The Shogun’s Queen by Lesley Downer book review


The Shogun’s Queen written by Lesley Downer, publisher Bantam press and Transworld Digital is available in ebook and hardcover format from Thursday 3rd November 2016.

To pre-order/buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Only one woman can save her world from barbarian invasion but to do so will mean sacrificing everything she holds dear – love, loyalty and maybe life itself . . .
Japan, and the year is 1853. Growing up among the samurai of the Satsuma Clan, in Japan’s deep south, the fiery, beautiful and headstrong Okatsu has – like all the clan’s women – been encouraged to be bold, taught to wield the halberd, and to ride a horse.
But when she is just seventeen, four black ships appear. Bristling with cannon and manned by strangers who to the Japanese eyes are barbarians, their appearance threatens Japan’s very existence. And turns Okatsu’s world upside down.
Chosen by her feudal lord, she has been given a very special role to play. Given a new name – Princess Atsu – and a new destiny, she is the only one who can save the realm. Her journey takes her to Edo Castle, a place so secret that it cannot be marked on any map. There, sequestered in the Women’s Palace – home to three thousand women, and where only one man may enter: the shogun – she seems doomed to live out her days. But beneath the palace’s immaculate facade, there are whispers of murders and ghosts. It is here that Atsu must complete her mission and discover one last secret – the secret of the man whose fate is irrevocably linked to hers: the shogun himself . . .


This was such an epic story that sent my emotions soaring high and dramatically cascading low.  I was enchanted by the author Lesley Downer’s beautiful words describing a colourful world.  I felt instantly transported to a land far, far away to a time where legends and rituals were significant and paramount.  To a time were the unknown were feared.  A time when sacrifices had to be made for the sake of the countries survival.

The Shogun’s Queen is a fictional novel based on events in Japanese history.  Young Okatsu with her beauty, knowledge and courage has been given a task like no other.  At the tender age of 17 Okatsu has been given a mission, a mission that seems almost impossible but none the less she has no option but to try.  Okatsu must leave her family, her village and the love of her life.  A tumultuous journey lies ahead for Atsu, as she is now formerly known and her destiny is shrouded with secrets, political upheaval and death.

The torment that Okatsu faces saying goodbye to her love is so heartbreaking but more heartbreak is to come.  I could hardly read the words with the tears falling.  The Shogun’s Queen story gripped me and left me intrigued all the way through and has left me feeling quite emotional and bereft at the end.  I completely adored this novel and would highly recommend it.  A stunning historical romance of sacrifices and love.  5/5*

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book and would like to thank the author and publishers for this.

To find out more about Lesley Downer and her books please visit the following pages:




Out of Practice (The Breakup Doctor series bk 4) by Phoebe Fox book review


Out of Practice (The Breakup Doctor series book 4) written by Phoebe Fox, publisher Henery Press, is available NOW in ebook, hardcover and paperback format.

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Product Details (as per amazon page)

When your relationship is on life support, the Breakup Doctor is on call.

There’s no shortage of broken hearts in Breakup Doctor Brook Ogden’s successful breakup counseling practice—if love is a battlefield, then Brook is the cavalry. Luckily her own love life is in full recovery: after a long, tortuous road, she and Ben Garrett are finally headed down the aisle.

But when a local TV personality—and former frenemy—invites Brook onto her show, she’s blindsided live on the air when the interview turns into an act of long-delayed revenge meant to publicly humiliate her. Brook’s an expert at getting back on your feet when life knocks you down, but as the blows keep piling on—with a betrayal she never saw coming and a family crisis that threatens to pull the foundation out from under her—her confidence starts slinking away. With her clients dropping her faster than a one-night stand, suddenly the Breakup Doctor’s career is in critical care.

Brimming with both the sublime and ridiculous aspects of love—romantic and otherwise—Out of Practice is a funny and heartwarming tale about loss, grief, and failure that will resonate with all who have loved, lost…and dared to love again.

heart doctor image

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book and would like to thank the author for this.

Out of Practice is Book 4 in The Breakup Doctor series.  The book can be read as a standalone but to appreciate the characters and history I would recommend reading all the books in order.  The Breakup Doctor series is as follows:


I really enjoyed sitting down and revisiting Brook again.  Brook is a relationships counsellor and her practice as The Breakup Doctor with her newspaper column and radio show are doing well until a TV interview with her old high school nemesis goes disastrously wrong and Brook’s professional judgement is left in doubt.  Brook starts to believe the words that have been said about her and starts to get confused as to why she went into this profession in the first place.  On top of all this Brook is grieving for her father who died 6 months ago.  She has been denying her feelings and when her professional career takes another battering she takes stock of her personal and professional life.  Brook’s mother is also causing her concern and changes need to be made in all their lives for them to move on.

Ben, Brook’s fiancé, has been so supportive of Brook but when Brook makes some pretty drastic decisions without him Ben and Brook’s relationship hits a rocky patch.

Can Brook take stock of her heart and soul to bring harmony and balance back to her personal and professional life?

Once again Phoebe Fox entertained me thoroughly throughout this story.  Phoebe cleverly dealt with grief, loss and betrayal by interspersing the storyline with some wonderful tender, endearing moments.  A wonderful end to a great series, although I’m hoping some of the characters will reappear in future stories.  5/5*

To find out more about Phoebe Fox and her books please visit the following pages:




Heath, Cliffs & Wandering Hearts by Laura Barnard book review and Author Q & A


Heath, Cliffs & Wandering Hearts written and self-published by Laura Barnard is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

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Product Details (as per amazon page)

Life for sixteen year old Savannah Franks has just been turned upside down. Her Mum’s business has failed and they’re forced to move into a maisonette in the rough end of town.

She doesn’t want anyone to know her dire situation, not even her besties. So when the rest of the money for the school ski trip is due she can’t be seen not to attend. Everyone is going! She just needs to find a job. Add that to the list of getting a boyfriend and losing her pathetic virginity.

But working every spare hour in a job she hates on top of school work and mounting secrets doesn’t prove easy. Soon she’s keeping so many she’s not even sure herself what’s true and what’s not.

The only person she can lean on to tell the truth is her best friend Heath.

Only…did he get hot recently? That won’t make things awkward between them…right?


I really enjoyed this YA romantic comedy from Laura Barnard.  I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour promoting and celebrating the launch of this new book from Laura.

Heath, Cliffs and Wandering Hearts is the first novel written by Laura Barnard that I’ve read and can honestly say she’s like a breath of fresh air.  This story was like a Bridget Jones for young adults.  Savannah is still at school studying for her A levels, she is cute and clumsy and doesn’t have any experience with boys.  She has plenty of boys as friends including a long standing friendship with Heath who she’s been friends with since they were tiny.  Savannah is also close to her brother, Dylan, who happens to be away travelling around Australia at the moment.

We follow Savannah and her fellow sixth-formers going through the ups n downs of fledgling romances; the nice bits, the sexy moments and the scary side to an adult relationship.  During all this time Dylan, Savannah’s brother, shares his travel blog with us and it’s quite comical.  I loved these interludes with Dylan spouting on about his adventures in Australia.  Laura Barnard has created such a cheeky chap in Dylan, he was laid back and quite forthright with his travelogue.  I also loved Savannah’s Nan, her vibrant character was full of fun and spirit and there are some great comedy scenes when Savannah’s family all get together!

This was a fun, crazy adventure of a read experiencing life and the first tastes of young love.  4/5*

I’d like to welcome Laura Barnard to my blog …

Hi Laura, welcome to my blog and thanks for writing such great characters in your latest novel.

1. How long have you been writing and what inspired you to write?

I’ve been writing for about six years, but I only pressed publish three years ago.  I’ve always loved telling stories and it was when I was trying to get pregnant that I started a creative writing course.  I got to meet so many other like minded people that inspired me to push on.

2. I love this title of your new novel, how do you come up with the title?

Well I’ve always loved the boy name Heath.  It was a potential baby name that my husband said no to!  I knew that people would make a joke about Heath being like Heathcliff and so thought why not do a play on Heathcliff and Wuthering Heights?  It makes for a funny title so people know what they’re buying is silly and fun.

3. Do you have a work in progress?  Any clues?

I started writing a Christmas short story, but it may actually now be turning into a novella for next year as there’s a lot more juice to the story than I first thought.  Then I’m working on Cock & Bull to be released some time next year.  It tells the tale of two sisters who inherit a pub in Ireland.

4. Where would be your ideal writing location?

On a beach in the shade with a cocktail waiting for me.

5. When you find time to relax which genre of novel do you like to read?

I love reading all genres apart from horror.  Whatever I read always focuses around romance.  Depending on what mood I’m in I’ll go for chick lit or something really dark and sexy.   

Many thanks Laura 🙂

To find out more about Laura Barnard and her books please visit the following pages:




Celebrations & Confetti by Rebecca Raisin book review and blogtour


Celebrations & Confetti At Cedarwood Lodge written by Rebecca Raisin, publisher Carina, is available NOW in ebook format.

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Product Details (as per amazon page)

Clio Winters is finally fulfilling her childhood dream of renovating the gorgeous old Cedarwood Lodge in Evergreen. Turning it into the perfect destination for big celebrations, weddings and parties has brought her back home, but Cedarwood Lodge is in need of a lot of tender loving care.

Perhaps all the work will be the perfect distraction from the real reason she had to leave her glamorous New York life behind.

Will coming home be the best decision of her life… or her biggest regret?


Celebrations & Confetti is the first instalment in the new Cedarwood Lodge series written by Rebecca Raisin.

I’ve always loved Rebecca Raisin’s style of writing especially how she draws you into the setting of the novel.  I totally could see myself walking into Cedarwood Lodge and could imagine the before and after in the renovations that new owner Clio had in mind.  Clio has been recently working in New York as a wedding planner but she is now back in her hometown of Evergreen after purchasing Cedarwood Lodge.  The Lodge has been left empty for years and is looking a little tired but Clio has plans to turn it into the best lodge around to host all matters of events.  Clio remembers the Lodge when she was a child playing in the grounds and the location of the lodge is just perfect with it’s vast gardens overlooking the mountains.

The Lodge however, holds many secrets and Clio discovers that her own mother is privy to one of these secrets.  Clio also has her own secret and she is holding back about the real reason she left the city.

With the renovations in full swing and the first booking for the lodge in place Clio’s life is full on.  No time for romance but love is blossoming for someone at the lodge.

This was such a wonderful, heart warming story and a great introduction to a new series.  I was totally swept away with Clio and her dreams.  I’m looking forward to more from Cedarwood Lodge and am intrigued to find out if the new renovated walls will reveal their secrets and whether cupid will cast it’s spell.  5/5*

To find out more about Rebecca Raisin and her books please visit the following pages:





Moondance by Diane Chandler book review and blogtour


Moondance written by Diane Chandler, publisher Blackbird Digital Books, is available in ebook and paperback format from 1st November 2016.

To pre-order/buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

How can you long for someone who doesn’t exist?

Cat has always been in control of her life. Happily married to Dom, but flying high as a political lobbyist, she dismisses his desire to start a family … until she herself is ready.

But what if it is then too late?

Complex and selfish, intelligent and open, if she is to succeed in having that elusive child, Cat must battle through gruelling fertility treatment and the emotional strain it places on her marriage. By her side, Dom, easygoing and ever the optimist, finds that he too risks being run ragged by their journey.

Both are forced to come to terms with their longing for a baby against the blitz on a relationship tested like never before.


I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour promoting and celebrating the launch of Diane Chandler’s new novel, Moondance.  I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book and would like to thank the author and publishers for this.

This was a very moving story of two different loves.  One love so desperate it’s depth and desire could destroy the other.

This is a story of one couple’s journey with their desperate bid to have a child through the IVF process.  It is a fictional story based on the emotional and physical impact of IVF.

Cat and her husband Dom have been happily married for nearly 10 years.  They are both highly successful in their city careers which take them overseas at times.  Cat isn’t particularly maternal and didn’t want children to stand in the way of her career at first.  When the couple do decide to try for a family nature is not kind for them and IVF seems the only option.  The author, Diane Chandler, takes you on quite a raw, honest journey with the couple and one scene in particular shook my heart into pieces.  The author was very clever as she swept you away with the two love stories; the desperate, needy love for a child, at times became obsessional but I can only imagine that if I was in Cat’s shoes I would be the same.  We are then given glimpses and throwbacks to Cat’s past when she first met Dom and how their love developed.  I really enjoyed hearing about Cat and Dom’s history, a chance encounter changing the course of their future.  The location and circumstances of this encounter sounded so romantic but it wasn’t plain sailing from thereon.

I’ve never read a story based around IVF before and initially you would imagine it to be quite depressing but Moondance was an altogether different story.  Diane Chandler has created a masterpiece in wrapping a highly sensitive, emotive storyline with scenes of warmth and humour.  This raw, honest story will tug at your heart and will never leave your mind.  5/5*

Blackbird Digital Books and Diane Chandler have kindly offered 3 digital copies of Moondance for my readers.  To enter the giveaway please click on the rafflecopter link below:

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About the Author (as per author website)


I was born and bred in Derby, England, and my family still live there. After studying French and German at Salford University in the early 1980s, I then skittered off to live abroad. First off, I spent a year in Osnabrueck, Germany, which is twinned with Derby. As the so-called ‘Derby Envoy’ my job was to expand the twinning links between a myriad of organisations – schools, sports clubs, choirs, women’s groups, all of which which was huge fun and a fabulous initiation to the world of work. Inspired, I then took myself off to Brussels, Belgium, where I worked as a political lobbyist before joining the European Commission in 1990. My youthful desire to change the world landed me a job on the regeneration of coal and steel communities throughout Europe, and then later onto my real passion for overseas aid. I was lucky enough to spend some years designing and managing aid programmes for the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union, developing along the way a deep affection for Ukraine and also for Moldova. Homesick in my mid thirties, I then secured a secondment to the UK’s Department for International Development and spend a few happy years working on similar programmes there. After a short stint in the Africa department, I then left to focus on the next stage of my life. When my daughter was born, I was able to snatch a few hours here and there to write my first novel. And so it continues.

To find out more about Diane Chandler and her books please visit the following pages.  Please also stop by the other dates on the blogtour.




Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan book review


Miracle on 5th Avenue (From Manhattan with Love, book 3) written by Sarah Morgan, publisher MIRA is available NOW in ebook, paperback and audio download format.

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Product Details (as per amazon page)

Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. Even if she is spending it alone housesitting a spectacular Fifth Avenue apartment. What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous–and mysterious–owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife’s death looming, he’s isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?


I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book and would like to thank the author and publishers for this.  Wow!  I so wanted to take my time reading this book, the 3rd instalment in the Manhattan series, I didn’t want the story to end.

This is Eva’s story.  Eva is a sweetheart who everyone adores.  She is beautiful with a sunny outlook on life and she is hoping for her own happy ever after.  Eva is one third of the event’s management company Urban Genie and her latest assignment is to decorate the apartment and cook and prepare meals for the bestselling crime fiction writer, Lucas Blade.  Eva is startled to learn that Lucas is still in residence of his apartment but a jobs a job and Eva carries on with her assignment.

Lucas and Eva are very different people, Eva is so upbeat and optimistic and Lucas with his secrets and heartache and with his head surrounded by crime writing he finds it difficult to trust people and to see the good in them.  As you can imagine these opposites clash a lot but slowly Eva’s sunny disposition starts melting Lucas’ exterior.

Lucas is suffering greatly with his heart since the sudden death of his wife 3 years ago,  he’s also suffering with his writing and with his grief and solitude Lucas is struggling to even start his next book.  With a deadline looming fear sets in.

Can Eva be the one to ignite Lucas’ writing and can she help him learn to love and trust again? Will Eva find her happy ever after or will the past cast a spell of doom for the future?

This was such a beautiful, heartfelt love story that was charged with so much chemistry it was powerful enough to melt the strongest of snowstorms!  I felt the grief, the emotions, the need and desire.  Sarah Morgan managed to pack this story with it all.  A heart warming, desire filled story that I wanted to go on and on.  5/5*

To find out more about Sarah Morgan and her books please visit the following pages:




Single by Christmas by Rosa Temple book review and blogtour


Single by Christmas written and self-published by Rosa Temple is available NOW in ebook format.  The book is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

You’ve heard the saying, ‘opposites attract’ haven’t you? Well meet 27 year old Alex Marshall, a party girl with a penchant for free flowing Prosecco, and her devilishly handsome scientist boyfriend, Charlie, who loves jazz and dinner for two.
Alex and Charlie are together for 11 blissful months until Alex goes out of town and does something she will later regret. Was she drunk? You bet. Does she want Charlie to know? Well what do you think?
With the couple about to spend their first Christmas together will Charlie be the forgiving kind or will Alex be Single by Christmas?
This is a feel good, Christmas novel with very few mince pies, not much snow and absolutely no mistletoe – just a couple of best friends, a sociopathic nemesis and a lot of drinking.


I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book and would like to thank the author for this.  I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting Rosa Temple’s new novel: Single by Christmas.

This was such a fun festive read full of frolics, laughter and love.  I really enjoyed the pace of the story and how the chapters were focused on daily events leading up to Christmas.  I’ve read a few books by Rosa Temple now and love her wonderful wit and charm and am left surprised that her books are not more widely known.  Please do check out this author Rosa Temple!  Her writing style reminds me a little of Lindsey Kelk, Melissa Hill and Jane Green.

We first meet Alex waiting for her boyfriend Charlie to join her and her family for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.  She’s devastated and ashamed with the events of the past few weeks and decides to wait for Charlie in the church grounds.  Whilst sat in the dark waiting for Charlie Alex starts thinking back to were it all went wrong for her and Charlie.  The story then takes us back to December 1st when we start to follow Alex at work and at play leading up to Christmas.

Alex has such a big heart that she’d stop everything to help her friends and also at work she steps in to help her less confident boss.  However, this big heart of hers get’s too carried away and Alex starts forgetting the most important person in her life, her boyfriend Charlie.  Alex is a young twenty something career girl that works hard but plays as hard and loves her monthly drink binges with her girlfriends.  With her hectic work schedule and social life Alex’s relationship starts tumbling down around her but she’s too wrapped up trying to save and help everyone else to see it.

A fabulous festive read that’s full of fun, laughter and love.  The season of giving brings a whole new meaning to Alex when she forget to give time to herself and her boyfriend.  5/5*

Rosa has kindly offered to give 5 ebook copies of her novel during the blogtour which ends on the 28th October with the giveaway ending on the 1st November 2016.  To enter please click on the link below:

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To find out more about Rosa Temple and her books please do visit the following pages:




Do check out the other stops on the blogtour: