Book review “Red Roses” by Katie Ward

Young Adult fiction

Red Roses

Autumn is stuck in a rut and desperate to escape the fears that bind her to the life she’s grown to hate. Back home and living with her parents after university with a degree that seems to count for nothing, she knows something has to change. After a chance meeting with a stranger at the beach, she makes the spontaneous decision to move to Dublin and chase her dreams. However, what Autumn doesn’t realise is that she has just made the decision that will lead to her death. But does a short life have to mean an unsuccessful life? Will she be able to make it count? 

Red Roses is a compelling and uplifting story that shows the true beauty of life, love and friendship.


Red Roses intended target market is YA (Young Adult) however I am far older than that and found it an enjoyable read about a young girl who wants to change her life. I felt it had some great life lessons including dream big and go after what you want but with a underlying warning of, if you feel that something, someone is wrong or toxic then trust your gut instinct, it is usually right. These are great life lessons and they are put across in a fabulous way for young adult readers and us older bods alike.

I loved the main character, Autumn. She is confident and strikes out on a new life journey with out any idea of how she is going to achieve this. She does reach her dream, a bit too easily but this does fit with the style of the book. Although she is strong she is also very cautious in all things related to her heart. She doesn’t give her heart easily but when she does is it the right thing to do? Will it all lead to disaster?

The friendships in Red Roses are beautifully created and Autumn relies heavily on her friends through her rollercoaster life, loves, laughs and grief.

An uplifting story with a great message contained throughout. The end is both sad and joyous and really makes you bond with Autumn and her lovely soul. A great light read that is uplifting, emotional and full of wonderful relationships.

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Author Bio

Katie Ward always knew she wanted to write for a living. However, she was told by her careers advisor that “it might be more appropriate for you to work in a shop”. When Katie didn’t get the grades she needed to get into college, she negotiated a three month trial. After successfully completing the course she secured a place at her first choice university to study Journalism.

After realising she wanted to be an author, Katie moved to Dublin where she worked her way up from receptionist to Executive Assistant at Merrill Lynch. Katie continued to write in her spare time, submitting her short story into the “Do the Write Thing” competition being run by Irish TV show ‘Seoige and O’Shea’. This story was originally written when Katie was 14 after she was inspired by an article in her favourite teen magazine. Katie was the only non-Irish author selected to have her story published in an anthology of the same name which reached 19 in the Irish Best sellers List. Katie was also shortlisted for a competition judged by MAN Booker Prize winning author Roddy Doyle which was run by Metro Eireann newspaper.

Katie currently lives in Devon with her cat (aka ‘Her Royal Fluffiness’) where she sings in a community choir and has recently taken up Archery. Katie’s favourite author has been Roald Dahl since she was a child as she loves the dark edge he brings to his books. On the flip side though, Katie loves Disney, magic, unicorns and a good rom com film at the cinema with her friends.

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Book Review “Twinkle Twinkle Little Bar” by Isabella May

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bar

River and Alice miss Somerset. Christmas isn’t Christmas without family and friends, even when you live in quaint Cornwall.

When River’s Aunt Sheba dies unexpectedly, leaving him her ancient VW campervan, nostalgia nudges him and Alice back to Glastonbury – and the surrounding villages – to rediscover their roots whilst serving the most decadent hot chocolate and delectable gingerbread from their renovated ‘bar on wheels’.

A bar on wheels complete with a fold-up stage to host local talent competitions rivaling anything Simon Cowell could dream up, even if he’d gorged on a truckle of Cheddar cheese!

As the villagers sip their cocoa and ice their gingerbread houses amidst the festive backdrop of song, dance, and slightly more unconventional talents, River and Alice find themselves in an unexpected race against time:

Zara, their chocolate supplier is leaving Glastonbury on the twelfth day of Christmas, keen to put a string of disastrous relationships behind her to make a fresh start.

Bruno, their gregarious and gorgeous baking supplier is secretly smitten with Zara – ticking every box on her New Year’s wish list.

If only they can get them together for one experimental kiss under the mistletoe…

They’ve even enlisted their customers’ help in their mission to wrap this budding romance up in all the jingle bells and whistles. How hard can it be?

So, ho, ho VERY tricky, as it turns out…

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Well how do I put this? Wonderfully cosy Christmassy treats lie on every page. Sumptuous hot chocolate and superbly tasting gingerbread this is definitely the book for all those Christmas lovers out there. As I have said before I have never really been a Christmas book lover, but having had the opportunity to read so many this year I really have taken that leap in the, well into a massive snowdrift and embraced this genre with as much Christmas cheer that I can. Actually I bought some hot chocolate after finishing Twinkle Twinkle Little Bar as I was missing it so much.

River and Alice are a great couple, the kind that would be invited to everybody’s dinner party as long as they brought their tasty wares with them. I loved how they were both willing to give up their own dream to make the other happy. Only to find out that actually they both share the desire to go back to Glastonbury and all the happiness they had experienced there. So off they go to a whole new life running a business selling their scrummy treats from a campervan. The foodie descriptions are awesome. You will put on a few pounds just reading this book. The writing is so well done that you can picture the campervan and smell the gingerbread.

Twinkle Twinkle Little star takes you on a wonderful festive journey with romance, laughs and hopefully a few Christmas Kisses along the way. A splendid read, that leaves you with a comfy, cosy festive feeling all over. Warning! buy your Hot Chocolate and gingerbread before you start reading.

Author Bio –

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. She grew up on Glastonbury’s ley lines and loves to feature her quirky English hometown in her stories.

After a degree in Modern Languages and European Studies at UWE, Bristol (and a year working abroad in Bordeaux and Stuttgart), Isabella bagged an extremely jammy and fascinating job in children’s publishing… selling foreign rights for novelty, board, pop-up and non-fiction books all over the world; in every language from Icelandic to Korean, Bahasa Indonesian to Papiamento!

All of which has fuelled her curiosity and love of international food and travel – both feature extensively in her cross-genre novels, fused with a dollop of romcom, and a sprinkle of magical realism.

Isabella is also a Level 4 Pranic Healer and a stillbirth mum.

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Book Review “Flora’s Travelling Christmas Shop” by Rebecca Raisin


Flora’s Travelling Christmas Shop

‘Tis the season for mulled wine, mince pies, and magic under the mistletoe…

Flora loves Christmas more than anything else in the world, so she’s gutted when her Scrooge-alike boss fires her from Deck the Halls Christmas emporium. But now she finally has a chance to follow her dreams – and what better place to start than the home of Christmas?

Before she can say ‘sleigh bells’, Flora’s on her way to Lapland in a campervan-cum-Christmas-shop. She can’t wait to spend her days drinking hot chocolate and taking reindeer-drawn carriage rides, but something Flora didn’t expect was meeting Connor, a Norse god of a man who makes her heart flutter and snowflakes swirl in her stomach. There’s just one problem: Connor hates Christmas.

Can Flora convince Connor of the joys of Christmas – and will she find a festive romance along the way?

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Flora’s Travelling Christmas Shop is one of those you need to read wrapped up in a cosy blanket, fire roaring and Christmas Carols playing in the background. It’s the only way to read this exquisitely festive frolic to Lapland.

Normally I don’t read Christmassy books but this year I have found myself giving them a go and actually I am having a right ball, A Christmassy bauble of a time, you might say. This book is a lovely gentle read and throws you head first into the Season of good Will. Flora is a funny character that has it all, a Christmas job, but all year round, a perfect boyfriend and a happy life until she doesn’t have it anymore. What to do now? Well what any sane Christmas loving girl would do, hop in a camper van and off to the real Christmas, Lapland!

The relationship she then finds herself in is with a Christmas hating Connor. This is something Flora can not grasp. I mean who doesn’t like Christmas. It must be easy to turn this mans frown upside down? surely if anyone can change his mind, Flora can, can’t she?

I would have to say, although this book is full of wonderous over the top Christmas cliché’s it definitely a book worth reading. Seriously what is a Christmas read without a few cliché’s along the way. Flora and her antics will certainly put you in the spirit of Christmas, just make sure you have plenty of mince pies and good cheer.


Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in short story anthologies, and in fiction magazines. And now she is focusing on writing romance.

Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships and believe in true love.

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Book Review “War Clouds over Blackberry Farm” by Rosie Clarke

War Clouds Over Blackberry Farm

Cambridgeshire – March 1939

As the clouds of war begin to gather in Europe, the Talbot family of rural Blackberry Farm will be torn apart, just as so many families all over the world will be. Life will never be the same again.

Whilst in London, the Salmons family will feel the pain of parting and loss.

Brought together by war, the two families become intertwined and, as the outlook looks bleak, they must draw on each other’s strength to fight through the hard times.

Lizzie Johnson and Tom were sweethearts until a mistake caused a terrible rift. Lizzie takes herself off to London to heal the pain in a glamorous new job but she still loves Tom. His pride has been hurt – but deep down inside Tom still cares. Can they find happiness before their chance is gone and the whole word is swept into the terrible madness of war?

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Rosie Clarke is a brand new author to me. I pounced on War Clouds over Blackberry Farm because I really enjoy Historical war time books. This one did not let me down. A stunning read that gently rolls along in the Cambridgeshire countryside. I loved reading about an area that is close to me. The beautiful countryside and life on a farm skilfully brought to life with a huge level of reality. I grew up on a farm and Rosie gets the hard work that goes into farm life spot on.

Strong Matriarch characters, especially Tom’s mum add to this story immensely, she is the glue that keeps this family together. Her advice is readily given but never intruding. She’s always cooking something tasty, making sure the family and farm run smoothly. This was very reminiscent of my childhood. I smiled throughout these scenes.

This is a real war time family saga that captures the time period absolutely. I thoroughly enjoyed the switch between London and the countryside. The pace of life is described so well you can really picture inside the Salmons house, where Lizzie lodges, the difference in her rather gruff unforgiving mother and the loving family Lizzie finds herself with. The relationships are superbly written with joy and care. Tom and lizzie’s on, off relationship is so beautifully detailed that you can see right into their souls, the inner arguments they have, trying to make the best decisions, often without having the courage to talk to each and Lizzie’s inability to explain her dramatic flea to London. I just wanted them to get together and be happy.

Overall an impressive war story without too much war if that makes sense. It was more about the people and how they carried on with life no matter what. An enjoyable piece of escapism, which I wouldn’t normally say about a war based story but at times this book just takes you away to a beautiful farm setting, country life and all that goes with it. Joy, grief, arguments that seemingly run deep but overall love.

Author Bio –  Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Shop Girls of Harpers and The Mulberry Lane series. She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is an RNA Award winner. She lives in Cambridgeshire.

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Book Review “The Score” by Kerry Kaya

The Score

He did the crime…

Twenty years ago, Fletch avenged the gangland killing of his younger brother, Spencer and accepted his guilt. But his actions meant he had to leave his precious children, Austin and Kitty to fend for themselves. He thought they would be looked after…

Served his time…

Now a free man, Fletch returns to find his family in chaos, devastated by his prolonged incarceration. Kit is married to notorious gangster Rosco Taylor, while Austin seems hell bent on doing everything he can to create a turf war.

Fletch knows he has to do something to get his kids under control, but he also knows that the seeds of this disaster were planted long ago by his own reckless actions.

Now Fletch is back and it’s time to settle the score.

Another gripping gangland read by Kerry Kaya. Perfect for fans of Kimberley Chambers, Martina Cole, Heather Atkinson and Caz Finlay.

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First things first, do not read this book at bedtime, you will not get any sleep as you just won’t be able to put it down. A proper gangland, hard hitting, brutal and seriously unpredictable thriller.

The suspense created by Kerry Kaya is completely outstanding. The characters are written so well, especially Fletch and his daughter Kit. The broken down relationship between them is utterly heart-breaking and I found myself hoping that Fletch could get his daughter back without having to do the one thing he doesn’t want to do, return to the gangland underworld he left behind 20 years ago. Can he really just sit back and hope? not on your nelly. What follows is shockingly violent but within the context of this brilliant book the level of violence is expected and only serves to make this book all the more gripping.

The intensity that Kerry is able to create through words alone is truly mind bending. An outstanding author who deserves all the praise she gets. If you love books in the gangland genre along the lines of Martina Cole and Ian Rankin then this book and author will be right up your street. What are waiting for? Go and grab a copy. Be prepared to be scared.

Author Bio –

Kerry Kaya is the hugely popular author of Essex-based gritty gangland thrillers with strong family dynamics. She grew up on one of the largest council estates in the UK, where she sets her novels. She also works full-time in a busy maternity department for the NHS. She has signed a nine-book deal with Boldwood for both new and backlist titles. Her first book The Price will be published in July 2021.

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Book Review “The Story of our Secrets” by Shari Low

The Story Of Our Secrets

Colm O’Flynn was loved by his close circle of family and friends, however his death came too soon for everyone to make peace with their past.

Shauna, his second wife, adored him. But one night she broke their marriage vows, and didn’t get time to ask Colm’s forgiveness.

Jess was the first Mrs O’Flynn. Her heart is set on someone new, but will the last one night stand she shared with Colm come back to haunt her?

Colm’s best friend, Dan, is recently divorced. Can he take a second shot at happiness if it means betraying the one person who always had his back?

What no-one knows is that somewhere out there Colm left messages that could set them free to start over again.

Can divine intervention help them find Colm’s last wishes before it’s too late to love again?

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The Story of our Secrets is seemingly a gentle, cosy read that will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Although it is and does, it is far far more than that. A brilliantly written book that deals with great friendships, including an ex and current wife. it deals with the huge impact of loss and grief and how this tight knit group deal with all that life throws at them. I was left somewhat emotional but with a smile on my face as well.

The balance between humour and raw emotions is so brilliantly written I felt like I was on Shauna’s sofa watching all the comings and goings. The pace of the book is set just right and the humour lifts you. I laughed out loud at some points and actually shouted out loud “Oh how dare she do that”! For me a book that holds your attention throughout and one that you have an invested interest in the outcome is the best kind of book.

Shari Low is a clever author who can make you cry with laughter and cry with sadness almost at the same time, an almost impossible feat I’m quite sure. Although this is a sequel I in no way felt I had missed anything by not reading the previous book, it works superbly as a stand alone book.

I would strongly recommend this beautiful, emotional rollercoaster of a book to all those who love a romance with a load of ups and downs thrown in. Loved every page, a corker of a book.

Author Bio –  Shari Low is the #1 bestselling author of over 25 novels, including One Day In Summer, My One Month Marriage, and a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. She lives near Glasgow.

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