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

A Village Secret Julie Houston 5* #Review @JulieHouston2 @HoZ_Books @AriaFiction #Family #Friendship #Romance #relationships #Secrets #Village #Community #AVillageSecret

When Jennifer goes up to Cambridge University with her head full of the Romantic Poets, she never dreams that she will find her very own Byron. But then she meets gorgeous actor Laurie Lewis and finds herself living a real-life love poem.

Fifteen years and two children later, Jennifer and Laurie’s relationship is starting to feel more like an epic tragedy. After a series of revelations turn her world upside down, Jennifer will do anything to keep her family together – even if it means moving hundreds of miles away to Laurie’s childhood home in Westenbury, Yorkshire.

As she reluctantly enters into village life – complete with interfering in-laws, new friends and a surprise delivery of alpacas – Jennifer is amazed to find herself feeling happy for the first time in years. But the village holds one last, devastating secret and Jennifer must decide once and for all what she wants her future to hold.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from ‘Head of Zeus – Aria.

My Thoughts…

Jennifer met Laurie at Cambridge in her final year. An English Literature student, she is obsessed with the romantic poets, particularly Byron, and when she first sees Laurie, for her, he is Bryon personified. Laurie has northern roots, hence the connection with Westenbury, but his looks are his only saving grace. He values only himself. Jennifer is besotted, and her life becomes inevitably intertwined with Laurie’s. The connections with Westenbury are initially tenuous, but heading north is the only way to survive as a family when their life implodes.

I enjoyed reading about flawed characters, even Laurie, who is almost impossible to like. It is frustrating to see how Jennifer gives up her life to Laurie but rewarding when with the help of new friends and family, she realises what he truly is and realises her worth.

The village weaves its addictive mix of community, humour and romance into a story with surprising twists, keeping the reader engaged and satisfied.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Summer Wind Kris Kassady 3* Review @KrisKassadyAuthor #KrisKassady @KellyALacey @lovebookstours @igbooktours #SummerWind #Romance #BlogTour #BookReview #LoveBooksTours

Lucas is a single dad who owns a wooden boatyard in Port Townsend, Washington while raising his thirteen-year-old daughter Chloe on Summer Wind, their forty eight-foot sailboat. At a new school, Chloe makes friends with Myra who just happens to have a single mom. A single dad? A single mom? Two thirteen-year-old cupids? Is second love in play? But, why does life have to be so complicated? A beautiful heartwarming love story about one couple’s fight against the complications of life. 

Amazon UK Universal Book Link

I received a copy of this book from the author.

My Thoughts…

The simple plot of two single parents meeting through their children and finding they are attracted to each other makes for a sweetly sensual romance. Lucas and Laurie are likeable, flawed characters and Chole and Myra, their daughters, are admirable as matchmakers. There are some serious issues explored in this story, but it sometimes feels like a factual explanation rather than something integral to the plot. The dialogue sometimes lacks authenticity, but the setting is engaging and original.

Overall this is a romantic story with believable conflicts and relatable characters.

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

Under One Roof Samantha Tonge 4*#Review @SamTongeWriter @BoldwoodBooks #multigenerational #BookReview #familydrama #relationships #selfrealisation #UnderOneRoof #BlogTour @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers @bookandtonic

One forgotten discovery will change three women’s lives forever…

Robin hasn’t been home for decades. After running away to London, she never expected to see her cantankerous mother, Faye, again. But when Faye has a fall, the two women are thrown together once more.

The years apart have not made their hearts grow fonder and the ground between them is unsteady. Then Robin finds an unopened scroll – the last of the treasure hunts her much-missed father used to take them on every Sunday. A hunt he believed might change everything. 

Yet, not even this gift from her beloved father can smooth the way until Robin’s daughter, Amber, arrives to meet her grandmother for the first time.  Amber is determined that the decades-old mystery be solved.

Can a 30-year-old treasure hunt really ‘change everything’?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an emotional and insightful multi-generational story. Robin returns to her family home, years after she left, to look after her mother after a fall. Their damaged relationships seem unlikely to repair until the appearance of Amber, Faye’s granddaughter, who she has never met. The characters are believably flawed and initially unwilling to seek anyone’s viewpoint but their own. A treasure hunt devised by Robin’s late father is the means to revisit the past and offer hope for reconciliation and understanding in the present. Engaging, this draws the reader into the women’s past and present lives.

Samantha Tonge

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK and studied German and French at university. She has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris as part of the Opening Crew, and has travelled widely. She enjoys family time, baking and walking and always knew that one day she would write. Samantha finally took the plunge seriously in her late thirties and hasn’t stopped since. Under One Roof will be her sixteenth book and she has also sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.


Samantha’s uplifting stories are about identity and self-discovery, about friendships and communities. She enjoys creating diverse characters and writing about relatable issues that make the reader feel it’s not just me. Her books have hit the Amazon UK overall chart Top Ten position twice and she has won two awards.

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

Other Parents Sarah Stovell 4*#Review @sarahlovescrime @HQStories #otherparents #relationships #community #secrets #rurallife #friendship #political #humour #noir #parenting

Rachel Saunders knows gossip is the price you pay for a rural lifestyle and outstanding schools. The latest town scandal is her divorce – and the fact that her new girlfriend has moved into the family home.

Laura Spence lives in a poky bedsit on the wrong side of town. She and her son Max don’t really belong, and his violent tantrums are threatening to expose the very thing she’s trying to hide.

When the local school introduces a new inclusive curriculum, Rachel and Laura find themselves on opposite sides of a fearsome debate.

But the problem with having your nose in everyone else’s business is that you often miss what is happening in your own home.

Waterstones Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Immersive, insightful and inquisitive are three adjectives that reading this novel conjures in the reader’s mind. It is an intriguing study of small-town/rural life from the viewpoint of five women. It explores disturbing contemporary issues, astutely exposing them to the reader. The narrators have an unreliable quality that makes it difficult to know who to believe and whose opinion to trust. It is addictive reading.

Believably flawed characters all have secrets, and there are relatable dynamics in the acquaintance, family and friendship groups. The writing has a lyrical quality, but the characters and situations are easily recognisable. Vivid settings and vibrant characters bring the story to life in an engaging way.

Sarah Stovell is a lecturer in creative writing at Lincoln University and a crime fiction author. She has published four novels, including the critically-acclaimed psychological thrillers Exquisite and The House. Her latest novel Other Parents, published in January 2022will delve into small-town British life through a series of scandals.

Posted in Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, Fantasy, New Books, Parenting and Famlies

The Boy Who Breathed Underwater Izzy Rees 5*#Review @FullMediaLtd #IzzyRees Illustrator Sarah-LeighWills #ChildrensBooks #kidlit #PictureBook #fantasy #wishes @rararesources #TheBoyWhoBreathedUnderWater

When lying in his bed, a boy is visited by a genie. He is given a week to try out different superhero powers. What adventures will he have, and which power will he choose to keep?

Full Media Ltd Izzy Rees Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

When a young boy has a visit from a genie, he is granted superpowers for seven days. Which will he choose? The book’s easy to understand rhyming verse is beautifully illustrated, with bright, humorous images. The boy learns something on every adventure and realises that things aren’t always as good as they first appear to be. This is a story about being happy with who you are and knowing that just because something looks better, it might not be.

The story is perfect for reading to young children or for early readers.

Izzy Rees


Izzy Rees was born in West London, but has spent the last thirty years living in Derby. Ten years ago, when her three girls were young, she began work on a series of rhyming picture books, created in snatched moments, and initially written on small scraps of paper or whatever was available. She always intended to revisit them, and Covid and lockdown presented the opportunity; unable to continue her work as a neuro physiotherapist, working with vulnerable patients, she decided it was now or never! She has written six books so far in the ‘The Boy Who’ series, The Boy Who Breathed Underwater being the first one. The others will be published in the near future.

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Posted in Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, Fantasy, New Books, Parenting and Famlies

The King Who Didn’t Like Snow 5*#Review @FullMediaLtd #JocelynPorter Illustrator Michael S Kane #ChildrensBooks #kidlit #PictureBook #fantasy #positivity #magic #Wizard #Bookworm @rararesources #TheKingWhoDidntLikeSnow

King Mark is a higgledy-piggledy king and he gets into a pickle every day. “Do something, Bert!” he shouts, and Wizard Bert, and his sidekick, Broderick the bookworm, always save the day. When snow fell on Windy Hill Castle, everyone was delighted – except for King Mark! King Mark didn’t like snow and he started to sulk. Will Bert and Broderick save the day again? Will King Mark walk into trouble? Do the children of Windy Hill Village have the answer…?

Full Media Ltd Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

This is a fun story involving a wizard, bookworm and a King who always liked to get his way. Bert the wizard and Broderick the bookworm found pleasure in simple things like conversation and playing games. The King liked everything easy, and if it wasn’t, he asked his wizard to change things. This is a story about looking at things positively and making the most of what you have. The story is easy to read and has humour and positivity.

This is a good book to read to young children and one that early readers should enjoy too.

Jocelyn’s writing career began when she was asked to write a story for a preschool magazine. That story was the first of many. Jocelyn became the writer/editor of several preschool magazines and continued in that role for 15 years. Writing one new story every month, plus rhymes and activities was a tough gig, but very exhilarating.

Time is the big difference between writing for a magazine and writing a book.  You see your work on the supermarket shelves within a few weeks of completion. A book takes longer – a lot longer. Jocelyn has to be patient now – not something she’s good at.

Before becoming a writer, Jocelyn worked in higher education as International Students Officer. It was a rewarding and interesting job even though she was on call 24/7.

Jocelyn also trained as a counsellor and volunteered at drop-in centres. She never knew who would arrive for counselling and had to be prepared for anything. This work gave her insight into some of the darker corners of life.

Motorsport was one of Jocelyn’s early loves, she had the spine-tingling thrill of taking part in a 24-hour national rally as navigator – those were the days when rallies were held on public roads!

Jocelyn worked as an au pair in Paris in her teens. Having visited the city on a school trip, she fell in love with it, and always wanted to return.


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

The Story of Our Secrets Shari Low 5*#Review @sharilow @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #TheStoryOfOurSecrets #secrets #Romance #Friendship #Relationships #BlogTour #loss #BookReview #romcom @bookandtonic

Colm O’Flynn was loved by his close circle of family and friends, however, his death came too soon for everyone to make peace with their past.

Shauna, his second wife, adored him. But one night she broke their marriage vows and didn’t get time to ask Colm’s forgiveness.

Jess was the first Mrs O’Flynn. Her heart is set on someone new, but will the last one night stand she shared with Colm come back to haunt her?

Colm’s best friend, Dan, is recently divorced. Can he take a second shot at happiness if it means betraying the one person who always had his back?

What no one knows is that somewhere out there Colm left messages that could set them free to start over again.

Can divine intervention help them find Colm’s last wishes before it’s too late to love again?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Told in the past, and present The Story of Our Secrets unfolds emotionally and insightfully. Colm, a reticent man, reveals his true feelings to his extended family through a series of messages made in his final days. It’s both confessional and motivational. Shauna, his wife, shares her life experiences five years after his death. The reader learns the characters’ deepest motivations and thoughts and the family/friendship dynamics that define their lives.

The complex relationships and flawed characters bring the story to vibrant life and make it relatable. Sensitively explored, death and loss are central themes, as are family and friendship. There are touches of humour to balance the poignancy, and it’s an engaging read.

Shari Low

Shari Low is the #1 bestselling author of over 25 novels, including One Day In Summer and My One Month Marriage and a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. She lives near Glasgow.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller

The Babysitter Gemma Rogers 5*#Review @GemmaRogers79 @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #BoldwoodBloggers #BlogTour #BookReview #CrimeFiction #urbanfiction #TheBabysitter #psychsuspense #psychologicalthriller #publicationday

Ali and Christopher Tolfrey’s one year old daughter Eden is abducted whilst in the care of Ali’s best-friend.

Snatched in broad daylight from Bushy Park on a trip to the swings, Eden disappears without a trace.

Brooke Simmons, regains consciousness, dazed from a blow to the head, to find Eden, her bestfriends’ child is missing.

Someone has taken Eden and Brooke knows who.

But it’s a secret she can’t share with Ali or the Police without revealing the web of deceit she’s spun.

Can Brooke get Eden home before her lies come back to haunt her? Or is the net closing in on her?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The dramatic beginning sets the pace and scene for a twisty tale of betrayal and deception. The reader is given an omnipotent view of events, and the author’s use of dramatic irony is good. The main protagonists are unreliable, leading to unexpected twists to intensify the suspense and keep the reader guessing.

The author’s original perspective on the child abduction theme works well and delivers a poignant and suspenseful read.

Gemma Rogers

Gemma Rogers was inspired to write gritty thrillers by a traumatic event in her own life nearly twenty years ago. Her debut novel Stalker was published in September 2019 and marked the beginning of a new writing career. Gemma lives in West Sussex with her husband, two daughters.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Humour, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Italy Ever After Leonie Mack 4*#Review @LeonieMAuthor @BoldwoodBooks #Extract #boldwoodbloggers #BlogTour @rararesources #RomCom #Romance #Summer #Family #SecondChance #Italy #holidayromance #MondayBlogs #ItalyEverAfter

Escape to the sun and head off to Italy, with the wonderfully warm and ever-so-page-turning Leonie Mack!

TV journalist Lou feels battered and bruised after her divorce from Phil, the father of her daughter Edie. Her confidence and sense of fun have steadily been drained away, and she isn’t sure who she is any more.

When the opportunity arises to accompany Edie on a music camp in Italy for a month in the summer, Lou jumps at the chance for new adventures, new horizons and new friends. The hazy warmth of the summer sun, shining brightly over the stunning Lake Garda, slowly brings Lou back to life. 

Nick Romano, Edie’s music teacher, loves being home in Italy, but coaching his students for their concert in Milan, is bringing back difficult memories. His blossoming friendship with Lou is the perfect distraction, although a summer fling would be easier to conduct without the scrutiny of his mother Greta, not to mention the interference of his extended Italian family.

As the summer passes, full of sunshine and breath-taking scenery, gelato and delicious feasts, Lou and Nick get ever closer. But as the time for farewell creeps up on them, will they be able to say goodbye and leave their memories behind in the Italian sun, or can a summer romance last a lifetime?

Leonie Mack is back with a sizzling, sun-baked love story.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I love romance set in Italy, and as this one is set around Lake Garda, somewhere I’ve visited, I couldn’t resist it.

Just about to be divorced Lou, is still reeling from the fallout, we meet her ex in the opening chapters, and he is not likeable. Her confidence is low despite her career in front of the TV cameras, and it’s clear she is a kind and loving woman who doesn’t value herself. Her latest meeting with Mr (Nick) Romano right after her latest confrontation with the ex is unsettling for them both and makes her wonder whether helping out on the school music camp in Italy is sensible.

The chemistry sizzling between Lou and Nick gets hotter in beautiful Lake Garda, and there are lots of nearly moments that are romantic. The conflicts to their possible relationship are both internal and external, but they are good for each other, and you want them to find happiness together.

The musical setting adds authenticity to the story and is integral to Nick’s backstory. The balance of humour, poignancy and romance is good, and the ending is romantic and uplifting.

Leonie Mack

Leonie Mack is a debut novelist whose first book My Christmas Number One was published by Boldwood in September 2020. Having lived in London for many years her home is now in Germany with her husband and three children. Leonie loves train travel, medieval towns, hiking and happy endings!

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Extract from Italy Ever After – Leonie Mack

Damn him. Phil was winning this game. His look was tolerant. His eyes were warm, even vaguely fond. Lou was losing. Her jaw was clenched so hard she felt like a petulant child with braces. She smoothed her hand down her tailored skirt. Confronting him in her work clothes was supposed to remind her she could deal with him like an adult. But really, she wanted to run home and change into her sweats, as she usually did after her shift. 

‘She’s eleven, Lou. This is her last summer before secondary school. Can’t you let up a little?’ 

He was the voice of reason, too? Phil never raised his voice because he never needed to. He was the kind of man who spoke and it was done. He was attractive, too – even now at forty-four – which meant he’d never had to stay single for long. She couldn’t blame the woman who’d become his girlfriend only a few months after their separation – except that she could blame her and she would. It was the right of a nearly officially ex-wife, right? 

‘All Edie wants to do is play music. Elite tuition and orchestra rehearsals is her idea of paradise. I’m not forcing her to do anything.’ 

His lips twitched. ‘And a few weeks in the Italian sunshine is your idea of a nice free holiday?’ 

Strike one. She would have been satisfied to hear him behaving like the juvenile ex-husband, except that he was an expert at pressing her overdeveloped sense of her own inadequacy button. 

‘It’s not a holiday for me. I’m going as a chaperone and I have to pay my own way. The only reason I’ve volunteered is because Edie is one of the youngest kids going. Most of the parents are looking forward to the three weeks of childcare before the competition’ 

‘You can always send her to us. You know that. You don’t have to martyr yourself.’ 

Lou choked on his sympathy, wishing he would do the same. She took a deep breath. She should have accepted by now that Phil’s wiring where she was concerned would never change. 

‘Can we get back to the point? Edie wants to go and it’s a unique opportunity. This youth music festival only happens every four years. She’ll get to play in an orchestra under a professional conductor and participate in a competition.’ 

Phil held up a hand. ‘I did read the information you emailed me. But I fail to see why our eleven-year-old has to participate in a very expensive competition. You’ve already forced my hand with the school choice. I’d say you’re pretty low on credit with me at the moment.’ 

Lou recoiled. She needed ‘credit’ to get Phil to consider her opinion about their daughter? How was an ex-wife supposed to earn credit? Not only was she forced to serenely ignore the practical difficulties of having day-to-day responsibility for their daughter alone, but Phil still required her to manage him to make sure they did their best by Edie. Good God, it was miserable. 

Phil looked at her with his unflappably perfect haircut and warm eyes with their distinguished crinkles that on her would be called crow’s feet. It was clear why she’d thrown herself at him twelve years ago when she’d been a young and stupid graduate with too little understanding of the world’s faults – and far too little contraception. What was less clear was how she was supposed to deal with him now. 

‘You know how much she loves playing the violin.’ 

‘I know, she does little else.’ 

Edie practised especially diligently at Phil’s because it meant less time with the obsequious girlfriend. 

‘I’m still not sure I want to encourage her obsession.’ 

‘Then you’ll be happy to know the camp takes that into account. Although they rehearse every day, there’s also time dedicated to outdoor activities and confidence-building. I think we can both agree that it would be good for Edie to have some confidence outside her musical talent.’ 

The faintest glint in his eye was the only clue that he was feeling the pressure. But Phil never backed off. Instead, he calmly went on the offensive. ‘So, you plan to make Edie do a high ropes course while you sit in the sun at Sirmione sipping an Aperol Spritz?’ 

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, New Books, Noir, Parenting and Famlies, Psychological Suspense, Suspense

The House Guest Charlotte Northedge 4*#Review @charnorth @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam @HarperCollinsUK #TheHouseGuest #psychsuspense #relationships #publicationday

The perfect family. The perfect chance. The perfect lie.

A stunning novel about motherhood and betrayal

When Kate moves to London after the disappearance of her sister, she’s in need of a friend. A chance meeting leads Kate to Della, a life coach who runs support groups for young women, dubbed by Kate as ‘the Janes.’

Della takes a special interest in Kate, and Kate soon finds herself entangled in Della’s life – her house, her family, and her husband. It’s only when she realises that she’s in too deep that Della’s veneer begins to crumble, and the warnings from ‘the Janes’ begin to come true.

Why is Della so keen to keep Kate by her side? What does Kate have that Della might want? And what really lies beneath the surface of their friendship?

Kate trusts Della, and Della trusts Kate.
Their downfall is each other.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Relatable characters and a well thought out plot make this psychological suspense an absorbing, chilling and sometimes poignant story.

Kate’s sister left home when she was ten, and she never saw her again. She spent her subsequent years making up for her sister’s disappearance whilst never recovering emotionally from her loss. As an adult, Kate is in London pursuing a lead about her missing sister. She is vulnerable when she meets life coach Della, who draws her into her life like a spider capturing prey into their web.

The story takes many unexpected twists seen from Kate’s viewpoints but remains believable because of unreliable protagonist Kate’s sense of abandonment and susceptibility to manipulation. Themes of societal expectation of women, social class, family relationships, obsession and loss are recurrent. As the story progresses, the noir elements dominate, making it both addictive and disturbing to read.

The ending is impactful and offers hope and a sense of closure for both Kate and Della.