A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys book review

a dangerous crossing

A Dangerous Crossing written by Rachel Rhys, publisher Transworld Digital and Doubleday, is available NOW in ebook, hardcover and audio download format.

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Product Details (as per amazon page)

Sparkling cocktails, poisonous secrets …

1939, Europe on the brink of war. Lily Shepherd leaves England on an ocean liner for Australia, escaping her life of drudgery for new horizons. She is instantly seduced by the world onboard: cocktails, black-tie balls and beautiful sunsets. Suddenly, Lily finds herself mingling with people who would otherwise never give her the time of day.

But soon she realizes her glamorous new friends are not what they seem. The rich and hedonistic Max and Eliza Campbell, mysterious and flirtatious Edward, and fascist George are all running away from tragedy and scandal even greater than her own.

By the time the ship docks, two passengers are dead, war has been declared, and life will never be the same again.

vintage photo ocean liner sydney harbour

This was such a remarkable read full of hope and new beginnings and much, much more.  With the myriad of passengers from all walks of life on board the ocean liner set for Australia in 1939 young Lily Shepherd was full of trepidation, excitement, isolation and hope.  Lily was soon thrust into the company of strangers; people whom she would never socialise with and the thought of a young working class girl sitting and talking with educated, wealthy, socialite people was quite thrilling for her.  The glamour of these people was intoxicating and Lily was soon elevated into their world.

As the voyage to a new country, a new beginning, a new world went on friendships and enemies were made.  Lily on few occasions was warned about associating with these new friends of hers but it was almost like an addictive pull on both her side and her new friends side for them to be together.  Confidences were spilled revealing tragic pasts from many.  However, the voyage was to reveal more than traumatic histories, a darkness fell between the new friends and fear swept between them.  The glitz and glamour of the ballroom and of the beautiful new countries they docked at were overshadowed by tensions of love, lust, secrets, political unrest and death.

I was drawn to Lily’s character her freshness for wanting something more in life and her heartbreak from her past.  This journey she embarked on was captivating, thrilling and the events that unfolded in the five weeks on board will leave a lasting effect on many on board.

A read full of fanciful moments that are shocking, tragic, captivating and poignant.  5/5*

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this novel.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

About the author

Rachel Rhys is the pen-name of a successful suspense author.  A Dangerous Crossing is her debut novel under this name.  The story is inspired by a real diary which the author discovered by accident while helping her mother move house.  It was written with care and with extraordinary attention to detail by a young girl in service who travelled from England to Australia on a cruise liner in the late 1930s.

To find out more about the author please do visit the following pages:

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/MsTamarCohen

Website:  http://www.tammycohen.co.uk/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/MsTamarCohen/

Earl Grey Tea Taste Test

Earl Grey header

Earl Grey Tea is my favourite blend of tea and I much prefer it in loose leaf format.  A few fellow tea drinkers and myself have decided to conduct a taste test and have chosen three very good quality blends from independent tea merchants.

Tea One:  Elegant Earl Grey by Jollybrew Tea, can be purchased online here:

https://www.jollybrew.co.uk/products/elegant-earl-grey

Tea Two:  Earl Grey Blue Flower by Suki Tea, can be purchased online here:

https://suki-tea.com/tea/tea-type/black-tea/earl-grey-blue-flower

Tea Three: Earl Grey by Edgcumbes Coffee Roasters and Tea Blenders, can be purchased online here:

https://www.edgcumbes.co.uk/shop/premium-loose-leaf-tea/earl-grey-loose-leaf-100g/

I used three identical cups and the ball type filter and added similar amounts of loose leaf in each cup.Earl Grey filter

I steeped the tea in freshly boiled water for 2-3 minutes.

Earl Grey tea brewing

This was such a difficult taste test as all three are very pleasant Earl Grey blends and I could quite happily drink them all day.

Earl Grey drunk

But one stood out a little more with a gorgeous aroma and stunning taste.

Earl Grey star

My star in this taste test was … Elegant Earl Grey by Jollybrew.  From the gorgeous aroma to the stunning taste I was won over by this quite simply elegant blend.

This is my honest opinion only and I would highly recommend all three of these teas.

Purchasing tea in the post is so simple and there is nothing more pleasing than receiving a lovely box of quality tea in the post.  Why I choose loose leaf: its simple the taste is more cleaner and flavoursome, you have the added benefit of re-steeping leaves, the leaves are whole and not ground to dust like most conventional teabags, you are supporting organic tea farmers, as the leaves are whole the added health benefits of tea are greater and the leaves can literally open up and flourish in front of your eyes.

I’m hoping to do another taste test soon with the likes of Darjeeling, Breakfast Tea, Green Tea and White Tea.

 

 

The Mills & Boon Modern Girl’s Guide to Turning Into Your Mother by Ada Adverse book review

 

turning into your mother

The Mills & Boon Modern Girl’s Guide to Turning Into Your Mother written by Ada Averse, publisher Mills & Boon is available NOW in ebook and hardcover format.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Have you ever…?

A) Opened your mouth and heard your mother come out?

B) Wondered whether a bunch of flowers and breakfast in bed once a year really makes up for the 37 hours your mum spent in St Agnes’ Maternity Ward?

C) Voiced a heartfelt opinion on the weather?

If so, the Mills & Boon Modern Girl’s Guide to Turning Into Your Mother is for you: a guide to the joys of motherhood – with a feminist twist.

vintage mother and daughter image

This was such a fun read and I loved and laughed at every single page.  This is my first introduction to The Mills & Boon Modern Girl’s Guide books and what little books of wit and wonder they are.

Turning Into Your Mother is the 5th book in the Modern Girl’s Guide series.  The book is an A-Z of Motherhood told from the horses/mother’s mouth!  Forget the advice from so-called professionals and peers Mothers know best!  I loved the nostalgic images befitting the quotes and advice opposite; I particularly liked the story behind Passwords, this got me laughing out loud.

It’s a book that would be ideal coffee table material, a great conversation starter and a great mood lifter.  The book would make an ideal present for Mother’s Day but also a great present for a mother to give their daughter, maybe on her wedding day.  Feisty and fabulous!  Off to check out the rest of the books in the Modern Girl’s Guide series …

Check out more from Mills and Boon from the following pages:

Website:  http://www.millsandboon.co.uk/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/MillsandBoon

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/millsandboon

 

My Husband’s Wife by Amanda Prowse book review

 

my husbands wife

My Husband’s Wife written by Amanda Prowse, publisher Head of Zeus, is available NOW in ebook, hardcover, audio download and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

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Product Details (as per amazon page)

Once a week, Rosie Tipcott counts her blessings.

She goes to sit on her favourite bench on the north Devon cliffs, and thanks her lucky stars for her wonderful husband, her mischievous young daughters, and her neat little house by the sea. She vows to dedicate every waking hour to making her family happy.

But then her husband unexpectedly leaves her for another woman and takes the children. Now she must ask the question: what is left in her life? Can Rosie find the strength to rebuild herself? More importantly, does she even want to?

park bench clipart

This is the first book I’ve had the pleasure to read written by Amanda Prowse.  I’ve heard so many good remarks about her stories and My Husband’s Wife didn’t disappoint.  I was instantly glued to this heart wrenching family drama.  Amanda’s words took you right there with the characters and you could feel the torment, the hurt, the despair, the gut wrench … This was such an emotive storyline that gripped me and at times I was shocked by the turn of events and I was taken on the emotional journey with the characters.  When I got to the end I felt I wanted; no I needed more!

This is a story of a happy family that one day became broken and once the cracks appeared they started spreading, causing even more damage.  Could the damage be repairable?

Rosie and Phil have been happily married for 12 years, they have two beautiful daughters, Naomi 7 and Leona 5 and live in the idyllic seaside town of Woolacombe.  When Phil announces out of the blue that he wants more out of life and that he also wants more than her Rosie’s world is turned upside down but this is just the start.  Her new life, which she is struggling to comprehend, is now like an emotional war torn field that she is unable to climb over the debris.  The pain and the heart wrenching increases.  Rosie has to experience all this and more to appreciate what her heart truly wants and needs.

A beautiful, gripping story that pulls at your heart strings.  5/5*

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this novel.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

To find out more about Amanda Prowse and her books please do visit the following links:

Website:  http://www.amandaprowse.org/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/amandaprowsenogreaterlove

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/MrsAmandaProwse

The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson book review

queen of wishful thinking

The Queen of Wishful Thinking written by Milly Johnson, publisher Simon & Schuster UK, is available NOW in ebook and hardcover format.  The book will be available in paperback format from the 4th May 2017.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon link)

When Lewis Harley has a health scare in his early forties, he takes it as a wake-up call. So he and his  wife Charlotte leave behind life in the fast lane and Lewis opens the antique shop he has dreamed of. Bonnie Brookland was brought up in the antiques trade and now works for the man who bought out her father’s business, but she isn’t happy there. So when she walks into Lew’s shop, she knows this is the place for her.

As Bonnie and Lew start to work together, they soon realise that there is more to their relationship than either thought. But Bonnie is trapped in an unhappy marriage, and Lew and Charlotte have more problems than they care to admit. Each has secrets in their past which are about to be uncovered. Can they find the happiness they both deserve?

rainbow umbrella

Milly Johnson has a knack of creating characters you instantly warm to and want to champion. This is how I felt about Lewis and Bonnie, the two main characters in The Queen of Wishful Thinking. Lewis Harley and Bonnie Brookland haven’t had an easy life; what with Lewis’ sudden heart attack two years ago which made him take stock of his job in London and Bonnie’s grief for the losses she has incurred in the past and also the despair of living in a loveless marriage. Bonnie was in desperate need of a new job and approached Lewis, the owner of the new antique shop, Pot of Gold, for a possible vacancy. Fate has played a big part in putting these two people together, like two pieces of a missing jigsaw. The Pot of Gold was such a warm, friendly antique shop and working in the shop was giving Bonnie a new hope for the future and she was feeling the strength to make big decisions about her personal life.

Lewis’ own personal life takes a dramatic turn and the shop with Bonnie and her quirky friends turn Pot of Gold into a lifesaving haven for many that set foot in it’s door.

Bonnie’s husband is not happy with the changes she makes and he takes up drastic action himself which leads to a series of secrets and revelations being unearthed that could rock Bonnie’s future.

Emotions are running high for both Lewis and Bonnie and the future is looking very unsettled.

This was such a wonderful heartfelt story. The characters were written with such warmth and personality. I particularly liked the array of eccentric sub-characters. As always Milly sets her stories in her beloved Yorkshire, with it’s wonderful backdrop of moorlands and little villages. I particularly love this about Milly’s novels the location and dialect of the characters are very relatable and charming and you can hear the characters come to life in your head. I was surprised but thrilled with the twists and turns in this tale which left me turning the pages to find out what happens next. A gorgeous story that had me hooked from start to finish.

To find out more about Milly Johnson and her books please do visit the following pages:

Website (which I recommend signing up for Milly’s newsletter as she offers many competitions and informative news):  http://www.millyjohnson.co.uk/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/MillyJohnsonAuthor/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/millyjohnson

The Wedding Girls by Kate Thompson book review

the-wedding-girls

The Wedding Girls written by Kate Thompson, publisher Pan Macmillan, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

It’s 1936 and the streets of London’s East End are grimy and brutal, but in one corner of Bethnal Green it is forever Hollywood . . .

Herbie Taylor’s photography studio is nestled in the heart of bustling Green Street. Tomboy Stella and troubled Winnie work in Herbie’s studio; their best friend and hopeless romantic Kitty works next door as an apprentice dressmaker. All life passes through the studio, wishing to capture that perfect moment in time.

Kitty works tirelessly to create magical bridal gowns, but with each stitch she wonders if she’ll ever get a chance to wear a white dress. Stella and Winnie sprinkle a dusting of Hollywood glamour over happy newly-weds, but secretly dream of escaping the East End . . .

Community is strong on Green Street, but can it stand the ultimate test? As clouds of war brew on the horizon, danger looms over the East End. Will the Wedding Girls find their happy ever afters, before it’s too late?

vintage singer sewing machine

The Wedding Girls is a wonderful story that I thoroughly enjoyed.  The beautiful cover cleverly hides a raw, insightful, inspiring, hopeful, gripping, romantic story that will stay with you for a long time.

The story is set in 1936 in one of the most deprived areas of East End, London.  Families were living in cramped, damp, broken properties and were struggling to find work to feed their children.  Although, this sounds quite depressing the morale of the inhabitants, especially the women, was far from bleak.  There was a true camaraderie between all who lived in the area and the community spirit was sorely tested when fascist blackshirts moved into the neighbourhood and started to wreak havoc to lives and livelihoods.  The quiet streets of Bethnal Green had soon turned into a political war field and danger had been delivered right up to their doors.

The three main characters; Kitty, Winnie and Stella are best friends born and bred in the East End and now working in the wedding industry.  Kitty is an apprentice dressmaker creating beautiful wedding gowns to all the hopeful brides-to-be and Winnie and Stella work for Herbie Taylor’s photography studio.  Herbie Taylor’s photography studio is a place of old fashioned charm that treats each wedding couple as royalty when they step forth into the studio for their wedding day photos.

Kitty is quite shy and has dreamed of one day being  courted and swooned in her own romantic wedding. Winnie is going steady with Treacle, a local lad that is besotted with her.  Stella is very independent and headstrong and has her own dreams of leaving the East End and travelling with her camera.

The girls lives are suddenly thrown into chaos with the political clashes in the streets.  However, the war is not just in the streets for Winnie as for years she has been hiding a traumatic and terrifying secret.  This secret is dangerous and unpredictable.

The Wedding Girls, as the three best friends are known, bring much needed joy, colour, glamour and romance to the area during a time of political and social unrest.

A fabulous story that had me gripped.  I loved how the author, Kate Thompson, incorporated in her story a pivotal moment in East End history.  Fictional books really do bring history to life.  This was a story full of solidarity.  A story that doesn’t hide the ugliness of life.  A story bringing much hope.  A story to warm your heart.  Just brilliant 5/5*

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this novel.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

To find out more about Kate Thompson and her books please do visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.katethompsonmedia.co.uk/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/katethompson380

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/KateThompsonAuthor/

To Rome, With Love by TA Williams book review/blogtour

to-rome-with-love

To Rome, With Love written by TA Williams, publisher HQ Digital, is available NOW in ebook format.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

A summer of second chances…

Just a week before her big day, Sarah returns home to find a note from her husband-to-be – the wedding’s off! So when her boss decides to send her on an epic cycling trip, from Venice to Rome, it seems like the perfect distraction…

Although she never expected the distraction to come in the form of her oh-so-handsome, but slightly serious, cycling companion, Miles. And with still 600 miles of beautiful scenery, mouthwatering food and delicious wine yet to cover, anything could happen!

to-rome-with-love-tour-banner

I’m so pleased to be involved with the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of T A Williams latest novel, To Rome, With Love.

This was a really lovely story by T A Williams.  The author not only gave us a wonderful romantic tale with a journey of emotional enlightenment but we were also treated to an epic cycle ride through Italy.

Sarah works for one of the top tourist companies in the country, she was due to get married very soon but her no-good fiancé decides to unceremoniously call off the wedding the week before.  Sarah is devastated, as you can imagine, but life must go on and she has to step in and help host a charity bike ride through Italy.  Sarah is a keen cyclist and with her job she has organised many events in the past so has no worries about this task.  She is hoping the fortnight away from home and her broken heart she can reassess her future and make waves into healing some of the cracks in her personal life.

Sarah is joined on the trip by many other colleagues from the world of travel including Miles and Paul, sons of the owner of the travel company she works for.  Sarah starts to build up a rapport with the gents but is wary of her actions in front of them as they are due to take over the running of the business soon and she wants to make a good impression and keep things on a professional level.  However, the more she gets to know the older of the brothers, Miles, the more she is drawn to him.  Miles is definitely the brains behind the business but holds a grudge against his brother and secretly has his own personal heartache.  Will this journey surrounded by wonderful countryside with epic views and glorious food to tantalise your taste buds go some way to heal the hearts of two lost people?

I loved the mix of characters that went along on this charity cycle ride.  I particularly liked Glynis’ story, a character that was initially misinterpreted but at the end you felt so much respect for this lady.  I felt like the author, TA Williams, had done his research for this novel as there was so much detailed information about the scenic and historic sites along the journey.  I also could feel that TA Williams enjoyed telling us this story and sharing his love for the country, it’s food, culture and history and also his love of cycling.  I personally felt like the story ended abit abruptly and I wanted an epilogue but maybe I’m fussy and don’t like to say goodbye to the characters so soon.  A lovely romance that takes you on a picturesque, life changing journey.

To find out more about T A Williams please do visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.tawilliamsbooks.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/TAWilliamsBooks

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/TrevorWilliamsBooks