Wednesday 29 May 2024

πŸ“– Book Review ~ Ostriches : Ten Poems about My Dad by Jeanette Burton

Candlestick Press
May 2024

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this pamphlet

In this uplifting sequence, poet Jeanette Burton takes us on a lively journey to meet her dad: a man whose passions range from DIY to Only Fools and Horses. There are memories of fractious father/daughter driving lessons contrasting with moments of discovery, such as unearthing one of the entertainingly deadpan love letters he wrote in the 1960s while courting his wife-to-be.

The title poem evokes a more recent car journey in which the poet’s dad is a reluctant passenger who cannot resist tinkering with something on the dashboard. But there’s a moment of shared joy as he’s persuaded to look up and out of the window:

“look, there’s ostriches in the field over there.
He finally looks, really looks, sees this swagger
of flightless birds taking in the world around them,
the fence, the road, the cars, the people inside…”

from ‘Ostriches’ by Jeanette Burton

Just like ostriches, we don’t always pay attention to the things that are close to us. These delightfully tender poems remind us that all dads have idiosyncrasies that we should notice and treasure – things that make them unique and infinitely dear.

Cover illustration © likovaka/Shutterstock.

πŸ“– My Review..

It is said that we don't appreciate our parents until they are no longer with us and in many ways this strikes true especially in reading these rather poignant, and decidedly quirky poems written by the poet about her dad. So many of them reminded me of my own dad who was warm and wise, exasperating sometimes, but greatly loved and sadly missed.

I have enjoyed reading the ten poems which make up this collection. Some made me smile, especially:

'If you have  a treasured possession that's seen better days'  

bring it along to the repair shop. We rummage
for heirlooms, find dad gathering dust on the sofa,
take him off to the famous barn where Jay Blades
greets us with a nod and a grin...'

The strange concept  'Poem in which my dad's ear is haunted by the ghost of Tutankhamun made me ponder a while:

So it was that this strange tinnitus was labelled a visitation -
Tutankhamun's spirit had hitched a ride inside my dad's ear,
curled genie like into his ear canal...'

The collection is a lovely idea, obviously very personal to the poet, her memories are special so all credit to her for sharing and making the poems appear as if they belong to all of us, whilst at the same time evoking the essence of a dad who is very special to her, just like all dads are special to the rest of us.

Beautifully presented, as always, and with a quirky cover and end papers, Ostriches : Ten Poems about My Dad would be perfect 'instead of a card' for Father's Day which this year is Sunday 16 June 2024.

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.

Twitter/X @poetrycandle

Tuesday 28 May 2024

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ Under a Summer Skye by Sue Moorcroft (Giveaway)


Avon Books
9 May 2024
Skye Sisters Trilogy #1

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

A chance encounter is about to change everything for Thea Wynter.

The moment she arrived on the Isle of Skye, life changed for Thea. Running from a succession of wrong turns, she comes to the island in search of blue sea, endless skies, and mountains that make the heart soar. Here, she feels at peace.

As head gardener at Rothach Hall, life is exactly how she wants it, with her days spent working in the glorious clifftop garden and her evenings in the cosy local village.

But an encounter with a stranger from the mainland brings with it an unexpected turn – and only time will tell if he is friend or foe.

It seems that even on Skye, life can catch up with you, and Thea is soon faced with the past she left behind – and with it, the family she’s never met...

πŸ“– My Review..

They say that books come along at the right time and just when I was feeling decidedly under the weather with a nasty bout of Covid, along comes Under a Summer Skye to instantly lift my spirits.

Life hasn’t always been easy for Thea Wynter but for the last nine years she has managed to make a comfortable life for herself as head gardener at the Rothach estate on the beautiful Isle of Skye. When a handsome stranger turns up looking for seasonal work, Thea is little prepared for the effect Deveron Downie’s arrival will have on her life going forward which will see Thea having to make some life changing decisions. Under A Summer Skye is such a wonderful story that I was quite entranced by Rothach Hall, which is described so beautifully, and in such glorious detail, by the characters who really come alive and shine on the page, and by the way the story wrapped itself around me like a comfort blanket. 

As this is the first book in a trilogy there’s a definite sense of more to come and I especially enjoyed meeting Thea’s two sisters especially Ezzie who I hope we’ll get to know better next time and also Valentina who seems the more serious of the sisters. The story touches on some sensitive issues, namely the rise of social media influencers and their often malign contributions to society and also the emotional minefield of adoption. There’s also, at its heart, a beautiful love story which made turning the pages an absolute pleasure, a delightful dog called Daisy and the stunning Isle of Skye which is described in glorious detail.

I can’t wait to meet up again with the Skye Sisters in the near future.

About the Author

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, and her novels have been #1 on Kindle UK and Top 100 on Kindle US, Canada and Italy. She writes two books a year for publishing giant HarperCollins and has won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Novel of the Year, Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award, a HOLT Medallion and the Katie Fforde Bursary. She’s the president of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Her novels, short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared around the world.


Giveaway to Win a Signed copy of Under A Summer Skye, plus Sue Moorcroft Pen and Bookmarks (Open to UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

Social Media Links 

Amazon page: Sue Moorcroft

Audible page: Sue Moorcroft


Twitter: @SueMoorcroft

Instagram: @SueMoorcroftAuthor

Linked in: Sue Moorcroft

Link Tree:


Monday 27 May 2024

πŸ’” T I M M Y 2006 - 2024 πŸ’”

On Saturday, after a swift and sudden illness, I said goodbye to my little cat, Timmy.

I shall miss my little shadow, who was always by side. His quiet presence, his constant companionship and his gentle reassurance was something to treasure.

 My heart is broken into a million pieces.


TIMMY ~ The Quiet Cat

Silent shadow, always near, sitting with paws so neatly curved,

Or lying curled like a comma but ready to pounce like a musketeer. 

Soft and mellow, feisty and funny, your gentle orange glow filled us with sunshine.

In quiet garden corners you will sit, forever watchful, keeping your silent vigil,

Warmed by the sun, sheltered from the rain, 

As your gentle shadow creeps towards a peaceful rest.




Thursday 23 May 2024

πŸ“– Publication day Book Review ~ The Wild Swimmers by William Shaw

23 May 2024

DS Alexandra Cupidi #5

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book

The body of a local woman, Mimi Greene, is found washed up on the Folkstone shoreline. The community is left in disbelief as this confident swimmer seemingly chose to go out into the waters alone, in bad weather, without telling a soul about her plans… DS Alexandra Cupidi must find the truth behind Mimi’s death. Full to the brim with action and suspense, Shaw propels us into a world of shady characters as crimes of the past come to the fore with deadly consequences and the idyllic surroundings of waterways and sea life aren’t all they seem.

Join Cupidi in her latest intricate and unforgettable case as she battles to protect her daughter ZoΓ« from harm and discover the missing link between a group of wild swimmers, an online dating profile and a slippery killer, the mysterious ‘Malcolm’. 

The Wild Swimmers is a twisty and delicious crime novel.

πŸ“– My Review..

The Wild Swimmers is now the fifth book in the DS Alexandra Cupidi series of crime novels and whilst I hadn’t read the previous books, something I aim to rectify, I was soon able to pick up some of the back story, especially as this sees DS Cupidi returning to work after a short leave of absence. The story starts off as it means to go on with the sad discovery of a woman’s body on a remote Dungeness beach. With the dead woman having links to a group of wild swimmers, Cupidi and her team have a difficult task of determining whether Mimi Greene’s death was accidental or deliberate.

With a series of complications pulling the investigative team in all sorts of directions the mystery surrounding the dead woman deepens especially as Cupidi also becomes drawn into a parallel story which affects her friend William South and her colleague DC Jill Ferriter. The involvement of the group of women who make up the wild swimmers was an interesting plot-line and I enjoyed wondering where they would all fit into the story. I didn’t know any of these characters at the start of the story but by the end they all felt like old friends and I enjoyed watching them find their place in the plot.

The eeriness of the Dungeness setting, which soon becomes a character in its own right, and with the investigation pulled in all sorts of convoluted directions, some of which happened in the past, there was much to consider and ponder over. I didn’t see the ending coming, which is always a good sign, and I finished the book wanting to know more about DS Alexandra Cupidi, so it’s now my intention to catch up with the previous books in this  series.

About the Author

WILLIAM SHAW was born in Newton Abbot, Devon, grew up in Nigeria and lived for sixteen years in Hackney. He has been shortlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger, longlisted for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year and nominated for a Barry Award. A regular at festivals, he organises panel talks and CWA events across the country. He is the author of the Breen & Tozer crime series set in sixties London: A Song from Dead Lips, A House of Knives and A Book of Scars; and the standalone The Birdwatcher. Salt Lane and Deadland are spin-offs to The Birdwatcher. For over twenty years he has written on popular culture and sub-culture for various publications including the Observer and the New York Times. William lives in County Cork, Ireland with a base in Brighton. 

Twitter / X @william1shaw #TheWildSwimmers


πŸ“– Publication Day Book Review ~ Wed in Haste to the Duke by Sarah Mallory

Mills and Boon
23 May 2024

My thanks to the author for my copy of the book

Marry in haste. Fall in love at leisure?

Angeline Carlow’s hasty marriage to her childhood best friend Jason, the Duke of Rotherton, was purely practical. She knew that he could never love her the way that he loved his late wife. Yet in her new husband’s month-long absence, she’s found her place as mistress of their estate. Now he’s back, just as guarded but undeniably handsome, can Angel find her place as his wife — and boldly claim their wedding night?

πŸ“– My Review..

It is no secret that I love a regency romance and have done since my early teens when I discovered Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland. More years have passed that I care to remember and I'm still enamoured of a good historical romance and what is always guaranteed from this talented author is a good story, well told.

Angeline Carlow is taken for granted by her family so when Jason, Duke of Rotherton offers her marriage, Angeline accepts even though she knows that for Jason this is merely a marriage of convenience. However, as time progresses time and fate have a very different idea for Jason and Angeline. Wed in Haste to the Duke is easily one of those books which I read entirely in one sitting which always makes me feel a bit guilty as I know how long this author spends on her writing and research and for me to fly through the book at speed feels a bit unfair to her. However, impeccable research pays off as she, once again, plunges us into the world of Regency romance, which she creates so diligently, and which once started , I can't put down.

A gentle love story, with a little bit of spice and oodles of passion, Wed in Haste to the Duke is as heartwarming as it is heart-affirming and is a lovely addition to this author's catalogue of Regency Romances.

About the Author

Sarah Mallory was born in the West Country and grew up with a love of books and history. She has had over 40 historical novels published and won the Rona Rose Award from the Romantic Novelists Association in 2012 and 2013.

Twitter @SarahMRomance


Wednesday 22 May 2024

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ The Ghost of Seagull Cottage by Anne Allen

The Guernsey Novels #9

Thanks to the author and Random Things Tours for my copy of the book
and the invitation to the blog tour

A haunting tale of love, loss and finding one’s place in the world

Widowed artist Annabel returns to Guernsey seeking a fresh start for herself and her young daughter away from her late husband’s controlling family. Seagull Cottage appears perfect, by the sea and with a low rent. The snag is it comes with a resident ghost, Daniel, a sea captain who died 70 years ago in 1946. He built the cottage and objects to anyone not family living there. He and Annabel have to come to terms with sharing what he still considers to be his home.

After a difficult start they begin to share their pasts and an unlikely friendship blooms, becoming deeper as they spend more time together. Annabel realises she’s falling for him but would she truly prefer a ghost to a real live man?

Blending elements of romance, mystery and the supernatural into a compelling tale about the power of human connection and presenting a modern twist on R.A. Dick's novel The Ghost and Mrs Muir and the classic movie of the same name.

πŸ“– My Review..

It’s always such a treat to return to these Guernsey novels and this ninth book in the series follows the story of Annabel and her little daughter, Emylia, as they seek to make a new start in the beautifully named Seagull Cottage. That they also share the house with the ghost of a long dead sea captain adds a light supernatural element and with this author’s customary warmth and understanding Annabel and her sea captain soon form a close bond of friendship.

I’m old enough to remember watching the old black and white movie adaption of R A Dick’s novel The Ghost and Mrs Muir and whilst the story has been brought up to date for the 21st century, it also captures something of the original and the special bond between Annabel and her sea captain is done really well. I raced through the story in a couple of afternoons, enjoying the wonderful imagery and being immersed in Guernsey life, smiling at the tender interaction between the ghost and Annabel and watching as Annabel started to blossom with other relationships, making friends with the women of the island and putting down roots.

As always the island of Guernsey comes alive and I very much enjoyed exploring the island with Annabel as she seeks to become reacquainted with the place and its people. Learning to adapt to life on the island whilst at the same time trying to support herself and her daughter makes for interesting reading and I very much hoped that everything worked out for them. The Ghost of Seagull Cottage is a really lovely addition to this long running series, and whilst there is a connection between the stories, it is perfectly possible to read each one as a standalone story. If you haven’t discovered this lovely author’s writing then do start at the beginning and  enjoy getting to know Guernsey through these rather special stories.

About the Author

Anne was born in Rugby to a Welsh father and an English mother. As a result, she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learned to love the sea. Now she is based in Devon to be near her daughter and two small grandchildren. Her restless spirit has meant many moves, the longest stay being in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns. Her younger son is based in London - ideal for city breaks ☺

By profession, Anne was a psychotherapist who long had a desire to write and Dangerous Waters, her first novel, was published in 2012. It was awarded Silver(Adult Fiction) in TheWishingShelfAwards 2012. Since then she has published six more books in The Guernsey Novels series; Finding Mother, Guernsey Retreat, The Family Divided, Echoes of Time- winner of The Diamond Book Award 2017, a finalist in Readersfavorite awards and granted a ChillWithABookAward, The Betrayal, and The Inheritance, published April 2019. Her Previous Self. a Regency time-slip, is published 2nd August 2021.

To find out more about Anne visit her website -

X / Twitter - @AnneAllen21 #TheGhostOfSeagullCottage


Tuesday 21 May 2024

πŸ“– Book Review ~ The Trial by Jo Spain

25 April 2024

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book

2014, Dublin: at St Edmunds, an elite college on the outskirts of the city, twenty-year-old medical student Theo gets up one morning, leaving behind his sleeping girlfriend, Dani, and his studies - never to be seen again. With too many unanswered questions, Dani simply can't accept Theo's disappearance and reports him missing, even though no one else seems concerned, including Theo's father.

Ten years later, Dani returns to the college as a history professor. With her mother suffering from severe dementia, and her past at St Edmunds still haunting her, she's trying for a new start. But not all is as it seems behind the cloistered college walls - meanwhile, Dani is hiding secrets of her own.

πŸ“– My Review..

It’s the start of another ordinary day at the prestigious college where Theo Laurent and his girlfriend Dani MacLochlainn are students. Leaving Dani sleeping Theo quietly gathers together his things and disappears from her life forever. Fast forward ten years and Dani has returned to St Edmunds as a history professor, and just as determined to discover what happened to Theo all those years ago. Dani soon discovers that there is more going on at St Edmunds than she could ever have imagined. Uncovering the mystery which surrounds the college and doing her investigation means that Dani interacts with those professors who were there in her student days and finds that not all of them are as they seem.

The Trial is a compelling thriller which had me turning the pages faster to see exactly what happened to Theo in 2014. The involvement of the college in some shady dealings of its own means that there is never a dull moment in the narrative. There are twists and turns aplenty and more than enough red herrings and nefarious characters to keep you guessing. 

Taut, tight and brilliantly imagined this is Jo Spain writing at her absolute best.

About the Author

Jo Spain is the author of the bestselling Inspector Tom Reynolds series and several international No. 1 bestselling standalone novels. Her first book, With Our Blessing, was a finalist in the 2015 Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller.

Jo, a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, writes TV screenplays full-time. Her first crime series was broadcast on RTE in 2018 and she's currently involved in a number of TV developments including adaptations of her own novels. In 2021, she co-wrote Harry Wild, starring Jane Seymour, with the Emmy award-winning David Logan (airing 2022).

Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and four young children. In her spare time (she has four children, there is no spare time really) she likes to read. Her favourite authors include Pierre Lemaitre, Jo Nesbo, Liane Moriarty, Fred Vargas and Jodi Picoult. She also watches TV obsessively.

Jo thinks up her plots on long runs in the woods. Her husband sleeps with one eye open.

X @SpainJoanne


Monday 20 May 2024

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ A New Dawn at Owl's Lodge by Jessica Redland

Boldwood Books
16 May 2024

My thank to the publisher for my copy of this book
and to Rachel's Random Resources for the invitation to the blog tour

Could one chance meeting change your life forever?

Zara is at a crossroads in life. While she adores her job as a producer's assistant working on hit TV shows, travelling around the country means she doesn't truly feel that she has a home. With a fractured relationship with her family and unrequited love weighing heavily on her heart, she is torn about what her next step in life should be...

Snowy is hiding from the world. He's devoted his life to home schooling his young son and caring for sick owls at his home, Owl's Lodge, deep in the Yorkshire Wolds countryside. While he's passionate about both, it's a lonely existence and he's starting to question his decisions. But how do you step back into a world you've pushed away for years...?

When Zara brings an injured owl to Owl's Lodge, its frosty, reclusive owner is far from welcoming. Despite hostilities, there's a connection that neither could ever have prepared themselves for. As they discover a shared passion, a new friendship blossoms, but both Zara and Snowy are used to shutting people out.

Can they both find the courage to open up and the strength to move on from their pasts? And what could this mean for their future happiness?

πŸ“– My Review..

This talented writer is fast becoming one of those authors who I know will never let me down and reading A New Dawn at Owl’s Lodge has been the perfect escape over the past few days. Not only are we treated to a lovely story about the value of friendship and of taking a second chance at love but we are also given a special insight into the magical world of owls.

When Zara takes an injured owl to the rescue centre at Owl’s Lodge she comes into contact with, Snowy, the man who runs the rescue centre. That Snowy has been hurt in the past is obvious but the delightful way in which the story unfolds shows that there is more to this enigmatic man than first suspected. I raced through the story in a couple of sitting mainly because I had developed not only an emotional connection to the beauty of Owl’s Lodge but also to the characters who call the place home.

Those have read the Bumblebee Farm and Hedgehog Hollow series of books will be pleased to see that some of the familiar characters appear briefly in the story but largely A New Dawn at Owl’s Lodge is about the special relationship between Zara and Snowy, two gorgeous characters, who find their way into your heart and who don’t let go until the last page of this lovely story is finished.

About the Author

Jessica Redland writes emotional but uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast where she lives with her husband, daughter and sprocker spaniel. Her Hedgehog Hollow series, set in a hedgehog rescue centre, takes readers into the beautiful rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.

Twitter / X @ Jessica Redland #ANewDawnAtOwlsLodge

@BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggere


Friday 17 May 2024

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ Mary I : Queen of Sorrows by Alison Weir

9 May 2024

Tudor Rose #3

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

Adored only child of Henry VIII and his Queen, Katherine of Aragon, Princess Mary is raised in the golden splendour of her father’s court. But the King wants a son and heir.

With her parents’ marriage, and England, in crisis, Mary’s perfect world begins to fall apart. Exiled from the court and her beloved mother, she seeks solace in her faith, praying for her father to bring her home. But when the King does promise to restore her to favour, his love comes with a condition.

The choice Mary faces will haunt her for years to come – in her allegiances, her marriage and her own fight for the crown. Can she become the queen she was born to be?


Alison Weir’s new Tudor novel is the tale, full of drama and tragedy, of how a princess with such promise, loved by all who knew her, became the infamous Bloody Mary.

πŸ“– My Review..

Mary Mary, quite contrary is a nursery rhyme we have grown up with and which is supposed to be about the ill-fated Mary Tudor who brought such deadly religious strife to her country. Mary wasn't always contrary being the much cherished daughter of Katherine of Aragon and even though her father Henry VIII was desperate for a male heir, Mary was very much fΓͺted as a young child and treated as the princess she undoubtedly was. So, what went wrong for Mary?

Mary's teenage years spent as an outcast from her father's court, her frosty relationship with Anne Boleyn, who she deemed unfit to take Katherine of Aragon's place as Queen of England, is recounted in much detail and with a sympathetic eye towards Mary's thwarted dreams and ambitions. Her disappointment and frustration during her brother's Edward's reign is especially poignant as she was forbidden to hear the Catholic Mass which brought her much sorrow.

There is no doubt that Mary I: Queen of Sorrows is a beautifully written and intricately researched historical novel which portrays a much softer Mary and not the despotic Queen who was determined to rid the country of protestant heretics although this covered in the later chapters of the novel. This is very much about a woman, who was often lonely and misunderstood, who was driven by destiny and passion, and who was determined to bring England back to Catholicism and even though this route would see much unrest  Mary's religious belief was always her guiding light.

All credit to the author for shining a much needed spotlight on Mary Tudor in a story which brings the intricacies of the Tudor court to life in glorious detail.

About the Author

Alison Weir is a bestselling historical novelist of Tudor fiction, and the leading female historian in the United Kingdom. She has published more than thirty books, including many leading works of non-fiction, and has sold over three million copies worldwide.

Her novels include the Tudor Rose trilogy, which spans three generations of history’s most iconic family - the Tudors, and the highly acclaimed Six Tudor Queens series about the wives of Henry VIII, all of which were Sunday Times bestsellers.

Alison is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an honorary life patron of Historic Royal Palaces.

X@ AlisonWeirBooks

X@ headlinepg

X @RandomTTours

Thursday 16 May 2024

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ The Life Sentence by Jackie Kabler

One More Chapter 
9 May 2024

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

My name is Amber Ryan.

I’m in prison, but I’m innocent.

And I’ve been jailed not just for a crime I didn’t commit, but for a crime that never even happened.

Now, my friend is going to try to prove it.

But to do that, she has to go back.

Back to the dark.

πŸ“– My Review..

Amber Ryan has been given a life sentence for a crime she didn’t commit. When her friend Heather reappears in her life wishing to help prove her innocence it opens up a tangled web of secrets and lies. Moving between chapters we get to discover the story from the perspective of Amber, her friend Heather and Jack Shannon, who is the complex man at the centre of the story and who has such a psychological hold over both these women.

The story is rich in detail and the many twists and turns kept me guessing. I was particularly interested in Heather’s involvement and must admit to being on the edge of my seat as she tries to get the evidence which will prove Amber’s innocence. I also liked the fact that Heather was a bookseller and enjoyed the snippets of time we spent in the book shop with her.  Although the story is to discover what happened to put Amber in prison, she is something of a peripheral figure, and it is mainly through Heather that we learn about what happened and of the consequences of having a relationship with Jack Shannon.

As always, this author knows how to crank up the tension, she writes well, keeping the plot tight and controlled and delivers another story which is filled with heightened emotion. The Life Sentence is another great read from this talented writer of psychological fiction.

About the Author

Jackie Kabler is a television presenter and award-winning crime writer. Her bestselling psychological thrillers have been translated into eight languages. They include Am I Guilty?, The Perfect Couple, The Happy Family, The Murder List and The Vanishing of Class 3B. A former TV news reporter, when not writing Jackie now works as a presenter for UK TV shopping channel QVC; she is also an ultramarathon runner and keen gardener, and lives in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, with her husband.

Twitter / X @jackiekabler



Monday 13 May 2024

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ Hold Back the Night by Jessica Moor

Manilla Press
9 May 2024

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book
and to Compulsive Readers for the invitation to the blog tour

March 2020. 

Annie is alone in her house as the world shuts down, only the ghosts of her memories for company. But then she receives a phone call which plunges her deeper into the past. 

1959. Annie and Rita are student nurses at Fairlie Hall mental hospital. Working long, gruelling hours, they soon learn that the only way to appease their terrifying matron is to follow the rules unthinkingly. But what is happening in the hospital's hidden side wards? And at what point does following the rules turn into complicity - and betrayal?

1983. Annie is reeling from the loss of her husband and struggling to face raising her daughter alone. Following a chance encounter, she offers a sick young man a bed for the night, a good deed that soon leads to another. Before long, she finds herself entering a new life of service - her home a haven for those who are cruelly shunned. But can we ever really atone?

πŸ“– My Review..

Lock-down in 2020 brings its own brand of isolation and indecision and left with just her thoughts Annie is taken back in time firstly to 1959 when she and her friend Rita were student nurses at Fairlie Hall Mental Hospital. With an incompassionate matron who ruled with a rod of iron, Annie and Rita were given tasks which they neither knew nor understood. Moving forward in time we meet Annie in the 1980s when another unknown epidemic was wiping out a specific population and with a house far too big for Annie and her daughter, Annie offers a place of refuge to those who were being shunned in society and considered unworthy of human kindness.

Stark, often brutal its depiction of life, this emotive novel took me right back to my own student nurse days and more particularly to nursing in the 1980s when no-one, unless you were actually there, could understand the fear and ignorance which surrounded this particular time in medical history. I had such an emotional connection to Annie, often seeing myself in her when I too would obey instructions with little knowledge of the far reaching consequences. Although different times calls for different measures this cleverly controlled novel links together three very specific eras and gives them a common thread, that of a disease out of control, the ignorance which surrounded medical treatments and in particular mental illness, and of the isolation borne of fear.

Hold Back the Night is a difficult book to 'enjoy' as the subject matter is a tough read but it's all sensitively handled and very well written and is definitely a story which will stay with me for a while.

About the Author

Jessica Moor studied English at Cambridge before completing a Creative Writing MA at Manchester University. Prior to this she spent a year working in the violence against women and girls sector and this experience inspired her first novel, Keeper.

Her second novel, Young Women, was published in 2022.

She was selected as one of the Guardian's 10 best debut novelists of 2020, longlisted for the 2020 Desmond Elliot Prize and a Mystery Writers of America Award. She won the 2022 Nouvelle Voix du Polar. She lectures in Creative Writing.

Follow on Social Media

Twitter/X @jessicammoor

Instagram ms_jessica_moor

Twitter /X@ zaffrebooks @Tr4cyF3nton

Wednesday 8 May 2024

πŸ“– Adventure Travel Twins England by Naomi and Nathan Kyriacopoulos

Travel and Teach Publishing Limited
5 April 2024

My thanks to Cameron Publicity for my copy if this book

Follow Millie, Marcus and Jasper the sausage dog as they set off on a whirlwind adventure to the country of England. Transported through their magical globe, the Adventure Travel Twins share exciting and educational facts guaranteed to spark imagination and interest in children aged 6 - 10 years. Also included a 'find me if you can' game and a glossary helped to teach younger readers the meaning of words that might be new them or difficult to pronounce.

πŸ“– My Review..

So, it must be said that I had some special help with this review from my four and a half year old granddaughter who enjoyed looking at the colourful pictures and was especially delighted to discover that Jasper the dog was almost exactly like her own sausage dog, Tutti. My granddaughter enjoyed looking at the pictures and listened to my descriptions of the places, she especially recognised the London Eye, which she has been on, she loved all the animals and of course, the picture of chocolate. By far her favourite part of the book was the game to find Millie, Marcus and Jasper and with some help spotted all three.

Overall, my granddaughter's opinion was that the story and pictures were 'quite good' - praise indeed from a discerning four and a half year old who loves books as much as her granny does.

About the Author

Naomi and Nathan Kyriacopoulos are sister and brother and Adventure Travel Twins is the first book that they have written together. They both grew up in the UK (Nottingham and Reading) and now live in New Zealand.

Naomi Kyriacopoulos travelled extensively for work before deciding to make New Zealand home. Her personal and professional passions focus on world geography, history, people, culture and politics. She is delighted to share her excitement for our world with those just starting out on their own adventures!

Nathan Kyriacopoulos is Naomi's younger but bigger brother. He has been fortunate to have travelled across the world and it is that experience (and his young daughter) that drew him to the idea of travel adventures for young children. In his spare time, he is a storyteller, driver, chef, teacher and family entertainer to his daughter Ava and endlessly forgiving wife Kate. Not to mention Frida 'Kahlo' the sausage dog.

Twitter / @CameronPMtweets


Tuesday 7 May 2024

🐱 It's our 13th Blogoversary today !


🐱 Jaffareadstoo is celebrating it's 13th Blogoversary today 🐱

Although Jaffareadstoo is a bit quieter these days we are still enjoying reading and reviewing so many lovely books. We never take this privilege for granted.

But we couldn't do this without all those who share their books,
read the blog and like and share our tweets.

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Wednesday 1 May 2024

πŸ“– Featured Book of the Month ~ The Lost Memories by Lorna Cook

Avon Books
28 March 2024

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book

Suffolk, 1944. American pilot Charlie’s second tour is about to draw to a close, but his heart is forever changed when he meets Kitty, a local girl with dreams of joining the Women’s Land Army. As love blooms, the pair are all too aware that every perilous mission Charlie flies may well be his last…

Suffolk, 2011. When Kitty’s granddaughter and ambitious tearoom owner Amy meets American tourist and photographer Jack, she agrees to show him around in exchange for his photographic talents. The deal quickly grows into an unexpected bond – but when long-buried secrets emerge, neither of their worlds will ever be the same again..

πŸ“– My Review..

This dual timeline story shares the story of Kitty and Charlie in 1944 and that of Kitty's granddaughter, Amy in 2011. Both time frames sit comfortably together and as the stories start to weave together and overlap so a beautiful love story starts to emerge. 

Long buried secrets which Kitty has kept hidden gives the book its heart and soul and as her story evolves so we get to know more about the quiet Suffolk village where her father owns the local pub and the effect of having a US air force base so close to the village has on the villagers. Time and place come alive and I was equally at home in 1944 sharing the excitement as the American bombers fly backwards and forwards on their missions into Europe, as I was with Amy's life in 2011 running her tea-shop and catering for local events.

This emotional story really tugs away at the heart strings but it is so beautifully described that I couldn't help but be invested in all of the characters, especially Kitty and Charlie in 1944 whose fated love story reiterated just how much couples suffered during the war time years. The  uncertainty of life was never taken for granted, and young lovers living for the moment is given wings to fly in this lovely story of lost love, and forever love.

Beautifully written, and imaginatively described, as all this talented author's historical novels are, I have no hesitation of making The Lost Memories my Featured Book of the Month for May.

About the Author

Lorna Cook is the author of six historical fiction novels, weaving secrets and forgotten history with mystery and romance. She also writes contemporary fiction under the name Elle Cook.

X @lornacookauthor