Hollywood Bilker by Leopold Borstinski @Borstinski   @ZooloosBT  #HollywoodBilker #AlexCohen #ZooloosBookTours #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Hollywood Bilker by Leopold Borstinski. I have loved this series from the very first book and following the journey of the main protagonist Alex Cohen.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

Is building another casino worth dying for?

Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen returns to America and settles in 1960s California to build a drug and prostitution empire in LA. When he gets a call from the mob to help the CIA invade Cuba, Alex must decide between family and his business associates.

If he helps Uncle Sam and the Mafia then he puts his life on the line fighting for freedom and the chance to rebuild his Havana casinos. If he refuses the favor then death will call on him, his ex-wife and their sons. Once he agrees to one accommodation then others are sure to follow, in a decade where even presidents, assassins and presidential candidates were whacked at a terrifying rate.

The sixth book in the Alex Cohen series is an historical thriller novel, which rips open Jewish organized crime involvement in Lee Harvey Oswald’s death and the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. Leopold Borstinski’s searing crime fiction lays bare the making of today’s USA.

PURCHASE LINKS – AMZON UK or US

MY REVIEW

This is the 6th book in the Alex Cohen series, a series I am loving and have with every book in the series. The series follows the life of Alex, his family, his friends, his enemies and his business associates. This 6th book sees Alex entering the 1960’s in America.

The previous book saw him high-tailing it out of Cuba, now the author has him rubbing the shoulders with the rich, famous and possibly infamous depending o which circles you mix within. With names such as Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, the Kennedy’s and Alex’s business background, well you know that these people are going to meet up in this authors series.

If you are new to this series then I would definitely recommend re4ading from the beginning, it gives you a better understanding of where Alex has come from, his background and his life growing up. Working his way up through the ranks of the racketeers and mobs of each decade of the 1900s.

With each book, the author uses names of new items that are relevant to the time, it sort of backs up Alex’s character and also keeps the reader in the time and moment.

Alex and his wife Sarah don’t see much of their family, and while Alex has hinted at retiring he has never done much about it. He is a careful man but also one that will take care of his own business. But, now as he is getting to the stage where he wants more family time he realises he needs to let some of his businesses go.

In this episode, the author has Alex rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, glamorous parties, with special extras are his speciality. It gives him a chance to get in with the in-crowd of the time. While this story is full of action, dodgy deals, hidden agendas, it also had a slightly different edge to it. Alex still puts himself in the midst of things, still in danger and risking his life, but he has a future that he is now thinking about. I think this does show in this story, don’t think that Alex or the author have gone soft, they have not. Just pickier about what job is absolutely necessary.

This is yet another fabulous book that I loved, especially as it involves the golden era of Hollywood stars and politicians. If you are a fan of history in the US through the 1900s then this is a series that may very well appeal. I have loved it and look forward to reading the next book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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The New Kingdom by Wilbur Smith @thewilbursmith @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #compulsivereaders #ancientegypt #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to be joining the Blog Tour today for an author whose books I have read since I was around 15 years old. The New Kingdom by Wilbur Smith is the 7th book in the Ancient Egypt series and it is an action packed journey.

My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for arranging my gorgeous hardback copy of the book from the publisher Zaffre Books.

In the heart of Egypt
Under the watchful eye of the gods
A new power is rising

In the city of Lahun, Hui lives an enchanted life. The favoured son of a doting father, and ruler-in-waiting of the great city, his fate is set. But behind the beautiful façades, a sinister evil is plotting. Craving power and embittered by jealousy, Hui’s stepmother, the great sorceress Isetnofret, and Hui’s own brother Qen, orchestrate the downfall of Hui’s father, condemning Hui and seizing power in the city.

Cast out and alone, Hui finds himself a captive of a skilled and powerful army of outlaws, the Hyksos. Determined to seek vengeance for the death of his father and rescue his sister, Ipwet, Hui swears his allegiance to these enemies of Egypt. Through them he learns the art of war, learning how to fight and becoming an envied charioteer.

But soon Hui finds himself in an even greater battle – one for the very heart of Egypt itself. As the pieces fall into place and the Gods themselves join the fray, Hui finds himself fighting alongside the Egyptian General Tanus and renowned Mage, Taita. Now Hui must choose his path – will he be a hero in the old world or a master in a new kingdom?

Don’t miss the rest of the epic Ancient Egyptian Series, River God, The Seventh Scroll, Warlock, The Quest, Desert God and Pharaoh, available now. And Wilbur Smith will return to Ancient Egypt in 2022.

PURCHASE HERE

MY REVIEW

I always enjoy reading anything by this author and his latest book The New Kingdom was a riveting read. This is the 7th book in the Ancient Egypt series, somewhere along the way I have missed the last two books! But, this book could easily be read as a stand-alone, if you haven’t started this series and are planning on reading it, then read the previous ones first.

This is the story of Hui, he is the son of Kwahy, the governor of Luhan. Bandits, tribes and outlaws are known to be in the area, Lower and Upper Egypt show animosity towards each other. Egypt is a country that has wealth and also a lot of hardship.

Hui finds himself on the outside of Luhan, no longer in a position of privilege. What should have brought him good luck instead brought him to the edge of death. He is forced to flee the life he has known to survive. This leads him to a world of bandits, the outlaws and he will need all his wits about him to survive.

The story focuses on Hui and those closest to him. There is a good amount of historical reference in this story as well as the religion of the time. But for me, this was more an action and adventure story rather than the historical fiction I was expecting. I have to say I really enjoyed this fast-paced and exciting journey as I follo0wed Hui from one dilemma to another putting himself in situation after situation. This is one of those stories that I could see working well on the screen as there is quite a bit of action.

Hui is a character who thinks on his feet and if it wasn’t for his wit he would soon find himself in more trouble than he already had. He is a character that I really liked, a rogue in some ways, a liar, but one who has an end goal. So, no, not that trustworthy but I couldn’t help but like him.

I liked the historical content and also the way the mythology and religion were worked into the story. Let’s be honest any story about ancient Egypt needs to have some sort of magic in it, as well as conspiracy, and there is a lot of that. Conspiracy between families as they try to manoeuvre and outwit other, characters swapping allegiances and sides. This all adds to the thrill of the story and as I mentioned earlier, it adds to the action.

This was a fast-paced and exciting read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a wonderful story and one that I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wilbur Smith

Wilbur Smith is the bestselling author of many novels, each meticulously researched on his numerous expeditions worldwide. His bestselling Courtney series includes AssegaiThe Sound of ThunderBirds of PreyMonsoon, and Blue Horizon. His other books include Those in PerilRiver GodWarlockThe Seventh Scroll, and The Sunbird. His books are now translated into twenty-six languages and have sold over 120 million copies. Smith was born to a British family in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, in Central Africa, and attended Rhodes University in South Africa. He has homes in Cape Town, London, Switzerland and Malta.

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A Winter Baby For Gin Barrel Lane by Lindsey Hutchinson @LHutchAuthor @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for A Winter Baby For Gin Barrel Lane by Lindsey Hutchinson. This was a wonderful historical fiction and saga story that I really enjoyed.

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

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Dolly Perkins and Jack Larkin have grown up in the notorious gin palaces of Birmingham.


It’s a world of happiness and friendship, but also violence and poverty. Now that Dolly runs the Daydream Gin Palace on Gin Barrel Lane she can finally control her own destiny, but sometimes fate still plays its hand.


Keen to expand her empire, Dolly and Jack take on a new pub, but they are in for a shock when a foul smell in one of the bedrooms turns out to come from a body hidden in the wall. As the police hunt for their suspect, rumours abound, spread by the local urchins – happy to be used as runners for a little bit of food and a coin or two.


But rumours can be dangerous, and as one of the worst winters on record covers everything in snow, Dolly and Jack have to fight for the lives they have made for themselves, and for the urchins that they have come to think of as family. Will the arrival of a new baby on Gin Barrel Lane bring the promise of new hope, or will the long-awaited thaw uncover new secrets and new tragedies…


The Queen of Black Country sagas is back on Gin Barrel Lane with a rip-roaring, heart-warming, page-turning story of family, friendship and beating the odds. Perfect for fans of Val Wood and Lyn Andrews.


Purchase Link – HERE

MY REVIEW…

I have not read the book that precedes this one, so I can definitely say that A Winter Baby for Gin Barrel Lane works very well as a stand-alone. I do wish I had read the first book, The Children from Gin Barrel Lane because there are things mentioned that I do think I would like to have known more about.

A Winter Baby for Gin Barrel Lane is a gorgeously written historical fiction book set in Birmingham around the 1860s. Dolly runs a gin palace and is looking to expand. Dolly is unmarried and while this does make it an issue for some, on the whole people are more than happy to deal with a woman in business. One man, however, is not. I do think this is where I would have benefited from the first book!

The one this about this story is the sense of community, support and people with long memories. The author has woven a story around a wonderful group of characters who all bring their own special something. Jack with his easy manner, Aggie with her gossip, Nellie, Nancy and Fred for advice and of course many more characters as well. All very easy to remember.

As Dolly decides to open another business, the nose of a certain businessman is definitely put out of joint. This does set a tense tone for the later part of the story, but on the whole, this is about the main characters and their coming and goings. The authors bring in street runners who deliver messages and this does highlight the conditions of these orphans and the lack of support for a whole part of society. The community, though, does tend to look out for its own.

This was a super story to read, it had me frowning one moment, grinning and chuckling the next and I will say there was the odd lump in the throat moments as well. If you are a fan of the saga type novel then I do think this is one for you, and an ideal story to sit down with over a couple of afternoons. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and I would defiantly recommend it.

About the Author…

Lindsey Hutchinson is a bestselling saga author whose novels include The Workhouse Children. She was born and raised in Wednesbury, and was always destined to follow in the footsteps of her mother, the multi-million selling Meg Hutchinson. Lindsey’s first title for Boldwood was published in February 2020.

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The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone #TheSkelfs @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone. This is the 3rd book in the series and features the Skelf Family.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy from the publisher Orenda Books.

The discovery of a human foot in an Edinburgh park, the inexplicable circumstances of a dying woman, and the missing daughter of Jenny’s violent ex-husband present the Skelf women with their most challenging – and deadly – cases yet…

Keeping on top of the family funeral directors’ and private-investigation businesses is no easy task for the Skelf women, and when matriarch Dorothy discovers a human foot while walking the dog, a perplexing case presents itself … with potentially deadly results.

Daughter Jenny and grand-daughter Hannah have their hands full too: The mysterious circumstances of a dying woman lead them into an unexpected family drama, Hannah’s new astrophysicist colleague claims he’s receiving messages from outer space, and the Skelf’s teenaged lodger has yet another devastating experience.

Nothing is clear as the women are immersed ever deeper in their most challenging cases yet. But when the daughter of Jenny’s violent and fugitive ex-husband goes missing without trace and a wild animal is spotted roaming Edinburgh’s parks, real danger presents itself, and all three Skelfs are in peril.

My Review…

From reading the two previous books in this series I knew I was going to be in for a roller coaster ride. I did not, however, expect it to be such an amazing ride!

This is the third book in The Sklef’s series, set in Edinburgh. The Skelf’s are a family of different generations of women and boys are an amazing group. Headed by Dorothy, the family-run not only funeral directors but also have a Private Investigation business.

Dorothy is an amazing matriarch and her daughter, Jenny and granddaughter Hannah are doing a great job. With the family dog finding a foot, an abusive ex on the run and a very strange message the women have their work cut out. As if having all these dynamic women under one roof is not enough, Dorothy also takes in waifs, those who have troubles that just need a safe place and a roof over their heads. Oh, did I mention the big cat that is on the loose around the city?

This is a breakneck speed of a read, one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. I do like the way the author alternates his chapters between the three Sklef women, it kept this reader up to speed with all that was going on, and boy was there a lot. Credit to the author for keeping all these sub-plots in check and not allowing me to get confused. As the women are very unique it is very easy to keep up with who is who and their individual roles don’t their own cases as well as when they all come together.

This story does have a tense atmosphere to it, there is the threat of the big cat lurking, the abusive ex who is making life more than hell for some and then of course there is the body part. The author has so skillfully woven all the dramatic and dynamic plots together brilliantly and it makes for a very intense and thrilling read.

This is a fabulous series and I do think it is just getting better and better. There is more tension and it does have a gloriously dark edge to it. This is a series that I would say you do need to read from the beginning as there are mentions of previous storylines.

This is definitely a tense, fast-paced, dark and gritty glimpse into the world of the Sklef women, they are a fabulous family and this latest book is an amazing read. It is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh. His fourth novel, Hit & Run, is published by Faber and Faber on March 15th 2012. His previous novel, Smokeheads, was published in March 2011, also by Faber. before that he published two novels with Penguin, Tombstoning (2006) and The Ossians (2008), which received praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin and Christopher Brookmyre. Doug is currently writer in residence at the University of Strathclyde. He’s had short stories appear in various publications, and since 1999 he has worked as a freelance arts journalist, primarily covering music and literature. He grew up in Arbroath and lives in Portobello, Edinburgh with his wife and two children. He loves drinking malt whisky and playing football, not necessarily at the same time.

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Cornish Gold at Summer’s End by Laura Briggs @PaperDollWrites @rararesources #contemporaryfiction #Giveaway (open INT) #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Cornish Gold at Summer’s End by Laura Briggs. This was such a lovely book to sit and read and I adored it.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot today for the Publication Day of the book and for arranging my e-copy via NetGalley.

Rumors of a ghostly presence haunt Julianne’s Cornish autumn in the series’ charming fourth installment.

What began as a bit of teenage mischief in the village quickly became stories of spooky lights and ghost sightings in the wood. Being sensible, Julianne is more worried about whether she can finish her kids’ costumes in time for the annual Halloween contest—and whether husband Matt and his eager assistants will be selected for the exclusive Brookshire Garden Design Competition. So when everyone in town begins flocking to the local ‘ghost walk’ tours Julianne assures her wide-eyed children it’s just a case of imagination run wild…until she experiences her own brush with the supernatural, that is.

Real or imagined, Julianne can’t shrug off what she saw, or even bring herself to confide in sympathetic Matt for advice. Best friend Kitty is on hand to help, despite her usual family battles, including that of her cousins’ shady new scheme to profit from the town’s ghost mania. But even Julianne’s friends can’t fully understand her need to find a solution this time, one that leads her on a quirky quest from local lore, to meetings with the village’s ragtag paranormal club, and even a creepy abandoned cottage hiding secrets in the woods.

Join Julianne for suspense, surprises, and (of course) heartfelt moments as book four in the series brings an autumn like no other to sleepy Ceffylgwyn.

My Review…

This is the fourth book in the Return to Cornwall series, but it is the first one I have read. This does work well as a stand-alone, there is a sense of community and friendships that I think may have developed over previous books. This is certainly something that comes across.

Juli, or Julianne, is up to her armpits trying to get her children’s Halloween costumes finished as well as running a wedding business. Matt, her husband is trying to get his garden design finished and submitted for a competition that will give him and his students a huge boost. With their lives already full Juli is also dragged into the ghostly sightings in the village.

She is sceptical, as are some other residents. Must be the youngsters causing trouble, or someone having a prank. Others do think there are ghosts or some sort of paranormal activity. Who is right?

This was a really lovely story to sit and read over a couple of days. It is a mix of contemporary fiction and a sort of cosy mystery all wrapped up in a small and friendly sounding community. A place where people know your business before you do!

I really liked the characters the author created, a busy working mum and dad, older as well as younger characters and they all muddle along and help each other out. I do think this is a series that I would enjoy if I had started from the beginning rather than book 4!.

The ghostly goings-on are curious, some see this as being a good thing and the community seems to draw closer. I think this is a certain amount of trepidation as well as wanting to get to the bottom of the strange glowing orbs, flickering lights and strange shapes. The community definitely gets caught up in these happenings.

This was a story that also had quite an emotional twist to it. One I did see coming, the other, I definitely didn’t. This is a story that was easy to get on board with, the characters soon became memorable and the storyline had a nice mysterious edge to it. Not one to keep you awake at night quivering under the blankets, but one that worked well within the context of the story.

A book that I thoroughly enjoyed and one I would happily recommend.

Purchase Link – HERE

About the Author…

Laura Briggs is the author of several feel-good romance reads, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, caring for her pets, gardening, and seeing the occasional movie or play.

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Giveaway to Win an e-copy of Cornish Gold at Summer’s End (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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Ties Bind, Love Finds by Nia Lucas @BooksNia #20booksofsummer #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for the 3rd book in the Choices Series, Ties Bind, Love Finds by Nia Lucas. I have read all the books in this series and I adore them. Yes, they do need to be read in order.

This is the 7th book pick on my #20booksofsummer reading challenge and this is also one from my own TBR.

Following on from ‘Futures Beckon, Pasts Threaten’, Lorna Goddard navigates motherhood, marriage and a career in the life she never imagined could be hers. As she tries to leave the traumas of her past by building the life she always wanted, Lorna rapidly discovers that stability is never as solid as it looks. What happens when ‘Happy Ever After’ morphs into ‘Ever Happy After’?

When the choices of others yet again turn her life upside down, Lorna discovers that losses no longer break her but the past still beckons at every turn. As it becomes clear that the loves that shaped her conceal a far deeper and more important truth, Lorna is forced to fight for the things she holds most dear.

The scales of love and loss continue to find balance as Lorna Davies rises from the embers of a life less ordinary and forges a fresh path to happiness, taking a route she could never have predicted. Will she finally find what she’s been looking for all along?

My Review…

This is a fantastic series that follows the life of Lorna. Now married with children her life seems to have settled. No longer the troubled teen, moving on from the loss of two very important people in her life.

This is the third book in the series and is one you do need to read from the start. The background for Lorna is important to know who she is and why. The things she us done in the past and the people who are important to her make her who she is.

This series started as a contemporary fiction, coming of age and as Lorna has gotten older has changed, but in some ways she is still working out who she is and who she wants to be. Now in her 30’s things have a habit of not quite going smoothly.

Pressures of work, motherhood for Lorna and her husband Rob are tense, stress creeps in and with that so does distance. She has always been close to the friends she made as a teen. They are her support as much as she is theirs.

As this book progresses the author is once again injected more heartache into Lorna life. This is a strong character and a feisty one at that. Her character takes a lot over the series, and she herself pulls no punches when she makes a stand.

This book does contain strong language and sexual content. The language, is well colourful but it also matches these firebomb of a character. While I am not a fan of a certain used word I can see it is exactly what Lorna would use. The sex can be a little in the graphic side at times but again does fit in with the style of this book.

This is another excellent instalment in the series. Told mainly from Lorna’s perspective you get a no holds barred glimpse into her mindset, character, thoughts, worries and her life.

This is one for readers who like contemporary fiction, it’s gritty and at times adult rated. I have enjoyed every one of the books so far and this lets one is no exception. It is a book I would definitely recommend.

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Insider by Owen Mullen @OwenMullen6 @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #ganglandcrime #boldwoodbloggers #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Insider by Owen Mullen. This is the second book in the Family series and it is a corker. I have read several book by this author and I am loving this latest series. You can read my full review of the first book Family HERE.

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 fabulous book From the publisher via NetGalley.

Someone’s playing both sides and now they have a score to settle…

When the family business is crime, you can never be sure who to trust. And when three of their businesses are hit in one night, the notorious Glass family close ranks. Either someone is sending them a message or a war is coming… 

With trouble coming from all sides, the heads of the Glass family have more than enough to deal with, but all bets are off when a stranger from the past enters the game, causing division and mistrust.

Crooked cops, rival gangs and old enemies are bad enough, but when the trouble comes from the inside, loyalties are tested, with deadly consequences.

Page-turning, gripping, gritty, Insider is perfect for fans of Martina Cole, Kimberley Chambers and Mandasue Heller.

Purchase Link – HERE

My Review…

I loved the first book in this series and this second book Insider continues the story of the Glass family. This is where I do recommend reading the first book, not only because there are details that help the relationships in the second book. And also because it is a brilliant read.

Danny Glass is gone, Luke Glass is now running the family business and Nina Glass is running her real estate business. Things seem to be going well until there are two robberies and a third on the LBC club. The club is the centre of the business, it is Luke’s baby and he feels this as an attack on him and his family. Good job that there is a security guard there who knows his business.

The author once again hit the reader with an amazing high impact crime thriller read. The Glass family are not, well, they’re not quite legitimate, actually, they are a lot not legitimate! But there is something quite likeable about them. I think it is the way the author portrays the importance of family. They never had the best childhood but they did what they did and it is the reason they are where they are today.

The author introduces some new characters, this keeps the storyline fresh and gives more for the reader to think about. Being a series that revolves around a crime family you know that there is going to be a large amount of mistrust. Adding new characters is enough to keep the reader kind of on the fence as they try to work out why the new characters are there.

This is a fabulous read and one that I adored from the very bringing to the end. Many twists and second-guessing moments, there are red-herrings as the author toys with the reader. The questions that start to build are eventually answered, the doubts are put to rest but there is something lingering on the horizon for the family and it has left me so eager to see what happens next.

This is one for readers who like gritty, gangland crime thrillers read. It is addictive, fast-paced and an absolute hard hitter. An excellent second book in this series and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Owen Mullen is a highly regarded crime author who splits his time between Scotland and the island of Crete.  In his earlier life he lived in London and worked as a musician and session singer. He has now written seven books and his first gangland thriller for Boldwood, Family was published in January 2021.

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Yours Cheerfully by A.J Pearce #histfic #NetGalley @panmacmillan #publicationday #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce. This is the second book in The Emmy Lake Chronicles. I loved the first book Dear Mrs Bird and this second book is just as good.

My thanks to the publisher Pan Macmillan for my advanced e-copy that I requested via NetGalley. This book is also #3 in the #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

From the author of the “jaunty, heartbreaking winner” (People) and international bestseller Dear Mrs. Bird, a new charming and uplifting novel set in London during World War II about a plucky aspiring journalist.

London, November 1941. Following the departure of the formidable Henrietta Bird from Woman’s Friend magazine, things are looking up for Emmeline Lake as she takes on the challenge of becoming a young wartime advice columnist. Her relationship with boyfriend Charles (now stationed back in the UK) is blossoming, while Emmy’s best friend Bunty, still reeling from the very worst of the Blitz, is bravely looking to the future. Together, the friends are determined to Make a Go of It.

When the Ministry of Information calls on Britain’s women’s magazines to help recruit desperately needed female workers to the war effort, Emmy is thrilled to be asked to step up and help. But when she and Bunty meet a young woman who shows them the very real challenges that women war workers face, Emmy must tackle a life-changing dilemma between doing her duty and standing by her friends.

Every bit as funny, heartwarming, and touching as Dear Mrs. BirdYours Cheerfully is a celebration of friendship—a testament to the strength of women and the importance of lifting each other up, even in the most challenging times. 

My Review…

I have been waiting for a follow on to Dear Mrs Bird and Yours Cheerfully is a fabulous 2nd book in The Emmy Lake Chronicles.

Emmy Lake wanted to be a war journalist, she did get a job but not quite the one she imagined. It was for an Agony Aunt Column in a magazine called the Woman’s Friend. Set during WWII Emmy is making her way in the magazine world. this magazine is a small friendly publication that is full of tips on clothing, making the best of what you have, gardening, cookery and of course advice.

The Ministry call on magazines to help recruit more women to work in a bid to help out the war effort. A chance meeting with Anne a mother of two gives her an insight into women working in the factories. the women are determined in doing their bit, but they feel they are being treated as men would be and that fact hey they have children and homes to look after is not being taken into account. This sets Emmy on something of a mission as the factory women become friends, she still has to be careful about what she writes due to censorship.

I loved how the author has continued the story of Emmy and also her good friend Bunty. There is enough information given to get an idea of the first book, but I would recommend reading it as it was such an excellent one.

Once again the author includes a letter from readers who seek advice during a worrying time. For young girls working for the first time, for mothers who have children to care for alone, she touches on how widows are treated and the conditions that women who are effectively single parents during wartime deal with in life.

The author has brought the style of the magazine, which was seen as one of the little publications for older readers into the forefront. Giving Emmy a larger role so that she is able to really get to grips with the working woman life. There is politics, there is a certain amount of elitism and snobbery and there is the old boy’s brigade that comes into play. But during all this, the author does remember that Emmy has a life outside of the magazine. One that involves her boyfriend Charlie.

Once again the author has created such an addictive read. She deals with issues of the day in such a way as it makes the reader care about the issues. Some of the things I was not aware of and it has been an enlightening read as well as an emotional one. It does have its moments of sadness but also many moments of hope. A gorgeous story and one for those who like historical fiction during WWII. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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

Always and Forever at Glendale Hall by Victoria Walters @Vicky_Walters @HeraBooks @rararesources #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Always and Forever at Glendale Hall by Victoria Walters. This is one for fans of contemporary fiction and I adored it.

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 gorgeous book.

What if we’re all just searching for something?

Anna Stewart is lost. After barely surviving a car accident as a teenager, Anna is scared of settling. Flitting between jobs, boyfriends and homes whenever she gets bored, she has no idea what the future holds. Then her brother Brodie, minister of Glendale, suggests she moves to the beautiful Scottish village, lining up a housekeeper job for her at Glendale Hall.

Out of options, Anna agrees to the move, knowing that she can always run away again. Once at the hall, her culinary skills impress everyone, and she agrees to give Hilltop Farm’s new manager, Cameron, cooking lessons. Sparks fly between Anna and the handsome Scot, but Cameron is looking for love – something that Anna definitely isn’t.

But it’s wedding season at Glendale Hall, and Anna is about to discover that her new home has a way of working its magic on even the coldest of hearts. Will she really be able to just walk away, or could Anna have finally found a place to belong?

It’s summertime in the beautiful Highlands village of Glendale – pack your bags and come on holiday with this gorgeously uplifting, romantic read. Fans of Milly Johnson, Heidi Swain and Holly Martin will love this charming romcom.

Purchase Links: Amazon Kobo Apple

My Review…

This is the 4th book in the Glendale series and I have loved every one of them. Glendale is a very special place, set in the highlands of Scotland it is off the beaten track as such but is a bustling, lively and welcoming community.

Even though this is part of a series it can easily be read as a stand-alone. Each one of the books focuses on a set of characters, there are links to other events that have happened in previous books. These connections are explained briefly, but in all honesty, if you have not read one yet then start from the beginning because you are missing out on some gorgeous heartwarming and lovely stories.

Anna suffered a traumatic event as a teen, it left her trying to find herself and not really sure of what she wanted or deserved in life. Out of options and in need of help she calls her brother as the last resort. There is a job as a housekeeper at Glendale Hall.

She is made to feel very welcome by everyone, well almost everyone. There is a certain local who is quiet, a loner and actually feels brooding and intimidating. He doesn’t feel like he should fit in this well-knitted community, but he is respected and well thought of. So, what is Anna not seeing?

The author has once again written a gorgeous book that is full of community spirit and amazing friends. Giving Anna a chance to stop and look at life and decide what it is she could actually achieve. Rather than constantly on the move could she find a sense of home and finally settle.

This is one for those who love a warm, heartfelt story. It is a contemporary fiction that I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Victoria Walters writes up-lifting and inspiring stories. She’s the author of three novels, THE SECOND LOVE OF MY LIFE, SUMMER AT THE KINDNESS CAFÉ, and COMING HOME TO GLENDALE HALL. She has been chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent and shortlisted for an RNA award. Victoria was also picked as an Amazon Rising Star, and her books have won wide reader acclaim.

Victoria is a full-time author. She lives in Surrey with her cat Harry, and loves books, clothes, music, going out for tea and cake, and posting photos on Instagram.

Find out more about Victoria by following on Instagram, on Twitter or by visiting her blog.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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

Threadneedle by Cari Thomas @Cari_Threads #Threadneedle @RandomTTours @HarperVoyagerUK #urbanfantasy #NetGalley #debutauthor #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for Threadneedle by Cari Thomas. I adored this book so much and I would like to thank Anne at Random Things Tours and Harper Voyager UK for my spot on the tour and for my e-copy of this gorgeous book.

Anna’s aunt has always warned her of the dangers of magic. Its twists. Its knots. Its deadly consequences.
Now Anna counts down the days to the ceremony that will bind her magic forever.


Until she meets Effie and Attis.


They open her eyes to a London she never knew existed. A shop that sells memories. A secret library where the librarian feeds off words. A club where revellers lose themselves in a haze of spells.


But as she is swept deeper into this world, Anna begins to wonder if her aunt was right all along.
Is her magic a gift…or a curse?


Told through spells created with knots and threads, this is a story that is both innovative and
based in traditional witchcraft.

My Review…

Wow-what an amazing book this was. I had such high hopes for this book as I was really in the mood for a witchy fantasy type story and this is what I got and so much more.

Anna has been warned about the dangers of magic and its use. Rather than risking the danger, it would be better if Anna had her magic bound, in other words, has it blocked so she cannot use it. Anna sort of goes along with this until she discovers that she is not alone in this magical world. That others have powers and that they do use them. They are not all of the same opinions as Anna’s guardian and Aunt. I have to say, thank goodness they don’t share her opinion.

Mysterious deaths are reported in the paper, with a range of far-fetched sounding rumours. I mean there are no switches, it is a myth, right? Well, as far as the author, Anna and her friends are concerned there are witches, they are not myths, they are just good at hiding themselves.

I adored everything about this book apart from one thing… it ended and I have to wait for more! This was such an easy book to get caught up in, the story of Anna and her Aunt is at times brutal. The author really does have a great way of expressing the term “tough love”, there is more to this than first meets the eye though. Safety, fear and danger have a large part to play.

I do like how the author brings a group of misfits together and how she uses them to good effect to deal with being a teen and the problems that come with it. In some respect, this is a story about a group of teens who are dealing with life, school and the whole rebel thing but this group has a little more up their sleeves than your average teen.

I also like how the way the author gave various traits and characteristics to the group but then challenges their characters. I am not revealing how this occurs, while it isn’t exactly a major part of the story it does show the progress that the group makes as a whole.

This is a coming of age story, it is about learning lessons in life and that actions have consequences. Yes, it is a young adult read that I do think that age group of readers would love, but also the older readers. I did at times feel a hint of A Discovery of Witches, as Anna learns more about the magic and (I love that series of books btw).

This is a wonderful fantasy book that mixes magic with a world of today. It is simply a brilliant book and as I read it over a couple of days I was hooked, addicted and didn’t want it to end. It really didn’t feel like a book over 500 pages long. It is one I would definitely recommend and I am eager to see more in this exciting new series. 

About the Author…

Cari Thomas has always loved magic, inspired by her upbringing among the woods and myths of Wales’
Wye Valley. She studied English and Creative Writing at Warwick University and Magazine Journalism at
The Cardiff School of Journalism. Her first job was at teen Sugar magazine where she ran the book club and
quickly realized she wanted to be the one writing the books instead. She went on to work at a creative
agency, spending her spare time researching magic and accumulating an unusual collection of occult books.
She wrote her debut novel Threadneedle while living in London, wandering the city and weaving it with
all the magic she wished it contained. She now lives in Bristol with her husband and son, who bears the
appropriately Celtic name of Taliesin.

A Note from the Author…

I remember the old family stories about my Great Aunt Mary. A fiercely independent, enigmatic woman who was said to be a witch. Perhaps it was these early stories seeping into my subconscious, perhaps it was devouring The Worst Witch, or growing up in rural Wales surrounded by myth and fairy tales, or maybe it was just me, but from a young age I developed a fascination for all things witches and magic.
But let’s not forget that the witch’s hut always sits outside of the village for a reason. In my research, I became just as obsessed with magic’s opposite forces – repression, fear, suspicion and prejudice. After all, if my Great Aunt Mary had been alive a few centuries earlier she may well have been burnt at the stake.
Witch hunts became an area of fascination for me and the more I read the more outraged I became – how powerful, outspoken women and men, or people of the pagan faith, or simply outsiders, have time and time again been suppressed, silenced and extinguished from society. How the power structure of the day meant that it was near impossible for them to have a voice and to defend themselves.
Why was it such people terrified those in power? Why were we not taught more about this dark period
of history? Why did the themes feel like they still resonated so strongly today?
I explore these tensions in Threadneedle- the freedoms of magic set against a fear of witches and feminine
power; schoolgirls forced to take on the injustices of the world one spell at a time.
The sheer joy of writing the book came in bringing these tensions into the modern world and particularly
into the London setting we think we know. Ultimately, this is where the heart of the story lies: in feminine power and sisterhood, bringing together
an unlikely set of outsiders, who together must navigate their way through the light and dark of being
a young woman in today’s world. A world that is more complex than ever and yet still plagued by many
of the same issues that my Great Aunt Mary would have faced, and all the witches who came before her.

Check out the other stops on the tour…

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