Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy

A New Life For Ariana Byrne Liz Hurley 4* #Review @hello_hurley @HeraBooks @rararesources #Romance #romcom #Rural #BlogTour #BookReview

What happens after all your dreams come true?

Ariana Byrne knows how to survive. After becoming guardian to her four little sisters after their parents died when she was only eighteen, she had to grow up quickly. Now she’s in her twenties, stuck in a loveless marriage to Greg, trying to make ends meet for her young twins, William and Leo.

So when Ari is told that she’s actually the Right Honourable Lady de Foix, Countess of Hiverton, owner of a sprawling estate in the village of Saxburgh in Norfolk, her first instinct is laughter. Surely the girl who has to choose between food and keeping the lights on isn’t really rich beyond her wildest dreams?

She knows how to take care of her sisters and her children, but how on earth can Ari take care of an entire village? Can she fight off the circling land developers from Saxburgh, and stop her in-laws from grabbing all the money for themselves?

And while she’s struggling to settle in and settle down, she’s making new friends and new mistakes. Trusting her gorgeous neighbour, Sebastian Flint-Hyssop, maybe the biggest one of all…

She’s swapped sink estate for country estate…but can a girl from inner city London learn how to become a Lady?

Take a trip to Hiverton Manor for the most uplifting novel of 2020 – guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

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

My Thoughts…

Ariana is the type of character you instantly warm to. After a few pages, you’re invested in her life and want her to get out of her claustrophobic relationship and have the life she deserves. All your wishes come true, not in the most realistic of ways, but this is escapist fiction, and so you can forgive the number of coincidences and beneficial serendipity.

Ariana has four sisters, all of whom, have their own stories, as the series progresses, but this is the beginning and Ariana’s tale. After a life full of misfortune and events that demanded exceptional courage and tenacity, Ariana’s fortunes improve, she receives an unexpected bequest and the chance of a new life.

There is lots of humour, plenty of conflicts, and lots of new people to meet, as Ariana learns how to be a landowner. The romance is gentle, and any hopes of a quiet life disappear as part of her estate is threatened by developers.

Engaging, vibrant characters and a vividly described lifestyle and setting, make this rags to riches romantic comedy, the perfect escape for a Winter’s afternoon.

When I grew up I wanted to be an underwater archaeologist or an astronaut but I ended up in a library. Everyone laughed as I’m not a naturally quiet person but I loved it. I went on to become a professional librarian for the money and the glamour. Not finding quite enough of either my husband and I set up a bookshop.  We didn’t find much there either so I started writing. Now I have loads of money and glamour but only in the pages of my books! In the meantime, I dive and look at the stars.

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Suspense, Thriller

The Secrets – Jane Adams – 4* #Review @JoffeBooks @janeadamsauthor #Crime #Detective

WHAT DOES HE KNOW? Threatening phone calls, smashed windows, physical intimidation. Eric Pearson and his family have only just moved into a new home in a sleepy cul-de-sac, but they already have dangerous enemies.

How could a respectable family become the focus of such hatred? Detective Inspector Mike Croft knows the Pearson family well. Eric Pearson claims to own a journal which gives evidence of a horrifying ring of abusers. If true, it would be a high stakes case for DI Croft and expose awful secrets that the town has buried deep. But no one wants to believe the dark conspiracies of this friendless and bitter man. Then a body is found on the edge of Bright’s Wood, wrapped in a black bag. DI Croft must confront evil which threatens to rip apart everyone in the community.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

DI Mike Croft is a dedicated, likeable detective, with a tragic past, which makes him empathise with the crime victims he comes into contact with. Croft works with the other characters in his unofficial team to solve his latest investigation into a child abuse ring. This is a sensitive subject but handled well by the author. Corruption and a cover-up are suspected, but difficult to prove.

The plot is well written, with suspense and police procedural details. Set in the late 1990s, the retro element gives it another layer of authenticity and interest. There are many strands to the investigation, which all become connected as the story progresses, It deals with issues prevalent in the nineties, as they are today. The pacing is good and the story flows well, making it easy to read.

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

A Summer to Remember – Sue Moorcroft – 5* #Review @AvonBooksUK @SueMoorcroft #Romance #Family #Coastal #Friendship

COME AND SPEND SUMMER BY THE SEA!

WANTED! A caretaker for Roundhouse Row holiday cottages.

WHERE? Nelson’s Bar is the perfect little village. Nestled away on the Norfolk coast we can offer you no signal, no Wi-Fi and – most importantly – no problems!

WHO? The ideal candidate will be looking for an escape from their cheating scumbag ex-fiancé, a diversion from their entitled cousin, and a break from their traitorous friends.

WHAT YOU’LL GET! Accommodation in a chocolate-box cottage, plus a summer filled with blue skies and beachside walks. Oh, and a reunion with the man of your dreams.

PLEASE NOTE: We take no responsibility for any of the above scumbags, passengers and/or traitors walking back into your life…

GET IN TOUCH NOW TO MAKE THIS A SUMMER TO REMEMBER!

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

‘A Summer to Remember’ is romantic, full of angst with conflicts galore and a clever plot. It starts with a tragic event and this compounds six years later when Clancy finds her life and career in tatters, at the hands of those she trusted most. Serendipity draws her back to Norfolk, her only chance of sanctuary, but she is unsure of her welcome and once again is at the mercy of others for her happiness.

Clancy and Aaron are almost lovers, and so the tension between them is sizzling when they meet again, but it’s a slow burn, as events, the past, and most of the villagers get in the way of their chance of love. I like both characters, their only flaw is that they are so busy helping those closest to them they forget each other and their right to be happy.

There are lots of characters who I don’t like, because of their lack of insight into the needs of others. Having more than one antagonist character increases the opportunity for conflict and this a major theme of this story.

The village life is authentic and interesting and Harry and Rory’s story is particularly poignant and well written.

This story engages the reader from the first page and keeps your interest. An enjoyable read with refreshing originality.

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction

Swallowtail Summer – Erica James – 4* #Review @orionbooks @TheEricaJames #SwallowtailSummer #FamilyDrama #Friendship #Norfolk #Holidays

They thought they were friends for life – until one summer, everything changed . . . 

Linston End on the Norfolk Broads has been the holiday home to three families for many years. The memories of their time there are ingrained in their hearts: picnics on the river, gin and tonics in the pavilion at dusk, hours spent seeking out the local swallowtail butterflies. Everyone together.

But widower Alastair has been faced with a few of life’s surprises recently. Now, he is about to shock his circle of friends with the decisions he has made – and the changes it will mean for them all. For some, it feels like the end. For others, it might just be the beginning . . .

Amazon UK

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


My Thoughts…

When you look at a group of friends what do you see? The answer is you only see what they want you to. Rather like a swan in the water, the surface may seem smooth and easy going, but underneath the water, there is a furious paddling of feet, and turmoil, hidden from the casual observer.

‘ Swallowtail Summer’ is like this, three friends who have known each other since they were young, spend holidays together at a beautiful house in Norfolk, later they include their wives and eventually for some of them their offspring, but then someone dies and the following year even though they know it will be different they are unprepared for how different.

The beginning of the story introduces the characters; shows how they interact with each other and reveals some of their motivations. Even though this is a lot to assimilate and is slow-paced, it’s worth persevering, as it makes the rest of the book easier to follow. Allowing you to appreciate the complex characters and their diversity and secrets.

It is interesting to see how the characters interact, and how the group dynamics remain largely unchanged until Orla dies. This life event forces the group to change. The story’s essence is, will the friendships and family relations survive the need to change?

All of the characters are realistically flawed and many are not likeable, but this doesn’t detract from the story, just makes it more realistic. One of their favourite holiday activities is to search for Swallowtail butterflies. Their elusive quality equates to the finiteness of happiness, love and youth. It makes the story an interesting, but poignant read, with a lovely Summertime, feel.

Published 18 April 2019

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Greenway – 4* #Review – Jane Adams #mystery #crime #psychological #suspense #detective @JoffeBooks @janeadamsauthor

AUGUST 1975: Cassie Maltham’s life changes forever one scorching day. She and her twelve-year-old cousin Suzie take a shortcut through the Greenway, an ancient pathway steeped in Norfolk legend. Somewhere along this path Suzie simply vanishes . . .

TWENTY YEARS LATER: Cassie is still tormented by nightmares, parts of her memory completely erased. With her husband Fergus and friends Anna and Simon, she returns to Norfolk, determined to confront her fears and solve a mystery that won’t let her rest.

Then another young girl goes missing at the entrance to the Greenway, and Cassie is pushed once more into the darkest recesses of her mind.

John Tynan, the retired detective who’d been in charge of Suzie’s case, is still haunted by her disappearance. He offers his help to Detective Inspector Mike Croft who is leading the increasingly frantic search for the missing child. Has evil returned? And what really happened all those years ago and who can be believed?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A well-written retro, psychological suspense mystery set in Norfolk.

Cassie is the link between two disappearances of young girls. Her cousin Suzie in 1975 and Sara in 1995, whilst Cassie is revisiting the area after twenty years, as part of her mental health rehabilitation.

There is a multi-layered plot, which encompasses many themes; myths and legends, supernatural occurrences, crime, mental health and police procedural. Some of these are explored in detail, like the day to day police activity surrounding the missing child, others like the supernatural elements, and Cassie’s mental state are hinted at but left to the reader’s imagination to decide what to believe.

Mike Croft the SIO in the case is an interesting character, he has a tragic past, which threatens to impinge on his decision-making capacity in the case. John Tynan, a retired detective who was SIO on the previous missing girl case in 1975, sees the similarities between the two cases, and he supports Mike and his team with the new case. His involvement ties up the historical, and present day elements of the story in a realistic way.

The plot twists are good and the final resolution solves the mystery. Some questions remain but, this is intentional, making this an authentic story, as in real life not every aspect of a crime or mystery can be solved in entirety.

I like the retro ethos of the story, it adds to the plot’s level of menace and the mystery. The complex characters, especially Cassie who is the unreliable protagonist in the story are believable.

Overall this fusion of genres works well and makes the story a compelling read.

Posted in Book Review

The Windmill Cafe Summer Breeze Poppy Blake 3 *Review

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The Windmill Cafe is open for business!

As Rosie Barnes serves glasses of tangy lemonade and ice-cold prosecco at her summer garden party, she couldn’t be happier. The Windmill Café, with its peppermint green sails, is a roaring success and has given Rosie a chance to escape the heartbreak of her busy life in London.

But then disaster strikes when popstar Suki Richards is taken unexpectedly ill at the party. Now all eyes are on Rosie…have her famous raspberry cupcakes poisoned her most high-profile guest? Or is someone else trying to damage Suki’s chance of stardom?

If Rosie wants to save her picture-perfect life, and the reputation of her beloved Windmill Café, she’s going to have to get to the bottom of the mystery…and fast!

Amazon UK

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My Thoughts… 

A windmill cafe is a delightfully quirky idea. Although the windmill doesn’t take centre stage in this story, the plot is also quirky, a cosy mystery mixed in with a romantic comedy.

This story lacks imagery. I want to know about the windmill and the glorious Norfolk countryside and coast but the details are sketchy, and so for me, the setting doesn’t have the impact it should.

I like cosy mysteries, lots of characters, a beautiful setting, an enigmatic detective or two and foul play. This story has all the necessary ingredients for a fun read, but they need more mixing and cooking to achieve their full potential.

The story’s protagonists are immature and naive; they remind me of the children’s characters,’The Famous Five’. They need to develop as the story does and unfortunately, they don’t, remaining two dimensional rather than complex and three dimensional.

An okay read but needs to be faster paced, with more suspense, plot twists and character development.

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