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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Book Review “Fallout from our Asphalt Hell” by Gabriel Hart


Short Synopsis

Author/poet/journalist Gabriel Hart compresses twenty pieces of his most irreverent ‘world-burning’ fiction spanning 2015-2020, including the previously unpublished novelette-length American nightmare Skattertown.

#blogtour review by Niki  Preston for @jailweddings Fallout from our Asphalt Hell @cttb_fiction

I will admit from the off that I am not a short story reader but wow, with the phenomenal writing by Gabriel Hart I have done a complete 360. This book is utterly enthralling. Each story leaves you feeling an intensity that I don’t usually feel. Each story is like you’ve read a 400 page book in just a few pages. The characters are expertly created and each story seeming grabs hold of you and drags you along through each page then suddenly its over and you’re left with an utterly awestruck feeling.

A few of the stories that have stuck in my mind are Black Pit Blues and Spun Pendulum to name only two. Black Pit Blues is an extraordinary tale of a town on the edge where old fighting Pit Bulls roam freely. One seems to take to a driver on his home after he stops to try and help the dog. It apparently follows him home and what follows it truly horrific! I was left reeling and had to move on quickly. It is a shocking story but outstandingly written. How a story so short can be so full of horror and gore is testament to Gabriel’s writing skills. By complete contrast the Spun Pendulum left me sad and in awe of the pictures created in my mind’s eye by the effortless and descriptive words that fill the pages. I can honestly say I went through a whole gamut of emotions with this book and is a fabulous collection of crime, thriller, horror, noir, psychological drama genres to name but a few.. A truly well deserved 5 stars From me.

Author Gabriel Hart

Book Review “The Perfect Daughter” by Alex Stone

Or the perfect liar?

The Perfect Daughter

The perfect daughter…

Jess Harper has spent her whole life trying to make her mum, Abigail happy and proud. And everything Jess does, from the clothes she wears, the job she has, the men she dates, are all approved by Abigail first.

The perfect boyfriend…

So when Jess announces that she has a new man in her life – plumber Adam – Abigail is less than impressed. ‘A plumber? Really, Jessica….’ Adam encourages Jess to break free from her mum’s manipulation, can’t she see what’s happening?

The perfect mother….

But Abigail is only doing these things to keep Jess safe, to protect her from getting hurt again…isn’t she?

Jess, caught in the middle, doesn’t know who to believe or trust. And then Adam vanishes without trace.

Now Jess is the police’s prime suspect and they want to know if Jess really is as perfect as she seems….

A gripping new psychological thriller for fans of Sue Watson, Shalini Boland and S.E.Lynes

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A nail-biting psychological thriller with a underlying level of tension running right through every word. A slow build

of uneasiness that creates an excellent pace to the story telling.

The relationship between Jess and her mother appears on the surface to be seriously controlling and quite unhealthy. There is a secret that Jess’s mum constantly uses against her. Jess does not know what the secret but the way she is undermined in her every decision is utterly unnerving.

After finding, who Jess hopes is the love of her life things begin to change rapidly. Her relationship with her Mother becomes strained to almost breaking point but is Jess changing for the better? Is she jus allowing someone to control her every waking moment?

The characterisations in The Perfect Daughter are strong and written in such a away that you begin to distrust them all. I flipped from idea to the next trying to second guess what was going on, I was wrong on every thought. A brilliantly written book should keep you guessing and constantly re-evaluating who can be trusted, this book certainly achieves it. Alex stone is a superb writer and I for one would highly recommend The Perfect Daughter to all thriller lovers. This book keeps you guessing right to the end and leaves you with a feeling of intense disbelief . I was left thinking “wow, this is true drama and I really didn’t see that coming”

Author Bio –

Alex Stone, originally an accountant from the West Midlands, is now a psychological suspense writer based in Dorset. This beautiful and dramatic coastline is the inspiration and setting for her novels. She was awarded the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2019 and her debut thriller The Perfect Daughter will be published by  Boldwood in October 2021.

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Book Review “Broken” by R.V. Biggs

Sarah MacIntyre Series Book 3



Scarred by a tragic past, eleven year old Jamie Walker chooses not to speak.

Consumed with jealous rage, Jimmy Gillespie is driven to violence.

And John Macintyre awakens from a vivid nightmare convinced he is going to kill.

Living high upon the Scottish hills, John and Sarah Macintyre enjoy a serene life until a televised news bulletin sends them on a desperate search for a missing child.

After finding the child and returning him safely to his parents, the Macintyres are approached by the local press, attracting both unexpected and unwanted attention.

But the aftermath of the media coverage changes the course of their lives forever, and events are set in motion that are joyful, heart breaking – and terrifying.

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The final instalment to the Sarah Macintyre series really ends the whole series with a bang! In Book 3 the whole of Macintyre family get drawn into the search for a missing child. It is this incident that Sarah realises to “gift” is also strong with in her daughter Claire for it is she that has a vision about where the missing boy is. Claire needs a lot of help and support from her parents to learn how to deal with her new found Gift as does John. The more he opened his mind to the possibly it becomes obvious he to has a “gift” There is a spiritual awakening within John that leads to a deeper relationship with his wife, although at times it does seem beyond all their expectations.

Book 3 “Broken” for me was the best of all the books. I loved the plotline and the characters become much stronger. John has a skill that helps the family build a new life in Scotland. He supports his wife with a huge kindness, his gentleness comes to the fore which is even more shocking that he dreams of killing someone, something?

This is a sensational book, that creates excitement throughout. It creates an amazingly strong feeling of wonder in the reader. The tense moments are strong yet interwoven with joy, love and grief. I would highly recommend this entire series. Its a wonderful series that explores spirituality, auras and the ability to help others in an empathic way. Not always for the better. Overall it#s just brilliant.

Author Bio –

R V Biggs lives in a small ex-mining village near Wolverhampton, England, with his wife Julie and Mags the black lab. He has four grown up children and eight grandchildren.

Walking with the dog is a favourite pastime and much of the story line for his first novel was developed during these lengthy outings.

Robert worked for 35 years in telecommunications but changed career paths to a managerial supporting role within a local Mental Health National Health Service trust. It was during the period between these roles that the concept for his first novel was born.

Robert is a firm believer that destiny and co-incidence exist hand in hand and this conviction extends to his writing. He has a passion for holistic well-being and after first-hand experience of the potential healing powers of Reiki, a form of energy therapy, took a Reiki level 1 training course to heighten his spiritual awareness. Robert’s experiences in these areas helped conceive the ideas that led to Song of the Robin and its sequels Reunion and Broken, novels with central themes of fate, love, and the strength of family. His writing is not fantasy however but is set in modern times involving real people living real lives.

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Book Review “Reunion” By R.V. Biggs”

The Sarah MacIntyre series. Book 2



One random, violent act is enough to change Sarah Macintyre’s life forever.

Left unsettled, and yearning for a new beginning, Sarah is unsure of what to do with herself. But one day she discovers an anonymous letter hidden amidst a pile of unopened mail.

The note, however, contains nothing more than a confusing riddle.

Intrigued and excited, Sarah’s hunger for a new purpose compels her to search for the author to understand the puzzle and solve the mystery.

Embarking on a journey that will shape the rest of her life and that of her family, Sarah uncovers a past of which she had no knowledge, a present she must find a path through, and a future filled with intense grief and utmost joy.

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Reunion is Book 2 in the Sarah Macintyre series that follows on directly from Book 1 , The Song of the Robin. Another great mystery fantasy novel from R.V. Biggs. A well written rounded plotline that leaves you wanting more.

Sarah begins on her journey to discover her past and find out what her “gift” is and is it going to make her life better ? Or is it really going to be such a burden to her and her adored family that it just brings her down?

Reunion is an enchanting read that leads you on a journey of discovery with Sarah. The beautiful descriptive writing style made me feel that I was walking this Journey right there next to her. It really makes you reflect on your life, past and present. The way Sarah’s empathy comes through is truly captivating and whether she experiences grief or love, she does deal with it all in her stride. Her never ending quest to find out what the mysterious letter is all about and what does it mean for the future of all her Loved ones?

A perfect second instalment in this fabulous series, bring on Book 3.