Book Reviews

Book Review: The Wrong Woman by O.J. Mullen

Please join me in welcoming O.J. Mullen to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for his novel, The Wrong Woman.

Everyone has secrets. Are yours worth dying for?

Julia Sutherland isn’t too sure about her new colleague. Ellis Kirkbride is friendly, charismatic and handsome, but there’s just something about him – a bit too slick, a bit too confident, and he stands a bit too close. Normally she’d share her concerns with her husband Rob, but he’s been distant lately and Julia has a secret he mustn’t find out.

Ellis Kirkbride thought he had found the right woman. She was everything he could want but she didn’t want him. And that was unacceptable…

In a tale of twisted love and chilling revenge, bestseller O.J. Mullen will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. Perfect for fans of K. L Slater, Claire Douglas and Sue Watson.

*****

Julia feels that life is pretty good. She is happily married to Rob, has a job at one of the top marketing agencies in Glasgow and leads a team she loves. When she gets a chance to build a campaign for a big new development, the only downside is she’s now having to work with the agency’s new recruit, the successful Ellis Kirkbride.

I loved the premise of this novel when I heard it. I was excited to be invited onto the blog tour for The Wrong Woman.

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Book Review: It Started With A Book by Camilla Isley

I’m so happy to be welcoming Camilla Isley back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her book, It Started With a Book.

Lose yourself in Lakeville Hills in this gorgeous new romance from bestselling author Camilla Isley…

When she’s ghosted by yet another Tinder match, Leighton swears off dating for life. Who needs apps and blind dates when she has the perfect-in-every-way (apart from being fictional) heroes of her beloved romance novels?

That night Leigh finds a second-hand book on her TBR pile, which transports her to the small-town of Lakeville Hills, where the heroines wear shorty-shorts and the men drink bourbon. And as Leigh drifts off to sleep, she dreams of billionaire cowboy Killian St Clair, who could win a gold medal for smouldering and bicep flexing.

For a while, Leigh finds it easier to stomach misogynistic supervisors, newly coupled friends, and extravagant bridesmaid duties knowing she can return to Lakeville Hills each evening. Until one day, she wakes up to find she’s brought a bit of Lakeville Hills back with her: the impossible sexy and entirely implausible Killian St Clair is in her apartment.

Now Leigh must help Killian navigate the real world. But as she gets to know the man behind the trope, can she keep her heart safe, or does she risk falling in love with her book boyfriend in real life?

*****

Leighton has not been lucky in love. Sick of disastrous dates from apps, she finds herself curling up with a book on a Friday night. Except, this is no ordinary book. 

Anyone who has followed this blog for a while will know how big a fan I am of Camilla Isley so I will always jump at the chance to take part in her blog tours. It Started With a Book was no exception. 

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Book Review: Before She Fell by Natatlie Sammons

I’m pleased to be welcoming Natatlie Sammons to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her book, Before She Fell.

An ostentatious party descends into violence—and a disgraced cop sets out to redeem herself by solving the case . . .

Susan Grey’s fiftieth birthday party promised to be a talked-about event—an over-the-top extravagant gathering of a hundred guests at her sprawling Georgian home. But it would be talked about for all the wrong reasons . . .

From an escalated argument to the disappearance of an expensive piece of jewelry, the party was quickly spiraling out of control. But the worst was yet to come, when Susan suffered a horrific fall down the grand staircase. Was it an accident or was she pushed?

For DI Grace Roth, relegated to desk duty due to an internal investigation, this could be a high-profile case and a chance to redeem herself. But every lead seems to send her in circles. As the badly injured Susan lies in her hospital bed, DI Roth must try to gather the scattered pieces of the puzzle and make them fit—before anyone else gets hurt . . .

*****

Susan Grey is turning fifty and she is determined to not let herself fade into the background. She is planning a party to remember, it’s just not going to be remembered for the right reasons…. her falling down the stairs. Did she fall or was she pushed?

DI Grace Roth is also on a mission to prove herself after been put on desk duty. Can she find justice for the victim?

This was the first novel I’ve read by Natalie Sammons but I was eager be part of the blog tour and get started on Before She Fell.

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Book Extract: How to Survive Making Yourself Look Silly While Dancing with the German Mafia at a Bavarian Nightclub and Other Lesser Known Travel Tips by Simon Yeats

I’m so happy to be welcoming Simon Yeats back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for his book,  How to Survive Making Yourself Look Silly While Dancing with the German Mafia at a Bavarian Nightclub and Other Lesser Known Travel Tips.

The best has been saved to last. Book 3 of a hilarious series of travel misadventures and dubious personal introspection by Australian author Simon Yeats, who from an early age learned that the best way to approach the misfortunes of this world is to laugh about it.

Simon shares his comedic insights into the unusual and uproarious elements of living life as an Aussie ex-pat and having a sense of Wanderlust as pervasive as Cholera in the 1850s.

From how to outwit the Italian police while trying to find parking in downtown Genoa, to how to negotiate exploring the Roman ruins of Plovdiv, Bulgaria while on crutches, to how to impress the German Mafia with 80s dance moves, to how to leave a lasting impression on a crowded bar in Gothenburg, Sweden after combining alcohol and antibiotics.

Simon Yeats has gone into the world and experienced all the out of the ordinary moments for you to sit back and enjoy the experience without the need to rupture a disc or succumb to Dengue fever.

 

Simon has shared an extract from his book today. We hope you enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Avoid looking silly

On arrival to Ios in the Greek Islands at 2 in the morning, my friends and I discovered that it was not as tourist friendly as we thought.

We start walking in the only direction that standing on a pier offers a person. Towards the end that does not finish at the water. The first building we pass has an unilluminated sign of a pension, with rooms available. We stop and take a few steps back to look more closely. It looks more like a person’s house than suitable lodgings for three wise men from the East, but at 2.25am we are prepared to lay our heads in any manger.

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Book Review: Blue Skies Over Wildflower Lock by Hannah Lynn

I’m happy to be welcoming Hannah Lynn to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her book, Blue Skies Over Wildflower Lock.

There may be trouble ahead…

Just when Daisy thought she had canal life understood, Theo, her primary go-to for all of her boating questions has left Wildflower Lock, not to mention the budding romance that has been steadily growing.

Not one to sit and wallow, Daisy takes matters into her own hands. Who said long-distance relationships can’t work?

With the help of trusted friend Yvonne, Daisy takes the September Rose on a round trip to surprise her new boyfriend. The best thing about a home on the water? You can go anywhere!

But perhaps leaving the serenity of Wildflower Lock wasn’t the best idea. Daisy hates keeping secrets from Theo, and she’s not the only one…

*****

Daisy May feels that life has finally got a little bit of balance. She’s running her café from her canal boat, September Rose and her relationship with new boyfriend, Theo is going well. However, when he needs to go away for work, this sets Daisy on an adventure she wasn’t expecting.

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Book Review: Happy Ever After at Puddleduck Farm by Della Galton

I’m pleased to be welcoming Della Galton back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Happy Ever After at Puddleduck Farm.

When life throws up the unexpected, can Phoebe hold strong?

In the idyllic setting of the New Forest, talented vet Phoebe Dashwood envisions a picturesque life alongside her beloved fiancé. However, the course of true love is fraught with unexpected hurdles.

Career wise, Phoebe encounters a goat who is seemingly experiencing a phantom pregnancy, and a highly-strung talking parrot who pushes her professionalism to the limits.

Things take an unexpected turn for the worse when Phoebe is confronted with a glamorous love rival, and a surprise Valentine’s Day ‘date’ to see a financial advisor! Can things get any worse?

When tragedy strikes Phoebe realises that nothing in life should be taken for granted and fears she will lose everything she holds dear.

Whilst her friends find their own happy endings, Phoebe is beset with doubts that she and Sam will ever find theirs. Is love enough to carry them into the future they deserve?

*****

Phoebe Dashwood is in love with Sam and runs a successful veterinary practice. However, when a new dog trainer makes her feel a little threatened in regards to her relationship she doesn’t quite know how to feel about it. Also the extra pressure to move out of Woodcutters Cottage isn’t helping.

Can Phoebe and Sam navigate the next part of their lives in one piece?

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Book Review: Excalibur by Peter Gibbons

We’re happy to be welcoming Peter Gibbons to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for his novel, Excalibur.

The sword has the power of Britain in its steel, men will follow and fight for whoever wields it…

Dark Age Britain. A legendary hero rises to unite a divided and threatened land…

A country left in ruins after the fall of the Roman Empire is plundered and broken. Saxon hordes have invaded and conquered the East coast of Britain in a blood-soaked Great War which tore the old kingdoms apart. From Bernicia to Kent, land and kingdoms are now under Saxon rule. But these new conquerors want more…

Britain’s remaining kingdoms are jaded by the constant threat of war, their Kings old, alliances fickle and frayed. It seems Britain must fall enslaved to the brutal and marauding conquerors from across the sea.

But no one counted on a new and fearsome warlord. A warrior granted power by the druid Merlin through the mighty sword Excalibur. A man with no Kingdom but a quest to unite the country and fight back against the baying Saxon warriors? He is known as the legendary Arthur.

The compelling, fast-paced start of a brand new series from bestselling writer Peter Gibbons. Perfect for the fans of Bernard Cornwall.

*****

Arthur, an orphaned boy raised by one of Britain’s greatest warriors sets out to prove that he is a man by killing his first enemy in battle, but after meeting the Druid Merlin, he finds that the course of his future is not truly in his own hands.

Gifted the mighty sword Excalibur, he must ride to unite Britain and defeat the Saxons. 

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Book Review: The Mother by Valerie Keogh

I’m so pleased to be welcoming Valerie Keogh back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her latest novel, The Mother.

A terrible wife…

Sarah Westfield is unhappily married to perfect husband Nick. Handsome, devoted and kind, he should be the ideal man for her, but Sarah knows their marriage is the biggest mistake she’s ever made…and she wants out.

But then Nick offers her one last chance to make their marriage work – a baby.

Sarah is horrified – a baby would tie herself to this man forever…wouldn’t it? Or could it be exactly what she needs?

So Sarah agrees.

A terrible mother?

When the baby arrives, Sarah struggles with motherhood and her resentment towards Nick only grows. Sarah feels more trapped than ever, but she loves her precious daughter…doesn’t she?

And then baby Kaya goes missing…

And everything Sarah has ever believed in comes crashing down around her…

*****

Sarah Westfield has a devoted husband and she’s just given birth to their daughter. However, she has not been happy in the relationship for a long time and she wants out.

Having previously read The Lodger, The Housekeeper and The Mistress, I have become a BIG fan of Valerie Keogh’s novels. Therefore, I was stupidly excited to be invited onto the blog tour for her latest phycological thriller, The Mother.

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Book Review: The Days of Our Birth by Charlie Laidlaw

Theirs was the most important relationship of their life…

It was a perfect relationship until time pulled them apart. A beautiful story sensitively told about how love and friendship can conquer everything, including time, to a point.

“The Days of Our Birth” delves into the intricate bond between Peter and Sarah as they navigate their formative years. Spanning from their sixth birthday through two decades, the narrative unfolds against the backdrop of Sarah’s placement on the autism spectrum.

With a blend of humour and poignancy, the book intricately weaves together themes of love and friendship, unravelling the tale of two individuals who grapple with their emotions for each other, even though they remain unacknowledged.

*****

In their childhood, Peter and Sarah were neighbours. They also share the same birthday.

With a story that spans twenty years, can the bond they shared survive into adulthood and beyond?

I am very happy to once again be featuring Charlie Laidlaw on Novel Kicks and reviewing his latest novel, The Days of Our Birth.

I’m not going to beat around the bush…. I flipping loved this book along with the two main characters, Sarah and Peter. I’m not sure how I’m going to talk about it without giving too much away but I’m going to give it a go.

Sarah’s development really interested me. I have people in my life that are autistic and I felt that the subject of autism is presented in a sensitive and informative way, teaching us that each person will face their own challenges and way of doing things. The author has created a wonderful character in Sarah and I found her to be strong and endearing as was Peter.

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Book Review: For Once In My Life by Sian O’Gorman

What better way to kick off the week by welcoming Sian O’Gorman to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, For Once In My Life. 

A Tale of Love, Discovery, and Second Chances…

In the bustling world of Dublin’s advertising scene, Kitty O’Sullivan, a copywriter, feels an unexplainable void in her life that she can’t quite pinpoint. Her five-year relationship with Dave is stagnant, her creative juices have dried up and she’s even entertaining thoughts of marriage as a cure-all! Something’s missing from her life but she can’t work out exactly what it is…

When Dave decides to take time out from ‘them’, Kitty finds herself momentarily liberated to explore life and have some fun. She and best friend Shazza are corralled into joining a five-aside football team where she meets the intriguing Sweetman brothers, Tom and Rory.

As they sail around the enchanting coast of Dublin, engage in fierce football battles and stumble upon a magical secret drinking den, Kitty falls in love with her new life – and her new self – but is it only temporary until Dave returns?

Will Kitty find the answers to life’s mysteries and take charge of her future?

*****

Copywriter Kitty O’ Sullivan is beginning to feel that something is missing from her life. She just can’t put her finger on what.

When she suddenly finds herself living alone and more surprisingly part of a five-aside football team, she starts to see that maybe there is a great big beautiful life out there. Can she find the courage to reach out and grab it?

I’d previously not read any novels from author, Sian O’ Gorman. A mixture of a beautiful cover and an intriguing premise had me pleased to be welcomed onto the blog tour for For Once in my Life (please say I’m not the only person with Stevie Wonder’s song in my head with this title. LOL.)

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Book Review: The Hollywood Governess by Alexandra Weston

I’m excited to be welcoming Alexandra Weston to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Hollywood Governess.

A governess bound by her own strict rules, a movie-star tormented by grief, a forbidden love story you won’t forget.

Hollywood, 1937

Hester Carlye has no wish to look after the pampered offspring of the rich anymore, in spite of being a highly sought-after governess. But with her elderly father frail, and the roof of their rundown cottage falling in, she has no choice but to accept a dazzling new placement.

Movie star Aidan Neil is box office gold, but after the tragic death of his wife Dinah Doyle, he needs Hester’s help to raise their young daughter Erin. Aidan and Dinah were once the perfect Hollywood couple, but stars don’t shine forever…

At Aidan’s glittering Hollywood mansion, Hester finds a family struggling with their grief. Hester knows she can help little Erin, but Aidan’s torment is palpable. Brooding and reclusive, he is far from the picture-perfect hero Hester’s seen in films. There’s an edge to him that makes Hester wonder if he’s hiding a dark secret of his own….

Was the marriage between Aidan and Dinah as perfect as it appeared to be? Was Dinah’s death really a tragic accident?

When it finally comes, the truth is more shocking than Hester could ever have imagined. And she knows that if revealed, it will destroy the family she has grown to love and ruin Aidan’s Hollywood dream forever…

*****

It’s 1937. Hester Carlyle is a successful Governess. Having recently returned to Yorkshire from New York, she’s not in a hurry to return to the United States. However, bills need to be paid. When she receives a job offer that will mean a journey back across the Atlantic, she knows she can’t refuse. 

If you’ve been a long term follower of this blog then you know I can’t resist a good cover and the one for The Hollywood Governess is one of the things that initially drew me to this book. There’s something very glamorous and romantic about it. 

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Book Review: French Windows by Antoine Laurain

Nathalia, a young photographer, has been seeing a therapist. Having accidentally photographed a murder, she finds that she can no longer do her job.

Instead, Doctor Faber suggests that she write about the neighbours she idly observes in the building across the street. But as these written snapshots become increasingly detailed, he starts to wonder how she can possibly know so much about them.

With each session, Doctor Faber and his mysterious patient will get closer and closer to the truth. But are the stories Nathalia submits each week as she claims…

Bestselling author Antoine Laurain serves up a dose of suspense and intrigue in Rear Window with a Parisian heart.

 

*****

Nathalia is a photographer who no longer takes photos, not since her last photo had her witness a murder. Instead, she observes her neighbours. She seeks the help of theorist, Dr. Faber who suggests she write about those she watches. Will the truth be reviewed?

I have such a love of Antoine Laurain. Having loved The President’s Hat and The Red Notebook, I was exceedingly excited to get my hands on an advanced reading copy of his latest novel, French Windows. Due to this, there was a lot of pressure on it to be good. I need not have worried.

It’s going to be hard talking about this book without giving too much away but I am going to give it a go.

Antoine Laurain has a gift of pulling you completely into the lives of the people he writes about. Sure, there’s conflict and issues but these are glazed with a slight whimsical feel.

The two main characters intrigued me. It’s obvious when you first meet her that Nathalia seems lost. She’s mysterious and it was interesting to see how her story developed over the course of the story. It didn’t go in the direction I was expecting and I loved that.

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Book Review: Humility and Tolerance by Noni Valentine

I’m pleased to be welcoming Noni Valentine to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her book, Humility and Tolerance.

A sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Seven years after Elizabeth Bennett married Fitzwilliam Darcy, they are still deeply in love, with two small children. But paradise is showing cracks now that Darcy’s aged housekeeper has died and Elizabeth must take up her duties. It’s more than one woman, even one as capable as Elizabeth, can manage.

Her sister Kitty, with Elizabeth and Jane’s help and a heroic effort on Kitty’s part, has outgrown her silly youth and matured into a sensible young woman—who, being sensible, spends as much time away from her parents and visiting her sisters as possible. Darcy’s sister Georgiana, with perhaps more influence from Elizabeth than is good for her, has become a confident, independent woman who is nevertheless ripe for romance. Charlotte Collins, newly widowed, is searching for a way out of the household of her husband’s crabbed patron, Lady Catherine, that doesn’t involve returning to her parents’ house.

Elizabeth sees a way to restore order to Pemberley and give herself a chance to to breathe: she offers Kitty a job as housekeeper of the estate, and Charlotte a job as governess of her adored children.

With these four women under one roof, chaos and the unexpected are inevitable. Both Kitty and Georgiana meet and begin falling in love with honorable, interesting men, neither of whom are gentlemen and therefore not considered eligible matches for them. Charlotte has the opposite problem: a childhood acquaintance who is now a Lord has become fixated on her and begins diligently wooing her, when all she wants is a quiet life and a chance to recover from eight years of marriage to a man she never loved.

When Elizabeth and Darcy learn of their sisters’ budding romances, each has the same reaction: delight at their sister-in-law’s choice and outrage at that of their sister. Now throw a ball into the mix, with Elizabeth’s mother bringing up forbidden topics from the past and her father hiding from the noise, Jane and Bingley attempting to calm the waters, Elizabeth trying to set up all three of the younger women, and Charlotte’s Lord pursuing her all over the dance floor—and an explosion is sure to happen.

This charming romance will delight all lovers of Jane Austen’s masterpiece who have ever wondered, “What happened next?”

*****

Seven years after marrying Mr Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet is happy as mistress of Pemberley. When she gets not one but two requests for visitors, she starts to make a plan but will everyone be happy with it? 

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Book Review: The Secret Life of a Lady by Darcy McGuire

I’m so pleased to be welcoming Darcy McGuire to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Secret Life of a Lady.

Never Underestimate a wallflower!

Lady Hannah Simmons is a quintessential wallflower, unassuming, dowdy yet ignored by most. But underneath her plain exterior, Hannah is hiding a thrilling secret! Unbeknownst to the rest of the ton, she is Queen Victoria’s leading femme fatale, slipping unnoticed through the streets of London and listening to scandalous whispers from lords and ladies. But with daggers in her stockings and pistols in her pockets, Hannah’s mission is to apprehend a deadly killer.

Private Investigator to the Prime Minister, damaged, yet devastatingly handsome ex-war hero Duke Robert Killian always puts duty first. However, when he finds himself competing with the intriguing Lady Hannah on the same daring task, his blood boils with frustration – and desire! Is it possible to seduce this vexing woman whose not afraid to put herself in danger and achieve the upper hand?

Hannah enjoys Killian’s attempts to distract and tempt her, but she has never faced an adversary she couldn’t overthrow. And Killian has never met a challenge he couldn’t conquer…until now. The gauntlet has been thrown, can they finish their jobs and resist the temptation?

Keep your friends close…and your enemies even closer!

*****

Lady Hannah Simmons is happy to blend into the background. It makes it easier to sneak around at the behest of the Queen as well as her friend, Lady Winterbourne. Her task is to catch a killer. What she didn’t count on was meeting Lieutenant General Robert Killian. 

When their interests align, can either of them get to the murderer unscathed and can they avoid falling in love? 

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Book Review: Husbands by Mo Fanning

I’m pleased to be welcoming Mo Fanning to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for his novel, Husbands. 

In Hollywood, every pavement star tells a story. Not all of them shine.

Wannabe actor Kyle Macdonald is down on his luck. Working as a supply teacher in an inner-city Birmingham school, he’s single again at 28, and sleeping in his childhood bedroom beneath a ‘Hard Candy’ Madonna poster.

He gets a call claiming he drunkenly married top Hollywood director Aaron Biedermeier in Vegas six years ago. Rather than panic, he sees a golden ticket to fame and the life he’s always fantasised about.

But the glamorous veneer of Los Angeles – non-stop sunshine, celebrity actors and exclusive hotel suites – starts to crack, revealing a darker, corrupt underbelly to La-La Land. Kyle digs deeper into his so-called husband’s past, unearthing disturbing allegations of abuse and underage sex parties.

With the help of Biedermeier’s fiancé, actor Noah Winters, he embarks on a cross-country race to unravel the mystery and expose the truth – finding love along the way.

*****

At 28 years old, Kyle pictured his life differently. He saw a glittering acting career and a life in Hollywood, not one as a supply teacher in an inner-city Birmingham school. When a phone call means he finds himself in the city he’s dreamed of for so long, he can’t believe his luck. However, secrets and lies beckon. Can Kyle navigate through this and find himself and love on the other side?

This is the first time I’ve read anything by Mo Fanning. I was happy to be invited onto the blog tour for his latest novel, Husbands.

I really didn’t know what to expect. What was clear from the beginning however, was how quickly I got drawn into this book. Even though I’m not male or a teacher, I felt empathy and an affinity with Kyle. I think he’s the fictional personification of the point in our lives where we take stock and wonder how we got to where we are. What happened to the dreams we had when we were younger? I think we’ve all had those moments at some stage, right?

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Book Spotlight: Neptune’s Secret Code by Genna Rowbotham

I’m thrilled to be welcoming Genna Rowbotham to Novel Kicks. Today we are shining a light on her book, Neptune’s Secret Code.

★ ★★ An Undersea Adventure filled with Magic, Friendship, and Bravery! ★★★

When Hannah is sucked into a vicious whirlpool in her effort to rescue kitten Leo, vshe finds herself entering Neptune’s Undersea Kingdom where she reawakens terrifying sea monsters from the depths of the sea.

The trouble is… Hannah is unable to return home until she’s overcome her fear of the water, defeated the sea monsters, and solved the code that she broke upon entering Neptune’s Kingdom.

With the help of her new friend, Marcie the Mermaid, will Hannah succeed?

 

Neptune’s Secret Code is due to be released by Adventure Scape Press on 12th June 2024. Click to buy on Amazon, Waterstones or via Geena’s website

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Book Review: Under The Summer Skye by Sue Moorcroft

We are so pleased to be welcoming Sue Moorcroft back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Under a Summer Skye.

A Scottish island. A stranger from the mainland. A summer of possibilities…

Escape to the Isle of Skye this summer with the Sunday Times bestselling author, and lose yourself in the first book of the Skye Sisters Trilogy.

A chance encounter is about to change everything for Thea Wynter.

The moment she arrived on the Isle of Skye, life changed for Thea. Running from a succession of wrong turns, she comes to the island in search of blue sea, endless skies, and mountains that make the heart soar. Here, she feels at peace.

As head gardener at Rothach Hall, life is exactly how she wants it, with her days spent working in the glorious clifftop garden and her evenings in the cosy village pub.

But an encounter with a stranger from the mainland brings with it an unexpected turn – and she is left wondering whether he is friend or foe.

It seems that even on Skye, life can catch up with you, and Thea is soon faced with the past she left behind – and with it, the family she’s never met…

From old lives to new beginnings, lose yourself on the beautiful Isle of Skye with Thea as she discovers how many possibilities life can truly hold if you look hard enough.

*****

One of my favourite authors is back, and with a bang and a gentle, woof! As I understand it, ‘Under a Summer Skye’ is the first book in a trilogy set on the Isle of Skye (this is up in Scotland, for those of you who don’t know where this real, spectacular place is).

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Book Review: Stars in the City by Krysten Lindsay Hager

I’m very pleased to be welcoming Krysten Lindsay Hager back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Stars in the City.

These stars seem to have it all…

Valeria Joseph seems to have it all: career as actress on the soap opera, Charmed Lives, and everyone wants to be her. Her so-star, Cecily Taylor, fixes her up with a rising pop star named Dex Doyle and suddenly Valeria has a bigger spotlight on her.

Then, on the busy streets of New York City, she runs into her first love, Davis, who she never got over. Davis is a college basketball player who is dealing with high pressure stressors of his own and they find themselves supporting one another and falling back in love.

But, just like being on a daytime soap is full of drama—so is the publicity that surrounds Valeria. Throw in a pop star who’s crazy about her, an award show event that trends on social media for all the wrong reasons, and tons of swoony moments. Can Valeria find true love in the big city?

*****

To the outside world, Valeria Joseph has it all. She’s an actress on the popular soap opera, Charmed Lives and has the attention of a handsome pop star. However, the life of an actress isn’t always as it seems and when Valeria runs into her old boyfriend, can she find something she thought she’d lost forever?

Although Krysten Lindsay Hager has previously featured on Novel Kicks, this is the first opportunity I’ve had to review one of her novels. I was excited to be invited onto the blog tour and couldn’t wait to get started.

Being targeted at 10 – 18 years, I am not the target audience in terms of age. However, I found myself enjoying this book very much. It had the feel of the Sweet Valley High books or the Sisters books by Marilyn Kaye but with a modern feel. It’s a book I would have picked up had I been that age and I hope to read more if this book is the first in a series.

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Book Review: Identical by Saskia Sarginson

I’m pleased to be welcoming Saskia Sarginson to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her latest novel,  Identical

‘Please, I need your help. You’re the only person I can turn to. The only person who can pretend to be me…’

When Alice gets a desperate message from her estranged identical twin sister Cecily, she can’t help herself. She has to say yes. Pushing down the memories of the terrible childhood that ultimately tore them apart, she arrives at her sister’s house.

Cecily has left instructions: how to work the oven, what to cook for supper, what to say to her husband.

She says she’ll only be gone a week. She just needs to contact a lawyer, sort her head out, and work out how to get away from her marriage safely.

Alice barely knows why she’s agreed. But as she puts the key in the door, she wonders if – in coming to help her sister – she might be putting herself in the most terrible danger.

Because when Cecily stops replying to messages, and the words ‘die, die, die’ appear scrawled in lipstick on the bathroom mirror, Alice realizes – someone is out to get Cecily. And now they think Alice is her…

*****

Alice doesn’t hesitate when she gets an urgent message for help from her identical twin, Cecily. All she has to do is live as her sister for a week. That’s not too hard right? Except things are not what they seem. Alice begins to feel she’s in danger and she can’t get hold of her sister.

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Book Review: A Wonderland Wish on Ever After Street by Jaimie Admans

I’m so pleased to be welcoming Jaimie Admans back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her latest book,  A Wonderland Wish on Ever After Street, book three in the Ever After Street series. 

A picture-perfect town, a place where dreams come true. Welcome to Ever After Street…

There’s always time for tea… unless you’ve lost your teapot…

Cleo Jordan has only ever wished for one thing – to open her own teashop in memory of her lovely gran. So when she accidentally fools the interview board into thinking she’s a brilliant baker and is offered a prime spot on Ever After Street, she knows her dream is about to come true!

Stepping into The Wonderland Teapot is like falling down the rabbit hole – magical! But there’s a catch: Cleo has completely lost her love of baking! With her little white lie ticking in her ear, it seems her dream is over before it’s begun.

Until she meets her very own Mad Hatter. Loved by everyone on Ever After Street, magician Bram brings an energy to the teashop that lifts everyone, and slowly, with his encouragement, Cleo is getting back to doing what she loves best.

But with Bram hiding secrets of his own, Cleo isn’t sure she can put all her faith in him. And when things start going wrong at the teashop, Cleo wonders if the culprit sabotaging her dream is someone closer than she thinks?

If Cleo wants her wish to work, she has to learn to trust again before she loses her head and heart completely…although it might already be far too late for that…

*****

Cleo has grown to love Ever After Street and longs to own her own tea shop themed to Alice in Wonderland, her favourite novel. When she is given the opportunity, she wants to make the most of it….if only her ability to bake hadn’t deserted her. 

When a Mad Hatter arrives to work in the shop, Cleo isn’t so sure but as she gets to know the man behind the hat, could there be something more? 

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Book Spotlight: Dressing The Countess by Rachel Brimble

I’m pleased to be welcoming Rachel Brimble to Novel Kicks. Today, we’re shining a spotlight on her novel, Dressing The Countess.

Fans of Kristy Cambron, Stephanie Dray, and Julia Quinn will adore this Victorian romance from historical fiction dynamo, Rachel Brimble.

Seamstress Rose Watson cannot believe her good fortune when she’s plucked from obscurity to work for Lady Christina, the Countess of Bath. Despite her parents’ distrust that the position will come with conditions, Rose accepts the unexpected offer.

When she arrives at the royal residence of Henlow House, a strange sense of destiny whispers through her, and Rose cannot wait for this new adventure to begin. Although, she has Henry Ward to deal with, the handsome, risk-taking and—though she is loath to admit it—exciting royal saddler and horse trainer, who both fascinates and frustrates her in equal measure.

They could not be more different…with the exception of their hunger for more.

But as they begin to trust one another, and their bond flourishes, Rose’s connection with Henry could cause her to lose her position at Henlow House, which would destroy her. Will she be forced to choose between love and ambition? Either choice will change her life irrevocably.

A captivating escape that will touch your heart and keep you turning pages with impatient hope for Rose…

*****

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Book Extract: The Blood Promise by Liz Mistry

I’m pleased to welcoming Liz Mistry to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Blood Promise. 

A deadly gift

Imogen Clark wakes up on her 16th birthday to find her parents dead at the breakfast table, along with a message from their killer.

A twist of fate

Detectives Jazzy Solanki and Annie McQueen join the investigation, but the more they discover, the more Jazzy suspects that the killing is a twisted message for her. Jazzy shares the same birthday as Imogen, and believes that this is more than a coincidence.

A race to catch a killer

When Jazzy discovers the connection between the killer and the stalker who has been following her for years, she is forced to confront the dark past she was desperate to keep hidden. She must stop at nothing to solve the case, before she becomes the next victim…

Liz has shared an extract for us today. We hope you enjoy. 

*****beginning of extract*****

Detectives Jazzy Solanki and her partner Annie ‘Queenie’ McQueen have been demoted from detective sergeants to detective constables for separate incidents. They haven’t worked together before but, as a punishment they have been thrust together to do an overnight surveillance on a pub in a small isolated village known for its distrust of the police. Whilst Queenie sleeps, Jazzy reflects on her situation until something quite scary happens …

Extract

Discordant snuffles followed by seconds of blissful silence, abruptly broken by rough guttural snorts played on repeat. It did Jazzy’s head in and she was beginning to regret offering to keep watch whilst Queenie slept. If the sounds from her mouth were bad, the ones from her backside were the real killer. She took farting to a whole new level, filling the police car with noxious fumes, forcing Jazzy to crack the windows every so often. She was gross. At least if Queenie was sleeping, she wasn’t hassling Jazzy, which was why she hadn’t wakened her yet. Besides, she wouldn’t sleep. No matter how knackered she was, Jazzy couldn’t snooze on a stakeout. It was part of her overzealous nature. A symptom, according to her therapist, of her past experiences and one that she needed to work on if she ever wanted to form meaningful trusting relationships.

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Book Review: Come Fly With Me by Helen Rolfe

I’m happy to be welcoming Helen Rolfe back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Come Fly With Me.

Take to the skies in this gorgeous and gripping new series, perfect for fans of Jo Bartlett and Cathy Bramley.

A Second Chance…

For Maya, serving as a pilot in the Whistlestop River air ambulance team is a dream come true. And now, with her divorce from her overbearing husband finally complete, flying over the fields of Dorset, and saving lives with the Skylarks, is the centre of her world. If only her ex would accept their separation as readily as she had, life would be perfect…

A fresh start…

Having recently transferred from London to Dorset, paramedic Noah is ready for a new start. But he’s brought with him a lot of baggage, not least his infant niece who he’s been looking after since his sister died unexpectedly earlier that year. Noah adores Eva, but is he really cut out to look after a baby?

A risk worth taking?

When Noah and Maya find themselves on the same rescue team, they’re immediately drawn to each other. Yet, with so many complications in their personal lives, do they have time to open their hearts to someone new?

As their friendship grows, Noah and Maya are both about to discover that life is worth nothing unless you share it with the people you love.

*****

Maya loves her job as a pilot with the Skylarks and the Whistlestop Air Ambulance team. She only wished her private life wasn’t a complete disaster. She’s divorced from her ex-husband but he is far from being out of her life. 

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Book Spotlight: Far From Home by T.A. Williams

Today, we are shining a spotlight on Far from Home by T.A. Williams.

The secrets of the past will unlock her future…

Working in the fast-paced foreign exchange market in Canary Wharf, Amy never expected her job to drive her to collapse. With her doctor advising she take a month off work, when Amy receives a solicitor’s letter informing her of a surprise inheritance in Italy, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

But who on earth has left her a house in the sleepy Tuscan hills?

As she gets to know the town and its inhabitants, Amy discovers more about the mysterious man who named her in his will. Shocking family secrets come to light, leaving Amy questioning the life she knew.

The town of Sant’Antonio holds more than just secrets. Here, Amy meets Adam, a renowned TV journalist whose documentaries take him to dangerous places. But as their attraction grows, so do Amy’s worries. Her life is in England, while Adam’s is untethered and under constant threat…

An emotional, heartwarming love story full of family drama and quirky locals.

 

Far from Home is book three in the Beneath Italian Skies book series and was released by Canelo Romance on 23rd May 2024. Click here to buy on Amazon, Apple Books and Barnes and Noble and click to buy on Waterstones.

 

***** 

 

About T.A. Williams –

I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only ten years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.

The fact that I am now writing escapist romance is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels and I now also write cozy crime, but my first love has always been romance. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations and descriptions of food to make you drool.

Say hello to T.A. Williams via www.tawilliamsbooks.com, X (Twitter,) and Facebook

 

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Book Review: The Life Sentence by Jackie Kabler

I’m pleased to be welcoming Jackie Kabler to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Life Sentence.

My name is Amber Ryan.

I’m in prison, but I’m innocent.

And I’ve been jailed not just for a crime I didn’t commit, but for a crime that never even happened.

Now, my friend is going to try to prove it.

But to do that, she has to go back.

Back to the dark.

*****

Amber Ryan is serving life in prison claiming she is innocent.
Ex-friend, Heather is about to go into the lion’s den where it could mean a new life for Amber, or death for her.

This is the first novel I’ve read by Jackie Kabler. The premise of this novel really caught my attention and I was excited to be invited onto the blog tour for The Life Sentence.

This novel is told from the point of view of Heather, Amber and Jack. It goes between all of them very well and it’s good to get the three perspectives. Heather is someone who, in the end, will do anything for the ones she loves, even if it means putting herself in danger.

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Book Review: The Affair by Claire Allan

Please join me in welcoming Claire Allan back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Affair.

Her heart is thumping now, only just distinguishable from the roar of the water and the wind. This is not safe. She is not safe…

She realises then, only one of them is coming back out alive.

She’s the person I want to be. Sorcha Hannon, survivor of a devastating affair. She’s found the healing and hope I desperately need to find for myself.

And now that Sorcha and I are friends, I am no longer alone. Instead of days hiding away from the world, I have someone to talk to. I feel as if I finally belong.

There’s just one small catch. Sorcha Hannon isn’t just a new friend to me, and she certainly isn’t a stranger. In fact, I know the ins and outs of her life, and her marriage, almost as well as she does. But if she finds out who I really am, I’ll lose everything. Then again, as Sorcha says, no one’s life is really as perfect as it seems… and I should have realised, I’m not the only one with secrets.

*****

Christina’s life has become so small. Any interaction with the outside world has become hard. However, all she has to do is press a button and she potentially becomes a part of a group that aims to promote friendship and female empowerment. It also puts her into the path of leader, Sorcha – someone Christina is very eager to meet. 

Having previously read The Liar’s Daughter, I was excited to have the opportunity to be part of the blog tour for Claire Allan’s latest novel, The Affair. 

Told from the point of view of mostly Christina and Sorcha, the plot for this novel takes no time at all in plunging the reader into the intrigue surrounding these ladies. 

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Book Review: The Art of Murder by Fiona Walker

I’m pleased to be welcoming Fiona Walker to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her latest novel, The Art of Murder.

Welcome to the beautiful English village of Inkbury. Tucked deep in the North Wessex Downs, its only claim to fame is the picturesque riverside that once appeared in a Richard Curtis movie. That is, until the murder…

Former stand-up comic Juno Mulligan has been suffering a serious sense-of-humour failure. Not only has she lost the love of her life, but she’s having to relocate to the (admittedly idyllic) village of Inkbury to watch out for her elderly mother, who she’s genuinely worried might be marrying a wife-killer.

She hopes that her old friend, disgraced-journalist-turned-novelist Phoebe Fredericks can help her crack the case of whether her mother’s perma-tanned, iceberg-smiled, three-times-a-widower fiancé is hiding a murderous past.

But before they have a chance, the local art dealer washes up distinctly dead in the village’s famous river. His lover is in the frame, but Juno and Phoebe suspect that there is a deeper secret… One that relates to Phoebe’s own past and Juno’s present.

Will the unofficial Village Detective Agency solve the mystery before the killer strikes again? In sleepy Inkbury, as they soon discover, living one’s best midlife can be murder.

*****

Phoebe wants to be left alone, away from all the people who cancelled her and the need to keep up conversation. She finds the characters of the novels she writes far better company.

However, when old acquaintance and ex comedian Juno moves back to the area, she gives Phoebe no choice but to re-engage with the world, especially when they have a murder to solve.

Although Fiona Walker has mentioned on Novel Kicks before, for reasons I can’t understand, this is the first of her books I have read. I know, the shame. I loved the idea of her latest novel, The Art of Murder and was honoured to be invited into the blog tour.

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Book Review: A New Dawn at Owl’s Lodge by Jessica Redland

It’s a pleasure to be welcoming Jessica Redland back to Novel Kicks with the blog tour for her new novel, A New Dawn at Owl’s Lodge.

Could one chance meeting change your life forever?

Zara is at a crossroads in life. While she adores her job as a producer’s assistant working on hit TV shows, travelling around the country means she doesn’t truly feel that she has a home. With a fractured relationship with her family and unrequited love weighing heavily on her heart, she is torn about what her next step in life should be…

Snowy is hiding from the world. He’s devoted his life to home schooling his young son and caring for sick owls at his home, Owl’s Lodge, deep in the Yorkshire Wolds countryside. While he’s passionate about both, it’s a lonely existence and he’s starting to question his decisions. But how do you step back into a world you’ve pushed away for years…?

When Zara brings an injured owl to Owl’s Lodge, its frosty, reclusive owner is far from welcoming. Despite hostilities, there’s a connection that neither could ever have prepared themselves for. As they discover a shared passion, a new friendship blossoms, but both Zara and Snowy are used to shutting people out.

Can they both find the courage to open up and the strength to move on from their pasts? And what could this mean for their future happiness?

Escape to the world of Bumblebee Barn and Hedgehog Hollow with MILLION-COPY BESTSELLER Jessica Redland for this brand new feel-good romance of family, friendship and hope.

*****

As far as family goes, Zara has mostly felt invisible. However, she likes her job, has great friends. OK, so she’s in love with one of them, but she gets by. 

When her job puts her into the path of Snowy, things have the potential to become even more complicated. 

Things aren’t that simple for Snowy either. His past is forever present and he’s stuck. Can he and Zara find a new life together? 

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Book Review: Her Husband’s Lie by Amanda Reynolds

I’m excited to be welcoming Amanda Reynolds back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Her Husband’s Lie.

She thought she trusted her husband with her life; but a lot can happen in a week…

Handsome doctor Matthew Delaney and his wife Nicole have a perfect life. So when Matthew suddenly vanishes, Nicole is in shock.

As Nicole searches for answers, she uncovers a trail of deceit leading straight to the mysterious Glasshouse – a staggering palatial home constructed out of cut glass and icy granite, clinging to the hillside in a gravity defying show of power and wealth.

But the more Nicole learns about the Glasshouse and all its secrets, the more she begins to doubt her husband. Matthew’s words before he disappeared were so reassuring, but now they are simply chilling…

‘Trust me, Nic, I’ll fix this.’

*****

Nicole holds on tight to the life she has. Not surprising when she’s had various health issues, physical and mental. She adores her husband, Matthew and their daughter, Lilly. When money worries threaten the family, Matthew suggests he fake his death, Then, a few days later, her husband disappears. Nicole can only think one thing, has he gone through with it?

Having previously read The Screenwriter, I am a big fan of Amanda Reynolds so I was excited to be invited onto the blog tour for Her Husband’s Lie.

Told from the point of view of Nicole and Matthew’s sister, Grace, it’s not long after starting that the reader is thrown into the mystery where there are twists and turns a plenty. The tension and suspense is built so well that it was very easy for me to get engrossed. The author does a really good job at throwing suspicion on everyone and I didn’t see the end coming.

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Book Spotlight: Shoot Your Shot by Fiona Embers

I’m happy to be shining a spotlight on Shoot Your Shot, the latest novel by Fiona Embers.

Roxie Nowak is a former basketball player, with a great job in tech and her own swanky place. She doesn’t date, because what’s the point? Men always want someone petite, pillowy, and pastel—everything that Roxie isn’t—so she sticks to casual hookups, and life is good.

As a hot lawyer and a romantic to boot, Chris Dunn should have no trouble finding love. But a gaping hole at his center, left by childhood hurts, prevents him from having the type of relationship he seeks. He knew Roxie years ago, when her basketball career ended, and she inspired him to take the reins to his career.

When Chris moves back to town and into Roxie’s building, their friendship and mutual attraction deepen. They finally give in with blinding intensity, unaware just how combustible the mix of her avoidance and his insecurity can be—until one vindictive ex-lover lights a match.

 

Shoot Your Shot is book one in the Mad City Moments series. Click here to buy. 

 

About Fiona Embers –

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Book Review: The Girls Next Door by Anita Waller

GirlsnextdoorPlease join me in welcoming Anita Waller to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her latest novel, The Girls Next Door.

They keep each other’s secrets. They hide each other’s lies.

They were destined to be best friends. The four girls – all born that same hot summer. There was even a newspaper article after they were born. They said there must be something in the water on Larkspur Close. They predicted a safe and happy life for them all…

More than thirty years later, it’s more than an unbreakable friendship – it’s more like a sisterhood. It’s the girls who Jess reaches out to because she’s worried about her grandparents who’ve raised her since her mother disappeared, who Erin tells about her new business idea, who Melissa calls to say she’s desperate to escape her toxic job.

But then Chantelle messages saying she’s discovered her husband is having an affair. And everything changes.

Because then her husband is found dead… And only a few people knew about his secret.

Is it just a terrible accident? Or will someone stop at nothing to keep the girls of Larkspur Close safe and happy?

*****

Four girls, growing up on the same street, both months apart. They were destined to be friends, to become a sisterhood. They have each other’s backs.

With this bond comes secrets, some of which began before they were born. When murder comes into their lives, who is doing all they can to keep these four girls happy and is the murderer closer than they think?

One of the great things about running this blog is the chance to discover new authors and Anita Waller is one such example for me. I’m not sure how I’ve managed to miss her books until now. I was excited to be invited onto the blog tour for The Girls Next Door.

There is a calm to the beginning of this novel that sets a tone of uncertainty. I knew something was going to come along to disrupt the equilibrium – the lives of these four women who, on the surface, seem to have perfect lives.

Chantelle has three-year-old twins. These girls are her life. Yes, it’s taken a toil on her marriage but when she discovers the secret her husband, Andrew is keeping, she doesn’t know what her next step would be. When he unexpectedly dies in an accident, she has to face the unknown. I couldn’t help but feel empathy for Chantelle. Becoming a widow, especially with young children is a situation no-one wants to find themselves in and I felt that, under the circumstances, she was a strong, relatable character.

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Book Review: High Rise by Vanessa Lee

An eye-opening book set on the Australian East Coast a few years from now. None of us know exactly when the sea level rises will start to force change – whole families moving en masse away from their coastal communities – but we know it will happen eventually.

This book traces two intertwined families as they can no longer ignore the impact of storms, king tides and erratic weather on their beloved home.

Constant storms have already damaged Bombora’s coastline and no end is in sight. When rising tides force Vaga, the beloved beachfront restaurant, to finally close it is seen as a grim omen. Community rifts deepen, old friends clash, and some flee the idyllic suburb for safer ground, while others stand firm, defying the increasingly erratic weather.

Mick, a charismatic local figure, faces a family crisis as he grapples with the impending threat. A chance encounter with Renata, an old schoolmate, and her son Guil, a local surfer, forges an improbable alliance. As a menacing storm looms on the horizon, Mick and Guil rally Guil’s surfer friends to form a ragtag “tinnie army.” When the tempest strikes with unrelenting force, it triggers a chain of events that will alter their lives forever.

*****

Bombora, once an idyllic seaside haven for surfers and the wealthy is now threatened by the changing weather and the ever increasing threat of climate change. Some decide to leave for safer ground but for the ones that choose to stay, life will never be the same.

When I was offered the chance to receive a copy of High Rise by Vanessa Lee to review, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The story is told from the point of view of multiple characters. Mick, a local businessman is doing all he can to hold on, even when his wife and children want to move away. I felt quite sorry for him as his heart seemed to be in the right place. I’m not sure what I would do in his position.

I did feel empathy for his wife, Sam. She has built her life around her husband’s business. However, when people start to move away, her life becomes very empty.

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Book Review: Summer At The Santorini Bookshop by Rebecca Raisin

I’m very excited to be welcoming Rebecca Raisin to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her latest novel, Summer at the Santorini Bookshop. Happy publication day, Rebecca. 

A Greek island holiday. A fake-dating pact. A chance at true love?

After losing her job as a book scout, hopeless romantic Evie needs a fresh start. So when she hears that her eccentric grandmother has just taken on a small bookshop in Santorini, Evie jumps at the chance to visit her.

But life on the island is not as idyllic as it first seems. Gran has a tempestuous relationship with her landlord and he’s threatening to take the bookshop away from her. So when Gran asks Evie to fake a romance with her landlord’s Greek God of a grandson, Georgios, to keep the family on side, she reluctantly agrees.

As the sun sets on Evie’s Greek holiday, can she save the bookshop – and fake date her way to love?

*****

When Evie loses her dream job as a book scout, she needs to find another one and fast. However, when she’s told to go to Greece to check on her Grandmother, Evie has no choice but to go and besides, she decides that a few days in the Santorini sunshine will do her the world of good. She’s soon embroiled in her Gran’s current predicament made even more complicated when she meets the handsome Georgios.

This is the first novel I’ve read by Rebecca Raisin and I was very happy to be invited onto the blog tour for Summer at the Santorini Bookshop. I couldn’t wait to get started.

First, the cover is very dreamy and makes me want to move to Greece and open a bookshop.

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Book Review: The Cottage in Sweet Meadow Park by Liz Davies

I’m very pleased to be welcoming Liz Davis to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her book, The Cottage in Sweet Meadow Park.

Enjoy a stroll in the park with this uplifting story of love, friendship and following your dreams.

When Molly Brown buys a derelict cottage in the middle of a rundown park, she hopes to return both the cottage and the park to their former glory. However, Molly soon begins to wonder whether she’s bitten off more than she can chew, especially when the good-looking guy from the council refuses to help.

In his role as Parks and Highways Officer, Jack Feathers doesn’t want to waste public funds on an overgrown, unloved park, no matter how gorgeous Molly is. But when he finds himself needing somewhere to live, Molly makes him an offer he can’t refuse – to move into her spare room, rent-free.

The catch? He has to help bring the park back to life.

It seems to be an ideal solution, until… Molly falls for Jack, the park is vandalised, and she realises he is still in love with his ex.

And soon Molly begins to regret letting Jack into her home, her life and her heart.

*****

Molly Brown has always harboured a dream and that is to live in the cottage within the grounds of Sweet Meadow Park. With the house very run down, she knows she has her work cut out. She isn’t just going to transform the house, she’s going to take on the park beyond too.

When she meets Jack, she doesn’t like him at first. However, when circumstances change and he ends up being her lodger, will it just be the house being transformed or her whole life?

I was very excited to be taking part in another blog tour with Liz Davis and going by the cover alone (which is so pretty,) I couldn’t wait to get started.

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Book Review: Murder on the Dancefloor by Katie Marsh

I’m pleased to be welcoming Katie Marsh to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Murder on the Dancefloor.

They DID promise her a killer hen weekend…

Jeanie’s getting married, and – despite her completely impossible four sisters – her best friends Clio and Amber are determined to give her a bachelorette weekend to remember. They’re in matching pink T-shirts and the drinks are flowing…

But the night turns out to be unforgettable for all the wrong reasons when a girl turns up dead on the dancefloor. And – even though she’s a stranger – she is wearing one of Jeanie’s hen T-shirts.

Who is she? And why are the police convinced that the hens are involved? Can the newly-formed Bad Girls Detective Agency solve the murder? And in time to get Jeanie up the aisle?

Unputdownable mystery set on the English coast – perfect for fans of The Thursday Murder Club, Bad Sisters and How to Kill Your Family.

*****

The premise of this novel really appealed to me so I was excited to be invited onto the blog tour for Murder on the Dancefloor, the latest novel in The Bad Girls Detective Agency series.

I haven’t read book one in the series but I found that this didn’t hinder my enjoyment of this novel. Enough background is given on both plot and characters.

The three main ladies are brilliant and I loved their dynamic and chemistry. My heart did go out to Jeanie and I so desperately wanted everything to be OK for her. Amber is a strong woman as is Clio. She just has to believe in herself. The supporting characters were also great and the author manages to develop all them well through the book.

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Book Review: The Mistress by Valerie Keogh

I’m pleased to be welcoming Valerie Keogh to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Mistress.

She wants what you have…

Hannah Parker is a woman who always gets what she wants.

When her current husband discovers she has been lying to him – again – she knows it’s time to move on and find someone who can give her the life she desires… The life she knows she deserves…

But who will be the lucky man?

When her eye catches a glimpse of an old flame in a photograph, she’s sure it’s a sign. Mark Shepherd has always been in her thoughts – they’d been happy once, he’d adored her, but she’d made a mistake and let him get away. She won’t make the same mistake again….

Hannah is older now and wiser. She knows what men want and she knows how to keep them happy.

So what if Mark is happily married with a family of his own?

All good things must come to an end…

*****

Hannah is used to getting what she wants or what she thinks she wants. So what if men fall over themselves to buy her things, to give her money? 

When her marriage comes to an end, Hannah looks back to a time in her life where she was close to happy. She will do whatever she can to be with the man responsible for that happiness, no matter what it costs him. 

Susan has been happily married to Mark for years. Although she’s suffering from empty nest syndrome, she thought that she could at least depend on her husband… or can she? 

I am such a big fan of Valerie Keogh and so was super excited to be invited onto the blog tour for her latest novel, The Mistress. 

The author doesn’t waste any time in throwing the reader into the action and the mind games that follow. 

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Book Review: The Other Gwyn Girl by Nicola Cornick

I’m so happy to be welcoming Nicola Cornick back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her latest novel, The Other Gwyn Girl.

1671 – London

The Civil War is over and Charles II, the ‘Merry Monarch’, is revelling in the throne of his murdered father and all the privileges and power that comes with it. Sharing the spoils is his favourite companion, the celebrated beauty, actress Nell Gwyn. Beloved of the English people, Nell has come a long way from selling oranges and a childhood in a brothel, but as her fortunes have turned, her sister Rose has taken a different path. Marriage to a feckless highwayman has left Rose in the grim Marshalsea prison and now she needs her sister’s mercy to help get her out. But Nell needs Rose too. A plot to steal the Crown Jewels has gone tragically wrong, and Nell’s future with her protector King is at risk. If Rose can’t solve the riddle of the jewels both Gwyn sisters will head straight to the Tower.

Present Day

Librarian and history enthusiast Jess Yates has hit rock bottom. With her ex behind bars for fraud, Jess needs to lay low – easier said than done with a celebrity sister. But Tavy has her uses. Her latest TV project involves renovating Fortune Hall, and she needs a house sitter while she’s jetting around the world. The opportunity is too good to miss, especially when Jess discovers that Fortune Hall has links to the infamous Nell Gwyn.

Slowly the house begins to reveal its mysteries, and secrets that have laid buried for centuries can no longer be ignored. Jess hears echoes from a tragic past and as she struggles to understand her sister, Jess feels ever closer to Rose Gwyn, the sister forgotten by history but who had the fate of her family in her hands.

*****

It’s 1671. Charles II is on the throne and enjoying all that comes with it, including mistress Nell Gwyn. She’s come a long way from the poverty she experienced as a child. Her sister Rose on the other hand has needed to forge a different life.

When a failed attempt to steel the Crown Jewells puts her into the path of Sir Guy Forester, it has the potential to change her life forever.

In the present day, Jess is also struggling with scandal and living in the shadow of her famous sibling. When her sister suggests she look after Fortune Hall, Jess is excited especially when she finds a connection to a Gwyn sister.

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Book Review: Thor’s Revenge by Donovan Cook

I’m pleased to be welcoming Donovan Cook back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for his novel, Thor’s Revenge.

A kingdom without a crown.

A boy forsaken by his God.

A warrior bent on revenge.

After the bloody Battle of Jelling, Denmark’s throne lies empty and chaos reigns as Jarls jostle for power.

Sven survives the bloodshed only to return home to find Ribe sacked by those he trusted and Charles, a pawn in a much bigger political game, kidnapped.

Consumed by the loss of Charles, Sven is shocked by the arrival of the Abbess Hildegard, daughter of his nemesis King Louis of East Francia, who seeks the whereabouts of Charles, her son, and also the cross of Charlemagne.

But whilst others want revenge for the chaos Sven has caused, Denmark burns and Sven must stand in the shield wall one more time if he is to survive and rescue his grandson.

Outnumbered and outmaneuvered, Sven and Charles must put their fate in the hands of the gods if they ever want to see each other again.

*****

Thor’s Revenge continues the journey of Sven the Boar, his grandson, Charles, and the gold cross which Charles escaped to Denmark with.

Following a disastrous battle outside of Ribe, young Charles believes many of his friends to be dead and is in the custody of his grandfather’s enemies. Meanwhile Sven, reeling from the loss of his grandson, is drinking himself into a stupor. Charles must stay strong in the face of great uncertainty, of both his future and his faith as he feels that God has abandoned him.

All the while French agents are circling, having determined that the cross of Charlemagne has been taken to Demark, and they will do anything to recover it and see the empire of France rebuilt.

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Book Review: The Graveyard Killings by Wes Markin

I’m happy to be welcoming Wes Markin to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for his novel, The Graveyard Killings.

A decades old case….

When the body of a young girl is found exhumed from her grave, DCI Emma Gardner knows there’s more to this grisly find than just misadventure. Penny Maiden was killed in a hit and run accident forty years ago, and her killer was never found…Could someone be trying to right an old wrong?

A DI on the rails…

Determined to bring a dangerous gang of drug dealers to justice, DI Paul Riddick is trying hard to play by the rules. After his previous reckless actions, he knows this is his last chance to stay in the job he loves. But when his private life takes an unexpected turn, Riddick begins to lose control again.

Emma needs Paul to help her with her case, especially when more bodies are found in the same graveyard. But hurt badly by Riddick once before, Emma’s not sure she can trust him again.

But as Paul’s behaviour begins to spiral even more, Emma worries she may have left it far too late to save her old friend Riddick from his own destruction…

*****

DCI Emma Gardner is still reeling from the death of a colleague but is determined to keep going. When the victim of an old case is found on the grave of another person, Emma needs to find out what’s going on and fast. What makes it even more complicated is her ex friend, DI Paul Riddick, who is dealing with ghosts and demons of his own.

This is the first novel I’ve read from author, Wes Markin but as I like a good crime/psychological thriller, I was so pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for The Graveyard Killings, book four in the Yorkshire Murders book series.

If, like me, you’ll be picking up the series from this point, don’t fear. There’s enough information given to be able to keep up with the story. However, I did also feel that reading the previous novels would have enriched the story. They have definitely been added to my list.

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Book Review: The House Sitter by Elizabeth Drummond

I’m pleased to be welcoming Elizabeth Drummond to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The House Sitter

His house. Her rules. But who’s in charge?

Pippa Munro had everything planned for her perfect wedding. What she did not have planned, was for her boyfriend to break up with her. Or sell her beloved farm. So instead of being blissfully engaged, Pippa finds herself jobless, homeless and loveless. Things couldn’t be going better…

Wolfie Squires needs someone to look after his family’s ancient house. He’s too busy with his hot shot city job to deal with a country manor several hundred miles away.

The perfect solution? Find someone to house sit.
The less-than-perfect candidate? Pippa Munro.

Pippa is more comfortable working on a farm than dusting a chandelier, and definitely not the ideal choice for the job.

As tempers fray, ideas clash, and secrets are spilled, Pippa and Wolfie might realise they have the same ambitions for the house, if only they could stop arguing long enough to find out…

*****

Piper Monro has put years of her life into her boyfriend’s farm in her beloved Hurst Bridge yet, on the night she is hoping he will finally propose, she is given a big surprise.

She needs a new job and fast. When she hears that Squires House needs a house sitter, she finds herself applying for it.

It’s here that she runs into Wolfie Squires, a man she’s not seen since she was a teenager. From what she can see, he’s the same unfriendly person she remembers. Can she and Wolfie find a way to work together?

This is the first novel I’ve read from Elizabeth Drummond. The premise intrigued me so I was excited to be invited onto the blog tour for The House Sitter.

Piper is strong and brilliant and a little frustrating when it comes to her long term boyfriend, Alex but this book teaches us that time, space and hindsight are very important. She’s a force of nature and I loved that about her.

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Book Review: The Lost Letters of Evelyn Wright by Clare Swatman

I’m so happy to be welcoming Clare Swatman back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her new novel, The Lost Letters of Evelyn Wright.

Starting over can be hard to do…

So when mum of two Beth moves out of her beloved marital home and into an unloved and unkempt cottage, she can’t help but feel demoralised. Faced with months of DIY and dust, her children Jacob and Olivia aren’t impressed either. But when Beth finds a box of letters while she’s clearing out the children’s room, things start to look up.

The correspondence is decades old, between agony aunt Evelyn and those in need of solace. Intrigued as to why the letters have been kept safe all these years, Beth can’t resist reading them, and as the wisdom and kindness of Evelyn falls off the pages, so Beth starts to feel she has a friend and champion in this woman she has never met.

Good advice doesn’t age, and as life starts to look brighter, Beth begins to wonder if she could track down Evelyn and thank her for her help. But as Beth uncovers more about Evelyn’s story, it becomes clear that everything is not as it seems. And now Beth is determined to bring peace to Evelyn as she has to her.

*****

Beth had it all – the marriage, the wonderful house and two children. 

Now, she’s a single mother in a ramshackle house that needs a lot of work, her husband is living with the woman he was having an affair with and she has never felt more lonely. 

When she finds some old agony aunt letters, she decides to reply. After all, it’s something to do. However, these letters open up her world to more than she ever imagined. 

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Book Review: The Year That Changed Us by Helen Rolfe

I’m happy to be welcoming Helen Rolfe back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Year That Changed Us.

A warm-hearted and gripping story of community, secrets and the family we choose that will captivate fans of Lucy Diamond, Cathy Bramley and Jessica Redland.

As young women, Lise and Emma had the kind of friendship people dream about. While Lise’s own family was distant and disengaged, Emma’s was welcoming and warm, and for the first twenty-six years of their life, growing up together in a close-knit community, the duo were inseparable. But when they decide to spend one year living together in Paris, what starts as the adventure of a lifetime becomes a disaster that changes everything. And when Emma returns to Bath the following summer, Lise stays behind in France, their friendship in tatters.

Now, sixteen years later, Lise has come back to their hometown, determined to put things right. But to do so, she’ll have to face up to the truth about what happened in Paris. And with Emma refusing to talk to her, can she get close enough to share her secret?

*****

From the time they were in primary school, Lise and Emma have been the best of friends, even when Lise is sent to boarding school. 

When it is time for them to spread their wings, they decide to spend time in Paris. They are excited about their adventure. However, when the two women fall out and Emma returns home without Lise, their friendship seems forever broken. 

Can they repair what was lost or is their bond broken forever? 

Having previously read Christmas Nights at the Star and Lantern and loved it, I was excited to have the opportunity to take part in the blog tour for Helen Rolfe’s latest novel,  The Year That Changed Us. 

First, I want to give a shout out to the cover. It’s so pretty. The plot also sounded interesting and so I couldn’t wait to get started. 

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Book Review: The Summer of Lies by Louise Douglas

I’m pleased to be welcoming Louise Douglas back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Summer of Lies.

The summer is the hottest yet in the Brittany coastal town of Morranez, but when a new case lands on the desk of the Toussaints detective agency, there can be no time to relax. As wild fires bear down on the town, the alert goes out for a missing girl.

Nineteen-year-old Briony Moorcroft has seemingly been taken from her sleepy Welsh village and brought to France. Her parents are baffled and scared – Briony needs her life-saving medicine or this case will become even more sinister, and with the police dragging their heels, the Moorcrofts are relying on Mila Shephard and Carter Jackson’s sleuthing skills.

Meanwhile there are mysteries troubling Mila’s life too. Two years after the accident that swept her sister Sophie and brother-in-law Charlie away and left their daughter Ani in Mila’s care, new evidence resurfaces that makes Mila doubt everything.

Can Carter and Mila find Briony before it’s too late? And is the truth about Sophie and Charlie finally about to be revealed…

*****

Mila is not looking forward to the responsibility of organising a celebration for her mother’s birthday – a thought that gives her anxiety rather than joy. A case soon takes her mind off her mother and onto an unwell nineteen-year-old girl who has seemingly been taken from her home in Wales to France. Can Mila and Carter find Briony Moorcroft before it’s too late?

I’m so happy to be back in Morranez with Mila, Carter, Cici and Ani. Having enjoyed The Lost Notebook, I was excited to catch up with these characters. It was like catching up with old friends.

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Book Review: Sword of Vengeance by Peter Gibbons

We’re pleased to be welcoming Peter Gibbons back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for his book, Sword of Vengeance.

In the aftermath of the great battle of Maldon, justice is demanded and vengeance will be served!

992AD

King Aethelred’s the Unready’s army has been defeated at the historic Battle of Maldon by Viking invaders led by Olaf Tryggvason and King Sweyn Forkbeard.

The strategic turning point of the battle was when Godric, an East Saxon Thegn, fled the battlefield taking with him the Saxon army, leaving behind his brothers to be massacred in a welter of blood and Norse axe blades.

Saxon warrior Beornoth emerges from the ashes of defeat with his heart aflame with vengeance and when King Aethelred sends for Beornoth with orders to punish those traitors responsible for the crushing defeat, he heeds the king’s call.

With a small band of loyal warriors, Beornoth embarks on an unforgiving journey across the perilous landscape to seek out Godric and exact his bloody revenge. They must fight their way through a world teeming with political intrigue, shifting alliances and the ever-present threat of the Vikings.

Can Beornoth triumph over insurmountable odds in this pulse pounding quest for retribution?

*****

In the fourth instalment of the Saxon Warrior series, Godric has fled the battlefield with the Saxon army, leaving King Aethelred and the remaining solders to be defeated by the Vikings, led by Olaf and King Sweyn Forkbeard.

Saxon Warrior, Beornoth hears King Aethelred’s call and seeks vengeance against those who deserted the battle. Will he succeed in this quest?

Having read previous novels in this series, I was intrigued to see what was next for the vast array of characters. Once again, I was pulled into a rich, well-developed story where I became engrossed quickly.

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Book Review: Stranger in the Village by Kate Wells

I’m so happy to be welcoming Kate Wells back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Stranger in the Village.

Where there’s a body in Malvern End, there are secrets to be uncovered…

Jude Gray has worked hard to bring a steady equilibrium to life on Malvern Farm and things are going well.

The only fly in the ointment is the foul addition of a new face in the village: staunch townie and chauvinistic sleaze, Des Smith. Jude has nothing but sympathy for his caring, patient wife, Loretta, who has become a regular visitor to the farm for a cup of tea and a chat.

But things take a turn for the worse when a hit and run outside The Lamb brings death once again to the village. Is it an accident or is something more sinister afoot?

Perhaps the answer lies in the stranger with red trainers who’s been seen wandering through the village and through Jude’s fields at night. Following the clues, Jude desperately hopes she will find the right answers, because the murderer being someone she knows is unfathomable…

*****

Jude has settled into life working on her farm. With Noah and Lucy by her side, she feels like things are getting back to normal. However, when a hit and run occurs in the village, it sets off a chain of events. Can everyone figure out what’s going on before someone else gets hurt?

I was so excited to be invited onto the blog tour for Stranger in the Village. Having enjoyed the previous novel, Murder on the Farm, I was intrigued to see what was next for Jude, Noah and Lucy.

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Book Review: The Last Days of You and Me by Debbie Howells

I’m pleased to be welcoming Debbie Howells back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her latest novel, The Last Days of You and Me.

They didn’t know – when Winter gave way to Spring that year – that their lives were all about to change…

Marnie didn’t realise – when she stormed into a bookshop one day, demanding a self-help book – that she was about to make a new best friend.

Bookshop-owner Rae didn’t know she had been living like a shadow since her parents died. But then Marnie exploded into her life. And suddenly she realised things had to change… more so when she meets handsome nurse, Jack.

And when Forrest’s life is turned upside down by a fatal car crash, he knew he was being given a second chance, but didn’t know why. He thinks Marnie might just be the woman he’s destined to be with. But – as she discovers that she has an illness she may never recover from – what if it’s too late for them?

Can it ever be too late though? To make friendships that change everything. To grow, to change, to start again. Even – for two unlikely new best friends to find love at last…?

*****

Marnie feels stuck. She’s come to Arundel to help look after a friend’s hotel. It’s the last place she wants to be. However, it’s not the only thing she doesn’t want to face.

Forrest is questioning everything about his life after a tragedy. When he meets Marnie, he feels like he’s getting a second chance.

Rae runs the local bookshop. Ever since the loss of her parents, she’s hidden herself away. New friends could bring her back to life.

Jack is used to dealing with death but grief holds him back. Rae may be a good reason to move on.

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Book Review: Driven to Murder by Debbie Young

I’m very excited to be welcoming Debbie Young to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Driven To Murder. 

A perfect cosy crime for fans of M C Beaton’s Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth series.

Change is coming to Wendlebury Barrow – and not everyone is happy about it…

When the local bus company announces it will be stopping its route through their quaint Cotswold village, the people of Wendlebury Barrow are up in arms. Not least Sophie Sayers, whose driving lessons with her boyfriend Hector get off to a bumpy start.

But the locals’ peaceful protests against the decision turn deadly when a body is discovered on the Number 27. No one can work out how Janice Boggins met her demise, let alone how the driver didn’t notice. While the police wait for the post mortem results, Sophie immediately suspects foul play, and launches her own investigation.

Can she solve the murder before another passenger is hurt?

*****

Sophie Sayers and her boyfriend, Hector are in a good place as they prepare to expand his bookshop in the Cotswolds village of Wendlebury Barrow.

The only sticking point is the fact that Sophie learning to drive would help the running of the business and she’s terrified of the prospect. As she considers her next move, a body is discovered on the number 27 bus. Can Sophie once again solve the mystery?

The premise of this book sounded great so I was pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for Driven to Murder, the ninth book in the Sophie Sayers cozy mystery series.

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Book Review: Baby One More Time by Camilla Isley

I’m so happy to be welcoming Camila Isley back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her latest novel, Baby, One More Time. 

Driven and smart, Marissa Mayer has worked her way to COO at a major Fintech startup as well as launching her own successful app on the side. Now what she wants more than anything is a baby. And having given up on love after her heart was broken by the boy next door, she’s prepared to do it alone.

Recently returning to New York from LA, Dr John Raikes is an expert in his field of neonatal medicine. But when John introduces himself as Marissa’s doctor, sparks fly, and not in a good way. Because Dr John Raikes is no stranger: he’s her teenage sweetheart all grown up.

Marissa knows she should keep John at arm’s length, lest she have her heart broken again… But there’s something about a man in a white coat. And with John determined to show Marissa he’s changed, can she keep saying no when her heart is saying yes?

A gorgeously funny enemies-to-lovers, second-chance rom com, perfect for fans of Sarah Adams, Lynn Painter and Jo Watson.

*****

Marissa has decided that she wants to become a mother and so embarks on IVF alone. What she doesn’t count on is a Doctor at the clinic being the man who broke her heart when she was 18.

When they are brought together in more ways than one, can Marissa let John back into her life?

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Book Review: The Girl in Seat 2A by Diana Wilkinson

Girlin2AI’m so pleased to be hosting the blog tour for The Girl in Seat 2a, the latest novel by Diana Wilkinson. 

Funny how one lie can spiral…

One thing about me: I HATE flying. It’s my worst nightmare.

That’s why I book seat 2A every time I fly. Since my big win, I’ve been booking seats 2B and 2C as well. They’re my comfort seats, they cushion the claustrophobia, and at last I can afford them.

I am now determined to live the life of luxury. I deserve it, after all.

How to Live Like a Millionaire is the book I’m reading on this flight. When it lands on the floor, a handsome guy hands it back to me. I know he clocks the title, because he’s totally charming and talks to me as if I’m one of the Marbella Millionaire set.

When I land in sunny Spain, I’ll be acting like a millionairess, that’s for sure – even if it’s stretching the truth, just a bit. We all know that money talks, and I intend to talk my way into a better life.

Who knows… maybe this guy, the one who had the cheek to sit down in seat 2C, might be someone special. He has an air of danger, but who cares?

*****

Jade is heading to Spain. She’s enjoying herself after having a windfall. Why shouldn’t she live the highlife? On the plane, she meets Issac. Good looking, protective and rich. Is he too good to be true?

Having enjoyed Diana’s previous novel, One Down, I was excited to be invited onto the blog tour for her latest novel, The Girl in Seat 2A.

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Book Review: Murder at Merewood Hospital by Michelle Salter

I’m pleased to be welcoming Michelle Salter back to Novel Kicks. She’s here with the blog tour for her latest novel, Murder at Merewood Hospital.

The patients survived the Great War only to face a new danger…

In 1916, Sister Helen Hopgood was sent with a team of nurses to care for wounded soldiers at Merewood Farm, a temporary military hospital in Hampshire.

Now the war is over, only five patients remain – and she is the only nurse. The last ward must close, and Helen is doing all she can to find new homes for the injured servicemen.

Joseph Wintringham has to sell the farm to keep Merewood Manor. But since the murder of Nurse Taplin, locals believe the place is cursed – perhaps by the doomed nurse or by the patients who perished from their war wounds.

Is the hospital haunted? Or is someone very real behind the unnatural deaths that begin on Midsummer’s Night 1919?

Can Helen discover the truth before it’s too late..?

*****

World War One has ended and soon the temporary hospital at Merewood Farm will have to close.

Nurse Helen Hopgood wants to make sure that the injured servicemen that remain in the ward have been moved and are OK, However, someone else has other plans and soon one of her patients is murdered. With everyone seemingly under suspicion, can the perpetrator be found before someone else gets hurt?

I’n such a big fan of Michelle Salter. I was not only excited at the release of this new mystery but was very happy to be part of the blog tour around its release.

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