Thursday, 15 July 2021

 The Beginners Guide to Loneliness 


Laura Bambley


I'm delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for The Beginners Guide to Loneliness by Laura Bambrey and below I have an extract for you to whet your appetite! I'm hoping to be able to review this soon for you.


Tackling the Taboo

Dear Readers,

Today marks the second anniversary of The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness. I can’t express how grateful I am for all of your messages telling me how my blog has helped you navigate your own personal journeys. It makes me incredibly proud to know that so many people have benefited from this site.

Admitting that you are lonely remains one of the biggest taboos in our society. That’s why all of the recent publicity the blog has received has been so welcome. The mixture of newspaper, magazine and online coverage has helped thousands of new readers to find their way here. If you’re one of them, then welcome! The more able people feel to talk about being lonely, the easier it becomes to seek the support that’s needed.

One of the greatest misconceptions is that loneliness stems from a character trait, or even a character flaw. Listen to me: you don’t have to be broken to be lonely. I’ve heard it so many times: ‘But you’re so friendly . . .’ ‘You seem to get on with people so easily . . .’ ‘But you know lots of people . . .’ etc. I hope I am friendly, but that doesn’t mean I can’t feel isolated at times too; it doesn’t mean I don’t find it difficult to connect with people.

The truth is, you can be alone and not at all lonely – happy and content in your own company. Or you can be at the centre of a huge crowd and feel so lonely it’s like a physical ache.

Sudden life changes can sometimes cause connections with other people to fall away. A bereavement, change of job or even the disintegration of a relationship are just a few of the catalysts. Should more than one of these things hit you at the same time, as they did for me, you can end up feeling not just lonely, but completely stuck, searching for the way out.

So no, you don’t have to be broken to be lonely – but loneliness can, eventually, break you. Let’s keep talking about it. Let’s keep looking at ways to heal. Let’s keep supporting each other. Here’s to the next two years of

Thank you for being here.


P.S. A note to the press: thank you so much for your interest in the site! Should you wish to reach me about my work, please use the contact page. I will, however, be maintaining my anonymity. From this point onwards please note that I will not respond to any communications that include the request to ‘come out’ to my readers.

About the Author

Laura Bambrey was born in Dorset but raised in Wales. She’s worked as a trapeze choreographer, sculpture conservator and stilt walker, among other occupations, and spent most of her time collecting stories from the people she met along the way. She has spent many years as a book blogger and reviewer of women’s fiction and now lives in Devon with her very own romantic hero and a ridiculously fluffy rabbit named Mop. The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness is her debut novel.

Monday, 5 July 2021

The Orchard Girls

 The Orchard Girls


Nikola Scott


London, 2004. Frankie didn't always have it easy. Growing up motherless, she was raised by her grandmother, who loved her – and betrayed her. For years, the rift between them seemed irreparable. But when their paths suddenly cross again, Frankie is shocked to realise that her grandmother is slowly losing control of her memory. There is a darkness in her past that won't stay buried – secrets going back to wartime that may have a devastating effect on Frankie's own life.

Somerset, 1940. When seventeen-year-old Violet's life is ripped apart by the London Blitz, she runs away to join the Women's Land Army, wanting nothing more than to leave her grief behind. But as well as the terror of enemy air raids, the land girls at Winterbourne Orchard face a powerful enemy closer to home. One terrible night, their courage will be put to the test – and the truth of what happened must be kept hidden, forever . . .

I do love a dual timeline story, especially a wartime one and so I jumped at the chance to review this one. 

Violet is a young woman during WWII (1940) and when tragedy strikes she needs to run away from her life because she doesn’t want to do the ‘norm’ and settle down, but wants to do her duty, so enlists to the Women's Land Army under an alias. If she thought she was going to have it easy, she was very much mistaken!

She arrives at a fruit orchard in Somerset where the estate manager, Hardwick makes her and the other Land Girls an absolute misery. However, she finds out that everyone it seems, has secrets they don’t want others to find out, including Hardwick.

We then travel forward to 2004 and Violet's Granddaughter Frankie has a distant relationship with her Grandmother to say the least. Frankie works as a journalist for a large newspaper and this is how they are brought back together. 

I personally enjoyed the 1940 storyline the best, but it was great to read how violet and Frankie got to rebuild their relationship.

This was an enjoyable, if chunky read, but a great story with some loveable characters. 

About the Author 

Nikola Scott started out in book publishing and worked as a crime fiction editor in America and England for many years. Turning her back on blood-spattered paperback covers and dead bodies found in woods, she sat down at her kitchen table one day to start her first novel — and hasn’t stopped writing since. Obsessed with history and family stories (‘How exactly did you feel when your parents gave the house to your brother?’) she is well-known – and feared – for digging up dark secrets at dinner parties and turning them into novels. 

 Her first two books, My Mother's Shadow and Summer of Secrets, have both been international bestsellers and were translated widely around the world. Nikola lives in Frankfurt with her husband and two boys (and a kitchen table). 

Once a month, Nikola sends out a popular newsletter about writing, reading, book news, freebies and loads of therapeutic baking. Join in here if you’d love to be a part of it all:

For more info on Nikola, visit her website at  

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Wednesday, 9 June 2021


Waiting to Begin


Amanda Prowse


Review by

Julie Williams

I’m delighted to again be a part of the Blog Tour for another of Amanda Prowse’s novels. Julie Williams is a huge fan and has very kindly agreed to review this one for us.


I always look forward to reading books by Amanda Prowse as she writes from the heart with raw emotion and this, her latest, is no exception. 

This story is told in two time lines with Bessie as the main character.

It begins in 1984 with Bessie at the tender age of 16 years old with a whole exciting future ahead of her. Bessie's 16th birthday should be a day of great joy for many reasons and it turns out to be one she definitely won’t forget as events on this landmark day shapes Bessie's future with huge consequences.

Bessie in 2021 is married with two grown up children and on her 53rd birthday this year she is caught up in all sorts of emotions as she ponders over her life. 

With a loving family around her Bess still can’t shake the shame and guilt she carries and it weighs heavy on her shoulders and on her marriage to Mario. 

The secrets she has kept hidden for 37 years prove impossible to endure any longer and their disclosure has consequences that Bess has to accept and come to terms with.

This heart-warming family saga had me invested all the way through. I loved the two time line stories and the down to earth characters. Well done again Amanda for producing such an interesting story that was a pleasure to read.

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be on the blog tour as guest reviewer for Julie Boon on her fabulous blog and my thanks to Net Galley for the digital ARC .

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Last One At The Party

 Last One At The Party


Bethany Clift


My kids bought me a copy of this book for Mother’s Day this year and I’m not going to lie, but when I read the blurb, I wasn’t sure it was going to be my kind of genre, but from the first page I really couldn’t put it down. 

The world has been hit by a deadly virus called 6DM and anybody who comes into contact with it will die a slow, horrible death. Except one woman (who remains nameless). 

She seemed to have it all, a loving husband, a career and her future looked bright, but looks can be deceptive and she is struggling to cope with day to day life, but nothing compares her to what is in store for her once 6DM strikes. 

This book is really quite scary in places because of what has happened to the world in the last year or so and certain similarities, but it is also so funny in parts it made my stomach hurt and then in the next breath I was wiping away the tears.

I don’t really want to give too much of the story away, but you feel you are going on a journey of survival with the character and I found myself reading late into the night to find out what happens. 

I’m still a bit mystified about the ending, but the only thing I can hope is that there is going to be a sequel because I for one will be bashing the door of the bookshop down to get a copy!

A great debut from the author and it just goes to show, you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover!



Sunday, 9 May 2021

The Ladies’ Midnight Swimming Club

The Ladies’ Midnight Swimming Club
Faith Hogan

It's my turn on the Blog Tour for this wonderful story of friendship, love, loss and a sense of community and you can read my review below. I truly loved this book and all the characters in it. 



Elizabeth is the local GPs widow, but apart from grieving, she has come across crippling gambling debts racked up by her husband and it is now down to her to sort them out before she becomes homeless.

Jo is determined to help her friend Elizabeth out, even if she has to enlist her daughter Lucy who is a doctor, to come and help out in the village until Elizabeth can see light at the end of the tunnel. Lucy's son Niall comes with her but would rather be with his dad in Sydney, Australia than at a local school with other teenagers who he knows he would have nothing in common with. 

When writer Dan comes to Ballycove looking for inspiration on writing a book, little does he know that it will change his life forever. He hates living in London and he has another, more personal, reason for coming to Ballycove. Will there be anyone who is willing to tell him the truth?

What could you possibly do on a dark, cold, winter's night when you need to clear your mind? Go for a swim at midnight in the Irish sea of course! That's what Jo does every night (weather permitting) and she soon ropes Elizabeth in to joining her and when Lucy also tags along, The Ladies' Midnight Swimming Club is born. Little did the ladies know that this small, exclusive club will become a lifeline not just for them, but for everyone in the village. 

A powerful story of love, loss, friendship, relationships and everything else in between...I loved it!

It is a charming read and I finished it within just a few days.  I can't wait to read more by this author.

About the author

 Faith Hogan is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of five contemporary fiction novels. Her books have featured as Book Club Favorites, Net Galley Hot Reads and Summer Must Reads. She writes grown up women's fiction which is unashamedly uplifting, feel good and inspiring.

She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She's a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger - except of course when it is raining!

Follow Faith:

Facebook: @faithhoganauthor

Twitter: @gerhogan

Website: www.Facebook/


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Tuesday, 4 May 2021

 Letters to the Lost


Iona Grey


This is a book that I have had on my TBR shelf for a few years now (I am ashamed to say!) and this year I have made it my mission to read more of the books I want to read and so, this was one of the first ones I picked up. Goodness only knows why I waited so long! 

This is a dual time line and begins in 2011 when Jess is squatting in a small terraced house that belonged to a lady called Stella Thorne. Even though she shouldn't be there, Jess keeps the place as tidy as she can and when a letter arrives marked urgent, she feels she has to open it as the house hasn't lived in for so long, what could be so important?

The letter is from an American gentleman by the name of Dan and in the letter he says he is looking for Stella and wants to catch up one last time before it's too late. 

Jess then finds a boxful of previous letters from Dan dating back to the 1940's and on reading further, she finds out that they were lovers whilst Stella was married and Dan was an American soldier based in Suffolk!

Meanwhile, Will is an heir hunter working for an employer who he despises, but when he is sent to the home of Stella Thorne to try to find out if she has any living relatives, this opens a whole new can of worms for not only him, but the lives of Stella, Dan and everybody else who was connected with them during WWII.

Wow, I love a wartime story, but this one really pulled at my heart strings and I just knew it was one that would stay with me for a long time. It is powerful and totally absorbing and a true love story that will keep you turning the pages well into the night to find out what happens to Stella and Dan.

I have now ordered the author's next book as I really can't wait to read more from her. 

Saturday, 1 May 2021

A Taste of Home

 A Taste of Home


Heidi Swain


I was delighted to be asked again to be a part of Heidi's blog tours and when I asked my dear friend Julie Williams if she would like to review this one, she jumped at the chance as I know how much she loves Heidi's books! You can enjoy Julie's review below.

Review by Julie Williams

What another delightful read from Heidi Swain as she transports us back to Wynbridge and its' welcoming community.

Fliss Brown is settled on a fruit farm in Italy with the Rossi family who consider Fliss one of their own, but when she discovers a letter written by her mother Jennifer, who has recently passed away, a whole new life is revealed and a new adventure awaits her at Fenview Farm on the outskirts of Wynbridge. 

On her arrival, Fliss instantly brings life, rejuvenation and happiness not only to the farm but also to her Grandad Bill who has been struggling to keep the farm going. Fliss is certainly not afraid of hard work and has plenty of ideas to put Fenview back on the map. 

Bill has some good decent friends who quickly warm to Fliss including a handsome bike rider Eliot, who's sunny nature and kindness can’t help but catch her attention.

One word of warning for this story is that there is a lot of delicious food mentioned which had my mouth watering throughout; I could almost taste both the Italian and English delights – yummy!

A Taste of Home can be read as a standalone, but I would urge you to read the others as Wynbridge has the most wonderful characters and great locations.

My thanks to Net Galley and publishers for the digital ARC and to Julie who asked me if I wanted to be a guest reviewer for the blog tour as she knows how much I enjoy Heidi’s books.