A Baker’s Dozen: Thirteen Short Stories – Dark Crust by Keith Bullock #BookReview

A Baker's Dozen paperback

A Baker’s Dozen is another five-star collection of short stories, by the very talented Keith Bullock. Having read and loved Twelve Christmas Crackers and a Boxing Day Treat I was very much looking forward to reading this new collection.


Flowers for Pablo

A moral dilemma. Did she, or didn’t she?


Food for Thought

A chilling tale where desperate times call for desperate measures.


My LM Diary

Heart-breaking and terrifying! Dementia must be so scary and frustrating. I work in a care home and would be mortified if our residents were treated with such disrespect and abuse. So sad.


Paris in the Spring

This made me cry and is my favourite story of the collection. Heart-breaking but beautiful.


Balancing the Books

A surprising ending. Very clever!


The Shipwreck

I can’t make my mind up how I feel about this story and I may be interpreting it completely wrong. As a Christian it made me feel a little uneasy. I’m used to many people seeing religion as the route of all evil. My personal opinion is that certain people using religion as an excuse for their despicable behaviour is the actual problem. Everyone has the right to their own beliefs and shouldn’t have others forced upon them.


The Year the Robots took Control

A terrifying thought!


The Seven Deadly Sins

The seven deadly sins portrayed as people gives them a whole new perspective. Very cleverly written.


Achilles’ Heel

A chilling tale of revenge.


A Cry in the Night

This actually gave me goosebumps!


Late Call

A seemingly hopeless situation, with a strong message for us all. Don’t give up so easily, give it time. There is always hope.


A Dickensian Tale

A thought-provoking tale. There is so much kindness in the world, and many happy endings, but there will always be others who need help.


A Commercial Venture

A shocking conclusion, but darkly amusing!


All in all, a unique, diverse and thoroughly enjoyable collection of stories which I will happily recommend to all.

I read the kindle version of A Baker’s Dozen but would like to take this opportunity again to thank Keith Bullock for sending me my very own signed paperback.

A Baker's Dozen paperbackA Baker's Dozen paperback 2A Baker's Dozen paperback 3

Via AmazonUK

‘A Baker’s Dozen’ is a collection of thirteen short stories, to be published at Christmas 2019, following the release on Amazon, one year ago, of the highly popular earlier collection: ‘Twelve Christmas Crackers and a Boxing Day Treat’.The stories are a little darker than those in the first collection, covering such issues as: Alzheimer’s, Lost Love, Artificial Intelligence, Dystopian Futures, International Arms Dealing, Third World Poverty and the Impact of Early Colonialism.

happy reading 🙂

Keith Bullock

Keith Bullock

I grew up in a working class family in Birmingham. Thanks to my Mum, I was fed a weekly diet of comics and trips to the library and developed a lifelong love of stories and story-telling.
After being miserably misplaced in a technical school, I left with no qualifications and began working life at Cadbury Bros. Before too long, I took off with a guitar on my back, to see the world. It was the ‘swinging sixties’ and a little rock and folk music could always earn a dinner. For almost three years, I lived and worked in Iceland, Austria and Denmark and toured the rest of Europe in a beat up car.
A wonderful guy in Elsinore, Denmark, finally gave me a shaking and helped me through three ‘A’ levels which I took at the British Council, Copenhagen. The next five years were spent at the University of East Anglia, in the Scandinavian Studies Department and then it was marriage to a beautiful French girl (still my wife), three children and a career in Educational Management. I retired (early) as an Assistant Principal at Dudley College and began to write seriously.
An early success, a short story ‘Second Honeymoon’ was filmed by award-winning director, Kaush Patel and made the Cannes Film Festival (2008)
My first novel ‘Winning Ticket’ was published by Austin Macauley in 2017 and a second: ‘Beyond the Sad-faced Clown’ in 2018. Two short story collections followed, published on Amazon: ‘Twelve Christmas Crackers and a Boxing Day Treat’ (2018) and ‘A Baker’s Dozen (2019). A new novel ‘Circuit’ will be released in January 2020, followed shortly after by a memoir ‘The Chocolate Soldier’.

#FlashbackFriday January 2020 with Heide Goody @HeideGoody , Iain Grant @IainMGrant , Amanda Prowse @MrsAmandaProwse , Christie Barlow @ChristieJBarlow , Holly Martin @HollyMAuthor , L J Ross @LJRoss_author , Jeremy and Georgina Jackson-Sytner & Marilyn Bennett #BookReview

Flashback Friday

Hi and welcome to my Flashback Friday feature! 🙂

On the first Friday of each month I like to have a little look back at what I was reading during the same month in previous years, since starting my blog.

Please do join in, I’d love to see your posts! Don’t forget to share your link with us in the comments if you do.

Here are my reviews from January 2019 + links to previous FBFs…..

A Heart in the Right Place by @HeideGoody and @IainMGrant #BlogTour #BookReview & #Giveaway @rararesources

a heart in the right place cover


The Idea Of You by Amanda Prowse @MrsAmandaProwse #BookReview

the idea of you


Love Heart Lane by Christie Barlow @ChristieJBarlow #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources

love heart lane cover


Beneath The Bay Bridge by Holly Martin @HollyMAuthor #ShortStory #BookReview

beneath the bay bridge (2)


Longstone: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 10) by L J Ross @LJRoss_author #BookReview

longstone cover


Eat Less by Jeremy and Georgina Jackson-Sytner @UrbaneBooks #JustEat #BlogTour #BookReview #NonFiction #Lovebooksgrouptours



Granny with Benefits by Marilyn Bennett @mbennett_author #BookReview

granny with benefits cover


📚 #MyYearInBooks #2018 #BookReviews 📚


#FlashbackFriday with @LJRoss_author & @MishaHerwin #BookReviews


have you read any of the above?

Ryan’s Christmas: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 15) by L J Ross @LJRoss_author #BookReview

Ryan's Christmas

What a cleverly written tale this is. I have absolutely LOVED it!

I always know I’m in for a treat when there is a new DCI Ryan mystery to devour and Ryan’s Christmas has been no exception.

I’m always excited to find a new book by LJ Ross in my Kindle library 😊 This author is a genius. I honestly don’t know how she does it!

I loved the setting of this story. Stranded due to heavy snow and having to take refuge in a castle sounds so exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Given it’s a murder mystery I had expected things to get interesting, but I was totally blown away by what eventually unfolds.

Like I said, genius!

The banter between Ryan and Phillips is on form, particularly at the beginning of this book. I have to say that I laughed SO loud at the cow incident!! (It might just be me. LOL!) Phillips proper cracks me up, bless him. I love him. He’s the sweetest, funniest character, who just gets better with each book. This really did tickle me, and I was giggling to myself for ages. I think my husband thought I had lost the plot 😉

Ryan and Anna continue to remind me of me and my Steve. I love the romantic aspect of these books and an insight into the personal lives of these murder detectives. It makes them more real and relatable. Having read the series from the start, I do feel like I almost know these characters personally. I look forward to catching up with them all and I can’t wait for book 16!

Via AmazonUK



Christmas can be murder…


After a busy year fighting crime, DCI Ryan and his team of murder detectives are enjoying a festive season of goodwill, mulled wine and, in the case of DS Phillips, a stottie cake or two—that is, until a freak snowstorm forces their car off the main road and into the remote heart of Northumberland. Their Christmas spirit is soon tested when they’re forced to find shelter inside England’s most haunted castle, where they’re the uninvited guests at a ‘Candlelit Ghost Hunt’. It’s all fun and games—until one of the guests is murdered. It seems no mortal hand could have committed the crime, so Ryan and Co. must face the spectres living inside the castle walls to uncover the grisly truth, before another ghost joins their number…


Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.


“LJ Ross keeps company with the best mystery writers” – The Times


“A literary phenomenon” – Evening Chronicle


“LJ Ross is the Queen of Kindle” – Sunday Telegraph

happy reading 🙂


#MyYearInBooks #2019 #BookReviews

Looking for a good read?

You’re sure to find one (well, quite a few actually!) here…..

Granny with Benefits by Marilyn Bennett @mbennett_author #BookReview

granny with benefits cover

Eat Less by Jeremy and Georgina Jackson-Sytner @UrbaneBooks #JustEat #BlogTour #BookReview #NonFiction #Lovebooksgrouptours


Longstone: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 10) by L J Ross @LJRoss_author #BookReview

longstone cover

Beneath The Bay Bridge by Holly Martin @HollyMAuthor #ShortStory #BookReview

beneath the bay bridge (2)

Love Heart Lane by Christie Barlow @ChristieJBarlow #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources

love heart lane cover

The Idea Of You by Amanda Prowse @MrsAmandaProwse #BookReview

the idea of you

A Heart in the Right Place by @HeideGoody and @IainMGrant #BlogTour #BookReview & #Giveaway @rararesources

a heart in the right place cover

#WhatHappensInFrance by Carol E Wyer @carolewyer #BlogTour #BookReview @canelo_co

What happens in France cover width

The Wife’s Secret by Caroline England @CazEngland #BookReview

The Wife's Secret

Leo and the Lightning Dragons by Gill White (Illustrated by Gilli B ) #BlogTour #BookReview #ChildrensBook @leolightdragons ‏@FledglingPress #Lovebooksgrouptours #Charity

Leo and the Lightning Dragons

Gravy Train by Tess Makovesky @tessmakovesky @ADRBooks #BookReview

Gravy Train cover

Bridge to Burn (Detective Kay Hunter Book 7) by @RachelAmphlett #BookReview

Bridge To Burn cover

#TheGoodFriend by Jo Baldwin @jokbaldwin ‏@RedDoorBooks #BlogTour #BookReview

The Good Friend cover

The Secret Child (A DI Amy Winter Thriller Book 2) by Caroline Mitchell @Caroline_writes #BlogTour #BookReview #ThomasAndMercer

The Secret Child cover

My Sister Is Missing by Julia Barrett @Julia_Barrett_ #BlogTour #BookReview @RedDoorBooks

My Sister Is Missing cover

Here And Gone by Haylen Beck @HaylenBeck #BookReview

Here And Gone

Who’s Sorry Now by Helene Fermont @helenefermont #ShortStories #Review @BOTBSPublicity

Who's Sorry Now

The Disgraceful Lord Gray (Mills & Boon Historical) (The King’s Elite, Book 3) by VirginiaHeath @VirginiaHeath_ #PublicationDayPush #BookReview & #Giveaway @rararesources

The Disgraceful Lord Gray UK

In Her Defence (A Bunch Courtney Investigation) by Jan Edwards @Jancoledwards #BlogTour #BookReview

In Her Defence cover

After Jessica by Morgen Bailey @morgenwriteruk #BlogTour #BookReview @BOTBSPublicity

After Jessica cover front large

Amazing Grace by Kim Nash @KimTheBookworm #BlogTour #BookReview @HeraBooks @rararesources


The Lonely Hearts Crime Club by Tanya Bullock @TanyaBullock15 @Blackbird_Bks #BlogTour #BookReview


After The Funeral by Gillian Poucher @GillianPoucher #BlogTour #BookReview @RedDoorBooks

After The Funeral cover

#LettersToTheLost by Iona Grey @Iona_Grey Simon & Schuster @simonschuster #Netgalley #BookReview

Letters To The Lost cover

A Keeper by Graham Norton #Audible #BookReview @HodderBooks

A Keeper Audible

Bridge of Lies (Adventures of Letty Parker Book 2) by Misha Herwin @MishaHerwin @penkhullpress #BookReview

Bridge Of Lies

Hitman Sam by Morgen Bailey @morgenwriteruk #BlogTour with #BookOnTheBrightSide @BOTBSPublicity #BookReview

Hitman Sam

The Peacock Room by @MerrynCorcoran @RedDoorBooks #BookReview

The Peacock Room cover

Spices and Seasons, Simple Sustainable Indian Flavors by Rinku Bhattacharya @Wchestermasala #BlogBlitz #BookReview @rararesources


Tuscan Enchantment by Kate Zarrelli @katmezzacappa #BookReview @rararesources

Tuscan Enchantments Cover

Crikey a Bodyguard by Kathryn Freeman @KathrynFreeman1 #BookReview @rararesources

Crikey a Bodyguard_FRONT RGB_150dpi

Not My Brother’s Keeper by Colette McCormick @colettemcauthor @AccentPress #BlogTour #BookReview

Not My Brother's Keeper cover

#TheBestOfCrimes by K.C. Maher @kcmaher3 with RedDoor Publishing @RedDoorBooks #BlogTour #BookReview

The Best Of Crimes cover

#TickTock (DS Grace Allendale Series Book 2) by Mel Sherratt @writermels @AvonBooksUK #BlogTour #BookReview

Tick Tock

#TheFriendWhoLied by @RachelAmphlett #BlogTour #BookReview @BOTBSPublicity

The Friend Who Lied Cover EBOOK

#InstantIndian by Rinku Bhattacharya @Wchestermasala #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources

Instant Indian Cover

#TheGlitteringHour by @Iona_Grey #BookReview #Netgalley

The Glittering Hour

What Lies Around Us by Andrew Crofts @RedDoorBooks #BookReview

What Lies Around Us cover

The Infirmary: A DCI Ryan Mystery (Multicast Drama): An Audible Original Drama by L J Ross @LJRoss_author #BookReview @audibleuk

The Infirmary audible drama

Practicing Normal by Cara Sue Achterberg @CaraAchterberg #BookReview #Netgalley

Practicing Normal

31 Days Of Wonder by #TomWinter @CorsairBooks @LittleBrownUK #BookReview #Netgalley

31 Days Of Wonder

#AnotherShot by Stephen Anthony Brotherton @FreddieJoJo1 #MiniBlogBlitz #BookReview @rararesources

Another Shot Cover

The Silver Wolf (James Ryker Book 3) by Rob Sinclair @RSinclairAuthor #BookReview

The Silver Wolf

The Determined Lord Hadleigh by VirginiaHeath @VirginiaHeath_ #PublicationDayPush #BookReview @rararesources

The Determinded Lord Hadleigh cover UK better

#TheGreenViper (James Ryker Book 4) by Rob Sinclair @RSinclairAuthor #BookReview @Bloodhoundbook

The Green Viper

The White Scorpion (James Ryker Book 5) by Rob Sinclair @RSinclairAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #BookReview

The White Scorpion

#ManipulatedLives by @HALeuschel #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources

Manipulated Lives cover

#YouBelongToMe by Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #BookReview

You Belong To Me

#AnExtraShot by Stephen Anthony Brotherton @FreddieJoJo1 #MiniBlogBlitz #BookReview @rararesources

An Extra Shot Cover

#Torment by Mark Tilbury @MTilburyAuthor @Bloodhoundbook #BlogBlitz #BookReview

Torment cover

#TheMoor by L J Ross @LJRoss_author #DCIRyanMysteries #Book12 #BookReview

The Moor cover

#Resthaven by Erik Therme @ErikTherme #Audible #BookReview


Penshaw: A DCI Ryan Mystery (The DCI Ryan Mysteries Book 13) by L J Ross @LJRoss_author #BookReview

Penshaw cover

#DeadInside by Noelle Holten @nholten40 #BlogTour #BookReview @KillerReads @BOTBSPublicity

Dead Inside cover

#TheArtOfHiding by Amanda Prowse @MrsAmandaProwse #BookReview #Netgalley

The Art Of Hiding cover

Stains of Suspicion by Alison Lingwood #BookReview

Stains of Suspicion

The Calibre Of Death (A DCI Timothy mystery, Book 5) by Alison Lingwood #BookReview

The Calibre of Deathh

The Humundo Sorterium by Daniel Thompson (Author) @AuthorDThompson & Connor Edwards (Illustrator) #BookReview

The Humundo Soterium

The Rising Storm (Paradigm Trilogy Book 1) by Ceri A. Lowe @cerilowepetrask #BookReview @MorecambeVice #CrimeWritingFestival #BlogTour @BOTBSPublicity

The Rising Stoem

The Walls by Hollie Overton @hollieoverton #BookReview #Netgalley

The Walls

Borderlands: A DCI Ryan Mystery (Book 14) by L J Ross @LJRoss_author #BookReview


Cradle to Grave: A Detective Kay Hunter murder mystery #Book8 by Rachel Amphlett @RachelAmphlett #BookReview

Cradle to Grave

Imposter by L J Ross @LJRoss_author #BookReview

Imposter cover

The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund #BookReview #Netgalley

The Crow Girl cover

Hysteria: An Alexander Gregory Thriller (The Alexander Gregory Thrillers Book 2) by L J Ross @LJRoss_author #BookReview

Hysteria cover

#WhenStarsWillShine #HelpingOurHeroesOnePageAtATime with Emma Mitchell ~ Creating Perfection @emmamitchellfpr #BlogTour #BookReview

When Stars Will Shine cover

The Garden on Sparrow Street: A heartwarming, uplifting Christmas romance by Tilly Tennant @TillyTenWriter @bookouture #BookReview

The Garden on Sparrow Street cover


#MyYearInBooks #Goodreads #2019

Happy New Year & happy reading in 2020! 🙂

The Garden on Sparrow Street: A heartwarming, uplifting Christmas romance by Tilly Tennant @TillyTenWriter @bookouture #BookReview

The Garden on Sparrow Street cover

I always know I’m in for a treat when I pick up a book by Tilly Tennant so I couldn’t wait to get stuck into The Garden on Sparrow Street. What an absolutely, delightful story! I defy anyone not to love it!

When we meet Nina, she is volunteering in a local charity shop, having lost her husband after a long and cruel illness. Nina is instantly likeable, and as the story progresses it seems she may be too nice for her own good sometimes. Her life takes another unexpected turn when she finds out that the charity shop is to be closed and replaced by a popular restaurant chain. What will she do with her spare time now, until she can find a new job? In her need to have something to occupy her mind, and time, on the run up to Christmas Nina takes on the responsibility of helping to restore Sparrow Street’s community garden, along with others who live in her street and also her best friend, Robyn.

Nina has no idea just how much this project is going to change her life.

After a bumpy start, Colm comes to the rescue to offer his gardening expertise. He is such an adorable character. I loved him! It’s easy to see how he might catch the eye of any single lady 😉

I loved the friendship between the Nina and Robyn. They are as different as chalk and cheese but are the best of friends. They have their little disagreements but are there for each other through thick and thin.

I have no idea how I would cope if I lost my Steve (not well, I’m sure!), so I could completely understand Nina’s feelings towards moving on. I think it’s only natural to feel an element of guilt and there are no rules when it comes to grief. Everyone is different. We lost my stepdad ten years ago, but for my Mum it’s still very raw and feels like yesterday. She’s never shown any interest in moving on with someone else, I’m not sure she ever will, although as a daughter it would be nice to see her have some sort of companionship again, one day. I’m sure Dave wouldn’t want her to spend the rest of her life alone, but grief is very personal. I have known others who have been re-married within a year of their partner passing away. We all cope differently, and this is reflected in Nina and Robyn’s differing views on the subject.

My heart went out to Nina and I desperately wanted her to give herself another chance at happiness, but she’s not one for putting herself first very often.

The relationship between Nina and her Dad, Winston, is gorgeous.

I might not be making it very clear, but I really, really LOVED this book and (almost) all the characters in it. It is so beautifully written, and I have thoroughly enjoyed every word. If you’re looking for an uplifting story full of friendship, community spirit and romance then look no further. You will love it at Christmastime or at any other time of the year, I’m sure. Easily a five-star read for me and one I will be more than happy to recommend.

Via AmazonUK

As the cold winter nights draw in, escape to the sleepy town of Wrenwick, where the streets sparkle with snow and a lonely young widow is about to find that true love really can strike twice…

As Christmas cheer fills Sparrow Street with excitement, grieving widow Nina is having a hard time. December is always a difficult month to face without her beloved husband Gray, the days feel long and bleak, and to cap it all, she’s just lost her job.

So when Nina hears that Sparrow Street’s Community Garden, one of Gray’s favourite places, is to be put up for sale she knows she must do something. Filled with purpose, she gathers the residents of Sparrow Street around her to turn the neglected patch of land into a Garden of Memories.

Working with her neighbours, single mum Kelly and eighty-year-old Ada, Nina soon finds that she’s not the only lonely soul on Sparrow Street. And as the community comes together and the garden flourishes, Nina can’t help but be drawn to Irish gardener Colm with his sparkling blue eyes and kind heart, finding herself confiding in him about all her recent troubles.

But just as Colm and Nina grow closer and he opens up to her about his own secret loss, Colm’s estranged wife returns from Scotland, wanting to try again. Nina knows she should let the man she’s falling for go – it’s the right thing to do. But what if fate has other plans in store? Will the beautiful garden on Sparrow Street have brought two people together only for Nina’s cautious heart to push them apart?

If you love an uplifting, moving love story, then The Garden on Sparrow Street is the perfect romantic read to curl up with on a winter’s afternoon. Fans of Josie Silver and Carole Matthews will love this book!

Readers are falling in love with The Garden On Sparrow Street:

‘A lovely, lovely, book. I picked it up cuddled into my chair and started reading I did not get up for hours. I left my world, entered the town, met the characters, loved every page and was sorry to reach the end of this story, say goodbye to all the characters.’ Netgalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was a totally heart-warming read that once I started didn’t want to put down. A lovely storyline and super characters. Just fabulous’. Netgalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I really enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting. Great characters and a great plot line. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.’ NetGalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘Another gorgeous novel by Tilly! It’s like an old friend giving you a warm hug! Lovely characters and a gorgeous front cover, I really loved this novel and it’s perfect for the winter season ahead. I smiled all the way through this one.’ NetGalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

‘I always love a Tilly Tennant book. They are always like a big warm hug in book form. They are full of joy, happiness, romance and happiness. This book was absolutely beautiful.’ Goodreads Reviewer.

‘This book is a custom-made necessity for those precious afternoons curled up on the sofa with a cup of tea and that proverbial ‘good book’. This charming book would make a lovely stocking-stuffer.’ Netgalley Reviewer

‘I always get drawn in by Tilly Tennant’s novels …This story will make you feel so warm and cosy and wintery. It’s perfect for cosying up on the sofa with a hot chocolate. I loved the characters, it was heart-warming and unputdownable.’ The Cosiest Corner

‘Tilly’s books I love. Captured the characters amazingly well as if I was part of the story. Read it too quickly. Keep them coming.’ Netgalley Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Another brilliant book from Tilly Tennant. Easy read, good storyline, couldn’t put it down.’ Goodreads Reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


I am honoured and chuffed to be named in Tilly Tennant’s acknowledgements for this wonderful book, along with my very lovely book blogging friend, Steph @ https://steflozbookblog.wordpress.com/

The Garden on Sparrow Street acknowledgements


The Drop Pot Man by #KSaunders #BlogTour #Interview @LoveBooksGroup

Welcome to my stop on K Saunders’ The Drop Pot Man blog tour, with Love Books Tours!

Drop-pot-man tour

Many thanks to Kelly @ Love Books Tours for arranging the following interview with K Saunders…..

Where did you get your ideas from?

In the case of The Drop Pot Man, I thought, in the first instance, that I would like to set a novel based in the West Country landscapes I knew well. I once lectured on landscape perception so it was a chance to put my money where my mouth was!

I cannot recall why I decided on this setting for a crime novel with a female protagonist. But once I did there was no going back, as Detective Inspector Clare Morell seemed to appear from thin-air fully formed.

Are any of the characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?

Not really.

How do you pick your characters names?

Some of the surnames in The Drop Pot Man are traditional West Country ones, but the main objective was to select names that are distinctive from those of the other characters. I’ve also tried, in many cases, to use names where both the first and the surname are relatively short.

Can you share your writing process in a nutshell?


Who are your five favourite authors?

This is a difficult one. I come across an author I like and then read all their works (Anita Brookner and Helen Dunmore are good examples) and later discover someone else. But I suppose Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy are always there – as are the poems of Carol Ann Duffy.

Where you a big reader as a child?

No, I wasn’t.

When did you start to write?

When I hobbled into a creative writing class in Weymouth after too much running on the downs and coastal footpaths of south Dorset.

If you wrote an autobiography, what would the title be?

I don’t know. But I have an ancestor whose epitaph on his impressive gravestone, translates from the Welsh as, ‘Good with words – if a little mad.’

If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?

This is a no-brainer on both counts. Clare Morell, and we’d go to the café which Bellini’s is vaguely based on.

What are you working on right now?

I’m trying to put together short stories and pieces about growing up and also, when travelling, often being in the ‘wrong place at the wrong time’ – such as Bolivia during a ‘peasants revolt’ when the coach was stoned; having a bag opened by a couple of Cuban Customs heavies when they found a bag of ‘white powder’ (they took some convincing it was Tesco’s skimmed milk for brew-ups), and being threatened in Tibet by a stoned Chinese soldier (who looked about twelve) with a loaded rifle.



At first glance it appears to be a straightforward shooting accident…

After ten years with the Greater Manchester Police, Detective Inspector Clare Morell thought she’d seen a lot of baffling cases; but newly assigned to deep in the heart of the West Country, she finds herself in an unfamiliar world. There are shepherds and Romanys, who speak in strange tongues; a Lord Byron lookalike army captain and a lethal killer who just might be an ETA trained hit-man. The strange lowland heath in the beat where she now works triggers an old childhood fear and there is the growing sense that her new home is not only disturbing but somehow threatening…

And then… there’s Ellis.

Buy Link 


happy reading 🙂


#WhenStarsWillShine #HelpingOurHeroesOnePageAtATime with Emma Mitchell ~ Creating Perfection @emmamitchellfpr #BlogTour #BookReview

Welcome to my stop on the fabulous When Stars Will Shine blog tour! 🙂

When Stars Will Sine Blog Tour Week One NEW

When Stars Will Shine Blog Tour Week Two NEW

When Stars Will Shine

When Stars Will Shine is a collection of short stories from your favourite authors who have come together to deliver you a Christmas read with a twist.

With true war tales that will break your heart, gritty Christmas crimes that will shake you to your core, and heart-warming tales of love lost and found, this anthology has something for everyone. And, with every penny made being sent to support our troops, you can rest assured that you’re helping our heroes, one page at a time.

From authors such as Louise Jensen, Graham Smith, Malcolm Hollingdrake, Lucy Cameron, Val Portelli, and Alex Kane, you are in for one heck of a ride!

When Stars Will Shine is the perfect Christmas gift for the bookworms in your life!


A Note from Emma Mitchell:

As the blurb tells us, When Stars Will Shine is a multi-genre collection of Christmas-themed short stories compiled to raise money for our armed forces and every penny made from the sales of both the digital and paperback copies will be donated to the charity.

Working closely with Kate Noble at Noble Owl Proofreading and Amanda Ni Odhrain from Let’s Get Booked, I’ve been able to pick the best of the submissions to bring you a thrilling book which is perfect for dipping into at lunchtime or snuggling up with on a cold winter’s night. I have been completely blown away by the support we’ve received from the writing and blogging community, especially the authors who submitted stories and Shell Baker from Baker’s Not So Secret Blog, who has organised the cover reveal and blog tour.

There isn’t a person in the country who hasn’t benefited from the sacrifices our troops, past and present, have made for us and they all deserve our thanks.

It has been an honour working on these stories, and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have.

Full contents:

Fredrick Snellgrove, Private 23208 by Rob Ashman

Four Seasons by Robert Scragg

The Close Encounter by Gordon Bickerstaff

Believe by Mark Brownless

What Can Possibly Go Wrong? by Lucy Cameron

Mountain Dew by Paul T. Campbell

The Art of War and Peace by John Carson

A Gift for Christmas by Kris Egleton

Free Time by Stewart Giles

Died of Wounds by Malcolm Hollingdrake

The Christmas Killer by Louise Jensen

The Village Hotel by Alex Kane

A Present of Presence by HR Kemp

The Invitation by Billy McLaughlin

Brothers Forever by Paul Moore

Girl in a Red Shirt by Owen Mullen

Pivotal Moments by Anna Franklin Osborne

Uncle Christmas by Val Portelli

Time for a Barbeque by Carmen Radtke

Christmas Present by Lexi Rees

Inside Out by KA Richardson

Penance by Jane Risdon

New Year’s Resolution by Robert Scragg

Family Time by Graham Smith

When Stars Will Shine cover

My review

When Stars Will Shine is a fabulous collection of short stories written by some of the most talented writers and complied by the very lovely Emma Mitchell. Collectively they have worked together, donating their time and talent, to raise vital funds for Help For Heroes.

I am married to a veteran, we have many military friends and I have massive respect for our armed forces as a whole, so this is a cause very close to my heart and I take my hat off to Emma and all involved for what they have achieved with this beautiful book. You should all be very proud!


Now I’m not very good a reviewing short stories to be perfectly honest so I thought I would just share my very first thoughts of each story, as I read them. I hope that’s okay. Here goes….


Fredrick Snellgrove, Private 23208 by Rob Ashman

Heart-wrenching and heart-warming.


Four Seasons by Robert Scragg

A very clever tale of revenge.


A Close Encounter by Gordon Bickerstaff

Actually gave me goosebumps!


Believe by Mark Brownless

Creepy! I did not see that coming.


What Can Possibly Go Wrong? By Lucy Cameron

Quite amusing!


Mountain Dew by Paul T Campbell

Gave me goosebumps!


The Art of War and Peace by John Carson

A chilling mystery with a touch of romance.


A Gift for Christmas by Kris Egleton

Heart-warming. Sometimes the kindest people are those who don’t have much themselves.


Free Time by Stewart Giles

Hard hitting. A split-second decision with devastating consequences.


Died of Wounds by Malcolm Hollingdrake

A very powerful and emotional story, beautifully written.


The Christmas Killer by Louise Jenson

Made my blood run cold!


The Village Hotel by Alex Kane



A Present of Presence by HR Kemp

So sad, but full of hope.


The Invitation by Billy McLaughlin

Heart-warming and heart-breaking.


Brothers Forever by Paul Moore

Spine tingling!


Girl in a Red Shirt by Owen Mullen

Captivating and thought provoking with a heart-breaking conclusion.


Pivotal Moments by Anna Osborne

So, so sad. I can’t imagine feeling so helpless, but there is always something, or someone, worth living for.


Uncle Christmas by Val Portelli

Just beautiful!


Time for a Barbecue by Carmen Radtke

Oooo, creepy!


Christmas Present by Lexi Rees



Inside Out by KA Richardson

So sad to think how much some people suffer from past traumas. This story is full of hope for a brighter future though and proof that just one person can make all the difference.


Penance by Jane Risdon

Oh my! Not what I was expecting at all. Very cleverly written,


New Year’s Resolution by Robert Scragg

Another thought provoking tale and an important message to us all.


Family Time by Graham Smith

A tale of sacrifice and truly being the bigger person. Beautifully written!


There really is something for everyone with this collection. I loved it and would highly recommend to all! Even if you don’t read (I don’t get that, but I’m told some people don’t!), buy it anyway! It will make the perfect Christmas gift for your family and friends. Don’t forget, all proceeds go to Help For Heroes! What more incentive do you need!?

Many thanks to Emma Mitchell for my advance kindle copy for review and for the opportunity to be a part of this awesome blog tour!

I did pre-order also and have since bought a beautiful paperback copy. I now just need to meet all the authors at some point and ask if they will sign it for me. What are the chances you can all make our next author/book blogger meet up in Stoke-on-Trent, in March!? 😉 A long shot, but that would be awesome! https://www.facebook.com/events/2458309034251599/

Follow the authors on Twitter

Robert Scragg: @robert_scragg
Paul Moore: @mooros69
Graham Smith: @grahamsmith1972
Malcolm Hollingdrake: @MHollingdrake
Alex Kane: @AlexKaneWriter
Owen Mullen: @OwenMullen6
Gordon Bickerstaff: @GFBickerstaff
Lexi Rees: @Lexi_Rees
Megan Steer: @tjsarcat15
Anna Franklin Osborne: @HomeOsborne
Stewart Giles: @stewartGiles
Jane Risdon: @Jane_Risdon
Louise Jensen: @fabricating_fiction
Rob Ashman: @RobAshmanAuthor
Carmen Radtke: @carmenradtke1
Val Portelli: @ValPortelli
Mark Brownless: @MarkBrownless
John Carson: @JohnCarsonBooks
Kris Egleton: @Mouse6420
Paul T. Campbell: @PtcCampbell
Lucy Cameron: @lucycameron22
KA Richardson: @KerryAnn77
Billy McLaughlin: @bilbob20

happy reading 🙂


Hysteria: An Alexander Gregory Thriller (The Alexander Gregory Thrillers Book 2) by L J Ross @LJRoss_author #BookReview

Hysteria cover

Having read and loved Imposter I was SO excited to read Hysteria and I don’t know how LJ Ross does it, but each book is as awesome as, if not better, than the last!

It was great to catch up with Dr Alexander Gregory again. I do have a bit of a soft spot for him (don’t tell DCI Ryan!), he is a fascinating character.

In Hysteria Alex finds himself assisting on a case involving the murder of a fashion model and the attempted murder of another. Set in Paris during fashion week, Alex is called in as a profiler initially, but soon finds himself working with the surviving victim as her psychologist. Her story is absolutely fascinating. I was totally captivated and couldn’t wait to find out where her story might lead. What transpires is so sad, but also heart-warming and quite inspirational. The human mind is so complicated and totally fascinating! (I know I’ve used that word three times already, but I can’t think of a better one.)

Again, we saw another, more vulnerable, side to Alex in his relationship with a certain lady, who is another brilliant character.

That ending!! I totally did not see that coming! Genius writing, once again, by one of my most favourite authors ever. I SO wish I had your talent for storytelling, Louise.

I can’t wait for book 3!

Many thanks to LJ Ross for my review copy. I highly recommend!


Imposter by L J Ross @LJRoss_author #BookReview

happy reading 🙂


High Heels & Beetle Crushers by Jackie Skingley @skingleyj #PublicationDay #BookPromo @rararesources

High Hells & Beetle Crushers banner

High Heels & Beetle Crushers

High Hells & Beetle Crushers cover

A compelling memoir of post-war Britain. Jackie Skingley grew up with limited career choices but joining the Women’s Royal Army Corps offered her a different life, living and working in a military world, against the backdrop of the Cold War. Packed full of stories reflecting the changing sexual attitudes prior to the arrival of the pill and the sexual revolution of the mid 60s, Skingley’s memoir denotes a shift in the political and social fabric of the era. Follow her relationships with the men in her life from finding her first true love, which through a cruel act of fate was denied her, to embarking on a path of recovery.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/High-Heels-Beetle-Crushers-Officer/dp/1789042909/#
US – https://www.amazon.com/High-Heels-Beetle-Crushers-Officer/dp/1789042909/#

Author Bio –

High Hells & Beetle Crushers author

For Jackie Skingley, adventure has been her quest since childhood. Life with the British army allowed Jackie to live all over the world and gain huge appreciation for different cultures and customs. Since 1999, Jackie and her husband have lived in the Charente region of South West France where Reiki, jewellery making, painting and mosaics, as well as writing keep her fully occupied. Member of the Charente Creative Writing Group, mother and grandmother.

Social Media Links –



Win 2 x Paperback copies of High Heels & Beetle Crushers (Open UK / US Only)

*Terms and Conditions – UK & USA entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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happy reading 🙂