The Bowery Slugger by Leopold Borstinski @borstinski #hist/fic @damppebbles #BookReview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on the Bowery Slugger by Leopold Borstinski. My thanks to Emma at damppebbles Blog Tours for my spot on the tour and for arranging my e-copy of this brilliant historical fiction book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

A turn-of-the-century Jewish boy punches his way into the gangs of New York.

When Alex Cohen arrives in 1915 America, he seizes the land of opportunity with both hands and grabs it by the throat. But success breeds distrust and Alex must choose between controlling his gang and keeping his friend alive. What would you do if the person you trusted most is setting you up to die at your enemies’ hands?

The first book in the Alex Cohen series is a violent historical novel, which rips through the early years of the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s gripping crime noir beats at the chest of every reader with a bloody fist.

Purchase Links – Amazon UKAmazon USGoogle BooksNook

This is the first time I have read anything by this author, but I have seen his books popping up just recently. I am so glad I grabbed a spot on the Blog Tour sign -up for The Bowery Slugger as it is a wonderful historical fiction book that was right up my street.

It is set in 1915 and I arrived to this story as Alex Cohen arrives in America. He and his family settle and Alex finds himself a job, he starts at the bottom and gradually over the next few months he starts to climb the ladder.

This is a belter of a read and if, like me, you read and loved “Gangs of New York, then you are going to love The Bowery Slugger. It is the the story of a young man who finds himself working for the Jewish Mob. This kind of caught me unawares as I tend to think of this being more a world associated with other nationalities. Surprise aside, I found this such an addictive read as I followed Alex’s story.

There is obvious mentions of strong arming, extortion, take overs and the like. I liked how the author didn’t go into full on bloody descriptions, he found just the right balance for me. Along side the gangs is the story of a more personal one Alex and his love life. He has his heart set on a girl who has heard rumours of Alex and his reputation is one that goes before him, there is a mutual attraction, but is it enough.

I do like historical fiction and when I love it when I come across something new or I learn something I didn’t know before. This book gave me loads of new words, they are Yiddish words and I thought there inclusion was a great addition to the story. Using them as part of conversations adds an authenticity to the story, it also keeps various characters voices in the style and speech of the time. It may be a stereotype that I hold in my head, but for me it gives a character life. This is where reading a digital copy came in very handy as I was able to use the dictionary as I read.

The story is a good pace and for me felt just right for the story. Alex seemed to be a character that had the confidence to stroll at his own pace and this pacing matched the story.

There are so many good things about this book that I liked, the characters were great enough for the story and it would have been easy to add too many as the story feels quite big, but the author got the numbers just right. The story line is one that I really enjoyed, in some respect Alex should be a baddie, but I actually liked him a lot. The dialogue felt right and fitted in with the characters and their manners.

If you like historical fiction then I think The Bowery Slugger is one you should definitely buy. A fabulous book and it is also the first in the series with the next book due out spring next year, and I for one cannot wait for next year! I thoroughly enjoyed The Bowery Slugger and would definitely recommend it.

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

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Hemlock Jones and the Underground Orphans by Justin Carroll @WriterJustinC @CazVinBooks #Bookreview

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Hemlock Jones and the Underground Orphans by Justin Carroll. My thanks to Caroline at Bits About Books for arranging my spot on the Blog Tour and also for arranging a copy of this fabulous book. My apologies for being late with this review, I hadn’t realised the Tour dates had changed, but better late than never as they say 🙂

This is the second book in the Hemlock Jones series and I loved it as much as I did the first one. Before I get carried away singing the praises for this author’s Hemlock series, let me show you what it is all about…

When orphans vanish from their beds across Victorian London, twelve-year-old demystifier Hemlock Jones and her companion, Edward, take the case!


This time, the trail will lead them from their Baker Street home, along lost rivers and into the heart of the city, to face exotic enemies and a charming man with dark plans…

Hemlock Jones & The Underground Orphans is the second of the Hemlock Jones Chronicles, the award-winning series of detective adventures for children and adults.

Oh it is so good to be travelling around Victorian London with Hemlock and Eddie, oops sorry Edward! Hemlock and Edward are a fabulous combination. Hemlock is a demystifier, she takes the mystery out of criminal cases that she decides to investigate and Edward is her Associate.

Her latest case is one that involves the disappearance of orphans. She is approached as she had helped on a previous case, though her and Edward did not get the credit they deserved, instead it went to that other famous consultant from Baker Street! Though she did not get the credit, she is recognised as being a help, so she agrees to give her expert help in the search for the missing children.

Now, you know I mentioned how I enjoyed wandering around Victorian London with the duo? Well, this time I was glad that as a reader I can experience things from the pages of a book! I bet Edward would wish to be in my position instead of traipsing and crawling through the rat infested sewers!

This book is fabulous and has mystery, intrigue and uses powers of observation and deduction or should I say demystification! I should mention that it is aimed at a younger audience, but this grown up (depending who you ask!) reader loves it!

It is a story that is accessible and is at a pace that holds the attention, there are quieter moments in it but these are moments are essential to the case or are about the lives of the characters themselves. I think this story is ideal for giving a younger audience a mystery novel that has a feel of the classic Sherlock Holmes but in a more upbeat way, it has action and adventure as well as mishaps and danger. I remember trying to read a Sherlock story when I was younger and I was not old enough to understand it, but if I had access to Hemlock Jones I would have been so happy. I will add that as an adult reader I love the Sherlock Holmes books!

The story itself is good and holds the attention, there are mentions of the yuckier side of London and it also has reference to a poem / folk tale that I think would make for good further reading for the target audience. I love that the main heroes of the story are children and their escapades are in an adult world. They are given a chance to deal with an investigation that is adult sized, but its their belief in their own instincts and observations that lead to solving the case.

This is a fabulous read and I think that the younger audience would absolutely enjoy it. It is the 2nd book in the Hemlock Jones series and I would definitely recommend it.

Justin Carroll is an author who balances his love of comic books and games with a passion for martial arts and musicals.

Ever since he stopped wanting to be a dinosaur, Justin wanted to be a writer. He graduated with a degree in English Literature and Language from King’s College, London in 2004 and now, when not writing, he fritters away his time on all manner of geeky things.

Shortlisted for several international short story competitions, Justin was a finalist in the 2010 British Fantasy Awards with “Careful What You Wish For” (Wyvern Publishing) and placed in the top twenty of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge twice.

December 2012 saw the birth of Justin Carroll’s first novel: Everything’s Cool – a dark, psychological thriller.

His second novel, Hemlock Jones & The Angel of Death, is a Young Adult novel and the first in a series featuring Hemlock Jones, the fiery 12-year-old demystifier whose brain easily equals and surpasses that of the famous consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes. “Hemlock Jones & The Angel of Death” won a Silver Medal in the 2017 Wishing Shelf Awards.

Now, Justin has published the second book in the Hemlock Jones Chronicles: Hemlock Jones & The Underground Orphans, perfect for all fans of 10 years and above of adventurous detective mysteries!

Follow Justin on – Author websiteTwitterFacebookAmazonGoodReads

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The Rector’s Daughter by Jean Fullerton @JeanFullerton @rararesources #histfic #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts for The Rector’s Daughter by Jean Fullerton with you today. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this wonderful book.

Let me show you all about it…

Charlotte, daughter of Reverend Percival Hatton, has been content to follow the path laid out for her. Charlotte has an understanding with Captain Nicolas Paget – every inch the gentleman – who she expects someday to marry. But then she meets Josiah Martyn, and everything changes…

A driven and ambitious Cornish mining engineer, and the complete opposite to Captain Nicholas, Josiah has come to London to help build the first tunnel under the river Thames. When unpredictable events occur at the inauguration of the project, Josiah and Charlotte are suddenly thrown into an unexpected intimacy.

 But not everyone is happy with Charlotte and Josiah growing closer. As friends turn to foes, will they be able to rewrite the stars and find their happy ever after, although all odds seem to be stacked against them…?

Purchase LinksAmazon UKAmazon US

If you are looking for the ideal book to sit down on a Sunday afternoon then pick up a copy of The Rector’s Daughter by Jean Fullerton because it is fabulous and you will not want ot put it down until you have turned the final page!

Set in 1825 in the Rotherhithe area of London, it is where I meet Charlotte Hatton, the Rector’s daughter. She is a very charitable and is always trying to help those in need. She has an admirer in the form of Captain Paget, a chap I took a dislike to initially and if I am honest my opinion of him didn’t improve.

There are a lot of new people in the area as work to build a tunnel under the Thames is due to begin. One of the workers is Engineer Josiah Martyn a man who has worked his way up from the Cornish mines and learnt his trade. There is a spark between him and Charlotte but they live in different social classes. Charlotte has had her life mapped out and her father believes she should be wed to a man who can provide for her and maintain or better her social standing.

Living and working in the same area, it is inevitable that these two should meet. Josiah is a proud man and has good morals and understands that he is not looked on favourably. But will it be enough!

The story is absolutely addictive, the mentions of the Brunels really does help fix the setting. The various mentions of living and working conditions are fabulous and I love it when an author uses comparisons in a story and Jean does this so well. These comparisons are so well worked into the story and give a wonderful cross-section of society.

The story itself is not straightforward and could have gone in various directions. There are many little twists and ruses on the way that kept this reader eagerly turning the pages. There are several characters that I met in this story, some I liked, some I did not which made for a good balance. I liked the different opinions and attitudes, they are suited for the time and I at times my blood boiled for the way that some of the characters acted and treated others!

The Rector’s Daughter is a fabulous read and I would love to think that there was another book to follow. I hope there is because even though this book finished in a brilliant way I am curious about what could possibly happen next.

A brilliant book that I adored and is perfect for readers of Historical fiction and Romance I would definitely recommend it.

Jean Fullerton is the author of thirteen novels all set in East London where she was born. She also a retired district nurse and university lecturer. She won the Harry Bowling prise in 2006 and after initially signing for two East London historical series with Orion she moved to Corvus, part of Atlantic Publishing and is half way through her WW2 East London series featuring the Brogan family.

Social Media Links – WebsiteFacebookTwitter

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The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott @CScottBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this wonderful historical fiction book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Until she knows her husband’s fate, she cannot decide her own…
An epic debut novel of forbidden love, loss, and the shattered hearts left behind in the wake of World War I

1921. Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He is considered ‘missing in action’, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares. And so she beings to search.

Harry, Francis’s brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers, Harry also searches for evidence of his brother.

And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth.

An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history, The Photographer of the Lost tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins, and the even greater number of men and women desperate to find them again.

Caroline Scott is a freelance writer and historian specializing in WWI and women’s history. The Photographer of the Lost, partially inspired by her family history, is her first novel.

This is such a poignant, sombre, heartbreaking and beautiful story that I cannot do justice to with my review. It is set in 1921 as people are still trying to come to terms with the loss of family during the first world war. Edie is desperate to discover what had happened to Francis her husband, missing presumed dead does not give her any peace of mind. Is he missing, was he killed or was he suffering from amnesia, she wants to know. Harry served in the war along with his brother, Francis. Harry returns to France and photographs places and gravestones for those back home looking for some sort of closure. Harry cannot remember all that happened during the war and suffers from we now know as PTSD.

This was such a haunting read and I do admit it taking me a little while to get into. I did however go back to the synopsis and give it a proper read and it did make things a lot clearer and things started to fall into place easier. Once I got to grips with the style of the story and the characters I discovered such a beautifully written story. It is one that delved into the way people were coming to terms with the loss of their loved ones as well as how those involved in the fighting were dealing with their own trauma.

The author did such a wonderful job with the character of Edie and it really brought home how dealing with the unknown can stop you from living your life. Her personal pilgrimage to various offices, agencies and hospitals to try to find the slightest bit of information about Francis was powerful. A glimmer of hope that flicked and wavered as she went through disappointment of finding nothing.

Harry has his own journey and it is linked to Edies. He had taken his brothers profession and is a photographer. His work means he accepts commissions from those who want to know the final resting place of their loved ones or the last place they were seen. These photographs are the last touch for a family, a chance to say a final goodbye and have something that marks the end of a life.

This is a powerful story, one that deals with the time immediately after the war. People are trying to live and survive with their loss. There is still hope that those who are missing can be found alive. The story does flit between 1921 and as flashbacks to the war so there are two sides to the story and it makes for a very moving and emotional read.

As I said earlier, it did take me a little while to get into, but once in I found it very difficult to put down. If you are looking for a book that deals with WW! and how people are affected than you really should pick this one up, it is definitely worth it and I Definitely Recommend it.

About the Author Caroline completed a PhD in History at the University of Durham. She developed a particular interest in the impact of the First World War on the landscape of Belgium and France, and in the experience of women during the conflict – fascinations that she was able to pursue while she spent several years working as a researcher for a Belgian company. Caroline is originally from Lancashire, but now lives in southwest France.


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Until We Meet Again by Rosemary Goodacre @RoseGoodacre @rararesources #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on Until We Meet again by Rosemary Goodacre. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this wonderful historical fiction book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

The Great War drove them apart – but love kept them together

Summer 1914: Shy young woman, Amy Fletcher, lives a quiet life in Sussex. An office worker, she lives at home, along with her parents and spirited younger brother, Bertie. But her life is transformed when she meets handsome young man, Edmond Derwent, son of one of the wealthiest families in the small town of Larchbury, and student at Cambridge University.

The couple are falling deeply in love when war breaks out and, eager to do his duty for England, Edmond signs up as an officer. The couple plan to be wed, eager to start a new life together – but their happiness is short-lived when Edmond is sent to Flanders to lead his men into battle. Amy trains as a VAD nurse and is soon sent to France, where she sees the true horror of war inflicted on the brave young men sent to fight.

Separated by war, Edmond and Amy share their feelings through emotional letters sent from the front line. But when Edmond is critically wounded at Ypres, their love faces the biggest test of all – can their love stay strong while the world around them is crumbling?

A romantic, emotional saga set in WW1 – readers of Rosie Goodwin, Katie Flynn and Val Wood will be captivated by this story of love.

Purchase Links – Amazon Apple Kobo

This is the story of Amy and how she met Edmond and it begins just before the start of WWI. They are a couple from different backgrounds, she working class and him from a wealthy background. When war is finally declared Edmond does the honourable thing and signs up and they plan to marry before he goes away. Things however do not quite work out as they should!

This is such a fabulous story that pulls in various things from the time. The Suffragettes and Suffragists, the tensions and fears of the possibility war, people being lost killed or injured in the war and how life must carry on as best it can with a world in turmoil. The author weaves a fabulous story of love and hope in amongst the backdrop of heartbreak and devastation.

I loved the difference of opinion between the two different families. Amy’s’ family are down to earth and humble and they are a contrast to Edmond’s family who hold lavish parties and holiday on the continent. there are some wonderful scenes that are portrayed in the story that highlight these differences, though not so wonderful for Amy.

As Edmond does his duty, Amy feels that she wants to do her part in the war effort and so trains to become a nurse. War affects everyone and so it is for Amy and Edmond when he is wounded. Their spirits are kept strong by letters they write to each other and also from family and friends. This was such an important part of peoples lives as it was the only way of keeping in touch. The real hardships were kept out of these communications and so what people were really going through often went unsaid.

This is a story that is captivating and is a beautiful story of young love that has its challenges against the horror of war. The author captures moments of their story through the letters and also of their brief and infrequent visits.

This is a story that I loved and did shed a tear or two for, it is emotional but also very down to earth in the way it is written, by this I mean it is a story of two people who have met and fallen in love but have a sense of duty to their country.

The author does not over dramatise the wounded and the battlefield situations but does enough to provide a good general picture of life and conditions.

If you like historical fiction and romance then I really do think that you will enjoy this one, I know I certainly did and I Definitely recommend it.

Rosemary Goodacre has previously worked in computing and teaching. She has had short stories published and a novella, A Fortnight is not Enough.

Her father’s family came from continental Europe and she loves travelling.
She enjoys country walking, bridge and classical music. She lives with her husband in Kent, England.

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Christmas at Ladywell by Nicola Slade @nicolasladeuk @rararesources #Bookreview #Giveaway (open Int)

Happy Publication Day Nicola 🙂

I am delighted to share my thoughts with you today for Christmas at Ladywell by Nicola Slade. I read this for the Blog Tour and wish to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my space on this Publication Day Push!

Let me show you what it is about…

A time for spilling secrets…

Having refurbished her inherited house and upcycled her whole life in the process, Freya – now happily married to Patrick, and with a small child – has to transform her tiny stone barn into a romantic hideaway for a mystery guest who is also looking for change. With Christmas only a week away, things don’t go according to plan…

In the past old uncertainties are resolved when an elderly woman seeks the truth of a legend on Christmas Eve and confesses to a deception; a Tudor wife listens to a story that must never be repeated and is given a precious relic that must never be displayed; and in the early nineteenth century an old woman tells a younger one the story of the hares at Ladywell.

Past and present are only a whisper apart when Freya learns of an astonishing discovery that will make Ladywell famous, but meanwhile her house is full of unexpected visitors, she has a turkey to cook – and a very special secret of her own that must be told.

Purchase links – Amazon – UKUS

This is a lovely novella and so a quick read. A story of a family that spans the generations and has a mysterious, magical and Christmas feel to it.

This is told in two timelines, there is the present setting as I get to know the family currently residing at Ladywell. Then there is the italicised sections that deal with the history of the area and the family through the years.

So a mix of two different styles as such, historical fiction and mystery as they are combined to create an enchanting and almost magical story. The present setting in Ladywell sounds lovely and a wonderful place to be at Christmas. While the past shows similarities and I gradually saw mysteries and secrets starting to emerge.

This is a charming read that has a folk lore-ish feel to the historical and a warm and generous family feel in the modern time. If you want a quick read then this is ideal, it had a nice flow and had some surprises within its pages and it is a short story that I would recommend.

Nicola Slade is an award-winning, bestselling author of historical and contemporary mysteries and romantic fiction, all set in and around Winchester and Romsey in Hampshire – which is where she lives. The House at Ladywell – a contemporary romantic novel with historical echoes – won the Chatelaine Grand Prize for Romantic Fiction at the CIBA awards in April 2019.

She is the author of the mid-Victorian Charlotte Richmond mysteries and the contemporary Harriet Quigley mysteries and The Convalescent Corpse, published November 2018, is the first in a new series, The Fyttleton Mysteries, set in 1918.

Media Links – WebsiteBlogTwitterFacebookPintrest


Now then! Are you ready for a chnace to win a copy of The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola? You are! Well, ideal 🙂

I read The Convalescent Corpse a while ago and you can see what I thought of it HERE 🙂

Giveaway to Win a .mobi or PDF of The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola Slade (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide 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 despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Coming Home To Winter Island by Jo Thomas @jo_thomas01 @annecater #randomthingstours #bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on Coming Home To Winter Island by Jo Thomas. I love this authors books so I was so excited to grab a spot on the Blog Tour arranged by Anne at Random Things Tours and thank you so much for my advance copy of this fantastically fabulous book 🙂

Let me show you what it is all about…

Wrap up warm and explore the breath-taking beauty of a remote Scottish island and an old house waiting to unlock enchanting family secrets.

Fans of Jill Mansell and Milly Johnson will love this irresistible new winter novel from Jo Thomas.

Do you need to find out where you’ve come from before you can know what the future holds?

Ruby’s singing career is on the verge of hitting the big time, when her voice breaks. Fearing her career is over, she signs up for a retreat in Tenerife to recover.

But an unexpected call from a stranger on a remote Scottish island takes her on a short trip to sort out some family business. It’s time to go and see the grandfather she’s never met.

City girl Ruby knows she will be happy to leave the windswept beaches behind as quickly as she can, especially as a years-old family rift means she knows she won’t be welcome at Teach Mhor.

But as she arrives at the big house overlooking the bay, she finds things are not as straightforward as she might have thought.

There’s an unexpected guest in the house and he’s not planning on going anywhere any time soon …

Praise for Jo Thomas:

‘Magically romantic…best read in front of a crackling log fire’ Milly Johnson

‘The characters went straight to my heart’ Katie Fforde

‘A sparkling, heartwarming hug of a story’ Miranda Dickinson

‘Like the best kind of holiday’ Lucy Diamond

What happens when you mix a remote island, a voiceless singer, a sitting tenant, and a unknown grandfather and a lost gin recipe? You get the most amazing story by the fabulous Jo Thomas that is what you get! This is the third book I have read by this author and every time she transports me with her descriptions, story lines, characters and theme of the story.

Coming Home To Winter Island is a stunning read as I followed the devastating and catastrophic bad luck that fell on Ruby Mac, she lost her voice as she and her band are on the verge of being signed by a record company. She then gets a mysterious phone call and changes her plans ending up on a wintry Scottish island.

The author weaves in a story that takes quite a few surprising turns and I have to say they were brilliantly executed. Music, gin, recipes, dementia, local community and family history are all fabulous additions to Ruby’s story. There are a couple of other main characters of Hector and Lachlan, they are again so well developed and give a heartwarming and also a nervous and tentative feel to the story.

The descriptions of Christmases past and memories that are intertwined in the story add an extra special feeling to this story. It has a definite foothold in memories and these then help the progress forwards to the future. There are also some wonderful setting descriptions that definitely added extra sight, sound and smell senses to the story.

I will admit to not being a big fan of gin, I’m more of a whiskey drinker, but I have to say the sound of the gin mentioned in the book sounds amazing.

This is yet another book I absolutely devoured as I have with the previous books I have read by this author. If you are a fan of books that have a wonderful story, fabulous characters, sumptuous settings, that has many surprises, unexpected friendships and that does not take a direct route then I think this is the book for you. If you have already read Jo’s books then you will know where I am coming from because she is a fabulous author.

Coming Home To Winter Island is yet another book by Jo Thomas that I would Highly Recommend.

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.

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Notting Hill In The Snow by Jules Wake @Juleswake @rararesources #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on Notting Hill In The Snow by Jules Wake. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this wonderful festive book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

It’s mayhem in Bethlehem…unless they can work together!

Viola Smith plays the viola in an orchestra (yes really!), but this year she’s been asked to stretch her musical talents to organising Notting Hill’s local nativity.
Nate Williams isn’t looking forward to Christmas but as his small daughter, Grace, has the starring role in the show, he’s forced to stop being a Grinch and volunteer with Viola.

With the sparks between them hotter than the chestnuts roasting in Portobello market, Nate and Viola can’t deny their feelings. And as the snow starts to fall over London, they find themselves trapped together in more ways than one…

Purchase Links – Amazon – UK US

This is such an addictive book and has a very festive Christmas feel to it. Viola Smith is a viola player and is asked to help with a local school nativity as part of an outreach program. Viola has never organised anything like this before and she is supposed to have help from one of the parents, Nathan Williams.

Nathan is a lawyer and Viola doesn’t have a good track record with them, but, Nathan and his daughter Grace are dealing with life alone as Elaine, the wife and mother, is currently working away. Viola offers to help Nathan and Grace as they all juggle work, schedules, shopping and the upcoming preparations for Christmas.

I love the feel of this book as it really does bring together the traditional Christmas vibes. As well as the main story of a friendship between Viola, Nathan and Grace, there are other things also going on in the background. Viola has a rather demanding family and think that she is at their beck and call because she is single! Talk about running herself ragged, poor girl! She is one of those people who will put others before herself and this means she is going to have let some people down. Who and why is revealed as the story progresses further and further.

There is a strong underlying attraction between Nathan and Viola and things are not easy as there is Grace who is at the centre of any decisions and don’t forget Nathan also has a wife, albeit in New York…

The setting of Notting Hill is done so well, the author has managed to create an almost village like setting as she describes this busy area of London. This adds to the overall warm snugly feel of the story. Her descriptions of more traditional Christmas festivities are wonderful, from the gaudily decorated Christmas trees to the mugs of hot chocolate and stockings at the end of the bed are just superb.

This is a terrific read and I was hooked from the very first pages, I like the tentative tiptoeing around the romance and the obvious attraction between Nathan and Viola and yet all the while there is a feeling of this could go wrong at any point. Story-lines and themes have been wonderfully woven like tinsel on a Christmas tree and the overall effect is stunning.

This is a wonderful book that readers of romance and festive fiction will absolutely adore. I would definitely recommend this wonderful book.

Jules Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands and not so luxury brands. This proved fabulous training for writing novels as it provided her with the opportunity to hone her writing and creative skills penning copy on a vast range of subjects from pig farming and watches, sunglasses and skincare through to beer and stationery.

She writes best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for One More Chapter as Jules Wake and under her pen name Julie Caplin, she writes the Romantic Escapes series.

Between them, the two Js have written twelve novels, Notting Hill in the Snow being the latest.

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Reach for a Star by Kathryn Freeman @KathrynFreeman1 @rararesources #Bookreview #choclit #Giveaway (open INT)

I am delighted to share my thoughts for Reach For A Star by Kathryn Freeman. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite onto the Blog Tour and also for arranging my e-copy of this book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

What if your dreams were so close you could reach out and touch them? 
How could anyone resist Michael Tennant, with his hypnotic blue eyes and voice like molten chocolate? Jessie Simmons certainly can’t. But Jessie’s a single mum who can’t sing to save her life – there’s no way she’ll ever cross paths with the star tenor. 

At least that’s what she thinks until she’s unexpectedly invited to take part in a new reality TV show. The premise? Professional singers teach hopeless amateurs how to sing. The surprise? Jessie’s partner is none other than Michael Tennant!

As she becomes better acquainted with the man behind the voice, will Jessie find out the hard way that you should never meet your idols? Or will she get more than she bargained for?

Purchase Links – Amazon UK or US

When Jessie’s two boys Luke and Jack set their mum up and enter her into a singing TV competition she is stunned. She gets to sing with her favourite singer Michael Tennant, in fact he isn’t just her favourite singer he is her idol and she has a real fan girl crush on him. Oh! Did I mention that she is not a very good singer!

I love the way this author has used two people from very different worlds as the focus of this story. Jessie is a single mum with two sons, works in a pharmacy and is friends with her ex-husband. Michael is a famous tenor, travels the world and has adoring fans and gorgeous women who admire him. But what the author has done is go beneath the fame and the everyday to create a magical and heartwarming story. It is a story full of endearing moments, insecurities, guilt, low self esteem and lost confidence.

Using the main two characters the author has created a story that focuses on the problems any new relationship has, but has taken it further as this relationship comes with some additional obstacles. This made for a story that had me guessing all the way through as to whether the differences between Jessie and Michael could ever be overcome.

I loved the cheeky comments from Luke and Jack, they added a down to earth feel to the story. They reminded their mum that she had responsibilities tot them as well. Again this added to the will they / wont they aspect of the story.

This is a fabulous read that had me welling up with tears one moment and laughing the next, with the occasional heart in my mouth moments added for good measure. A great balance of emotions and intrigue with some wonderful dry humour.

If you love Choc Lit books then you are going to love this. I read it easily in one sitting, I had to know how things ended. A fabulous read and one that I would Definitely Recommend.

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.

With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

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Giveaway to Win a PB copy of Oh Crumbs by Kathryn Freeman (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide 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 despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Darkest Hour by Rachel Churcher @Rachel_Churcher @rararesources #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for Darkest Hour by Rachel Churcher. This is the third book in this series and it is just getting better, more intriguing and addictive with each each book. It is a series that really should be read in order. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Bex Ellman and Ketty Smith are fighting on opposite sides in a British civil war. Bex and her friends are in hiding, but when Ketty threatens her family, Bex learns that her safety is more fragile than she thought.

The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.

Purchase Link

Darkest Hour is the 3rd book I have read in the Battleground series. The first book was mainly about Bex, the 2nd about Ketty and the 3rd book joins them both together again. Now these two young girls are not friends, Ketty was a trainer at the Recruit Training Service, a government run organisation. Bex was a recruit until she decided to turn to the rebels side.

The series is set in the UK and is set in the future after Brexit and Scottish Independance. Britain has isolated itself and all those living in Britain are under a Big Brother style regime. Ketty has gained promotion and has moved to London whereas Bex and her friends are in a safe house.

This is such a brilliant series and feels very topical given the state of the British Goverment at the moment with Brexit looming ever closer. There is a divide between people as well as the UK and there is an ever present feel of a country that is struggling.

I love the way the author describes the very different ways in which propaganda is used to justify people being taken prisoner and held as terrorists. The author balances it well with the side of the terrorists/ rebels that are trying to overthrow and reveal the truth behind the government forces actions.

Bex is on the run and holds a huge amount of guilt for those she has left behind at training camp and also at a previous safe house. She struggles to come to terms with her emotions. The author delves into this characters fears and guilt well, even little victories have a price to pay. Ketty however is constantly frustrated at not being able to find Bex and her friends. She is always one step behind, but there is also an added pressure of having to prove her worth and show that she is worthy of her new promotion. She also ups in the game in this one, and the bait is dangled very provocatively to tempt the rebels into a false move.

The author weaves a good amount of suspicion and corruption into her stories. But this book has something else that has started to creep in, its realisation. The realisation that is unsettling that maybe things are not quite right.

This is a series that should be read in order, there are so many details that explain where this series is up to. Histories and backgrounds as well as different perspectives and points of view have been explored and each book paves the way to the next. I cannot wait to see where the author goes next.

This is a book, in fact a series that is set in the future and has a great dystopian, big brother vibe to it. It is aimed as a Young Adult / Teen but this adult is loving it and Highly recommends it. Roll on December when the next book is due out 🙂

achel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

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