My blog is five! #blogiversary #localandproud #Stoke #Staffordshire

Today my blog is five.

I knew nothing about book blogging until I met Mel Sherratt, an author local to me, at a library talk. Also at that library talk was Kerry Parsons. Mel introduced us. It opened up a whole new world to me.

Kerry set up her Chat About Books just a couple of days before I started my blog. Me and Kerry are massive fans of Mel, and we became part of #TeamSherratt.

I hadn’t heard of NetGalley, I didn’t even know what a galley was! I didn’t know what a hyperlink was, had to check the internet to teach me how to upload cover pictures etc, tagging, sharing, what is a ‘featured image’?….I know now, and if you don’t set one it uses the last picture on your post and that’s the one you see when you share! It was totally alien to me.

I’ve learned so much over the last 5 years about how to put a blog post together. Changed the look of my page a couple of times too. I now feel familiar with it all. I’ve made many bookish friends over the last few years. It’s such a lovely community, spreading the book love. Me and Kerry have become good friends and we even have our own author/blogger meet-up in Stoke which has been very successful. Kerry has started her own publicity company, Bowen’s Book Publicity, which you can visit here….

Thanks to the authors and publishers who let me read early copies, it’s an honour to support you. And thanks to everyone who supports me too.

I still only write short reviews, that’s my style!

Here’s to the future and many more books!

Steph x

Cathy’s Christmas Kitchen by Tilly Tennant @TillyTenWriter @bookouture #booksontour #bookreview #blogtour #CathysChristmasKitchen

Books on Tour 1st October 2020

Today it’s my stop on the blog tour for Tilly Tennant’s new release, Cathy’s Christmas Kitchen. Thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for inviting me, I’m delighted to be part of it.

My Thoughts

Tilly Tennant books always warm my heart, and this one gave me hunger pangs too.

One not to be missed. A lovely heartwarming book to snuggle down with. It hooked me in and I couldn’t put it down.

Cathy is so nice, and after losing her Mum she is on her own. Her Mum took all her time, and Cathy willingly cared for her, but now she needs to get on with her life. She has a part time job at Fleur’s flower stall in the market. Fleur is a great boss, a good listener and a guinea pig for Cathy’s cake creations. Cathy has always baked. She has lots of recipes, although all in her head, that have been passed down the generations. She sees an ad for a coffee morning at the church hall and decides to push herself and go. She bakes loads and everyone is very impressed. She meets a lady called Erica who she gets along well with. The coffee morning gang suggest a baking class and although Cathy is nervous she thinks it could work as there is a decent kitchen at the church hall. She jots down her recipes and photocopies them for her class. There are some funny characters in the class and Erica brings along her teenage niece Tansy who makes no attempt to be friendly or even civil. The class is a success and everyone enjoys the learning. Cathy’s enthusiasm and flair for baking is infectious.

One morning Cathy decides to take the scenic route along the canal to work. She encounters a dog called Guin and his dishy owner. She takes this route a few times hoping to bump into them again. It certainly gives her spirits a lift and Fleur notices this change. A man drops in to buy flowers for his wife and Cathy is shocked to see it’s her ex who moved away a few years ago. It unsettles her a bit as she wonders ‘what if’ and why is he dropping in at the exact florist she works at?

What follows is a romance, some hiccups, good friends and cake. A lot of cake, which is always good!

I loved the family and friends as aspect of the story, with some difficult topics.

Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for the review copy in which I give my honest opinion.

Publication date 1st October 2020

Get your copy here:-

Amazon UK:   Cathy’s Christmas Kitchen

Other buy links:





About the Book

As the snow flutters down in the little village of Linnetford, escape to a cosy farmhouse kitchen, scented with the rich aromas of fruitcake and gingerbread, where a love of baking is about to unite two lonely hearts…

Cathy cooked at her mother’s side her whole life and could bake a fairy cake before she could ride a bike. Now she is facing her first Christmas without her beloved mother, she’s determined to use her memories for something positive. She decides to organise a weekly cooking class, sharing her mother’s precious recipes with other lonely souls.

There’s just one small spanner in the works: teenager Tansy, who attends Cathy’s classes even though she’s rude to everyone there and seems to hate every minute. Cathy is poised to ask Tansy to leave, but her uncle, physiotherapist Matt, begs her to give the teenager another chance. And Cathy can’t resist Matt’s sparkling hazel eyes and incredibly kind heart…

But just as Cathy is feeling she might find joy again, her ex returns to Linnetford, desperate for a second chance. With Matt becoming distant as his life gets more complicated, it seems so easy to return to the safe embrace of someone she knows so well. Can Cathy avoid the temptation of falling back in love with the man who broke her heart and let Christmas bring her the greatest gift – that of happiness?

Filled to the brim with sweet Christmas treats, Cathy’s Christmas Kitchen is the perfect book to enjoy curled up by the fire. An emotional feel-good read packed with heart and hope.

Meet the Author

Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing. She wrote a novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them.

Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn was her debut novel; published in 2014 it was an Amazon bestseller in both the UK and Australia. In 2016 she signed to the hugely successful Bookouture and is currently working on her next Tilly Tennant novel. She also writes as Sharon Sant, where she explores the darker side of life, and Poppy Galbraith, where things get a little crazier.




What We Leave Behind by Anna Mansell @AnnaMansell @bookouture #bookreview #lovedit #WhatWeLeaveBehind

My Thoughts

A beautiful, beautiful writer.

I love Anna Mansell’s books, all so beautifully written.

I loved the notebook left on the doorstep, the things Lisa wrote in it were very touching as the book progressed. Some simple words and sentences, but they were very powerful for me. Every book by this author affects me massively. It’s like she’s writing just for me, and that is a very clever thing!

Lisa was raised by her dad after her mum was killed in a car accident when she was a few months old. Her dad has always been a bit controlling, and they didn’t have a very close relationship. When she left for Scotland as a sixteen year old with Billy her dad was not impressed, and when things went wrong her dad promptly drove to pick her up and bring her back down south.

Things were looking up, she had her own house, and was starting a new job on the same day Poppy was starting a new school year.

I loved Lisa’s relationship with best friend Holly. All these years Paul, Holly’s older brother, has fancied Lisa too. They were all such good friends.

On her way to a fun day out Lisa was in a car accident and Poppy is seriously injured. I visualised the aftermath only too well, and all the time in the hospital. Just watching Poppy. Just waiting for a flicker of something, an eyelid, or a squeeze of her hand. It was painful to read.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I’ll stop there. You need to read this for yourself. There is lots of deceit and family secrets! It shows the importance of family and friendship, and dealing with trust. All the characters feel very real.

I can thoroughly recommend it.

Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for the review copy in which I give my honest opinion.

Publication date 29th September 2020

Get your copy here:-

Amazon UK:  What We Leave Behind

About the book

Imagine you get home one day… and waiting for you on your doorstep is a gift.

It is wrapped beautifully, and inside is a notebook, its pages empty. There is no message.

But its sender has a story to tell.

About a secret. About the little girl you once were. About everything you know about your family.

The gifts keep arriving. But when tragedy strikes – leaving your beloved only daughter fighting for her life – the person who has been sending the gifts will have no choice but to come forward. And to finally tell the truth…

A heartbreakingly beautiful novel about motherhood, loss and family secrets, for fans of Kerry Fisher, Susan Lewis and Jodi Picoult.

About the author

Anna had a brush with ‘fame’ as a magician’s assistant back in 1977. She later decided that being sawn in half by her magical performing father, at barely 6 months old, was too submissive a role. She vowed to channel the trauma in to something much more pro-actively creative. Having failed at acting, singing and professional murder mystery parties (she was ALWAYs the one to die!), she fell to something much more solitary: writing. How To Mend a Broken Heart was her first novel and her life was not on the line in order to write that or her second: The Lost Wife. Anna lives on a dairy farm in Cornwall with her two children, her husband, and her ex-racing greyhound, Olive Dog.

Social Media Links

The fabulous Coming Home to Hope Street by Marcie Steele @writermels @BOTBSPublicity #ComingHometoHopeStreet #blogtour #bookreview

Blog Tour 19th September 2020

Today it’s my stop on the blog tour for Coming Home to Hope Street by Marcie Steele. Thanks to Sarah Hardy from Book On The Bright Side Publicity & Promo for inviting me to take part, I’m delighted to be part of it.

My Thoughts – I adored it!

Part 2 of The Hope Street Series. Hope Street is in the town of Somerley.

It’s one of those books where I want to say ‘just read it’. I can’t do it justice with my own words.

The Hope Street Series, and the interwoven Somerley Series, is a fabulous group of books.

Hope Street is in the town of Somerley, a town that has a village-feel about it. It’s a close-knit community where everyone seems to know everyone, where people stay through the generations. Where the shops and the pub, the Hope and Anchor, are mainstays of the community.

It can be read as a stand-alone as the focus is on some different characters, although some characters we know or already know about.

I love the interactions between the residents, the normality of it all. Lovely, warm characters that you can easily relate to. It makes me want to live there and have lots of friends and acquaintances. I look forward to getting to know some of the other residents in the books to follow.

This book is about Livvy, Hannah’s sister, who disappeared over twenty years ago. When she lands up on Hannah’s doorstep, their childhood home, it’s a huge shock. Why did she run all those years ago, and where has she been? Did she know that her mum Martha had died? Did she know some other family secrets that had come out too? She has a daughter, Pip, who is a delight.

Hannah is main character in this story, after really getting to know her in the first of the series. She is opening a book shop and Doug is doing all the renovations himself. It’s adjoining a coffee shop that I remember from Stirred with Love from the Somerley Series. It sounds like a place I’d like to visit, having a coffee and a browse. Workaholic Doug is now Hannah’s partner, their relationship is still so lovely and new, they are getting along so well.

Phoebe, Hannah’s best friend, is suspicious of Livvy’s return and doesn’t mince her words when she sees her. Hannah, ever the peace-maker, sticks up for her sister although deep down she’s not sure what to think.

Livvy is convinced to go to the pub, very nervous about what people will think. She gets chatting to an old school friend who fancied her back in the day, and he makes her feel good about herself. She starts to feel at home again in Hope Street until her ex turns up, which causes a few problems, but she puts up with him as she knows Pip is pleased to see her dad.

All in all this was a feel-good story that I adored. Marcie Steele/Mel Sherratt has the knack of drawing me in from the first page and I just couldn’t stop reading.

Thank you to Marcie Steele for the early review copy, it was an honour to read it x

Marcie Steele also writes crime thrillers as Mel Sherratt.

Also available in The Hope Street Series

The Man Across the Street (Book 1)

Also available by Marcie Steele
Stirred with Love (Book 1, The Somerley Series)
Secrets, Lies & Love (Book 2, The Somerley Series)
Second Chances at Love (Book 3, The Somerley Series)

About the Book

Step across the cobblestones, pull back the curtains and peek behind the doors in the second instalment of The Hope Street Series. Catch up with old friends and fall in love with new ones in a story of friendship, second chances and new beginnings. 

Livvy has no choice but to return to Hope Street, the childhood home she left over twenty years ago. Along with her sixteen-year-old daughter, Pip, she turns up on the doorstep, hoping for forgiveness from her sister.

Hannah thought she’d never see Livvy again. She’s overwhelmed with emotion but locks away her real feelings. How could Livvy stay away without any contact? And why has she come back now?

It isn’t long before the charm of the market town of Somerley begins to work its magic. Hannah is opening a book shop in the square, adjoining The Coffee Stop, and Livvy’s offer to help out brings the sisters closer together.

But when someone from Livvy’s past arrives unannounced too, he threatens everything she’s built up since her return. Can Livvy convince her sister, and her new friends, that her intentions to return were good ones? Or will her dreams of settling down and being happy again become nothing but a closed book? 

Publisher: Blood Red Books

Publication Date: 18th September 2020

Amazon Link: Coming Home to Hope Street

Author Bio

Marcie Steele is the pen name of Mel Sherratt. For as long as she can remember, she’s been a meddler of words. Born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, she’s a romantic at heart and has always enjoyed writing about characters that fall in and out of love, have good friends to hang around with, and live in communities with great spirit.

She can often be found sitting in her favourite coffee shop, sipping a cappuccino and eating a chocolate chip cookie, either catching up with friends or writing on her laptop. Whether she writes crime or women’s fiction, she loves making up things for a living.

Author Links

You can find more about Marcie Steele on Mel Sherratt’s social media here:-




Autumn Skies over Ruby Falls by Holly Martin @HollyMAuthor #Bookreview #blogtour #AutumnSkiesoverRubyFalls


Autumn Skies over Ruby Falls by Holly Martin, blog tour 11th September 2020

Thanks to Holly Martin for the early review copy and for inviting me on to the blog tour. I’m delighted to take part.

An utterly gorgeous, heartwarming romantic comedy to escape with.

My Thoughts

Another favourite book by Holly Martin. A magical story set in some of the most beautiful sounding places ever. Pearl Beach, Jade Harbour, Crystal Stream, Moonstone Lake, Ruby Falls and Amber Fields, I want to go there!

Holly’s books always hook me in instantly, and they are the perfect combination of emotional and funny.

I truly loved this story. I completely fell in love with the characters and the location, all so fabulously described that I felt like I was there and living on Jewel Island. Clover, along with her sisters her sisters Aria and Skye co-own the big hotel. Angel, one of the hotel chain’s staff is back on the island. He has been travelling the world overseeing some improvements at other hotels. Noah, Aria’s partner, is his boss. They have a great working relationship, and some good banter between them.

Angel had felt a spark between himself and Clover last time he was on the Island. Clover has been hurt by her previous partner and is very wary of letting her feelings out. Angel is a big tart who travels the world with no intentions of settling down.

The hotel is full the night Angel turns up, and Clover is the only one of the family with a spare room. Say no more!

It’s Hallowe’en and the hotel and the village have set up a week-long festival. There is a fair, and many other activities organised all week. The pumpkin dance scene was so funny. I loved the race with zombies.

I love the family vibe running through this story, and the way that Clover’s sisters are constantly looking out for her….and interfering.

So nice to see Aria and Noah still loved up after the previous book, and Skye’s ice-cream café taking off. There is still some unfinished business with Sky and her ex-husband Jesse.

Nice again to see Mrs O’ Hare, a frequent hotel guest, she’s so funny.

An absolute dream to read and I look forward to hearing more stories from this lovely Island.

Holly Martin’s books have that sexy edge over other chick lit authors, makes them different.

Thanks to the author for the review copy in which I give my honest opinion.

Ebook publication date:- 10th September 2020

Paperbook available now.

Amazon UK link, paperback :-  Autumn Skies over Ruby Falls

Amazon UK link, ebook:- Autumn Skies over Ruby Falls

About the Book Autumn Skies over Ruby Falls cover

Get swept away to the sparkling Cornish coast with the stunning new novel from bestselling author Holly Martin. Autumn Skies Over Ruby Falls is the perfect romantic treat to snuggle up with this autumn.

Clover Philips is exactly where she’s meant to be – back home on Jewel Island teaching dance to the guests at the beautiful Sapphire Bay Hotel that she co-owns with her sisters Skye and Aria. Her life is complete, except for one thing…

When Clover left London she also left behind a devastating betrayal. She hasn’t been able to date anyone since, let alone allow herself to fall in love. What she needs is a casual fling to ease herself back into romance. And as luck would have it, the very handsome Angel Mazzeo is back in town.

The chemistry between Clover and Angel has been undeniable ever since he first arrived on Jewel Island six months ago. And though content to be her friend till now, Angel is more than willing to help Clover find her dating feet again.

It should be easy to keep things carefree when love is off the table, but when every moment is magical what started as casual soon becomes something much deeper. Will Clover and Angel find the courage to tell each other how they really feel? And is Clover ready to do the one thing she swore she’d never do again, fall in love?

Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Lucy Diamond and Veronica Henry, this unforgettable romance is guaranteed to make you smile and melt your heart. 

About the Author Author pic

Holly lives in a little white cottage by the sea. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.

Holly has been writing for 8 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 18 books.

Social Media Links


Twitter @HollyMAuthor


Island of Fear by Misha Herwin #bookreview #publicationday @MishaHerwin @penkhullpress #YA #fantasy #LettyParker

Island of Fear cover

Island of Fear by Misha Herwin

The Adventures of Letty Parker Book 3

When Letty Parker is asked by her best friend, Hepzibah, to solve a family mystery she willingly agrees. She has no idea that investigations will lead the Letty Parker & Associates Detective Agency team across the high seas to the exotic isles of the Caribbean.

Letty, Jeb and Mango, are soon fighting for their very lives in a world where pirates rule the seas, evil plantation managers hold the land, and the forests are filled with duppies and dark magic.

Published by Penkhull Press on 3rd September 2020

Get your copy here:-

Amazon UK:- Island of Fear

My Thoughts

The Adventures of Letty Parker Book 3.

A fantasy adventure series for children, aimed at 9-12yr olds.

A fabulous mystery involving Letty, Jeb and Mango and some pirates. Set in Bristol and on the choppy seas to the Caribbean. A whole host of dark and scary creatures including a bear, monsters, dragons and gargoyles. And watch out for those eels!

A fast moving tale that parents and kids alike will enjoy. One to read along with your child.

About the Author

Misha Herwin lives in Staffordshire in a house with a dragon in the garden. She also lived in Jamaica where she got the idea for the third Adventure of Letty Parker.

When she is not writing the next Letty book, Misha enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and baking scones and raspberry muffins.

Also by Misha Herwin in The Adventures of Letty Parker Series

City of Secrets

Bridge of Lies

Author contact details

Twitter: MishaHerwin

Author blog:

Amazon author page: Misha Herwin


Twitter: penkhullpress

A Perfect Paris Christmas by Mandy Baggot @mandybaggot @Aria_Fiction #APerfectParisChristmas #bookreview

A Perfect Paris Christmas cover

A Perfect Paris Christmas by Mandy Baggot

My Review – I loved it!

Mandy Baggot is the absolute queen of the festive story.

I absolutely fell in love with this book and the characters. Paris at Christmas time sounds so perfect. The descriptions of the places visited and the food consumed transported me there.

It has been a rough and tough year for Keeley and her parents. She gets surprise holiday to France with her best friend Rach, all paid for by……you’ll have to read it!

The very gorgeous Ethan is in France and working for a hotel chain. He had a difficult childhood as an orphan living on the streets. He looks out for a young teenager who he found trying to get by in similar circumstances, along with their dog. This is a great relationship and totally heart-warming as the story progresses. Ethan has also had a terrible year after losing his best friend and business colleague in an accident.

Keeley and Ethan keep having these chance meetings at various places in the city and there is a spark. As a reader we know about their connection, but they don’t. It’s not all plain sailing, but it makes for a lovely story. Keeley is a very strong character, although she doesn’t realise this.

This isn’t a light chick lit read, it’s a very thought-provoking story which catches your heart.

Filled with touching topics, I especially loved the relationship between Keeley and Erica, a girl in the hospice where Keeley is a volunteer.

There are some very funny parts too as expected with books by this author, including the taxidermy thread and the penguin issue.

I adore Mandy Baggot books, this one is extra special and magical. I loved it.

Her other Christmas books are definitely worth a try if you enjoy this one and her books set in Corfu will take you through the Summer season with a smile.

Thanks to Mandy Baggot, Aria Fiction and NetGalley for the early review copy in which I give my honest opinion.

Publication date 3rd September 2020

Amazon UK link A Perfect Paris Christmas

About the Book

United in grief. Pushed apart by tragedy.

Keeley Andrews knows more than anyone that you only live once. So when she receives an invitation to spend two weeks in Paris, all expenses paid, she jumps at the chance.

Ethan Bouchard has had the worst eighteen months of his life. He’s ready to give up on everything, including his hotel chain. So when he meets Keeley, it simply isn’t the right time.

As Keeley and Ethan continue to bump into each other on the romantic Parisian streets, they can’t help but wonder whether this is fate telling them to let go of the past and leap into the future…

Head to Paris this Christmas and fall in love under the lights of the Eiffel Tower with best-selling author, Mandy Baggot.

About the Author Mandy Baggot

Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian. Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

Follow Mandy 

Facebook: @mandybaggotauthor

Twitter: @mandybaggot


Follow Aria


Twitter: @Aria_Fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

The Man Across The Street by Marcie Steele @marcie_steele #bookreview #fabulous #reblog

The Man Across The Street new cover

The next in the Hope Street Series is out on September 18th 2020, so I thought I’d revisit my post on the first one. It’s had a cover revamp too and looks fabulous.

About the Book

Maybe I’m scared to be happy…

Meet Hannah – she’s been her mum’s sole carer since she was eighteen. Now alone after Martha’s sudden death, Hannah feels lost in the only place she’s known as home, Hope Street. Coming up to a milestone birthday, she’s wondering what her purpose in life is.

Meet Doug – a workaholic, he’s in the office from dusk ’til dawn, and when he has a heart attack. Now on the mend, he needs to de-stress his life and focus on living it, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Doug moves to Hope Street, number 35. Hannah lives at number 34, directly opposite. From the moment they meet, there’s a spark.

But there are secrets too. Hannah’s mum has been keeping something from her, her sister upped and left over twenty years ago, and there can’t be such a simple reason why Doug has moved to Somerley. Can there?

The Man Across the Street is the first of a new series by bestselling author, Marcie Steele. It features a host of characters living on Hope Street in the market town of Somerley, also featured in The Somerley Series. Each character will have their own standalone story in books to follow.

‘Marcie Steele writes with such down to earth warmth that you wish you could live in her stories. The Man Across the Street is no exception, full of characters that you’d love to be friends with.’ Tilly, Tenant.

‘Love, secrets, intrigue, heartache. Find it all on Hope Street. An engaging tale of ordinary lives to warm you heart
and restore your faith in mankind.’ Imogen Clark

If you love an uplifting story about new beginnings, then The Man Across The Street is the perfect read to curl up with. Fans of Hannah Ellis, Debbie Johnson and Emily Harvale will love this book.

Publisher: Blood Red Books

Publication Date: 1st January 2020

Amazon Link: The Man Across the Street

My Thoughts – I adored it!

Part 1 of The Hope Street Series.

Hope Street is in the town of Somerley, a town that has a village-feel about it. It’s a close-knit community where everyone seems to know everyone, where people stay through the generations. Where the shops and the pub, the Hope and Anchor, are mainstays of the community.

Hannah Lockley lives at number 34. She is 39, soon to be 40, and a hairdresser working part time at Hope Street Hair. Her mum Martha has recently died and Hannah is feeling a bit lost in life. Hannah had been caring for Martha who was injured in a car crash that took the life of her dad a long time ago. She’d had to take it all on as her younger sister Olivia had disappeared 18 years ago and never been in touch.

Phoebe lives at number 41, across the road from Hannah, and is Hannah’s best friend.  They’ve known each other since they were 5 years old. Phoebe is divorced with two children, Tilly 14 and Elliot 7. She runs Hope Street Hair and is tall, blonde and athletic with a very dirty laugh.

Workaholic Doug is 49 and has just had a heart attack. He has a building company with his brother Alex and after his health scare he needs to relax and focus on getting his work/life balance at a more sensible level. He decides to move away from home and rent in a different area for a little while. He moves into number 35, directly across the street from Hannah. On their first encounter he feels a spark….and so does Hannah.

Being such a close-knit street everyone is soon wondering who the handsome new stranger is, and they all try to find out! Doug starts working for Robin Marriott, who has a training company for maintenance and other odd jobs.

Thelma, 78, who lives at number 32 right next door to Hannah is a smartly dressed and beautifully made up lady. Sharp witted too. She’s having a bit of boiler trouble so cheekily asks Doug if he can help. Of course he agrees and is shocked to find out how shabbily the landlords contractors are treating the tenants. Thelma gives him a bit of a grilling too.

I love the interactions between the residents, the normality of it all. Lovely, warm characters that you can easily relate to. It made me want to live there and have lots of friends and acquaintances rather than being a bit antisocial as I am! I look forward to getting to know some of the other residents in the books to follow.

All in all this was a feel-good story that I adored. Marcie Steele has the knack of drawing me in from the first page and I just couldn’t stop reading.

Marcie Steele also writes crime thrillers as Mel Sherratt.

Author Bio Mel-0111

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a meddler of words. Born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. I’m a romantic at heart and have always enjoyed writing about characters that fall in and out of love, have good friends to hang around with, and live in communities with great spirit.

I have written three books in The Somerley Series and the first in The Hope Street Series, The Man Across The Street.

I can often be found sitting in my favourite coffee shop, sipping a cappuccino and eating a chocolate chip cookie, either catching up with friends or writing on my laptop.

Author Links




Starcross Manor by Christie Barlow @ChristieJBarlow @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK #StarcrossManor #bookreview Fab-u-lous!

4. Starcross Manor cover

Starcross Manor by Christie Barlow


(Love Heart Lane Series, Book 4)

Dying to know more about the brooding and mysterious Flynn Carter and the secrets behind his plans for Starcross Manor?

You won’t want to miss the next spellbinding chapter in the Love Heart Lane series – where friends are there for you no matter what.

When Julia Coleman meets Flynn Carter again in the cosy village of Heartcross it can only mean trouble. Flynn might be rich, brooding and sexy, but Julia knows first-hand he’s ruthless and she plans to watch his every move.

When Julia discovers Flynn’s plans for beautiful Starcross Manor her greatest fears come true.  Because Flynn’s dreams of turning Starcross into a luxury hotel could ruin Julia’s dreams…and finish off the community of Heartcross for good.

Flynn makes it clear he doesn’t want trouble, and he’s not the man Julia thinks he is.  As he sets about convincing the community he’s changed, he hopes he can convince Julia to give him another chance too…

My Thoughts

This is one of those books where I want to say “please just read it”.

I loved this book, in fact it’s going on my ‘Favourites of the Year’ list.

The Love Heart Lane Series is fabulous.

This is book 4 in the series. I also recommend reading Love Heart Lane, Foxglove Farm  and Clover Cottage (which were equally fabulous!) to get the full back story of the people in the small village of Heartcross.

It can be read as a stand-alone as the focus is on different characters, but it was great to catch up with the locals of this beautiful area. When I’m reading a Christie Barlow book I feel like I’m living in the village and watching it all go on, just so immersive. We get to visit the pub and the cake shop, those cakes sound heavenly.

Julia was a lovely character, I want to work in her B&B and be best pals. Her taste of décor was very stylish and she really had an eye for interior design.

There are two sides to this story, Julia and the close-knit community of Heartcross, and Flynn with his renovation of Starcross Manor. The residents of Heartcross were under the impression that the old manor house was to become a retirement home. When Julia finds out it’s going to be a posh spa she worries about how she’ll compete with it, with her little B&B that she has put her heart and soul into and was hoping to extend. Julia hasn’t forgotten something that happened years ago when her paths crossed with Flynn, and her fears are passed onto the community.

Flynn has a different version of that old story. He seems a really nice guy, and very attractive I must say!

Julia and Flynn have a spark which fizzes away every time they meet….I loved their relationship, those feelings of when something just feels right.

No spoilers from me, you’ll need to read it. It’s got everything you could want from a book, the community spirit, family and love.

I absolutely loved it.

Thanks to Christie Barlow for creating this story. How she keeps writing these beautiful stories is astonishing. Can you tell that I love them? Thank you for the mention in the acknowledgements, I did a little squeak when I saw it and it really means a lot to me. I am so happy to shout about your fabulous books to everyone.

Thanks to HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter and NetGalley for the review copy in which I give my honest opinion.

Publication date:- 14th August 2020

Get your copy here on Amazon UK Starcross Manor

About the Author Author pic

Christie Barlow is the number 1 international bestselling author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm, Love Heart Lane and Foxglove Farm. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada & Australia.

Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being.

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Multi pic

The Last to Know by Jo Furniss @Jo_Furniss. Published by Lake Union Publishing. #TheLastToKnow

The Last to Know cover

The Last to Know by Jo Furniss


A family’s past pursues them like a shadow in this riveting and emotional novel of psychological suspense by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of All the Little Children.

American journalist Rose Kynaston has just relocated to the childhood home of her husband, Dylan, in the English village of his youth. There’s a lot for Rose to get used to in Hurtwood. Like the family’s crumbling mansion, inhabited by Dylan’s reclusive mother, and the treacherous hill it sits upon, a place of both sinister folklore and present dangers.

Then there are the unwelcoming villagers, who only whisper the name Kynaston—like some dreadful secret, a curse. Everyone knows what happened at Hurtwood House twenty years ago. Everyone except Rose. And now that Dylan is back, so are rumours about his past.

When an archaeological dig unearths human remains on the hill, local police sergeant Ellie Trevelyan vows to solve a cold case that has cast a chill over Hurtwood for decades.

As Ellie works to separate rumour from fact, Rose must fight to clear the name of the man she loves. But how can Rose keep her family safe if she is the last to know the truth?

My thoughts

Told in alternating chapters by Rose and local police officer Ellie Trevelyan.

A real mystery set in and around the Shropshire town of Hurtwood.

Journalists Dylan and Rose Kynaston relocate from Africa with their young son Aled. Dylan grew up in Hurtwood, but Rose is American and getting used to the ins and outs of small town life in England will take some getting used to. They live in a cottage, in the grounds of Dylan’s family home of Hurtwood House, a huge country house needing lots of renovations sitting on top of a strange man-made hill. Locals think there is a curse on the land.

Ellie Trevelyan has been a police officer all her life, following in the footsteps of her father who is suffering from dementia.

Dylan’s mother, Gwendoline, is acting strangely. She’s mixed up and secretive and suspected of suffering with dementia too.

There are many rumours about the Kynaston’s in Hurtwood. Dylan’s father, Stanley…a football coach, had allegations of paedophilia made against him after a boy he was coaching died 20 years ago.

As the past is delved into, little snippets come out that I wasn’t expecting. It’s a real mystery.

I found the story very interesting. The descriptions of the area made me feel like I was there. The big house creeped me out a little, with the creaks and doors opening by themselves.

Cleverly told and eloquently written.

I think the cover is gorgeous too.

Well-paced and kept me hooked, I thoroughly recommend this book

Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the review copy in which I give my honest opinion.

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Publication Date: 11th August 2020

Get your copy here:-

Amazon UK The Last to Know

About the Author Author pic

After spending a decade as a broadcast journalist for the BBC, Jo Furniss gave up the glamour of night shifts to become a freelance writer and serial expatriate. Originally from the United Kingdom, she spent seven years in Singapore and also lived in Switzerland and Cameroon. As a journalist, Jo worked for numerous online outlets and magazines, including Monocle and the Economist. She has edited books for a Nobel laureate and the palace of the Sultan of Brunei. She has a Distinction in MA Professional Writing from Falmouth University. Jo’s debut novel, All the Little Children, was an Amazon Charts bestseller.

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Twitter: Jo_Furniss