Book Review “The Waitress” by Nina Manning


Psychological Thriller

Length, 438 pages

Publisher, Boldwood Books


The Waitress

Nameless. Faceless. Deadly?

Waitress Kit Lowman knows that people look down on her and the job she does. But being anonymous offers Kit safety and security and allows her own terrible secrets to remain hidden.

And then Kit’s luck changes, and she suddenly faces a terrible dilemma: reveal her true identity and accept that life will never be the same. Or stay in the shadows…where she hopes she’ll be safe?

But secrets can’t stay hidden forever. And the more Kit tries to hide away, the more someone makes it clear that they are going to make her pay for what she did.

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The Waitress, well where to start with this one? I want to say so much but I don’t want to give anything away. To say Nina Manning has smashed it out of the park with this one still doesn’t do it justice. This book is the epitome of psychological, it even had me worrying about noises in my house, looking over my shoulder and jumping at every sound. To say I LOVED IT is an understatement.

The intrigue begins almost immediately, you know right from the off that something awful has happened and that Kit is right at the centre of it all. She is running, but can she honestly hide? Just what has she done? The creepy levels increase slowly, building the tension brilliantly. I began to suspect everyone, just like Kit. Everyone seemed dodgy in some way. Scary scary stuff. The end comes creeping up on you and what an unexpected turn around it is. I absolutely did not guess this one at all. I had a few clues but it still not a bleeping clue! If that makes sense. If you haven’t realised by now, I loved loved The Waitress with its exceptional writing that builds the levels of drama with an ominous touch that goes right to the heart of the reader. Just brilliant, you need to read it and then buy more Nina Manning, she’s just the best at this Psychological stuff.

Author Bio –

Nina Manning studied psychology and was a restaurant-owner and private chef (including to members of the royal family). She is the founder and co-host of Sniffing The Pages, a book review podcast. Her debut psychological thriller, The Daughter in Law, was a bestseller in the UK, US, Australia and Canada. She lives in Dorset.

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Nina Manning

Boldwood Books


Book Review “Sun, Sea and Strawberry Shortcake” by Rosie Green


Contemporary Romance

Little Duck Pond Café, Book 22

length 232 pages


Sun, Sea & Strawberry Shortcake

It was meant to be a gloriously romantic getaway in Wales for Ruby and Hudson. That was the plan, anyway. But then friends start inviting themselves along, lured by the idea of unwinding in a chocolate-box pretty cottage, wandering the lanes and the coastline, soaking up the sun and the stunningly beautiful Italian-inspired architecture. With Ellie, Jaz, Fen and Madison popping up around every corner, plus another sinister mystery to solve, will the lovebirds ever find time to indulge their desire for sun, sea and . . . strawberry shortcake?

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This is only my second book in the series of 22. That’s a lot of books, but each one has it’s own merit and I have immensely enjoyed the two that I have read. Sun, sea etc is full of drama and plenty of fun as well. We wouldn’t expect anything less from Rosie Green. Although there are many books in this series, non of them feel tired or repetitive. They are all fresh and full of wonderful characters that we get to know better and better as the series goes on.

Going on tour to the seaside with the Little Duck Pond characters is a great laugh and I felt like I was there with them, soaking up the sun, drama and laughs. There is tension abounds with new characters being introduced in the form of Bee and her daughter Jodie. Two brilliant additions.

Rosie Green writes with sensitivity and a clear idea of the storyline. I thoroughly enjoyed book 22 and am definitely looking forward to Book 23. Keep up the great work Rosie.

Author Bio –

Rosie’s series of novellas is centred around life in a country village cafe. Look out for ‘Clara’s Secret Garden’ out in August 2022.

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With Thanks for Advance Copy to ……

Rachel Gilby

Rosie Green

Book Review “A Mother’s Shame” by Rosie Clarke


Historical Saga


Length 326 pages

Publisher Boldwood Books


A Mother’s Shame

East End of London

Maggie Bailey has not had an easy childhood. Her father, Michael, always too easy with his fists after spending the family’s rent money down the pub.

Just sixteen, in love and blinded by promises, Maggie sees marriage to handsome Jack as her great escape. However, she soon finds herself abandoned with a beautiful baby when Jack disappears. Maggie is forced to seek a new life away from the East End of London and finds herself a job at a hotel in Eastbourne.

Here she must learn to fend for herself and also accept a shocking discovery that she was fostered as a babe and nothing is known of her real parents.

Her employer, Aunt Beth, is kind and her life improves – but Maggie makes one mistake after another and, eventually, they lead to a terrible tragedy that will bring her to the point of no return.

Will Maggie ever find true happiness and discover the secret of her birth?

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Heart-breaking is the word that kept springing to mind throughout this dazzlingly intense saga. The prologue is absolutely heart-breaking and sets the tone superbly. I just had to find out what had happened to this poor young girl.

Rosie Clarke has the creative knack of generating characters that just tug at your heart strings. She writes with a sensitivity that breathes life into her brilliantly real and believable characters.

I found Maggie the most endearing young woman who has suffered greatly at the hands of her parents, mostly her father. She is trusting and goes through life trying to do the best by the people she loves yet she keeps being knocked down at every turn.

A Mother’s Shame is an engaging read that takes you through such a sad story that I was left feeling emotional and somewhat drained. Poor Maggie, I just wanted to take her by the hand and show her a happy ending. Will she ever get that happy life that she, more than anyone deserves? This is where you will have to get a copy of this epic Historical saga to find out Maggie’s fate. I truly loved every page.

Author Bio –

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

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Rosie Clarke

Boldwood Books

Book Review “The Beached Ones” by Colleen Story


Paranormal Suspense


Length; 350

Publisher; CamCat Books


Daniel and his younger brother grew up in an abusive home. Daniel escaped. Now an established stunt rider, he intends to go back to rescue his brother. But then one jump goes horribly wrong . . .

He recovers to find himself in Iowa, unscathed, yet his life has drastically changed. His best friend won’t answer his calls. Even his girlfriend is hiding something. Increasingly terrified, he clings to the one thing he knows: He must pick up his brother in San Francisco. In five days.

From the isolating fields of Iowa to the crowded streets of San Francisco, Daniel must fight his way through a fog of disjointed memories and supernatural encounters to face the truth and pay a debt he didn’t know he owed.

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  • Genre:  Paranormal Suspense
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  • Print length: 350 pages
  • Age range: This is an adult book
  • Trigger warnings: Themes of loss, childhood abuse and suicide; plot includes: deaths resulting from various causes including suicide, an incident of threatened injury to a child, some isolated violent scenes, a scene of self harm
  • Goodreads Rating: 5 stars (New book, not yet Amazon rated)


Colleen Story is a new author to me and I really was not sure what to expect. I have read more paranormal books recently. It is not my “go to” genre, however I am enjoying some of the books I have read, some more than others. This is definitely in the “More” category.

I will have to be honest that the first few chapters were a tad confusing yet intriguing enough for me to keep reading. The brilliant use of flashback memories and the supernatural creates a great plot that holds your attention well. The pace is set at just the right level and the emotional relationship between the two brothers is moving to say the least. It leaves the reader emotional yet hopeful.

Although some of the topics make for tricky reading it is written with care and sensitivity. I thoroughly enjoyed this supernatural ghost story and would certainly seek out this author again.



Colleen M. Story inspires writers to overcome modern-day challenges and find creative fulfillment in their work. Her latest release, “Your Writing Matters,” helps writers overcome self-doubt and determine once and for all where writing fits in their lives. Her previous release, “Writer Get Noticed!,” was a gold-medal winner in the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards and a first-place winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards. “Overwhelmed Writer Rescue” was named Book by Book Publicity’s Best Writing/Publishing Book in 2018 and was an Amazon best seller. Her novel, “Loreena’s Gift,” was a Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Book of the Year Awards winner, among others.

With over 20 years as a freelance writer in the health and wellness industry, Colleen has authored thousands of articles for publications like “Healthline” and “Women’s Health;” worked with high-profile clients like Gerber Baby Products and Kellogg’s; and ghostwritten books on back pain, nutrition, and cancer recovery.

She frequently serves as a workshop leader and motivational speaker, where she helps attendees remove mental and emotional blocks and tap into their unique creative powers. Her first course, “How to Finish the Creative Projects You Start,” is available on Teachable (

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Colleen Story http://Twitter (@colleen_m_story)

CamCat Books

Book review “Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow” by Jessica Redland


Fiction, Rural life

Next instalment from The Hedgehog Hollow series

Length, 362 pages

Publisher, Boldwood


Chasing Dreams at Hedgehog Hollow

Samantha has a secret. Returning home from her dream honeymoon to the normality of running her beloved Hedgehog Hollow rescue centre, she’s ready for the next chapter of her life with Josh. Or is she? Samantha is hiding something which could forever change the dreams they shared and bring their happy ever after crashing to the ground.

Lauren has given up on love. Twenty-six years ago the love of her life, Shaun, left her a note and was never seen again. Two painful divorces later she still can’t face opening up to anyone. But little does Lauren know that the closure she’s dreamt of for all these years may be closer than she thinks, and perhaps the only way to let new love in is to forgive and forget.

Samantha and Lauren will need the love and support from the Hedgehog Hollow family more than ever. After all, some dreams are worth chasing…

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Oh what a joy it is to be back at Hedgehog Hollow, it feels like coming home. This series is one of those that I never want to end, I want to know every part of everyone’s life because they all have become like my friends.

I really enjoyed learning more about Lauren in this book. Her back story and why she appears so closed off to romance. When we find out what actually happened to her husband, its one of those “oh ok, didn’t see that coming at all” moments but it explains a lot and is dealt with clearly and sensitively. I think it was a brilliant addition to the beautifully heart-warming story that Chasing dreams is.

Jessica has a writing style that speaks to the heart. She creates her characters with such death and warmth that they just come alive on the page. I want to pop round to Hedgehog Hollow with cake and hugs and help out with the hedgehogs. I adore how much Phoebe and Darcie are just blossoming. Lauren hopefully being able to put her ghosts to rest. Sam and Josh newly married. I actually loved going on their Honeymoon with them, it brought out a whole new side to them that, for me made them even more a wonderful, perfect match.

There are many dreams yet to be achieved, a lot more dreaming and creating to be done. Hedgehog Hollow will go in my heart forever. One of the great things about Jessica is that she obviously not only has a knack for writing such beautiful stories she also believes in what she writes and that falls out of every single page. She is so invested in her characters that we become invested too. Just the perfect series.

There is a quote in the epilogue that reads “You don’t have to set out to write the best book every time; just the best book you’re capable of at that time” and this really made me think how hard it must be to be a writer yet hugely rewarding to. A little life lesson in there for us all.

One more thing I must add is, Who said you can’t learn anything from fiction? Well go the back of Jessica’s book I say. There is a fabulous amount of stuff to learn about hedgehogs. Do’s and dont’s some great hedgie facts. Just a brilliant end for this marvellous book. This whole series will not let you down. A wonderful time was had by all. 10 Stars for me.

Author Bio –

Jessica Redland writes emotional but uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast where she lives with her husband, daughter and sprocker spaniel. Her Hedgehog Hollow series, set in a hedgehog rescue centre, takes readers into the beautiful rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.

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Jessica Redland

Boldwood Books

Book review “The Hotel by the Riviera” by Carol Kirkwood



Follow on from Under A Greek Moon

Length 356 Pages

Publisher, Harper Collins


By the sapphire blue waters of the French Riviera, a decades-long secret is about to be revealed…

Wayward Greek heiress, Ariana Theodosis, inherits the Hotel du Soleil as part of a mysterious legacy. Captivated by its faded glamour, she hopes it offers her the chance to start again.

Hotelier Gabriel du Lac’s family have owned the hotel for decades – and he has no intention of giving it up for a beautiful stranger.

Madame du Lac has watched the rich and famous pass through the doors of the hotel for almost half a century, and she has kept its secrets too.

As the past finally catches up with them all, will this summer reveal a forgotten secret, and change their lives forever…?


Well what can I say except WOW! Carol Kirkwood is back and with a truly stunning second Novel. I adored Under a Greek Moon but dare I say I adored The Hotel on the Riviera even more. We still have the glitz and glamour, the beautiful people with huge amounts of money but this time we get even more drama. Ariana is wonderfully feisty. She has done the usual circuit of Hollywood glamour but now she has found something that may well be THE thing she’s been craving for so long. A grounding, a place to learn to be herself and not just be “Daddy’s little rich girl” Will she achieve her dream? Can she run away from her past? Is Gabriel trustworthy or just a snake in the grass? All questions that will be answered when you dive into your copy. Trust me it is so worth it.

The drama that follows Ariana draws you right into her life. Sometimes I found myself telling her off! “Please don’t do that again Ariana” every time she repeated a silly mistake, no I’m not saying what, that would spoil the fun.

I believe Carol Kirkwood’s writing style has just blossomed, her characterisations are expertly developed and feel authentic. The situations they find themselves in, the passion, the doubt, the regret, everything was created just perfectly. I LOVED IT. Need I say more? Nope I don’t believe I do except that this is a book that deserves to be read and shared and enjoyed by many readers for years to come. Compelling, beautiful and superbly written.

PS, it’s 5 stars (plus) because, for me 5 stars just wasn’t quite enough.



Carol Kirkwood is one of our most loved TV personalities. Millions of viewers and listeners know her for her weather reports on BBC Breakfast, Radio 2‘s Breakfast show, Wimbledon fortnight and for waltzing into our hearts on Strictly Come Dancing. Carol was inspired to write her first novel by her passion for travel and her love of Hollywood glamour. Off-screen, Carol can often be found ensconced in a book, singing, dancing and taking long walks in the countryside.

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Carol Kirkwood

Harper Collins

Book Review “From The Deep” by Kateri Stanley


YA Fantasy, Mystery

Length 294 pages

Publisher Burton Mayers Books


From the Deep

Julian Finch, widower and fisherman, awakes to learn that the bodies of two colleagues have washed up on the beach of Drake Cove. The close-knit community is under fierce public scrutiny due to a long-standing tradition called “The Culling”, the annual slaughter of pilot whales for consumption. An act which divides the nation.

The suspects are the extreme animal rights group, the Fighters Against Animal Cruelty (FAAC) who go wherever the politics is trending. They’ve been harassing the small fishing town for many years, smashing up their boats and sending vicious hate mail.

Tensions mount after a viral video, uploaded by the FAAC of Julian killing a pregnant whale, causes uproar online and in real life. In the aftermath, Julian becomes the victim of hate crime. In order to avoid further life-threatening attacks, Julian and his daughter take refuge in the home of Frank Blothio: ex-fisherman turned writer and political activist who does not have the best history with the animal rights movement, or Drake Cove as a whole.

As Julian integrates into the Blothio way of life, he discovers heinous secrets and disturbing truths lurking beneath the skin of his hometown that will change his life forever.

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Set in a whaling community in a small English village, Drake Cove. From the Deep is perfectly set to reveal all about old folk lore, mermaids , old Viking traditions and plenty of fantasy but in a modern day community. For me the characters, especially Jules and Em are authentic and totally believable. Their day to day lives around the village are unsettled by whale hunting protestors. Jules and his daughter, Em become targets and have to move in with an old fisherman, now a writer who is now anti whaling, but he does listen to both sides. Here is where Jules encounters the mysterious Shy, with her flowing green hair, unusual habits, with very little to say. He is strangely drawn to her and needs to know more.

I thought the way modern issues cleverly intermingled with fantasy was expertly done. I utterly believed in Shy and the whole strangeness of her. There is a level of unpredictability running through the book that only draws you further in. The dark side of fantasy and mystery is explored superbly well and if you didn’t believe in mermaids before you will after reading this fabulous Novel.

There is little more to say except if you love a great yarn with reality and fantasy all mixed together this is certainly a book for you.

Author Bio –

Kateri Stanley is a pseudonym for the multi-genre fiction writer. Since being a child, Kateri has been inspired by the wondrous mediums of books, music, TV and film. After working in the healthcare industry for eight years and studying for an Arts and Humanities degree, she made the decision to move cities in the West Midlands and live with her ever-suffering partner and their felines. Her debut novel Forgive Me was published by indie press house, DarkStroke Books in 2021 and it reached #1 in the US Horror Fiction charts on Amazon. She is currently working on her third novel, Bittersweet Injuries and would love to pursue a full-time career in writing.

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With Thanks for the Advance Copy to …..

Rachel Gilby

Kateri Stanley

Burton Mayer Books

Book Review “The Discarded” by Louis Van Schalkwyk




pages, 279

Publisher Kingsley Publishers


A fast paced thriller you won’t forget!

‘There were many moments where I can honestly say ‘I did not see that coming’’ – Tina Simpson

Ellis Neill wakes up next to his family one morning, just as he had done for the last ten years, unaware that it would be his last taste of freedom.

His life soon spirals out of control and he is cast into a remote prison in the Arctic wilderness where nothing is as it seems, the inmates rule and a sinister figure wants him and his family dead.

Resulting from carefully laid plans he is plunged into a fight for survival, sanity and saving those he loves.


As a debut book The Discarded certainly packs a punch. There is plenty of action and brilliantly fast paced. Nothing is left to chance in this read. The characters are expertly crafted, making them believable and investable in. I need to feel that I like a character, even those that are essentially bad guys. If they have some redeeming features then I am fully invested and need to know how life turns out for them. This is absolutely the case with The Discarded. A truly compelling read.

There are plenty of twists and turns and just the right level of anticipation to keep you turning the pages. An utterly gripping story that grabs you from page one and doesn’t let go until the very last word. The synopsis is just enough to get your attention and makes you want to read this brilliant debut. I can not wait for more.



Louis van Schalkwyk was born in South Africa and currently resides in Hong Kong. “The Discarded” is his debut novel, inspired by years honing his writing skills and drawing influence from his favourite authors. When Louis isn’t writing he enjoys reading and sampling various cuisines with his wife, Courtney.

With Thanks for the Advance Copy to …

Rachel Gilby

Louis Van Schalkwyk

Kingsley Publishers