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The Hopes and Dreams of Libby Quinn by Freya Kennedy

 

The Hopes and Dreams of Libby Quinn

A gorgeous new romantic comedy about taking chances and realising your dreams.

Libby Quinn is sick and tired of being sensible.

After years of slogging her guts out for nothing at a PR company, she finds herself redundant and about to plough every last penny of her savings into refurbishing a ramshackle shop and making her dream of owning her own bookshop become a reality.

She hopes opening ‘Once Upon A Book’ on Ivy Lane will be the perfect tribute to her beloved grandfather who instilled a love of reading and books in her from an early age.

When her love life and friendships become even more complicated – will Libby have the courage to follow her dreams? Or has she bitten off more than she can chew?

 

My review

This is a sweet, warm story about making your dream rise phoenix like from the ashes that unfortunate circumstances have turned your life into.

In Libby’s case she’s lost her job, which she worked hard at, and she’s recently been bereaved too. She achieves two things when she throws her energies and efforts into establishing a bookshop in the village: she fulfils hers and her grandfather’s wish, and she proves to herself that she’s stroner than she thinks. When life throws curveballs it always knocks your confidence, and Libby is no exception.

There’s a strong sense of community in the book, but it’s not overdone to mawkish extremes as can be the case. Libby isn’t above treading on a few toes, and there’s a bit of resentment here and there.

She rubs shoulders with a fascinating host of characters who are a delight for us to meet. We see a lot of the good in people, which is uplifting and affirmative.

In summary, an entertaining, escapist read.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/32fcf1C

 

Join in on social media with #LibbyQuinnBingo

Author Bio –

Freya Kennedy lives in Derry, Northern Ireland, with her husband, two children, two cats and a mad dog called Izzy. She worked as a journalist for eighteen years before deciding to write full time. When not writing, she can be found reading, hanging out with her nieces and nephews, cleaning up after her children (a lot) and telling her dog that she loves her.

She has met Michael Buble and even kissed him. It was one of her best ever moments.

She believes in happy ever afters.

Freya Kennedy is a pen name for Claire Allan, who also writes psychological thrillers.

Social Media Links –

http://www.claireallan.com/

https://twitter.com/ClaireAllan /
https://twitter.com/AuthorFreya

https://www.facebook.com/ClaireAllanAuthor

https://www.instagram.com/claireallan_author/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/freya-kennedy

Newsletter sign up: http://bit.ly/FreyaKennedyNewsletter

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Summer at the Highland Coral Beach by Kiley Dunbar

Escape to the Highland Coral Beach – where broken hearts can be healed

Beatrice Halliday needs a break from life. Booking a trip to the Highlands on a whim, Beatrice hopes learning Gaelic in a beautiful Scottish village might help her heal her grief after losing her baby, her husband and her much loved job in a space of months.

But Port Willow Bay isn’t exactly as the website promised. Instead of learning a new language, she’s booked in to learn the ancient skill of willow weaving, her hotel room is Princess and the Pea themed (with a stack of mattresses for her bed!) and worse still, her tutor is Atholl Fergusson, grumpy landlord of the hotel where Beatrice is staying – and she’s the only one doing the course.

But as Beatrice finds herself falling in love with Port Willow Bay and its people, and as she discovers the kind heart beneath Atholl’s stony exterior, can she really leave?

Escape to the beautiful Scottish Highlands with this utterly romantic, feelgood book; one visit to Port Willow Bay and you’ll want to come back!

 

My review

This is quite serious for a romcom, dealing with some tough issues of loss. But the author handles them sensitively yet firmly, much as their sufferer does. Beatrice is a much stronger person than she believes herself to be and the healing atmosphere of the Port Willow Bay begins to weave it magic, alongside the baskets she learns to make.

Both scenery and local people hide their real charms behind stern exteriors. It takes time to see the inner beauty, but that’s what Beatrice gradually does. At first she’s somewhat stern too as she’s resolved to cope alone and not let anyone help her, although she herself is keen to help others.

There’s an interesting cast of secondary characters to meet, many of them with scars of various sorts themselves. The setting is distinctly Scottish and well conveyed.

Much to enjoy in this uplifting novel.

 

Purchase Links

AMZ: https://amzn.to/2UEMSV3

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2UHgS2w

 

Author Bio

Kiley Dunbar is the author of heart-warming, escapist, romantic fiction set in beautiful places.

Kiley is Scottish and lives in England with her husband, two kids and Amos the Bedlington Terrier. She writes around her work at a University in the North of England where she lectures in English Literature and creative writing. She is proud to be a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a graduate of their New Writers’ Scheme.

Kiley’s third novel, Summer at the Highland Coral Beach (coming 27th March 2020) The first of the Port Willow Bay series is on Pre-order right now!!

One Summer’s Night was Kiley’s first novel (published by Hera Books) and is on sale now!
Don’t forget there’s also a fabulous audible audiobook narrated by Eilidh Beaton.

Kiley’s cosy, sexy-swoony, very snowy festive romcom Christmas at Frozen Falls is on sale NOW too!

 

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/kileydunbar

https://www.facebook.com/KileyDunbarAuthor/

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The Lazarus Charter by Tony Bassett: entertaining and edgy

Synopsis

Bob Shaw is baffled to see a man in a brown coat at a bustling Underground station. Surely it can’t be his friend, the scientist Professor Morley? Morley perished weeks before in a blazing car. Is the man an impostor or did his friend fake his death?

This fascinating and ingenious thriller tells of Bob’s battle to find out the truth, helped by his wife Anne. They are confronted by ruthless enemies and forced to flee their home in this fast-paced spy thriller from the author of Smile Of The Stowaway.

 

My review

The author set himself a high standard with the prequel to this novel, Smile of the Stowaway, but he surpasses even that with this novel.

It’s a very exciting thriller with political elements as well as a fascinating mystery at its core, featuring husband and wife team Bob and Anne. As their names hint, they’re an ordinary couple who just happen to find themselves plunged into quite extraordinary goings-on. Here a dead man has apparently come back to life – hence this book’s title.

The author doesn’t hang about! He sets a brisk pace, but never so rushed that he skimps on scene-setting or creating atmosphere. The action is largely set in Canterbury and London and you get a wonderful sense of these two very different cities.

As regards the plot, it’s clever and complex. You really have no idea what’s round the corner. You feel a bit like a leaf being whisked along by a gale-force wind! It’s wonderful.

Entertaining, edgy escapism, this novel will absorb your full attention from the first word to the last.

I can’t wait for the author’s next book.

Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lazarus-Charter-English-Tony-Bassett-ebook/dp/B085MN9KL4

Copies are also available from the publisher.

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The Five Year Plan by Carla Burgess

Synopsis

Orla is a trainee reporter with a five-year plan: work her way up the career ladder, move to London and secure a job on a big national newspaper. She doesn’t want a boyfriend, he’s only going to hold her back anyway. Aiden spends his life travelling the world and living in a tent. He knows his goal: to photograph animals and raise awareness of global warming and wildlife conservation. He’s definitely not looking for a relationship past the odd casual hook-up! So when Orla and Aiden’s lives collide, they do everything to not fall for each other – with the opposite effect. But they stick to their plans, and go their separate ways…Five years later, they meet again.

 

My review

This is an enjoyable second-chance novel with a vividly Irish flavour. It’s easy to read with likeable characters and plenty of entertaining action.

We start with Orla and Aiden meeting again, jump back in time to find out more about Orla’s five year plan, and then finish up in the present day. This adds movement and interest to the novel. Was Orla too quick to put her job first? Was Aiden too hung up in his budding career? They make mistakes, they’re flawed but they learn their lessons and have the chance to try again.

Entertaining and lively.

 

Purchase link: https://www.amazon.fr/s?k=9780008378783

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Sometimes in Bath by Charles Nevin

Synopsis

The stories and History of ‘Britain’s most elegant and intriguing city’. Sometimes in Bath is a captivating story-tour through the city’s history conducted by Charles Nevin, the award-winning journalist, national newspaper columnist, author and humorist. Beau Nash, Old King Bladud, young Horatio Nelson, Jane Austen’s Mr Bennet, the Emperor Haile Selassie and many more spring to life in episodes shimmering with the curious magic of Britain’s oldest resort and premier purveyor of good health, happiness and romance for the last 2000 years. Each story has an afterword distinguishing the fiction from fact, adding enthralling historical detail – and giving visitors useful links to Bath’s many sights and fascinations. Sometimes in Bath is warm, witty, wistful and will be loved by all who come to and from this most enchanting and enchanted of cities.

My review

This book is tremendous fun! I’m not quite sure how else to categorise it since it’s a mixture of history, geography, fact, fiction, social commentary and humour. This all makes for a fascinating read.

Even if you’ve never been there, the many mentions of this spa town in literature mean that pretty much everyone has heard of it and probably seen photos. It’s a distinctive city and in this equally distinctive book proves to be a very worthy setting. We get many glimpses of it alongside the interesting and eccentric characters we’re introduced to. In fact, it’s the only place you could get away with juxtaposing famous Admiral Nelson and fictional Mr Bennet so successfully!

The book is alive with humour. As well as appearing in unlikely combinations and situations, the characters are all wonderfully rounded and frequently ridiculous. In the first chapter alone there’s one named Britt Bakoff, and another cook, Sally, who in frustration utters the cry “Bloody health and pastry” when asked to bake a less calorific bun, and which is directly inspired by how the Bath Oliver biscuit came about. I know this for a fact because, since we’ve caught him red-handed in rewriting history, the author admits at the end of every chapter that he’s used his rich imagination in creating each fic-fact tales and he gives the relevant background explanations and biographies.

Immensely entertaining as well as educational, grab yourself a copy!

Purchase link: www.amazon.co.uk/Sometimes-Bath-Her-Stories-History/dp/1912881829/

About the author

Charles Nevin has written for, among others, the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday, the Daily Telegraph, The Times and Sunday Times, and the New York Times. Sometimes in Bath is his second book of fiction following Lost in the Wash with Other Things, a collection of short stories. He has also published three books of non-fiction – Lancashire, Where Women Die of Love, a paean to the neglected romance of his native county, which was as praised by Jeremy Paxman and Joanna Lumley. The Book of Jacks, a history and lexicon of the name and finally, So Long Our Home, a history of Knowsley Road, the famous old ground of St Helens Rugby Football Club. Charles lives in an old watermill near Bath, which is ideally placed for his forays into the enchanting city.

 

 

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Marrow Jam by Susan A King

Blurb

Some people would describe Beattie Bramshaw as a pillar of the community. Many would applaud her numerous successes in the bakery competition at the annual village show. A small number might say, if pushed, that they find her a little on the bossy side. And one or two might just whisper the words ‘interfering’ and ‘busybody’ behind her back.

But no-one would have her down as a murderer.

So why is she being questioned in Dreighton police station after being found in the local allotments, at the dead of night, wielding a kitchen knife just yards away from where local lottery winner, Yvonne Richards, was found stabbed to death? And what does all of this have to do with Doug Sparrow’s prize marrows?

Marrow Jam is a comedy crime caper in the spirit of Agatha Raisin. It will have you chuckling all the way through many a cup of tea.

 

My review

The blurb hasn’t got it right at all– you’ll be far too busy enjoying this story to want to stop and make a cup of tea!!

It’s a wonderful read – funny, clever, incisive and thoroughly entertaining. You really get the atmosphere of neighbourly hostility at the village show, and can hear the grinding of teeth when a certain person wins yet again!

The book is constructed ingeniously with a little bit of jumping between after, before and during, always at just the right time to heighten the dramatic tension.

Super writing, crafty inspiration and total success.

 

 

Get the book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marrow-Jam-Susan-King-ebook/dp/B085RB6SWN/

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Art and Soul by Claire Huston

Synopsis

There’s no problem Becky Watson can’t fix. Except her own love life…

Struggling single mother Becky Watson longs to revive her career as a life-fixer, working miracles to solve her clients’ problems, no matter how big or small. Since the birth of her two-year-old son she has been stuck preventing wedding fiascos for the richest and rudest residents of the Comptons, a charming, leafy area of southern England known for its artistic heritage.

So when semi-reclusive local artist Charlie Handren reluctantly hires Becky to fix his six-year creative slump, she’s delighted to set him up with a come-back exhibition and Rachel Stone, the woman of his dreams.

Though they get off to a rocky start, Becky and Charlie soon become close. But as the beautiful Rachel becomes Charlie’s muse, Becky is forced to wonder: will giving Charlie everything he wants mean giving up her own happily ever after?

A heart-warming, uplifting romance served with a generous slice of cake.

 

My review

What a delightful book!

Our heroine is single mum Becky, who’s a fixer, but when it comes to client Charlie then ironically there are a few things in her own life that won’t get fixed if she helps him to the extent he wants her to. What to do?

Becky is likeable, determined, strong and energetic. She has her vulnerable side too, and whilst it seems she can indeed cope with and fix anything, that doesn’t necessarily extend to matters of the heart. Charlie is interesting too, something of a typical self-doubting artist but he finds the motivation to do something about it. For a while it seems, though, that he can’t appreciate what’s under his nose.

This is an uplifting romcom with the obligatory at cross-purposes, will they won’t they elements that we love about this genre. The plot is fun and the writing is thoroughly engaging. Definitely one to read.

Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Soul-heart-warming-uplifting-generous/dp/1911505653/

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A Thoughtful Woman by KT Findlay

Synopsis

They say revenge is a dish best served cold, but where’s the fun in that?
Artist Sally Mellors has planned the perfect revenge, but with two secret agents on her tail, and her best friends running the police investigation, getting away with murder is going to be tricky…
Everybody loves Sally. She’s a funny, generous, warm hearted friend, without a nasty bone in her body.
Isn’t she?
Unknown to her friends, Sally’s discovered another side to herself, cool headed and relentless, as she hunts down the three men who killed her husband. But Sally’s not the only one with an interest in the trio. Unknown to her, two agents have arrived in town, urgently hunting a missing man and his diary, which could blow their organisation apart. Their best leads are the very men that Sally’s hunting, and she’s getting in the way…
The inspiration behind A Thoughtful Woman.
The justice system is an intriguing beast. We expect it to be fair, which is why we allow it to resolve our disputes instead of simply taking revenge ourselves, but watch an individual case play out in court and it can seem more like a high stakes game between lawyers than the pursuit of absolute truth. And if you think it’s a game, do you still accept the result if you lose? Is that still justice? At what point will a perfectly normal, perfectly decent person snap, and what happens when they do? Is it possible to plunge into the darkness of revenge and remain the normal, decent happy person you were before you started? Sally Mellors is about to find out.

 

My review

This is a novel about taking revenge into your own hands. You can’t really blame Sally and Emma for wanting to do so: their husbands’ killers escaped justice thanks to a bent lawyer. You know it’s morally wrong but you want these two to succeed. We do like it when the worms turn.

The action gradually builds up and reaches a brisk pace. There’s plenty of conflict and intrigue, shadowy menacing figures, helpful allies, and clever twists and turns in the plot. It makes for an exciting and original read.

The characters are all convincing. Sally is the stronger of the two women, and she makes for a fascinating psychological study. She shows what happens when a seemingly kind and normal person is pushed too far. She throws herself into her new persona and does seem to enjoy being her own evil twin.

It’s a book that really makes you think and question your own moral values.

 

About the author

K.T. Findlay lives on a small farm where he dovetails his writing with fighting the blackberry and convincing the quadbike that killing its rider isn’t a vital part of its job description.

 

Buy the book here: www.amazon.co.uk/Thoughtful-Woman-Sally-Mellors-Adventures-ebook/dp/B07YYZX8NC/

 

 

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Cover Reveal: Winter’s Gift by Florence Keeling

A heart warming, feel good romantic comedy.

‘I absolutely adored this book. It gave me all the feels! A charming read full of warmth and heart.’ ***** Kim the Bookworm

Bea Winters is in desperate need of a fresh start. Being bullied at work is not her idea of fun and she longs to follow her dream of becoming a published author. When an advert appears in her local paper to work in a publishing house in the sleepy village of Bloomsdale, it sounds too good to be true.

She strikes up an instant friendship with gorgeous aspiring author, Eddie Richards and her dashing millionaire boss Scott Summers

But all isn’t as it seems in the sleepy village of Bloomsdale.

How does the local clairvoyant know her name? Who does the little black dog that keeps appearing belong to and why does she keep bumping into the mysterious Charlie?

As she starts to unravel the truth, it seems that everyone in Bea’s life is keeping secrets.

An uplifting romantic comedy that will warm your heart – perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews.

 

And here’s the cover!

 

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Winters-Gift-Florence-Keeling-ebook/dp/B07KDWRWXP/#ace-4131440328

US – https://www.amazon.com/Winters-Gift-Florence-Keeling-ebook/dp/B07KDWRWXP/

 

About Florence Keeling

Florence Keeling adopted for her pen-name her Great Grandmother’s name, chosen because of the shared birthday of April Fool’s Day.  She is married with two teenage chidren.  Born and raised in Coventry, England she now lives just outside in Nuneaton.  Reflected Destinies is her first novel.

Florence Keeling also writes for children under the name of Lily Mae Walters.

 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/florence.keeling.7

Twitter – https://twitter.com/KeelingFlorence

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/florence.keeling/

 

 

 

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That Night in Paris by Sandy Barker: sparkling and fun

Synopsis

Note to self: don’t sleep with your flatmate after a curry and three bottles of wine… especially if he’s secretly in love with you and wants you to meet his mum.

Cat Parsons is on the run. She doesn’t do relationships. After ten years of singlehood even the hint of the ‘L’ word is enough to get Cat packing her bags and booking herself onto a two-week holiday.

A European bus tour feels like a stroke of genius to dodge awkward conversations at home. But little does Cat realise that the first stop will be Paris, the city of love itself.

Joined by new friends, Cat has got two weeks, eight countries and a hell of a lot of wine ahead of her. As they discover hidden treasures and the camaraderie of life on the road, will Cat find a new way of looking at love?

 

My review

With the current Covid-19 crisis going on, the only way we can travel at the moment is through books. That Night In Paris is a great one to widen your horizons beyond lockdown. And keeping the travel theme going, it’s great to be at the departure point of this book’s tour. So clamber up the steps with your over-the-limit hand baggage with me, beat that old lady to the last window seat and enjoy what I’m sure is going to be a wonderful ride!

Our heroine Cat joins a European Tour at the last moment to flee a romantic entanglement. She bumps into several other people on the coach with her who are also escaping various issues. I think it’s fair to say that anyone who signs up with this particular travel company has to be fairly desperate in one way or another. Some of their stopovers are a little dodgy. However, coach travel itself is a wonderful way to see places on a tight budget, so I’m glad it’s featured in this novel, even if not always in the most flattering way!

There’s an element of travelogue in the novel, with good descriptions and a pervading sense of place and hurried movement. There’s are many warm and convincing interactions between various characters, and to spice things up there’s a touch of romance.

The story is entertaining. Cat with her faults and foibles undeniably makes for an interesting central character, although she’s not the most sympathetic or easiest to like. She’s the sort who’ll always fall on her feet, when the occasional landing on her head is what she deserves and what would perhaps sort her out a bit!

The book is part of a series – The Holiday Romance series – so that’s good news as it means there’s more to come from this author.

All in all, this is a fun, sparkling and enjoyable read.

 

Purchase link

https://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B07ZG8C6L3/ref=x_gr_w_bb_sin?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_fr-21&linkCode=ur2&camp=1642&creative=6746

 

About the author

Sandy Barker is an Australian writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list and a cheeky sense of humour. Many of Sandy’s travel adventures have found homes in her writing, including her debut novel, a contemporary romance set in Greece, which was inspired by her true-life love story. Follow her on Twitter @sandybarker