Monday, 4 January 2021

One Day in December by Josie Silver

"Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn't exist. After all, life isn't a scene from the movies, is it? But then, through a misted-up bus window one freezing day, she sees a man she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there's a moment of pure magic...and then her bus drives away.

Laurie thinks she'll never see the boy from the bus again. But at a party later that year, her best friend Sarah introduces her to the new love of her life. Who is, of course, the boy from the bus.

Determined to let him go, Laurie gets on with her life. But what if fate has other plans?"

Secret Santa bought me this book for Christmas in 2018 and I'm ashamed to say it's taken me this long to read it!  My excuse - I wanted to read it in December because of the title and I finally got round to it in December 2020.  Boy, was it worth the wait!  I really should have known with a testimonial on the front cover from Marian Keyes!

I was hooked from the very first chapter and then devoured the remainder of the book as quickly as possible - my other half laughing at me as I wandered round the house and attempted to cook dinner with my nose in this book!

I love a pure movie-style fairytale romance and the first chapter of this book gives you hope for that when Laurie and Jack's eyes meet through a misted up bus window, however, the wheels very quickly come off the bus.  I genuinely couldn't work out how the story was going to pan out given the situation as someone was clearly going to get hurt.

Sarah and Laurie are university age when we first meet them, however, the book spans ten years which is unusual.  It allows the reader to really see the development of the characters through some crucial transition years from university into the real world.  To fit ten years into a book, of course, the story jumps on at various points but it doesn't ever feel disjointed and it is an incredibly impressive debut book from Josie Silver.  I will most certainly be getting myself a copy of Josie Silver's second book, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird.

I laughed and I cried.  I was torn as to how I wanted it to end.  But when it does's wonderful.  Highly recommended and absolutely no need to read in December alone!

You can buy One Day in December on Kindle and in paperback here (prices correct at time of writing):


Monday, 14 December 2020

The Flip Side by James Bailey

I'm delighted to take part in The Flip Side Blog Tour!

"It's love . . . what could go wrong?

When Josh proposes in a pod on the London Eye at New Years' Eve, he thinks it's perfect.

Until she says no.

And they have to spend the next 29 excruciating minutes alone together.

Realising he can't trust his own judgment, Josh decides from now on he will make every decision through the flip of a coin.

Maybe the coin will change his life forever.

Maybe it will find him find the girl of his dreams . . ."

This debut book from James Bailey is an absolute breath of fresh air and I loved it.  It's rare for me to actually laugh out loud at a book but, with this book, I did on multiple occasions!

I thought the story was just so different to other stories I've read; a seemingly bad decision to propose on NYE sends Josh on a different course as he makes the decision to flip a coin to see if this makes him make better decisions for the next year.  His friends think he's crazy but will it pay off?

The characters in this book are great and they really do jump off the page and come to life.  From Josh's friends and family all the way to Josh's pub quiz team's quiz enemies, they all brought something wonderful to the story.  I can definitely see this being made into a film!

There's plenty of travel in the book too and great descriptions of places that Josh ends up visiting!  With Rome being my favourite city, I also loved that it ended up here!

Having finished the book, I've realised that it is actually quite unusual to have a romance told from the male perspective and this added an extra dimension.  

This book isn't just funny, it's sad, thought-provoking, romantic, fairytale like and real all at the same time.  The perfect book to curl up with this winter and escape the difficulties that 2020 has brought us!

It's really hard to believe this is a debut novel!  James Bailey has a bright future and I, for one, can't wait to read more!

The Flip Side is out now and available on Kindle here (prices correct at time of writing):

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Twenty Years a Stranger by Deborah Twelves

"Is it possible for anyone to really know another person?

That is the question Grace King must ask herself when she receives an email informing her that the man she has been married to for the last twenty years is an accomplished con-man, leading multiple lives with at least four different women. Worse still, she learns he has children with these women, but Daniel always told Grace he didn’t want children…
In a split second, Grace’s world is torn apart. She is forced to face up to the fact that her marriage is a sham and the enviable lifestyle she enjoyed with Daniel was all based on lies and deceit. With Daniel suddenly threatening to go bankrupt, Grace decides to turn amateur detective in an attempt to salvage anything she can from her old life and avoid financial as well as emotional ruin, but can she cope with what she finds out?  
As increasingly disturbing secrets about Daniel emerge, events spiral out of control and Grace begins to see just how far he is prepared to go to protect those secrets. A dangerous game of cat and mouse ensues, but it is clear there can only ever be one winner. Pushed to breaking point, Grace is about to discover what she is truly capable of.
Everyone has choices and those choices always have consequences.
Based on true events, this compelling story is filled with twists and turns and sadness and laughter that will keep readers gripped until the very last moment."

I'm delighted to be taking part in the Twenty Years a Stranger blog tour; welcome to today's stop!

Twenty Years a Stranger is split into three separate parts and each of those is a great read!  The book is split into chapters showing different characters and their story.  I found the first part to be the hardest to keep up with as I got to know the vast array of characters, however, I soon got grips with this and that's when the rollercoaster really began.

Daniel is just a complete disgrace and it gets worse and worse as you continue to read.  I just didn't know where the story was going to turn next and I actually gasped at the last line of the book as I couldn't believe it was over!

I loved that it is based on true events and I gather it is the first in The Stranger Series and there are two more books to follow!  I, for one, am definitely looking forward to finding out what happens next in The Stranger Series!

Twenty Years a Stranger is out now and available to download on Kindle on buy in paperback here:

Friday, 27 November 2020

Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe by Morton S Gray

"Run away to the little beach café this Christmas ...

Five years ago at Christmas, solicitor Justin Sadler made the decision to leave his comfortable existence behind and move to the coast. Since then, he’s tried his best to ignore the festive season and, as he sits in the little beach café and reflects on that fateful night when his life was turned upside down, he expects his fifth Christmas alone to be no different to any of the others since he made his escape. 

But when he encounters a mystery woman on the beach, he soon realises he may have found a fellow runaway and kindred spirit. Could Justin finally be ready to move on and let Christmas into his life again?"

I think we're all looking forward to Christmas 2020 coming and this book definitely got me into the Christmas spirit!  

Justin doesn't like Christmas (and he's got a pretty good reason for that!) whereas Sylvie is Christmas-mad; will Sylvie be able to reignite Christmas joy in Justin (and something else at the same time)?  Throw into the mix a meddling mother and a villain step-brother and the ride for Justin and Sylvie won't be smooth!

This isn't just a romance; there's also a crime / mystery element to this story which sets it aside from the standard Christmas romance!

I really enjoyed the book and I was a bit sad when it ended.  I'd love to read more about where Justin and Sylvie end up.  I was so engrossed in the story that I got a bit of a shock when it ended, sooner than I had hoped as it left me wanting more!

I believe this is book 5 in the Borteen Secrets series; I haven't read any of the previous ones and didn't feel like anything was missing.  However, I'll definitely be looking out for Borteen Secrets books in the future!

Christmas at the Little Beach Cafe is out now and available on Kindle here (price correct at time of writing):

Monday, 2 November 2020

House of Christmas Secrets by Lynda Stacey

This year we’re just going to have a nice, normal Christmas… 

Last year’s Christmas at Wrea Head Hall didn’t quite go to plan which is why Jess Croft is determined this festive season will be the one to remember, for the right reasons. And she has plenty of reasons to be hopeful, she’s going to marry the man of her dreams, Jack Stone, seven days after New Year’s Eve.  

However, as family secrets are revealed in hidden letters and two unexpected guests turn up on the doorstep, Jess is left wondering whether her life will ever be the same again. 

Can Jess and Jack still experience a peaceful festive season that they had imagined or are there some problems that even Christmas can’t fix?

This book is the sequel to House of Secrets and I strongly recommend that you read them in order.  Whilst this second book focuses on the story of Jess and Jack (both characters we meet in the first book - Jess is Maddie's sister), this book follows on from the first and is set about a year later.

I loved House of Secrets so much that I immediately searched out Lynda Stacey to see if she had any other books I could read and I was delighted to find she had written a sequel.  I absolutely was not disappointed!!

Alongside the story of Jess and Jack, we also get the story of Bastion and Lily (and we get to see more of Nomsa).  It's a exceptionally difficult ride for Bastion and Lily but it's delightful at the same time.

This book left me wanting more (in a good way)! I found it so easy to read as I was so engrossed in the story and the pages just kept turning.  A Christmas read with a dark edge to it.  

Reading Lynda's commentary at the end of the book, I also discovered that Wrea Head Hall is a real place and I'd love to visit!

House of Christmas Secrets is out now and is available on Kindle or in paperback (prices correct at time of writing):


Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Escape to the Little Chateau by Marie Laval

 Will Amy’s dreams of a Provençal escape come true? 

There are many reasons Amy Carter is determined to make Bellefontaine, her farmhouse hotel in the French countryside, a success. Of course, there’s the time and money she’s put in to making it beautiful, but she also has something to prove – particularly to people like Fabien Coste.

Fabien is the owner of the nearby château, and he might just be the most arrogant, patronising man Amy has ever met ... unfortunately, he’s also the most handsome. 

But as rumours circulate in the local community and secrets about the old farmhouse begin to reveal themselves, Amy quickly sees the less idyllic side of life at Bellefontaine. Could Fabien be the man to help prevent her Provençal dream from turning into a nightmare? 

My favourite thing about this book has to be Fabien Coste; following a spiky first meeting between Fabien and Amy, inevitably, they can't stop thinking about each other.  I loved the way Fabien looked out for Amy when she first arrived despite her protests!

Amy is completely new to the area and has her work cut out to get Bellefontaine ready and make it a success.  She could really do without the distractions of unwelcome bumps in the night!

This book has a much darker side to it than you'd realise from its front cover!  There is a history to Bellefontaine that started long long ago and Amy may regret getting mixed up in; but will she stick it out or will she sell up and move back home?  

I found that there were a lot of characters to keep track of in this book alongside the Roman / Greek history side of the story which made me use some brain power!  

The suspense element of this suspense romance really gets going in the latter part of the book and I actually gasped at one point.  It's a pretty dark story but the romance also shines through it all.

I read this in one go on a very rainy October day! An author I'd definitely consider checking out again in the future.

* I received a free advanced copy of this book from Choc Lit in exchange for an honest review *

Escape to the Little Chateau is out now (Happy Publication Day!!) and can be purchased here:


Thursday, 1 October 2020

Search for the Truth by Kathryn Freeman

 Sometimes the truth hurts … 

When journalist Tess Johnson takes a job at Helix pharmaceuticals, she has a very specific motive. Tess has reason to believe the company is knowingly producing a potentially harmful drug and, if her suspicions are confirmed, she will stop at nothing to make sure the truth comes out.

Jim Knight is the president of research and development at Helix and is a force to be reckoned with. After a disastrous office affair he’s determined that nothing else will distract him from his vision for the company. Failure is simply not an option. 

As Tess and Jim start working together, both have their reasons for wanting to ignore the sexual chemistry that fires between them. But chemistry, like most things in the world of science, isn’t always easy to control. 
I adore a ChocLit hero and heroine and this book has the strongest of heroes and heroines.  Search for the Truth also has an unusual setting in the pharmaceutical industry and it makes for some seriously explosive chemistry!  

I loved the storyline which felt so different.  I was completely torn between Jess outing the truth for her family and her unexpected feelings for Jim, turning protective of him despite her investigations and her ultimate dilemma of being honest with him.  

As the book reached its conclusion, a massive part of me didn't want to read on as I could see the direction that Jess and Jim's relationship was going in and I felt caught up in Jess' dilemma but, at the same time, I couldn't bear to stop!  It's an emotional rollercoaster of a book but I adored it.

Jim isn't just a looker, being the George Clooney of the industry, but he has good morals and an important part of storyline follows Jim trying to change the ethics of the industry.  The reader sees the real man behind Jim, his relationship with his mother and the hurt he's experienced in the past.  

Jess is a strong women but with hidden insecurities and a huge passion for shoes.  She ends up in a very difficult situation and I loved reading about her journey and how she handles it.

Another delightful read from Choc Lit; I don't think I've ever been disappointed by this publisher.

Search for the Truth is out now and available on Kindle and in paperback (prices correct at the time of writing):


Wednesday, 23 September 2020

A Wedding on the Riviera by Evonne Wareham

 A return to the Riviera on the trail of a runaway groom ...

When out-of-work actor Ryan Calder attends a wedding as the plus-one of successful businesswoman, Nadine Wells, he doesn’t expect to get in a scuffle with the groom.

But Ryan has a good reason. He recognises the groom from another wedding where the same man made a quick getaway, taking the wedding money and leaving a heartbroken bride in his wake. It seems he's struck again, and Nadine's poor friend is the target.

Ryan and Nadine decide they can’t let it happen to another woman, so with a group of friends they hatch a plan that will take them to the French Riviera, hot on the heels of the crooked groom. But could their scheme to bring him to justice also succeed in bringing them closer together?

I loved the sound of the plot line of this book and it was an intriguing plot and really different.  I enjoyed the story although I had so many questions along the way as to the detail of how they lured the conman in to their plan (this part of the story falls more into place than I had imagined).  However, it's a good journey from Bath and Bristol to the French Riviera...

I also loved the camaraderie of the group that come together to bring the runaway groom to justice and the different relationships within that group.  Ryan is one of the less confident Choc Lit heroes I have come across but I still adored him and I thought his self-awareness made him all the more desirable!

I read this as a standalone book but, having read the author's note at the end of the book, I now know that it follows Summer in San Remo which means that readers get to revisit Cassie and Jake as they feature in this book too.  However, there's no need to read as part of a series if you don't want!

A story of deception, camaraderie, life decisions, romance and wedding bells!

* I received a free advanced copy of this book from Choc Lit in exchange for an honest review *

A Wedding on the Riviera is out now (Happy Publication Day for yesterday!!) and can be purchased here:

Thursday, 17 September 2020

House of Secrets by Lynda Stacey

"A woman on the run, a broken man and a house with a shocking secret…

Madeleine Frost has to get away. Her partner Liam has become increasingly controlling to the point that Maddie fears for her safety, and that of her young daughter Poppy...

Desperation leads Maddie to the hotel owned by her estranged father – the extraordinarily beautiful Wrea Head Hall in Yorkshire. There, she meets Christopher ‘Bandit’ Lawless, an ex-marine and the gamekeeper of the hall, whose brusque manner conceals a painful past.

After discovering a diary belonging to a previous owner, Maddie and Bandit find themselves immersed in the history of the old house, uncovering its secrets, scandals, tragedies – and, all the while, becoming closer.

But Liam still won’t let go, he wants Maddie back, and when Liam wants something he gets it, no matter who he hurts…"

This is the first thriller which I've read that was published by Choc Lit and boy did I love the combination of the famous Choc Lit hero / heroine and a thriller!

This is actually an incredibly difficult book to review without giving too much of the story away as it really isn't completely predictable.  Let's just say I felt completely aggrieved for Maddie at certain points of the story which were just unfair; a sign I had really bonded with the characters and was living this book alongside them.  I hated Liam with a passion (he's a real baddie) but I adored Bandit and the way Poppy takes to him from the very beginning.  There are some other 'non-main' characters who also stand out and we get to see more of these in the follow up to this book, House of Christmas Secrets (which I adore).

I loved the interaction with the past which is brought to life through the diary of a previous owner which is found and I loved watching that unravel and finding out how that links to the present and the future.

This is a book filled with sparks and I was truly surprised to find out that this book was Lynda Stacey's debut book; it's incredibly good!  I have already finished the sequel to this book - House of Christmas Secrets - and I intend to work my way through all of Lynda's other books one by one!  A new favourite author for my list - you can see more about Lynda here.

House of Secrets is out now and can be purchased here on Kindle or in Paperback (prices correct at time of writing):


Saturday, 5 September 2020

Coming Home to Seashell Cottage by Jessica Redland

For Clare O’Connell, home is where the heart aches…

Since the age of sixteen, Clare O'Connell has lived her life by four strict rules:

1. Don't talk about Ireland

2. Don't think about Ireland

3. Don't go to Ireland

4. Don't let anyone in

And so far, it's worked well. She's got a great career, amazing friends, and she's really happy. The future is all that counts, isn't it?

However Clare is about to realise that you can run from the past, but you can't always hide from it…

When her boss insists she travels to Ireland for work, Clare finds herself drawn back to the village of Ballykielty – the home of her family, and the home of her secrets. The one place where vowed never to return to again…

With the door to her past now wide open, the first three rules have gone out of the window. Will Clare stick to rule number four?

Can she be brave and face up to her family and the demons of her past?

The fourth and final book in The Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series focuses on Clare who we've seen in the previous two books in the series.  I wasn't sure about Clare in the previous books but she really becomes herself in her book.  Whilst I knew Clare had a past that had affected her, I would never have guessed from the previous books what was coming in terms of Clare's back story.

It's almost impossible to write this review without giving things away.  All I'll say is there are a lot of surprises in this book and I was completely torn as to what I wanted to happen!

This is a very emotional book of family differences, friendship and facing your past!

The great thing about a series is you also get to catch up with other characters and this series is no exception; you also get to see a little more of Sarah and Elise (and Auntie Kay).

I've very much enjoyed The Welcome to Whitsborough Bay and will definitely check out some more of Jessica Redland's books.

Coming Home to Seashell Cottage is out now and can be purchased here on Kindle or in paperback: