Posted in Book Review, Friendship, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Book Lovers Emily Henry 5* #Review @VikingBooksUK @PenguinUKBooks #EmilyHenry #romcom #holiday #smalltownromance #beachread #BookReview #BookLovers #smalltown #WeAreBookLovers

The sizzling, sexy, sharp new enemies-to-lovers romcom by NYT bestseller, Emily Henry 📚💕

Nora is a cut-throat literary agent at the top of her game. Her whole life is books.

Charlie is an editor with a gift for creating bestsellers. And he’s Nora’s work nemesis.

Nora has been through enough breakups to know she’s the woman men date before they find their happy-ever-after. That’s why Nora’s sister has persuaded her to swap her desk in the city for a month’s holiday in Sunshine Falls, North Carolina. It’s a small town straight out of a romance novel, but instead of meeting sexy lumberjacks, handsome doctors or cute bartenders, Nora keeps bumping into…Charlie.

She’s no heroine. He’s no hero. So can they take a page out of an entirely different book?

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Book Lovers is a feel-good read, especially if you love books and vibrant characters that make you read just one more chapter. Nora is a successful literary agent who puts her sister’s needs first and always looks after her authors. Charlie is an enigma when they first meet, she is wrong-footed from their first encounter, but she can’t forget him.

I enjoyed the witty dialogue, the gentle romance full of emotion and the believable family dynamic. The story explores differing perceptions of events, relationships, parenting and love, and it resonates, but laughter and romance are never far away.

The ending is a perfect conclusion to this lovely escapist read.

Read my review of Beach Read

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 Blog Tour, Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Murder Mystery

Killing The Story Joan Livingston 4*#Review @joanlivingston @darkstrokedark The Isabel Long Mystery Series @rararesources #cozymystery #murdermystery #coldcase #BookReview #BlogTour #KillingTheStory

An accidental death that was no accident…

For the record, Estelle Crane, the gutsy editor of The Observer newspaper, died after a hard fall on ice. But years later, her son discovers a cryptic note hinting her death might not have been an accident after all.

Was Estelle pursuing a big story that put her life in danger?

That’s what Isabel Long — along with her 93-year-old mother, Maria, her ‘Watson’ — agrees to investigate in Dillard, a town whose best days are in the past.

A former journalist, Isabel follows leads and interviews sources, new and familiar. She quickly finds a formidable threat in Police Chief James Hawthorne, who makes it clear Isabel is not welcome in his town — and who warns her against poking her nose into Estelle’s death.

Of course, that’s after Isabel has discovered the chief’s questionable policing and a troubled history with Estelle that goes way back.

Killing the story means dropping it because there aren’t enough facts to back it up. But Isabel won’t make that mistake. She’ll see this one through to the very end.

Can she uncover the plot that led to Estelle’s murder?

Killing the Story is the fourth in the popular Isabel Long Mystery Series. 

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

My Thoughts…

Even though this is the fourth book, in the Isabel Long Mystery series it’s the first I’ve read, and there’s sufficient backstory for this to read as a standalone. Isabel, a former journalist, specialises in solving cold cases, in the area of North Massachusetts where she lives. Her fourth case concerns a former Editor of a small-town paper.

The characters are quirky, and the small-town dynamic is believable. The plot has twists and false leads. The investigative team comprises Isabel and her mother, and these two give the story a unique perspective.

If you enjoy cosy and murder mystery this unusual, and original series should appeal to you.

Jaon Livingstone

Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Killing the Story, published by Darkstroke Books, is the fourth in her Isabel Long Mystery Series, featuring a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. solving cold cases in rural New England.

She draws upon her own experience as a longtime journalist in Massachusetts and New Mexico to create Isabel Long, a sassy, savvy widow who uses the skills she acquired in the business to solve what appears to be impossible cases. She also relies on her deep knowledge of rural Western Massachusetts, where she lives, to create realistic characters and settings — from country bars (where Isabel works part-time) to a general store’s backroom where gossipy old men meet.

She credits her mother, Algerina — the inspiration for Maria, Isabel Long’s ‘Watson’ — for instilling in her a love of reading and the power of the written word.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama, Murder Mystery

Innocent Erin Kinsley 4*#Review @KinsleyErin @headlinepg @RandomTTours #CrimeFiction #MurderMystery #SmallTown #England #BlogTour #BookReview

The pretty market town of Sterndale is a close-knit community where everyone thinks they know everyone else. But at a lavish summer wedding a local celebrity is discovered slumped in the gardens, the victim of a violent assault that leads to a murder investigation.

As the police search for answers, suspicion and paranoia build – and the lives of the locals are turned upside down. Secrets that lurk beneath the pristine façade of Sterndale come to light as detectives close in on the truth…


A gripping and moving thriller with the emotional drama

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Murder in a small English town with numerous suspects a celebrity angle, and so many secrets drew me to this story, and it fulfils its potential. A senseless crime rocks the small town of Sterndale, but someone isn’t surprised. This is atmospheric murder mystery focuses on the characters revealing deep secrets hidden away from the public eye. Multi viewpoints inform the story and give the reader an omnipotent view of events, but not everyone is truthful.

The pacing is slow mirroring reality as the detectives sift through the suspects. The characters are relatable, and the plot hides its secrets well. The small town ethos facilitates the story’s immersive quality and makes the characters and events believable.

This is an engaging story for readers who enjoy a murder mystery set in a small town.

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

Stealing Home / A Slice of Heaven Sherryl Woods 5*#Reviews @SherrylWoodsAuthor @MillsandBoon #MillsandBoonInsiders #Netflix #SweetMagnolias #Serenity #Romance #FamilyDrama #SmallTown #Friendship #Women #StealingHome #ASliceofHeaven

Maddie Townsend might live in a town called Serenity, but there’s been nothing calm or peaceful about her life since her marriage broke up.

This stay-at-home mum has no job skills, an out-of-control sixteen-year-old son, a talkative fourteen-year-old who’s suddenly gone silent, a six-year-old daughter whose heart is broken, an ex-husband whose younger girlfriend is expecting their baby and two best friends who think she’s somehow qualified to help them open a fitness spa for women.

But if Maddie is a tad on edge with all that on her plate, it’s nothing compared to the chaos that ensues when she discovers that her son’s baseball coach has feelings for her and the whole town disapproves. Maddie’s faced a lot of challenges lately with strength and resolve, but Cal Maddox may turn out to be more than she can handle.

Then again, he could just be the one man in all of South Carolina who can help her find serenity.

Amazon UK

Dana Sue might run the best little restaurant in Serenity, but when you’re feeding a small town things can get a bit hot in the kitchen.

Never mind that she’s putting on too many pounds (an occupational hazard for a chef)-she’s worried about her too-skinny teenage daughter, Annie.

But sometimes life picks strange ways to mend fences. When Annie lands in the hospital, Dana Sue reaches out to the man she loves to hate: Ron, the husband who took her heart when she threw him out. Ron is still Annie’s white knight, even if he’s decidedly more tarnished in Dana Sue’s eyes. But he still looks good enough to eat, and maybe, just maybe, to forgive.

Once, Ron made the mistake of letting go without a proper fight. But now Dana Sue is about to get another taste of sweet devotion from a man tired of feeling like a fool, hungry for that slice of heaven he found with her.

Amazon UK

I received copies of these books from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Stealing Home

Currently, a NetFlix series this story set in Serenity South Carolina is a heartwarming mix of family drama friendship and small-town romance. Focusing on the Sweet Magnolias, best friends Maddie, Dana Sue and Helen have a lifelong friendship. Maddie is the focus of Stealing Home.

Family drama when Maddie’s marriage ends unexpectedly, a new career and forbidden romance all contribute to this story’s addictive quality. There’s a believable dynamic between the three women, as they unite against double standards and malicious gossip. Maddie’s emotional journey is realistic and uplifting. Her gentle romance with Cal is the spice in the story, but her doubts are authentic and keep you guessing.

A Slice of Heaven

A Slice of Heaven the second book of the Sweet Magnolias’ series focuses on Dana Sue. This story has the same small town ethos and heartwarming friendship but explores eating disorders and their effect on families and friendships. Annie Dana Sue’s daughter has Anorexia. Annie’s story is complex and poignant.

There is a second chance romance between Dana Sue and Ronnie to balance the emotional drama. Ronnie is not easy to empathise but does have redeeming qualities.

This story is engaging and sensitive.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, Noir, Parenting and Famlies, Suspense

Ash Mountain Helen Fitzgerald 5*#Review @FitzHelen @OrendaBooks #AshMountain #RandomThingsTours #Australia #Wildfire #LiteraryFiction #catastrophic #disaster #bushfires #firestorm #SmallTown #Domestic #noir #FamilyDrama @AnneCater #BlogTour #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog #TuesdayThoughts.

Fran hates her hometown, and she thought she’d escaped. But
her father is ill, and needs care. Her relationship is over, and
she hates her dead-end job in the city, anyway.
She returns home to nurse her dying father, her distant
teenage daughter in tow for the weekends. There, in the
sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at
her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and
her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable
heat of an Australian summer.
As past friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new
ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her
worries, when old crimes rear their heads and a devastating
bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants…
Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town
life – and a woman and a land in crisis – and a shocking
and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that
changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking
slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that
you will never forget…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

An adrenaline-inducing beginning guarantees the reader’s attention from the start The main protagonist, is desperately searching for her family amidst a raging firestorm. The story rewinds to the days preceding the firestorm, and you begin to see what life’s like in Ash Mountain.

Character-driven, this is an addictive intricate story. Each of the characters is believable and ordinary. This authenticity makes them fascinating. The town’s dynamic relationships; family, friends and frenemies are interweaved to form its ethos.

The story slips back in time thirty years to illuminate currents events and motivations. Dark satirical humour enlivens the plot which explores terrible abuse and betrayal from Fran’s past. The final chapters are immersive and intense.

This story is an enthralling balance of humour and poignancy exploring contemporary issues of abuse, prejudice and catastrophic disaster.

Helen Fitzgerald

Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult
thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was
longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1.

Her 2019 dark comedy thriller Worst CaseScenario was a Book of the Year in both The Guardian and Daily Telegraph.

Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia, and now lives in Glasgow with her husband.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Guest post, Saga

The Place We Call Home Faith Hogan 5*#Review @GerHogan @Aria_Fiction #FamilyDrama #Secrets #SmallTown #BlogTour #GuestPost #Lies #Irish #Fiction #Rural #saga #coastal #Ireland #Friendship #PublicationDay

#APlaceWeCallHome

Welcome to Ballycove, the home of Corrigan Mills…

Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Irish countryside the famed mills have created the finest wool in all of Ireland. Run by the seemingly perfect Corrigan family, but every family has its secrets, and how the mills came to be the Corrigan’s is one of them…

Miranda and her husband were never meant to own the mills until one fateful day catapults them into a life they never thought they’d lead.

Ada has forever lived her life in her sister’s shadow. Wanting only to please her mother and take her place as the new leader of the mill, Ada might just have to take a look at what her heart really wants.

Callie has a flourishing international career as a top designer and a man who loves her dearly, she appears to have it all. When a secret is revealed and she’s unceremoniously turfed out of the design world, Callie might just get what’s she’s been yearning for. The chance to go home.

Simon has always wanted more. More money, more fame, more notoriety. The problem child. Simon has made more enemies than friends over the years, and when one of his latest schemes falls foul he’ll have to return to the people who always believe in him.

Ballycove isn’t just a town in the Irish countryside. It isn’t just the base of the famous mills. It’s a place to call home.

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#BlogTour

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

My Thoughts…

A family saga set in Western Ireland. The setting is vivid and provides the perfect ethos for this story. Family secrets, love, lies, hardship, loss, and after much angst and drama, the light at the end of the tunnel, make this a poignant but ultimately satisfying story. This immersive read draws the reader into a quintessentially Irish way of life, with a solid plot, that showcases the spectrum of human emotions. Authentic, complex characters and a chance to escape into another world.

This is a story to be savoured, the pace is gentle and you get to know the characters well, both in the past and present. Not all of them are likeable, but this is a reflection of life, so you wouldn’t expect them to be.

The mill is the lifeblood of the community, a character on its own. It witnesses so much, over the years, and is the source of happiness, sadness, poverty and riches. The details of its running and historical significance give the book depth and make the story more believable.

A flowing family saga of life, love and lies, beautifully told.

Guest Post – Faith Hogan

Welcome to Ballycove….

I’m so delighted to visit Jane’s lovely blog today and to tell you about my new book – THE PLACE WE CALL HOME. If you’ve read my other books, you’ll know by now that I write uplifting stories, about friendship, family, secrets, lies and sometimes, there’s a little romance thrown in!

This time we visit Ballycove – it’s a village that appeared fleetingly in an earlier book – The Girl I Used To Know. I wanted to create a place that represented the best of the place I call home. I live in the west of Ireland – in a little town that sits on one of the richest salmon rivers in Europe. Just over half a dozen miles away, the Atlantic Ocean breathes up its icy air on flawless beaches and you can walk for miles without meeting a soul. On the other hand, if you’re feeling more social you can ramble with the dog through the nearby Beleek woods where everyone has time to say hello.

Ten miles in the opposite direction, there’s a small town called Foxford. It is a fairly typical little town in the west of Ireland, with the River Moy flowing through it, plenty of hills to walk across and local shops and restaurants that serve great food and offer Irish hospitality at its best. At the bottom of the town, sits the Foxford Wollen Mills. The Corrigan Mills are loosely based around these world-famous mills.

Image Credit Geraldine Hogan

There are a number of differences, however – unlike the Foxford Mills which were built by a pioneering nun in response to the poverty she saw at the time; the Ballycove mills are a family-owned business.

And it is from this family business that the tension in the novel arises…

Still a young woman, Miranda Corrigan has found herself at the helm of the biggest employer in her locality – except that it looks like the mills will have to close. She must juggle raising her three children alone and saving the mills – it’s no wonder then that when the time approaches to hand them on she does so reluctantly since there appear to be no safe hands available to pass them onto.

The problem is that her children don’t agree and the divisions that are setting in between them all look as if they may never heal.

Until David Blair arrives in town and reader, I will not say she married him, but he proves to be the wild card that may just blow the whole family apart – or could he be the person who manages to bring them all together?

You’ll have to read it to find out for yourself…

#Faith Hogan

Faith lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and two very fussy cats. She has a Hons Degree in English Literature and Psychology, has worked as a fashion model and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.

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Posted in Book Spotlight, Crime, New Books, Suspense, Thriller

Hiding In Plain Sight Eoghan Egan @eoghanegan #promo #booklaunch #January11 #Thriller #CrimeFiction #IrishCrimeFiction #IrishCrime #smalltown #secrets @Lovebookstours @LoveBooksGroup

Amazon UK

A vicious serial killer roams the Irish Midlands… with his sights set on the next victim. A successful businessman has found the perfect recipe for getting away with murder. No bodies, no evidence.No evidence, no suspect. High art and low morals collide when graduate Sharona Waters discovers a multi-million euro art scam in play. She delves in, unwittingly putting herself on a direct trajectory with danger as the killer accelerates his murder spree. When Sharona gets drawn into the killer’s orbit, she peels away his public persona and exposes the psychopath underneath. Suddenly, the small town has no hiding place…

A native of Co. Roscommon, Eoghan studied Computer Programming in college, works in Sales Management & Marketing, but his passion for reading and writing remains.

Eoghan’s work got shortlisted for the 2018 Bridport Short Story Prize, and Listowel’s 2019 Bryan McMahon Short Story Award Competition. His novel was a contender in literary agent David Headley’s opening chapter Pitch Competition, and during March 2019, Eoghan’s entry won Litopia’s Pop-Up Submission.

A graduate of Maynooth University’s Creative Writing Curriculum, and Curtis Brown’s Edit & Pitch Your Novel Course, Eoghan’s novel Hiding in Plain Sight – the first in a crime fiction trilogy based around the Irish Midlands – will be available in paperback and audio on January 11th 2020.

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Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery

Dressed to Kill Kathleen Delaney 4* #Review #AMaryMcGillCanineMysteryBook @severnhouse @kdkoppang #CozyMystery #USA #AmateurSleuth #SmallTown #BookReview

Mary McGill and her cocker spaniel Millie get the fright of their lives on Halloween when they hear gunshots coming from the bank and the robber, dressed in a clown costume, points his gun at them before fleeing the scene. Mary is horrified when she discovers Police Chief Dan Dunham has been shot in the shoulder and a woman has been killed. Why would the clown shoot an ordinary citizen?
Mary soon learns that the victim is Victoria Witherspoon, a local woman who owned a sewing shop and must have recognised the clown costume – because she made it herself. With Dan in hospital and unable to investigate, can Mary and Millie unmask the savage killer clown before he strikes again? 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts

An engaging cozy mystery, set in a small town. This is the fourth book in the series, but the mystery is standalone. Mary McGill and her dog are amateur sleuths with a notable success rate, there are plenty of small-town values and ethos in this story, which will appeal to those who like this genre. The mystery is well-written, with plenty of suspects, and false leads, and all the loose ends are neatly tied up at the story’s conclusion.

Mary is a likeable detective, who uses her local contacts and knowledge to solve the crimes. The animals are important characters and give this story, a wider appeal.

If you enjoy North American small town cozy mystery, this is a perfect read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Friendship, Novella

The Birthday House Jill Treseder 4*#Review @Jill_Treseder @SilverWoodBooks #RandomThingsTours #TrueLifeCrime #DomesticViolence #Dartmouth #Secrets #Lies #FamilyDrama #Loss #CrimeFiction #1950s #SmallTown #Devon #BlogTour #BookReview

#TheBirthdayHouse
#BackCoverBlurb

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#TheBirthdayHouse #BlogTour

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

My Thoughts…

Based on a true crime, although ‘The Birthday House’. is a fictional interpretation of the events before, during and after the tragedy. The characters too are fictional, although the author did know the young girl who was murdered.

This is a short story, but it has depth and impact, more so because this is based upon a real, historical crime. Told from the viewpoints of the people involved it paints a picture, which is both poignant and inevitable. The housekeeper, who made the discovery, and its aftereffects on her. The wife, the child, the friend, the child’s best friend, the husband, who committed such a grievous atrocity, and the grandmother left only with her memories and regrets.

The story reads well, drawing you into the 1950s Dartmouth community. There is something fatalistic about it, so many opportunities to circumvent the eventual tragedy, but still, it happened. A well-written thought-provoking story,

#JillTreseder

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I started writing in a red shiny exercise book when I was seven years old. But in that time and place it was an ‘invalid’ activity, was overlooked, but never went away. It was many years before I felt able to call myself ‘writer’.

But there came a day when the phrase ‘I am a writer’ no longer sounded pretentious, but legitimate, and even necessary. Was it because I had a writing room instead of the corner of a landing? Or because I spent more time writing? Or because I’d got better at it? Or because I get miserable and bad-tempered if I don’t write? Probably a combination of all of the above.

Writing is my third career. The first was as a social worker with children and families, a job I loved but left because I could no longer cope with the system.

This led to a freelance career as an independent management consultant, helping people to handle emotions in the work context. I worked in the IT industry, in companies large and small, as well as public organisations. Later I became involved in research projects concerned with the multi-disciplinary approach to social problems such as child abuse. So, in a sense, I had come full-circle.

All these experiences feed into the process of writing fiction, while my non-fiction book The Wise Woman Within resulted indirectly from the consultancy work and my subsequent PhD thesis,‘Bridging Incommensurable Paradigms’, which is available from the School of Management at the University of Bath.

I live in Devon and visit Cornwall frequently and these land and seascapes are powerful influences which demand a presence in my writing.

Writers’ groups and workshops are a further invaluable source of inspiration and support and I attend various groups locally and sign up for creative courses in stunning locations whenever I can. I try doing writing practice at home but there is no substitute for the focus and discipline achieved among others in a group.

I have written some short stories and recently signed up for a short story writing-course to explore this genre in more depth.

I live with my husband in South Devon and enjoy being involved in a lively local community.

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