Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Guest post, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Starting Over At Acorn Cottage Kate Forster 5* #Review @kateforster @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #BlogTour #BookReview #GuestPost #UpLit #Friendship #Romance #DomesticAbuse #StartingOver #Lies #Secrets #Serendipity #VillageLife #Bereavement #Forgiveness

Clara knew Acorn Cottage would be a fixer-upper… Yet in person, the cottage is less charmingly ramshackle and more a real health and safety concern. When Henry Garnett, her (rather handsome) new contractor, turns up with his little daughter Pansy and a van shaped like a cottage in tow, she isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. What on earth has she gotten herself into?!

Still, there is something strangely lovable about the people in the little village of Merryknowe, from Rachel Brown, the quiet, lonely girl who bakes magical confections for the tearooms, to Tassie McIver, a little old lady with a lot of wisdom and a penchant for reading tea leaves. And Clara can’t deny that Henry and Pansy are quickly worming their way into her heart…

With all the heartbreak of the year behind her, could Acorn Cottage be the fresh start Clara so desperately wants?

Amazon iBooks Kobo Google Play

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

My Thoughts…

A story about gentle souls reeling from the harsher aspects of life, being drawn to a village whose life is ebbing away. The story is told from multi-point of view and explores how friendship love and a little bit of magic can transform lives and places.

Bereavement, domestic abuse and forgiveness are the story’s major themes. The horror of them sensitively portrayed. As is, the power of good friends, love and sharing dark secrets with someone you trust.

Even though the subject matter is dark, there is plenty of light in this story. Delightful characters, you want to succeed and a special older lady Tassie who is distinctly mystical. The conflicts are real and angst-ridden, but so is the love and understanding that overcomes them.

This is an engaging, heartwarming, story with characters that resonate.

When your dreams come trueGuest Post – Kate Forster

When I was a child I had a book called Lavinia’s Cottage by John S. Goodall. It was a pop-up book and it was my go-to book when I felt unwell or things in my small life felt too complicated. It was written for the illustrator’s granddaughter when she was four, the story, told entirely in pictures, was about a little girl who lived in a country cottage, with her grandmother. Because Lavinia is almost well from the measles, two of her friends and a grandmother visit Lavinia and her mother at their cottage. Lavinia spots them as they walk up and pops out of bed to show them all the wonderful things in the attic. There is a cupboard filled with old toys, and a rocking horse and at the end of the visit we know everyone has a grand time.

This is the front cover.

A close up of a sign

Description automatically generated
Lavinia’s Cottage – John S. Goodall

When I was an adult, I wrote a book about a woman who is hurt and betrayed and who buys a pink cottage that needs to be fixed and healed, just like her heart. I forgot about Lavinia’s Cottage until I saw the beautiful cover and it all came flooding back.

I had made my dream come true, just like Clara, the heroine of my new book.

This book was restorative to write. It is book about looking for a simpler life, about letting the ghosts of the past lead you to your true place of belonging, so they can find their peace and you can find your own inner calm. My pink cottage fantasy finally came true.

Buying a thatched cottage in the country may not be the usual cure for a broken heart. But after Clara Maxwell finds out her boyfriend and best friend have been sneaking around behind her back, packing her bags and leaving everything in London behind feels like it’s the only way forward.

Clara knew Acorn Cottage would be a fixer-upper… Yet in person, the cottage is less charmingly ramshackle and more a real health and safety concern. When Henry Garnett, her (rather handsome) new contractor, turns up with his little daughter Pansy and a van shaped like a cottage in tow, she isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. What on earth has she gotten herself into?!

Still, there is something strangely lovable about the people in the little village of Merryknowe, from Rachel Brown, the quiet, lonely girl who bakes magical confections for the tearooms, to Tassie McIver, a little old lady with a lot of wisdom and a penchant for reading tea leaves. And Clara can’t deny that Henry and Pansy are quickly worming their way into her heart…

With all the heartbreak of the year behind her, could Acorn Cottage be the fresh start Clara so desperately wants?

Kate Forster

Kate Forster lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, two children and dogs and can be found nursing a laptop, surrounded by magazines and talking on the phone, usually all at once. She is an avid follower of fashion, fame and all things pop culture and is also an excellent dinner party guest who always brings gossip and champagne.

Twitter Facebook

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Humour, Romance

The School of Starting Over Lisa Swift 5* #Review @LisaSwiftAuthor @HeraBooks @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #startingover #School #Teachers #secrets #RuralLife #VillageLife #Family Secrets #Lies #YorkshireMoors #TheSchoolofStartingOver

Nell’s going back to school… but now she’s learning lessons of the heart

Reception class teacher Nell Shackleton has a plan. At least, she had until she arrived at her new home of Humblebee Farm, a dilapidated farmhouse on the Yorkshire moors. But so what if the roof’s full of holes, the back door’s hanging off and there’s a sheep in the front room? Because sometimes a new beginning means starting at the bottom… right?

Xander Scott is one of the youngest headteachers Leyholme Primary School has ever had. But managing over-zealous parents and their semi-feral kids proves a tricky task for shy Xander – as does keeping his mind on the job when his feelings for the new Reception teacher become more than strictly professional…

At 43, Nell’s new friend Stevie Madeleine has given up on love. After losing her wife, Stevie’s decided that her four-year-old daughter Milly and cocker spaniel Red are the only girls she needs in her life. That is, until larger-than-life dog-walker Deb arrives on the scene. But will the secrets of Stevie’s past stop her new romance dead in its tracks?

Meeting Xander and Stevie brings joy back into Nell’s life – but when old secrets start to surface, there may be some hard lessons to learn for them all…

A gorgeously uplifting and hilarious romantic comedy.

Amazon UK Kobo

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

My Thoughts…

Heartwarming, humorous, immersive and poignant. ‘The School of Starting Over’, evokes so many emotions in the reader, as you discover the secrets hiding within the complex and relatable characters.

A new beginning for Nell in a rundown farmhouse, her heart’s battered and she wants a new start. Reading, the first few chapters I was expecting a lighthearted rom-com, with lots of interactive village gossip. Whilst. this is superficially what this story delivers there is so much more as you read on.

Just, when you are relaxing, and enjoying the happy ever afters you expected, the plot twists into an emotional family drama, which resonates. The story’s main protagonists’ happiness is intricately connected. and like a house of cards. it could disappear without a trace.

Vivid characters, heartrending conflict and an authentic Yorkshire village ethos and setting make this addictive reading.

Lisa Swift

Lisa Swift is a romance author from West Yorkshire in the UK. She is represented by Laura Longrigg at MBA Literary Agents. Her first book is due to be published by Hera Books in August 2019.

As Mary Jayne Baker, Lisa also writes romantic comedies for Aria Fiction.

Lisa is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Facebook Twitter Website

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

Virgin River Robyn Carr 4*#Review @RCarrWriter @MillsandBoon #BlogTour #BookReview #NetFlix #Romance #SmallTown #StartingOver #Loss #Grief #Friendship #Nursing #MillsandBoonInsiders #paperback


Sometimes all you need is a fresh start

When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees an advert for a midwife in the remote town of Virgin River, she decides this is the perfect place to escape her heartache and to revitalise the nursing career she loves.

However, her hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving: the cabin is uninhabitable, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. But when a tiny baby is abandoned on a front porch, Mel must decide whether to stay and help or cut her losses and leave.

Helped by local barman, and former marine, Jack Sheridan Mel must face her past and finds that there may be a future in Virgin River after all.

Amazon UK

#BlogTour

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

#back cover #VirginRiver

My Thoughts…

Virgin River begins with a familiar and popular trope in the romance genre, of grieving widow, starting over in a small town, away from everything she knew before. Bereaved Melinda, takes up a midwife and nurse practitioner post in a remote rural small town Virgin River. She is promised cosy accommodation, a thriving medical practice in need of her skills and a lovely town to live in.

What she finds is less than ideal. Layered on top of her perilous emotional state, she feels like getting back in her car and heading back to the city, even if the memories there are too painful to live with.

An emotional event makes her stay in the short term because she’s not a quitter, but a consummate professional and big-hearted woman. Little by little the town and its inhabitants draw her in and she begins to enjoy the generosity, caring spirit of a small town, even if it is accompanied by gossip and mostly well-meant interference.

This idyllic story, which captures the small town ethos, has authentic, relatable characters, who you long to know more about. They are why it is an engaging read. There are many other books in this series, so it is likely your favourite will get their own story told, in a later book.

The romance is gentle and sensitive taking account of Melinda’s loss. Although it reflects conservative values to women, this is in keeping with the culture and setting. Contemporary issues are explored too, again viewed from a small town point of view, which is interesting and realistic.

There is a successful TV series based on the Virgin River books, and the quality of the characters and charm of the contemporary story shows why this is the case.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance, Travel

The Christmas Holiday Sophie Claire 5* #Review @HodderBooks @SClaireWriter #Romance #Festive #Rural #Village #Provence #grief #secondchance #BookReview #Holiday

Can a trip away lead you home?

After a bad break-up, eternal optimist Evie Miller has moved to the small village of Willowbrook to finally pursue her dream of opening a craft shop. Unfortunately, with money worries and an ex-boyfriend determined to track her down, her fresh start isn’t going entirely to plan.

Jake Hartwood is also looking to escape his past. Haunted by the loss of his wife, he’s determined not to get close to anyone again – and the last thing he wants is to be celebrating this December.

Hoping to avoid the festivities, Evie and Jake arrange to escape Christmas together as friends in Provence. But will the magic of the season change things between them?

And what happens if one of them starts to feel something more?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Hodder and Stoughton via NetGalley.

My Thoughts…

Evie is an optimist, despite the lack of support from her parents, the tragedy she has suffered, and the abusive relationship she is still trying to escape. Jake has lost the love of his life and finds going on without her difficult. The village of Willowbrook gives Evie a chance of a new independent life, and Jake the chance to hide away until he feels strong enough to carry on. The only problem is Christmas, which brings back painful memories for both.

Evie and Jake’s relationship has a less than auspicious start, but a friendship builds out of their mutual suffering, and escaping together for Christmas offers a solution to both their problems, but is friendship what they want? Or is a holiday romance inevitable?

Heartwarming romance and emotional conflict with a festive twist, set in a lovely English village, and fabulous Provence. The intensity of grief and loss is explored during Christmastime, sensitively, whilst keeping a positive, uplifting ethos. The characters are believable and individual and the settings bring the story to life. A lovely wintery story is written in an easy to read style by a consummate storyteller,

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane Ellen Berry 5*#Review @AvonBooksUK @FionaGibson #BlogTour #PublicationDay #FamilyDrama #Romance #Loss #VillageLife #Relationships #Friendships #SecondChances #UpLit #BookReview

SnowdropsonRosemaryLane

Lucy fell in love with tumbledown Rosemary Cottage as a child. So thirty years on, when she loses her city job and discovers the cottage is for sale, it feels like fate. She’ll raise her children in Burley Bridge and transform the cottage into a B&B with her husband.

But a year can change everything . . .

Now Lucy is juggling two children and a B&B but on her own. Christmas looks set to be their last on Rosemary Lane – until she meets James, a face from her past and someone who might offer a different kind of future . . .

Should Lucy leave the cottage behind? Or could this winter on Rosemary Lane be the start of something new?

Amazon UK

#SnowdropsonRosemaryLane

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

My Thoughts…

Childhood memories can be powerful, and Lucy’s love of the cottage on Rosemary Lane stayed with her for thirty years. When her career reaches a crossroads, she convinces her husband that living there would be perfect for their family. For a while it is. Then life happens and tragedy strikes and Lucy is left to rebuild her family, but will it be at the cottage on Rosemary Lane?

Whilst this story is not exclusively festive, there are many Christmassy references and touches, which show the best and worst of the season. Told from mainly from Lucy’s point of view, this is a lovely tale of family life in a small Yorkshire village, it is a story of bereavement and loss and starting over. There are some strong friendships, and interesting romantic possibilities overlaid with courage, emotion and humour. The story draws you in, and it becomes important what happens to Lucy and her young family.

The rural setting is well described and the cast of characters diverse and realistic. James’ story is intricately woven into the main plot in a believable way, with just the right amount of serendipity. The story brings hope out of tragedy and leaves the reader with a feel-good hug.

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Motivational, Travel

Mother and Child Annie Murray 4*#Review @AMurrayWriter @panmacmillan #LoveBooksTours #MotherandChild #Loss #bereavement #Friendship #Fundraising #StartingOver #bhopal #BhopalMedicalAppeal

#MotherandChild

Mother and Child by Sunday Times bestseller Annie Murray is a moving story of loss, friendship and hope over two generations . . .

Jo and Ian’s marriage is hanging by a thread. One night almost two years ago, their only child, Paul, died in an accident that should never have happened. They have recently moved to a new area of Birmingham, to be near Ian’s mother Dorrie who is increasingly frail. As Jo spends more time with her mother-in-law, she suspects Dorrie wants to unburden herself of a secret that has cast a long shadow over her family.

Haunted by the death of her son, Jo catches a glimpse of a young boy in a magazine who resembles Paul. Reading the article, she learns of a tragedy in India . . . But it moves her so deeply, she is inspired to embark on a trip where she will learn about unimaginable pain and suffering.

As Jo learns more, she is determined to do her own small bit to help. With the help of new friends, Jo learns that from loss and grief, there is hope and healing in her future.

Amazon UK

#MotherandChild

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

My Thoughts…

A thought-provoking read, which focuses on a personal tragedy for Jo and Ian, and how they learn to live again after their devastating loss. Estranged, through their different ways of dealing with loss, they decide a physical move might help, and relocate in Birmingham close to Ian’s family roots.

Ian withdraws into his work, leaving Jo alone, not wanting to continue her life. Dorrie, Ian’s mum requires care and support. Gradually as their relationship deepens, from mutual need and proximity, Jo begins to feel she has a role in life. Dorrie tries to unburden herself and help Jo by sharing her painful past. This part of the story goes back to historic Birmingham between the wars and makes interesting poignant reading.

Inspired by an article, written about the aftermath of the 1984 Bhopal disaster, she reads, Jo finds it resonates. She wants to do something to help the people, who are still suffering over thirty years on, in the wake of the chemical disaster.

Through new friendships forged out of her need to move on, she finds like-minded women, who together make a difference for Bhopal in terms of fundraising and help Jo to find a worthwhile purpose for what remains of her life.

This is a poignant story of loss and the wasteland it leaves behind, which echoes the loss in Bhopal and the devastation, in terms of lives lost and blighted since the disaster. Jo finds new purpose by helping those who are still suffering, and whilst this book is an intelligent sensitive story, it also highlights a real human disaster that will remain for generations to come.

In the book, you can read more about what happened in Bhopal and about how the book itself came to be written.

If you would like to read more about the Bhopal disaster, and the Bhopal Medical Appeal, which Annie Murray supports click here.

#AnnieMurray

Annie Murray was born in Berkshire and read English at St John’s College, Oxford. Her first ‘Birmingham’ novel, Birmingham Rose, hit The Times bestseller list when it was published in 1995. She has subsequently written many other successful novels, including The Bells of Bournville Green, a sequel to the bestselling Chocolate Girls, and A Hopscotch Summer. Annie has four children and lives near Reading.

Twitter Website Facebook

Posted in #Sale, Book Spotlight, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance

The Christmas Calendar Girls Samantha Tonge @Aria_Fiction @SamTongeWriter #BlogTour #BookPromo #99p #Festive #Christmas #Heartwarming #MondayBlogs @rararesources

This Christmas fall in love with the town of Chesterwood…

Christmas is meant to be a time of giving, so with Chesterwood food bank under risk of closure Fern knows just what to do to save it. She’s going to get the town to create a living advent calendar.

#TheChristmasCalendarGirls

Fern and her best friends call for help from the local community to bring this calendar to life. When Kit, the new man in town, offers his assistance Fern’s heart can’t help but skip a beat (or two).

As they grow ever closer, Fern must admit that Kit’s breaking down the barriers she built after the death of her husband. But his past is holding him back and Fern doesn’t know how to reach him. No matter how hard she tries.

In this town, Kit’s not the only one with secrets. Domestic goddess Cara is behaving oddly, burning meals in the oven and clothes whilst ironing, and Davina’s perfect children are causing trouble at school leaving her son, Jasper, desperately unhappy.

Can the Christmas Calendar Girls find a way to bring the community together in time to save the food bank, while still supporting their families and each other? Can Fern find love again with Kit?

This is a story about kindness and letting go of the past. It’s about looking out for your neighbours and about making every day feel like Christmas.

Amazon Kobo iBooksGoogle Play

Heart-warming, cosy and charming, get The Christmas Calendar Girls for just 99p for a limited period!

Read My 5* #Review

#SamanthaTonge

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely.
When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines. 
She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award

Website Twitter Facebook