Friday 23 October 2020

An Unusual Boy

           An Unusual Boy by Fiona Higgins - blogtour

Today is my stop on the An Unusual Boy blogtour. I am delighted to have the opportunity to introduce you to Julia and her wonderful son, Jackson. Here is their story...


Meet Jackson - a very unusual boy in a world that prefers 'normal'...

Julia Curtis is a busy mother of three, with a husband often away for work, an ever-present mother-in-law, a career, and a house that needs doing up. Her fourteen-year-old daughter, Milla, has fallen in love for the first time, and her youngest, Ruby, is a nine-year-old fashionista who can out-negotiate anyone.

But Julia’s eleven-year-old son, Jackson, is different. Different to his sisters. Different to his classmates. In fact, Jackson is different from everyone. And bringing up a child who is different isn’t always easy.

Then, one Monday morning, Jackson follows his new friend Digby into the school toilets. What happens inside changes everything; not only for Jackson, but for every member of his family. Julia faces the fight of her life to save her unusual boy from a world set up for ‘normal’.

An extraordinary boy. The mother who loves him. The fight of their lives.

Bestselling novelist Fiona Higgins returns with a heart-stopping, devastating, but ultimately uplifting story about loyalty, love and forgiveness.


I was totally drawn into this story and really identified with Julia. She is a mum who is trying her best to keep going, even when everything is falling apart around her. She makes mistakes, she gets things wrong, she doubts herself but every decision she makes is to protect her family.

I must admit that there were times that I had to put this incredible book down. I could sense where things were going and just wasn't ready to go there too. An Unusual Boy is a story of how quickly and dramatically things can go wrong when we do not see the whole picture, when we make assumptions and hear what we think we are going to rather than the words that are really being said.

Jackson is different, and sometimes that can seem difficult. He often struggles to express himself and lashes out because no-one seems to understand him. He knows that his family love him, but his relationship with his dad is fraught with misunderstandings and disappointments. Jackson has the most incredible memory but often can't find the right words. I loved Jackson, his sisters and his mum right from the beginning. The author made me care and then made me cry with sadness and rage.

I really like that the perspective changes throughout, between Julia's and Jackson's. Julia shows us just how hard but how incredibly rewarding being a parent is and Jackson gives us his unique perspective of the world.

An Unusual Boy is brilliantly written, intriguing, full of realistic characters and has a storyline that will break your heart. A must read, but be prepared to cry!

Purchase Link 

Author Bio –

Fiona Higgins is the Australian writer of several bestselling contemporary novels including The Mothers’ Group and Wife on the Run. Her work has been widely reviewed, translated internationally, and described as ‘page-turning domestic melodrama for the social media age’. She lives with her family in Sydney and her first book for Boldwood will be published in October 2020.





Photo courtesy of Luisa Brimble

Thank you to Rachel for inviting me to be a part of this blogtour and Boldwood Books for gifting me a digital copy of the book to read and review.

Sunday 4 October 2020

 Minnie's Orphans by Lindsey Hutchinson - Blogtour


Let bestselling author Lindsey Hutchinson transport you back in time to Marshall’s Children’s Home, for this heart-warming and unforgettable tale from the Black Country.

The Fitch children are finally safe, after they and their friends were rescued from the grim orphanage Reed House by Minnie and Billy Marshall. Their children’s home Marshall’s is full of love and laughter, and a world away from their terrible ordeal of being sold to Una Reed for five shillings.

There are many more children who still need a home, especially in a world where the workhouse is the last option for desperate families, and so Minnie makes it her mission to build Marshall’s into a refuge for all the waifs and strays. 

But kind hearts can be taken advantage of, and before long, Marshall’s in under attack. Can Minnie and Billy keep their family together and keep all the children safe, or will they be torn apart again? 

The Queen of the Black Country sagas is back with a heart-warming, unputdownable and unforgettable tale of triumph against the odds. Perfect for fans of Val Wood and Lyn Andrews.

My Review

Minnie's Orphans is a heartwarming story of family, friendship and heartache. Unfortunately, alongside the wonderful Minnie and her loving, kind family we are introduced to other characters who see the world very differently and seeing those two sides to the very same coin really makes you think! 

This book stands on it's own, so if you haven't read The Five Shilling Children ( I haven't yet ) you will definitely want to, but don't need to, to enjoy this wonderful tale. 

Minnie and her second husband Billy are happily running their children's home. All of Minnie's children are back with her and living under her roof. Marshall Home is full of laughter, love and helping hands, everyone pitches in, kindness and acceptance is of the upmost importance. On the other side of town Reed House, the orphanage is run by a cruel woman who has allowed bitterness to rule her every decision. All the children at Reed House want is someone to care for them, but for Una Reed, that is too much to ask. 

There are some very emotional moments in this story that had me reaching for a tissue. There was also one of those moments in which you know, without a shadow of a doubt what will happen on the next page and you so terribly don't want it to, you have to put the book down for a few minutes, to try and avoid the inevitable. 

Minnie's Orphans is a lovely story, one that made me smile, laugh out loud and cry a few tears too. I will most definitely be reading more by this talented author. Lindsey Hutchinson has weaved her magic and created characters you will care about and never forget. 

Thank you to the publisher Boldwood Books for sending me a free digital copy of this book via NetGalley and to Rachel for inviting me to be a part of this blogtour.

Purchase Link

Author Bio –

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

Social Media Links –

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Wednesday 23 September 2020

What She Saw by Diane Saxon

    What She Saw by Diane Saxon - BlogTour 


Why does someone want the Lawrence family dead? 

The Lawrence’s were the perfect family; successful, beautiful, and happy until one night their whole world was ripped apart. Detective Sergeant Jenna Morgan is called to investigate the suspected arson attack and death of the Lawrence family at the charred remains of their stunning home, Kimble Hall. The case takes a sinister turn as the body count fails to tally. Suspecting that someone may have survived the inferno, DS Morgan and her team need to discover whether they have a witness, or someone far more dangerous. Who set the fire? Who wanted this family extinguished beyond recognition? As the case progresses, DS Morgan realises she has a calculating, cold-blooded killer on her hands, and the race is on to track them down before they kill again.

My Review

This story will chill you to the bone from the opening paragraph. My blood froze in my veins as the horror of an family being murdered in their beds unfolded. This isn't a whodunnit, we know from the beginning who the perpetrator is and watch as the detectives try and unravel the mystery. 

I enjoyed the connection and camaraderie between Detective Sergeant Jenna Morgan and constable Mason Ellis. All the characters is this story are well written and elicit an emotional response from the reader as you journey with them through this tragedy. What is very interesting throughout is the other crimes that the officers deal with whilst a major investigation is taking place. I wanted it all to tie in nicely but the reality is, that in real life that rarely happens, so it made sense of there to be loose ends that leave you feeling slightly dissatisfied. 

The author is most definitely a dog lover as dogs are as central to the story as most of the human characters. Domino and Fleur will warm your heart with their adorable doggy ways. 

I think my favourite character is Ethel Crawford who absolutely rocks! I will say no more, you will have to read the book!  

A gripping crime novel with a clever plot and interesting characters that you can almost hear breathing from the pages. I will definitely be looking out for more in this series. 

Author Bio
– Diane Saxon previously wrote romantic fiction for the US market but has now turned to writing psychological crime. Find Her Alive was her first novel in this genre and introduced series character DS Jemma Morgan. She is married to a retired policeman and lives in Shropshire.

Purchase link amazon

Social media links for Diane Saxon




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Thank you to the publishers for sending me a gifted copy of this book via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday 30 July 2020

      A Good Match For The Major by Josie Bonham - Blog Tour 

Today is my stop on the blog tour for A Good Match For The Major. I would like to thank Rachel @rararesources for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and for sending me a free e-copy of the book to review. 

Beautiful young widow, Lady Eliza Wyndham, is determined never to remarry after a disastrous first marriage. The undeniable attraction that fizzes between her and Major Nathaniel Overton terrifies her. She rejects his advances.
With his pride badly dented, Nat vows to forget Eliza until he finds her in danger from an old adversary of his army days. His protective instincts are stirred and he steps back into her life, but will Eliza be prepared to accept his help?

My Review:
Sparks fly when Eliza meets Nat for the first time, and I must admit to falling for them both. Eliza has been hurt, badly and is determined to spend the rest of her life as a single woman. She is surrounded by a loving family and believes that this is enough. She believes herself to be happy. When she meets Major Nathaniel, she is resolved to remain impervious to his charms, however difficult that may be. Nat is hardworking and has defied convention to become a wealthy, successful gentleman. He is kind and caring with a little bit of a tough exterior... oh and did I mention that he is dashingly handsome?! When Eliza rejects him he is hurt and resolves to forget her, to move on. That is until she is in danger, even if she doesn't love him, he wants her to be safe and happy.

One thing I really loved about this book is that the author makes us care about her characters, not only Eliza and Nat but for their families and friends too. And Josie Bonham can really write a villain! Nat's nemesis makes your skin crawl and your blood boil. He is the antithesis of everything that our protagonist is and stands for and you will be vehemently demanding his downfall.

A Good Match For the Major is a regency romance that definitely delivers!
A dashing hero - check
A damsel who despite being in distress is by no means helpless ( can you tell how much I love Eliza?) - check
A dastardly villain who tries to destroy their happiness - check
Moments that make your heart flutter as our protagonists fall for each other - check
Passionate embraces - check
Incredible fashion - check
Happy ending - Now THAT would be telling!!

A charming romance that will make you smile, set your heart racing and keep you hooked until the very last moment. I love this book and will undoubtedly be reading the next books in the Reluctant Brides series.

Author Bio
Josie lives in the English midlands, surrounded by towns full of history such as Evesham, Stratford-Upon- Avon, Warwick and Worcester. Which is perhaps why her favourite reads are historical. Out of all the periods to choose from the Regency Era stirs her imagination the most. The true Regency lasted from 1811 until 1820 but dates as wide as 1789 to 1837 have been included in the extended Regency period. For Josie the true flavour of this period emerges after the iniquitous hair powder tax of 1795, unsurprisingly, scuppered the fashion for hair powder almost overnight.
Josie has always dabbled in stories but it took the combined efforts of her sister and eldest niece to set her on the path to writing novels. Her Regency romances, with a dash of adventure and intrigue, are the result.

Sunday 12 July 2020

                     #blogtour Homeward Bound by Richard Smith

Today is my stop on the Homeward Bound blog tour and I am delighted to introduce you to this wonderful, heartwarming story.


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 musicians 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:

Our story begins with what seems like a usual occurrence, a family searching for the right retirement home for their loved one who is becoming a bit forgetful. But then we are introduced to Toby and the balance shifts. On one side is George who we quickly fall in love with. Yes, he can be a tad cantankerous but throughout, his heart is true to his two loves, his late wife Evelyn and music. On the other side is Toby, George's son-in-law and in my humble opinion a vile toad. 

When George invites Tara, his granddaughter to live with him, our story really takes off. Here we have two wonderful people from very different generations trying to co-exist. At times it's as if they barely speak the same language, but they do have one very important thing in common, they love each other very much. 

Each character is beautifully brought to life - their attributes, their faults, their feelings, their reactions all combine to create characters we, the reader, care about. We become invested in their journey, rooting for them, crying with them and for them, and in certain cases, hoping they get the retribution they so dearly deserve! 

This is a journey that is interwoven with the music that shaped George's life. His music room, filled to the rafters with records, is his place of solace and here he creates the soundtrack to this story. This is a story about family, about the decisions we make along the way that change the direction our life will take and about never giving up on your dream. 

Homeward Bound is a heartfelt tale that will remind you to hug your loved ones, stand up for what you believe in and never let go of your hopes and dreams. 

Thank you to @matadorbooks @rararesources for gifting me a copy of this book. 

Purchase the book: waterstones amazon 
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’.
Follow the author on twitter

Sunday 7 June 2020

               A Cellist Soldier by Robert J. Fanshawe - Blogtour 

A British Battalion moves up ready for the World War One 1917 battle of Arras. A much loved Regimental Sergeant Major is blown up, the man taking his place intensely disliked. A patrol is sent into No Man’s Land to rescue a casualty crying for help.

One soldier, a cello player, throws his rifle away when the wrong casualty is shot in frustration. Threatened with Court Martial, he walks alone to find the real one, imagining playing his cello. He finds him, legs impossibly injured, pulls him from the mud and carries him towards a German medical station.

The casualty, Sergeant John Wall, a real soldier shot for desertion in 1917, dies and the cello player is taken prisoner. He runs from the medical station wearing a red cross apron. On returning to his own line he is arrested.

Witness a flawed Court Martial and a bizarre final ‘victory’ which is to have a profound effect on Ben the cellist’s friend and the fundamental question of justice in war.

My Review:
I wasn't sure what to expect when I agreed to read and review A Cellist Soldier, what I wasn't expecting was an emotional journey that would leave me exhausted, angry and grief-stricken.

A Cellist Solider is written beautifully; it's a slow story, written almost in real time, which makes the reader live every moment. It makes you realise just how awful life in the trenches was. This isn't a book that glorifies the war; there are no shiny boots and buttons, no well groomed men rushing, brave and fearless,  into battle against a faceless enemy. This is a story of truth, that portrays the confusion of war, the endless orders from "above" that no-one understands but has to follow regardless. As you turn the pages you can almost feel the dirt on your skin, the mud under your feet, the endless boredom as the soldiers wait for hours for a command. You can sense the fear, feel the adrenaline as the enemy bullets rain down around you, the horror as you see men from your company become lifeless bodies riddled with those bullets.

Cello, Private Marcus Harris, is moved from the Artist's Rifles to another Battalion. Here he finds himself sent on a patrol into No Man's Land to rescue a casualty crying for help. Cello's time in No Man's Land is hard to read, but what shines through is his bravery, his determination and his humanity.

It is incredible how easy it was to be accused of Desertion during WWI, how little proof was required to court martial a soldier. Throughout Cello's journey after his arrest one thing is made obvious and that is the futility of war. I'm not talking about the bigger picture, but the small, everyday moments of a soldier's life, the ones that make no sense. The push forward to gain three feet of land, only to be pushed back four feet a few days later. The destruction of the very land you are fighting for. The numbness that becomes inevitable at the loss of life. The cold, the terror, the accusations of insubordination if something that makes no sense is questioned. Young men, not much more than boys, being used as cannon fodder, and quickly replaced as they fall.

But despite all this, one thing triumphs, and that is the human spirit. Cello transcends all of the above and becomes a beacon of truth, his music creating images of what could have been, what should have been. His voice is the glimmer of hope that shines through the darkness.

I would like to thank Faye Rogers and Clink Street Publishing for sending me a free copy of A Cellist Soldier to review.

Information about the Book
Title: A Cellist Soldier
Author: Robert J Fanshawe
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 9th June 2020
Page Count: 276
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Author Information
As a writer you never accept things as they are. You always ask, why is this and what is my part in it?

I chose this ‘strapline’ for my facebook profile as it encapsulates my philosophy as a writer; to be curious and questioning over everything. Certain passions guide and direct my writing. For those I chose another principle;

Live (and write) by what is in your heart.

So my writing, all of it, comes from the heart, as all art must. Otherwise how can it be truth?

One of my passions is war and conflict, its sufferings and injustices, its contradictions and the nature of mankind that accepts it. I spent thirty-two years in the British Royal Marines. Early on I was fortunate to read Remarque’s novel All Quiet on the Western Front, one of the greatest war novels. Having an uncle killed in 1917 and the poetry of the war, contrived to set my goal of writing about WW1. But it wasn’t until the centenary of the war that I found my voice, despite writing much in the intervening years. My initial work was a play; All About the Boys, the last days of Wilfred Owen. This was performed in 2014/16 and published in 2018. After that I embarked on another play; The Cellist. Afterwards I realised that story of the Cellist’s friend would make a novel. I had always wanted to write novels so I wrote The Cellist’s Friend. It was published in 2018. Then I went back to the play about the cellist and wrote it as a novel and prequel calling it; A Cellist Soldier and this is my latest work.

I have also written another two plays, so far not staged and as a member of a SE London arts group, Global Fusion Music and Arts, I have written other multi-media pieces for stage, one of which, A Tribute to Martin Luther King, was performed at The Greenwich Theatre in October 2019.

Apart from a career in the Marines, I have worked in Railway Management and now run my own business, a large pub/restaurant with my wife. Over two families I have five children and four grandchildren.

Thursday 7 May 2020

                         Sometimes In Bath by Charles Nevin

Today is my stop on the Sometimes is Bath blogtour and I am thrilled to introduce you to this captivating book.


The Stories and History of Britain's most elegant and intriguing city.

Sometimes In Bath is a captivating story tour through the city's history conducted by Charles Nevin, the award-winning journalist, national newspaper columist, author and humorist.

Beau Nash, Old King Bladud, Dr Johnson, Horation Nelson, the Emperor Haile Selassie and many more spring to life in episodes shimmering with the curious magic of our oldest resort, reliable source of good health, happiness and much more for the last 2000 years.

Each story has an afterword distinguishing the fiction from fact, adding enthralling historical detail and giving useful links to the city's many sights and fascinations.

Sometimes In Bath is warm, witty, wistful and will be loved by all who come to and from this most enchanting and enchanted of cities.

My Review 

Author, Charles Nevin, introduces us to the city of Bath through a collection of stories using a unique blend of fiction, fact and humour, told through the escapades of historical and fictional characters.

My favourite story in the book, for reasons that will immediately become apparent, is Mr Bennett Goes Out. In this story Mr Bennett, yes, from Pride and Prejudice, visits the fair city of Bath and has an extraordinary adventure.

Each story is followed by afterword that describes how much artistic freedom the author has used with the characters in the story. Their story, their place in history is accompanied by their link, however tenuous, to Bath.

Throughout these short stories one picture emerges, and that is of an enchanting city, rich in history and charisma. So many characters in history and fiction have walked the streets of this delightful city and this book makes the reader wish to be one of them.

You can order a copy of Sometimes in Bath here

Book details 
Title: Sometimes in Bath
Author: Charles Nevin
Publisher: Book Guild Publishing
Publication date: 28/10/2019
Isbn: 9781912881826

Thank you to Rachel from Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and to Book Guild Publishing for sending me a gifted copy of this book.

An Unusual Boy