Winning Ace by Tracie Delaney #BookReview #amreading @Tracie_Delaney

About this book…

A journalist desperate for a story

A tennis star who loathes the media

Do opposites attract? Or are the differences too great?

When the opportunity arises for journalist Tally McKenzie to meet tennis ace Cash Gallagher, she grabs it without hesitation. Desperate for a killer story to advance her career, she’ll have to betray her idol and her own morals into the bargain if she is to succeed.

Renowned bad boy Cash wants one thing; to remain at the top of his game. He’s fought hard to get there, and he’s not about to lose his crown, especially over a woman.

When Cash divulges personal information, Tally seizes her chance and writes an explosive article. Incensed, Cash sets out to get his revenge. Except the darling of centre court gets more than he bargained for—a passionate affair with a woman he should detest.

But Cash is a man with secrets—secrets that could destroy his career. Dare he take the risk? Or is the cost too great, even for his perfect match


My review…

I had been excitedly looking forward to reading this book ever since the author Tracie Delaney was a guest on my “Dreams Come True” feature a few months ago. You can read her guest post HERE

I’ve always been a huge tennis fan (I went to my first Wimbledon Mens singles Final in 1982 where I fell madly in love with Jimmy Connors!!) so I was intrigued to see how this contemporary romance would work in the competitive, jet setting world of this popular sport. It’s not a sport often used in a romantic setting, although it did work well in the film Wimbledon with Paul Bettany And Kirsten Dunst which I really enjoyed. So I’m thrilled to say that Winning Ace was just brilliant and that I loved absolutely everything about it! This book really did have it all for me! I’m fact, as soon as I finished it I clicked the pre-order button for Losing Game, the second book in the trilogy that’s out next month! So be warned that Cash and Tally’s story doesn’t conclude here but will continue across the series. And I can’t wait to follow their intense, sexually charged relationship further!

Once I picked Winning Ace up I physically couldn’t put it down. Mainly due to me developing serious “fictional character crush” on Cash Gallagher as soon as he appeared. Tracie Delaney brought him to live so well that I could hear that sexy Irish accent in my head every time he spoke! Now EVERYONE knows that I’m a sucker for an accent and that for me it’s all about the voice (just ask my hubby, he’ll tell you I fell in love with his gorgeous accent first!!). So I melted every time Cash called Tally “sweetness” and though he is also very fond of the F word, I have to admit that I found that a bit of a turn on too!! A foul mouthed, Irish professional tennis player with a fit body and a side order of “bad boy”….. what more could a woman want?!

Tracie Delaney has weaved a hot and steamy romantic tale here with characters that are believable and that you come to care about immediately. Her narrative flows so beautifully, with just a touch of humour to help break up the intensity of such a fiery and passionate love story. The scenes with Tally and her best friend Em especially made me smile as I loved their easygoing friendship and banter. 

This is probably best described as a modern day Cinderella story with Tally finally (after years of worshipping Cash from afar) bagging the man of her dreams but will she get her Happy Ever After? We’ve all had posters on our walls of teenage crushes and imagined what life would be like if we met them and they fell madly in love with us, haven’t we??!! And maybe that’s why this works so well as it appeals to that teenage girl who still lurks inside all of us. Although relatively inexperienced, Tally never felt like a naive innocent being taken advantage of by the “love ’em and leave ’em” Cash-it definitely felt like a real life love match and I adored their relationship. But Cash is a man with a few skeletons in his closet-are those secrets about to tear him away from the love of his life? It’s all to play for still and we’re a long way from match point let alone winning the championship. Roll on “Losing Game”, although with a title like that, I am getting a little worried about that Happy Ever After!!

Winning Ace: A Winning Ace Novel (Book 1) is available to purchase now. Book 2 Losing Game: A Winning Ace Novel (Book 2) is available to pre-order and is out on 31st July 2017.


Meet the author…

Tracie Delaney

Tracie Delaney is the author of the Winning Ace series. She loves nothing more than immersing herself in writing romance, although she sometimes, rather cheekily, makes her characters wait for their HEA.

When she isn’t writing or sitting around with her head stuck in a book, she can often be found watching The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones or any tennis match involving Roger Federer. Her greatest fear is running out of coffee.

Tracie studied accountancy, gaining her qualification in 2001. Her maths teacher would no doubt be stunned by this revelation considering Tracie could barely add two plus two at high school.

Tracie lives in the North West of England with her amazingly supportive husband. They both share a love of dogs, travel and wine.

Tracie loves to hear from readers. She can be contacted via her website at or via Facebook where she regularly interacts with readers


The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse #BookReview @MrsAmandaProwse

About this book…

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But becoming parents proves much harder to achieve than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn’t have. Jonah’s love and support are unquestioning, but Lucy’s struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille’s presence straining the bonds of Lucy’s marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…

This heart-wrenchingly poignant family drama from bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: in today’s hectic world, what does it mean to be a mother?

My review…

When I saw that the new book by one of my favourite authors Amanda Prowse was about motherhood, specifically struggling to become a mother due to miscarriage, I knew this was going to be a very emotional read for me. And then I realised that Amanda’s “book birthday” would be the same day as my daughter’s birthday, my “miracle baby” even though she is now 25, so I knew it was a sign! I HAD to read this book! I had to see how Amanda dealt with the issues raised as, at one point in my life, I WAS Lucy having had several early and one very late miscarriage. Motherhood was a dream for me to chase and I was determined never to give up until I succeeded.

Nearly every woman I know has had a very different and unique journey to motherhood, if at all. And this is why I’m such a huge fan of Amanda Prowse and her books because she writes for women like me, about women like me-women who don’t know their own strengths until they are face to face with the difficulties that life unexpectedly throws at them, women who’s paths in life aren’t the ones they necessarily thought that they would be on.

Following Lucy on her struggle to have a baby was very difficult to read at times. Showing how the baby develops during certain stages of pregnancy also seemed to make it harder and I watched with a feeling of helplessness as I willed Lucy’s baby’s to hang on in there! But the most poignant part of the novel for me were the letters that were interspersed throughout providing a window into what might have been for the future and that was the saddest part of the book for me. Realising that it’s not just a baby that you lose but a whole lifetime of “firsts” . No first steps, no first day of school, the list is endless and if you are desperate for a child all you can see is that vision of a perfect family life slipping away from you, even though you know deep down that it’s an unrealistic expectation.

The slowly developed relationship between Lucy and Camille was a real contrast to the way Lucy and Jonah got together after their whirlwind romance. Bringing Camille into the family dynamics brought an edge that cut through the sentiment, providing a stepmother/stepdaughter relationship with all the difficulties that possibly brings. I loved all the extended family and their dramas, again I found them very true to life, all of them adding to the bigger picture showing that the life Lucy was chasing was far from idealistic. Lucy wasn’t always the most likeable of characters but her emotions and reactions were always absolutely spot on and I empathised with her totally.

I found it impossible to put this book down once I had picked it up and I couldn’t go to sleep until I had read the last page. And then when I finished it, I re-read the last chapter again in awe of how my emotions had been stretched to nearly breaking point by a master of her craft. Amanda Prowse, you nearly broke me-tears were definitely shed! As I’ve said before, no one does domestic drama like this author -she has a gift for bringing emotive issues to life and weaving the most memorable stories around them. Highly recommended by me!

Many thanks to Lake Union Publishing and Mr Simeon Prowse for my review copy of The Idea of You which will be published on 21st March 2017 and will be available to purchase on Amazon UK.

Meet the author…

Amanda Prowse

Amanda Prowse likens her own life story to those she writes about in her books. After self-publishing her debut novel, Poppy Day, in 2011, she has gone on to author sixteen novels and six novellas. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages and she regularly tops bestseller charts all over the world.

Remaining true to her ethos, Amanda writes stories of ordinary women and their families who find their strength, courage and love tested in ways they never imagined. The most prolific female contemporary fiction writer in the UK, with a legion of loyal readers, she goes from strength to strength. Being crowned ‘queen of domestic drama’ by the Daily Mail was one of her finest moments.

Amanda is a regular contributor on TV and radio, but her first love is and will always be writing.

You can find her online at, on Twitter at @MrsAmandaProwse and on Facebook at

The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher #BlogTour @bookouture

Today I am delighted to be on the blog tour for Kerry Fisher and The Silent Wife.

About this book…

Would you risk everything for the man you loved? Even if you knew he’d done something terrible?

Lara’s life looks perfect on the surface. Gorgeous doting husband Massimo, sweet little son Sandro and the perfect home. Lara knows something about Massimo. Something she can’t tell anyone else or everything Massimo has worked so hard for will be destroyed: his job, their reputation, their son. This secret is keeping Lara a prisoner in her marriage.

Maggie is married to Massimo’s brother Nico and lives with him and her troubled stepdaughter. She knows all of Nico’s darkest secrets – or so she thinks. The one day she discovers a letter in the attic which reveals a shocking secret about Nico’s first wife Caitlin. Will Maggie set the record straight or keep silent to protect those she loves?

For a family held together by lies, the truth will come at a devastating price.

My review…

I do love a twisty family drama, one full of secrets and lies that you read with just the slightest tinge of smugness as you can see what is about to happen miles before our poor characters do. But Kerry Fisher always managed to pull something delectably different out of the bag and here she managed to throw a few curveballs, keeping us in our toes right to the very end!

The days of the traditional mum, dad and their 2.4 children have long gone now and family dynamics have changed dramatically due to the extended family. Step-parents are pretty much the norm nowadays so it was rather interesting to see how differently the two second wives coped within their new families. Finding their feet without tripping up over  family traditions or trying to live up to wife number one seem to be the constants here although Maggie seems to have a tougher time adjusting to her new role than Lara. But Lara appears to have worse problems within her marriage to contend with.

Kerry Fisher has created a tangled web of lies and indiscretions here with characters that I really came to care about and think of as friends. I took to Maggie, especially, right from the first time we get to meet her at her wedding to Nico. And when her mum Beryl was introduced into the plot, I realised where Maggie had inherited her strengths of character from and that it would hopefully help her adjust to married life as a second wife and stepmother to a teenage girl. Beryl was hilarious and I think my goal in life now is to be “a bit more Beryl”. Straight talking, forthright and hilarious and always had the perfect story to tell or the perfect treat on hand at just the right time.

Perfectly paced and plotted I loved following this family drama through to it’s climatic finale. It was slightly darker than Kerry’s other books but still with a subtle but mischievous humour at times. This book was originally called The Secrets of Second Wifes and if I’m honest I think that represents the plot better than The Silent Wife but it made no difference once my head was stuck between the pages. An enjoyable experience from start to finish!

Many thanks to Kim at Bookouture for my copy of The Silent Wife which I have chosen to read and review.

The Silent Wife: A gripping emotional page turner with a twist that will take your breath away is published by Bookouture on 24th February 2017 and can be of at Amazon UK.

Meet the author…

Kerry Fisher

Born in Peterborough, Kerry Fisher studied French and Italian at Bath University, followed by several years working as an English teacher in Corsica and Spain before topping the dizzying heights of holiday rep and grape picker in Tuscany. She eventually succumbed to ‘getting a proper job’ and returned to England to study Periodical Journalism at City University. After two years working in the features department at Essentials magazine in London, love carried her off to the wilds of the West Pennine moors near Bolton. She now lives in Surrey with her husband (of whisking off to Bolton fame), two teenagers and a very naughty lab/schnauzer called Poppy. Kerry can often be seen trailing across the Surrey Hills whistling and waving pieces of chicken while the dog practises her ‘talk to the tail’. In her third book, After The Lie, Kerry shamelessly exploits every embarrassing dog misdemeanour to create her fictional hound, Mabel.

Kerry has spent half her life talking about writing a novel, then several years at Candis magazine reviewing other people’s but it wasn’t until she took some online courses with the UCLA (University of California) that the dream started to morph into reality, culminating in the publishing of The Class Ceiling. The Avon imprint of HarperCollins picked it up and retitled it The School Gate Survival Guide, published summer 2014. Her second book, The Island Escape, came out in May 2015. It won first prize at the York Festival of Writing for the opening line: ‘I was wearing the wrong bra for sitting in a police cell’. Her latest book, After The Lie, the story of how small lies become more toxic as they pass down the generations, is out on 29 April 2016.

Because I Was Lonely by Hayley Mitchell #BlogTour @RedDoorBooks @HayleyMitchellc

Happy Valentines Day everyone! I’m delighted to be on my first blog tour today for Red Door Publishing and what a book to start off with-Because I Was Lonely the debut novel by Hayley Mitchell. 


About the book…

Meet Rachel. She is caught in a spiral of endless crying, dirty nappies, and sleepless nights. She fears for her sanity and the safety of her children.

She’s lonely.

Meet Adam. Suffering from the pain and trauma of a terrible accident that he blames himself for, he stays at home, unable to bring himself to leave the house.

He’s lonely.

So when Rachel and Adam rekindle their long lost friendship online, what starts as a little harmless flirtation, soon becomes an unhealthy obsession, and slowly the threads of their lives unravel before them.

Four lonely people . Two unhappy marriages . One dangerous, but inevitable climax.

My review…

I had seen some stunning reviews of this book before I picked it up to read so I was rather worried after the first forty or so pages that it wasn’t going to be for me! The description of Rachel and her descent into mental illness, a severe case of post natal depression, was so achingly lifelike and realistic that I found it very hard to read and my own mood dipped accordingly. Added to the mix was my pure rage and frustration at David and his inability to cope with, or even really see, what was happening to his wife. His total lack of support and understanding was tough to read but then my feelings started to shift. I heard David’s side of the story and realised maybe things weren’t quite as straightforward as I had first concluded. And when Adam and Julia’s story started to unfold, the book began to weave its spell over me. Adam’s mental health issues hit me in the face with such a deeply fierce and raw emotion that I was then utterly hooked. So do make sure you don’t give up on this book because the more you read, the most unputdownable it becomes!

Both Adam and Rachel are lonely in their marriages due to the problems overwhelming their everyday lives. But a chance “like” on a Facebook post starts an online relationship between the two old friends. And part two of the book is when it becomes a hugely powerful psychological suspense that I physically couldn’t put down and my initial reaction was forgotton. Once the two of them start to private message, I was gripped, watching with a fascination and mounting horror  as these two damaged individuals began a potentially dangerous obsession.

This is a dark and disturbing book, perfectly pitched and filled with characters I mostly disliked, but it was absolutely riveting with its “car crash” of a storyline that I couldn’t tear my eyes away from. Hayley Mitchell has completely captured the feelings experienced by her characters in this snapshot of modern day loneliness. Her intelligent and probing writing style has produced a very self assured debut novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. I can’t wait to read more from Hayley Mitchell and she is definitely a name to watch out for in the future.

My thanks to Anna at Red Door Publishing for my review copy of Because I Was Lonely.

Because I Was Lonely is released on March 2nd 2017 and is available to purchase from Amazon UK.

Meet the author…


Hayley Mitchell spends most of the time writing books in her head and was finally able to put finger to keyboard and capture some of those words in the form of her debut novel Because I Was Lonely.

A law graduate she has spent most of her life working with people and much of her career as an advice worker for charities. Always fascinated by people and their relationships she began to write fiction. She is very lucky to live in Wiltshire with her husband, whose support has been invaluable and their two children who amuse, inspire and exhaust her everyday. She now divides her time between her family, running a small business encouraging creativity in children and writing her second novel.

Dare to Remember by Susanna Beard #BlogTour @Legend_Press @SusannaBeard25

I’m absolutely delighted to be on the blog tour today for the debut novel by Susanna Beard “Dare to Remember”


About this book…

Reeling from a brutal attack that leaves her best friend dead and her badly injured, Lisa Fulbrook flees to the countryside to recuperate. With only vague memories of the event, she isolates herself from her friends and family, content to spend her days wandering the hills with her dog, Riley.

However, Lisa is soon plagued, not only by vivid flashbacks, but questions, too: how did their assailant know them? Why were they attacked? And what really happened that night?

As she desperately tries to piece together the memories, Lisa realises that there’s another truth still hidden to her, a truth she can’t escape from. A truth that may have been right in front of her all along.

My review…

Sometimes you pick up a book expecting one thing but getting something completely different (GOOD different not bad different!) and Dare to Remember is one such book. I was expecting the usual psychological thriller from the blurb on the back but was pleasantly surprised by the beautifully developed plot and depth of emotion laid bare here. In fact, this wasn’t so much a psychological thriller as a suspenseful piece of women’s fiction in my opinion and I found it all the more enjoyable for that. After the first few pages I was sucked into Lisa’s solitary existence and couldn’t put it down, reading long into the night, totally bewitched by the stunning prose and insightful exploration of post traumatic stress disorder.

Dare to Remember is intelligently written and intriguing with a perfectly crafted cast of characters who drive the storyline forward at a relaxed pace due to the longer chapters. This is no adrenaline rush, rollercoaster ride to discover what happened the night Lisa was attacked and her flatmate and best friend dead. Instead, we follow Lisa as she struggles with her survivors guilt and devastating grief. She cuts herself off from her family and friends and moves away, unable to cope with work or familiar places all of which remind her of Ali. But a chance meeting with an adorable black spaniel starts her on the road to unexpected friendships and a need to begin her healing process including possible closure about what happened that night.

To me, weirdly enough, I actually would have been quite happy NOT to find out exactly what happened the night Lisa was attacked. It was obviously an horrendous and brutal crime which left its mark on her both physically and mentally, but I was more taken by the day to day life of Lisa and enjoyed watching her come to terms with the changes in her surroundings and circumstances. I loved Riley and the walks he shared with Lisa and eventually Jess and Bobby. But my favourite character was John. His relationship with Lisa was so incredibly touching, and gradually built upon, until the only worry I had about the approaching denouement was not what was about to come out about “that night” but the welfare of John!

Dare to Remember is a wonderful, touching debut and I can’t wait to read more by Susanna Beard. Many thanks to Lucy Chamberlain for my review copy.

Dare to Remember: New Psychological Crime Drama. was published by Legend Press on 1st Feb 2017 and is available to purchase from Amazon UK.

Meet the author…


Susanna is a psychological crime writer who lives in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Her day job in PR both demands and celebrates writing and she’s helped promote everything from websites to wine. She writes every day, all the time: news, articles, speeches, websites, blogs – and now novels.

She likes dark, contemplative stories with a twist; she’s fascinated by the psychology of relationships and the impact of insignificant events on people’s lives.

Susanna started writing fiction after attending a course at the Faber Academy. Other passions include her dogs, who keep her grounded, and tennis, which clears her brain of pretty much everything.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough #BlogTour #Extract #wtfthatending

I am so excited to be a stop on the blog tour for Behind Her Eyes today-this book was in my top reads for last year and I’m sure it will top many “Top 2017 Lists” this year. I’m sharing my review again plus an extract

About this book…

Don’t Trust This Book

Don’t Trust These People

Don’t Trust Yourself

And whatever you do, DON’T give away that ending…

‘Sarah Pinborough is about to become your new obsession’ Harlan Coben


Since her husband walked out, Louise has made her son her world, supporting them both with her part-time job. But all that changes when she meets…


Young, successful and charming – Louise cannot believe a man like him would look at her twice let alone be attracted to her. But that all comes to a grinding halt when she meets his wife…


Beautiful, elegant and sweet – Louise’s new friend seems perfect in every way. As she becomes obsessed by this flawless couple, entangled in the intricate web of their marriage, they each, in turn, reach out to her.

But only when she gets to know them both does she begin to see the cracks… Is David really is the man she thought she knew and is Adele as vulnerable as she appears?
Just what terrible secrets are they both hiding and how far will they go to keep them?


“This will cheer you up.” She pulls a joint out of the top pocket of her red corduroy jacket. “Trust me, you’ll find every thing funnier once we’re baked.” She sees the reluctance on my face and grins. ” Come on, Lou. It’s a special occasion. You’ve excelled yourself. Snogged your new married boss. This is genius. I should get someone to write the film. I could play you.”

“Good.” I say. ” I’ll need the money when I’m fired.” I can’t fight Sophie, and I don’t want to, and soon we are sitting out in the small balcony of my  tiny flat, wine, crisps, and cigarettes at our feet, passing the weed between us, giggling.

Unlike Sophie, who somehow remains half-teenager, getting high is not in anyway part of my normal routine -there isn’t the time or the money when you are on your own-but laughter beats crying anytime, and I suck in a lungful of sweet, forbidden smoke.

“It could only happen to you.” she says. ” You hid? ”

I nod, smiling at the comedy of the memory imagined through someone else’s eyes. “I couldn’t think of anything else to do. I dived into the toilet and stayed there. When I came out, he’d gone. He doesn’t start until tomorrow. He was getting the full tour from Dr Sykes.”

” With his wife. ”

“Yep, with his wife.” I remember how good they looked together in that brief, awful moment of realisation. A beautiful couple.

“How long did you stay in the toilet for?”

” Twenty minutes. ”

“Oh, Lou”

There’s a pause, and then we both have the giggles, wine and weed buzzing our heads, and for a little while we can’t stop.

“I wish I could have seen your face.” Sophie says.

“Yeah, well I’m not looking forward to seeing his face when he sees my face.”

Sophie shrugs. “He’s the married one. It’s his shame. He can’t say anything to you.”

She absolves me of my guilt, but I can still feel it clinging, along with the shock. The gut punch of the woman I’d glimpsed by his side before I dashed into hiding. His beautiful wife. Elegant. Dark -haired and olive-skinned in an Angelina Jolie way. That kind of mystery about her. Exceptionally thin. The opposite of me. The snapshot of her is burned into my brain. I couldn’t imagine her ever panicking and hiding in a toilet from anyone. It stung in a way it shouldn’t have, not after one drunken afternoon, and not only because my confidence has reached rock bottom.

The thing is, I’d liked him-really liked him. I can’t tell Sophie about that. How I hadn’t talked to anyone like that in a long time. How happy I’d felt to be flirting with someone who was flirting back, and how I’d forgotten how great that excitement of something potentially new was. My life is, as a rule, a blur of endless routine. I get Adam up and take him to school. If I’m working and want to start early, he goes to breakfast club. If I’m not working, I may spend an hour or so browsing charity shops for designer cast-offs  that will fit the clinic’s subtly expensive look. Then its just cooking, cleaning, shopping, until Adam comes home, and then it’s homework, tea, bath, story, bed for him and wine and bad sleep for me. When he goes to his dad’s for a weekend I’m too tired to do anything much other than lie in and then watch crap TV. The idea that this could be my life until Adam’s at least fifteen or so quietly terrifies me, so I don’t think about it. But then meeting the man-in-the-bar made me realise how good it was to feel something. As a woman, it made me feel alive. I’d even thought about going back to that bar and seeing if he’d turned up to find me. But, of course, life isn’t a romcom. And he’s married. And I’ve been an idiot. I’m not bitter, merely sad. I can’t tell Sophie any of these things because then she’d feel sorry for me, and I don’t want that, and it’s easier to find it all funny. It is funny. And it’s not like I sit at home bemoaning my singledom every night, as if no-one could ever be complete without a man. In the main, I’m pretty happy. I’m a grown-up. I could have it way worse. This was one mistake. I have to deal with it.

I scoop up a handful of Doritos and Sophie does the same.

“Curves are the new thin,” we say in unison, before cramming the crisps into our mouths and nearly choking as we laugh again. I think about me hiding in the toilet from him, full of panic and disbelief. It is funny. Everything is funny. It might be less funny tomorrow morning when I have to face the music, but for now I laugh. If you can’t laugh at your own fuck-ups, what can you laugh at?

“Why do you do it?” I say later, when the bottle of wine is empty between us and the evening is drawing to a close. “Have affairs? Aren’t you happy with Jay?”

” Of course I am. ” Sophie says “I love him. It’s not like I’m out doing it all the time.”

This is probably true. She’s an actress; she exaggerates for the sake of a story sometimes.

“But why do it at all?” Strangely, it’s not something we’ve really talked about that much. She knows I’m uncomfortable with it, not because she does it-that’s her business -but because I know and like Jay. He’s good for her  Without him, she’d be screwed. As it were.

” I have a higher sex drive than he does, ” she says, eventually. “And sex isn’t what marriage is about anyway. It’s about being with your best friend. Jay’s my best friend. But we’ve been together fifteen years. Lust can’t maintain itself. I mean, we still do it, sometimes, but it’s not like it was, and having a child changes things. You spend so many years seeing each other as parents rather than lovers, its hard to get that passion back.”

I think of my own short-lived marriage. The lust didn’t die with us. But that didn’t stop him leaving after four years to be with someone else when our son was barely two years old. Maybe she has a point. I don’t think I ever saw my ex, Ian, as my best friend

“It just seems a bit sad to me.” And it does.

” That’s because you believe in true love and happy ever after in a fairy tale way. That’s not how life is. ”

“Do you think he’s ever cheated on you?” I ask.

” He’s definitely had his flirtations, ” she says “There was a singer he worked with a long time ago. I think maybe they had a thing for a while. But whatever it was, it didn’t affect us. Not really”

She makes it sound so reasonable. All I can think of is the pain of betrayal I felt when Ian left. How what he did affected how I saw myself. How worthless I felt in those early days. How ugly. The short-lived romance he left me for didn’t last either, but that didn’t make me feel any better.

“I don’t think I’ll ever understand it,” I say.

” Everyone has secrets , Lou, ” she says. “Everyone should be allowed their secrets. You can never know everything about a person. You’d go mad trying to.”


And you can read my 5* review of the amazing  Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough here!




The Good Enough Mother by Anoushka Beazley #BlogTour @AnoushkaBeazley @jennymarston_xo

Last year I read a book that blew me away and I had a huge reaction to my review. The Good Enough Mother is on my Top 20 books of 2016 list so I’m very excited to be joining the blog tour today. I have a Q&A with the author, Anoushka Beazley, and you can also read my review again too.

Q&A with Anoushka Beazley…

1. Tell me about your journey to publication?

I started as a lot of writers do, trying to get an agent and a publisher the traditional way. With my first two novels and over a period of five years I got close but there was always something stopping me getting to the finish line; “we’ve just published a story set in Sri Lanka, so sorry.” Or “have you thought about setting the novel in India instead?”. After writing The Good Enough Mother I was reluctant to start the whole process again and after sending the manuscript out to a small handful of agents – where I bizarrely received the best feedback I’ve ever had – I suddenly got scared of years of my life passing me by only to hear the same rejections as I did before. I made the decision to self-publish and I’m so glad that I did.      



2. What advice would you give to anyone starting on their writing career?

Try and write every day. Try and read other people’s books. So much is to be learnt from the practice of writing regularly and forming the habit of writing. It really doesn’t matter if you think what you’re writing isn’t good, similarly, if it is good. Often the writing you think is terrible is a doorway to something better and the stuff you think is Pulitzer isn’t as good as you think it is! Becoming a writer is one of the best ways to understand the purpose of life – it’s all about the journey. As amazing as my book launch was it was still the end of one of the most amazingly creative periods of my life. I reckon it’s not dissimilar to seeing one of your kids go off to university. You’re proud and you wish them the best but boy do you miss them.


3. Do you have a writing routine or any writing superstitions?

I’m superstitious about lots of things but not about writing! My writing routine is every day, preferably in the morning. By the evening there is little living in me that can be called creative and I tend to devote my attention to Netflix.


4. What, if anything, would you do differently when releasing your next book?

It was my first time and all in all there isn’t anything I’d drastically change as I think it all happened the way it was meant to but if I could, I would like to have had more marketing done before the publication date. I was lucky enough to have been selected by international book club Poppyloves as their September choice, their first self-published novel. I published the novel on Amazon in August and with the book club happening in September there was no time to devote to marketing, which is important when self-publishing as there isn’t anyone else to do that job but you.  


5. What are you working on at present?

The book has been selected by the BBC and Creative Skillset to be turned into a film treatment so I’m working on that.


6. Which writers do you read? 

I don’t tend to read specific writers, I read stories.


7. And who excites you at the moment? 

The Curse of Mahenjo Daro by Maha Khan Phillips

And you can read my review of The Good Enough Mother by Anoushka Beazley here! Needless to say I absolutely adored this book!

About this book…

Gatlin – a leafy, affluent town: Chelsea tractors and ladies who lunch. However all is not as it seems. Drea, a most unnatural mother, struggles to find private school fees for her step-daughter Ava after her boyfriend leaves her for another woman. Watching the yummy mummies she becomes inspired, hatching a daring and criminal plan…unleashing all hell in the quiet town of Gatlin. Can Drea survive the fallout and the wrath of the PTA? A satirical and hilarious black comedy about love, motherhood and the human condition.

The Good Enough Mother is available now to purchase from Amazon UK.

But if you’re feeling lucky you can enter a fabulous giveaway here to win one of 10 signed copies of The Good Enough Mother! Just click on the link HERE.

Anoushka Beazleyhas a film degree, an acting diploma and a masters in creative writing. She is a full time novelist, lives in North London with three little witches, a lawyer and a Maine Coon.

Englishwoman in Paris by Jenny O’Brien #BookReview @ScribblerJB

About this book…

Love is…knowing when to say goodbye

22 year old Lady Sarah Cosgrave is a student at the Sorbonne and heiress to millions, but only if she’s engaged by the time she reaches 23. She’s in urgent need of a fake boyfriend to appease her parents – anyone will do as long as he has long vowels and a long pocket. Handsome French brickie.
Pascal de Sauvarin is neither, but as he’s the only man available he’ll have to do. Can their love overcome the demands polite society throws at it or will she be forced to marry rancid Rupert?

My review…

I sometimes need time out from some of the harrowing stories I choose to read (murders and missing children can give you a real fear of the world outside sometimes!)  and as an incurable romantic I often dip into some contemporary romance just to remind myself that love is still in the air!

This is the first book I have read by Jenny O’Brien although I follow her blog and have always been really taken by the soft and gentle way she writes. So I was really keen to see how this transferred to her fictional storytelling and I have to say I wasnt disappointed! Within the first couple of pages I was totally absorbed into the life of Lady Sarah Cosgrove who has been living in the beautiful city of Paris while studying music at the Sorbonne. She is about to return to the UK and get engaged to her much older “boyfriend” so that she doesn’t lose her inheritance. But on the building site next to her apartment is a very sexy builder and when they accidentally meet one day, romance is not far behind.

I loved both Sarah and Pascal here. Jenny O’Brien has written a beautifully crafted warm and witty, but not sickly sweet, romance between two really engaging characters. It even made me want to visit Paris again and experience the wonder of all the sights we recognise and love so well. To just sit in the City of Romance drinking cafe au lait, dipping in croissants and watching the world go by-who wouldn’t love that? There was a humour here as well that I wasn’t expecting and it helped to lift this adorable little romance to another level for me. I hope that Jenny O’Brien becomes much better known as she has the enviable ability to take her readers away from the real world so that they are completely immersed in her storytelling.

I loved this and felt such a “feelgood” emotion at the end that I had a smile on my face for the rest of the day. I also want to mention the unexpected appearance of a place I know very well indeed which was the cherry on the top of this delightful romance.

Many thanks to the author for my review copy of Englishwoman in Paris which I have chosen to read and review.

Englishwoman in Paris is available to purchase now at Amazon UK.

Meet the author…

Jenny O'Brien
Bestselling author Jenny O’Brien was born in Ireland a very long time ago. She’s an avid reader and book reviewer for NetGalley in addition to being a 2016 RoNA judge.
She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so.
She’s also an avid collector of cats, broken laptops, dust and happy endings – two of which you’ll always find in her scribblings!
She lives in Guernsey and, in her spare time she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off.

A Mother’s Confession by Kelly Rimmer @Bookouture @KelRimmerWrites #BookReview

About this book…

Your husband took his own life. Tell the truth and destroy what’s left of your family. Or keep a secret that will tear you apart. What would you do?

Olivia and David were the perfect couple with their whole lives in front of them. When beautiful baby daughter Zoe came along, their world seemed complete.

But now David is dead and Olivia’s world is in pieces. While she is consumed with grief, her mother-in-law Ivy is also mourning the loss of her son. Both women are hiding secrets about the man they loved. Secrets that have put the family in danger.

Something was very wrong in Olivia and David’s marriage. Can Olivia and Ivy break their silence and speak the truth? A mother should protect her child, whatever the cost…shouldn’t she?

From the bestselling author of The Secret Daughterand Me Without You comes another emotionally gripping and gut-wrenching read about love, loss and the strength of a mother’s love.

My review…

Very rarely do I find a book that makes me howl like a baby but A Mothers Confession not only made me cry, I actually had to go into another room as I was sobbing so much I didn’t want my family to see! Honestly, I feel as though someone has ripped my heart out of my chest, shredded it into a million pieces and then stuffed it back in again expecting it to work as normal….not happening!!!! This book has shot straight into my top 10 books of the year and I want EVERYONE to read it NOW!

I actually didn’t read any reviews of this book before I read it and personally, I would advise other potential readers to do the same. I think you will have a much deeper reaction to the storyline if you don’t. Which means most of you should have stopped reading now but if you are still here then I can tell you that I actually hadn’t thought this was my type of book from the blurb. But then I started to see the massive reactions people had after reading it and as I have a terrible fear of missing out I decided to downloaded a sample. Well, I read the first few pages then bought the rest of the book immediately as it had already started to give me goosebumps.

This is a book told by the two women in the life of David Gillespie, his wife Olivia and his mother Ivy. But these women both seem to know and love a very different David. As a mother you always want to believe the best of your child and you will love and try to protect them till the day you die. But Ivy took her role as a mother to a much more extreme version of that, bordering on a rather unhealthy obsession. I wanted to understand her and bond with her as a fellow parent but it just didn’t happen-I despised her. Olivia I loved from the moment that she appeared on the page, a totally different mother to baby Zoe but still putting her child first, especially since The Tragedy. And both women now have to deal with the aftermath of that tragedy but in very different ways.

This has been one of the most emotional, heartbreaking and difficult to read books for me. I struggled to control my emotions at times, and let me tell you, they all came out! Anger and disgust jostled for position with sadness and fear but all overcome by a feeling of pure helplessness for the way this one man affected so many lives.

As soon as I finished this book (well, after I finished crying into a whole packet of tissues) I went straight onto Amazon to buy this authors other books. They will have a lot to live up to compared to this one but I adored her storytelling skills so much I just have to have another hit!

One of the most powerful books I have read this year. It was just BRILLIANT from beginning to end.

I must make a special mention here to Claire Mawdesley who’s incredulous reaction to this amazing book was the one that pushed me to download it. So a huge thank you from me to Claire.

A Mother’s Confession: A heartbreaking story with a breathtaking twist was published by Bookouture on 28th October and is available to purchase here at Amazon UK.

Meet the author…


The Last Days of Leda Grey by Essie Fox #BookReview @orionbooks @essiefox

About this book…

A bewitching novel about an enigmatic silent film actress, and the volatile love affair that left her a recluse for over half a century – for fans of Sarah Waters and Tracy Chevalier.

During the oppressive heat wave of 1976 a young journalist, Ed Peters, finds an Edwardian photograph in a junk shop in the seaside town of Brightland. It shows an alluring, dark-haired girl, an actress whose name was Leda Grey.

Enchanted by the image, Ed learns Leda Grey is still living – now a recluse in a decaying cliff-top house she once shared with a man named Charles Beauvois, a director of early silent film. As Beauvois’s muse and lover, Leda often starred in scenes where stage magic and trick photography were used to astonishing effect.

But, while playing a cursed Egyptian queen, the fantasies captured on celluloid were echoed in reality, leaving Leda abandoned and alone for more than half a century – until the secrets of her past result in a shocking climax, more haunting than any to be in found in the silent films of Charles Beauvois.

My review…

This is the first book I have read by Essie Fox and have to admit that I didn’t even properly read the blurb when I requested it because I just wanted to possess that beautiful cover! It is so incredibly enticing and evocative of the books period setting that I fell in love and totally judged a book by its cover!

Now anyone who knows me also knows I am a HUGE film buff. I was brought up to love old black and white films whilst watching them with my grandparents and am obsessed by the old silent films from the golden age of Hollywood. It was a time before this “celebrity culture” we live in now, where the stars of the silver screen were true glamour icons. And even now they have maintained a certain mystical quality not seen since. They, like me and that cover, were also judged by the way they looked and many lost that mystique once talkies came along and people heard their voices. But those silent stars have always remained fascinating especially to me (the Clara Bow lips as a teenager were not a particularly great success though!)

This story is mainly set in 1976 when a young reporter Ed Peters comes across a shop selling old movie memorabilia, amongst other things, and goes inside to purchase a Bette Davies photo, a favourite actress of his recently deceased mother. Once inside he meets Theo and also discovers photos of a beautiful silent film star who had only made 3 films before disappearing from that world. Theo turns out to be the brother of that enigmatic actress who’s screen name was Leda Grey and who lives locally, rarely venturing from her home. Ed goes up to the house with the intention of interviewing a woman he has developed a sudden and strange fascination with and ends up spending days talking to Leda about her past life and sinking deeper under her spell.

This book drew me in and weaved its magic within the first few pages, once I’d got used to the authors rather unique writing style. It was a spine tingling tale that delivered a real sense of time and place with a darkly atmospheric undertone. I just loved the gothic feel and how White Cliff House, with its lack of electricity and phone line, was practically a character in itself! I also found Ed’s fascination with Leda to be totally plausible as there have been cases well documented of younger men being captivated by beautiful older film stars. Leda herself was an unconventional, almost mythical figure, with her eccentric personality. I especially loved the way that mirrors dominated her flashbacks as again they encouraged us to think that maybe things were not being reflected truthfully.

This was definitely an eye opener for me and I am very keen now to read other books by Essie Fox to see how they compare to this one. She certainly has me intrigued-rather like the enigmatic Leda Grey! Her love of cinematography and the film industry comes across very strongly here and any examples of classic films used show a deep affection and knowledge of them. So, for once in my life, judging a book by its cover had worked out rather well for me!

Many thanks to the publisher Orion for my review copy of The Last Days of Leda Grey.

The Last Days of Leda Grey is published by Orion on November 3rd 2016 and is available to purchase from Amazon UK here.

About the author…



Essie Fox has written three Gothic Victorian novels published by Orion Books. They are: The Somnambulist, Elijah’s Mermaid, and The Goddess and the Thief.

In November 2016 Orion will also be publishing The Last Days of Leda Grey, an eerily mysterious novel in which an old woman who lives alone in a decaying cliff top house remembers her youth in silent films – and the dangerous obsessions that led to her being abandoned for more than half a century.

Essie Fox was born and raised in Herefordshire. After studying English Literature at Sheffield University she came to work in London, first for the Telegraph Sunday Magazine and then for the book publishers, George, Allen & Unwin. A change of career then came about when Essie became a commercial designer – a passion that lasted twenty years until she began to write instead.

Essie now divides her time between Bow in East London, and Windsor. She is also a regular visitor to her childhood home of Herefordshire.

For more information:

To read Essie’s popular Victorian blog:

See many of the images that have inspired Essie’s novels on her Pinterest page: