Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, New Adult Romance, Romance, Suspense

Trust In You Julia Firlotte 4* #Review #Author #Interview @juliafirlotte @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #Romance #Suspense #Intrigue #Summer #Love #comingofage #FallingForYou #Secrets #NewAdultRomance #Kansas

From the moment she met him, Ella Peterson had questions. As always, though, she’s too shy to ask.

Older and sexy as hell, mysterious Adam Brook soon sweeps sheltered Ella off her feet; but is he as perfect as he appears to be, or is there more to him than he’s telling her?

When events spiral out of Ella’s control, she learns the person she needs to rely on most is herself and her instincts on who to trust in the future.

It’s just that her instincts are screaming at her to trust Adam; it’s what he tells her that makes that a problem.

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

My Thoughts…

Ella is eighteen and naive. Life’s not been easy for her, bullied at school, losing her father and uncle, and then emigrating with her sisters to Kansas to live on her deceased uncles farm, has left her hurting and vulnerable.

Being teased by some local young men reminds her of past bullying and makes her shy and withdrawn. An instant connection with one of group unsettles her. Told entirely from Ella point of view in the first person, the reader feels everything she does, and it makes the story immersive and intense. From a slow start, the story soon becomes addictive reading. Ella is an engaging character, easy to empathise and like.

Her emotions and motivations are well described and portray a young woman on the brink of falling in love perfectly. The precarious financial situation Ella and her sisters are in, draws them into a world they are both unfamiliar with and unprepared for.

The explosive chemistry between Adam and Ella make the love scenes, hot and passionate. Adam’s secrets lead to conflict and danger for Ella. Ella’s vulnerability is an underlying theme, and some of the situations she faces, are disturbing. Her character development is notable and makes her character believable and relatable.

The plot is intriguing and makes reading the next book in the series a must.

Author interview: Julia Firlotte – Trust In You Blog Tour

What inspired you to write ‘Trust in You’?

My husband had a business trip to Kansas and commented that many American’s had found his accent attractive, this lead me to imagining the opening scene of my novel of an innocent British girl who had moved there and was teased by a group of locals, the novel grew from there.

How do you create your characters?

I usually visualise the scenes in the book first, and then as my characters develop personalities, the scenes usually get re-written several times to fit. I also use the Myers Briggs Personality Types to aid my character development in a realistic way.

How do write authentic dialogue?

As my characters develop, the dialogue usually flows very easily from what ever scene it is in my mind at the time. Of course, Beta readers and my editor also have input in this process.

What comes first when you write a story, characters, plot or setting? Is this the same for every story?

I come up with the opening scenes of novels and scenarios of how my characters meet extremely easily, it’s the main plot of the stories I often need to spend more time developing.

What made you want to write romantic suspense? Is this a genre you enjoy reading?

I enjoy reading all types of romance novel, usually verging on the darker side of life rather than romantic comedies and chick lit. The first draft of Trust In You was therefore much darker and more of a bully-romance, but after feedback from Beta readers, the story kept changing as I listened to the characters. Parts of this changing the story process is what made the novel a romantic suspense, at various stages I also didn’t know what was going to happen next, I let the characters guide me. I also had so much content, this is why the novel turned into a trilogy.

Would like to write in any other genres? If so, which ones appeal to you?

Aside from romance, I also love historical fiction authors such as Phillipa Gregory, Alison Wier and Colleen McCullough and have read a lot of young adult vampire sci fi – quite a mix! If I were to write a novel in a different genre, it would be a Tudor and Stuarts drama, but even then, I’d have to squeeze in a love story somewhere, that’s just who I am.

‘Trust in You’, is the first book in the ‘Falling For You’, series, can you tell us a little about the other books in the series?

Trust In You is written from Ella’s perspective based on her experience of moving to America and getting sucked into a criminal underworld which she suspects her wealthy boyfriend Adam is involved in. Many aspects of Adam’s life are intriguing and he gives very little away, leaving both my heroine and readers with many questions.

The next novel is Faith In Him number 1.5 , because it is all about Adam and not told from Ella’s perspective. The timeline of the novel starts just before Trust In You is set and then continues on moving the story forward. It is not simply the same story told from the Hero’s perspective, there is far more to the novel than that, but I can’t say more to avoid spoilers.

The final novel in the series is called Believe In Me, it is referred to as novel two because it continues from Ella’s perspective and the first chapter is included at the end of Trust In You. Ella and Adam’s friend Dan become closer as Adam tries to keep his distance from Ella to keep her safe, but this throws a spanner in the works as is usual in Ella’s world and the tables turn. Ella develops into a confident young woman and the series concludes in a confrontation with the criminal underworld that will have readers gripped.

I’m also playing with the idea of a further novel in a new series all about Dan.

You can see all of the book covers on my website.

Julia Firlotte

Julia is an avid reader of all things romance, and she has read hundreds of books across a variety of sub-genres and began writing her own novels in 2018. Four books are currently in various stages of editing and completion, the first of which is finished and will be on sale in spring 2020.

Julia has always been passionate about languages and fiction and has a degree in Languages And Trade and an A-Level in English Literature. When Julia is not writing or editing her own novels, she usually has her nose in books by other authors and is otherwise kept busy caring for her family, going to the gym and carrying out her day job. Julia lives on the South Coast of England with her two children, husband and cats.

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Literary Fiction, Noir, Short stories

Two Lives Tales of Life, Love and Crime Stories from China. A Yi #Translator Alex Woodend 3* #Review @alexwoodend @flametreepress @AnneCater #RandomThingsTours #noir #CrimeFiction #China #Love #Life #ShortStories #TwoLivesStoriesFromChina #Secrets #BlogTour #BookReview

Seven stories, seven whispers into the ears of life: A Yi’s unexpected twists of crime burst from the everyday, with glimpses of romance distorted by the weaknesses of human motive. A Yi employs his forensic skills to offer a series of portraits of modern life, both uniquely Chinese, and universal in their themes. His years as a police officer serve him well as he teases the truth from simple observation, now brought into the English language in a masterful translation by Alex Woodend. The stories include Two Lives, Attic, Spring, Bach, Predator. 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Flame Tree Press in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A collection of literary fiction short stories, set in China and translated from Chinese. The collection focuses on crime and darker aspects of life and love. The unique and well-written stories explore Chinese society and the complexity of its individuals.

Crime features in most of the stories. The author’s knowledge of forensic science colours many of the stories, which are often explicit and graphic. Descriptions of violence and its results make some of the stories closer to horror fiction, but the underlying theme is, what people as individuals and en masse are capable of, given the right provocation.

The stories give the reader a sense of life in China. Like all short stories, some are easier to relate to than others, but if you are looking for something different, and can accept graphic descriptions, this is worth reading.

A Yi (author) is a celebrated Chinese writer living in Beijing. He worked as a police officer before becoming editor-in- chief of Chutzpah, an avant garde literary magazine. He is the author of several collections of short stories and has published fiction in Granta and the Guardian. In 2010 he was shortlisted for the People’s Literature Top 20 Literary Giants of the Future. A Perfect Crime, his first book in English was published by Oneworld in 2015. He is noted for his unsentimental worldview, and challenging literary style.

Alex Woodend (Translator) is a writer/translator whose fascination with Spanish and Chinese began at Franklin & Marshall College. He continued his studies at Columbia University where he wrote his Masters on early post-Mao literature. Translator of The Captain Riley Adventures , Murder in Dragon City, and other works, he currently lives in New York.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

Never Saw You Coming Hayley Doyle 4* #Review @HayleyDWrites @AvonBooksUK #BlogTour #BookReview #Romance #Liverpool #Dubai #NeverSawYouComing #PublicationDay #RomCom #fate

Some people go looking for love. Others crash right into it.

Zara Khoury believes in love – so much so that she flies from Dubai to Liverpool to be with a man she barely knows. It’s a risk, but she’s certain that uprooting her life for Nick is the new start she needs.

Jim Glover is stuck. Since his Dad died, he’s put his dreams aside and stayed at home in Liverpool to care for his mum. Trapped in a dead-end job, he’s going nowhere – that is, until he gets a phone call that just might change his life..

Zara and Jim aren’t supposed to meet. But then fate steps in, and when their worlds – and cars! – collide, the real journey begins…

A gorgeous tale about taking risks and living life to the full.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Zara is a true romantic, she is prepared to follow her heart, and does so, as she travels from Dubai to Liverpool. Jim’s life is put on hold when his father dies, but when his luck changes, will his life improve too? Jim and Zara ‘s paths should never cross, but they do, and the results are life-changing.

Both of these characters are easy to like, and when their dreams implode, easy to empathise too. The story flows well, with a cast of captivating characters and interesting settings. Friendship, family drama, humour and romance, make this an engaging read. What makes this special is the unpredictability of it, as fate plays cupid. The life journey is full of conflict, as dreams crash and reality sets in, but there is a plan and eventually, it gives everyone the result they deserve.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Family For Beginners Sarah Morgan 5* #Review @SarahMorgan_ @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #Family #Friendship #Love #Secrets

Who says you can’t choose your family?
When Flora falls in love with Jack, suddenly she’s not only handling a very cranky teenager, but she’s also living in the shadow of Jack’s perfect, immortalised wife, Becca. Every summer, Becca and Jack would holiday with Becca’s oldest friends and Jack wants to continue the tradition, so now Flora must face a summer trying to live up to Becca’s memory, with not only Jack’s daughter looking on, but with Becca’s best friends judging her every move…

The more Flora tries to impress everyone, the more things go horribly wrong…but as the summer unfolds, Flora begins pushing her own boundaries, and finding herself in a way that she never thought she needed to.

And she soon learns that families come in all shapes and sizes. 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Character-driven, this story focuses on Flora’s emotional journey, as she tries to be part of Jack’s broken and damaged family. Multi-points of view, showcase the tense relationships, within the family.

Flora is lovely, but lives to please, probably due to the lack of nurture in her childhood. This proves a stumbling block with Izzy, Jack’s seventeen-year-old, who resents Flora as an outsider. The story revisits a popular theme, but because of the characters’ complexity and relatability, gives it a believable contemporary and original interpretation.

Family, friendship, grief, loss and love are all explored. The second part of the story, set in the English Lake District, draws the story together and reveals secrets. Flora’s emotional journey is both, challenging and poignant.

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…

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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, Contemporary Fiction, Excerpt, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Humour

How Not To Be A Loser Beth Moran @BethCMoran @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #BoldwoodBlogTour #Extract #AudioExtract #Family #UpLit #Mother #Son#Friendship #Love #Courage #MondayBlogs #MondayThoughts #Humour

AMY PIPER IS A LOSER. SHE’S LOST HER CONFIDENCE, HER MOJO AND HER WAY.

But one thing she has never lost is her total love for her thirteen-year-old son Joey, and for his sake she knows it’s time for a change. But first she has to be brave enough to leave the house…

What she needs are friends and an adventure. And when she joins a running group of women who call themselves The Larks, she finds both. Not to mention their inspiring (and rather handsome) coach, Nathan.

Once upon a time Amy was a winner – at life, at sport and in love. Now, with every ounce of strength she has left, she is determined to reclaim the life she had, for herself and for Joey. And who knows, she might just be a winner again – at life, sport, and love, if she looks in the right places…

Uplifting, funny and unforgettable, Beth Moran returns with a joyous tale of friendship, love and facing your fears.

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How Not To Be A Loser – Beth Moran – Extract

Stop Being a Loser Plan

Day One

It wasn’t intentional. I didn’t get woken up by my phone alarm blaring, spring out of bed and decide today was the day. I didn’t open up Facebook and one of those irritating quotes – embrace the rain if you want to dance under the rainbow – actually inspired someone for the first time ever to change something. After cajoling my son, Joey, out of bed, I didn’t gaze at his beautiful face as he poured a second giant bowl of cereal, raving about the school football match coming up, and in a surge of love and regret suddenly experience the pivotal moment in a decade of non-moments.

In fact, apart from the invitation that arrived in the morning post, most of the day went precisely as expected. Which was, in summary, exactly the same as pretty much every other weekday. I waved Joey off to school, reminding him to hand in the form about the meeting that evening and cleared away the breakfast dishes. I worked at my desk in the kitchen, breaking the monotony of writing about corporate social responsibility policies by swanning off to eat lunch in the living room, because that’s the type of wild and crazy woman I am.

I rescued Joey’s football kit from festering on his bedroom floor and stuck it in the wash, because despite telling myself on a daily basis that it’s time he learnt the hard way, circumstances dictate that I also live with an extra-large pile of parental guilt, so I make life easier for him where I can.

By the time Joey came home at four, I had spoken to no one since he left, unless you count talking to myself. Oh, and to the enormous spider who appeared out of nowhere and started edging across the kitchen while I debated whether to have another chocolate cookie or the bag of seeds I’d bought precisely to avoid eating a whole packet of cookies.

‘I’d get out of here if I were you. While your impressive size might earn you respect in the spider world, my son doesn’t take kindly to home invasions by anything with more legs than him, and he’ll be home any minute. Go on, shoo. Or else I’ll have to squish you.’

Too late. While the spider was weighing up whether to heed my advice, Joey burst through the front door, in his usual whirlwind of energy and enthusiasm.

‘Hey, Mum. I’m starving, are there any of those cookies left?’

I clicked save and pushed my chair back to face him. ‘Hi, Joey, and yes, I had an okay day, thanks. How was yours?’

‘Oh. Sorry, yeah. It was good, actually.’ He paused, mid-search of the snack cupboard, to offer an apologetic smile. ‘We did this experiment in science where we had to heat up this white stuff, and— WHAAAAAAT!?’

In an instant, my strapping thirteen-year-old reverted to a frightened child, leaping up to sit on the worktop, cookie packet hugged protectively to his chest.

‘How long’s that been there?’ he shrieked.

‘Not long.’

‘Why didn’t you tell me the biggest spider in the universe was right behind me?’

It was a pointless question. We had been through this too many times before. Joey knew that the reason I hadn’t told him was because of what would inevitably happen next.

And, in line with the rest of the day’s predictability, it did. After a brief negotiation about Joey’s phobia, the value of the spider’s life and what I was willing and able to do about both these things, given that I didn’t think it was quite worthy of calling either the police or pest control, I ended up scooping the monster arachnid in both hands and facing my own worst nightmare.

‘Ready?’ Joey looked at me with solemn eyes as he gripped the door handle. He tried to keep his voice steady, but the rise and fall of his chest betrayed his terror.

I nodded, aware that my own eyes, while the exact same light brown as my son’s – caramel, his dad used to call them – were darting wildly like two wasps caught in a Coke bottle.

Before I had time to take another wheezing, shallow breath, Joey flung the door open and ducked behind it. I threw myself forwards, crashing against the door frame, eyes now firmly squeezed shut, and flicked my hand outside. A sudden gust of wind sent me reeling back in panic.

‘CLOSE THE DOOR!’ I gasped, clutching at my heart as it careened about my ribcage and stumbling back into the middle of the kitchen.

‘Is it gone? Are you sure it’s gone?’ Joey garbled back.

‘Yes! It’s gone. CLOSE THE DOOR, JOEY, NOW!’

I heard the door slam, took another two calming breaths and forced my eyes to take a peek. ‘Oh, please.’

The spider levelled me an ironic gaze from the welcome mat. It was so humungous I could see the lazy challenge in each of its eight eyes.

‘What? What? What is it? Is it still here?’ Joey spoke from where he’d scrambled behind me.

‘It might be.’

‘WHAT? Where-is-it-what’s-it-doing-is-it-moving-is-it-near-me-how-is-it-still-inside? MUUUUUM!’

‘It may have blown back in and now be sitting on the mat.’

Beth Moran is the author of three previous books, including Making Marion. She regularly features on BBC Radio Nottingham and is a trustee of the national women’s network Free Range Chicks. She lives on the outskirts of Sherwood Forest. Beth’s first novel for Boldwood, Christmas Every Day, was published in September 2019

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

Clover Cottage Christie Barlow 5*#Review @ChristieJBarlow @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #Romance #RuralLife #Relationships #Friendship #Love #Life #Adventure

A page-turning new cosy novel in the bestselling Love Heart Lane series.

Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what.

When Vet Rory Scott inherits ramshackle Clover Cottage in the quaint village of Heartcross, Allie MacDonald just knows this is their happy ever after. A place to call home with the man she loves – it’s her dream come true!

Until Rory drops a bombshell. He loves Allie but he has dreams of his own to follow – to live and work in Africa. Clover Cottage will have to wait just a little longer…

Allie can’t imagine life without Rory, but she loves him too much to hold him back. And as he embarks on his adventure, Allie begins to rethink her own plans. She loves Rory and knows she wants him in her life, but maybe she can follow her own dreams too?

And always there, nestled in the beautiful village of Heartcross, surrounded by the people she loves, will be the place that will always bring them back to each other. Their forever home, Clover Cottage.

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

My Thoughts…

The third in the Love Heart Lane series, Clover cottage reads well as a standalone. I have read the first book in the series, but not the second. Allie and Rory’s relationship appears to be following its expected path. When Vet Rory’s parents offer him a cottage that needs doing up, Allie sees this as a positive step. Rory sees it as another way his parents are directing his life, possibly not in the way he wants it to go. This is a realistic story of wanting to follow your dreams but not wanting to hurt those you love. The delicacy of Allie and Rory’s relationship is the mainstay, of this, but there is a much wider story too.

Family secrets are explored with some surprisingly poignant revelations. The community is authentic and relatable and they give this story its engaging quality. A new temporary villager brings glamour and a new perspective to the group of friends.

The characters draw you in and you become embroiled in their lives, making this an emotional read. There are many lighthearted moments and a few sad ones, but the ending is heartwarming and uplifting.

This is definitely a village to settle in if you want to escape to the country.

Christie Barlow

 Christie Barlow is the international bestselling author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm, Love Heart Lane and Foxglove Farm. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada & Australia.

Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being.

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