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, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, New Books, Romance, Travel

The Little Blue Door Francesca Catlow 4*#Review @FrancescaCatlow @SilverWoodBooks @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #TheLittleBlueDoor #CorfuwithCatlow #SelfDiscovery #Loss #Love #Romance #Friendship #Family #Travel

In the post-pandemic world Melodie feels lost and alone, desperate to find something to remind her of her previous life. She sets out on a trip to Corfu to reconnect with happier times, only to be haunted by memories and events from the past. While travelling Melodie meets an intriguing and handsome man who has the potential to change her future. However, will the young girl from the plane with piercing green eyes be the one to open the door to Melodie’s fate?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a story of contrasts. It is emotional, filled with knowledgeable descriptions and immerses the reader in life on Corfu. I’ve read many stories about this island, but the contemporary edge and originality make this a little different. It’s Melodie’s story of returning to Corfu in the aftermath of the global pandemic we are currently living through.

The warmth of her Greek friends, their way of life, and her memories allow her to heal and look to the future as she experiences a heartfelt journey of self-discovery. There is a slow-burn romance with themes of friendship and family drama.

It’s an exploration of modern life with a vivid setting and well-crafted characters and relationships.

Francesca Catlow

Francesca Catlow loves to travel. Born and raised in the heart of Suffolk, Catlow has travelled extensively in Europe with her French husband and, more recently, their two young children. Of all the places she’s been it is the Greek islands that have captured her heart. She visits as often as family commitments allow.

She has previously written plays alongside being a lyricist and performer. This book is the first in a series.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Giveaway, Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance

Her Previous Self Anne Allen @AnneAllen21 5*#Review #TheGuernseyNovels #HerPreviousSelf #HistoricalFiction #1800s #gothic #Guernsey #contemporaryfiction #Family #Friendship #Romance #intrigue #mystery #timeslip #BookReview #BlogTour #MondayBlogs @rararesources

Two women, living two hundred years apart but closer than sisters.

Mary, miserable in her  marriage to Thomas Carre, a merchant and privateer and living in the newly-built family mansion in Georgian Guernsey.

Lucy, separated from her husband after a tragic loss and now acting as an unwilling sitter for her elderly grandfather, Gregory Carre, who has inherited the same mansion.

Lucy is haunted by Mary’s continued presence in the house and finds herself being pulled more and more back in time. How is it possible for her to live as Mary? To experience scenes from her tragic life? Lucy is forced to come to terms with Mary’s grief as well as her own.

The more enmeshed she becomes the more anxious Lucy is to discover the truth. Why is Mary still restless? What caused her mysterious disappearance two hundred years ago?

And can Lucy move on from her own loss to find happiness again?

Amazon UK Amazon

I received copies of these book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I’ve read all the stories in ‘The Guernsey Novel series, and this one travels further back in time than previous ones but still retains its unique connection to the island. Georgian Guernsey was built on privateering and most likely smuggling. It is against this dangerous background that part of this timeslip story takes place.

Lucy returns to her island home after a tragic life-altering loss that left her broken and depressed. The strain on her marriage proved insurmountable, and she separates from her husband. Her parents, currently resident at her paternal grandfather’s mansion, offer little emotional support and leave Lucy to look after her ailing grandparent when they take an extended holiday.

The contemporary element of this story charts Lucy’s battle with depression after the loss of her baby. It is emotional and realistic and makes her easy to empathise with. Her vulnerability makes a supernatural experience possible. She feels emotionally connected to Mary, a distant relative who went missing over two hundred years previously.

The timeslip element of this story is cleverly crafted. The two stories are both well-written drawing the reader into different worlds. The story is poignant, and the historical element disturbing, but it’s addictive reading because you are invested in the characters.

Guernsey gives this story added uniqueness, both in the historical detail and contemporary imagery.

This is another compelling chapter in this gentle saga of Guernsey life past and present.

Giveaway to Win 1 x Paperback Copy of Her Previous Self (UK winner)

or e-copy for an international winner.

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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 be 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.

The Inheritance – Book 7  Amazon UK

How close were Victor Hugo and his copyist?

1862 Young widow Eugénie faces an uncertain future in Guernsey. A further tragedy brings her to the attention of Monsieur Victor Hugo, living in exile on the island only yards away from Eugénie’s home. Their meeting changes her life and she becomes his copyist, forming a strong friendship with both Hugo and his mistress, Juliette Drouet.

2012 Dr Tess Le Prevost, Guernsey-born but living in England, is shocked to inherit her Great-Aunt’s house on the island. As a child, she was entranced by Doris’s tales of their ancestor, Eugénie, whose house this once was, and her close relationship with Hugo. Was he the real father of her child? Returning to the island gives Tess a fresh start and a chance to unlock family secrets.

Will she discover the truth about Eugénie and Hugo? A surprise find may hold the answer as Tess embraces new challenges which test her strength – and her heart.

My Thoughts…

A delightful mix of contemporary and Victorian life on Guernsey, with colourfully described historical details, and an engaging contemporary story full of romance, friendship and family drama.

Tess unexpectedly inherits an old house on Guernsey where she spent her childhood, Visiting her inheritance, she is drawn to the rundown house and being at a crossroads in her life decides to renovate and make Guernsey her home again.

Characters from previous stories make cameo appearances, but the story is standalone. The story slips between 2012 and Victorian times, told from Tess and Eugenie’s points of view. Both stories are complex and interesting, and there is a historical mystery for Tess to solve.

The story features a real historical figure, although the story is fictional, his presence as a character adds authenticity and depth.

Domestic abuse is a primary theme in this book, and it serves to highlight, its prevalence, and the differences and similarities between contemporary and Victorian women, in abusive relationships.

The storytelling is enthralling, the setting vividly described and the connections between the past and present meaningful. A lovely mix of believable characters and a realistic but hopeful ending make reading ‘The Inheritance’, a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

The Betrayal –  Book Six Amazon UK

Book Six of The Guernsey Novels is another dual-time story set during the German Occupation and present-day Guernsey and is likely to appeal particularly to fans of the book The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Treachery and theft lead to death – and love

1940. Teresa Bichard and her baby are sent by her beloved husband, Leo, to England as the Germans draw closer to Guernsey. Days later they invade…

1942. Leo, of Jewish descent, is betrayed to the Germans and is sent to a concentration camp, never to return. 

1945. Teresa returns to find Leo did not survive and the family’s valuable art collection, including a Renoir, is missing. Heartbroken, she returns to England.

2011. Nigel and his twin Fiona, buy a long-established antique shop in Guernsey and during a refit, find a hidden stash of paintings, including what appears to be a Renoir. Days later, Fiona finds Nigel dead, an apparent suicide. Refusing to accept the verdict, a distraught Fiona employs a detective to help her discover the truth…

Searching for the rightful owner of the painting brings Fiona close to someone who opens a chink in her broken heart. Can she answer some crucial questions before laying her brother’s ghost to rest?

Who betrayed Leo? 

Who knew about the stolen Renoir?

And are they prepared to kill – again?

My Thoughts…

I love this series, it has all the best qualities of a cosy mystery in a breathtaking setting, with just a hint of the supernatural and historical flashbacks that illuminate the present mystery.

Believable, interesting characters are easy to empathise with and draw you into present-day Guernsey and it’s WW2 legacy, most notably the German occupation of the island. The gentle romance and supernatural elements enhance the storyline. The writing is clever as present-day events are determined by their historical roots. 

Whilst they are standalone read; characters and situations from previous novels inform this story. If you haven’t read the other books in the series check out my reviews and read them for yourself.

This story is a pleasing, page-turning read, that makes me want to reacquaint myself with the mystical island of Guernsey.

Echoes of Time – Book Five Amazon UK

The fifth of The Guernsey Novels, Echoes of Time is a dual-time story set in the German Occupation and present-day Guernsey and is likely to appeal to fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Betrayal, injustice and revenge echo down the years…

1940. Olive marries farmer Bill Falla. The Germans occupy Guernsey.

All too soon Olive realises she has made a mistake. Her life changes when she meets Wolfgang, a German officer-however there’s a price to pay. . .

2010. Natalie Ogier returns to Guernsey to escape an abusive relationship – only to be plagued by odd happenings in her beautiful cottage on the site of a derelict and secluded farm. Disturbing dreams, disembodied voices and uncanny visions from the past. She becomes increasingly ill at ease as someone else’s past catches up with her own…

Her only immediate neighbour, Stuart, is the grandson of the original owners, Bill and Olive.

Thrown together in a bid to find out what happened to Olive, can they each survive the repercussions of the past and move on? 

My Thoughts…

All the ‘Guernsey Novels’ are defined by their memorable characters, vivid setting and intriguing plots, ‘Echoes of Time’, has all of these qualities and something extra that makes it a gripping and worthwhile read.

The cross over and parallels between Guernsey’s past and present are explored in greater detail in this story and Natalie, who returns to the island after a traumatic incident, experiences life in war torn Guernsey, in a most disturbing way.

Escaping her past Natalie witnesses a woman’s life with a startling similarity to her own, is her subconscious playing tricks on her or is what she dreams and experiences real?

The mystery enfolds in 2010 with flashbacks and time slip to occupied Guernsey in World War Two. The historical element is well researched and often anecdotal and blends with the present in a believable, easy to read way.

Characters’ flaws make them authentic and human. Natalie finds friendship when she most needs it but will become something more and is she brave enough to let it?

A poignant, well written tale, set on a beautiful island, perfect for holiday reading and anytime you want to escape.

The Family Divided – Book Four Amazon UK

The fourth of The Guernsey Novels, covering both contemporary Guernsey and the time of the Occupation. Likely to appeal to fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

One family, divided by death – and money

Andy Batiste, at loggerheads with his degenerate cousin, seeks to discover the truth of his family history. Why was his pregnant grandmother forced to flee to France? What really happened to her husband during the German Occupation, sixty years ago? Who accused Edmund, the elder son and Batiste heir, of being an informer? Was he really a traitor – and who murdered him?

With Edmund’s brother Harold now head of the family, enjoying the wealth which ought to have come to Andy’s father, the family is forever divided. Andy yearns to clear Edmund’s name and restore his father to his rightful inheritance.

Andy is introduced to Charlotte Townsend, newly divorced, lonely and struggling with writer’s block and the consuming threat of impending loss. They meet when she returns for healing at Guernsey’s natural health centre, La Folie, and Charlotte becomes involved in Andy’s family history.

Together they embark on a hunt for the truth…

My Thoughts…

The catalyst for this story is an incident in World War 2. A death accompanied by malicious rumour divides a family. Charlotte, who we met in ‘Guernsey Retreat’, makes a welcome return.

‘The Family Divided’ maintains the mystery and gentle romance, characteristic of this series. This story casts Charlotte in the role of detective as she unravels the secrets and rumour buried in the Batiste’s family’s past, to help and stay close to her new friend Andy Batiste.

Well paced, this story explores the growing relationship between Charlotte and Andy, and lets us glimpse the lives of previously introduced characters, Jeanne, Louise and Malcolm.

I liked the disparity between Andy’s family and Charlotte’s and how it allows both characters to grow and develop. Charlotte’s investigation is believable and what she discovers builds to a tense and well resolved ending.

If you like your mystery with vivid imagery and sweet romance you will definitely enjoy The Guernsey Novels series.

Guernsey Retreat – Book Three Amazon UK

The third in The Guernsey Novels series, likely to appeal to fans of the best-selling book The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Two violent deaths. Separated by time, but with a fatal connection…

A man loses his father. A young woman loses her mother. Both in tragic circumstances that lead, when they meet, to surprising revelations from the past. 

Louisa needs to find the father she has never known, to warn him of possible danger – for them both. Her search takes her from England to Guernsey. Malcolm’s journey is more complicated: conceived in Guernsey, his bereaved mother emigrates with him to Canada. Many years later he arrives in India, and from here he is led back to Guernsey to open a health centre at La Folie. This was his father’s home and where he was killed at the start of the Second World War. 

At the heart of the two deaths lie stolen jewels. Valuable enough to kill for. Twice. 

Finding her father brings Louisa more than she bargains for, and her life is transformed, while Malcolm learns that life is, after all, for sharing… 

My Thoughts…

This third book in ‘The Guernsey Novels series is as atmospheric, as the previous two stories. There are two deaths; one historical and one present-day, which force a meeting between Louisa and Malcolm, altering both their lives. The characters are interesting and believable, the setting a delight.

The author’s knowledge of Guernsey and the other Channel Islands gives the story another compelling dimension. This is a must read.

The historical events and their significance are weaved seamlessly into the contemporary plot. There is a welcome return of some characters from ‘Dangerous Waters’ and Finding Mother in cameo roles, which enrich the story.

The plot is easy to follow and provides a perfect foil for the characters to develop, grow and interact. There is intrigue and menace and a myriad of emotions as Louisa balances what she has lost and found and Malcolm tries to make amends for a youthful, foolish mistake. A sweet romance lightens the angst.

I liked the friendship between Louisa and Charlotte and look forward to reading Charlotte’s tale next.

Finding  Mother – Book Two Amazon UK

Three women. Three generations. Sacrifices for love…

Who is she really? Nicole is about to find out as she searches for her real mother; the woman who gave her away at birth. With her marriage in tatters, she sets out from England: travelling to Spain, Jersey and Guernsey before the extraordinary story of her real family is finally revealed.

Nicole becomes an unwitting catalyst for change in that family. Two women are forced to reveal long-buried secrets. One going back as far as the Second World War. Lives are transformed as choices have to be made and the past laid to rest…

My Thoughts…

A marriage damaged, possibly beyond repair prompts investigative journalist Nicole to search for her birth mother. Her decision threatens those who love her, leads to long buried secrets and romantic surprises on the beautiful island of Guernsey.

The setting for the second in ‘The Guernsey Novels series’ is vivid and tangible. The insight into island life makes Guernsey, an important secondary character that informs the actions of Nicole and her birth family.

‘Finding Mother’ is a gently paced story, with nostalgic echoes of magazine serials in the sixties. The characters are outwardly ordinary but their normality cloaks resentment, fear, missed chances and unwavering courage. The emotional tension is realistic and poignant and shrouded in long suppressed mystery.

Addictive and so easy to read; ‘Finding Mother’ builds to a tense crescendo before the secrets are revealed. The characters are complex and believable and make a story of everyday life, memorable.

This story will appeal to lovers of romantic sagas and quality women’s fiction.

Dangerous Waters – Book One Amazon UK

Dangerous Waters is the first of The Guernsey Novels, linked but standalone stories, which will appeal to fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Tragedy seems to follow Jeanne Le Page around . . .

Can she really go through it again and survive?

She is lucky to be alive … at sixteen Jeanne was almost killed in a boating accident which brought heart-breaking family tragedy. Now, fifteen years later, Jeanne returns reluctantly to the island of Guernsey following the death of her beloved grandmother. Struggling for breath as the ferry nears the island; she is overwhelmed by a dark foreboding as hazy memories of that terrible day resurface…

Only returning to sell her inheritance – her grandmother’s old cottage – Jeanne has no intention of picking up her old life. But the cottage holds a secret, dating back to World War II and the German Occupation, and Jeanne becomes drawn into discovering more. Then, soon after her arrival, a chance meeting with an old teenage crush leads her to thoughts of love.

Jeanne is forced to face her demons, reliving the tragedy as her lost memory returns.

When the truth is finally revealed, her life is endangered for the second time…

My Thoughts…

This delightful story reflects the island life it depicts; atmospheric, gently paced and full of mystery and romance. The characters are crafted realistically and easy to visualise. This is not an action packed read but the laid back writing style draws the reader into island society and culture. The cast of secondary characters give the story its depth and variety and bring the island community to life for me.

Contemporary favourites cookery and gardening widen the scope of this novel and prevent it from becoming too self absorbed and dark. The descriptions of the cosmopolitan restaurants, food and the cottage garden are vibrant and knowledgeable; as is the insight into the publishing industry.

Jeanne the vulnerable but talented heroine of ‘Dangerous Waters’ is a writer who returns to her childhood home many years after a traumatic incident drove her back to the mainland. Her chosen career has a dramatic boost when she discovers her grandmother’s hidden secrets and much treasured ancestral recipes.

Coupled with reconnecting with friends from her school days and deciding what to do with her legacy, Jeanne’s day to day life is an absorbing read. Jeanne’s poignant flashbacks reveal her traumatic past. Mystery and dangerous undercurrents threaten Jeanne’s emotional recovery until she isn’t sure who she can trust.

‘Dangerous Waters’ is definitely worth reading and I look forward to the rest of the Guernsey Novels.

Anne Allen

Anne Allen lives in Devon but originates from Rugby. Finding early on in life that she loved the sea she spent most of her adult years moving from one coast to another. Her happiest time was spent in Guernsey where she lived for nearly 14 years and her books are all set on that beautiful island. Until recently Anne was a psychotherapist but has now retired to write full time. So far she has published Dangerous Waters, Finding Mother, Guernsey Retreat, The Family Divided, Echoes of Time, The Betrayal, The Inheritance and Her Previous Self, forming the Guernsey Novels series. The books focus on love, mystery, drama and relationships. In her spare time she dabbles in art and very occasionally housework.

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

The River Between Us Liz Fenwick 5*#Review @HQStories @liz_fenwick #Cornwall #BlogTour #HistoricalFiction #Saga #Family #WW1 #Gardens #Renovation #Romance #Love #Loss #HistFic #TheRiverBetweenUs #SecondChances

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an atmospheric and lyrical story of love, loss and familial relationships. Written in dual timelines, 2019 and the early twentieth century during WW1 and its tragic aftermath. The Cornish setting is wonderfully described and gives the story its mystical and timeless qualities.

The characters are diverse and relatable, and the different relationships are full of emotion. The plot is layered and beautifully woven together to allow the reader some precious moments of escapism.

Guest Post: Top Five…Cornish Restaurants – Liz Fenwick

I love food. Some days I wish I didn’t but I do. I’m lucky that Cornwall produces some of the best and that local restaurants have so much fabulous produce to work with which makes choosing my top five restaurants hard so I’ve called in the family for their input.

  1. New Yard Restaurant (and New Yard Pantry) at Trelowarren – they’ve just received a green Michelin star and they have earned it. The restaurant adapted through the pandemic and now operates in a slightly different way. It is a set menu which different every night and it is an adventure. I have been delightfully surprised at the combinations and new foods I’ve been introduced to. When booking make sure they know of any food allergies so they can adapt your meal. And the attached New Yard Pantry produces great small plates plus pizzas for lunch, and their cakes….
  2. Porthminster Beach Café…for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Great food and superb setting. My mouth is watering thinking about the salt and pepper squid…
  3. Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow…I’ve been lucky enough to eat there twice. Superb.
  4. The Square in Porthleven…again local foods brilliantly served.
  5. The Mussel Shoal in Porthleven (note: on the quay side in the open and a very small kitchen so there can be no rush. Food is only served from 12:30 to 18:30)

Liz Fenwick – I was born in Massachusetts and after nine international moves – the final one lasting eight years in Dubai- I now live in Cornwall and London with my husband and a cat. I made my first trip to Cornwall in 1989, bought my home there seven years later. My heart is forever in Cornwall, creating new stories.

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

Lost Property Helen Paris 5* #Review @drhelenparis @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #LiteraryFiction #SelfDiscovery #Memories #Loss #Family #Friendship #Forgiveness #MentalHealth #uplit #LostProperty

Dot’s life has become a bit stuck. The big dreams she once had are beginning to fade away as she works each day in the Baker Street Lost Property office. Until one day someone enters her life and unlocks a new determination inside her. After all, everything that’s lost belongs somewhere. Maybe now it’s Dot’s turn to be found…

Twelve years ago her life veered off course, and the guilt over what happened still haunts her. Before then she was living in Paris, forging an exciting career; now her time is spent visiting her mother’s care home, fielding interfering calls from her sister and working at the London Transport Lost Property office, diligently cataloguing items as misplaced as herself.

But when elderly Mr Appleby arrives in search of his late wife’s purse, his grief stirs something in Dot. Determined to help, she sets off on a mission – one that could start to heal Dot’s own loss and let her find where she belongs once more…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A poignant and ultimately uplifting exploration of family, forgiveness, loss and memories. This gently paced story focuses on Dot, a young woman seemingly sidelined by life, but why? She is easy to empathise with, as she stumbles through life, with her keen insight, self-deprecating humour and sense of guilt.

The workings of a busy lost property office are vividly given life in this story, as every lost item has a history and is a cause of humour or sadness seen through Dot’s eyes. The structure and writing style are conducive to easy reading and immerse the reader in the characters and plot.

Contemporary issues concerning family, loss and mental health are woven into this lovely story, which follows Dot’s emotional journey of self-realisation to its positive conclusion and the realisation that some things are meant to be left behind.

Helen Paris

Helen Paris worked in the performing arts for two decades, touring internationally with her London-based theatre company Curious. After several years living in San Francisco and working as a theatre professor at Stanford University, she returned to the UK to focus on writing fiction.

As part of her research for a performance called ‘Lost & Found’, Paris shadowed employees in the Baker Street Lost Property office for a week, an experience that sparked her imagination and inspired this novel.

Lost Property is her first novel.

A note from Helen:

“Although entirely a work of fiction Lost Property was influenced by the short time I spent in Lost Property,
Baker Street shadowing different employees as research for a performance. Whether it’s a designer bag left in the back of a black cab or a woolly scarf forgotten on the number 44 bus, loss touches all of us. It is pervasive, and it never ends – as Dot Watson might say, ‘It’s reliable like that.’

I have always been fascinated by the memories that objects hold, how even the most every day object – a pipe, a bag, a small purse – can help us recall a place or a person or a particular time in life. Objects can be totemic, portals to the past. Tactile memory – the memories triggered by holding familiar objects – can be profound. Some objects almost let us time-travel back to the places we yearn to be, to the people no longer with us, and linger there, if only for a moment.”

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

Meet Me in Hawaii Georgia Toffolo 4*#Review @ToffTalks @MillsandBoon #Romance #SummerLove #Hawaii #BookReview #FridayReads #MeetMeinHawaii #MeetMe #MillsandBoonInsiders @rach_b52

Where an ocean of love awaits

Malie Pukui doesn’t believe in happy ever after. After a tragedy caused her to flee her family and friends in Devon she found a fresh start in Hawaii. Here, working at a surf school, she can give back to those in need and try to overcome the greatest loss in her life.

Moved around foster homes throughout his childhood, Todd Masters has worked hard to be able to offer a brighter future to young disadvantaged children. Now he has his own charitable foundation working with a surf school in Hawaii, a job he loves, but he still can’t put his past behind him.

When Malie rescues Todd from the sea a spark ignites between them, and the two wounded souls find a common ground. But amidst the surf, sunsets and sizzling kisses, can Malie let go of her past and risk something she’d locked away forever… her heart.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Malie’s story, set in sunny Hawaii, is the second book in the Meet Me series. It’s easy to imagine the setting from the vivid description and sensory imagery. Malie’s life seems idyllic, and on a superficial level, it is, but deep down, Malie is suffering from grief and guilt and needs space away from her devastated parents to survive. Todd is outwardly successful with a caring heart, but his difficult early life means personal relationships are problematic and best avoided.

A growing friendship with chemistry and humour draws the couple closer to love, but their internal conflicts are many and make trust difficult for them both. Contemporary issues highlighted knowledgeably and positively makes this more than a conflicted and glamorous romance.

The enduring and strong friendship group surrounding Malie keeps her grounded and moving forward, knowing they want her happiness. This book moves on convincingly from the first story set in London and anticipates the next Meet Me book.

This is an engaging, romantic story with a contemporary focus and a perfect, escapist setting.

Read my review of Meet Me in London

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship

The Last Goodbye Fiona Lucas 4*#Review @FionaLucasBooks @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #TheLastGoodbye

Anna’s world was shattered three years ago when her husband Spencer was killed in a tragic accident. Her friends and family think it’s time she moved on, but how can she when she’s lost her soulmate?  

On New Year’s Eve, Anna calls Spencer’s old phone just to hear his voicemail greeting. But to her surprise someone picks up. Brody answers and is the first person who truly understands what Anna is going through. As they begin to speak regularly, Anna finds herself opening up and slowly she discovers how to smile again, how to laugh, even how to hope.  

But Brody hasn’t been entirely honest with Anna. Will his secret threaten everything, just as it seems she might find the courage to love again? 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A bereaved young woman is the main focus of this insightful and sensitively written story. It shows that grief and finding the positivity to move on with your life is unique. Original plot twists and relatable characters make this an engaging story. The friendship that builds between the bereaved woman and the man who answers her husband’s old phone is realistically paced. You believe in the characters and the many heartbreaking moments in this story resonate. Ultimately, its a story of loss, love and most of all, hope.

Posted in Audiobook Review, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Humour, Romance

Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You Annie Lyons 5*#Review Narrator Nicolette McKenzie @1AnnieLyons @0neMoreChapter_ #Audiobook #Review #Friendship #Family #multigenerational #HistFic #Romance #Uplit

Eudora Honeysett is done – with all of it. Having seen first-hand what a prolonged illness can create, the eighty-five-year-old has no intention of leaving things to chance. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland she takes her life into her own hands.

But then ten-year-old Rose arrives in a riot of colour on her doorstep. Now, as precocious Rose takes Eudora on adventures she’d never imagined she reflects on the trying times of her past and soon finds herself wondering – is she ready for death when she’s only just experienced what it’s like to truly live?

A heartfelt story of life, death, friendship and family.

Audible UK

I received a copy of this audiobook from One More Chapter (Harper Collins Audio UK) via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started to listen to this story. Eudora Honeysett is an older woman who is ready to die. The artwork on the cover is so bright and cheerful, so I continued to listen. The story unfolds into a delightfully, gentle, poignant story about finding friendship and family in later life.

Eudora is eccentric, opinionated and sad until she meets a young girl Rose and Stanley, a good-hearted widower and their friends and family. They see something worth saving in Eudora. Eudora’s current life experiences are increasingly positive, but flashback chapters show a life full of betrayal, loss and sacrifice.

Excellent narration makes the characters vibrant, especially Eudora. Her introspection and dialogue are witty, making her memorable.

This is a lovely story with relatable characters and events.

Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Inspiration, Motivational

Growing Season Seni Glaister 5*#Review @SeniGlaister @HQStories Narrator Kristin Atherton #HarperCollinsAudioUK #Audiobook #BlogTour #Review #loss #selfrealisation #uplit #nature #life #love #GrowingSeason

Danny is riddled with anxiety. But he wants to be strong for his wife Sam. She’s been through so much already. If only he had someone to talk to.

Sam is facing a very different future to the one she expected. She’s ready to move on, yet other people won’t let her. If only she had someone to talk to.

Their new neighbour Diana is hiding from her past. She wanted a new life. Now she’s got it she feels angry and alone. If only she had someone to talk to.

Each of them is hiding their pain. Each of them needs to heal. But only when they learn to let each other in will they finally be able to grow.

I received an audiobook from HQ (Harper Collins Audio UK) via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This character-driven story features a multi-generational friendship. Told from three viewpoints Diana, Sam and Danny, it is a detailed emotional story that explores finding your true self, fitting in, honesty and loss.

It’s introspective and works well as an audiobook. The narrator is clear and engaging, voicing the characters believably and distinctly. The gentle pace enables the listener to know each character well, and the humour, insight and poignancy, make it an emotional read.

The parallels with nature that affects the characters’ lives are well crafted and make this an engaging, thought-provoking story.

Posted in Biography, Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Memoir, Non-Fiction

When Harry Met Minnie Martha Teichner 4*#Review #Biography #Memoir @Octopus_Books #MarthaTeichner #WhenHarryMetMinnie #NewYork #Friendship #Loss #Serendipity #BlogTour #BookReview @RandomTTours

I decided to write this book, because I didn’t want to stop living the story of what happened when Harry met Minnie. I didn’t want to forget any of it, even the sad parts. This story of unexpected friendship, of love, was a wonderful gift, and in the end, it made me and Minnie happy.

Martha Teichner, CBS Sunday Morning News correspondent and multi-award-winner.

There’s a special camaraderie among early-morning dog walkers. In this special space and time, a chance encounter with an old acquaintance changed Martha Teichner’s world. As fate would have it, her friend knew someone who was dying of cancer, from exposure to toxins after 9/11, and desperate to find a home for her dog, Harry. He was a Bull Terrier, the same breed as Martha’s dear Minnie. Martha agrees to meet Harry and his owner Carol. What begins as a transaction involving a dog becomes a deep and meaningful friendship between two women with complicated lives and a love of Bull Terriers in common.

Through the heartbreak and grief of Carol’s illness, the bond that develops changed Martha’s life, Carol’s life, Minnie’s life, Harry’s life.As it changed Carol’s death as well.
Loneliness as a topic is becoming more and more prominent – especially in these uncertain times. This book explores what can happen when we take the time to talk to those around us.

This is a memoir of love and loss, of being in the right place at the right time, and of the mysterious ways a beloved pet can bring people together.

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

My Thoughts…

Emotional, honest and well written, this story is about pet friends, serendipitous meetings and the power of love. This book is full of interesting facts about New York, television journalism and design. With some lovely images in the centre of the book that poignantly illustrate the text.

Harry Met Minnie is lovely if a little sad to read. Those who share their lives with dogs will relate to the humour and poignancy of this book. The characters, both dog, and human are easy to like drawing the reader into their lives.

I enjoyed reading this biography/memoir.

Martha Teichner has been a correspondent for “CBS Sunday Morning”
since December 1993. Since joining CBS News in 1977, Teichner has earned multiple national awards for her original reporting, including 11 Emmy Awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and five James Beard Foundation Awards.

Martha has reported on some of the largest national and international stories of
this era, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the run-up to the war in Iraq, the death of Princess Diana and the life and death of Nelson Mandela. She’s interviewed world leaders and other newsmakers, including then-first lady Hillary Clinton.

Now based in New York, Teichner spent more than a dozen years as a foreign correspondent covering major international news. Teichner was twice assigned to the CBS News London bureau (1980-1984, 1989-1994), covering the Northern Ireland hunger strikes, the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, and was one of only a handful of female war correspondents.

Teichner covered the Lebanon War, the 1st Intifada in 1988 in Israel and the West Bank, embedded with the US First Armored Division in the Persian Gulf War, covered the conflicts associated with the collapse of Yugoslavia (Slovenia,
Croatia and Bosnia) and spent three years in South Africa during the last years of apartheid. She reported on the fall of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and the Romanian revolution. Teichner also spent several weeks in the Bolivian jungle covering undercover operations with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.