Saturday 25 February 2017

Before the Rains
Dinah Jefferies

Guest Review
Julie Williams

I want to say a huge thank you once again to Julie Williams, who jumped at the chance to review this new one by Dinah Jeffries!


I was treated to another terrific novel by this wonderful author. Before The Rains is a historical romantic story that explores a whole host of emotions including: tragedy, heartache, manipulation, passion and love. These are beautifully displayed with a range of superbly written characters.

Having witnessed the awful death of her beloved father as a child, Eliza and her mother decide to leave India and return to England. But as time passes and now widowed herself, Eliza returns to India alone to pursue her passion of photography.

Eliza arrives in this colourful vibrant country as an insecure, vulnerable young woman but during her time here, she not only discovers the real captivating India, but also herself.

Dinah Jefferies brings this book to life with mesmerising details of the sights, sounds and smells that make you feel that you are actually there! 

Dinah shows that India under British rule is so different to now, with the then traditions and customs which are explained and detailed appropriately.

Thanks to NetGalley and Julie for posting this review.

Friday 24 February 2017

The Silent Wife
Kerry Fisher

Guest review
Julie Williams

Today, I have a guest review by Julie Williams, who by the sounds of it, thoroughly enjoyed this one by the very lovely Kerry Fisher!


The Silent Wife had me engrossed from page one which is always a good sign when starting a new book. This is an intriguing tale of a family where appearances are definitely deceiving.

The controlling Farinelli’s show just how second wives can complicate and upset the family unit and also reveal hidden skeletons in the closet.

Head of the family is Anna who totally rules them all with an iron rod. She looks down her nose at the wives of her two beloved sons Massimo and Nico. I found her manner appalling as she had no problem in sharing her opinions with no thought to the hurt it may cause. Anna even has keys to all their homes, letting herself in whenever she pleases. The mother in law from hell comes to mind!

I enjoyed finding out about the secrets this family held both past and present. It is no surprise to find that Massimo is a bully and how he manipulates Lara his second wife is heart breaking at times. Nico on the other hand, is a lot more respectful and kinder to everyone including his lovely wife Maggie.

This book shows that second marriages have to be worked at, especially where children are involved as a mother will always protect her child, whatever the cost.

This is Kerry Fishers 4th novel and dare I say that her writing gets better with each new one . I gave this book a 5 star rating as I just didn’t want to put it down.

Thanks to Net Galley for the copy and to Julie for kindly allowing me to share my review on her blog.

Thursday 23 February 2017

Through The Barricades
Denise Deegan

I'm delighted to be hosting the Blog Tour for Through the Barricades by Denise Deegan. The author very kindly sent me a copy of the book after I commented about the lovely cover on Twitter. I love a wartime saga and this one didn't disappoint, even if I kept singing part of a certain song from Spandau Ballet, every time I picked up the book!! I have an extract for you and my review, oh and don't forget the giveaway! Good luck 

Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: 8th December 2016-12-08
She was willing to sacrifice everything for her country. He was willing to sacrifice everything for her.

‘Make a difference in the world,’ are the last words Maggie Gilligan’s father ever says to her. They form a legacy that she carries in her heart, years later when, at the age of fifteen, she tries to better the lives of Dublin’s largely forgotten poor. 

‘Don’t go getting distracted, now,’ is what Daniel Healy’s father says to him after seeing him talking to the same Maggie Gilligan. Daniel is more than distracted. He is intrigued. Never has he met anyone as dismissive, argumentative… as downright infuriating. 

A dare from Maggie is all it takes. Daniel volunteers at a food kitchen. There, his eyes are opened to the plight of the poor. It is 1913 and Dublin’s striking workers have been locked out of their jobs. Their families are going hungry. Daniel and Maggie do what they can. Soon, however, Maggie realises that the only way to make a difference is to take up arms. 

The story of Maggie and Daniel is one of friendship, love, war and revolution, of two people who are prepared to sacrifice their lives: Maggie for her country, Daniel for Maggie. Their mutual sacrifices put them on opposite sides of a revolution. Can their love survive? 



Maggie woke coughing. It was dark but there was something other than darkness in the air, something that climbed into her mouth, scratched at her throat and stole her breath. It made her eyes sting and tear. And it made her heart stall. Flames burst through the doorway like dragon breath. Maggie tried to scream but more coughs came, one after the other, after the other. She backed up in the bed, eyes wide, as the blaze began to engulf the room. She thought of her family, asleep in their beds. She had to waken them – with something other than her voice.
She hurried from her bed, peering through flame-lit smoke in search of her jug and washbasin. Reaching them, she flung water in the direction of the fire and began to slam enamel against enamel, fast and loud. She had to back away as flames lapped and roared and licked at her. But she kept on slamming.
Her arms grew tired. Her breath began to fail her. And she felt the heavy pull of sleep. She might have given in had she been alone in the house. But there was her father. There was her mother. There was Tom. And there was David. She could not give up.
Then like a miracle of black shadow, her father burst through the flames, his head tossing and turning. His frenzied gaze met hers.
She began to cry with relief but relief changed to guilt as she realised that she had only drawn him further into the fire.
‘No! You were meant to take the stairs. You were meant to-’
‘It’s all right, Maggie Mae. It’s all right,’ he said, hurrying to her. He scooped her up and held her tight as he carried her away from a heat that burned without touching.
She felt cool air on her back as he opened the window. Wind rushed in, blowing the drapes aside. The flames roared louder, rose higher. But her father only looked out at the night sky. And down.
‘Missus O’Neill! I’m dropping Maggie down to you!’ he called. ‘Catch her now, mind. Catch my little girl.’ Then he looked deep into Maggie’s eyes. ‘Missus O’Neill is down below with her arms out for you. I’m going to drop you down to her.’
‘Will she catch you too?’
But he just smiled and kissed her forehead. ‘Make a difference in the world, Maggie.’
The sadness in his eyes filled her with a new terror. ‘But you’re coming too?’
He smiled once more. ‘I am, as soon as I get the others out. Now keep your eyes on mine, Maggie Mae. Keep your eyes on mine all the way down.’


Maggie and Daniel couldn’t have come from different backgrounds. Daniel comes from a privileged background and is shielded from what is going on in Ireland in early 1900s, but Maggie on the other hand, knows only too well how people are struggling to stay alive. She helps in soup kitchens every day and sees the plight of the homeless and helpless of Dublin.

When Daniel first claps eyes on Maggie, he knows she will always hold a special place in his heart, but Maggie is hot headed, stubborn and even though she feels the same for Daniel as he does for her, she will not let her guard down and always hears her dearly departed Dad’s voice saying "always make a difference".

As Daniel and Maggie get older they see themselves go in different directions and when Daniel is sent away to war, Maggie fights battles of her own with great guts and determination. The pair grow closer and reading the letters they write to one another whilst they are apart are beautiful and endearing.

A beautifully written novel and I hope the author continues to write such thought provoking, descriptive, informative novels that bring a smile to your face and a tear to your eye!

Thank you to the author for sending me a copy and of course JB Johnston of Brook Cottage Books for letting me host this lovely book. 


About Denise Deegan

Denise Deegan is author of several best-selling novels for adults and teens. She has been a nurse, a china restorer, a pharmaceutical sales rep, a public relations officer, an entrepreneur and a college lecturer. Her most difficult job was checkout girl, though ultimately this ‘experience’ did inspire a short story…
Denise’s writing for Young Adults includes The Butterfly Novels: And By The Way, And For Your Information and And Actually.
Denise writes women’s fiction as Aimee Alexander including Pause to RewindThe Accidental Life of Greg Millar and All We Have Lost.
Most recently, Denise has written an historical novel of love and revolution, Through the Barricades.
Denise is represented by the East West Literary Agency and Barry Krost Management. She is a member of the SCBWI.

Goodreads Author Page:
Blog and Website:


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Sunday 19 February 2017


The Secrets of Ivy Garden
Catherine Ferguson

It's feeling as though Spring might finally be in the air, so what a gorgeous cover to start making us feel a bit warmer!


When Holly breaks up with her boyfriend Dean, she’s at a loss as to what to do next. But things go from bad to worse when her beloved grandmother Ivy dies – and Holly is left in charge of sorting out Ivy’s house and garden. As she sorts through her grandmother’s belongings and makes her way through the wilderness outside, Holly soon finds that there is more to Ivy than meets the eye, and uncovers a surprising family secret that changes everything…

This is a heart-warming and hilarious story from Catherine Ferguson about starting over, learning to garden and most of all learning to love.


Stephanie Butland

You can trust a book to keep your secret . . .

Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look closely, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are things she'll never show you.

Fifteen years ago Loveday lost all she knew and loved in one unspeakable night. Now, she finds refuge in the unique little York bookshop where she works.

Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past. Someone is trying to send her a message. And she can't hide any longer.

Lost for Words is a compelling, irresistible and heart-rending novel, with the emotional intensity of The Shock of the Fall and all the charm of The Little Paris Bookshop and 84 Charing Cross Road.

Published in paperback on 20th April
To order a copy click here

Saturday 11 February 2017

If Ever I Fall
S D Robertson
Blog Tour

I'm delighted to be a part of this Blog Tour and I have a guest review by Julie Williams for you. I can't wait to read this book as I absolutely loved the author's first book and it is one of my favourites (no pressure!). It is next on my TBR pile, so it won't be long until I will be snivelling into my tissues along with everyone else! Enjoy Julie's review below.


If I Ever Fall By S D Robertson

I have been eagerly awaiting this book as I enjoyed this author’s debut book Time To Say Goodbye so much last year and I am thrilled to report that this one had me gripped from the beginning.

It is told in a different style that I am used to reading but once I got my head round it I think it worked well. Firstly there are letters written to Sam by her Mum Maria, who is not only trying to come to terms with the shock of her teenage daughters’ death but also OCD. Maria hopes that by writing to Sam not as the teen she was but as an adult, she will be emotionally able to go forward with her life. 

Then there is Dan, Sam’s Dad, who is also struggling with grief. His chapters are mainly written before the tragedy. Finally there is Jack a man who is suffering from amnesia and only knows what he is told by Miles a retired Doctor whom he is staying with.

With the family falling apart both Maria and Dan share in their desperation to find out exactly what happened to their beloved daughter and the reasons why.  It seems that finding a way to reconcile the family for their own sake and that of their other child Ruby proves difficult and beyond repair.

This story knits together in the end with secrets revealed and a twist that I was not expecting. 

Although this is quite an emotional read because of the subject, I was not reaching for my tissues all the time.

Thanks to Avon books and NetGalley for the ACR. This is my honest review. Also thanks as always to Julie Boon for allowing me to guest review on her wonderful blog.

To order a copy of If Ever I Fall click here 

Friday 10 February 2017

Secrets We Keep
Faith Hogan
Blog Tour

It's my turn to host the Blog Tour for Secrets We Keep by Faith Hogan. Below, I have an extract for you. Enjoy...


Sometimes crossroads appear in the last place you expect Athem. Kate Hunt knew, as the Atlantic winter air dug hungrily into her bones, that she was standing at one now. The beach was empty, save for an occasional reluctant dog walker; certainly, she was the only holidaymaker. Was she a holidaymaker? She was staying with her great-aunt Iris and her husband Archie in their quaint hotel as far away from her real life in London as it was possible to get. Even if it was only an hour by plane to the west of Ireland, Kate felt like she was in a different world. Iris was her only real family now, unless you counted her mother and well, she and Adaline had never been close.
Ballytokeep did not get many tourists outside the summer months; none at all at the end of December. Kate booked the break on Christmas night. It was a whim, she needed to get away, to jump off the treadmill her life had become, just to breathe. Since they met at Pamela’s funeral, Iris sent a Christmas card each year. Just a card. ‘Hope you’re well, thinking of you, love if you had time to pop across,’ it was the kind of thing people said. Probably, you never took them up, but Kate saw it as a sign, a lighthouse in a vast ocean – maybe a place, or people, to call her own. Alone in her London flat, it felt like the whole world was sharing the holidays without her. The city outside twinkled with festive cheer. She convinced herself for so long that it didn’t matter. It was a time for drunks, rows and disappointments and, for almost a decade, she managed to ignore the silly cheerfulness around her. This year, she’d cracked open a bottle of champagne, a  gift from work, had it made her maudlin? Rumour had it; her boss, Lyndon Tansey had just bought a winery in South Africa. He brought in a crate of white and red for their Christmas drinks and they’d all got nicely sozzled. Maybe, Kate thought that Christmas night, as she eyed the half-finished bottle of champagne, maybe that was what had made her feel restless, as though she was missing something. While other people were buying vineyards, she was wading through divorce papers for the rich and famous.
She booked it on a whim. Now, she was pleased she’d come here to this antiquated little place that was too big to be a village, too small to be a town. Ballytokeep, for all the desertion of the summer trade, was a place like no other she had ever been to. It was built on a stony hill, a picture postcard of gaudily painted shopfronts and houses looking down to where the powerful ocean swept up to the weathered promenade. The sea, with its rolling surf whispering slowly and determinedly up the golden sand, seemed to promise the cleaning rejuvenation she so badly craved. Far off in the distance, the towers of a Norman castle keep rose high into the skyline and Kate knew she would visit here again to sit beneath its stoic turret. She loved the little hotel; her room the only one with a guest, peeped out of the centre of the Victorian building. The view was spectacular, small blue and white fishing boats bobbed on the icy waves that beat against the old harbour.
In London, they’d call Hartley’s Guesthouse boutique, shabby-chic or maybe bohemian. If the place was a little faded, its chintz too threadbare to be fashionable, its varnishes dulled with age, it was no less charming for all of that. Here, it was what it was; there was no pretension about the Victorian building with all its original features and impressive views.
On New Year’s Eve they stood looking out across the harbour, just the three of them and toasted the year ahead.
‘To family,’ Archie said and Kate knew she had done the right thing in coming here. The night air was fresh, it seemed that every lighthouse in the distance might wink across the blue-black ocean waves. If Kate could wish for anything, it was that she could have these people close forever.

 To order a copy of Secrets we Keep click here

Thursday 9 February 2017

The Things I Should Have Told You
Carmel Harrington

I'm so happy to be a part of the blog tour for this book by Carmel Harrington. I have an extract for you below and I have to hold my hands up and say I haven't read it, I now have to give in to pleading from my book pal and guest reviewer Julie Williams and read this book! 


I’ve never been a vain man, but I’ve always taken care of my appearance. I shave every morning as soon as I get up and while I don’t have the energy for a shower every day, I’ll always wash my hair. But even so, I know I look a bit . . . unkempt. My skin sags wearily on pointy bones and there’s a greyness to my complexion that wasn’t there a few weeks ago. Last time I saw Beth I was young, vibrant, full of vigour. Would she even recognise me now?  
‘How can you be so sure that you’ll see her when you die?’ 
‘I’ve faith, lad.’ 
Scepticism lls Olly’s face. That, right there, is part of his problem. ‘What makes you not believe?’ I’m curious. Olly shrugs, but he has no answer for me. I’ve had time to think about my own faith. Goodness knows, it’s been tested many times, not least of all when Beth died. But it was faith that I’d see her again one day that has got me through the past thirty-odd years. Had I not believed that, I don’t think I would have managed to smile and laugh and enjoy my family and life as much as I have. And that would have been a crying shame, because I’ve had a good life with Olly, Mae and the children. 
I look at him and wish that I could nd words that might explain to him how I feel. I scan my bedroom and my eyes rest on the battered brown briefcase propped against my dresser. I carried that to work every day for nigh-on thirty-eight years, right up until I retired. Now it contains a shiny silver laptop that Olly and Mae bought me a few years back. I thought I’d never get the hang of it. Googling seemed like a ridiculous word, that made me giggle like a silly teenager whenever I thought of it. But now, well, I love it. I think it’s the fact that I can travel anywhere in the world courtesy of that silver box. It’s amazing what you can nd on the internet. 
Then I have one of those light-bulb moments. 
‘Think of Wi-Fi, lad. You can’t see that, right? Faith is just like Wi-Fi, with the power to connect you to so much, to places all over the world.’  
Olly seems amused at the direction my train of thought has gone. I dive in with my analogy. 
‘Think about it. I have faith that your mother is waiting for me. I can feel that more and more every day. I’m sure of it, lad, in the same way I know that I’ll be waiting for you, when it’s your turn to go too.’ 
‘Not for a few more decades though, please, Pops!’ and we both laugh together at that. ‘You’ve a great way of looking at things. It’s a nice thought, either ways.’ 
‘Well, you remember what I said about the Wi-Fi when I’m gone. I’ll connect with you again one day, lad. Somehow or other, we’ll nd each other. You mark my words.’ 
Olly squeezes my hand, pain etched all over his face. I feel his love for me and know that he is already mourning my inevitable absence in his life. I hate that I’m adding to his worry right now. 
‘Are you honest to God worried about how you look?’ 
When I nod in response, he looks at me with a critical eye, ‘I suppose you could do with a hair-cut. You’re looking a bit Spandau Ballet-like there, Pops.’ 
Ha! He’s funny, my son. How many times did I nag him when he was a teenager and into all that New Romantic nonsense? He grew his hair long and started to wear white €oppy shirts. Eejit. ‘I’ll book the hairdresser,’ Olly assures me. He bends in towards me, so close we’re almost nose to nose. ‘Mam loved you. She won’t care what you look like. She wasn’t like that, worried about stupid supercial stuff.’ 
I daresay he’s right. 
‘Sure, maybe you’ll become young again when you die,’ he adds.  
‘Aye, maybe I will that.’ I like that thought. This body of mine is gone all worn out, like a set of brake pads past their sell-by date. I’d happily swap it for a younger version. ‘Would you get my good suit dry-cleaned for me, the one I got last year in Neon’s?’ I’ve gotten my suits in that shop in Talbot Street for over thirty years now. Mind you, when I bought it, I had no idea that it would be the last time I’d ever buy a suit. Had I known, I might have splurged and bought two! 
I watch Olly’s face go through several emotions. From shock, to anger, to sadness and then nally it settles on acceptance of a kind. While I know that it’s time that I start working through all the ner details of what I want, I hate seeing the effect that it has on him. 
‘That’s what you want to wear . . . when . . . you know?’ He stammers out and his face has gone a funny grey colour. 
‘I do,’ I reply. ‘But make sure you put me in my shiny shoes. The ones I usually wear for a black-tie do. And I want my white dress shirt too with the cuf€inks that I wore for your wedding. I always feel dapper when I wear those. Oh, and I want the blue tie that Evie bought me last Christmas to nish the look off. She’ll like that.’ 
Olly blinks, then nods, leaning in to grasp my hand and squeeze it tight. 
‘I want to look smart,’ I tell him, but damn it, my voice catches. I blink fast. I need him to understand that this is important for me. 
‘I won’t forget, Pops. I’ll make sure you look perfect,’ Olly promises, and I know I’m in safe hands. When Olly promises to do something, he never lets you down.

To read Julie William's guest review click here





Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 25 November 2016
Publisher:  SilverWood Books

Could you ever trust again – the man who broke your heart?

Kate Fenton thought she’d got the answer to that question all neatly sewn up.  Ever since she went to Saul Preston’s London art gallery, a month before their wedding, and found him with his assistant – who looked as if she was in the middle of a game of strip poker.
Now, three years later, she’s no longer so sure.  Saul’s back in her life with a new proposition – accompany him on a trip to Majorca as his interpreter.  It’s an offer Kate can’t refuse, even though she knows she should.  Successful and rich, he’s just the sort of client her translation company is trying to attract – even if he is her two-timing ex!
Saul’s never gone in for second chances.  He’s never had the time, but he knows exactly what he’s doing when he suggests the trip to Kate.  As gorgeous and infuriatingly easy to fall for as ever, he’s determined to rekindle their past.  And he’s only got 3 days to do it…

‘True Colours’ – Winner of The Festival of Romance’s New Talent Award 2014
From award-winning author Elly Redding comes a fresh, effervescent, passionate romance that reunites Kate, a London career girl, with Saul, her seriously successful, rich and gorgeous, ex-fiancĂ©.  He’s already broken her heart once, so maybe accepting his business proposition isn’t such a good idea.  But sometimes decisions just aren’t that easy.  As the chemistry between them bubbles with renewed vigour, Kate is sorely tempted.  Can a leopard really change its spots – or is she just deceiving herself, with the man who broke her heart?
“A wonderfully warm romance, with lots of emotion and passion, and a generous sprinkling of delicious wit.  I loved this story!” – Joanne Walsh, author


“Go away,” she shouted frantically reassessing her options.
“I don’t really think you’re in a position to make demands, do you, trapped as you are?  Unless, of course, you’re thinking of taking up abseiling.  In which case, may I advise restraint?  You’re on the fourth floor.  You’re afraid of heights and I’m not standing in the right place to catch you.”
Good.  It would ruin the whole point of the exercise if he was.  She didn’t tell him that though.  Instead she suggested he make an appointment, that if he wanted to see her, he should do what everyone else did.
“But I’m not everyone else, am I?  I’m the guy who’s still considering suing you for breach of contract.”
“Contract - what contract?”
“Your promise to marry me.”
“You bastard.”   It was the first thing she could think of to say, but she thought it summed up the situation perfectly.  “In which case, may I suggest you contact my lawyer?  I think you’ll find I’ve a very strong case for a counter claim.  Or has something conveniently slipped your memory?  Let me give you a clue.  She had an amazing pair of breasts.”


Available in Kindle and Paperback!


Elly Redding was born in London but now lives in Bedfordshire with her husband.
Having originally written screenplays, her first novel, ‘True Colours’, won the Festival of Romance’s New Talent Award in 2014.
She enjoys tap dancing and watching the waves, although not necessarily at the same time!
She keeps in touch with her readers on Twitter – @ellyredding, and Facebook – 


 Elly Redding was born in London but now lives in Bedfordshire with her husband.
Having originally written screenplays, her first novel, ‘True Colours’, won the Festival of Romance’s New Talent Award in 2014.
She enjoys tap dancing and watching the waves, although not necessarily at the same time!
She keeps in touch with her readers on Twitter – @ellyredding, and Facebook –

 Elly Redding was born in London but now lives in Bedfordshire with her husband.
Having originally written screenplays, her first novel, ‘True Colours’, won the Festival of Romance’s New Talent Award in 2014.
She enjoys tap dancing and watching the waves, although not necessarily at the same time!
She keeps in touch with her readers on Twitter – @ellyredding, and Facebook –

An ecopy of the book!

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