Tuesday 28 November 2023

πŸ“– 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.

πŸ“– 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


Thursday 23 November 2023

πŸ“– 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

πŸ“– 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

πŸŽ„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?

πŸŽ„ 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


Monday 20 November 2023

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


Simon &Schuster

DI Ben Kitto #6

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


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.


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.


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.

πŸ“– 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



Friday 17 November 2023

πŸ“– 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?

πŸ“– 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


Thursday 16 November 2023

πŸ“– Book Review ~ The Winter Hedge : Walks in a Deep Lane by Miriam Darlington

Candlestick Press
November 2023

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this pamphlet

We barely notice hedges; there is something intrinsically marginal about them – although they are likely to seize our attention when they shine with blackberries or when a bramble snags a favourite garment.

In her evocative and absorbing prose piece, leading naturalist Miriam Darlington walks one of her local Devon hedges in winter, putting it centre-stage. Every step sees her paying close attention to the creatures who shelter in it and to the plants that sustain them. At every moment, her senses are vividly alive to the hedge’s raw beauty in this harshest season of the year:

“Rosy-purple twigs of dogwood, sleeping moths amongst the towering beauty of oaks, bark textures fresh and bare, lifting your mood, twig by knotty twig. Black ash knuckles. King Alfred’s cakes. Hart’s tongue ferns. The earth smells of old thorns, dog rose and ropes of dried honeysuckle…”

This is a pamphlet to return to again and again, as one might repeat a favourite walk.

Poems by John Clare and Katharine Towers.

Cover illustration by Niki Bowers.

Donation to the Woodland Trust.

πŸ“– My Review..

There’s something very special about a well formed hedge as not only does it provide protection from the elements but it’s also home to a myriad of creatures, some so small you’re hardly aware they are there whilst others make their presence known with crisp crackles and soft shuffles.

In The Winter Hedge, Miriam Darlington takes us with her on a journey as she shares the simple pleasure of walking with her dog and appreciating the beauty of the hedge in winter. So much to see in this comprehensive world which we so often pass by without opening our eyes and ears to the sights and sounds all around us. Beautifully evocative we share in her pleasure as she takes a walk in a deep lane and appreciate, with her, the quiet majesty of nature sharing its secrets.

We all need quiet space in this busy life and especially as the festive season approaches when quiet moments sometimes desert us. Reading this quietly reflective piece of prose has been such a pleasure and gave me such a sense of peace and a deep appreciation of the restorative power of nature and a lovely connection to the natural world.

There are also two lovely poems to enjoy:

Hedge by Katharine Towers and From the hedge bottom where the ivy runs by John Clare

This lovely pamphlet would make the perfect gift for anyone who appreciates nature or instead of a card over the festive season.

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

Wednesday 15 November 2023

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ Solstice by Helen Steadman


Bell Jar Books
19 September 2023

My thanks to the author, publisher and Random Things Tours
for my copy of this book and the invitation to the blog tour

England, 1673. Still a world of witches, witchfinders and witch trials?

Rose Driver’s mother, brother and grandmother were all put to death by the fanatical witchfinder, John Sharpe.

Almost quarter of a century after the Newcastle witch trials, Sharpe is no longer a threat and Rose should be safe in her quiet village. But is history about to repeat itself?

πŸ“– My Review..

I’ve now followed this trilogy since the first book so was especially excited to be asked to take part in this blog tour to celebrate the final book in the Widdershins series and return to the seventeenth century world which this talented author recreates so beautifully. England in 1673 was still a country which teemed with suspicion and the danger to those women who were suspected of witchcraft hadn’t gone away.

In rural communities where lives were very much caught up in the mysteries of nature some of their more commonplace practices could be seen, by outsiders, as more macabre than they actually were.  Moving to Mutton Clog, in the north of England, with her twin brother Earnest, and clergyman father, Patience Leaton is very much an outsider who neither knows nor cares enough to understand the community in which she is forced to live. This is unfortunate for Rose Driver, a young and rather beautiful shepherdess, who catches the eye of Earnest Leaton, and in doing so antagonises the staunchly puritan, Patience with dire consequences.

In two very distinctive voices both Rose and Patience have a story to tell which, very quickly unravels, becoming darker and more dangerous especially when Patience discovers something about Rose and Earnest which unleashes the very worst behaviour imaginable. Rose’s character I loved from the beginning, and her fate becomes all the more poignant as the story progresses. Patience definitely tried my patience, she really is a piece of work and all credit to the author for allowing the darkness in Patience’s soul to evolve with such evil precision. 

The dark and dangerous mid-seventeenth century rural world is beautifully recreated by an author who really does bring history alive. With every well placed word, and descriptive phrase, it is possible to step back in time to the rural backwater of Mutton Clog, where superstitious practices have been in place for centuries however, when viewed by the wrong person, at the wrong time, these practices can be entirely misinterpreted as having the dark forces of evil at their core.

With its abiding air of sadness and a definite sense of the injustice towards those innocent of any wrongdoing Solstice is an excellent conclusion to this fascinating trilogy. This will definitely be on my book of the year list for 2023.

About the Author

Helen Steadman's first novel, Widdershins and its sequel, Sunwise were inspired by the 1650 Newcastle witch trials. Her third novel, The Running Wolf is about a group of master swordmakerswho defected from Germany to England in 1687. Helen's fourth novel, God of Fire, is a Greek myth retelling as seen through the eyes of Hephaestus, perhaps the least well known of all the Olympians. Helen is particularly interested in revealing hidden histories and she is a thorough researcher who goes to great lengths in pursuit of historical accuracy. To get under the skin of the cunning women in Widdershins and Sunwise, Helen trained in herbalism and learned how to identify, grow and harvest plants and then made herbal medicines from bark, seeds, flowers and berries.The Running Wolf is the story of a group of master swordmakers who left Solingen, Germany and moved to Shotley Bridge, England in 1687. As well as carrying out in-depth archive research and visiting forges in Solingen to bring her story to life, Helen also undertook blacksmith training, which culminated in making her own sword.

X@hsteadman1650 #Solstice #WiddershinsTrilogy

@ RandomTTours