far, but rather than success, it forces her to confront her past, and what she believes is her failure.

Sam never really came to terms with Jayne’s ending of their engagement, he understood her grief, but not her wish to face it alone. The meeting between Sam and Jayne sets the scene for an awkward few weeks, as they recognise their mutual attraction still lives, but are not sure what if anything they can do about it.

There is plenty of authentic medical details, and an exceptionally poignant love story, which is fraught with internal conflict. Both of the main protagonists are likeable and relatable, the best friend Maggie and the villagers all give the story its authenticity, a snapshot of English village life.

An intensely emotional medical romance with a lovely hopeful happy ending.

Posted in Book Review, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Psychological Thriller

I Looked Away – Jane Corry 5*#Review @JaneCorryAuthor @PenguinUKBooks #PsychologicalThriller #DomesticThriller #Secrets #Family #Friendships #MentalHealth #Homelessness

Every Monday, 49-year-old Ellie looks after her grandson Josh. She loves him more than anyone else in the world. The only thing that can mar her happiness is her husband’s affair. But he swears it’s over now, and Ellie has decided to be thankful for what she’s got.

Then one day, while she’s looking after Josh, her husband gets a call from that woman. And just for a moment, Ellie takes her eyes off her grandson. The accident that happens will change her life forever.

Because Ellie is hiding something in her past.

And what looks like an accident could start to look like murder. 

Amazon

Waterstones

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

My Thoughts…

This is a psychological thriller that resonates. Whilst, it has all the expected qualities of the genre, it contains so much more. A domestic thriller and a family drama, with secrets and tragedy. Mental Health issues and homelessness are major themes woven into the hard-hitting emotional story. The unreliable protagonist Ellie is a grandmother, which affords her a certain uniqueness in this genre, but her life is riddled with neglect, trauma and self-loathing. She is someone you empathise with, as each terrible injustice and secret are revealed. The ending seems just, but there is a twist that leaves you wondering.

The plot is complex and pacy, it keeps you guessing, whilst you are reeling from the horror and injustice of the women’s lives that are explored. It confuses, it’s meant to. The story is addictive, coherent, and full of relevant examples of mental health issues, and the largely overlooked plight of homelessness. It makes you think, and worry about the society we live in.

The thriller aspect is clever and calculating, the emotion is genuine and heartbreaking, the moral issues raised are thought-provoking and worrying. You will carry this story with you, and not many books in this genre can say that.