Thursday, 17 October 2019

I'll be home for Christmas



Nina Bailey loves Christmas. Except this year she doesn’t. Because it turns out that her husband-to-be has been cheating on her – and her beautiful wedding ceremony in the snow is cancelled.

She’s not really in the mood to be jolly, sing carols, or go anywhere near gingerbread men – in fact, what Nina wants is to avoid the whole thing. So she’s come to stay at her Aunt Dolly’s cosy café to nurse her broken heart.

Nina is determined to get through Christmas with no tinsel, no fuss – and definitely no flirting. So when she arrives and meets infuriatingly handsome Ryan Sadler, with his gorgeous forest-green eyes, she is not best pleased. And when Nina overhears him making fun of her, she is furious. (There might have been an incident with a koala onesie and a spilled bottle of milk, but that really wasn’t her fault!) So despite the spark between them, and the fact that he can whip up a fabulous dinner faster than she can say Michelin star, romance and Christmas are off the menu this year.

Unfortunately, Aunt Dolly hasn’t quite got the message, going to great lengths to provide a proper British Christmas for her beloved niece: a true home away from home. With sparkling lights adorning every wall and a tree to equal the Rockefeller Center’s and, yes, mistletoe above every doorway, can Nina resist the magic of Christmas – and stick to her no-romance rule?

This heart-warming romantic comedy will have you reaching for eggnog, roasted chestnuts and gingerbread cookies! The perfect festive book to read curled up in front of the fire, for fans of Sue Moorcroft, Holly Martin and Debbie Johnson.

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Author Bio: 

Karen Clarke writes romantic comedy novels. Her BEACHSIDE series is set in the fictional seaside town of Shipley and features recurring characters, but each book can be read as a standalone. She is currently working on a new, three-book series set in Devon. 

Karen has also written three romcoms with a paranormal twist, all available to download

When she's not working on her novels, Karen writes short stories for women's magazines and has had over three hundred published globally. Some of them can be read in her short story collection 'BEHIND CLOSED DOORS...and other Tales with a Twist'

Karen lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and three grown-up children.

Author Social Media Links: 

My Review
Loved being transported back to the Ile de Re for Christmas. Karen Clarke magics up the essence of Christmas in this book without it being sugary or overdone. The romance between
Nina and Ryan is definitely one that is a slow burner and all the more delightful because of that. I loved the humour, the sense of place and the magical descriptions, especially at the end - simply beautiful.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Let it snow

Let It Snow

This Christmas, the villagers of Middledip are off on a very Swiss adventure… 
Family means everything to Lily and Zinnia Cortez and, growing up in their non-conventional family unit, they and their two mums couldn’t have been closer.
So it’s a bolt out of the blue when Lily finds her father wasn’t the anonymous one-night stand she’s always believed. She is in fact the result of her mum's reckless affair with a married man.
Confused, but determined to discover her true roots, Lily sets out to find the family she’s never known – an adventure that takes her from the frosted, thatched cottages of Middledip to the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, via a Christmas market or two along the way…
About the author

Sue Moorcroft 

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author and has held the coveted #1 spot in the Amazon Kindle chart. She's also a bestseller in Germany. She writes women's contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes.

Sue has won the Best Romantic Read Award, been nominated for a RoNA and is a Katie Fforde Bursary winner. She also writes short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing 'how to'.

An army child, Sue was born in Germany then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She's worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a typesetter, but is pleased to have wriggled out of all 'proper jobs'.

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Twitter: @suemoorcroft
Facebook: sue.moorcroft.3
Instagram: suemoorcroftauthor
Facebook author page:

My Review

This was the first Christmas book I've read this season and what a wonderful way to start the festive period. It has all the elements you might expect - a winter wonderland in Switzerland, Christmas carols, a Christmas market and a slow-burning romance that will melt the snow by the end. Underlying the festivities though is the serious problem of Lily trying to discover her roots and things not going quite to plan. I enjoyed reading about her non-conventional family ( which actually is becoming more conventional today) and the relationship between her, her mums and her 'sister'. The descriptions of the winter scenery really set the scene for the book and are sure to put you in a Christmassy mood.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Blackpool's Angel

Blackpool’s Angel

Maggie Mason

Sphere | Paperback | 3rdOctober 2019 | £6.99

The first book in a new Blackpool-Set trilogy from bestselling saga author Mary Wood, writing as Maggie Mason.

Tilly has come a long way from the run-down tenements in which she grew up. She has a small but comfortable home, a loving, handsome husband, two beautiful little’uns, and she earns herself a little money weaving wicker baskets. Life is good. 
Until the day Tilly returns home to find a policeman standing on her doorstep. Her Arthur won’t be coming home tonight – nor any night – having fallen to his death whilst working on Blackpool tower. Suddenly Tilly is her daughters’ sole protector, and she’s never felt more alone. 
With the threat of destitution nipping at their heels, Tilly struggles to make ends meet and keep a roof over her girls’ head. In a town run by men Tilly has to ask herself what she’s willing to do to keep her family together and safe – and will it be enough? 

 Maggie Mason also writes saga as Mary Wood. Mary was born the thirteenth child of fifteen and throughout her life had various factory, office and home-based jobs, finally becoming a probation service officer before she retired. Mary marrie din 1963 and with her husband Roy has four children, eight grandchildren, and five step-grandchildren. She got her first book deal in 2013 and has not looked back since. 

For more information, please contact Francesca Banks at| 020 3122 7413 | @_francescabanks

My Review
Once again Mary Wood, writing as Maggie Mason, has kicked off what promises to be a wonderful new series. This book just makes you want to keep reading as the heroine copes with some unbelievably cruel blows that fate deals her. Yet throughout, and despite making mistakes, she is the kind of person everybody would hope to be their friend. Her loyalty and generosity know no bounds where friendship is concerned and although the book is not so cliched as to have an unrealistic happy ending, she does find contentment and a new beginning. I can't wait to see what the next book offers.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

A ration book childhood

A Ration Book Childhood

In the darkest days of the Blitz, family is more important than ever.
With her family struggling amidst the nightly bombing raids in London's East End, Ida Brogan is doing her very best to keep their spirits up. The Blitz has hit the Brogans hard, and rationing is more challenging than ever, but they are doing all they can to help the war effort.
When Ida's oldest friend Ellen returns to town, sick and in dire need of help, it is to Ida that she turns. But Ellen carries a secret, one that threatens not only Ida's marriage, but the entire foundation of the Brogan family. Can Ida let go of the past and see a way to forgive her friend? And can she overcome her sadness to find a place in her heart for a little boy, one who will need a mother more than ever in these dark times?
Purchase Links 

Author Bio 

Jean Fullerton is the author of twelve novels all set in East London where she was born. She also a retired district nurse and university lecturer.  She won the Harry Bowling prise in 2006 and after initially signing for two East London historical series with Orion she moved to Corvus, part of Atlantic Publishing and is half way through her WW2 East London series featuring the Brogan family.
Social Media Links – 

Twitter:  @JeanFullerton_
My Review

Having read 'A ration book Christmas' it was good to catch up with the Brogans again. This is a heart-breaking story of love, betrayal and forgiveness - the author manages to tap into all the reader's emotions leaving you feeling completely wrung out by the end. Once again, against the backdrop of war, the human spirit triumphs and none of us know how we would rise to the challenge unless we faced the same dilemmas. I am not sure, however, that many of us would be able to show Ida's generosity of spirit. This book will make you laugh and cry, often at the same time.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Her Missing Child


She lays her baby in his cot – the sound of his quiet breath filling the nursery as she leaves the room. Soon Claire will be fast asleep herself. She won’t hear the back door opening or the footsteps on the stairs.

When Claire Lucas is woken by her husband asking where their baby son is, she is dazed and confused. When she follows Darren into their child’s bedroom, she hears nothing but silence. No baby cries, no cute gurgles. The only thing left in Finlay’s cot is his beloved teddy bear. Finlay has gone.

Detective Jessie Blake rushes to the family’s modern home in the rugged Scottish Highlands. She notices that Darren avoids eye contact, and Claire seems disconnected – unable to account for the last few hours of her afternoon. Jessie knows there’s no normal response to losing a child, but something doesn’t feel right.

Friends rally round the young family, as a search of the narrow lanes and green hills of Moncrieffe begins in earnest. And as helpers battle the wild Scottish weather, Jessie is sure that someone in the search party must know more than they’re letting on. Someone must have seen something.

As a ghost from her own past comes back to haunt her, Jessie must put aside her own personal tragedy to save baby Finlay. Can she get the people of the small town to talk before it’s too late?

If you love Cara Hunter, LJ Ross and Robert Bryndza, you’ll love this addictive new crime thriller from Kerry Watts. Her Missing Child will have you hooked from the start!


Author Bio: 

Kerry Watts was born and grew up in a small town in the East of Scotland where she still lives today. She is always writing and carries a little notebook and pen with her wherever she goes because at her age ideas need to be captured before they disappear. 
Kerry specialises in crime fiction because she enjoys pushing the boundaries of what it is to be human. The nature versus nurture debate 

Author Social Media Links

My Review

From the title, it's clear that this book will deal with some difficult subjects; a missing child being one of the most difficult things a parent will ever have to deal with. There are some cleverly-drawn suspects including the mother, who is suffering from post-natal depression, her sister who is bipolar, the neighbour who is still grieving the loss of her own child, amongst others.
The mental health issues are portrayed sympathetically although it seems just about every character is suffering from some kind of problem. Just to balance this out, there are threats to the baby's grandfather from the family of a girl he killed in a drunken accident. All this ramps up the psychological tension and certainly kept me turning the pages.
If you then add in the reappearance of the investigating officer's ex-husband then this is a complex, multi-layered psychological thriller.
I enjoyed the plot and the character development. The ending does manage to come as a surprise and the reader is left thinking any one of the suspects could have done it right to the very end.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Writing fiction

Writing Fiction – a user-friendly guide

‘Writing Fictionis a little pot of gold…Screenplayby Syd Field for film, Writing Fictionby James Essinger for fiction. It’s that simple.’
William Osborne, novelist and screenwriter
Writing Fiction – a user-friendly guideis a must-read if you want to write stories to a professional standard. 
It draws on the author’s more than thirty years of experience as a professional writer, and on the work and ideas of writers including:
      Anthony Burgess
      Joseph Conrad
      George Eliot
      Ken Follett
      Frederick Forsyth
      Dan Harmon
      Ernest Hemingway
      David Lodge
      Norman Mailer
      John Milton
      Ben Parker
      J.K. Rowling
      William Shakespeare
      Martin Cruz Smith
      J.R.R. Tolkien

The twenty-four chapters cover every important matter you need to know about, including: devising a compelling story, creating and developing characters, plotting, ‘plants’, backstory, suspense, dialogue, ‘show’ and ‘tell’, and how to make your novel more real than reality.
Also featuring special guest advice from legendary screenwriter Bob Gale, who wrote the three immortal Back to the Futuremovies (1985, 1989 and 1990), and novelist and screenwriter William Osborne, whose many screen credits include the co-writing of the blockbuster  Twins (1988), this highly entertaining book gives you all the advice and practical guidance you need to make your dream of becoming a published fiction writer come true.
Purchase Links 

Author Bio – 

James Essinger has been a professional writer since 1988. His non-fiction books include Jacquard’s Web (2004),Ada’s Algorithm(2013), which is to be filmed by Monumental Pictures, and Charles and Ada: the computer’s most passionate partnership (2019).His novels include The Mating Game(2016) and The Ada Lovelace Project(2019).
Social Media Links –   

My Review

This book poses some of the familiar questions that storytellers will have no doubt pondered since the first stories were told around campfires - what is fiction? What makes a hero? The book also deals with writing in first person, third person or omniscient narrator and discusses the pros and cons of each. What it doesn't do is set exercises for the writer to practise, so if that's what you're looking for then this isn't the handbook for you. It would, however, be a useful tool for anyone wanting to analyse the art of writing fiction, whether a new writer or someone more established trying to hone their art.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Bonfires and hot chocolate at the little duck pond cafe

Bonfires & Hot Chocolate (at the Little Duck Pond Café)
If you love all the colours of autumn, you're sure to warm to this uplifting story of love, loss and starting over.

Primrose Wilkins arrived in Sunnybrook with a burning desire to find the family she's never known. But after a heart-breaking false start, she's beginning to have second thoughts. Can she find the courage to battle on in her quest? And with her romantic life at an all-time low, will meeting the intriguing and attractive Callum Davy be just what she needs to renew her faith in love?

Meanwhile, Fen is also finding it hard to be brave. She's made it through to the final of TV show 'Battle of the Bakes' (thanks to Ellie entering on her behalf), but she's always shied away from being in the spotlight. How will Fen cope now that she's a famous 'celebrity', recognised in the street everywhere she goes?
Purchase Links 

Author Bio

Rosie has been scribbling stories ever since she was little.

Back then, they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by 'the baddies'.

Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all - unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

Rosie's brand new series of novellas is centred around life in a village cafe. The latest, 'Bonfires & Hot Chocolate at the Little Duck Pond Cafe', is out now.

Watch out for 'A Winter Wedding at the Little Duck Pond Cafe', which will be published Christmas 2019.

Rosie is also writing a full-length, standalone book for Christmas 2019, entitled 'Snowflakes over Moondance Cottage'.
Follow Rosie on Twitter -
My Review
If like me, you're a summer person, then this book might just be the one to make you look forward to Autumn as well. Perfect for this time of year, the book is the very essence of the season with hearty food, hot chocolate and of course a bonfire. The story focuses on Primrose and the search for the grandmother she has never known. no spoilers but the reader is in for a big surprise! Really enjoyable read that made me reach for the woolly pullover and a hot chocolate with marshmallows. A great follow on to the series.