Monday 4 December 2023

๐ŸŽ„Festive Read ~ The Christmas Love Letters by Sue Moorcroft

 


๐ŸŽ„Time for some lovely festive reads ๐ŸŽ„


Avon
October 2023

Thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book


Tucked into a crook of the Norfolk coast lies Nelson’s Bar – an idyllic village where time seems to stand still. Maddy Cracey has called this beautiful spot home all her life, as had her husband Adey – until an epic row sent him storming out into a blizzard, with no sign of him since that fateful night.

Six years on, and Maddy’s life in the village has settled into a gentle pattern with her young daughter and Great Aunt Ruthie. However, when handsome stranger Raff turns up with a handful of long-forgotten love letters, their quiet life is upended as family secrets from the past are unearthed.

As Raff and Maddy get to know each other, they grow closer and a love story of their own seems inevitable. But when Maddy receives a mysterious message, she can’t help but wonder whether her own past is as distant as she'd thought it was...


๐ŸŽ„My Review

It's been almost seven years since Maddie Cracey's husband Adey disappeared and with no trace of him Maddie has made a home for herself and her daughter living with Maddie's great aunt Ruthie. This close bonded trio live a peaceful life in the pretty village of Nelson's Bar on the Norfolk coast but when a handsome stranger turns up with some devastating news for Ruthie, Maddie must do all she can to protect the woman who has been such a comfort to her. What then follows is a story about a long hidden secret which Ruthie has carried with her for forty years and when revealed it will change all of their lives forever.

The Christmas Love Letters is a lovely story with two romantic elements running through it both of which kept my attention as I was intrigued to discover more about Ruthie's secret but also fell completely for Maddie's relationship with the handsome Raff who I must say really steals the show with his kind hearted nature and genuine desire to make right the wrongs of the past. However, it's not all hearts and roses as there are some darker elements to the story with a definite sense of friction when the secret is discovered and both Maddie and Ruthie must learn to live with the consequences of their secrets being revealed.

Whilst the story has a definitely festive feel to it it is also one of those lovely stories which can be read at any time of year as this talented author always brings such warmth, love and empathy to her lovely stories that they are a delight to read all year round.


๐ŸทBest read with ...a warming glass of mulled warm and one of Maddie's mince pies



About the Author






Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, #1 on Kindle UK and Top 100 on Kindle US and Canada. She writes two books a year for publishing giant Harper Collins and has won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Novel of the Year, Readers’Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary. Her novels, short stories, serials, columns, writing‘how to’and courses appear around the world.





Twitter @SueMoorcroft #TheChristmasLoveLetters

Instagram @SueMoorcroftAuthor


@AvonBooksUK














Friday 1 December 2023

๐Ÿ“– Featured Book of the Month ~ Divorced (Not Dead) by Harper Ford

 

Avon Books Uk
2023



We’re going to need a bigger drink…

Meet Frankie - fifty, divorced and getting back on the horse.
After leaving Twatface – her husband of twenty years – she's starting again from scratch. And when her son also flees the nest for university, Frankie decides it’s time to throw herself back into the dating game with a vengeance.

On best friend Bel's recommendation, Frankie signs up to two dating one for love, another for casual hook-ups (because why the f**k not?!). However, as she navigates this new frontier of catfishing, kittenfishing, ghosts, GILFs and everything in between, she realises the whole dating thing has changed quite a bit – and it really is a bloody jungle out there…

Will Frankie find love on the apps? Or the perfect shag? Or – if there’s any justice in the world – both?


๐Ÿ“–My Review.


I am delighted to have ended what has been a difficult year with a book which has really made me laugh out loud and Divorced (Not Dead) ticked all the right boxes. It’s sassy, irreverent, gloriously funny, but also wise and absolutely wonderful.

Fifty year old Frankie Brumby is newly divorced from her coercive husband of two decades when, on the advice of her best friend, she enters the tricky waters of on-line dating. With her dating profile established and her confidence hovering around zero, Frankie soon discovers that there is a lot more to learn about this online dating malarkey. With a whole new online language to learn, and some pretty disastrous dates, Frankie eventually starts to have more fun than she could ever have imagined.

Whilst I laughed out loud at the online dating references, and learned things I had no idea about, the crafter in me thoroughly enjoyed the interaction with the wonderful characters who join Frankie at her weekly quilting group which shows the versatility of this talented author who can deliver two aspects of the same story, one filled with warmth and empathy and the other with a more ribald look at the vagaries of life. And then there’s Stephan, who adds a whole different dimension to the story, and who had me on his team from his first appearance.

Divorced (not dead) is absolutely fabulous, from start to finish, with a minor caveat that if you’re offended by the frequent use of the F-word or mild references to the sexual shenanigans of a newly divorced fifty-something then maybe this isn’t the story for you …however, if you love a rom com with a fair amount of sass, with a brave and bold heroine who fills your heart with delight and a cast of quirky characters who make turning the pages such a joy then, I am sure, this story will entertain you as much as it did me.

For making me laugh till I cried, I have no hesitation in making Divorced (not dead) my Book of the Month for December.




About the Author


Harper Ford is an author, much of the time. She started out as a writer of historical novels, then found she was funny during lockdown so decided to write contemporary romcoms too. She also a fellow of the Royal Literary Fund, based at the University of Lincoln. Divorced (not dead) is her debut in the women’s fiction space.



Twitter @AvonBooksUK

#HarperFord #DivorcedNotDead









Tuesday 28 November 2023

๐Ÿ“– Blog Tour ~ Welcome to the Cornish Country Hospital by Jo Bartlett

 

Boldwood Books
22 November 2023

My thanks to the publishers and Rachel's Random Resources for my copy of the book
 and the invitation to the tour


A new start… 

When Danni Carter moves to Cornwall from London, she hopes it will be the fresh start she so desperately needs. She’s nervous, but hopefully the change of scene will help her to finally forget her feelings for Lucas Newman, a man she can never be with, because he’s already engaged to Danni’s best friend, Esther. 

An Impossible Dilemma… 

But when Lucas and Esther decide to follow Danni to Cornwall, and both announce they will be working with her at the new St Piran’s hospital, Danni is thrown into turmoil again. She can’t lose Esther, but being near Lucas is getting harder to deal with. Will she have to give up her new life before it’s even started? A chance to start again? Throwing herself into work, Danni finds herself drawn to new patient, Connie Berrycloth, a woman Danni knows has dark secrets of her own. Secrets that are about to be revealed…

 As the two women form a friendship, Danni begins to realise that letting go of her dreams might be the only way of holding on to the people she loves.








๐Ÿ“– My Review…

It’s such a delight to open a new book by a favourite author and Welcome to the Cornish Country Hospital certainly gets this new series off to a splendid start as not only are we back in Cornwall, an area the author describes so well, but we also have a new cast of characters to get to know, with maybe a few familiar faces thrown in for good measure.

Danni Carter has taken up a position as an A&E doctor at St Piran’s hospital in Cornwall where her professionalism and empathy make her one of the most popular doctors in the accident and emergency unit. Danni loves her new life and having moved from London she now is starting to call Cornwall home. That is, until the arrival of her friends, Esther and Lucas who will also be working at the hospital, all should be well but Danni is keeping a huge secret from Esther and with one secret leading to another, Danni gets inadvertently drawn into the plight of one of her patients who also has a long held secret which will have far reaching repercussions.

This is such a lovely story and although it touches on some rather serious topics there is never a moment when the story doesn’t pull you in and pretty soon I was so invested in the lives  of all the characters I found I couldn’t put the book down. Most of the characters are lovely and bring such a sense of joy to the story however, there is one in particular who I couldn’t help but dislike and really hoped that they would get their just deserts. 

Filled with the warmth of friendship, the burden of hidden secrets and the joy of discovering love in unexpected places, this  imagined Cornish town comes wonderfully alive, whether it be waiting in a cubicle at St Piran’s A&E unit , out on the wards with Doctor Danni, or even walking along the coastal path watching for baby seal pups, there is so much to enjoy and I really can’t wait to pay another visit to the Cornish Country Hospital just as soon as this talented author takes us there.



About the author





Jo Bartlett is the bestselling author of over nineteen women’s fiction titles. She fits her writing inbetween her two day jobs as an educational consultant and university lecturer and lives with herfamily and three dogs on the Kent coast.


Twitter @J_B_Writer #WelcomeToTheCornishCountryHospital


@BoldwoodBooks #BoldwoodBloggers

@rararesources





Thursday 23 November 2023

๐Ÿ“– Book Review ~ Christmas Walk : Twelve Poems for Rosy Cheeks

 

Candlestick Press
September 2023

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this pamphlet




The antidote to festive stodge and too much television, a Christmas walk has become as traditional as turkey and crackers. Whatever the weather, we don hats, scarves and boots to venture outside. The point is to crunch over snow, stamp through puddles or just to breathe the different air – all while sharing time with loved ones.

In these twelve poems – the winners in our seasonal competition – we experience everything from a holly-gathering expedition in a country lane, to a beach in Australia where “the sand is white as snow”. Over and again comes the idea that a walk can be a pilgrimage, sparking memories and a sense of the abiding presence of the past:


“I once walked up the lane with my children
by moonlit snow, power lines down – in the deepest dark
they had ever known; we made a small hand-held line…

from ‘A low owl at Christmas’ by Valerie Bence

Poems by Bill Adair, Valerie Bence, Jane Burn, Martyn Crucefix, Kerry Darbishire, Marie-Louise Eyres, Annie Kissack, Aoife Mannix, Charlotte Oliver, Penny Sharman, Giles Watson and Miriam Wei Wei Lo.

Cover illustration by Jenny Hancock


๐Ÿ“– My Review..

There is nothing more special than a Christmas walk especially if there is a covering of snow on the ground, experiencing those muted sounds which seem to enclose you in a magical world. The twelve lovely poems in Christmas Walk describe the sights, sounds and sensations of walking off the Christmas excesses and bring a sense of comfort and joy. None of the poems disappoint, some are poignantly about loss, others are reminiscent of times past, a couple of poems focus on nature and there’s even an Australian beach scene.

Intimate Pavements by Bill Adair is a nostalgic look back at a childhood Christmas:

“..This is the house of my granny’s Christmas shortbread.
The walls look the same, but different windows 
Have allowed my memories to scatter.
New family. New recipes..”

I loved Annie Kissack’s lyrical poem Winter Gathering:

“..Here we go gathering sticks and stems
Endless fronds in frozen hands.
Here we go gathering half the lane
On a cold and frosty morning..”

So many lovely poems to enjoy and as added bonus each of the twelve poems in Christmas Walk : Twelve Poems for Rosy Cheeks are the recent winners of a Candlestick seasonal competition and whilst each poem is different the theme of Christmas comes across loud and clear. The poetry pamphlet would be perfect as a Christmas stocking filler for anyone who appreciates a diverse collection of poems or instead of a card  and something different to send in the run up to Christmas.

A shout out to the talented cover designer for a beautifully festive cover, its cheery robin and pastoral country scene are perfect for the festive season and compliment the poems perfectly.



About the Publisher


Candlestick Press is a small, independent press publishing sumptuously produced poetry pamphlets that serve as a wonderful alternative to a greetings card, with matching envelopes and bookmarks left blank for your message. Their subjects include Mountains, Clouds, Walking, Birds, Wine and Happiness. Candlestick Press pamphlets are stocked by chain and independent bookshops, galleries and garden centres nationwide and available to order online.


X @poetrycandle














Tuesday 21 November 2023

๐ŸŽ„Festive Read ~New Beginnings at Christmas Tree Cottage by Georgia Hill



Bloodhound Books
29 September 2023

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book


Christmas is the perfect time to fall in love. . .

The little English town of Lullbury Bay is a magical place to spend Christmas, and for Honor Martin it is the high point of her year.

However, newcomer Jago, doesn’t share her merry mood. After the devastating loss of his father he’d be happy to never hear another Christmas carol again.

But to help his little sister replace bad memories with good ones, he reluctantly joins in the festivities. As he gets to know her teacher, Honor, could she be the one to restore his love of Christmas?


๐ŸŽ„ My Review 

I’ve just spent a magical couple of afternoons in the beautiful Lullbury Bay getting to know Honor Martin and Jago Pengethley, two lovely characters, who really make this story into something quite special.  Christmas magic is definitely sprinkled between the pages as not only do we get to spend time at Christmas in this imagined West Dorset seaside resort but we also get to know two lovely people who are perfect for each other and yet the path of true love isn’t going to run smoothly for either Honor or Jago.

Whilst the story is unashamedly romantic the author also covers the difficult topic of grief and the different ways people come to terms with the loss of a loved one. This is done especially well and because the writing is so wonderful you really start to feel immersed in the story and connect with all of the characters. I especially loved Jago’s little sister Merryn who has a wise head on her young shoulders, and Jago’s mother, Avril who is having to cope with the loss of her husband whilst making new beginnings with her family at Christmas Tree Cottage. What is really lovely is the way in which all the community of Lullbury Bay pull together in order to make this family feel so welcome..

New Beginnings at Christmas Tree Cottage is a wise and wonderful festive read which I found utterly charming from start to finish.


About the Author


Georgia Hill writes warm-hearted and up-lifting contemporary and timeslip romances about love and romance.



Twitter @georgiawrites


@Bloodhoundbook












Monday 20 November 2023

๐Ÿ“– Book Review ~The Brutal Tide by Kate Rhodes #TeamScilly

 


Simon &Schuster
2022

DI Ben Kitto #6

My thanks to the publishers and Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my copy of this book



REVENGE

DI Ben Kitto made many enemies in his time working as an undercover officer for the Met police, none more ruthless and calculating than gang leader Craig Travis.

IS WORTH

Travis has longed to make Kitto pay for his role in getting him convicted – and that day has finally arrived. Now, a dark and twisted killer is heading for the Scilly Isles, one who has waited a long time for revenge.

WAITING FOR

With Kitto busy investigating the discovery of a body on the islands and distracted by the imminent arrival of his first child, his defences are down. He has so much to lose.

And Travis will stop at nothing to take it all from him.


๐Ÿ“– My Review..

I like nothing better than getting to grips with another murder mystery on the beautiful Isles of Scilly. In this sixth book in the series we meet up with DI Ben Kitto as he is plunged, once again, into a deeply complex investigation and this time it’s about to get very personal. The Brutal Tide hits the ground running when we are introduced to a manipulative killer who has a very personal vendetta against Kitto and who will stop at nothing to wreak revenge for perceived sins of the past. 

This story has an altogether different feel as not only is Ben Kitto struggling with a cold case mystery involving the discovery, on a building site, of a set of bones but is also having to deal with the possibility that someone from his past has tracked him down to the remote island of Bryher. Worried for the safety of his girlfriend, and his unborn baby, Ben has a conflict of interest as instinctively he want to protect those he loves but he also needs to keep one step ahead of a perpetrator who is hellbent on his destruction. What I love about this series is the way the characters come alive and with each successive story they become more and more familiar so that when they hurt, you hurt. I must admit to being on the edge of my seat during this story as the tension really mounts up and the chapters which involve the killer are particularly tense.

The Brutal Tide is a really suspenseful story which I read in almost one sitting as I couldn’t bear to leave the book without knowing what was going to happen. The ending is fast, furious and dramatic and, as always, left me wanting to read more from this talented writer.
 



About the Author


Kate Rhodes is an acclaimed crime novelist and an award-winning poet. She lives in Cambridge with her husband, the writer and film-maker, Dave Pescod. She visited the Scilly Isles every year as a child which gave her the idea for this new series. She is one of the founders of the Killer Women writing group.



Twitter @K_RhodesWriter #TeamScilly

@simonschusterUK

@Tr4cyF3ntOn











Friday 17 November 2023

๐Ÿ“– Book Review ~ A Lady to Treasure by Marianne Ratcliffe



Bellows Press
15 October 2023

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book


Louisa Silverton is the daughter of a wealthy American businessman, brought up to believe a healthy profit is the only route to happiness. With the family company over-leveraged and in need of a capital injection, she travels to England to find a rich husband.

The Honourable Miss Sarah Davenport has no time for romance. The family estate of Kenilborough is mired in debt and only she can save it. Unconventional and outspoken, Sarah is dismayed that somebody as intelligent and attractive as Louisa is willing to sacrifice herself for financial gain.

As Louisa pursues her campaign, Sarah realises her objections to the project run deeper than mere principles. At the same time, Louisa finds herself captivated by Sarah's independent spirit. Yet to indulge their unexpected passion would surely mean the ruin of both their families. Bound by duty, will they ever be free to follow their hearts?


๐Ÿ“– My Review..

An interesting twist to the classic Regency romance which this time focuses on the burgeoning relationship between Louisa, who is the daughter of an American businessman, and Sarah Davenport whose family is in financial difficulties.  Louisa is sent to England by her father in order to save the family’s finances only to discover that Sarah, on a nearby estate, disapproves of Louisa’s quest for a rich husband.  The two women have a rapport from the start and as a gentle romance starts to blossom so we start to learn more about their characters and what they want from life.

There’s much to enjoy in this gentle sapphic romance. I enjoyed getting to know both Louisa and Sarah along with the rest of the characters who flit into, and out of this charming story. The historical aspects are done well, especially the constraints placed, by Regency society, on women who were so often viewed only by their marriageable status. The romantic attraction between Louisa and Sarah is gentle and charming and adds a nice heart-warming element to the story.

Overall, A Lady to Treasure has much to offer in terms of Regency history and family drama with a nice sense of romance thrown into the mix.



About the Author

Marianne Ratcliffe grew up in Lincolnshire. A biochemist by training, she has always found creating new worlds and interesting characters every bit as rewarding as discoveries at a laboratory bench. She has had short stories published in literary magazines and was runner-up in the Guildford Book Festival short story competition in 2010. In 2017, redundancy spurred her to focus on creative writing, and she published her debut novel, The Secret of Matterdale Hall, with Bellows Press in 2022. Marian lives in Cheshire with her wife and two dogs.


Twitter @ratcliffe_mj  #ALadyToTreasure

@BellowsPress