The Forgotten Beach by Amanda James @amandajames61 @OneMoreChapter_ #NetGalley #contemporaryfiction #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Forgotten Beach by Amanda James. This is an author who writes some fabulous books, and I am really enjoying her latest ones that have a nice twist to them.

This is 2 of 20 in my #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

For Cornish artist Sennen Kellow that moment comes with the discovery of her late gran’s epic love story – a story that happened years before she ever met Sennen’s grandfather.

Now, as Sennen digs into her grandmother’s past and discovers a forgotten beach, a hidden poem, and a love that blazed brightly before Fate intervened, her search for answers leads her on a fated journey of her own. One which sees history repeating itself, and Sennen faced with a chance at the kind of once-in-a-lifetime love her gran experienced…but only if she’s willing to risk everything.

On the forgotten beach at the edge of the land,
lies a forgotten treasure beneath the sand.
A cup of kindness for Auld Lang Syne,
Sweeter than the finest wine.
In a parting glass from years gone by,
Dwells a magic strange to you and I.
Sup it down before you part,
to find the truth within your heart.
 

MY REVIEW

Oh, Amanda James, you have once again written a wonderful book. This one was absolutely fabulous.

Sennen Kellow is a local artist and shop owner. She is given a poem that her grandmother had written, there is a secret beach local to her. The only way to get to it is through the grounds of an old property, when her curiosity finally gets the better of her, Sennen decides to have a look and see what she can find out.

This is where she meets the rather abrupt, aloof and brusque owner of the property. A London lawyer who isn’t exactly charming, but does grant her a tour of the house and grounds. Not wanting to discuss why she actually has an interest in visiting as he doesn’t appear to be very open or pleasant.

The author has woven a tale that spans the generations and gives a wonderful account of families of the past. A time when money and status were paramount and marriage for love was worth nothing. The story gradually emerges and it is one that has some wonderful heartwarming moments as well as moments marred by grief.

While the situation for Sennen is intriguing, the author twists a wonderful comparison between the past and the present. It drew me further into the story and at times left me nervously turning the pages wondering if history would repeat itself.

I loved this sense of tension and the uncertainty that the author injects into this story. Using the past and the present, with mystery and romance and then twisting certain things to create a captivating story.

This is one for readers who love to read a contemporary fiction style story, that has echoes of the past, with a complicated and not necessarily straightforward romantic angle. I have to say this is a fabulous read and I loved to see mentions of characters from other books mentioned. While this is part of a series, you could read this as a standalone. But, if you did you would miss out on some wonderful storytelling from one of my favourite authors.

A cracking read from the first to the last page and also the author’s notes add a wonderful touch at the end. I would definitely recommend this book. 

The books in the series are…

Each of these can be read as stand-alone books as they are stories in their own right.

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Sweet Love and Country Roads by Camilla Isley @rararesources #romance #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Sweet Love and Country Roads by Camilla Isley. This is the 7th book in the series, I have not read them all, but they do work as stand-alone.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging for my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Falling for the wrong cowboy never felt so good . . .

Samantha Baker is a high-flying movie producer living in New York City. She loves her shoes, drinking cosmopolitans, and wouldn’t trade the comforts of city life for anything in the world. But when her job is put on the line, Samantha has no other choice than to move to the middle of nowhere to straighten out the filming of her latest romantic comedy blockbuster.

Her new country home has no Starbucks, no Pilates, and the one pub in town has never heard of appletinis—only serves beer and whiskey neat. On the plus side, the views are scenic. And not just for the aerial shots, as the local eye-candy provides a welcome distraction.

At least until Samantha discovers a native cowboy, Travis Hunt, is the source of all her troubles…

And the battle begins.

Each has something the other wants, but as Samantha and Travis go head to head, they might discover the endgame has changed. When hate turns to heat, all becomes fair in love and war for these two sworn enemies who’ve been playing a game of hearts.

But will a roll in the hay be enough to make Samantha decide there’s no sex in the city and convert to country living? 


Purchase Links – Amazon Apple Barnes & NobleKobo Google Play

MY REVIEW

This is the 7th book in the First Comes Love series, they can be read as stand-alone and they are a lot of fun to read, not that I have read all of them btw!

The synopsis for this book is one that really sums up the atmosphere, style and humour that the author has injected into her characters and also the storyline. If you like fun, romance, and rom-com stories about battles of the wills and of the hearts then this is one for you.

Samantha is a city girl. all shoes, outfits, cocktails, everything on tap type of girl. While she has got her city smarts they don’t help her when she relocates to the middle of nowhere. Especially when it comes to Travis. Their first meeting is not good, a cow may have been at fault here! What Samantha lacks in country ways she more than makes up for in quick put-downs and retorts. Well, she thinks she does until she comes up against Travis. If a man had sass then he is full of it with cheeky smirks.

Little does she realise that they will have to work together to achieve the end results they are both hoping for. Travis has plenty going for him and is a busy chap indeed, but not that busy that he can’t find time to wind up Samantha.

This is a fabulously entertaining book, with quick-witted banter, innuendos and the fact they both find something interesting about each other. The author does throw the odd spanner in the works, and the romantic tension is definitely in the air, does it go further than that… well read the book!

The author has woven two different lifestyles and characters together to create a brilliant story. There are obviously other characters, and these are also great as well. They add their own opinions, banter and advice, adding to the fun of the story.

Overall this is a great lighthearted romantic comedy that had me chuckling several times. It has that fabulous “will they/ won’t they” scenario to it and it was one that had me hooked. I would definitely recommend this book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Camilla is an engineer who left science behind to enter the whimsical realm of romantic fiction.

She writes contemporary rom-coms. Her characters have big hearts, might be a little stubborn at times, and love to banter with each other. Every story she pens has a guaranteed HEA that will make your heart beat faster. Unless you’re a vampire, of course.

Camilla is a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveller, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.


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Sapphire by Heather Burnside @heatherbwriter @AriesFiction #NetGalley #crime #thriller

I am delighted to share my review today for Sapphire by Heather Burnside. This is a gangland crime thriller and part of The Working Girls series, but this book can be read as a stand-alone.

My huge thanks to Andrew Knowles for getting in touch regarding this Aries Fiction publication via NetGalley.

TWO SISTERS ALONE.

Sophie and Kelsey have always had each other. When their mum is diagnosed with cancer and their dad fails to step up, they’re forced to move into the care system. But Sophie knows they’ll be okay as long as she’s there to protect her sister.

ONE FINAL CHANCE.

But when Kelsey is found a foster family and Sophie can’t join her, Sophie’s left in an unsafe situation in the home, forced to do things against her will. Finding her own foster family feels like a relief, but it’s short-lived when her trust in her new foster parents is betrayed.

NO GOING BACK.

With nowhere to turn, Sophie finds herself homeless. But when she finds her new street family, Sophie joins the working girls and her new identity as Sapphire is complete. It’s a hard life working the streets, especially when those around her look to take advantage, but can the dream of one day finding Kelsey keep her going?

MY REVIEW

This is an author who is new to me and so I was intrigued when I saw this book. Even though it is part of a series it is one that can be read as a stand-alone.

Sapphire is the name of Sophie, older sister to Kelsey. Life goes from bad to worse for the pair when their mother dies and their father wants nothing to do with them as he has a new family. The girl’s des[erately want to remain together but it is hard to find places for teens, so when Kelsey is offered a place with a foster family Sophie lets her go.

As the story continues life for Sophie doesn’t go the way it did for her sister, the two slowly drift. The point where Sophie becomes Sapphire is further in the story. It is a heartbreaking story and one that was tough to read. Unfortunately, it is one that could very easily be true. It is the story of how a teen finds herself alone, on the streets and homeless.

The author has given a very harrowing account of Sapphire and her experiences, the hardships the dangers and the addictions. It is one way of showing how living in a nice warm and comfy home can go wrong and that all the things that follow are a downward spiral.

The author takes the reader into a world of poverty, drugs, destitution, prostitution and death. It is not a pretty world or a nice one to read about. All the while I thought this is how easy it could be if you are completely alone and think you have no choices or options. It does have a grim reality to it.

This is a gangland styler crime thriller, it is brutal and does explore various aspects of homelessness and living as best you can. It is quite an addictive read and one I found very difficult to put down. It is one I would recommend. 

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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Her Previous Self by Anne Allen @AnneAllen21 #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Her Previous Self by Anne Allen. I was very fortunate to win a signed paperback copy of this book during Anne’s recent Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. Although I do own several copies from this series it is actually the first time I have read one! I will also add that it will not be the last time 🙂

Mary, miserable in her marriage to Thomas Carre, a merchant and privateer and living in the new family mansion in Georgian Guernsey.
Lucy, separated from her husband after a tragic loss and now acting as an unwilling sitter for her elderly grandfather, Gregory Carre, who has inherited the same mansion.
Lucy is haunted by Mary’s continued presence in the house and finds herself being pulled more and more back in time. How is it possible for her to live as Mary? To experience scenes from her tragic life? Lucy is forced to come to terms with Mary’s grief as well as her own.
The more enmeshed she becomes the more anxious Lucy is to discover the truth. Why is Mary still restless? What caused her mysterious disappearance two hundred years ago?

And can Lucy move on from her own loss to find happiness again?

MY REVIEW

This is the first time I have read a book by this author, although I do own 3 or 4 from the Guernsey series. This is book 8 in the series and from what I can see with this latest book, they can be read as stand-alone books.

This is a mix of present-day and historical fiction. The present-day is set with Lucy returning home to Guernsey and she keeps her Grandfather company while her parents take a break. Lucy is tired, feeling alone and is grieving. The house in which she returns is one that has been in the family for generations. One of those ancestors is Mary, there is a mystery surrounding her. There is a date of birth, a marriage date and then a blank as to when she died.

This is told in a timeslip format, and not quite the usual back and forth format. I have to say it worked really well for me and I don’t know which character I wanted to know more about each time. When I was reading about Lucy I needed to know more about Mary, and vice versa.

I did like the historical side of this story, set in a regency style it is one that has heartbreaking revelations. The characters in this era are a mix of really good and also downright wicked. In the present day, the characters are mainly good, although there is the odd one or two who did annoy me a very small amount due to their attitudes.

Overall a great story and one that I really enjoyed reading over a couple of days. One for fans of historical fiction and romance, with a historical fantasy streak to it. Very enjoyable reading and it is an author to who I will be returning and one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. She was born in Rugby, to an English mother and Welsh father. As a result she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learnt to love the sea. Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was 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.
By profession Anne was a psychotherapist but has long had creative ‘itches’, learning to mosaic, paint furniture, interior design and sculpt. At the back of her mind the itch to write was always present but seemed too time-consuming for a single mum with a need to earn a living. Now retired from the ‘day job’, there’s more time to write.

The Hanging Tree by Misha Herwin @MishaHerwin #childrenfantasy #childrenadventure #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Hanging Tree by Misha Herwin. This is the 4th book in the Letty Parker series and it is aimed at 8-12year olds. It is a gothic style fantasy, magical and mystery series that this grown-up is also very much enjoying.

The Hanging Tree (Adventures of Letty Parker Book 4) by [Misha Herwin]

The power of the Dark Ones is growing once more. Watching from their rooftop perches, the gargoyles and dragons have all the gossip they could ever want. Deadly night eels slither through the city streets. The thief-taker is on the prowl. And Jebediah Hill is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Letty discovers that Jeb, her oldest friend, has been keeping secrets, yet refuses to reveal them even though he knows he will pay a terrible price. Letty Parker and Associates set out on a race to save Jeb from The Hanging Tree.
And time is running out…

Purchase HERE

MY REVIEW

I have been looking forward to seeing what the author has in store for young Letty Parker and her Associates. The associates are a group of misfits in some ways as there is Letty who used to sell pies, Jeb a one time pickpocket and scoundrel who is now legitimate, Hepzibah a well off young lady, Mango a sort of fixer and a go-to guy as well as other recurring characters.

Letty and Associates are a tight-knit group who have come together over the past books and formed a mystery-solving agency set in the dark port city of Bristol. It is not a Victorian-era Bristol you would remember from history, this one has monstrous eels, gargoyles, dragons and The Dark Ones!

The author has taken a slightly darker turn with The Hanging Tree as Jeb has been arrested, at one time this would have been sort of expected but not now and especially when he is innocent, yes he really is! Breaking Jeb out isn’t an option as he would have no way of clearing his name, instead, it is up to Letty and Co to dig and delve into the murkiness and the backstreets in this against the clock mystery.

I do adore these characters and the whole group works together really well. They bring their own special qualities and skills as they track down and solve mysteries. As I mentioned this one is a slightly darker feeling as there is more going on with the Count. He is a Dark One and has a bigger game plan in mind. He is a threat and not everyone can see it yet.

Once again the author has created a wonderfully dark and atmospheric mystery that has such a wonderful setting. This setting has been reimagined, adapted and the author brilliantly describes the sights, sounds and unfortunately the smells! There is adventure around every corner and page, with intriguing twists and I adored it.

This is aimed at 8-12-year-olds but is also a great series for any age even the grown-ups. It is a book and actually a series I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Misha Herwin

Misha Herwin is a writer of books for adults and children.
They vary from time-slip to contemporary women’s fiction, family saga and children’s fantasy adventures.
All her books are set in Bristol, whether real, imaginary or remembered from her childhood. 

Social Media Links – WebsiteTwitter

Here are the previous books in the series

Adventures of Letty Parker

From Book 1: Letty Parker lives by her wits. Estranged from her family, she sells pies on the streets of Bristol. But this is a Bristol full of dark secrets, peopled by gangs, monsters, dragons and gargoyles – and by creatures older than time. When her friend and stepsister disappear, when members of Jeb’s gang vanish, Letty is plunged headlong into a conspiracy where homeless children are being spirited away to a place where a terrible fate awaits them. These are the poor and the lost children of the streets whom no one seems to care about – except for Letty. But what if a rich child went missing? Would the authorities then act? Together, Letty and Jeb hatch a plan…

PURCHASE LINK – HERE

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Ouija by Zoe-Lee O’Farrell @QuestionPress #Horror #Debut #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Debut Author Zoe-Lee O’Farrell and her book Ouija. This is the second book in the Question Mark Horror series where different authors write a short story. I have to say Ouija was fabulous reading.

The only thing for certain is the deaths were no accident.

Rayner High School once a prestigious school stands in ruins after such a terrible event.

A year later, a group of friends return to the abandoned school and their nightmare begins.

Something wants to get out and won’t take NO for an answer…

Ouija is Book 2 in a new series brought to you by Question Mark Horror. For fans of Point Horror, Christopher Pike & Nicholas Pine.

You can read my Full review for Camp Death by Jim Ody HERE

MY REVIEW

When a group of teens decide to visit an old, abandoned school you just know there is going to be trouble. Of course, there are rumours about what happened to the school and in particular one day when the school becomes the thing of nightmares.

WOW! What a debut for this author. This is an absolutely cracking read that I adored. Following the teens, I gradually learnt more about them and also about what happened in the school the previous year. The title of the book obviously gives a big clue as to what brings that past to the present. Yep, an Ouija board!

As I have gotten older, I have become a bit of a weedy wuss when it comes to horror, and considering Ouija is aimed at a YA audience it still left me feeling a little uneasy as I was reading it. I mean, abandoned schools and an Ouija board are major no-nos in my book. Thank goodness this author is braver than me as she has worked some wonderful atmospherics into this story.

It definitely has a sinister feel to it and this deepens the further the story goes. Things start to weird as if they weren’t weird already, and they get more intriguing and dangerous. This author has woven a creepy, series and very addictive tale.

If you are a fan of horror, especially teen or YA horror then this is one you really want to pick up. I had a great time reading it and I would definitely recommend it.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Wartime Blues for the Harper Girls by Rosie Clarke @AnneHerries @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #NetGalley #histfic #saga #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Wartime Blues for the Harper Girls by Rosie Clarke. This is the latest in the Harpers Emporium series and I am loving it so much.

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 book from the publisher, Boldwood Books via NetGalley.

Wartime Blues for the Harper Girls

LONDON 1917

As the Americans enter the War, there is renewed energy in the war effort.  

With husbands and sons fighting for freedom, the women of Harpers are left to tackle the day-to-day affairs at home and work.

With Ben Harper away, Sally fears she is being followed by a mysterious woman. Who is she and what does she want?

Maggie Gibbs collapses seriously ill in the frontline hospitals and is brought back to England close to death. Can she be saved and what does the future hold for her and her broken heart? 

Marion Jackson’s father is on the run from the Police already wanted for murder. She fears he will return to threaten his family once more.
And Beth Burrows is pregnant with her second child, worried and anxious for her husband Jack, who has been many months at sea.

As Christmas 1917 approaches what will the future hold for Harpers, its girls and their men at War?

Purchase Link – Amazon

My Review…

Set in 1917, the First World War is claiming lives, the results are being felt at home. Family and friends worry constantly about those who are serving, those who have been injured, and those that have not been in contact. Shortages are being felt as some things are becoming more difficult to source for the Harpers Store. Inferior quality products are emerging as materials are being used for the war.

Life still has to go on, work still needs doing, homes need to be looked after, mouths have to be fed and it is when times are difficult and fraught that you rely on people around you. Harpers is the linchpin of the story, it is where many of the characters have met over the course of the story. With each book that is released more characters are brought in.

The main four Harpers Girls are Maggie, Marion, Sally, and Beth. They have come on from their early days at Harper’s. This is the point where I do mention that these books can be read as stand-alone stories, but I do think they are better read in order as the character’s lives are developed more and more with each book.

This one, as the title suggests is set during a point where people are obviously wishing for a return to normality, wondering when it will be over and that loved ones can return home. Life is hard for those left behind, and I like how the author describes how lucky her characters feel to be in situations that they are. They either work or have a family or have someone in their lives that helps them, whether it is a family, partner, or friend.

This is a story that does have sad moments and ones that are fraught with despair. It is not only people who are in the midst of the fighting that falls ill. Things carry on at home as they normally would regardless of what is happening in the world, they add stress and worry. The author brings the feeling of hope and also of despair so well into her stories. She has a wonderful way of giving her characters various events to deal with. These may be worrying or add a sense of dread or intrigue, but they also have a way of making her characters stronger.

This is a story for those readers who like historical fiction, sagas, family drama, and stories with a sense of belonging and of friendship. A book and series that combines the individual tales of the characters and gives an overall sense of hope but with several twists to keep the reader on their toes. A book and series I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Mulberry Lane series. She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is a RNA Award winner. She lives in Cambridgeshire. Rosie’s brand new saga series, Welcome to Harpers Emporium began in December 2019.

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Summer Serendipity at the Twist and Turn Bakery by Helen J Rolfe @HJRolfe #PublicationDay #contemporaryromance #bookreview

When Helen Rolfe messaged me to ask if I would would like to read her latest Heritage Cove book, Summer Serendipity at the Twist and Turn Bakery, it was a no brainer. Absolutely! Delighted to! It’s Heritage Cove and of course it is one of Helen’s books!

So, I am delighted to share my review today and would like to wish Helen a very Happy Publication Day 🙂

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It’s summer in Heritage Cove, the picturesque village by the sea. Join some of your favourite characters and welcome new faces in this uplifting, romantic read brimming with character, community and friendship…

The Heritage Bakery is finally getting the makeover it deserves, with sisters Jade and Celeste modernising the place and putting their own stamp on it while retaining all the charm of days gone by. But Jade has far more planned than a brand-new kitchen and fancy cake designs. She’s ready for an even bigger change in her life. It’s almost time to take the next step and she knows just what to do to make that happen.

Etna owns the village tea rooms and when she hears that local man Harvey is looking for a labourer to help him renovate the bakery after being let down at the last minute, she suggests to her nephew Linc that it may just be the change he needs to get his head straight. Linc arrives in the Cove willing to give it a go and he works hard, but what he hadn’t envisaged was anything bordering on a romance – not with his track record or what he’s involved in right now.

When a tall, dark, handsome stranger appears in the village and turns Jade’s world upside down, will it be enough to make her abandon her plan before she even sets the wheels in motion? And has Linc missed his chance to tell her how he really feels?

It’s almost time for the wedding of the year for one of the village favourites and the annual Wedding Dress Ball. But when the sun begins to set, will anyone else be lucky in love?

This summer read is Book 3 in a series of standalone novels set in Heritage Cove, the little village by the sea…

A wonderful romantic treat, perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan and Ali McNamara
.

Purchase Link – AMAZON UK

My Review…

What a treat it was to come back to Heritage Cove and catch up with all the locals once again. It is such a fabulous community and the author really captures the sense of belonging and offers such a warm welcome.

This is the 3rd book in the series and I have read them all and loved them. You could read each one as a stand-alone, as they do work well but in my opinion, you would be missing out on some fabulous stories about the unique residents and the bonds they have.

This store starts, as the title suggests, at the bakery run by my sisters Jade and Celeste. The story focuses on Jade and the intro doesn’t leave her in the best of moods. Hoping for a lie-in, she is rudely disturbed by a lot of noise. The refurb has started earlier in the day than she had arranged. Armed with a hangover she confronts the rude intruder.

Well, I have to say I would have been very much the same as Jade, I am not a morning person but I may make an exception if I was met by the gorgeous Linc! He is the nephew of Etna, the owner of the Tea shop. He is just odd-jobbing trying to work out if or where he is going to settle.

One thing you learn is how welcoming the Cove is, especially when there is a family link (or Linc!!!) Plans for the refurb of the bakery, alterations to the Waffle Shack, other odd jobs and offers of various kinds have been woven into this gorgeous story.

The author has once again created such a wonderful story but one where there is a secret or two that is lurking waiting to be told. These secrets mixed in with the goings-on in the cove, a wedding, the odd night at the pub with the regulars and of course the scrumptious mentions of food give the reader a whole lot to enjoy.

A gorgeous, family and community centred story that was an absolute joy to read. It had me grinning like a loon several times. A heartwarming and wonderful story that fans of this author will adore. One for readers of contemporary fiction and romance, and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Helen J Rolfe writes romantic fiction and contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community.

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Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries where she thinks her readers might like to escape to.

Helen J Rolfe also writes for Orion Books under the name Helen Rolfe.

Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she finally turned to what she loved and studied writing and journalism. She spent a while freelancing for women’s health and fitness magazines, volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases, and eventually began writing fiction in 2011. And now, she thinks she may just have found her dream job.

Helen currently lives in Hertfordshire, UK, with her husband and their children.

Helen loves to hear from readers so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. She can be found at – Website Facebook Twitter Instagram

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Hydra by Matt Wesolowski #murdermystery #crimethriller #Hydra #SixStories #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Hydra by Matt Wesolowski. I have all of this authors Six Stories Series of books and I thought it was about time to catch up with them. I listened to the first book in the series and it worked brilliantly as an Audio, so how would I get on with reading Hydra, the second book?

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A family massacre
A deluded murderess
Five witnesses
Six stories
Which one is true?

One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the north west of England, 21-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked attack known as the Macleod Massacre.

Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation.

King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was a diminished as her legal team made out.

As he unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust into a world of deadly forbidden ‘games’, online trolls, and the mysterious black-eyed kids, whose presence seems to extend far beyond the delusions of a murderess…

Dark, chilling and gripping, Hydra is both a classic murder mystery and an up-to-the-minute, startling thriller, that shines light in places you may never, ever want to see again.

My Review…

I am stunned, in shock and have been left reeling after just finishing Hydra, the second book in the Six Stories series.

You know when you get towards the end of a story and suddenly there is that moment when the penny drops and things just suddenly fall into place? Well, this author didn’t just let a penny drop, he dropped the whole of the Royal Mint!!!! Talk about a brilliant ending or what?

Let me backtrack a moment… this is the second book in a series that is a podcast transcript format of a fictional true crime that is told via six voices of those who have some connection to the crime that was committed.

The crime is of the murder of a mum, stepdad and daughter. The perpetrator has been caught and is in a psychiatric facility, she is the elder daughter of the family.

The author weaves so a deliciously deep and addictive story about a young girl who has not had the best upbringing. As she enters her teens, she rebels. The story gradually goes into more detail about the rebellion and also attempts to identify the causes through the accounts of others. The podcast is run by Scott King, he interviews and hosts his podcast to allow people to make up their own minds rather than give people the answers.

I loved the format of these books, yes it is a podcast, but it is like you are reading a simplified transcript version. This makes it so much easier for reading and to allow the full story to flow. I listened to the first book and was intrigued as to how I would get on with it as an actual book, I have to say it works brilliantly.

The author sy=tarts with what appears to be a straightforward crime, I say straight-forward because the case has been to court and the murderer has been given a sentence. What the author now does is to start adding doubt, this comes through the witness accounts. While for the most part, they do come across as being good accounts, there is something that each one appears to hold back. This leads to doubt, mistrust and more questions than answers at some points.

The ending, however, well, wow! I am so glad I had my kindle on the table otherwise it would have gone into orbit! Sat there reading away, I was, then suddenly both arms were flung up in the air, imagine a one-woman Mexican wave… yeah that was me! I do believe a few unmentionable words may have been uttered!

This is a totally brilliant and addictive read and I cannot believe it has taken me this long to pick up this book. I do actually have all of the books in the series they just seem to have trickled down the reading pile. This is a book for those who love crime, mystery and thriller reads and that also have quite a strong psychological vibe to them. There is so much more to the story than I have divulged here and it is one I would absolutely recommend.

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂

New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland @JessicaRedland @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #contemporaryfiction #bookreview #PublicationDay

I am delighted to be one of the Blogger to open the Blog Tour and share my review today for New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland. This is the second book in this gorgeous series and I adored it. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my e-copy of this book and for my spot on the Blog Tour.

I also want to wish Jessica a very Happy Publication Day xx

Here is more about it…

With new arrivals comes new responsibilities…
The sun is shining, wild flowers are blooming and Hedgehog Hollow is officially open for business.

For Samantha, the proud owner of this beautiful rescue centre, life has never been busier. But with an influx of new hogs and hoglets to take care of, not to mention a full-time job and ongoing family issues, can she accept the possibility that she has taken on more than she can handle?

Fortunately, she has the love of her life, Josh, by her side for support and encouragement. But Josh has his own family troubles to deal with. And soon he must decide if he’s ready to do the one thing he swore he’d never do – forgive his father.

For both Samantha and Josh it’s a season of change and for figuring out whether the past can ever truly be forgotten.

Escape back to wonderful Hedgehog Hollow with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting read full of love, hope and forgiveness.

Purchase Link – HERE

My Review…

If you have already read the first book in this series, then you know that Samantha is going to run a Hedgehog Sanctuary, and continue the dream of Gwendolen and Thomas. This second book begins on the official opening day of the sanctuary, although there are already a few prickly residents being looked after.

Samantha is not alone in this venture, she has the lovely Josh by her side. These two work well together and while this book sees them taking a step forward together in their relationship. But stepping forward is difficult when there are things that make you uncertain, that make you doubt yourself.

I adored the first book, it had a wonderful warmth to it, this second book continues that heartwarming theme, that also has some very anxious moments and definitely throws up more than a surp[rise or two. Things that have happened in the past for Josh and Samantha individually is still around, things do need sorting properly but they have to find the time, patience and courage. Everything happens in its own time.

I really enjoyed the way the backstories of these two characters still had more to share. It added a sense of intrigue to the story as well as filling in pieces that help to give more of an understanding to the characters.

As this is not just about people but also hedgehogs, there are some gorgeous little stories about some of those that need help. There are also some moments that make you frown and also get sad. I do like how the author has kept things realistic with the rescues, not every rescue is going to have a happy ending, but I have to say the way the book finished left me with a lump in my throat.

The author has once again given me a gorgeous book to read, filled with wonderful characters and has developed them further. I know there is still more to come and there are some other characters that have more to tell. I know I have focused on Samantha and Josh, and in some ways, this is very much their story, but there are also many other brilliant characters. After all, you can’t run a sanctuary by yourself, can you?

A gorgeous story that if you really must read as a stand-alone would work, but you would be missing out on such a wonderful start to a series that should be read to get the full picture. Once again I came away from this book learning more about hedgehogs.

A stunning story, with fabulous characters and, is just a gorgeous book to settle down with. I adore this series and can’t wait for the next book. I would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

Jessica Redland is the bestselling author of ten novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx