Monday, 28 November 2016

The Reading Group
Della Parker
Blog Tour

This is a first for me! This is a series of short stories by Della Parker about a group of friends who meet up at a meeting group to read a variety of books, eat nibbles and drink red wine (sounds right up my street!). This first part (December) is just over 20 pages long and is free! I like these characters already and can't wait to find out more about them in the coming books. I have Chapter One from the February book as a taster for you......


Chapter One from February

‘Do you have to go there tonight, darling?’ Anton put on his little-boy voice, the one that Kate had found so endearing when they’d met, but that right at this moment sounded more petulant than cute.
‘I do, sweetie, yes.’ She glanced back over her shoulder. He was on the sofa, his long legs sprawled in front of him, his shoes unlaced but not off, mussing up her cushions. She kept her voice light – oh, so light – but inside a thread of panic was rising. Reading Group was her escape, especially lately. Since he’d been around so much more. Since things had – well – changed.

She’d never thought she would need an escape from her marriage. She wasn’t one of those women who didn’t take it seriously, like her sister when Ben had proposed: Oh, go on, then, I’ll give it a go. Try it for a couple of years. Why not?

When Anton had proposed Kate had been thrilled, excited and in love. So in love. When she’d stood at the entrance of the sixteenth-century church beside her father, pausing to smooth down the pale silk coolness of her dress, and seen him waiting there, it had been one of the best moments – no, THE best moment – of her life. Without a doubt. She had meant every word of her vows.
Till death us do part. In sickness and in health. Through good times and through bad. That line wasn’t in there, but it should have been.

‘Kate, sweetheart. Stay.’ Anton shifted his feet onto the floor and patted the space on the sofa next to him. He was still in his work shirt, although he’d taken off his tie and undone the top button. ‘We can look at those brochures you got for the kitchen. Make some decisions. The builder’s coming tomorrow at 9.30. You are in, aren’t you?’ He paused. ‘Then I thought maybe . . . after we’ve chosen our kitchen . . .’ He raised his eyebrows. ‘We could get an early night.’
An early night was the last thing she wanted.
She tapped her watch. ‘I don’t want to let the girls down. I made a commitment, darling. We all did. Reading Group, first Thursday of the month. No matter what.’ She smiled to soften the blow.
His beautiful mouth twisted a little. He was too used to getting his own way.

‘OK. You won’t be too late, though, will you?’
‘I won’t be too late.’
Outside she breathed in the sharp February air with relief. Freedom. Three hours a month. Her time. It wasn’t too much to ask, was it? She was a good wife, wasn’t she? A good wife. Such an old-fashioned phrase.

They’d been reading the classics lately. It was a decision they’d made a couple of months ago. Serena had suggested it. Serena hosted the group. She had the largest house, the most comfortable house too – it had one of those big old orangeries that backed onto an acre of garden, beyond which the ocean rolled out in a panoramic glitter of blue.

Join us on Twitter on Friday 2nd December from 4pm to find out more about #TheReadingGroup

Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Things I Should Have Told You
Carmel Harrington

Guest Review
Julie Williams


I am thrilled to meet the Guinness family in this beautifully written book. Held together by the ‘glue’ of the family Pops, Olly’s Dad, who is incidentally a very wise man, sees that his family is crumbling in front of him and uses his insight to arrange a final gift that he hopes will unite the family. 

Olly and his wife Mae have drifted apart after he lost his job and is now a stay at home Dad to their children Evie and Jamie.

As the family, some reluctantly, set off to Europe in a camper van they nickname Nomad, they are truly tested. Getting the opportunity to visit many countries and experience traditions and local food has the Guinness’s thrown together to share their fears and laughter. This adventure carefully planned from start to finish by Pops gives the family a chance to come together again.

I loved the journey of this story told by all the family members. There is laughter and tears so have your tissues ready. I have never been ‘a camper’, preferring the luxury of a nice comfortable bed, but the Nomad did have some appeal. 

While reading the Guinness’s experience in Porec Croatia it brought back a hilarious memory of last year while I haw on holiday there, as the weather wasn’t too good we decided to hire out some bicycles and ended up cycling through a nudist campsite! I can just imagine this happening to the Guinness family.

Carmel is a fabulous author and I have thoroughly loved all her books. Packed with emotion The Things I Should Of Told You makes for a great read. 

Thank you Carmel I can’t wait for the next book!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

The Fight for Lizzie Flowers
Carol Rivers


After reading the first Lizzie story, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this sequel and it didn't disappoint! 

I was warned that the beginning of this second book had a fantastic twist and wow I didn't see that coming! It started with a cliffhanger and it didn't end there! 

Lizzie is trying to move on with her life after Frank's death and by building a life with his brother Danny seems the next step to a more settled life in the East End, but with any London family saga, nothing ends up being that simple!

I think Lizzie has become a lot more independent in this sequel. She is running the greengrocer shop owned by her Father in Law, but has plans to expand and make the business grow, but local gangsters who run protection rackets have other ideas.

This is another cracker of a novel by the lovely Carol Rivers and when I reviewed the first Lizzie book, the author said that I had inspired her to pick up her pen and start writing book three about Lizzie!! I can't wait for that one! I feel there is so much more to come from Lizzie and her family. This book has highs and lows, but through it all it shows the true grit that Londoner's had during a time of hardship and poverty. Beautifully written and thoroughly researched. Thank you Carol, I do love a good old London family saga!

Friday, 25 November 2016

A Promise Between Friends
Carol Rivers


Ruby is a headstrong, naive girl who wants more out of life than living in a two up two down house with a husband and family and so when she meets Anna who offers her a job as a model, you just know that things are going to go pear shaped!

Ruby meets Nick, who is a friend of Anna’s and they begin a relationship, much to the annoyance of Anna. Ruby loves feeling wanted and needed and just doesn’t see the signs that what Anna expects of her in her job, isn’t the same as what Ruby thinks it is and she realises to her cost that she may be in too deep.

Not only is Ruby trying to make a better life for herself, she is trying to find out the root cause of why her beloved brother committed suicide just two years previously. An act that has sent her mother off the rails and her father trying to keep the family together.

This is a fabulous story of a London girl who sets out to find a better future for herself, but with sometimes disastrous consequences. The characters were very well written and descriptive (even if I didn’t like some of them!).

Another cracker from Carol Rivers and I hope it’s not too long before there is another one to get my teeth into!

Amazon Link click here

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Q&A with Jo Lambert

I'm delighted today to bring you Q&A on Boon's Bookcase. Jo Lambert has agreed to answer my questions (I hope I didn't grill her too much!!)

Hi Jo and welcome to Boon's Bookcase. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing.

Firstly, please could you tell readers a little about yourself?
I spent an idyllic childhood in rural Wiltshire. Although I moved to Bath in the early 1980s I didn’t stay a city dweller for long. Two years after arriving I moved to a beautiful village on the edge of this wonderful city where I can now have the best of city life and a rural escape. I’m married, share my husband with a green MGB-GT (it’s a bit of a tussle for his affections sometimes) and own a small grey feline called Mollie. I said goodbye to my 9 – 5 in the summer of 2013 to become a full time writer.

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I was always good at essays at school, had an overactive imagination and loved books (I could read before I started school). I think those three things sealed my fate. I must have been around eleven when I made my very first attempt at writing a book about a girl and her pony and the adventures they had. I didn’t do a lot of writing in my teens – for me it was all about the music and fashion then - although at college I was a regular contributor to their magazine. I think the need to write was always there, it was simply a matter of waiting for the right time to begin.

What did you do as a job before becoming a writer?
After secretarial training I took a business qualification and moved from PA support into management. I’d always worked full time, then in 2010 decided to reduce my hours. I went from a full on job as Admin Manager in a very busy hospital Pharmacy Department to a job share which gave me two clear days a week to concentrate on writing. I’d cut my hours back deliberately because I had a date in mind when I planned to leave work altogether. If I’ve any regrets it’s that I didn’t do it much earlier.

How do you carry out the research for your novels?
They say write what you know about and for my first series of books I did just that. The location was a fictitious West Somerset village called Meridan Cross. Growing up in a small village on the edge of Salisbury Plain, creating this place and its inhabitants was very easy for me. By the time I had written the fifth and final book, I had also set scenes in Spain, and Italy - one of my favourite holiday destinations. The last two books – my South Devon Duo – were set in South Hams, again a regular holiday location. If the backdrop is going to be a big part of the book, for me it has to feel authentic - and that means I have to have been there. The internet is also extremely useful for research and I have on occasions used Google Earth for a virtual walk around places. I did this when I needed to remind myself about Verona for a scene in one of my books. I had visited a long time ago but couldn’t remember anything apart from the Arena.
My latest WIP is set in the Italian Lakes and North Cornwall. I need to know a little about surfing so that will be a new and exciting challenge!

Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
Easiest – the writing, although like most other authors I do suffer on occasions from writer’s block. However the actual creation of the story is for me the best part. Like slipping into a parallel world where you’re in charge – there’s element of being the eldest child in the family there somewhere – we’re always supposed to be the bossy ones aren’t we? And the worst part? Well it has to be the dreaded synopsis.

What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
Our house is built into the side of a hill and I have an upstairs office with views across the valley. It’s peaceful and a great place for inspiration. As for routine, I try to set aside a specific block of time each day, usually in the morning.

When you're not writing, what do you like to read?
I’ve a very broad taste in books. Fantasy ( I loved Game of Thrones), Contemporary (authors like Sheryl Browne, Kelly Rimmer and Jenny Harper) Crime (Robert Bryndza is a favourite) and, of course historical (Philippa Gregory). I’m also a reviewer for Brook Cottage Books and a NetGalley Professional reader

How important do you think social media is to authors in today's society?
I think it’s a must in order to keep up with what is going on in the writing world; to promote your work and link with other authors. As well as writing I also actively blog, promote and review. If there is a downside, however, it has to be social media sites like Twitter and Facebook which can prove a bit of a distraction while writing!

Could you tell the readers a bit about your latest book?
Watercolours in the Rain is the second book of my South Devon Duo series. It’s set in 2012/13 and brings the main three characters from the first book, Summer Moved On, back together. My ‘love to hate’ character Lily is about to cause even more trouble.

Which of your characters would you most like to be and why?
It has to be Ella Kendrick from my Little Court Series. She was the first main female character I ever created and was central to the trilogy and one of the sequels. I based her on an old work friend of mine but I also took elements of several other people I
knew. She became the template for all my other strong female characters and holds a very special place in my writing life.

Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions.

website: blog:

Brook Cottage Books: e-mail: Googleplus:

Twitter: @jolambertwriter

Facebook: Pinterest: 4644530

Summer Moved On 

Watercolours in the Rain

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

It's Publication Day for
Small Great Things
Jodi Picoult

Guest Review
Julie Williams


I love Jodi Picoult’s books and this is another terrific read that did not disappoint. Small Great Things is so well researched that it brings this powerful and emotional book to life with harrowing honesty.

Ruth Jefferson a labour and delivery nurse for over 20 years at a Connecticut hospital is in the minority in the maternity department there. Although she has never seen it as a problem, being the only person of colour nurse there, that is until she arrives for her shift one day and asked to take over the care of newly delivered mum Brittany Bauer and her baby son Davis.

She sets about doing what she has always done but when Turk Bauer, a white supremacist says she is not to touch his son or wife a supervisor is called and Ruth is ordered not to touch Davis. A few days later after Davis has a routine circumcision the nurse assigned to monitor him is called away on an emergency leaving Ruth as the sole person to monitor the baby. When he suddenly deteriorates Ruth is in a no win situation should she try to save the baby’s life or obey her superiors written instruction not to treat him?

I really enjoyed that this book is told through three characters perspectives, Ruth, Kennedy her lawyer and Turk. We also learn about Ruth’s family and how this affects them, especially her bright and well educated son Edison. 

This thought- provoking and at times uncomfortable read certainly made me think about the effects racism can have on all sides and at times this sent shivers down my spine. Will justice prevail? I am certainly not going to give that away but be prepared for some twists.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Adventurous Proposal
Laura Barnard

Guest Review
Julie Williams


This is my first read by this author and I must say I will definitely be reading more books by her. If you are looking for a quick Christmas romance read then this novella is just perfect. Not only does it have romance but also comedy that will have you laughing out loud.

Florence and Hugh are in a bar waiting for their perspective dates, when after a while it becomes apparent that they have both been stood up. This mutual situation starts a conversation between them and before you know it a wedding proposal has taken place! Planning for a wedding in less than a month is not plain sailing as this novella offers plenty of obstacles along the way.

Adventurous Proposal is an easy read that can be devoured in one sitting. It kept me on the edge of my seat wondering if the wedding would go ahead but I am not going to give away that. 

Sparkly and light hearted this is a fabulous festive read.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Mistletoe on 34th Street
Lisa Dickenson

Guest Review
Julie Williams


This gorgeous book is set in New York and Lisa describes this holiday season so wonderfully that I wish I could go off to the travel agents and buy my ticket right now! 

There are mixtures of characters in this story, some I warmed to straight away, while others took time to grow on me but in the end they all felt perfect for this tale.

Olivia, the central character, has never experienced a traditional Christmas and prefers to spend her festive holidays home alone. This year she is really looking forward to some peace and solitude as she is put in charge of taking five colleagues across the pond to a conference in order to gain support and interest for the company they work.

There are comical moments as well as romantic ones and friendships are brought together and made in the Big Apple. 

After reading this book I think that being stranded in New York would not be a problem for me as I would love to visit all the tourist attractions that Olivia goes to. It’s certainly a city on my bucket list now.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Blog Tour
A Year and A Day
Isabelle Broom

I'm delighted to be a part of this blog tour. I can't wait to read this book and it is right up there on my Christmas TBR pile! Isabelle has written a piece for Boon's Bookcase about why she loves Prague. I must admit, I have wanted to visit Prague for a couple of years now. I'm sure by the time I have read this book, I will want to go even more!

Why I love Prague – Isabelle Broom

I was 19 the first time I set foot in Prague. It was 1999, and I arrived on a coach that I’d hopped on in Amsterdam. After seven or eight relentless hours on the road, all I was craving was a soft pillow, but when my fellow backpackers and I arrived at our hostel on the outskirts of the city, we discovered that half a Canadian Ice Hockey team was staying there, too. Try saying no to those lads when they invite you out for beer and goulash – I didn’t have a hope in hell of getting an early night!

We all bundled down to the Prague Metro together and caught one of the super-fast (seriously – you have to hold on or you fall over) trains into the centre of the Old Town. I will never forget how it felt to emerge from the station and see the vast Gothic Powder Gate looming above me in the fading light. I imagine I looked not unlike a cartoon character dragging its jaw along the cobbles, and I remember all of us pointing things out to each other and immediately picking up that unique Prague buzz. It’s such a friendly city, and the warm chatter, strains of music and general feeling of frivolity seeped into me in a matter of minutes.

Prague is packed with such incredible architecture, ranging from so many centuries, that it takes several hours just to take everything in around the main square, let alone explore the rest of the city. It’s also easy to navigate, so after a few days you feel like a proper local, and everything becomes familiar – a huge plus and comfort when you’ve been on the road for weeks. The key thing for me, though, is that magical quality that I talk about in the novel. There is a sense in Prague that there are whispers circulating on the air, that history is being made, that moments of love are being shared, and there’s no better place to experience all of it than on the historic Charles Bridge. It’s honestly one of my most favourite places on the planet, that bridge. I just hope I’ve done it – and the wonderful, vibrant city of Prague – justice in my book.

His Kidnapper's Shoes
Maggie James

Genre: Psychological suspense

Release Date: 15 November 2016 (republication)

Publisher: Lake Union

Daniel is my son. He has always been mine. And he always will be.

On some level deep inside, Laura Bateman knows something is wrong. That her relationship with her son is not what it should be. That it is based on lies.

But bad things have happened to Laura. Things that change a person. Forever.

For 26-year-old Daniel, the discovery that his mother is not whom he thought comes close to destroying him. As his world turns upside-down, he searches for sanity in the madness that has become his life. But he is left with nothing but questions. Why did Laura do something so terrible? Can he move past the demons of his childhood?

And the biggest question of all: can he ever forgive Laura?



Maggie James is a British author who lives in Bristol. She writes psychological suspense novels.

Before turning her hand to writing, Maggie worked mainly as an accountant, with a diversion into practising as a nutritional therapist. Diet and health remain high on her list of interests, along with travel. Accountancy does not, but then it never did. The urge to pack a bag and go off travelling is always lurking in the background! When not writing, going to the gym, practising yoga or travelling, Maggie can be found seeking new four-legged friends to pet; animals are a lifelong love!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The Girl from The Savoy
Hazel Gaynor


Dolly is a girl with ambition and when an opportunity to work at The Savoy as a maid comes up, she jumps at the chance. Although she doesn’t want to be a maid all her life, she can see the potential of meeting influential people and hopefully realising her dream of becoming a star. She spends her days daydreaming about singing on the stage and becoming a household name.

On the way to the interview she crashes into Perry who is holding a handful of sheet music, which gets thrown onto the wet pavement. Dolly helps to retrieve the dripping sheets but Perry is adamant they are rubbish so Dolly picks them up, but instead of putting them into the rubbish bin as Perry suggests, she keeps them, hoping that one day someone would be able to play the music for her.

Little does she know at the time that Perry is the brother of a famous star of the music halls, Loretta May and when Dolly answers a small ad in the local newspaper for a “Muse”, she doesn’t realise that this will change her life forever.

Both Dolly and Loretta have secrets that they hope will not come to light, but as in all good stories, these are just waiting to be found out!

This is a fabulous story of ambition, love, friendship and memories from the past that threaten the future.

I am a huge fan of Hazel Gaynor and this book did not disappoint. If you are a fan of the roaring 20’s then you will love this book! However the ending will quite possibly leave you sobbing into your tissues!

A beautifully written book that will certainly be one of my favourites of the year!

Sunday, 13 November 2016

It's a Wonderful Life
Julia Williams
Blog Tour

Driving home for Christmas, Beth has everything she wants. The kids and the house, the career and the husband. So why is it that when the New Year comes, she can’t stop thinking about her old college boyfriend?
Her husband Daniel is tasked with bringing a struggling school up to scratch, but when family life catches up to him, can he be a good father and a good teacher at the same time?
Beth’s sister Lou has just been dumped…again. Single and childless, she can’t help but be jealous of her sibling’s success. But is the grass really always greener?


We've all had Christmases where we get stressed and worried we are not going to get everything done in time and Beth is no exception.

Married to Daniel with two teenage children, Beth is trying to get her children's book to her publisher by the deadline, when her Mum calls her to ask her what she is doing for August!! This gets Beth thinking, what if things could be different this year instead of the same thing happening every year?

Lou is Beth's sister and has problems of her own to deal with. Living with Jo seemed the ideal situation, but it's not long before cracks appear in their relationship.

The girls' brother Ged is his mother's blue eyed boy and cannot do any wrong, but when he turns up on the door with his pregnant girlfriend in tow, even his Mum is left speechless!

This book has a great selection of characters and I especially loved Beth's Mum. She reminded me of Bridget Jones's Mum!! 

There is a great moral to all the stories in this book and that is that the grass isn't always greener on the other side and even the closest of families have skeletons in their closets (which are sometimes best left there!).

Congratulations to the author on 10 years. Here's to many more!!

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Killing Kate
Alex Lake

Guest Review 
Julie Williams


If you like psychological thrillers then this one is for you. It kept me suspecting everyone in the book until about two thirds of the way in when it became apparent who the serial killer was, and even then there is still plenty to keep you enthralled until the very end. 

Killing Kate is a chilling, blood curdling read with fascinating characters. The serial killer is horrific and had me despising him with real hatred.

The story begins with Kate, a young woman who has just ended her long term relationship with Phil , but Phil is finding it difficult to accept as Kate is the love of his life. When Kate returns from a girlie holiday she is horrified to discover that there is a serial killer in her town whose victims just happen to look like her! She is obviously terrified and becomes paranoid as strange things happen which she can’t put down to coincidence. Fortunately Kate has a good network of friends who really come through for her when she needs them most.

A clever plot that I really enjoyed, as was Alex Lake’s previous novel, After Anna. 

This author is definitely on my list to look out for future books.