Tuesday, 12 October 2021


The Sister Pact by Lisa Swift

Thirty-year-old Brooke Padget is the landlady of The Highwayman’s Drop in the beautiful Yorkshire village of Leyholme. Commitment-averse and obsessed with work, she isn't looking for anything serious – and she certainly isn't interested in the pub's new barman, gorgeous single dad Hayden. Or is she?

Older sister Rhianna Garret has fled wealthy husband James after discovering his infidelity. As she moves back to the pub with her children in tow, it’s clear that living together will be tricky for these two very different sisters...

Meanwhile, their widowed mum Janey is keen to rejoin the dating scene. But a lot has changed sinceher youth in the seventies – and she’ll need the help of her girls.

As the sisters join forces to help Janey, as well as fight off the chain circling the pub, their relationshipbecomes close once again. Until Brooke discovers Rhianna is hiding a secret that could drive a wedge between them all…

Can the two sisters come together to save The Highwayman’s Drop, their mum's love life – and their relationship?

Purchase Links

AMZ: https://amzn.to/3eRgvMj
Kobo: https://bit.ly/3rgWRhC
Apple: https://apple.co/2VZiszx

My thoughts...

When you finish the last sentence of a book and race to find a pen to create your review then it has to be the sign of a great book. I loved everything about it....pure heart was at the forefront of this story to create a warm and inviting atmosphere to welcome you in. But what a setting we had in Leyholme, which was a gorgeous pocket of the world, with the Highwayman’s Drop in pride of place, front and centre. But what really stood out to me was the family and relationships running through the narrative. They really jumped off the pages to create something exceptionally special for the reader.

Character creation is one of my favourite elements to any story and the cast of characters gracing the pages of this book were loveable from the word go. Brooke and Rhianna had a rocky path through the pages to say the least but it was a pure joy to witness their relationship take on the trials and tribulations of life and love and come out on top with a new unbreakable bond. But my favourite character by far would have to be Janey.....her penchant for life made me giggle on so many occasions and I was rooting for that sort after happy ending.

The Sister Pact is pure joy from start to finish with relationships and love leading the way through a charming narrative. I was hooked from the opening moments and found I didn't want the pages to come to an end.

Thank you to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources for organising such a fantastic tour.

About the author...

Lisa Swift is a romance author from West Yorkshire in the UK. She is represented by Laura Longrigg at MBA Literary Agents. Her first book is due to be published by Hera Books in August 2019.

As Mary Jayne Baker, Lisa also writes romantic comedies for Aria Fiction. Lisa is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Social Media Links


Thursday, 9 September 2021

Book review: A Christmas Wedding in the Cotswolds by Lucy Coleman


A Christmas Wedding in the Cotswolds by Lucy Coleman

What could be more festive than a winter wedding in the picturesque English countryside? Join us for Christmas in the Cotswolds with the bestselling Lucy Coleman.

Imogen Tolliman and Gray Adams can’t wait to get married after getting engaged the previous year, when they were stranded by snow in a blizzard. Now they are busy planning their wedding, but when the date slips six months because Gray is working on a huge film project, it seems like fate that after their snowy start, they will end up getting married at Christmas. 

The couple are living in Immi’s grandfather’s picturesque lock-keeper’s cottage at the Aysbury marina in the Cotswolds, which they are renovating to become their forever family home. As well as building work, full-time jobs and wedding planning, Immi is in charge of raising money to build a children’s playground, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of The Santa Ahoy Cruises – her grandfather Tollie’s life work. 

When Gray is suddenly forced to travel abroad, Immi is left to cope with everything alone, and before long, even the best-laid plans start to wobble. When a terrible betrayal is uncovered, the whole community of Aysbury is left reeling, and Immi is left wondering if there will be a wedding after all…

Let Lucy Coleman transport you away to an unforgettable Cotswolds Christmas full of romance and laughter, friendship and family and much-loved festive traditions. Perfect for all fans of Trisha Ashley, Holly Martin and Sue Moorcroft. 

Purchase Link - https://amzn.to/3h5YBFy

My thoughts...

The first festive read of the season is always that extra bit special and what a story to start with. I was welcomed in like an old friend and left feeling like part of the gang. As far as settings go this was absolutely stellar....the Cotswolds is a beautiful pocket of the world and an idyllic backdrop to any narrative. But add on top a sprinkling of Christmas magic and a smattering of snow and you have one extra special twinkling treat.

This was the author's second visit to the pretty town of Aysbury but for me it was my first meeting this glorious cast. Although I can safely say that I never once felt wrong footed as Coleman carefully wove any contextual information into the narrative to constantly keep me in the loop. What a story though.....poor Immy! Everything but the kitchen sink was thrown into her lap as she navigated her way to the wedding day dreams are made of and I was in my element sharing this entertaining journey with her.

My favourite part of any book is the character creations that I meet along the way and this certainly didn't disappoint. Each and every person added something special to the story and I took the entire cast to heart. A real sense of love and community spirit was bursting off the pages for all to witness and I was living for each and every moment. Immy, Gray, Tollie, Val and Rona there's far too many to list them all but isn't that the sign of any great book when you want to give everyone the curtain call they deserve. But believe me when I say that there's a treasure of a cast waiting to meet you beneath the front cover.

A Christmas Wedding in the Cotswolds is like a snow globe story dreams are made of.....picture perfect on the outside but shake it up and watch the magic truly transpire. As always my time together with a Coleman story has been stunning from start to finish and I have a good feeling we're not done with this corner of the world just yet (hint hint).

Thank you to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources for organising such a fantastic tour.

About the author...

Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LinnBHaltonAuthor/

Twitter https://twitter.com/LucyColemanAuth

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/linnbhalton/

Newsletter Sign Up Link http://bit.ly/LucyColemanNewsletter

Bookbub profile https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lucy-coleman

Boldwood’s IG account - https://www.instagram.com/bookandtonic/

Saturday, 4 September 2021

Book review: The Undying Tower by Melissa Welliver


The Undying Tower by Melissa Welliver

What if living forever was a death sentence? 

Decades after the discovery that a small percentage of the population has stopped ageing, the Avalonia Zone is in crisis. From overpopulation to food shortages, the ‘Undying’ have been blamed for the state’s problems, banished to the fringes of society, and punished for every minor infraction.

When sixteen-year-old Sadie takes the fall for an attack by a rebel group, The Alchemists, she suddenly finds herself wrenched away from her quiet life and from her ailing father.

Armed with little help and even less knowledge, Sadie is thrust into a cold and cryptic ‘correctional facility’ – The Tower. Here she’ll have to rethink everything she’s been told about the Undying population in an attempt to save the life she knows, protect a group of unlikely friends, and give voice to the voiceless in a society on the brink of catastrophic upheaval.

My thoughts...

Well one thing is certainly true from the opening moments is that Welliver knows how to build a world rich in vivid intrigue and expectation. I was pulled head first into a dystopian land and addicted in an instant. But what a story......the narrative sat back and revealed its secrets in a deliberate fashion creating an aura of anticipation for the reader and I was living for each and every moment.

Jumping into the plot we find a unique world where living forever is a curse and a death sentence for a portion of the population called 'the Undying'. Politics and class segregation play out a twisted tale of a post land after 'the Discovery' and twists and turns take us right up until the closing moments with plenty of story set ups secured for the following books in the trilogy.

I found that the character creations were vivid enough in areas to keep the attention with room for contextual information to grow as the series takes shape. Sadie was a unique little individual with a great story arc and I found myself rooting for her success. Other characters play out fabulous moments as the story reveals itself and I loved some of the shocking twists of events that showed up at opportune occasions.

The Undying Tower is a dystopian diamond that had me in raptures from the word go. If this is a debut then sign me up for the series as I'm excited to see what Welliver brings to the table next. If The Undying Tower is not on your radar yet then rectify this oversight immediately you won't be disappointed. 

Thank you to Agora Books for allowing me to read and review. 

About the author...

Melissa Welliver writes speculative fiction about how the End Of The World is never really the end of the world. After studying MA Creative Writing under Jeanette Winterson at the University of Manchester, she went on to complete Curtis Brown Creative’s Writing for Children course. Her work has listed in Bath Novel Award, Mslexia, the Hachette Children’s Novel Award, and the Wells Book for Children Competition. She has been published in two short story collections and is an avid member of the Twitter writing community. Born in Stockport, she now lives in the High Peak with an assortment of doggy friends. The Undying Tower is her first novel. 

Friday, 3 September 2021

Book review: The Last Library by Freya Sampson


The Last Library by Freya Sampson

You can tell a lot about a person from the library books they borrow

Library assistant June knows a lot about the regulars at Chalcot Library, yet they know very little about her. When her mum - the beloved local librarian - passed away eight years ago, June stepped into her shoes. But despite their shared love of books, shy June has never felt she can live up to the village's memory of her mum. Instead, she's retreated into herself and her memories, surviving on Chinese takeaways-for-one and rereading their favourite books at home.

When the library is threatened with closure, a ragtag band of eccentric locals establish the Friends of Chalcot Library campaign. There's gentlemanly pensioner Stanley, who visits the library for the computers and the crosswords, cantankerous Mrs B, who is yet to find a book she approves of, and teenager Chantal, who just wants a quiet place to study away from home. But can they compel reclusive June to join their cause?

If June wants to save the library, she finally has to make some changes to her life: opening up her heart to friendship, opportunities and maybe even more . . .

My thoughts...

I haven't felt so much heartfelt warmth burst from the pages of a book in such a long time. This story had a depth of love and sincere charm that moved me beyond measure and I know it will stay with me for many months to come.

As a library assistant myself the narrative resonated on many levels but I have to say that it was the character creations that graced the pages that captured my heart  the most. Sampson has an exceptional way of bringing people to life, in all their flawed and vivid glory, to elevate and entice the plot to new heights.

From the opening moments I was pulled into a tale that delivered on every emotional scale. I laughed and cried along with these characters and truly felt that I had made friends amongst the pages. But what  a story.....I can't even begin to describe how fast my eyes danced across the sentences as I greedily lapped up each and every word. The fight to save Chalcot Library became everything I cared about and I was fully invested in every strategic manoeuvre to win.

But how can I share my thoughts on this book without introducing this phenomenal cast! Although the book is told from June's perspective, each and every character played such an integral role to the narrative....and boy do they rise to this challenge. June is an instantly likeable character in her small little world she has created following the death of her Mam. She has a heart of gold and a love for her job that shows no bounds. It was a true honour sharing her journey and I adored every moment watching her blossom into the self assured woman we see in the final moments. Mrs B brought the house down with her comedy interludes and I found myself having to hold in the giggles on my plane journey to Tenerife. Marjorie reminded me of so many bosses I've had in the past which brought a smile to my face throughout. But Stanley Phelps.....our Stan! What a gent! My whole heart bursts with love for this character and he, for me, was the best part of this entire book. His character arc and sincere manner brought me to tears on a number of occasions and he truly had the most memorable lines on offer. I'd be here all day if I mentioned everyone but it's a testament to the great writing to know that I could talk about them all with such admiration.

The Last Library champions the courage of an entire community and showers them in love, laughter and kindness. Their spirit and dedication is infectious to create a truly uplifting story that won't be forgotten. If this is Freya's debut book then sign me up for the rest as I'm definitely a fan.

Thank you to Zaffre for allowing me to read and review.

About the author...

Freya Sampson works in TV and was the creator and executive producer of Channel 4's Four in a Bed and Gogglesprogs. She studied History at Cambridge University and is a graduate of the Faber Academy. She lives in London with her husband, two young children and an antisocial cat. The Last Library is her debut novel.

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Book review: The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser


The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser

Thea’s having a bad month. Not only has she been made redundant, she’s also discovered her husband of nearly twenty years is sleeping with one of her friends. And he’s not sorry – he’s leaving.
Bewildered and lost, Thea doesn’t know what to do. But, when she learns the great-uncle she barely knew has died and left her his huge collection of second-hand books and a house in the Scottish Lowlands, she seems to have been offered a second chance.
Running away to a little town where no one knows her seems like exactly what Thea needs. But when she meets the aristocratic Maltravers brothers – grumpy bookshop owner Edward and his estranged brother Charles, Lord Hollinshaw – her new life quickly becomes just as complicated as the life she was running from...
An enchanting story of Scottish lords, second-hand books, new beginnings and second chances perfect for fans of Cressida McLaughlin, Veronica Henry, Rachael Lucas and Jenny Colgan.

My thoughts...

A book set predominantly in a bookshop is one of my greatest joys and this story truly delivered. The witty writing pulled me into a sparkling story of everyday activity with all the highs and lows that life has to offer. I was entranced from the opening pages and found myself fully emerged until the final moments.

As far as character creations go Thea was a true star. I fell in love with her in an instant and became her biggest cheerleader. Her ability to tackle life head on after having her whole world crash down around her was both brave and inspiring. She certainly was a memorable leading lady.

But I must give a huge shout out to the cantankerous Edward who gave this book life on many levels. I mean I was definitely getting a few Henry Higgins vibes in regards to his attitude to life and love. His unconventional charm was loveable and I was certainly rooting for a happily ever after.

The Bookshop of Second Chances is joy personified. A truly heartwarming tale that portrayed life, in all its ugly glory, with a fresh approach and a dab of comedy dust. As far as debut books go this is definitely a smash hit and I'm excited to see what this author brings to the table next.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for letting me read and review.

About the author...

Jackie Fraser is a freelance editor and writer. She's worked for AA Publishing, Watkins, the Good Food Guide, and various self-published writers of fiction, travel and food guides, recipe books and self-help books since 2012. Prior to that, she worked as an editor of food and accommodation guides for the AA, including the B&B Guide, Restaurant Guide, and Pub Guide for nearly twenty years, eventually running the Lifestyle Guides department.   She's interested in all kind of things, particularly history, (and prehistory) art, food, popular culture and music. She reads a lot, (no, really) in multiple genres, and is fascinated by the Bronze Age. She likes vintage clothes, antique fairs, and photography. She used to be a bit of a goth. She likes cats.

Monday, 16 August 2021

Book review: The Heights by Louise Candlish


The Heights by Louise Candlish 

He thinks he’s safe up there. But he’ll never be safe from you. 
The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Tower Bridge, its roof terrace so discreet you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren't standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognize anywhere. He’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him. 

Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years.  You know this for a fact.  

Because you’re the one who killed him.  It’s time to confess what we did up there.

My thoughts...

Well this was certainly something else indeed. From the opening moments I was pulled head first into a thrilling phycological game of cat and mouse that had me reading at lightening speed to get to those all important answers.

Louise Candlish has a vivid writing style that gives the reader a front row seat to a story that has been scripted to perfection. From the last sentence in chapter one I was fully invested in the narrative, almost to the point of obsession to know every last little detail this book had to give me. I became greedy to the point of selfishness, with my need to know more, and I was outraged when life got in the way of my reading time....which is certainly the sign of a captivating story and a half.

Be fully prepared to be immersed in a story of compelling intrigue where depths of obsession or determination fuel a hunt for answers and justice. Love or question Ellen Saint you can't help but admire her undeterred and unrelenting journey throughout the book. I was fascinated by her character in many ways and the fact that I didn't warm to her as a person only fuelled my fascination further. She really was a force to be reckoned with and a major highlight overall. It certainly seems that Candlish has a clever talent for character creation as this entire cast are stellar and together they shape a sensational story.

The Heights is an enthralling number that will capture your attention in an unapologetical fashion and not let go. Each and every moment is majestically planned out and I was living for every nuance of detail. What a book!

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for allowing me to read and review. 

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Book review: The Road from Cromer Pier by Martin Gore


The Road from Cromer Pier by Martin Gore

It’s ten years on from The Road to Cromer Pier, and Summertime Special Show Director Karen Wells has two potential headliners, but both have issues. Dare she take the risk? And Karen herself is at a crossroads. Will her mother Janet ever retire and allow her to run the pier theatre?

Meanwhile Janet’s nemesis, businessman Lionel Pemrose still has designs on the pier theatre, but he is facing growing financial problems. Bank manager Peter Hodson is haunted by a past indiscretion, and calls in recently widowed turnaround expert Tom Stanley. Can he keep the indiscretion a secret?

Tom is bereaved and has recently been made redundant from his own firm. He is too young to retire, and after years of long hours, suddenly finds himself unemployed. He pours his energies into the assignment, which could be his last hurrah.
Old enmities, loyalties and past mistakes surface as the future of the pier theatre is once again under threat, and those involved must deal with unresolved issues in their lives.

My thoughts...

Gracing the boards of Cromier Pier again was like taking a walk with old friends....it felt exceedingly special to be back in this gorgeous pocket of the world and what a follow up this was. Everything but the kitchen sink was packed tightly into this multilayered plot of intrigue. On one hand we were tripping the light fantastic as the Summertime Special was once again edging closer and that all important headline act was in need to fit the bill. Whilst on the other hand we had a financial fiasco of extreme proportions that turned the drama up to Dynasty level.

Old and new characters rubbed shoulders on the page to weave together an exciting plot that had so many twists and turns I had to hold on tightly just to keep up. Martin sure knows how to ensure that entertainment is at the forefront of a story and I was living for each and every moment. But this book was far from centre stage spotlights and financial wizardry.....I would be doing this cast of characters a disservice in my review if I failed to mention the heart and soul gently simmering away between the multilayered narrative. In my opinion these simmers shone from Cyril's scenes.....I mean tissues at the ready this gentleman is a diamond and a character that will sit fondly in my memories.

As always it is sad to leave behind this set of stars but I know I will always be welcomed back if my heart wants to return to Cromer. So all that's left to say is strap yourself in readers because The Road from Cromer Pier is a trip you won't forget.

Thank you to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources for organising such a fantastic tour.