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Homeward Bound by Richard Smith: bitter-sweet and beautifully written

Homeward Bound

Homeward Bound features 79-year-old grandfather George, who didn’t quite make it as a rock star in the ‘60s. He’s expected to be in retirement but in truth he’s not ready to close the lid on his dreams and will do anything for a last chance. When he finds himself on a tour of retirement homes instead of a cream tea at the seaside his family has promised, it seems his story might prematurely be over.

He finds the answer by inviting Tara, his 18-year-old granddaughter, to share his house, along with his memories and vast collection of records. She is an aspiring musician as well, although her idea of music is not George’s. What unfolds are clashes and unlikely parallels between the generations – neither knows nor cares how to use a dishwasher – as they both chase their ambitions.

 

My review

This is an absolute gem of a book, it really is! It also has added bitter-sweetness during the current Covid crisis, when criminally inept political bungling has led to the deaths of more than twenty thousand people like our hero George: elderly but loaded with experience, accomplishments, stories to tell and so much still to contribute.

At first, the home in ‘homeward’ appears to relate to finding a convenient old people’s home for his family to park George in, now that he’s becoming a little ‘forgetful’ now and then. By the end of the book, that ‘home’ has taken on many, much deeper meanings and significance as I’ll let you discover for yourselves.

George is a wonderful character. He’s hugely talented, witty and, like many older folk (and I can say this as I’m heading far-too-rapidly towards 60), given to occasional grumpiness. That’s what makes him so wonderfully convincing. Tara is truly his granddaughter, with the shared musical talent and the strength of personality.

Graced with a classy and clever cover, the book is equally clever, beautifully written and utterly enthralling. A huge thank-you and congratulations to author Richard.

Purchase Links

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/homeward-bound-richard-smith/1136313433?ean=2940163088645

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Homeward-Bound-Richard-Smith/dp/1838591591/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

https://www.waterstones.com/book/homeward-bound/richard-smith/9781838591595

https://www.ink84bookshop.co.uk/product-page/homeward-bound-by-richard-smith


Author Bio

Richard Smith is a writer and storyteller for sponsored films and commercials, with subjects as varied as caring for the elderly, teenage pregnancies, communities in the Niger delta, anti-drug campaigns and fighting organised crime. Their aim has been to make a positive difference, but, worryingly, two commercials he worked on featured in a British Library exhibition, ‘Propaganda’.

@RichardWrites2  

richardsmithwrites.com

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A Quiet Death in Italy by Tom Benjamin

Bologna: city of secrets, suspicion . . . and murder

A dark and atmospheric crime thriller set in the beautiful Italian city of Bologna, perfect for fans of Donna Leon, Michael Dibdin and Philip Gwynne Jones.

When the body of a radical protestor is found floating in one of Bologna’s underground canals, it seems that most of the city is ready to blame the usual suspects: the police.

But when private investigator Daniel Leicester, son-in-law to a former chief of police, receives a call from the dead man’s lover, he follows a trail that begins in the 1970s and leads all the way to the rotten heart of the present-day political establishment.

Beneath the beauty of the city, Bologna has a dark underside, and English detective Daniel must unravel a web of secrets, deceit and corruption – before he is caught in it himself.

Tom Benjamin’s gripping debut transports you to the ancient and mysterious Italian city less travelled: Bologna.

 

My review

This is an exciting and absorbing book with interesting characters, a clever, intriguing plot and lots of excitement. It takes us to a lesser written-about part of Italy – the seedier side of Bologna.

The narrator is Daniel, who is somewhat detached being an Englishman. As such he is all the more observant, and makes the reader more aware of the particularities of Italian culture.

The book is all about connections, relationships, links with the past and betrayal, all of which gradually come to light. The pace of the action gradually builds up and the action and excitement builds up to an exciting and unforeseen conclusion. It’s clever, convincing and a must-read.

A thriller in every sense of the word.

 

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Quiet-Death-Italy-Tom-Benjamin/dp/1472131576/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Death-Italy-Tom-Benjamin/dp/1472131576/

Author Bio –

Tom Benjamin started off as a reporter before moving to the press office at Scotland Yard and running drugs awareness campaign FRANK. He moved to Bologna where his work as doorman at a homeless canteen inspired him to create English detective Daniel Leicester in a series that serves up equal helpings of the local cuisine and ubiquitous graffiti; the city’s splendour, decay, and danger.

 

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/tombenjaminsays/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Tombenjaminsays

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tombenjaminsays/

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A Sunset in Sydney by Sandy Barker: sparkly summertime reading

How far would you go in the name of love?

Sarah Parsons has a choice ahead of her. After the trip of a lifetime she’s somehow returned home with TWO handsome men wanting to whisk her away into the sunset.

Pulled in two directions across the globe, it’s making life trickier than it sounds. Her gorgeous American, Josh, wants to meet Sarah in Hawaii for a holiday to remember. Meanwhile silver fox, James, plans to wine and dine her in London.

It’s a lot to handle for this Aussie girl, who had totally sworn off men!

Join Sarah after her adventure in One Summer in Santorini, for the heart-warming and uplifting third novel in The Holiday Romance series.

 

My review

Provided lockdown rules permit, this books makes for perfect beach reading. It’s a brisk-paced, easy-read story that whiles away a few hours very enjoyably.

It’s the third, and last, in a series but works as a standalone.

There’s a wonderful sense of place which gives an ever lovelier holiday atmosphere. The characters are fascinating, from vivacious Sarah to lively Josh to smooth Josh. They make for an interesting and tricky love triangle.

Sandy Barker’s writing is always a deligh. She creates such fun scenarios, and there’s plenty of wit and imagination to enjoy.

 

 

Purchase Links

AmazonUK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sunset-Sydney-totally-uplifting-holiday-ebook/dp/B081MSC5S3

Google play: https://bit.ly/3dLjJxU

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-sunset-in-sydney/sandy-barker/9780008390020

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/a-sunset-in-sydney-the-holiday-romance-book-3

 

Author Bio –

Sandy Barker is an Australian writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list and a cheeky sense of humour. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob.
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.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sandybarker

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sandybarkerauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sandybarkerauthor/

Blog: https://sandybarker.com/

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Summer at my Sister’s by Emily Harvale: cover reveal

Summer at my Sister’s

Twin sisters. One scorching summer. A bucketful of secrets.

Diana’s life is perfect. Her twin sister, Josie’s – not so much. They aren’t identical twins. Perhaps the only things they have in common are agreeing their mother can be a nightmare – and their birthdays. This summer they’ll be thirty-five.

Diana has the perfect husband, two talented youngsters, and an adorable dog. She runs a successful business from home, a popular book club, and hosts sparkling parties for her wealthy husband. She always looks as if she’s stepped from the cover of a magazine. Her immaculate second home by the sea, for idyllic summers with her perfect family, was actually featured in one.

Josie has a messy, compact flat, dates, but not relationships, and she can’t even keep a houseplant alive. She moves from job to job, goes clubbing with her friends, and always looks as if she’s fallen through a hedge. She loves Diana, deeply, but each year she declines the invitation to spend the summer with her sister. Or any other family holiday. Because Josie has a secret.

But is Diana’s life so perfect? Or is she hiding something too? When secrets are revealed this summer, everything will change. Josie could finally have the life she’s always wanted … if she’s brave enough to take a chance. And it all begins with a phone call from their mother.

Publication Date: 31st July

Pre-order Link – mybook.to/SummeratmySisters

And here’s the cover!

Author Bio –

Emily writes novels, novellas and short stories about friendship, family and falling in love. She loves a happy ending but knows that life doesn’t always go to plan. Her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily loves to connect with her readers and has a readers’ group in which many have become good friends. To catch up with Emily, find out about the group, or connect with her on social media, go to her website at www.emilyharvale.com.

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now writes full-time. She’s a member of the SoA, an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. When not writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both. Emily has two mischievous rescue cats that like to sprawl across her keyboard, regardless of whether Emily is typing on it, or not.

Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/emilyharvalewriter

https://www.twitter.com/emilyharvale

https://www.instagram.com/emilyharvale

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Winter’s Gift by Florence Keeling

Winters’ Gift: A heart warming, feel good romantic comedy.

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.

 

My review

There’s an interest combination of mystery, self-discovery and the paranormal in this book, as well as a nod to a few serious contemporary issues such as job dissatisfaction and apparent family failings.

Bea is a bit of a dreamer but she gains a sharper focus as the book progresses. She finds her feet – and more besides! She’s likeable and kind and makes for a pleasant heroine.

The mystery is intriguing and enjoyable.

All in all a gentle bit of escapism.

 

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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JoJo’s French Escape by Lorraine Wilson

Synopsis

For twelve months JoJo Grant has been hiding from a secret too shameful to share.  And whilst her sanctuary might be the beautiful French countryside, JoJo has a horrible feeling that her peace is about to be shattered…because bursting into her life is the hottest celebrity chef around – Callum O’Connor.

Callum knows all about JoJo’s past, her time as a reality star, the scandal that has dogged her, but he isn’t sure why she’s still hiding?  After spending time with Jojo, it’s obvious to him that she has nothing to be ashamed of – she just needs to be a little braver…
But as much as JoJo likes Callum, he thrives on the glare of the outside world.  Can JoJo let go of her past…with Callum by her side?

 

My review

This is an energetic and enjoyable novel featuring fictional celebs and set in France. It’s also about finding the courage to face up to past mistakes and move on.

JoJo is our heroine. She’s flawed but likeable, although it takes a little while to warm to her. It’s time for her to deal with a previous faux pas and rebuild her life. She manages to do this thanks to help and support from her friends. These are Poppy and Callum, with some back-up from a lot of puppies. They weren’t there for gratuitous tweeness – they had a role to play.

It makes for a light, sweet read. Elements of France and French life emerge, but the story is mainly character driven and about starting over.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jojos-French-Escape-perfect-escapism-ebook/dp/B07V9SK8BS

US – https://www.amazon.com/Jojos-French-Escape-perfect-escapism-ebook/dp/B07V9SK8BS

Author Bio

Lorraine Wilson writes flirty, feel-good fiction for One More Chapter – a Harper Collins imprint – and is unashamedly fond of happy endings. She loves hearing from readers and feels incredibly grateful to be doing the job she always dreamt of.

She splits her time between the South of France and Cambridgeshire and is usually either writing or reading while being sat on, walked over or barked at by one of her growing band of rescue dogs.

 

Social Media Links

Amazon author page: http://bit.ly/lorrainewilsonamazon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LorraineWilsonWriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Romanceminx

 

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An Implacable Woman by K T Findlay: a gritty black comedy

Synopsis

If a tooth costs a tooth and an eye costs an eye

When a man hits his wife, then it’s his turn to die

Furious that the courts and police can’t prevent respected surgeon John Kirby from beating his wife, Sally Mellors steps in to save her. Permanently…

But Grace Kirby isn’t the only one who needs saving and Sally quickly discovers she’s taken on a much bigger job than she’d thought.

With her unique ability to blend justice with fun, Sally sets joyfully about the business of removing the monsters from women’s lives, but is she in danger of becoming a monster herself?

As her friends in the police get ever closer, Sally has some serious questions of her own to answer.

 

My review

This is the second book in K T Findlay’s Sally Mellors series. It follows A Thoughtful Woman, but works as a standalone.

It’s a gritty black comedy, making us really think about our moral standpoint. Is killing always wrong? Isn’t putting an evil person permanently out of action an act of goodness? It’s for the greater good of the majority, after all. It’s all a bit of a grey area but it’s well handled in this novel.

Our characters continue to develop in this clever and complex thriller. We find out a little more about what makes Sally and Grace tick. There’s much more to them than straightforward vigilantism.

It’s not all about the action. The settings are beautifully drawn and add to the richness of the writing. This author has a sharp eye for creating an atmospheric backdrop.

Much to enjoy in this unusual, challenging novel.

 

Purchase Links

The main Amazon.com link is https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088HJJ6NW/

The UK link is https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B088HJJ6NW/

The Indian link is https://www.amazon.in/dp/B088HJJ6NW/

The Canadian link is https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B088HJJ6NW/

Additional maps of where An Implacable Woman is set-https://ktfindlay.com/an-implacable-woman-maps/

 

Author bio

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.

 

Social media links 

Webpage : www.ktfindlay.com

Youtube :   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0UIrcFBnHtHXQzbr37Ay-Q

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/KTFindlayauthor

Twitter :     https://twitter.com/ktfindlay

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JoJo’s French Escape by Lorraine Wilson

Synopsis

For twelve months JoJo Grant has been hiding from a secret too shameful to share.  And whilst her sanctuary might be the beautiful French countryside, JoJo has a horrible feeling that her peace is about to be shattered…because bursting into her life is the hottest celebrity chef around – Callum O’Connor.

Callum knows all about JoJo’s past, her time as a reality star, the scandal that has dogged her, but he isn’t sure why she’s still hiding?  After spending time with Jojo, it’s obvious to him that she has nothing to be ashamed of – she just needs to be a little braver…
But as much as JoJo likes Callum, he thrives on the glare of the outside world.  Can JoJo let go of her past…with Callum by her side?

 

My review

This is an energetic and enjoyable novel featuring fictional celebs and set in France. It’s also about finding the courage to face up to past mistakes and move on.

JoJo is our heroine. She’s flawed but likeable, although it takes a little while to warm to her. It’s time for her to deal with a previous faux pas and rebuild her life. She manages to do this thanks to help and support from her friends. These are Poppy and Callum, with some back-up from a lot of puppies. They weren’t there for gratuitous tweeness – they had a role to play.

It makes for a light, sweet read. Elements of France and French life emerge, but the story is mainly character driven and about starting over.

Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jojos-French-Escape-perfect-escapism-ebook/dp/B07V9SK8BS

 

About the author

Lorraine Wilson writes flirty, feel-good fiction for Harper Impulse – a Harper Collins imprint – and is unashamedly fond of happy endings. She splits her time between the South of France and is usually either writing or reading while being sat on, walked over or barked at by one of her growing band of rescue dogs.

You can find her online either via her website: www.lorraine-wilson.com or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LorraineWilsonWriter and Twitter @Romanceminx

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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/