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

We Are Not Like Them Christine Pride and Jo Piazza 4* #Review @jopiazza #ChristinePride @HQStories #HQNewVoices #WANLT #Women #Race #Mothers #Love #Betrayal #Friendship #injustice #literaryfiction #prejudice #courage #forgiveness #WeAreNotLikeThem

Not every story is black and white.

Riley and Jen have been best friends since they were children, and they thought their bond was unbreakable. It never mattered to them that Riley is black and Jen is white. And then Jen’s husband, a Philadelphia police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager and everything changes in an instant.

This one act could destroy more than just Riley and Jen’s friendship. As their community takes sides, so must Jen and Riley, and for the first time in their lives the lifelong friends find themselves on opposing sides.

But can anyone win a fight like this?

We Are Not Like Them is about friendship and love. It’s about prejudice and betrayal. It’s about standing up for what you believe in, no matter the cost.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story explores injustice, prejudice and race in an insightful way from the perspective of an interracial friendship. The beginning is poignant and fills the reader with anger at the injustice of the indiscriminate shooting of a young black male. Immediately the question, would the victim be lying there dying if he was white, is at the forefront of the reader’s mind.

Then the two female protagonists are introduced, Jen is a homemaker, Riley, a successful broadcast journalist, Jen is white, Riley is black, and they have been friends since childhood. The repercussions of the shooting are delivered to them independently, but as Jen runs and leaves Riley questioning, both sense this the end of something.

Their friendship has survived the years by avoidance of potentially divisive issues which the shooting and its fallout bring to the fore. Inequalities exist in Jen and Riley’s relationship. Riley is the giver, Jen is the taker, and this is significant for what follows.

The story explores contemporary issues. It strives to present everyone’s viewpoints whether this is successful is open for debate. Well written, and eloquent it engages the reader and provokes thinking.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Romance

The Secrets of Hawthorn Place Jenni Keer 5*#Review @JenniKeer @AccentPress #Love #Secrets #DualTime #HistFic #contemporaryFiction #Romance @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview

Love will always find a way… Discover the intriguing secrets of Hawthorn Place in this heartfelt dual-time novel, filled with warmth and charm, perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley and Cecelia Ahern.

Two houses, hundreds of miles apart…yet connected always. When life throws Molly Butterfield a curveball, she decides to spend some time with her recently widowed granddad, Wally, at Hawthorn Place, his quirky Victorian house on the Dorset coast. But cosseted Molly struggles to look after herself, never mind her grieving granddad, until the accidental discovery of an identical Art and Crafts house on the Norfolk coast offers her an unexpected purpose, as well as revealing a bewildering mystery. Discovering that both Hawthorn Place and Acacia House were designed by architect Percy Gladwell, Molly uncovers the secret of a love which linked them, so powerful it defied reason. What follows is a summer which will change Molly for ever…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This multi-layered story with love at its centre and a myriad of everyday and magical occurrences draws the reader into two believably created worlds. In the present day, Molly returns to her family when her relationship fails, she is difficult to warm to initially, but her character development is satisfying as the story progresses. Taken to a late Victorian world, the reader sees the constraints of society and the pain of true love evident for Percy, an architect and his true love.

Two houses in Dorset and Norfolk are the setting for this dual timeline story. There’s intrigue, magic and self-realisation as Molly uncovers family secrets and finds herself in the process. Cleverly crafted relatable characters, vividly described settings rich in contemporary and historical detail make this lovely story a resonating reading experience.

Giveaway to Win a Signed copy of the Secrets of Hawthorn Place, plus chocolate and a sparkly pen. (UK Only)

Click on this link to enter

*Terms and Conditions –UK 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.

Jenni Keer

Jenni Keer is a history graduate who embarked on a career in contract flooring before settling in the middle of the Suffolk countryside with her antique furniture restorer husband. She has valiantly attempted to master the ancient art of housework but with four teenage boys in the house it remains a mystery. Instead, she spends her time at the keyboard writing commercial women’s fiction to combat the testosterone-fuelled atmosphere, with her number one fan #Blindcat by her side. Much younger in her head than she is on paper, she adores any excuse for fancy-dress and is part of a disco formation dance team.

Jenni is also the author of The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker and The Unexpected Life of Maisie Meadows.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Psychological Suspense

The Last Time We Saw Marion Tracey Scott – Townsend 5*#Review @authortrace @Wildpressed @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #TheLastTimeWeSawMarion #FamilyDrama #Love #relationships #supernatural #MentalHealth #psychological #suspense #psychsuspense #BlogTour #BookReview #booktour

Meeting author Callum Wilde is the catalyst that turns Marianne Fairchild’s fragile sense of identity on its head, evoking demons that will haunt two families.

She is seventeen and has spent her life fighting off disturbing memories that can’t possibly belong to her.

His twin sister Marion died seventeen years ago.

When Cal and his older sister Sarah spot Marianne in the audience of a TV show that Cal is recording, they are stunned by her uncanny resemblance to Marion. They have to find out who she is, but they both soon come to regret the decision to draw her into their lives. Events spiral out of control for all of them, but whilst Cal and Sarah each manage to find a way to move on, Marianne is forced to relinquish the one precious thing that could have given her life some meaning.

The book is set in a haunting estuary landscape of mudflats, marshes and the constant resonance of the sea.

The Last Time We Saw Marion is the story of two families – but the horrible truth is that two into one won’t go…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This author explores the nuances of relationships with insight and sensitivity. They investigate the lives of two families drawn together by appearance, death and something unexplainable in human terms. Sarah and Cal see a woman who is the image of their sister just before she died. Without considering the consequences, they draw her into their lives with tragic results.

A harrowing and hauntingly poignant tale that takes place in the present and past from different viewpoints. Cal and Marianne are unreliable protagonists. Does emotional instability affect their connection or something supernatural?

The setting is evocative and reflects the tumultuous family drama, Flawed and relatable characters, and the inevitableness of the journey’s tragic conclusion makes this addictive and emotional reading.

Tracey-Scott-Townsend is the author of six novels — the most recent The Vagabond Mother (January 2020) and Sea Babies (May 2019) — all published by Wild Pressed Books and Inspired Quill Publishing. Reviews often describe her novels as poetic or painterly.

She is also a poet and a visual artist. She has a Fine Art MA and a BA (Hons) Visual Studies. She has exhibited paintings throughout the UK (as Tracey Scott). She has a long career as a workshop facilitator with community groups and in schools.

Tracey is co-director of an up-and-coming small independent publisher, Wild Pressed Books, which has a growing roster of authors and poets.

Mother of four grown-up children, Tracey spends as much time as possible travelling the UK and Europe in a camper van with her husband and two dogs, writing and editing while on the road. 

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

I have something to tell you Susan Lewis 5*#Review @susanlewisbooks @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam #Lies #Secrets #Crime #Love #Relationships #Forgiveness #FamilyDrama #Marriage #Friendship #Legal #BookReview #Ihavesomethingtotellyou

High-flying lawyer Jay Wells has it all. A successful career, loving husband Tom and a family she adores. But one case – and one client – will put all that at risk.

Edward Blake. An ordinary life turned upside down – or a man who quietly watched television while his wife was murdered upstairs? With more questions than answers and a case too knotted to unravel, Jay suspects he’s protecting someone.

Then she comes home one day and her husband utters the words no-one ever wants to hear. Sit down, because I have something to tell you….

Now Jay must fight not only for the man she defends, but for the man she thought she trusted with her life – her husband.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

You are always guaranteed an immersive reading experience with this author. The characters are complex, flawed and relatable. The situations they encounter are believably created and explore moral dilemmas and relationship dynamics. The pacing is perfect, and you are addicted after the first few pages.

Jay is a successful criminal lawyer who takes on a case as the duty solicitor. She has a good balance of personal and professional life and enjoys her work. Edward is a successful architect and property developer. When he discovers his wife’s body upstairs in his home, he finds himself the prime suspect in her killing.

This is a multilayered story with a strong,well-researched legal element. Interwoven with the criminal case is a myriad of emotional relationships, as perceived by Jay, the lawyer. Her marriage seemingly perfect comes under pressure, and as she delves deeper into her client Edward’s life, she finds herself compromised, emotional and professionally.

This is an engaging and fascinating story that resonates.

Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis is the internationally bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime, including One Minute Later and Home Truths and My Lies, Your Lies. Susan’s novels have sold nearly three million copies in the UK alone. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Susan has previously worked as a secretary in news and current affairs before training as a production assistant working on light entertainment and drama. She’s lived in Hollywood and the South of France, but now resides in Gloucestershire with husband James, two stepsons and dogs.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

Meet Me in Tahiti Georgia Toffolo 4*#Review @ToffTalks @MillsandBoon #Romance #SecondChances #memories #Tahiti #BookReview #MeetMeinTahiti #MeetMe #MillsandBoonInsiders @AvrilTremayne

Where there’s always a second chance at first love…

Zoe has spent her life facing battles: fighting her parents for independence, struggling with her feelings for local bad boy Finn and, after a car accident at eighteen, adjusting to the fact she would not walk again. She remained strong until the day Finn, the person she thought she could trust, broke her heart… Now a successful travel writer, Zoe is excited to review a new luxury hotel in the beautiful South Pacific – until she meets its owner…

Finn was never good enough for Zoe. He knew it. Zoe’s family knew it. The village of Hawkes Cove made sure he knew it. Proven when he let her down in the worst way possible. Now a successful businessman, he thought his past was behind him, until a journalist turns up to review his new resort…

As Finn shows Zoe the exotic wonders of the islands both face the fact their shared past might just be the beginning of a future. But only if Zoe can win the biggest battle of her life…facing up to her heart’s desire.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Set in romantic Tahiti, Zoe and Finn meet again after twelve years and find that the attraction still burns brightly between them but are they brave enough to overcome past differences? Zoe is a travel writer who explores holiday resorts to discover their accessibility. Zoe’s story is a journey of self-discovery, coming to terms with her past and taking a second chance at love with Finn. The story features Victoria, Lily and Malie and is told from Zoe and Finn’s viewpoints.

The setting is well described, and the friendship dynamic between the women is pivotal to the story and well written. This is an enjoyable chapter in the Meet Me series, humorous, poignant and romantic.

Read my review of Meet Me in London

Read my review of Meet Me in Hawaii

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

The Seaside Cocktail Campervan Caroline Roberts 5*#Review @_caroroberts @0neMoreChapter_ @fictionpubteam #BookReview #Northumberland #Romance #family #Weddings #campervan #cocktails #Friendship #secrets #TheSeasideCocktailCampervan

Bringing love, laughter and friendship from coast to coast…

*The new heatwarming and cosy romance from Caroline Roberts – the only seaside escape you need this summer!*

Next stop: seaside, sunshine and romance!

When Lucy isn’t in her cosy cottage by the sea, she’s winding through the Northumberland coast with her loveable Dachsund Daisy, cooking up a storm at the local village celebrations. Inspired by her Italian Poppa, Lucy’s chasing a new dream with her pizza van business. And at one particular party she meets Jack, the brooding but gorgeous owner of the Cocktail Campervan.

Wary of repeating mistakes of the past, Lucy and Jack keep it strictly business. But as the summer drifts by in a swirl of garden parties, fun and fizz, laughs and celebrations, and as the cocktail campervan creates the community they so desperately need, romance starts to blossom – one stop at a time…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story has all the qualities I’ve come to expect from this author’s books. Romance full of conflict and emotional connection, friendship, family drama and a lovely mix of humour, poignancy and recipes to complete the collection.

Contemporary and relevant, we follow Jack (the cocktail campervan man) and Lucy(the All Fired Up pizza woman) as they travel Northumberland’s coastal and rural regions at various celebratory events. Both are in an emotional wasteland from failed relationships and family tragedy. Despite their growing attraction, they fear loss more than they crave love.

This book explores the couple’s emotional journey. It’s highlighted by interesting events that add authenticity and depth to this lovely story. The descriptions immerse the reader in this mobile catering world with picturesque settings and mouthwatering recipes.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Motivational, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Life’s What You Make It Sian O’Gorman 5* #Review @msogorman @BoldwoodBooks @bookandtonic @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #BlogTour #BookReview #LifesWhatYouMakeIt

Dreams can come true, you just have to believe…

All new from Irish bestselling author Sian O’Gorman



After 10 years in London, working in a stressful City firm, Liv O’Neill returns home to Sandycove, a picturesque seaside village, just outside Dublin to care for her mother after a fall.

Whilst Liv reconnects with friends and family, she is amazed by Sandycove’s thriving community spirit with its artisan shops, delis and cafes – it’s not quite the place she left behind.

As village life begins to creep under her skin, Liv is forced to confront the things that drove her away.

Can Liv balance her past, present and future and find her own happy place?

And will a handsome young doctor help her make a decision about the life she really wants?

Suddenly her old life in London begins to seem extremely unappealing and Liv is forced to use her family’s past in order to forge a brand new future.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The reader is instantly drawn to Liv, the main protagonist in this heartwarming story of love, life and second chances. Returning to her hometown, Liv finds the sense of community and completeness she’s missed. Family secrets, friendship rekindled, and romance are woven into the plot making it an engaging read. It’s about finding what makes you happy and being brave enough to follow your dreams.

The setting is intrinsic to the story. It’s described with powerful sensory imagery that draws the reader into the world. If you enjoy heartbreak, happiness and soul searching, this story delivers them all beautifully.

Extract from Life’s What You Make It – Sian O’Gorman

Chapter One

I really should buy my ex-boyfriend and his ex-girlfriend a drink or a posh box of chocolates to say thank you for getting back together, even if it was just for one night. And I should say an even bigger thank you to her for telling me about it. Because if Jeremy and Cassandra hadn’t met up at one of his friend’s weddings, there is the very real possibility that he and I might have carried on and then everything that did happen wouldn’t have happened and my life would have remained exactly as it was.

I was an Irish girl transplanted to London for a decade, swapping the seaside and village of Sandycove – with its little shops and the beach, the people, the way the clouds skidded in for a storm, the rainbows that blossomed afterwards – for the bright lights, the traffic and the incessant noise of London. My visits home had become sporadic to the point of paltry. There was never enough time for a long trip and so my visits were only ever two nights long. Even last Christmas I’d flown in on Christmas Eve and was gone the 27th. I’d barely seen Mum or my best friend Bronagh and when Mum drove me to the airport and hugged me goodbye, I had the feeling that we were losing each other, as though we were becoming strangers.

London had become a slog, working twelve-hour days for my toxic boss, Maribelle, who drank vodka from her water bottle and didn’t believe in bank holidays. Or weekends. Or going home for the evening. Or eating. Or, frankly, anything that made life worth living. If it wasn’t for my flatmate, Roberto, my London life would have been utterly miserable. Looking back now, I think the reason why I kept going out with Jeremy for six months, even though we were entirely unsuited, was because at least it was something. And if I’ve learned anything about life over the last year, it’s that you should do something, but never the least of it.

‘Olivia O’Neill,’ Roberto would say on a loop. ‘Liv, you need to raise your game.’ He wasn’t a fan of Jeremy, whom I’d been seeing for six months. ‘Leave Jeremy and dump Maribelle and make your own life.’

But how do you do that when you have forgotten what your own life is? How on earth do you find it again when you are the grand old age of thirty-two? I couldn’t start again. But then the universe works in mysterious ways. If you don’t get off your arse and make changes, then it gets fed up and starts making them for you. But anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself… let’s zip back to before it all began… before I discovered what really made me happy, took charge of my life and found my crown.

* * *

‘Olivia?’

It was Friday, the last day of May, and I was at Liverpool Street Station. Mum normally called at this time, knowing my route to work and that, by 7.32 a.m., I was always on the escalator, rising up from the underground, before the thirteen-minute trot to my office.

‘Hi, Mum, how are you? Everything okay?’

‘I am…’ She hesitated.

‘Mum…?’

‘I am…’ She stopped again. ‘I am fine… absolutely fine. It’s just we’ve been in A & E all evening… we got home back at midnight…’

‘A & E?’ I was so worried that I didn’t ask who the ‘wewas.

‘It happened the other night in Pilates,’ she said. ‘I reached down to pick up the ball and I felt my knee go.’

My speed walk through the station stopped mid-concourse, making a man in pinstripes swerve and swear at me under his breath. It didn’t make sense. My mother was fitter than me, this walk from tube to desk was the only exercise I did. She was fifty-seven and power walked her way up and down the seafront every evening, as well as the twice-weekly Pilates classes. ‘But you are brilliant at Pilates,’ I said. ‘Didn’t your teacher say you have the body of a twenty-five-year-old?’ I’d moved myself to the side of the newsagents’ kiosk, where I would buy my Irish Times to keep when I was feeling homesick – which was increasingly more frequent these days.

Mum gave a laugh. ‘She said my hips were the hips of a younger woman,’ she explained. ‘I don’t think she said twenty-five-year-old. My hip flexors have stopped flexing and I’m on crutches. It’s not the worst in the world and within a few weeks, with enough rest, I should be back on my feet. The only thing is the shop…’

Mum ran her own boutique in Sandycove, the eponymously named Nell’s. She’d opened it when I was just a toddler and had weathered two recessions and a handful of downturns, but was just as successful as ever. And even when a rival boutique, Nouveau You, opened ten years ago, Nell’s was definitely the more popular.

‘Jessica can’t manage the shop on her own,’ Mum continued. ‘I’ll have to try and find someone for the four weeks. I’ll call the agency later.’

‘Oh, Mum.’ I couldn’t imagine Mum on crutches – this was the woman who had only ever been a blur when I was growing up, coming home from the shop to make dinner for her second shift and all the business admin she had to do. I used to imagine she slept standing up, like a horse. I tried to think how I could help, stuck here hundreds of miles away in London. ‘What about your Saturday girl?’

‘Cara? She’s got her Leaving Cert in a week’s time. I can’t ask her. So… it’s just a bit of a hassle, that’s all.’

I really wished I was there to look after her. Maybe I could fly in this weekend? Just for Saturday night.

‘Please don’t worry,’ said Mum. ‘It’s only four weeks on crutches, and I’ve been ordered to rest, leg up… read a few books. Watch daytime television, said the doctor.’ Mum gave another laugh. ‘He said I could take up crochet or knitting. Told me it was very popular these days. So I told him that I was only fifty-seven and the day I start knitting is the day I stop dyeing my hair.’

‘But you’ll go mad,’ I said. ‘Four weeks of daytime television. Who will look after you?’

‘I can hobble around,’ she said. ‘Enough to make cups of tea, and I can get things delivered and, anyway, I have Henry.’ She paused for emphasis. ‘He was with me in the hospital and has volunteered to help.’

Mum had never had a boyfriend that I’d known of. She’d always said she was too busy with me and the shop. ‘And Henry is…?’

‘Henry is my very good friend,’ she said. ‘We’ve become very close. He’s really looking forward to meeting you.’ She paused again for dramatic effect. ‘We’ve been seeing each other since Christmas and… well, it’s going very well indeed.’

‘That’s lovely,’ I said. ‘Tell him I’m looking forward to meeting him. Very much. Who is he, what does he do?’ I really would have to fly over to vet him… maybe Maribelle might be in a good mood today and I could leave early next Friday?

‘Henry took over the hardware shop from Mr Abrahamson. Henry’s retired from engineering and needed something to do. He’s like that, always busy. He’s been a bit of an inspiration, actually,’ she went on, ‘taking on a business when he’s never run one before. And he’s trying to grow Ireland’s largest onion.’ She laughed. ‘Not that he’s ever even grown a normal-sized one before, but he’s read a book from the library on what you need, gallons of horse manure apparently, and he wants to win a prize at the Dún Laoghaire show in September.’

If anyone deserved a bit of love Mum did and considering I would not win any awards for daughter of the year with my generally neglectful behaviour, I was happy she had someone. And surely anyone who grew outsized vegetables could only be a good person.

But I felt that longing for home, that wish to be there. Even if she had Henry and his onions, I wanted to be there too. I restarted my speed walk to the office. Being late for Maribelle was never a good start to the day.

‘So you’re sure you’re all right?’ I said, knowing that going over probably wouldn’t happen this weekend, not with the presentation I had to help Maribelle prepare for on Monday. I passed the only tree I saw on my morning commute, a large and beautiful cherry tree, it was in the middle of the square outside the station and blossomed luxuriantly in the spring and now, in late May, all the beautiful leaves which I’d seen grow from unfurled bud to acid green were in full, fresh leaf. Apart from my morning coffee, it was the only organic thing I saw all day. If that tree was still going in all that smog and fumes and indifference from the other commuters, I used to tell myself, then so could I.

‘I’m fine,’ Mum said. ‘Don’t worry… Brushing my teeth this morning took a little longer than normal, but it’s only a few weeks… I’m getting the hang of the crutches. I’ve been practising all morning. Anyway, how is Jeremy?’ She and Jeremy were yet to meet.

‘Jeremy is…’ How was Jeremy? Just the night before, Roberto had described him as a ‘wounded boy, shrouded in a Barbour jacket of privilege’. But I felt a little sorry for him, especially after meeting his family last New Year’s Eve and seeing how he was treated. I hadn’t actually seen him for a week as he’d been at a wedding the previous weekend and we’d both been busy with work. ‘Jeremy is fine,’ I said. ‘I think. Sends his love.’

Jeremy wasn’t the type to send his love, but Mum didn’t know that. ‘Well, isn’t that lovely,’ she said. ‘Say we’re all really looking forward to welcoming him to Ireland.’

I really couldn’t imagine Jeremy in his camel chinos striding around Sandycove’s main street and speaking in his rather loud, bossy, posh voice. He’d stand out like a sore thumb.

‘And you’ll have to bring that dote Roberto as well,’ said Mum. ‘He probably needs a bit of time off as well, the little pet.’

‘I don’t think we’ll get him over,’ I replied. ‘You know how he says he can’t breathe in Ireland and starts to feel light-headed as though he’s having a panic attack. He says he’s done with Ireland.’

Mum laughed, as she always did when I told her something Roberto had said. The two of them were as thick as thieves every time she came to London, walking arm in arm around Covent Garden together, Roberto showing her all his favourite shops and deciding what West End show we would go to. ‘He’s a ticket, that one. Anyway, there’s the doorbell. It’ll be Henry with some supplies. I’ll call you later.’

‘Okay…’ I had reached my building. If you dislocated your neck and looked skywards, straight up the gleaming glass, my office was up there somewhere on the seventeenth floor. I had to go in, any later and it would put Maribelle in a bad mood and that wasn’t good for anyone.

In the lift, among the jostle of the other PAs, behind some of the other equity managers who, like Maribelle, were overpaid and overindulged, we ascended to our offices where we would spend the next twelve hours.

I thought of Mum at home in Sandycove. The end of May, the most beautiful month in Ireland, and I remembered the way the sun sprinkled itself on the sea, the harbour full of walkers and swimmers all day long, people in the sea as the sun retreated for the day, or the village itself with its small, bright, colourful shops and the hanging baskets and cherry trees, and Mum’s boutique right in the middle. I wished I was there, even just for a few hours, to hug Mum, and go for a walk with Bronagh. To just be home.

The doors opened on the seventeenth floor. It was 7.45 a.m. exactly and dreams of Sandycove would have to be put on hold as I had to get on with surviving Maribelle. I hung up my coat and sat down at my desk and switched on my computer. My screen saver was a selfie of me and Bronagh, taken last summer sitting on the harbour wall at the little beach in Sandycove. Every time I looked at that picture of the sun shining, the two of us laughing, arms around each other, seagulls flying above us, the pang for home got worse. I should change it, I thought. Replace it with something that doesn’t make me homesick, something that doesn’t make me think of all the things I am missing and missing out on. I clicked on my screen and up came the standard image of a scorched red-earth mountain, as far from Sandycove as you could get.

Sian O’Gorman

Sian O’Gorman was born in Galway on the West Coast of Ireland, grew up in the lovely city of Cardiff, and has found her way back to Ireland and now lives on the east of the country, in the village of Dalkey, just along the coast from Dublin. She works as a radio producer for RTE.

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Posted in Book Review, Motivational, New Books, Non-Fiction

Conversations on Love Natasha Lunn 4*#Review @Natashalunn @VikingBooksUK @PenguinUKBooks #nonfiction #interviews #love #relationships #motivational #BookReview #ConversationsonLove

After years of feeling that love was always out of reach, journalist Natasha Lunn set out to understand how relationships work and evolve over a lifetime. She turned to authors and experts to learn about their experiences, as well as drawing on her own, asking: How do we find love? How do we sustain it? And how do we survive when we lose it?

In Conversations on Love she began to find the answers:

Philippa Perry on falling in love slowly
Dolly Alderton on vulnerability
Stephen Grosz on accepting change
Candice Carty-Williams on friendship
Lisa Taddeo on the loneliness of loss
Diana Evans on parenthood
Emily Nagoski on the science of sex
Alain de Botton on the psychology of being alone
Esther Perel on unrealistic expectations
Roxane Gay on redefining romance
and many more…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

An enjoyable and useful collection of emotional experiences, interviews and thoughts on love. It explores what it means to us and how it manifests in our lives. The writing is eloquent, engaging and transparent. The author shares her experiences and her motivations for writing the book. The interviews are intrinsically interesting and thought-provoking. Some experiences and ideas will resonate, but all are fascinating.

This book is a riveting read and also something to revisit at different times in your life.

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

Waiting To Begin Amanda Prowse 5*#Review @MrsAmandaProwse @AmazonPub #LakeUnionPress #eighties #ComingofAge #Love #forgivness #secrets #WaitingToBegin #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources

From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a story that asks: what would you risk for a shot at happiness?

1984. Bessie is a confident sixteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet, dreaming of what life will bring and what she’ll bring to this life. Then everything comes crashing down. Her bright and trusting smile is lost, banished by shame—and a secret she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.

2021. The last thirty-seven years have not been easy for Bess. At fifty-three she is visibly weary, and her marriage to Mario is in tatters. Watching her son in newlywed bliss—the hope, the trust, the joy—Bess knows it is time to face her own demons, and try to save her relationship. But she’ll have to throw off the burden of shame if she is to honour that sixteen-year-old girl whose dreams lie frozen in time.

Can Bess face her past, finally come clean to Mario, and claim the love she has longed to fully experience all these years?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Bessie wanted to be an air hostess, she wanted to experience love, and all life, had to offer, but on her sixteenth birthday, her dreams started to crumble. This is an emotional and poignant coming of age story. It reflects on how your younger life can shape your future. The ethos of growing up in the 1980s, a time of change, is evocatively written. Bessie’s choices less, and her naivety greater, than for young women, in the twenty-first century.

Bessie, at fifty-three, is at a crossroads in her life. Her children are happy with their lives and independent of her. Her marriage is more a habit than a partnership, and her dreams, remain unfulfilled. This is a journey of self-realisation for Bessie. She has to reveal her darkest secret and forgive her younger self.

This story is immersive and memorable, with experiences many can relate to.

Amanda Prowse

Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author whose twenty seven novels and seven novellas have been published in dozens of languages around the world. Published by Lake Union, Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. Her books, including the chart topping No.1 titles ‘What Have I Done?’, ‘Perfect Daughter’, ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘The Girl in the Corner’, ‘The Things I Know’ and ‘The Day She Came Back’ have sold millions of copies across the globe.

A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s ‘The Jeremy Vine Show’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations including LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour. Described by the Daily Mail as ‘The queen of family drama’ Amanda’s novel, ‘A Mother’s Story’ won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the year Award while ‘Perfect Daughter’ was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.

Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…

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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.