Posted in Contemporary Fiction, Cover Reveal, Friendship, Romance

Finding Love at Mermaid Terrace Kate Forster #CoverReveal @kateforester @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #Romance #Friendship #Preorder #February2021 #FindingLoveatMermaidTerrace

Tressa Buckland likes her quiet life in Port Lowdy, with its cobbled streets and colourful terraced houses overlooking the sea. Her job at the local paper allows her to pursue her art in her free time, with no one but her tabby cat Ginger Pickles to mind her in Mermaid Terrace. But then the owner of the paper is called away on an emergency, and it’s up to Tressa to run the paper for six months. Her first task: find a new part-time journalist.

Dan Byrne is the angriest man in Ireland – or so the readers of his very successful column, ‘Dan takes on the world’, think. But after a story goes south and he loses his job in Dublin, Dan has no choice but to start afresh. When an opportunity comes up in sleepy Cornwall, Dan and his Golden Retriever Ritchie set off for a new adventure.

For Tressa, Dan’s arrival to Port Lowdy changes everything. Tressa tries not to look too deeply at her own life, but Dan sees a story to uncover in absolutely everyone – even her. The two of them couldn’t be more different… yet, if they can find a way to work together, they may just breathe new life and joy into this sleepy seaside village.

Finding Love at Mermaid Terrace is a heartwarming new village romance about the power of love and kindness, from the bestselling author of Starting Over at Acorn Cottage.

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Kate Forster

Kate Forster lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, two children and dogs and can be found nursing a laptop, surrounded by magazines and talking on the phone, usually all at once. She is an avid follower of fashion, fame and all things pop culture and is also an excellent dinner party guest who always brings gossip and champagne.

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Read my Review of Starting Over at Acorn Cottage

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Guest post, Romance

The Winter We Met Samantha Tonge #GuestPost @SamTongeWriter @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #festive #Family #Friends #Romance #Christmas #CareHomes #Party #Toys #BlogTour #publicationday #TheWinterWeMet

When charming, mysterious, Nik sits next to Jess on a plane home from a Christmas toy trade fair, she never could have imagined the impact he’d have on her life. As they touch down in London, Jess is hesitant to let Nik walk away, and before she knows it, she’s invited him to visit.

As the two take in the delights of the toy store where she works, Jess gets an upsetting phone call. Willow Court, her Grandmother’s care home, is to close before Christmas. With the help of Nik, and her best friend Oliver, Jess is determined to find the perfect new home for her Gran – and throw the best Christmas party Willow Court has ever seen! But time is running out and Oliver isn’t the only one who has suspicions about charismatic Nik’s intentions.

Will a chance encounter on an aeroplane bring love to Jess’s life or is this Christmas miracle too good to be true?

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Guest Post – Samantha Tonge – The Randomness of Life

Have you ever thought about the randomness of life? Sometimes, the way things happen by chance, scares me a little! It’s strange to think that if I’d got my first choice of university (bad interview – long story!) I’d never have met my husband, never have had my children. And when my two started their degrees I thought how strange it was that probably the closest group of friends they would develop for life was going to be determined by an administrator allotting them to a particular room in  a particular halls of residence.

Life is random and that’s why we shouldn’t beat ourselves up if things don’t always go to plan. In fact, the unexpected nature of our existence is, in my opinion, what makes it so exciting. I think back to my student days… I was never going to get married nor have kids, and I was focused on learning languages, translating, nothing to do with being an author. However for many different reasons, my life went down a different path – and who knows where I will be a decade or two from now.

That randomness is what I wanted to capture in The Winter We Met, by  lead character Jess sitting in the wrong seat on an aeroplane and by doing so meeting Nik,  a man who was going to change her life in ways she could never have expected.

Travelling is a great opportunity for chance encounters. I remember aupairing in the south of France when I was nineteen. One day I travelled on a bus to meet a friend. I sat next to a young Frenchman, an artist, and we chatted and laughed all the way. As we parted, both of us knowing we would never meet again, he reached into his bag and gave me a silver pocket watch to remember him by. I still have it today. And for several months afterwards he would send me a postcard with a watercolour he’d paint onto the front.

Then a couple of years later, I had a job in London and commuted every morning. I’d sit on the train reading a French magazine to improve my language skills. Often I’d catch the eye of a particular guy with lovely freckles and a great smile. Eventually we got talking – he’d assumed I was French. And that gave rising to another friendship forming and, under different circumstances, could have easily led to a romance.

Several of my books have been inspired by chance encounters. One Summer In Rome has a blind main character and he was inspired by an incredible woman I met and chatted to on a train, who couldn’t see – she travelled the country alone, with her job, training visually impaired people to use special technology.

Chance encounters, life’s randomness, it’s a wonderful thing because when things are going really badly, when you’re in one of life’s ruts, don’t ever forget that there is always the possibility that something totally unexpected will pull you out of it – and that could be just around the corner.

Samantha Tonge

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely. When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines. She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award.

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Read my review of The Winter We Met here

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

The Winter We Met Samantha Tonge 5*#Review @SamTongeWriter @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #festive #multigenerational #Family #Friends #Romance #Christmas #CareHome #Party #Toys #BlogTour #BookReview #publicationday #TheWinterWeMet

When charming, mysterious, Nik sits next to Jess on a plane home from a Christmas toy trade fair, she never could have imagined the impact he’d have on her life. As they touch down in London, Jess is hesitant to let Nik walk away, and before she knows it, she’s invited him to visit.

As the two take in the delights of the toy store where she works, Jess gets an upsetting phone call. Willow Court, her Grandmother’s care home, is to close before Christmas. With the help of Nik, and her best friend Oliver, Jess is determined to find the perfect new home for her Gran – and throw the best Christmas party Willow Court has ever seen! But time is running out and Oliver isn’t the only one who has suspicions about charismatic Nik’s intentions.

Will a chance encounter on an aeroplane bring love to Jess’s life or is this Christmas miracle too good to be true?

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

My Thoughts…

This author always manages to capture the spirit of Christmas in her festive stories. They are fun and often romantic, but they have a deeper, more serious message too.

This story focuses on toy shops and care homes and their residents. It’s about family, friends, having fun and gets across the message that you don’t stop dreaming, feeling and hoping just because you’re getting older and your body and mind are diminishing.

Jess meets Nik on a flight back from a toy fair, they get along and when they land he visits the toy shop where she works. Nik appears to be a kind man, willing to help others, and Jess starts to fall in love with him. Is everything as it appears or is she missing something important?

The characters all bring something to this story. Trying to help them as they lose their security brings Jess and her friends closer to the residents and workers and all have interesting stories to tell. The dynamics of the relationship between friends and family are believable.

The romance is gentle, and a little mysterious for Jess but the ending is realistic and satisfying.

Samantha Tonge

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely. When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines. She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award.

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If you want to read Samantha Tonge’s Guest Post on The Randomness of Life. Click here

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, International Thriller, Political Thriller, Thriller, Travel

Hunter Killer Brad Taylor 4*#Review @BradTaylorBooks @HoZ_Books #International #Thriller #military #political #BlogTour #BookReview @sophmidas @midaspr #HunterKillerUK

The Taskforce tracks highly-trained Russian assassins to Brazil in this blistering, action-packed thriller from New York Times bestselling author and former Special Forces Officer Brad Taylor.

They’re killing his team. He’s coming for them.

#HunterKillerUK

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#HunterKillerUK

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus Books via Midas PR in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story gets your attention from the first page. Focusing on contemporary issues, it’s complex plot delivers an intense and often violent read. It’s part of a long-running series but reads as a standalone. Although to appreciate the team dynamic and character development, it’s advisable to read the books that come before, which I haven’t yet.

The setting is vividly described and evokes all the reader’s senses. The plot is fast-paced and keeps its momentum until the various sub-plots integrate into an impactful conclusion. The cast of characters is believable and the connection between the various team members, authentic and relatable.

Geopolitics, revenge and ruthless individuals define this story. Pike and his team are diverse and flawed, but their commitment to each other resonates.

Brad Taylor

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance

A Perfect Paris Christmas Mandy Baggot 5*#Review @mandybaggot @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #Festive #Romance #Friendship #Christmas #Paris #BlogTour #BookReview #FridayReads #SecondChances #Serendipity

United in grief. Pushed apart by tragedy.

 Keeley Andrews knows more than anyone that you only live once. So when she receives an invitation to spend two weeks in Paris, all expenses paid, she jumps at the chance.

Ethan Bouchard has had the worst eighteen months of his life. He’s ready to give up on everything, including his hotel chain. So when he meets Keeley, it simply isn’t the right time.

As Keeley and Ethan continue to bump into each other on the romantic Parisian streets, they can’t help but wonder whether this is fate telling them to let go of the past and leap into the future…

Head to Paris this Christmas and fall in love under the lights of the Eiffel Tower with best-selling author, Mandy Baggot.

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

My Thoughts

This is no ordinary festive romance, but it fills you with emotion and goodwill. I love serendipitous romance, and this is what we have here, but it’s only a fraction of the story which explores, loss, living life to the full, and friendship against a festive Paris setting.

Sensitively told and well-researched this story takes Keely to Paris for a life-changing meeting. It’s an emotional read with many characters whose stories are intricately woven together into a lovely festive story.

This is a must-read for the festive season.

Mandy Baggot

Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian. Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Romance

The Night of the Flood Zoe Somerville 4*#Review @zessomerville @Hoz_Books #BlogTour #BookReview #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #LiteraryFiction #Norfolk #Flood #1950s #Romance #ComingofAge #Secrets #Crime #FridayReads #FridayThoughts #TheNightoftheFlood

Summer, 1952. Verity Frost, stranded on her family farm on the Norfolk coast, is caught between two worlds: the devotion of her childhood friend Arthur, just returned from National Service, and a strange new desire to escape it all. Arthur longs to escape too, but only with Verity by his side.

Into their world steps Jack, a charismatic American pilot flying secret reconnaissance missions off the North Sea coast. But where Verity sees adventure and glamour, Arthur sees only deception. As the water levels rise to breaking point, this tangled web of secrets, lies and passion will bring about a crime that will change all their lives.

Taking the epic real-life North Sea flood as its focus, The Night of the Flood is at once a passionate love story, an atmospheric thriller, and a portrait of a distinctive place in a time of radical social change.

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I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Set on the Norfolk coast in the early 1950s The Night of the Flood is an atmospheric and at times claustrophobic historical story. Centred around a historic natural disaster, the author interweaves a believable fiction of complex emotional relationships and secrets.

It focuses on the five young adults all inexorably changed by WW2 and railing against their allotted roles in life. Peter, shackled to the failing family farm. Verity, an ambitious woman who wants more from life than marriage and domesticity. Arthur, a former evacuee who has journalistic ambitions he may never realise. Muriel is a less distinct character known to all whose role increases with the story’s progression. Finally, there is Jack, an American stationed at the local airbase, who is the catalyst that forever alters the young lives.

The story is sad and suspenseful, the protagonists’victims of society’s expectations and individual flaws. The coastal historical setting reinforces the story’s authenticity. Relatable characters engage the reader’s emotions in this insightful story.

Zoё Somerville -Image Credit Jonathan Pearce

Zoe Somerville is a writer and English teacher. Having lived all over the world – Japan, France, Washington – she now lives in Bath with her family. After completing a creative writing MA at Bath Spa, Zoe started writing her debut novel, which is inspired by her home county, Norfolk, and the devastating North Sea flood of the 1950s.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, International Thriller, Political Thriller, Thriller, Travel

Hunter Killer Brad Taylor 4*#Review @BradTaylorBooks @AriesFiction @HoZ_Books #International #Thriller #military #political #BlogTour #BookReview #AriesBlogTour #HunterKiller

The Taskforce tracks highly-trained Russian assassins to Brazil in this blistering, action-packed thriller from New York Times bestselling author and former Special Forces Officer Brad Taylor.

They’re killing his team. He’s coming for them.

The Taskforce were once apex predators, an unrivalled hunting machine that decimated those out to harm the USA, but they may have met their match.

While Pike is preparing to join the team on a counter-terrorist mission in South America, a friend is killed in South Carolina. The authorities believe it was an accident, but Pike suspects the attack was meant as a message to him. When he loses contact with the team in South America, Pike becomes convinced the Taskforce is under attack.

His men are the closest thing to family he has. He will do anything – even ignore direct orders to stand down – to find them.

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Aries Fiction

I received a copy of this book from Aries -Head of Zeus Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story gets your attention from the first page. Focusing on contemporary issues, it’s complex plot delivers an intense and often violent read. It’s part of a long-running series but reads as a standalone. Although to appreciate the team dynamic and character development, it’s advisable to read the books that come before, which I haven’t yet.

The setting is vividly described and evokes all the reader’s senses. The plot is fast-paced and keeps its momentum until the various sub-plots integrate into an impactful conclusion. The cast of characters is believable and the connection between the various team members, authentic and relatable.

Geopolitics, revenge and ruthless individuals define this story. Pike and his team are diverse and flawed, but their commitment to each other resonates.

Brad Taylor

Brad Taylor is the New York Times bestselling author of the Taskforce series, with nearly 3 million copies sold. He channels his decades of experience as a Special Forces Commander in the US army into his thrillers. In the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment—Delta, Taylor commanded multiple troops, a squadron and conducted operations in classified locations. Now he lives in Charleston, South Carolina, with his wife and two daughters.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, International Thriller, Political Thriller

The Englishman David Gilman 5*#Review @davidgilmanuk @HoZ_Books #Raglan #TheEnglishman @midaspr @amberchoudhary @SophMidas #BookReview #BlogTour #Thriller #Spy #Political #Military

A clandestine war on the desert border of Mali and Algeria; murder and kidnap on the suburban streets of West London; a Moscow CID police inspector investigating the assassination of four of her fellow officers by the Russian mafia; a young MI6 officer facing the possibility that a long-running operation has been fatally compromised: connecting them all is the Englishman – Dan Raglan, outsider, exile, one-time member of the French Foreign Legion, fully trained killer. Raglan’s quest for answers will become a quest for vengeance. It will lead him to the winter-ravaged wasteland of the Sverdlovskaya Oblast and Penal Code #74, a place that holds Russia’s most brutal murderers. A place of death and retribution.

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I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The Englishman is a nail-biting fusion of action and intrigue. Raglan, the protagonist, has lived so many lives and seen too much. Orphan, French legionnaire and master of the deniable operation Raglan is dragged out of retirement by a series of violent attacks and a persuasive messenger.

This international thriller spans the globe and has an engaging sense of place which draws the reader into the story with its sensual imagery. Intricate plotting reveals some of Raglan’s past and secrets. The action is uncompromising with collateral damage that is both realistic and unsettling.

The climactic mission into the depths of Russia is authentic and gritty. Here again, the use of sensual imagery is notable and makes the action and the setting easy to imagine, even if you’d rather not.

If you like your escapism raw and relentless, this is the perfect book for you.

David Gilman

David Gilman is an award-winning author and screenwriter. David enjoyed many careers – including firefighter, paratrooper and photographer – before turning to writing full time in 1986.  He has written many radio and television scripts including several years of A Touch of Frost. In 2007 his Danger Zone trilogy for YA was sold in 15 countries

Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

Wicked By Design Katy Moran 5*#Review #KatyMoran @HoZ_Books #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance #AlternativeHistory #NineteenthCentury #Cornwall #Russia #BookReview

1819.

CORNWALL.
Four women sit in the candlelit drawing-room at Nansmornow, an ancient Cornish manor house. The air is thick with unspoken suspicion and secret malice. As Hester Lamorna pours tea for her three guests, she has no idea one of them is about to rock her new marriage to its very foundations.

ST PETERSBURG.
Half a world away, Hester’s impossible and charmismatic husband, Jack ‘Crow’ Crowlas, will be caught up in a chess game of sexual manipulation, played out across the sumptuous ballrooms of St Petersburg. All Hester and Crow hold most dear will be tested to the limit and beyond: their love for each other and their child, and for Crow, the loyalty of his only brother.

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

My Thoughts…

Set in the early nineteenth century in an alternative historical world where Napolean, not Wellington triumphed at Waterloo. This story is an engaging mix of betrayal, intrigue, passion and politics.

Jack Crow is Lord Lamorna of Cornwall, a man who flaunts convention and lives close to the wire. Haunted by his past actions, his fight for justice and his passions, he is reminiscent of Poldark. Hester, Lady Lamorna is independently minded but loyal and in love with her husband. Her spirit and vulnerability make her a similar character to Poldark’s Demelza.

Engaging and easy to empathise the main protagonists’ complexity and flaws make them relatable. Vivid Cornish and Russian settings with an alternative historical twist give this story its uniqueness. Well-written believable characters and cleverly plotted intrigue and passion, all make this story an addictive, exciting read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Romantic Suspense, Travel

The Sea Gate Jane Johnson 5*#Review @JaneJohnsonBakr @HoZ_Books #HistFic #LiteraryFiction #Family #Drama #BookReview #BlogTour #Mystery #Romance #Suspense #WW2 #Relationships #Secrets

One house, two women, a lifetime of secrets…

Following the death of her mother, Becky begins the sad task of sorting through her empty flat. Starting with the letters piling up on the doormat, she finds an envelope post-marked from Cornwall. In it is a letter that will change her life forever. A desperate plea from her mother’s elderly cousin, Olivia, to help save her beloved home.

Becky arrives at Chynalls to find the beautiful old house crumbling into the ground, and Olivia stuck in hospital with no hope of being discharged until her home is made habitable.

Though daunted by the enormity of the task, Becky sets to work. But as she peels back the layers of paint, plaster and grime, she uncovers secrets buried for more than seventy years. Secrets from a time when Olivia was young, the Second World War was raging, and danger and romance lurked round every corner…

The Sea Gate is a sweeping, spellbinding novel about the lives of two very different women, and the secrets that bind them together.

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

My Thoughts…

Life in the contemporary world seems tawdry and insignificant in the wake of the secrets and tribulations faced by young Olivia in WW2. This dual timeline story follows Rebecca in the present day as she attempts to make Oliva’s crumbling but magnificent old house habitable for her.

The secrets Rebecca discovers gives an authentic insight into WW2 society and issues of abuse and racism. There is forbidden love, intriguing mystery and a lovely multigenerational relationship between Rebecca and Olivia. The setting is dramatic and complements the revelations perfectly.

Gently paced this atmospheric story engages and holds the reader, as they lose themselves in another time.

Jane Johnson is a British novelist and publisher. She is the UK editor for George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb and Dean Koontz and was for many years publisher of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Married to a Berber chef she met while researching The Tenth Gift, she lives in Cornwall and Morocco.

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