Book Promo – Summer at my Sister’s by Emily Harvale

The Blurb

Twin sisters. One scorching summer.

A bucketful of secrets.

Diana’s life is perfect. Her twin sister, Josie’s – not so much. 

Diana has a rich and successful husband, two talented youngsters and an adorable dog. She always looks as if she’s stepped from the cover of a magazine. Her immaculate second home by the sea, for idyllic summers with her perfect family, was actually featured in one.
Josie has a messy, compact flat, dates, but not relationships, and she can’t even keep a houseplant alive. She moves from job to job, goes clubbing with her friends and often looks as if she’s fallen through a hedge.

Although Josie loves Diana deeply, each year she declines the invitation to spend the summer with her sister. Or any other family holiday. Because Josie has a secret.
But is Diana’s life so perfect? Or is she also hiding something? When secrets are revealed this summer, everything will change. Josie could finally have the life she’s always wanted … if she’s brave enough to take a chance.

Purchase Link –

An exciting update from Emily Harvale

I apologise if you haven’t seen me on social media very much recently but I’ve been exceptionally busy working on lots of exciting stuff (technical term) 😂🤩 for my new book, my website … and a map for my new series of standalone stories set in the tiny village of Seahorse Harbour.

The map will ‘go live’ on July 31st, publication day for the first in the series, which is … yep, you guessed it, Summer at my sister’s. Let me explain a bit more.

Summer at my sister’s was originally a standalone, but then I had an idea for a Christmas book, so it became a two-book series, with Book 2 featuring a couple of new characters and most of the characters from Summer at my sister’s (with me so far?) ……

Then …. I had an idea for another completely separate story set in the same village (which I’m writing at the mo.) This one has new characters. So now, each story in this series will be a standalone with new characters … but as each book is set in Seahorse Harbour, you’ll be able to ‘see’ what’s going on with the characters from the previous books, because you can’t help but bump into people in a tiny village, can you?

I have to say, I LOVE THIS SERIES!!!!😍🤩💖🥰 I’ve got so many story ideas, although I’ve only written 2 of the books so far, Summer at my sister’s and the Christmas book, which is called …..

Wait for it……(no, that’s not the title)

Christmas at Aunt Elsie’s

This Christmas book will be available for pre-order from early August. 💖🤩🥰😍

Did I mention that I love this series? And yes – I’m just a little bit over-excited. I can’t wait to share these fabulously feel-good stories with you. I hope you’re a little bit excited too. 🤩💖 xxx

Map of Seahorse Harbour

Sneak peaks….

This is from Chapter One and is part of a video call that Josie Parnell is having with her twin sister, Diana Dunn. Their mum has told Josie to go and visit Diana because, “something isn’t quite right”, so Josie is calling Diana in the hope of finding out what could possibly be wrong in her sister’s perfect life.

When she sees Diana’s face and hears that Diana’s husband, Alex isn’t driving the family down to Seahorse Harbour and won’t be joining them there for a while because he’s, “too busy”, Josie realises their mum was right. Perhaps Diana’s perfect life isn’t quite so perfect at the moment.

I hope you enjoy reading this.

‘Are you okay, Di?’ I asked, peering at her face. ‘I mean, are you ill? You said you haven’t been feeling well lately. Is it something to worry about?’

‘No, no.’ She shook her head. Almost violently. ‘It’s nothing like that. Honestly. I’d tell you if it was. I think I’m just … a little out of sorts. A bit run down maybe. Nothing a sea breeze won’t cure.’

‘Cocktails always make me feel better so I’m with you on that.’

Now she did laugh. ‘I meant the sea air, not the drink. You know I don’t drink … anymore.’

And I don’t drink any less.’ I sniggered. I love those old jokes. ‘So it’s just you and the kids then?’

She looked anxious. ‘Me and the kids?’

‘Going to Seahorse Harbour.’ This conversation was definitely weird.

‘Oh yes. For now. And Henry of course.’

‘Ah yes. Henry. Who could forget that lovable hound?’

‘You could. Obviously.’

‘Yeah well. Dogs aren’t my thing. You know I don’t do well with living beings. With living anything, really. Which reminds me. I’m really sorry but that gorgeous plant you bought me a few weeks ago seems to have … er … decided it didn’t like living in the City.’

‘Josie, no!’ She shook her head and laughed, although it wasn’t a particularly happy sound. ‘Please don’t tell me you’ve killed it already.’

‘Okay. I won’t tell you that.’

‘But you have?’

‘I think it took its own life. I didn’t do anything, honestly.’

‘But you watered it, didn’t you?’

‘Er. I think I did. Once or twice. Possibly not. I meant to.’

She sighed and shook her head again. ‘Oh, Josie. What am I going to do with you?’

Don’t ask me why I said it. I had no intention of doing so. None whatsoever. But I did.

You could ask me to come and stay with you for the summer. Or at least until Alex is free to come and join you.’

She blinked a few times and stared at the screen, her perfectly arched and shaped brows raised skywards.

‘In Seahorse Harbour?’

‘No. Mars. Of course in Seahorse Harbour. That’s where you’re spending the summer, isn’t it?’

‘It’s where we spend every summer,’ she said, somewhat wistfully I thought.

I gave a little cough and she smiled wanly.

‘Do I have to ask twice?’

‘What? Are you serious? Are … are you actually asking if you can come and stay? You never come and stay with us.’

‘Well, I’d rather stay with that sexy hunk who now owns The Seahorse Inn but as I don’t know him, I’ll have to stay with you until he asks me. What did you say his name was again?’

Mikkel. Mikkel Meloy.’ She lowered her gaze.

‘I still think that sounds more Irish than it does Norwegian. But he does look like a Viking and he could ravage me anytime he likes.’

You’ve only seen him once, Josie and that was via my webcam at Easter.’

‘Okay. Don’t get snippy. You sounded just like mum.’ I laughed. ‘You only have to see a man like that once for him to make an impression. Is he still single?’

She looked away into the distance. ‘As far as I know he is.’

‘Hi, Josie!’ My niece Becca appeared in the background, waving frantically. ‘You two talking about Mikkel? He’s sooooo gorgeous. Everyone’s in love with him you know. Even though he’s old.

‘Hey you! He’s only a couple of years older than me and your mum, you cheeky minx.’

Becca giggled. ‘Yeah. Old. But not as old as Orla’s dad. He used to be the heartthrob in Seahorse Harbour until Mikkel moved there. He’s still hot, although Orla hates it when I say her dad is sexy – but he is. Not quite as hot as Mikkel though. Orla’s crushing on him too. We’ve been reading Georgette Heyer books. One of the women in Mum’s book club loves them. Most of the heroines marry guys much older, so we’re sort of getting into the whole, older men thing, even though it still seems a bit gross. They’re sexy to look at sometimes but to have actual sex with them.’ She shivered dramatically. ‘Makes me want to heave just a bit.’

‘You’re not having sex with anyone, young lady. You’re only fifteen.’ I tried to sound stern but I think I failed because I was laughing.

I tried to picture Liam’s face. That’s Orla’s dad. He’d love to know that the thought of having sex with him made someone want to heave. Personally, when I was younger, I quite liked the thought of having sex with Liam Fulbright. Mainly because he was such a nerd, especially with his huge glasses, and I wondered if, like a super hero, he had a far, far sexier alter ego. I definitely got the impression there was something bubbling just beneath his lightly tanned skin and that long, lean body. But I hadn’t seen Liam for years. The last time I saw him was when he was nineteen. He was getting married to Una Cole – the most beautiful girl in the world.

Another one…..

This is where Josie Parnell is on her way to her twin sister, Diana’s house but stops for a while and meets up with Liam Fulbright – a man she hasn’t seen since he married the most beautiful girl in the world (in Josie’s opinion) when he was just nineteen.

I decided to sit for a while beneath the ancient Oak in the centre of the village, and right in front of the church. From here there was a view directly out to sea and I watched a yacht bob along in the distance and seagulls soar and swoop low over the glass-like, turquoise water. I breathed deeply, pushed my sunglasses onto the top of my head, shoving back the tumbles of wavy red hair and closed my eyes, suddenly remembering long-ago summers. I heard someone walking past but I kept my eyes closed. Until I heard my name.

‘Josie? Is that you?’

My eyes shot open at the sound of a man’s voice. It sounded a lot like Liam Fulbright’s had all those years ago, only deeper, stronger and more commanding somehow. But the man standing in front of me looked nothing like the Liam I remembered. Liam had been tall and gangly and never quite as tanned as everyone else. His hair was always short, as if the scissors had taken fright and cut off far too much. Bits of it stuck out everywhere, a bit like a porcupine. His eyes were dark blue, but nothing to write home about, especially as they appeared more bulbous thanks to the thick glasses he wore. But I had always thought there was something simmering just beneath the surface and that one day, whatever it was, would burst forth and Liam would be transformed.

It seemed I was right. Unless this wasn’t Liam Fulbright.

‘It’s Liam. Liam Fulbright. I don’t suppose you remember me? We spent several summers together, a lifetime ago. Becca told my daughter, Orla you were coming. You haven’t changed a bit. Except, perhaps your hair. I think it was chestnut brown in those days.’ His smile was warm and friendly.

I shaded my eyes from the sun.

‘Liam Fulbright? Really? Wow.’

I put on my sunglasses so that I could see him better and got to my feet. He towered over me. But then so did everyone. Diana and I stopped growing when we reached five foot three.

‘Don’t tell me you’ve walked from the station?’

‘What? Oh. Er. No. I took a taxi but stopped for a quick drink at The Seahorse Inn.’

‘And ended up on the bench here? Just the one drink? Or did you have several?’

I didn’t answer immediately. I was still trying to take in how much he had changed.

‘Er. No. Just one. But I think the jet lag and heat is getting to me.’

‘So you stopped to admire the view.’ He half-turned to look at the sea and then his eyes focussed on me again.

Well, it is a rather gorgeous view,’ I said, scanning him from the tips of his black, Converse trainers to the roots of his lustrous chocolate-brown hair.

Gone was the spiky haircut and in its place, soft, natural waves sat around a deeply tanned and exceedingly handsome face. The firm jaw held a hint of stubble, the dark blue eyes, sparkling in the bright sunlight were free of glasses and when he smiled, his sensuous-looking lips parted to reveal perfect, naturally white teeth. He was at least six foot or more and his legs were long in his jeans. His pale blue cotton shirt, although not tight, showed that his chest and shoulders were broad and his forearms, where the sleeves had been rolled back, were certainly toned. Not in a body-builder way, but in a way that made it clear Liam Fulbright was no slouch.

‘I agree with you on that,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t imagine living anywhere but here and seeing that view every day.’

‘No. I could easily get used to a view like this. I mean, like that. The sea. The sea view is gorgeous. Er … I was so sorry to hear about Una. I should’ve sent a card or something. Sorry. I’m a terrible person, I know.’

He reached out and touched my shoulder and I swear to you, my skin seared beneath his hand. Or perhaps my shoulders had got sunburnt. I was wearing a sleeveless blouse and I’m not sure how long I was sitting on that bench in the full midday sun. ‘No you’re not, Josie.’ His voice changed tone. I could detect a hint of anger. ‘To be honest, I wouldn’t have known if you had or not. I was in a bit of a state and didn’t really take in anything at the time. Everything was a bit of a blur.’

Learn more about Emily Harvale

Emily writes novels, novellas and short stories about friendship, family and falling in love. She loves a happy ending but knows that life doesn’t always go to plan. Her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily loves to connect with her readers and has a readers’ group in which many have become good friends. To catch up with Emily, find out about the group, or connect with her on social media, go to her website at

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now writes full-time. She’s a member of the SoA, an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. When not writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both. Emily has two mischievous rescue cats that like to sprawl across her keyboard, regardless of whether Emily is typing on it, or not.

Emily Harvale

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Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

Official blurb from Amazon

MIDNIGHT: In an area of urban wasteland where cats hunt and foxes shriek, a girl is watching …

When Saffyre Maddox was ten, something terrible happened, and she’s carried the pain of it ever since. The man who she thought was going to heal her didn’t, and now she hides, learning his secrets, invisible in the shadows.

Owen Pick is invisible too. He’s never had a girlfriend; he’s never even had a friend.
Nobody sees him. Nobody cares.

But when Saffyre goes missing from opposite his house on Valentine’s night, suddenly the whole world is looking at Owen.

Accusing him, holding him responsible for Saffyre’s disappearance …


I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This was my first Lisa Jewell book and certainly won’t be my last.  With a new author, it always seems to take a few chapters to align with the writer’s pace; Invisible Girl took me several chapters and then I was hooked.

Invisible Girl is loaded with twists and turns that will leave you wondering who is guilty and who is innocent.  All the characters are damaged, to some degree, and it’s hard not to point the mental finger at each one of them.

The story is told from multiple view and time points which, over the course of the book, create theories and answers in quick succession.  I’m pleased to say that I didn’t spoil the ending for myself by guessing who the villain was.  Possibly because, on many levels, there was more than one villain.

The conclusion and the wrapping up chapters tie up all the loose ends and, for me, it was good to know ‘what happened next’.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. 

Learn more about Lisa Jewell here.   Follow Lisa on Twitter.

A French Affair by Jennifer Bohnet

Official blurb from Amazon

One Summer can change your life…

Belinda Marshall’s idyllic teenage life in Brittany, France, fell apart when her parents dramatically separated and her mother took her back
to England.
Fast forward thirty-five years when Belinda’s world is once again turned upside down.
It’s the week before Christmas and Belinda’s employer ‘surprises’ her by asking for her help to rejuvenate their latest investment, a run-down campsite in Brittany.
Memories and anxieties that had lain dormant for years suddenly begin to resurface.
As secrets from a lost life threaten to overwhelm her, there is a realisation that maybe she wasn’t told the whole truth by her mother all those years ago.

Can Belinda reconcile her emotions and find happiness once more in the place she so loved and called home?


I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I am quickly becoming a huge Jennifer Bohnet fan.  She writes wonderful stories which, so far, are all set in idyllic parts of France.  I truly believe that a good book can take you away and I have certainly just had a wonderful visit to Brittany.

There are two key characters in this book; Belinda and Fern.  Both are carrying the scars of their past and are happy in their current, single, status.  Belinda is divorced with a career that more than fulfils her whilst Fern is widowed after marrying her French boyfriend.

Both Belinda and Fern are strong and capable and certainly not looking for new love interests.  As is common, I have found, in Jennifer’s books, there is no hint of romance until the reader is past the half-way point of the stories.

I loved reading about Brittany and the peculiar French property laws which govern the inheritance of family homes. 

I avoid spoilers so, I shall leave it there.

This gentle book is a perfect summer read and is guaranteed to leave the reader very satisfied.  I hope that if you do read this story, you also enjoy visiting the beautiful areas of Brittany which host this gorgeous tale.

Learn more about Jennifer Bohnet here.   Follow Jennifer on Twitter.

The Friendship List by Susan Mallery

Official blurb from Amazon

One Summer can change your life…

As a single mum, Ellen Fox missed out on a lot, but she wouldn’t change a thing. Then she overhears her son saying he can’t leave home to go to college because she needs him too much. If she wants him to live his best life, she has to convince him she’s living hers.

To help, Ellen’s best friend Unity creates a list of challenges to push Ellen out of her comfort zone. Unity will complete the list, too. Only to support her friend, not because she needs to change. She’s a perfectly fine thirty four year old widow, who socialises at an old people’s home!

For both women, The Friendship List begins as a way to make others believe they’re doing just fine. But somewhere between ‘wear a bikini in public’ and ‘have sex with a gorgeous guy’, Ellen and Unity discover that life is meant to be lived with joy and abandon, and filled with humour, heartache and perhaps the odd regrettable tattoo!


I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this story of the power of friendship.  Making lists to prove that they are doing fine seems like a sensible idea, but the results are anything but sensible.

Both Ellen and Unity are emotionally crippled by their pasts, Ellen who found herself pregnant at a very early age, abandoned by the father and supported by incredibly strict parents, has never had another relationship since her son’s birth.  Unity, orphaned in her teens, was brought up with Ellen and her strict parents.  Unity married her army husband and then he was lost in action.  Moving on is almost impossible.

The items on the list range from easy to impossible but the results are hilarious. 

Susan Mallery does a perfect job of creating two dashing male leads and the supporting cast is a wonderful mix across all ages.

I certainly wont spoil anything for future readers but this book takes a good look at the effects of trying to live your life for others rather than getting out there and really living.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book; it was an easy read and presented the pre-requisite happy ending in a huge helping!

Learn more about Susan Mallery here.   Follow Susan on Twitter.

A Seagull Summer by Jane Lovering

Official blurb from Amazon

Leah has come to Dorset to collect seaweed samples for a nutrition research project. She’s trying to leave behind a disastrous family life, and is haunted by the death of her best friend, Claire, on whom she relied for advice.

Here she meets Brendon, an Australian come to search for his mysteriously-vanished-from-the-family great grandfather. Brendon has discovered a fear of British seagulls, particularly Roger, a hand-reared bird which has taken a liking to Leah. As Leah and Brendon form a summer friendship, their pasts catch up with them. But together they help each other to see beyond the narrow confines and mistakes of the past.


I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Jane Lovering is one of the authors that I wait impatiently for new books from.  A Seagull Summer is the second in the Seasons by the Sea series. 

At face value, it’s the story of when research scientist Leah meets Australian visitor Brendon.  Put like that, it’s a simple tale but the reality is quite different.  Jane Lovering excels at creating characters who are slightly damaged.

As usual, no spoilers here, I would hate to ruin this beautiful story for future readers.

Leah finds it hard to connect with people.  She’s got a lifetime of baggage and is testament to a series of poor decisions which begin with her conception to a teenage mother.

The Devon coast plays host as Leah discovers that making mistakes is human and not the end of the world.  There’s a gentle nod to book one of this series as Leah and Brendon unpick the tapestry of Leah’s past.

In particular, I enjoyed the respectful inclusion of gender fluidity as we are introduced to Tass and given a gentle introduction to preferred pronouns.

The star of the show is, without a doubt, Roger the Seagull!  His presence heralded many of the twists in the plot from a random dunking to a life or death situation.

I hope you enjoy this story gentle story which takes a good look at social unawareness and how love and understanding can heal most wounds.

Learn more about Jane Lovering here.   Follow Jane on Twitter.

The Girls of Victory Street (The Bryant Sisters Book 1) by Pam Howes

Official blurb from Amazon

Liverpool, 1939Bella Rogers thought her life was just starting; she can’t wait to get married to her childhood sweetheart, Bobby. But when war is declared and Bobby is called up, his letters stop, leaving Bella heartbroken and alone. Then her family is torn apart by tragedy when her angelic five-year-old sister dies from a terrible illness. They can barely afford a funeral, but the church is packed with the entire community, devastated for their loss.

Grieving for her sister and lost love, Bella finds a job at the Bryant and May factory, making matches. As bombs begin to fall, Bella gets the workers singing, keeping spirits high amidst the fear. When she meets a handsome American airman, Earl Franklin Jr, Bella’s heart finally starts to mend. Earl encourages her passion and soon she and her friends are offered the opportunity of a lifetime: to travel the country’s army bases, entertaining the troops and singing for victory. They name themselves The Bryant Sisters.

Just as her life is getting back on track, Bella finds herself pregnant – and Earl reveals a shattering secret that changes everything about their future. Devastated, she flees home to Liverpool, but as an unmarried mother, will her family reject her? And, as she faces a terrible sacrifice, will she ever sing with The Bryant Sisters again?


I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was interested in this book after listening to an interview with Jill Mansell where she explained that she was enjoying wartime stories as a particular genre.

The Girls of Victory Street introduced three close friends; Bella, Fran and Edie.  This story focuses on Bella and her family, they live in a rented house in Waverley, Liverpool.  The girls are in their final year at school and looking forward to going to work at the Bryant and May match factory.  Although this isn’t a glamourous job, contributing to the household is something close to their hearts.

If you’ve read my reviews before, you will know that I’m not a fan of spoilers.  The synopsis above is a little inaccurate but, in general, covers the outline of the story. 

I loved the performance elements of this book and could almost hear the singing as the girls travelled through war-torn Britain.  Bella’s love for Bobby is the real hero in this tale and my heart broke when things didn’t go to plan for them.  Bella finds a brief happiness with an American airman, Earl, whose kindness helps her to blossom from a young girl to a woman.

The wartime storyline was devastating, the loss of lives, homes and livelihoods is hard to imagine.  Despite all of that, this book offers a glance back to a time when families and friends were the fabric of the community.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.  I’m looking forward to future editions in the series.

Learn more about Pam Howes here.   Follow Pam on Twitter.

Photographing Kate by Elle Sweet – Blog Tour

Official blurb

After Kate’s husband of over twenty years is sentenced for embezzling and fraud, she loses everything and needs to start over. She decides to visit Moonshire Bay to regroup at the urging of her friend, Claire, who owns the diner there.
Knowing she needs a way to support herself, she rekindles her passion for photography and starts to think maybe staying in Moonshire Bay is her best chance at happiness.
Zach is the town attorney and a confirmed bachelor. After a scarring experience with love and almost marriage in his younger days, he vowed never to get any closer to a woman than a casual relationship.
When Zach meets Kate, the wounded look that lingers behind her smile grabs him and he wants to know her better, but Kate was burned by her lawyer ex-husband. Even if she wanted a relationship it wouldn’t be with a member of that profession.
Zach tricks Kate in order to get to know her better. When she finds out, will she understand and forgive him or will it push her father away?


I received a digital ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was described to me as ‘clean romance’ and I now understand what that means.  I’m certainly not a prude but, for a change, it was refreshing to read a book without graphic sex scenes.

Photographing Kate is a lovely story which features more mature characters who have all known their own hardships in life and love.

Kate is discovering her old self as she battles through the fallout of her ex-husband’s crimes.  Zach is nervous about his attraction to Kate and the similarities between her and his ex-fiancée.

At the core of this story is Kate’s friendship with her College best friend, Claire.  Claire runs the local café in the fictional Moonshire Bay; a place that serves as the town’s hub for a good coffee and an update on the local rumour mill.

I didn’t mind that it was obvious which way this book was pointing; it was more about the journey than the destination.

I would have liked to see more development on the photography element of the story; it didn’t feel realistic that a few candid shots would be a basis for a new business.  That said, the pace of the story didn’t lend itself to detail embellishment.

As a novella, this was a quick read which managed to feel well paced and not rushed.

About The Author

Elle Sweet is the pen name of mystery author Laina Turner.

I started writing ten years ago, and it was always my intent and desire to write romance. However, in my first book, someone died. It just happened and turned the romance into a mystery.

Twenty-some books later, and I decided enough was enough. I was going to do what I’d initially set out to do at the start of my writing journey. Write a book where no one died (It’s not as easy as you think).

I can’t tell you how much fun I had writing Finding Rachel and the three others set in the small town of Moonshire Bay. Finding Rachel is out now and Ari’s Adventure will release in spring of 2020 with the third book set to follow in the early summer of 2020.

How did I come up with my pen name? Elle for the “L” in Laina and Sweet was my grandfather’s last name. I wanted something that had a story. I originally wanted to call myself LuluBell after a pet cow I once had, but the family shot that one down.

Born and raised in the midwest, I live in Indiana with my husband, three amazing children, and our dogs Duke and Macy.

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Publishing Information:

Published on 15th July 2020 in digital format

The Broken Hearts Honeymoon by Lucy Dickens

Official blurb from Amazon

When disaster strikes, adventure calls…

Charlotte had a plan. The perfect country wedding, followed by a month-long honeymoon in Japan – but when her fiancé starts having second thoughts, she knows there’s no choice but to call off the wedding.

Charlotte isn’t sure she knows how to be single, but she is going to try, starting with taking that trip of a lifetime – alone.

Will she find herself in the hills of Mount Fuji, or in the karaoke bars of Tokyo?

And will she be ready for romance by the time the cherry blossom flowers?


I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Firstly, I’d like to say that if this review doesn’t make you want to buy/download/run to the library then I have not done this book justice.

What I originally interpreted as a love note to Japan soon became a clear message to anyone who has ever felt truly broken.  I laughed and cried with Charlotte’s adventures and I willed her to kiss the boy with Caramel hair and for her to see the parrot fish as she snorkelled in the clear waters of a paradise island.

I see books as escapism, a chance to visit new places and scenarios.  I finished this book feeling like I’d visited Japan and discovered my own Ikigai (secret to a happy life).  I feel, all at once, calmer and able to face life’s hurdles. 

The ending of this story, for me, came too quickly but it was filled with happiness and a positive outlook for the future.

I don’t include spoilers in my reviews and will leave it there before I give away too much of the magic.

Follow Lucy Dickens on Twitter.

Cover Reveal – The Banjo Book Two

The Blurb

The 1970s. Zany fashions brought the Decade That Taste Forgot. Change is in the air. Decimal currency; the Common Market; widespread strikes; the Winter of Discontent; IRA bombings; the sale of Council houses and quickie divorces make their mark on the whole country including the community of the Banjo. The eight households who live in Cromwell Close experience births, deaths, marriages, shocks and surprises but as the 70s become the 80s and beyond Dagenham undergoes great transformation. The once close-knit Community is changing.

Publication Date: 21st August

Pre-Order Links

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About the Author – Elaine Spires

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels. Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series – Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea.  Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series.  Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019.  Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019. Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.

Social Media Links –

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Twitter: @ElaineSWriter

Instagram: elainespiresauthor

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle

Official blurb from Amazon

In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment.

But Hubert Bird is lying.

The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul.

Until, that is, he receives some good news – good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on.

Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out.
Along the way Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all . . .

Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows will he ever get to live the life he’s pretended to have for so long?


I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

To me, Mike Gayle was a new author, I was intrigued by the synopsis when presented with this book.  I’m not sure what I expected but it certainly wasn’t the rollercoaster tale that I discovered.

I don’t like to give spoilers in my reviews and will try my best to stick to that policy.

All the Lonely People shouts, rather than speaks, to the part of us all that finds it hard to move on from heartbreak.  It’s almost instinctive to curl up and block out the world, protecting ourselves from more pain once a personal disaster strikes.

Hubert Bird, our protagonist, has more reason than most to curl up in a ball.

The book has two perspectives, one tells of Hubert’s arrival from Jamaica and the second navigates the present day and all that he is dealing with.  There is a supporting cast of characters who all add to the charm and heartache of this story of Hubert’s progression through time.

Mike Gayle has created a joyous, heart-breaking story of a charming man whose heart has taken a series of blows but wants to help others.  I struggled, briefly, with Hubert’s patois but, by the end of the first chapter, found it endearing.

One of the many issues that Hubert deals with remains particularly relevant today and is a stark reminder that, as a Country, we have not committed bigotry to a distant enough past.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book but, I also advise that you have a box of tissues within easy reach, you may just need one.

Learn more about Mike Gayle here.   Follow Mike on Twitter.