Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Island in The East
Jenny Ashcroft

Guest review
Julie Williams

Published By : Sphere 
Genre : Historical Fiction


Set mainly on the atmospheric island of Singapore in the 1890’s and 1940’s this wonderful story explores identical twin sister rivalry, love and betrayal. Chapters bounce between the two different centuries in Singapore with the addition of chapters set in London. 

There are so many great characters in this tale but for me, the twins Mae and Harriet, who were born out of wedlock causing much scandal as well as having the burden of carrying this through the decades wherever they go, are the most interesting and charismatic. When they are sent to Singapore by their benefactor to stay with David Keely, to whom one must marry, a strain is put on their previously unblemished sisterly relationship. This is further tested when they meet Alex Blake whom they both fall in love with but only one will win his heart! 

Then we have Ivy, Mae’s Granddaughter, who is posted to Singapore in the 1941. As she is severely traumatised by two events which occurred on the same day, she looks at this as an opportunity to move on with her life and taking all of her courage she decides to leave her beloved Grandmother behind. Surprises and mysteries unfold as she is blindly introduced to people from Mae’s past on the Island and secrets are revealed that stuns everyone. 

This beautifully descriptive written story has much breath holding moments including the time spent in POW camps which I particularly found harrowing yet it is such an addictive tale that I didn’t want it to end. 

I enjoyed Jenny Ashcroft debut novel Beneath A Burning Sky, but for me this book surpassed it. A must for historical fiction lovers and I give it a brilliant 5 star rating. 

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The Long Walk Back
Rachel Dove
Blog Tour

Genre: Contemporary women's fiction
Release Date: 11th January 2018
Publisher: HQ Digital

Does everyone deserve a second chance?
As an army trauma surgeon Kate knows how to keep her cool in the most high pressure of situations. Although back at home in England her marriage is falling apart, out in the desert she’s happy knowing that she’s saving lives.
Until she meets Cooper. It’s up to Kate to make a split-second decision to save Cooper’s life. Yet Cooper doesn’t want to be saved. Can Kate convince him to give his life a second chance even though its turning out dramatically different from how he planned?

Kate was in a real mood; Trevor could tell from the way she pounded across the tent to him. He was doing his rounds, and they had had a good night. A good night here was when they still had the same number alive as the day before. A great day was when there were no casualties at all, but Trevor was hard pushed to remember many days like that. 
‘Who’s upset you? Neil whingeing about doing the dishwasher again, is he?’ Trevor asked, and immediately regretted cracking the joke when the icicles from Kate’s frosty glare jabbed him in the chest. 
‘Captain Cooper thinks he is hilarious. I’m just waiting for him to call me ‘toots’ and slap me on the behind,’ Kate said, seething. Trevor checked the vitals on his sleeping patient, and satisfied, made notes on his chart. 
‘So he’s awake? That’s amazing! How is he doing?’
‘Oh he’s doing just fine, for a male chauvinist pig.’
Kate,’ Trevor admonished, trying not to laugh at her furious expression. ‘How are his vitals?’
Kate pursed her lips, taking a breath to focus on the job. ‘He’s stable, the chest drain is working well. I’m still concerned about his leg though. He has limited blood flow to the area, and I' m worried about sepsis.’
Trevor nodded sadly. ‘So he will probably lose the leg, if we try to keep him alive.’ He rubbed at his temples. ‘Not told him any of this, have you?’
Kate shook her head. ‘I told him you would explain on this morning’s ward round. I wanted to go through everything again, monitor him closely for as long as we safely can before we make a decision.’
Trevor looked at her, his face unreadable. ‘It may not be our decision, it’s up to him.’
Kate looked nonplussed. ‘The evac chopper is coming in two days. At present, he’s too unstable to move. We need to get him home then, leg or no leg. A decision between losing a limb and dying is not a great thing to have thrust at you, granted - but he wants to live, surely?’
Trevor placed the chart at the foot of the bed and started to walk towards the next patient, issuing medication instructions to the nurse as he walked. 
‘Kate,’ he began in a tone he might have used to tell his child that Father Christmas wasn’t real. ‘I have worked on men like Captain Cooper since this whole nightmare started. These are army men to the core. Sometimes going home means no family, no buddies, no job, and a
lifetime of relying on other people. They are proud, and sometimes, to them, the reality is worse than death. Don’t take anything for granted when it comes to patient wishes.’
‘A boy died yesterday, to save these men. Surely that’s reason enough to want to live?’
Kate ran her fingers through her hair, suddenly feeling tired all over again.
‘Cooper knows that. Better than most, probably. It’s still his decision, he has to live with it. Understood?’ Trevor spoke firmly now.
Kate opened her mouth to argue, but she thought better of it. She respected her mentor, always had, and she didn’t want to argue. Not when the fact that life was so short and precious was evident in every face, every feature she saw over here. ‘Understood.’

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2CawuQ7


I am a wife, mother of two boys, perpetual student, avid reader and writer of words. I sometimes sleep, always have eye bags and dream of retiring to a big white house in Cornwall, with 2 shaggy dogs, drinking wine on my seafront balcony whilst creating works of romantic fiction. All done with immaculate make up and floaty dresses.  In the meantime I nearly always remember to brush my hair, seldom have time to look in a mirror and write many, many to-do lists.  My first solo novel, Crossing Life Lines is out now in Kindle and paperback format. Look out for my horror shorts, published through Bayou Brew Publishing: The House of Sugar Blood, August 2013
and Uni Assassin, out now, and my short story, Mallow Girl, out now.  In July 2015, I won the Prima magazine and Mills & Boon Flirty Fiction Competition, with my entry, The Chic Boutique on Baker Street, out now in ebook and paperback, and the follow up novel in the series, The Flower Shop on Foxley Street.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterDove

When Kate, who is a surgeon is commissioned to go on a short tour to Afghanistan, she never envisioned that a split second decision could dramatically change the rest of her life!
Kate’s boss Trevor asks her to go on a 3 month deployment to Afghanistan to help out with casualties of war, but her husband Neil is not too impressed with having to stay and look after their son Jamie whilst his wife goes and "plays soldier". He seems to think she is on some kind of holiday and certainly holds a grudge against her doing her job whilst he is at home being Mum and Dad to their young son.
Captain Thomas Cooper is critically injured on the front line and can feel his life slipping away when he tells medics that he wants a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) put in place. Now I work for NHS, so I know how important it is to sign these forms and carry them on you at all times, so a verbal agreement is not enough and when Kate faces an agonising decision to save Captain Cooper’s life by amputating his leg, she cannot begin to realise the consequences of her actions and the backlash she will face after the operation.
Captain Cooper or "Coop" as he is sometimes called, is furious to say the least at having been saved in the first place. As far as he is concerned, the Army is his life and if he had catastrophic injuries, then his death. So when he wakes up in hospital and looks at Kate’s face, he instantly knows what has happened.
How do you come to terms with someone saving your life when you didn’t want to be saved and not only a surgeon, but a beautiful one that you can’t take your eyes off at that………
This is the first book I have read by the author and I was pleasantly surprised by the storyline. I am not mad about "war zone" books (unless it’s wartime sagas!), but this had a good story and dealt with some sensitive issues regarding PTSD and also how Kate had to also come to terms with her son being in a very serious road accident and the impact that had on her relationship with not only her husband, but her son.
I would definitely recommend this book and thank you to Brook Cottage Books for sending me an ARC for review.

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Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Molly's Christmas Orphans
Carol Rivers


I Started 2018 with a good old wartime family saga and what a corker it was!

Molly lives in the East End and is trying to run the local grocery shop with her Dad after the tragic loss of her beloved husband Ted during the war. Things are not easy with constant air raids and lack of supplies, but she does her best. When her Dad is very badly injured during a raid and breaks his leg very badly, she finds herself having a long wait in the hospital waiting for news of his surgery.

Meanwhile, in the same hospital, two small children by the names of Mark and Evie are grieving the loss of their mother along with their father Andy. This brings back precious memories of her beloved daughter Emily and what could have been. Molly doesn’t know quite how she manages it, but she ends up offering to look after the children temporarily and also meets a lady called Cissy. They strike up a friendship and Cissy is more than happy to help look after the children and Molly offers her a roof over her head and a job in her shop. Is Molly being naive? and can Cissy be trusted? And is Cissy who she says she is at all?

The children’s father, Andy, is a merchant seaman and is often away for many months at a time and has asked Molly to look for a couple who often looked after the children call The Denhams. They were members of the Salvation Army and they would no doubt keep the children safe if Molly were unable to care for them. This search is proving a difficult task with people being evacuated left, right and centre. Would the children be better off in the country with strangers, or with people who cared for them but in the centre of London town with nightly air raids and bombings all around?

Molly’s Dad is packed off to recuperate with her sister Lyn in Sidcup, Kent (which happens to be where I live!!!). It is nice and quiet there and her Dad can get his strength back before coming back to the East End to his roots. But will Lyn have her way and keep her Dad there rather than return him to where he was happiest?

Cissy is a super character. She is fiery on the outside, but very vulnerable on the inside and has been treated very badly in the past. She has lots of skeletons in her closet and has therefore not mentioned her past to Molly and this comes back and bites her on the bum with a vengeance! When a local gangster comes looking for Cissy, a local man they call Spot offers to keep an eye out for her and Molly and along with his dog Nibbles, they keep a night time vigil at the shop. Spot has an ulterior motive as he has a very soft spot for Cissy, but will she fall for his charms or will she keep him at arms length, because as far as she is concerned, her past history with men leaves a lot to be desired!

I devoured this book in a few days as I just loved all the characters and the attention to detail in the author’s explanation of wartime accounts is brilliant and fascinating. It wasn’t until the very end when there is a scene involving Spot and a local gangster, that I had a vision of a fabulous tv programme I have watched from the beginning and that’s Peaky Blinders. I can’t give anymore away, but I gasped out loud!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Carol Rivers for yet another fantastic read. The ending to this book leaves it wide open for a sequel as far as I’m concerned and I would jump with joy if there was!

If you are a fan of wartime/family sagas then this is right up your street and as I am a huge fan of these books, this one is up there with my all time top 10!

Keep up the great work Carol, I for one, love your books.

To order a copy of the book on Amazon click here

Saturday, 6 January 2018


Lizzie Flowers and the Family Firm
Carol Rivers

Wow! what an absolutely gorgeous cover this is! I am such a fan of Carol Rivers books that I am beavering away and trying to read all her back novels! I loved the previous two Lizzie Flowers novels so much that they were in my top 10 of 2016! You will have to wait until June for this one to come out, but I'm sure it will be worth the wait if it's anything like the previous two books in the series!


It’s 1934 and time for peace - or so Lizzie believes. She desperately needs time to lick her wounds and resolve the damage done to her business and private life. But the lucrative deal she is offered by a brewery is too good to refuse after the debilitating effects of the Great Depression. Danny warns her The Mill Wall Arms may turn out to be a pact with the devil and he wants no part of it! Lizzie must choose … and this time there will be no going back!