Thursday 20 December 2018

25 Days 'til Christmas
Poppy Alexander


Thank you so much to Alex from Orion for letting Boon's Bookcase be a part of the Blog Tour for 25 Days 'til Christmas. My lovely friend and Guest Reviewer, Julie Williams, has her review for you below.


I do love a Christmas romance so when this one came along I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.

Kate Thompson is facing another lonely Christmas as her army husband Tom was killed suddenly four years ago. But Kate is a fighter so decides this year to incorporate an Advent calendar with a difference which will force her to overcome her sadness for the sake of her beloved young son Jack.

Kate certainly has some uphill struggles ahead to deal with, as she is not only financially unstable with only a low paid job to support her and Jack, but also her Mother in Law’s care home fees to pay.

Daniel who has secretly admired Kate for a few years as she stands outside in the freezing cold selling Christmas trees, is also grieving as this will be his first Christmas without his sister Zoe who passed away from a heart condition. I really like Daniel his character portrays a caring, kind hearted, shy man who doesn’t shirk his responsibilities. So when he finally plucks up the courage to talk to Kate and invite her and Jack to see his home, a narrow boat on the canal, I hoped things would blossom between them, making for a happy Christmas for them all. 
A lovely festive story, that is both heart-warming and a joy to read. My thanks to Net galley for the ARC.

Monday 10 December 2018

A Sister's Struggle
Mary Gibson


I'm absolutely delighted to be a part of the Blog Tour for Mary Gibson's latest novel, A Sister's Struggle, which is published on 1st December 2018 in hardback. In the meantime, I am honoured to have a guest post especially for Boon's Bookcase and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. What makes this guest piece really personal is that I know most of the places that the author talks about and my Mum was born in Long Lane! 

 Thank you to the author for writing the guest post and to Vicky at Head of Zeus for adding me to the blog tour.

My young heroine struggles with poverty, family loyalties, her conscience and her loves in my latest Bermondsey novel, set in the ‘hungry thirties’. But the central question of the novel is: who will win the battle for Ruby Scully’s heart? 

Radicalisation is a word we hear a lot of these days, but there is nothing new about it. Poverty and youthful idealism have always been the perfect harvest fields and Bermondsey during the nineteen thirties was a prime example. It was a fascinating mix of mission field and battle field. From the soup kitchens of the South London Mission at the top of Tower Bridge Road to the little known ‘Battle of Bermondsey’ fought among the barricades of Long Lane, my idealistic young heroine, Ruby Scully, struggles to make a better life for herself, her family and friends. As she and a group of her young workmates at Crosse & Blackwell’s pickle factory fall variously in love with Methodism, Marx, Mosley and each other, it becomes clear that hearts and minds are the real battle field and it takes a terrible tragedy to reveal the truth behind each of their faiths and loves.

The novel opens with Ruby as a hungry twelve-year-old at the height of the depression. Her mother has died in childbirth and her father Dodge is a charming rogue but a terrible father. All the domestic burden of caring for her two brothers has fallen to Ruby and she keenly misses the presence of her mother. At near starvation point and desperate to get food for herself and her brothers, Ruby Scully joins the Methodist Mission, initially for the free breakfasts of bread and cocoa, but later as a true believer. Here she meets Ida, another hungry girl, who becomes her closest friend, but who finds her own faith in socialism. Although their ideas seem poles apart their friendship proves stronger than their faiths. 

There is a pub in the Old Kent Road called the ‘World Turned Upside Down’ that appears in the book and I have used it as a sort of symbol for the general turmoil and upheaval that happens in my heroine’s life. I always like to connect Bermondsey, a thirteen hundred acre borough at the geographical heart of London, to wider national and international events of the time and then see how these ripple back to turn my characters’ lives upside down.

The 1937 Battle of Bermondsey gave me the ideal event to hang the story on. A year after Cable Street Mosley and his Blackshirts attempted to march through Bermondsey to hold an open air rally. But the locals refused to let them pass - coming out in their thousands and throwing up barricades along the route. Of course, my heroine is in the thick of it. One of her brothers has become a poster boy for the blackshirts, her fiancée is a Methodist missionary who forbids her to attend, and her best friends are socialists standing atop the barricades…what could possibly go wrong?

A SISTER’S STRUGGLE will be published by Head of Zeus in e book 1st December 2018, hardback February 2019 and paperback in May 2019

About the author

Mary Gibson was born and brought up in Bermondsey, South East London. After a thirty year career in publishing, she took the opportunity of early retirement to write a book of her own. Her début novel, Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts, was inspired by the lives and times of her grandparents in World War One Bermondsey. It went on to become a top ten Kindle best seller and was selected for World Book Night 2015. 

Follow Mary
Twitter handle: @MaryGibsonBooks
Facebook: @MaryGibsonBooks

About the book

A young girl struggles to keep body and soul together in 1930s London, while her proud but spendthrift widowed father refuses to accept charity.

London, 1935.

Ruby is always hungry, but she will go without if it means her young brothers can eat. 1930s Bermondsey might be called the larder of London, with its pie, pickle and jam factories, but for the poor working classes, starvation is often only a heartbeat away. When Ruby’s neighbour suggests she ought to go to the Methodist Mission for free food, Ruby knows her father will be furious, but that she has no other option. 

It is a decision that will change the course of her life forever, split her family and in the end lead her to face a terrible choice between duty and a great love.

Buy links Kobo:  iBooks:  Amazon:  Google Play: 

Follow Head of Zeus:
Twitter: @HoZ_Books
Facebook: @headofzeus Website:

Friday 7 December 2018

Sadie's Wars
Rosemary Noble

Welcome to Boon's Bookcase to Rosemary Noble and it's my turn on the Book Promo for Sadie's Wars. I love the cover of this one and I just adore old photos, so I had to be a part of promoting this book!

Sadie’s Wars
An astonishing tale, spanning continents, where truth is stranger than fiction. This historical saga of an extraordinary Australian pioneer family continues into a new generation.
Sadie is brought-up amongst the vineyards of the Yarra Valley while her work-obsessed father reaps riches from the boom years before the Great War. 
With post-war depression looming, Sadie's only option is to flee from her disastrous marriage, seeking refuge in Cleethorpes, a small seaside town in northern England. 
Years later, when her sons are in RAF Bomber Command, she receives a letter from her long-lost brother which forces her to confront the past and her part in her family’s downfall. 
Can old wounds be healed?  Will she find new love?  Will this second war destroy everyone she saved?

Purchase Link  

Author Bio 

 I worked as a  librarian, mostly with young people, so books have been my life, ever since I first stepped into a library and found a magical treasure trove. My other love is social history. Retirement gave me the opportunity to travel to Australia where I discovered stories that deserved to be written. I found a new career as an author which gives me immense pleasure. I write for myself but am delighted that others enjoy my books.

Social Media Links –

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Seven Days of Us
Francesca Hornak

Today, I'm delighted to be a part of the blog tour for Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak and I have an extract for you to enjoy. Do enter the giveaway for a copy of the book and i'll also throw some chocolates in as well seeing as it's Christmas! GOOD LUCK (UK only).

17 November 2016
Cape Beach, Monrovia, Liberia, 1.03 a.m.
.   .   .
Olivia knows what they are doing is stupid. If seen, they will be sent home – possibly to a tribunal. Never mind that to touch him could be life threatening. But who will see them? The beach is deserted and so dark she can just see a few feet into the inky sea. The only sound is the swooshing drag of the waves. She is acutely aware of the tiny gap between their elbows, as they walk down to the surf. She wants to say, ‘We shouldn’t do this,’ except they haven’t done anything. They still haven’t broken the No- Touch rule.
The evening had begun in the beach bar, with bottled beers and then heady rum and Cokes. They had sat under its corrugated iron roof for hours, a sputtering hurricane lamp between them, as the sky flared bronze. They had talked about going home for Christmas in five weeks, and how they both wanted to come back to Liberia. She told him about Abu, the little boy she had treated and then sobbed for on this beach the day he died. And then they’d talked about where they’d grown up, and gone to medical school, and their families. His home in Ireland sounded so unlike hers. He was the first to go to university, and to travel. She tried to explain how medicine represented a rebellion of sorts to her parents, and his eyes widened – as they had when she confessed to volunteering at Christmas, to avoid her family. She had noticed his eyes when they first met at the treatment centre – they were all you could see, after all, behind the visor. They were grey-green, like the sea in Norfolk, with such dark lashes he might have been wearing make-up. She kept looking at his hands, as he picked the label on his beer. Like hers, they were rough from being dunked in chlorine. She wanted to take one and turn it over in her palm.
By the time the bar closed the stars were out, spilt sugar across the sky. The night air was weightless against her bare arms. ‘Will we walk?’ said Sean, standing up. Usually she stood eye to eye with men, but he was a head taller than her. And then there was a second, lit by the hurricane lamp, when they looked straight at each other, and something swooped in her insides. 
Now, ankle deep in the surf, their sides are nearly touching. Phosphorescence glimmers in the foam. She loses her footing as a wave breaks over their calves, and he turns so that she half-falls into him. His hands reach to steady her and then circle around her waist. She turns in his arms to face him, feeling his palms on the small of her back. The inches between his mouth and hers ache to be crossed. And as he lowers his head, and she feels his lips graze hers, she knows this is the stupidest thing she has ever done.
The Buffalo Hotel, Monrovia, Liberia, 2.50 p.m.
Sipping bottled water to quell her stomach (why did she have that last drink?), Olivia waits to Skype her family. It is strange to be in a hotel lobby, a little bastion of plumbing and wi-fi – though there is no air-con, just a fan to dispel the clingy heat. And even here there is a sense of danger, and caution. In the bathrooms are posters headed SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HAAG VIRUS, with little cartoons of people vomiting. The barman dropped her change into her palm without contact – guessing, rightly, that most white faces in Monrovia are here for the epidemic, to help with ‘Dis Haag Bisniss’. Another aid worker paces the lobby, talking loudly on an iPhone about ‘the crisis’ and ‘supplies’ and then hammering his MacBook Air with undue industry. He’s wearing a Haag Response T-shirt and expensive-looking sunglasses, and has a deep tan. He’s probably with one of the big NGOs, thinks Olivia. He doesn’t look like he’d ever brave the Haag Treatment Centre or a PPE suit – not like Sean. Last night keeps replaying in her mind. She can’t wait to see Sean on shift later, to savour the tension of No-Touch, of their nascent secret. Anticipation drowns out the voice telling her to stop, now, before it goes further. It’s too late to go back anyway.
Olivia realises she is daydreaming – it’s five past three and her family will be waiting. She puts the call through and suddenly, magically, there they are crammed onto her screen. She can see that they’re in the kitchen at Gloucester Terrace, and that they have propped a laptop up on the island. Perhaps it’s her hangover, but this little window onto Camden seems so unlikely as to be laughable. She looks past their faces to the duck-egg cupboards and gleaming coffee machine. It all looks absurdly clean and cosy.
Her mother, Emma, cranes towards the screen like a besotted fan, touching the glass as if Olivia herself might be just behind it. Perhaps she, too, can’t fathom how a little rectangle of Africa has appeared in her kitchen. Olivia’s father, Andrew, offers an awkward wave-salute, a brief smile replaced by narrowed eyes as he listens without speaking. He keeps pushing his silver mane back from his face (Olivia’s own face, in male form), frowning and nodding – but he is looking past her, at the Buffalo Hotel. Her mother’s large hazel eyes look slightly wild, as she fires off chirpy enquiries. She wants to know about the food, the weather, the showers, anything – it seems – to avoid hearing about Haag. There is a lag between her voice and lips, so that Olivia’s answers keep tripping over Emma’s next question.
Her sister Phoebe hovers behind their parents, holding Cocoa the cat like a shield. She is wearing layered vests that Olivia guesses are her gym look, showing off neat little biceps. At one point, she glances at her watch. Olivia tries to tell them about the cockerel that got into the most infectious ward and had to be stoned to death, but her mother is gabbling: ‘Have a word with Phoebs!’ and pushing Phoebe centre stage. ‘Hi,’ says Phoebe sweetly, smiling her wide, photogenic smile, and making Cocoa wave his paw.
Olivia can’t think of anything to say – she is too aware that she and her sister rarely speak on the phone. Then she remembers that Phoebe has just had her birthday (is she now twenty-eight or -nine? She must be twenty-nine because Olivia is thirty-two), but before she can apologise for not getting in touch, Phoebe’s face stretches into a grotesque swirl, like Munch’s Scream. ‘Olivia? Wivvy? Wiv?’ she hears her mother say, before the call cuts off completely. She tries to redial, but the connection is lost.
. 1 .
17 December 2016
The Study, 34 Gloucester Terrace, Camden, 4.05 p.m.
.   .   .
Subject: copy 27th dec

About the Author
Francesca Hornak is an author, journalist and former columnist for the Sunday Times Style magazine. Her debut novel Seven Days Of Us will be published by Little, Brown in September 2017. Little Island Productions has pre-empted TV rights to the book. Francesca's work has appeared in newspapers and magazines including The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Metro, Elle, Grazia, Stylist, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and Red. She is the author of two nonfiction books, History of the World in 100 Modern Objects: Middle Class Stuff (and Nonsense) and Worry with Mother: 101 Neuroses for the Modern Mama.
Follow her on Twitter at @FrancescaHornak

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday 1 December 2018

Two Fabulous Giveaways
Gill Paul
(UK only & over 18s)

Giveaway One
Another Woman¹s Husband prize has a signed copy of the paperback, five
mini cocktail syrups and some Hotel Chocolat Billionaires Shortbread

Giveaway Two
The Lost Daughter prize has a signed paperback, three mini flavoured
vodkas and some Hotel Chocolat caramel and pecan brownies

The fabulous author, Gill Paul, has very kindly offered two fabulous prizes in a Giveaway and I am extremely honoured to be able to offer them to you on Boon's Bookcase. All you have to do is enter below and in a week, two winners will be announced and Gill will very kindly send the winners their prize! What are you waiting for! GOOD LUCK (UK only).

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Tuesday 20 November 2018

One New York Christmas
Mandy Baggot

It's my turn on the Blog Tour for One New York Christmas by Mandy Baggot. This is the first book I have read by this author (I know, I can only apologise!), but I will certainly be reading more as there are some witty one liners in this one! Having been to New York a couple of times and once just before Christmas, I can relate to this book and the places that Lara visited and can thoroughly recommend New York as a romantic, feel good place to visit.

Lara Weeks is heading to New York with best friend Susie for the Christmas trip of a lifetime.

A festive break in the snowy Big Apple visiting the tourist hotspots, not to mention the shopping, seems like the perfect way for Lara to get over her ex-boyfriend. Or maybe make him so jealous he begs for a second chance.

Enlisting the help of gorgeous actor, Seth Hunt, doesn't quite go to plan, but there's something about him that has Lara wishing for a different kind of happy ever after...

It's December 1st and Lara is getting excited about all the upcoming Christmas festivities that are planned in her little village of Appleshaw and who else would she plan to spend the festive season with, other than her boyfriend Dan, but when Dan delivers a bombshell all of his own, Lara's whole world is turned upside down, until her friend Susie comes up with the ridiculous idea of dropping everything and jetting off to New York, or is it

Susie has her own reason for going to the Big Apple in that she wants to see her boyfriend David as she is getting fed up of having a long distance relationship!

Apart from seeing her boyfriend, Susie is trying to make Dan jealous and tweets an American actor (who Lara loves), but little does she realise the repercussions this will cause...

Actor Seth is "between jobs" and his friend Trent decides to become his agent with mixed consequences!

The situations that Lara, Susie, Seth and Trent get into when the girls arrive in New York is hilarious and what happens with a lemur in Central Park will leave you in stitches!

This is a very funny, sometimes emotional read and it is a lovely feel good book for the Christmas season. I will definitely be reading more from this author as I do love anything to do with Christmas!

Sunday 18 November 2018

The Merest Loss
Steven Neil

The Merest Loss
A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris. When Harriet Howard becomes Louis Napoleon’s mistress and financial backer and appears at his side in Paris in 1848, it is as if she has emerged from nowhere. How did the English daughter of a Norfolk boot-maker meet the future Emperor? Who is the mysterious Nicholas Sly and what is his hold over Harriet? Can Harriet meet her obligations and return to her former life and the man she left behind? What is her involvement with British Government secret services? Can Harriet’s friend, jockey Tom Olliver, help her son Martin solve his own mystery: the identity of his father? The central character is Harriet Howard and the action takes place between 1836 and 1873. The plot centres on Harriet’s relationships with Louis Napoleon and famous Grand National winning jockey, Jem Mason. The backdrop to the action includes significant characters from the age, including Lord Palmerston, Queen Victoria and the Duke of Grafton, as well as Emperor Napoleon III. The worlds of horse racing, hunting and government provide the scope for rural settings to contrast with the city scenes of London and Paris and for racing skulduggery to vie with political chicanery. The Merest Loss is historical fiction with a twist. It’s pacy and exciting with captivating characters and a distinctive narrative voice.

Purchase Links

Author Bio

 Steven Neil has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the Open University and an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. In his working life he has been a bookmaker’s clerk, management tutor, management consultant, bloodstock agent and racehorse breeder. He is married and lives in rural Northamptonshire.

Social Media Links:


From Steven Neil, the author of THE MEREST LOSS 
A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris. 

Using witness testimony

I like the idea of using different points of view to provide variety for the reader. The most obvious way to do this is by switching the narrator from, say, an omniscient third person narrator to a character narrator, in the first person. It is also possible to change the tense from past to present and back again. The challenge for the writer is to generate interest and variety rather than confusion. Sometimes it works well, but care needs to be taken. Another way to vary point of view is to use a device like a newspaper article, a review or an exchange of letters or notes to provide additional perspective. In chapter three of The Merest Loss I used a report from one character to another on the progress at school of Elizabeth Harryet. This is sometimes called ‘witness testimony’ and provides a third party perspective on a leading character. It also has the benefit of suspending the normal rules of ‘show versus tell’ for the writer and can ‘fast track’ an understanding of the subject’s personality or temperament.

Chapter Three 

Aylesbury and the Isle of Wight, England

Eliza’s end of term report, from the deputy principal, Mr Dalziel, to Mr Ridley, marked For Your Eyes Only, reads thus:
     Miss Harryet has fully lived up to her reputation as “difficult”. Whilst we pride ourselves on our ability to deal with girls of all types of character, this young lady is of a different order altogether. She has been in detention more times than any of the other girls in her year put together. On the academic front, she has managed to fail all of her exams, in two cases omitting to write a single word on the answer sheet. I think if we continue with her, we will have to go back to basics. She seems rather unclear about the essential difference between right and wrong.
     Whilst there are some positives, they have unfortunately been coupled, in every case, by an equal and opposite, negative facet.
     Even her sternest critics on the staff agree that she is possessed of an extraordinary energy. One might say she is boisterous, but I think the adjective does not quite convey her behaviour accurately enough. Nevertheless, if it could be bottled and channelled into her studies, that would give us some hope for the future. She is intelligent - there is no question about that -
but whether we will ever be able to persuade her to match her ability with discipline and application, is a moot point.
     She has a great gift for mimicry. Whilst this can, on occasion, be tolerably amusing, it also has a rather cruel side to it and such is the effect on some of her fellow pupils, not to mention members of staff,  that we have had to place a ban on this activity, although this is proving quite difficult to police. Miss Harryet’s uncanny impersonation of Mr Rogers, was attributed by her to a ‘very bad touch of tonsillitis.’
     She can, when the mood takes her, be quite engaging, but it must be admitted that this mood comes upon her infrequently. She seems to have made few friends, although she is on good terms with Miss Melliora Findon and Miss Lavinia Lampard. Unfortunately, their own record of bad behaviour, though not in the same league as Miss Harryet, means we have had to separate them. The fire in their dormitory may well have been an accident, but it is not a risk we can take.
     She has a tremendous talent as a horse rider, however, we have also had to curtail this activity. Whilst she is the only one to have mastered some of the more complex equitation techniques, taught by Monsieur Macaire, her habit of jumping out of the ménage and galloping off round the grounds at the end of her lessons, has had disastrous consequences. Once she rides our horses, none of the other girls can hold them, even in a gag bit. Poor Miss Strabally was run away with so badly that she was found in a ditch six miles away in Newbridge. The horse was found swimming off Yarmouth towards the mainland and had to be recovered by the lifeboat, put out from Cowes, as the Yarmouth boat was already in service.
     You have asked me to consider whether we can, in the interests of retaining our staff and our other pupils, continue to persevere with Miss Harryet. Whilst all the evidence points against it, I am inclined to see if we can make some progress over the summer break and look again at the situation at the beginning of next term. I am suggesting, therefore, that we do not send her home for the summer, but keep her here under my supervision and put together a programme aimed specifically at her.
     I am sure the Harryets will readily accept this idea and provided her benefactor, the duke, is prepared to meet the additional costs, I think it is worth trying. We have never failed with a pupil yet in our short history and I don’t want to give up on our record and reputation.

© Steven Neil

THE MEREST LOSS is available in paperback and eBook in the UK, US, France, Canada and Australia. 

Follow Steven Neil on for information on how to purchase the paperback through an independent bookseller in the UK.

Thursday 15 November 2018

The Long Shadow
Celia Fremlin

It's my turn on the Blog Tour for The Long Shadow and today I have an extract for you. I love the cover on this one and having read some of this book already, I can see the similarities to Susan Hill's The Woman in Black. Enjoy the extract from this seasonal ghost story...

It was the grandfather clock striking midnight that roused her. She should be writing answers to these letters, not crying over them. In two whole months, she and Dot between them had answered barely a third; and they were still coming in.
‘Ten a day,’ Dot had proposed, in the heavy-handed, no-non-sense style that had kept her husband working late for years. ‘If we each answer ten a day, Imogen, then they’ll be done in— let’s see. Twenty a day is a hundred and forty a week . . . that’s a month, then. Just over a month . . . .’
Soon, though, it began to appear that five a day might have been a more realistic target . . . then three . . . and then two; and at this point the actuarial calculations became so depressing— the whole thing extending, it seemed, over the best part of both their lifetimes—that Dot decided that what was needed was a System. Hence the in-trays, and the cardboard boxes, and the slips of paper saying things like ‘To be answered before Dec. 7th’; or ‘Friends, current’; ‘Friends, Miscellaneous’; ‘Publishers etc., except for Charlie’; and ‘The Australian Lot’. Imogen found the principle of classification beyond her; but she could see that it was easier than actually writing the letters.

In the last resort, there is only one way of getting something done, and that is to do it. This was something you couldn’t really explain to Dot. She took after her mother, Ivor always used to say; which may or may not have been true. In all these years, Imogen had never actually met this earliest one of her predecessors, and so these paternal accusations were hard to assess.
Rubbing her eyes, still stiff and sore with crying, Imogen reached out blindly for the topmost letter of the nearest pile. ‘Take the one nearest you’, they always used to say when you were a child at the tea-table; and really it was good advice. Whatever this topmost letter was, important or unimportant, easy or difficult, urgent or otherwise, she would answer it—just simply answer it—here and now. Thus would be removed the awful burden of deciding where to start.
It would be this one! Well, wouldn’t it?—and no more than you deserve, my girl, leaving the thing to Fate like that. And you the wife of a Classics Professor, too—all those Greek plays. You, of all women, should know the kind of thing Fate gets up to when the Gods are no longer on your side . . . .
The widow of a Classics Professor, she corrected herself; and began to read. Twice, and then a third time, she read through the five closely-written pages; and then stared, for nearly a minute, at the heavy velvet curtains that shut out the night beyond the big windows.
At last, drawing the writing-pad towards her, she picked up her pen.

Monday 12 November 2018

What's Left Unsaid
Deborah Stone

I would like to say thank you to the author for getting in touch with me and asking, very kindly, if I would like to review her book. I'm glad she did as I really enjoyed this one! Read my review of What's Left Unsaid below.

Sasha is just about managing to hold her life together. She is raising her teenage son Zac, coping with an absent husband and caring for her ageing, temperamental and alcoholic mother, as well as holding down her own job. But when Zac begins to suspect that he has a secret sibling, Sasha realises that she must relive the events of a devastating night which she has done her best to forget for the past nineteen years.

Sasha's mother, Annie, is old and finds it difficult to distinguish between past and present and between truth and lies. As Annie sinks deeper back into her past, she revisits the key events in her life which have shaped her emotionally. Through it all, she remains convinced that her dead husband Joe is watching and waiting for her. But there's one thing she never told him, and as painful as it is for her to admit the truth, Annie is determined to go to Joe with a guilt-free conscience.

As the plot unfurls, traumas are revealed and lies uncovered, revealing long-buried secrets which are at the root of Annie and Sasha's fractious relationship.


I was very kindly asked by the author if I would like to review this book and after reading the blurb, how could I refuse!

Sasha is married to Jeremy and they have a teenage son Zac. Sasha believes she has the typical "normal" marriage and family life, dealing with a husband who goes away for work much of the time, a teenage son who doesn’t know the meaning of the word Co-operation! The only one who seems to take any notice of her is Stanley, the dog.

Sasha’s Dad, Joe, died a few years previously, but tells part of the story in this book, which I felt was a really good touch and made a change!

Annie is Sasha’s Mum and Joe’s wife, who is sadly in the final stages of her life, but having spent much of it a heavy drinker, is paying the price and unfortunately this is affecting her memory as well.

When Zac comes home from school one day and confronts his mother about his feelings that he isn’t an only child, Sasha’s head starts to spin from this shock announcement. Where on earth did he get this information from and even more importantly, is it true?...

Zac isn’t convinced by his mother’s answer to his question and decides to get a film made where his family are interviewed about their lives. This idea goes down like a lead balloon but Zac is adamant he wants to find out about his family history. Surely this can only lead to skeletons coming well and truly out of the closet!

I really enjoyed this book and what I loved was the way the chapters involved Sasha’s Dad who had died, but still told some of the story. Very cleverly thought out.

A great mix of characters and when a character gets under your skin for all the wrong reasons, I do believe that is the work of a great writer! I found Sasha to be a bit weak at first, but she certainly came back fighting after events could have made her turn in a completely different direction!

I would certainly read work from this author again and would again like to thank her for asking me to review for her.

Friday 2 November 2018

Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland
Heidi Swain

Guest Review
Julie Williams

Review by Julie Williams
It always seems odd when I pick up my first Christmas book to read in August with the sun shining and the heat warming my bones, but that doesn’t stop the festive cheer and Christmas magic that exists in Heidi Swains Christmas novels. 

Going back to Wynbridge is a treat as is catching up with old friends residing there, as well as the excitement of meeting new characters. 

When Hayley Hurren catches her Fiancé Gavin literally with his trousers down at their engagement party in the local pub, she promptly moves into Wynthorpe Hall where she works, determined to go back to her fun loving ways. Hayley has no future plans of any further long term relationships. She feels totally at home and comfortable until new arrival Gabe turns up and a spark between them is lit.

Getting over the past for both Hayley and Gabe is easier said than done and quite a battle to overcome.
Full of romance, sparkle and special friendships this is a gorgeous read, reminding us that Christmas is a magical time of the year and not too far away. 

Thanks to Julie for allowing me to share my review on her blog as part of the blog tour and to Net Galley for the ARC this is my own opinion of this book.

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Lizzie Flowers and the Family Firm
Carol Rivers

There’s not two months to go until Christmas 1934 and Lizzie Flowers’s new bakery is a roaring success.
But with Christmas fast approaching there are unexpected troubles ahead for Lizzie’s docklands’ tavern, the Mill Wall. If Lizzie had her sweetheart Danny Flowers at her side, there’s a chance she may be able to restore the pub’s reputation. But Danny’s head has been turned by the ambitious and scheming young widow, April Williams. With Danny seemingly unreachable and Lizzie’s heart broken, it’s down to family and friends to save the day. But even with favours called in, is it too late for Lizzie to avoid a Christmas disaster?

LIZZIE FLOWERS AND THE FAMILY FIRM from the Sunday Times and eBook bestselling author of A Wartime Christmas. Read as a riveting seasonal STANDALONE or enjoy as part of the Lizzie Flowers trilogy.

This is the third instalment in the Lizzie Flowers trilogy and even though you could read it as a standalone, I love Lizzie so much that I would urge any saga lover to read her story from the beginning.

Lizzie is becoming somewhat of an entrepreneur these days in London town. No only does she have her finger in many pies (excuse the pun!) by running a bakery along with friends Jenny and Elsie, but also running the Mill Wall pub is becoming more dangerous, especially now that Salvo Vella, a local mafia type wannabe is sniffing around and wanting a piece of the action.

Danny is trying to bring up his ward with the help of his landlady, April. She seems to have Danny well and truly in her sights and is keeping everything crossed that he will propose soon enough, but Danny has also had dealings with Salvo Vella (who everyone calls The Prince).

Will Danny and Lizzie be able to fight off the likes of The Prince to keep their businesses legit, or will they sell their souls to the devil himself?.....

Another fabulous story by the equally fabulous Carol Rivers. Whether you are new to sagas or have read them for many years (like me), you will never be disappointed reading one of Carol's books. They are utterly addictive and beautifully written, leaving you with a mixture of emotions. You will be laughing one minute and crying the next, my description of a brilliant saga writer.

Thank you Carol for once again brining Lizzie back and I can't wait to read what happens next!

Monday 29 October 2018

Hell Bay
Kate Rhodes

It's no secret that I am a huge Kate Rhodes fan and am sad to say that I am a bit late to the party with this new series set on the Isles of Scilly.

DI Ben Kitto returns home to Bryer to recover from the recent death of his best friend and colleague and to think about his future in the Police force. He is racked with guilt and has offered his resignation, but his boss has refused it, asking him to reconsider and take some time out.

When he arrives back home, along with a stray dog called Shadow (he hates dogs!), it doesn't take long before the detective in him has to take over when a local teenage girl goes missing.

When a body is found it is down to Ben to lead the investigation team and to try to catch the killer before they strike again.

I loved these new characters/location and the only good thing about reading this book now is that I won't have to wait too long for the next instalment (out in kindle now and paperback in February 2019) and I can see this series going from strength to strength. Thank you again Kate for writing such gripping novels that you just can't put down.