My Little Ramadan by Abigail Yardimci

I love Abigail Yardimci’s writing. Her Life Is Yours trilogy is such a beautiful and uplifting read, that I was really looking forward to her fourth novel – My Little Ramadan. This does follow on from the trilogy, but can easily be read as a standalone. I am also interested in learning about different cultures and religions and I love it when novels also teach you something, which I knew this one would do.

As Abi explains, this book is based on her own experiences. She is married to a Turkish man who is a Muslim. This book is based on the time she joined him in fasting for the holy month of Ramadan, though a fictionalised version.

The prologue is set in Turkey in 2007 when the main character Jess meets her Turkish partner Mesut’s mother. This chapter is so beautiful, really well-described and full of heart and warmth – which sums up Abi’s writing style overall. It’s such a special opening to the book.

The story then moves to Scotland in 2010. The novel is written in blog posts, so we follow the month from Jess’s point of view and see how she copes fasting while looking after her two-year-old son Baki. Being a mother myself, I could really relate to Jess’s experience with a toddler (the “Beast-Child”) and I love the realism and authenticity of motherhood that comes across. She adores her son, but acknowledges the difficult, exhausting things that come with the job of raising a child. She’d like to be a Super-Mum but knows she isn’t, that no-one can be, and really, that’s okay.

Jess’s friend Ella comes over to stay for a while. Anyone who has read the Life Is Yours trilogy will remember Ella from those books and it was a joy to catch up with her, now the mother of little Dotty. We also get to meet Gillie and Oliver again, so it’s a real reunion for some of the biggest and best characters from the previous books. But there are also great new characters to meet and fall in love with like Mona and Bernie.

Abigail Yardimci is a skilled writer. I love her descriptions, they are so beautiful. As an example, she writes about a scene where her toddler is painting and says “his lovely, chubby body spattered and kissed in colour” – just gorgeous and a scene we can picture so well.

Abigail’s books are quite different to anything else I’ve read – and only in a positive way. The warmth radiates from her words, she presents life as it is – highs and lows, not picture perfect – and each book is like a great big snuggly hug.

Highly recommended!

Book Details:

Book Title: My Little Ramadan

Author: Abigail Yardimci

Cover Reveal: 11th January 2023

Release Date: 23rd March 2023

Available at: Amazon / to order in stores

Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Feel-good fiction

Print ISBN: 978-1-9168986-7-7

Ebook ISBN: 978-1-9168986-8-4

Print Price: TBC

Ebook Price: £0.99 (increasing to £2.99 after launch)

Page Count: 428

Publisher: Soft Rebel Publishing


Abigail Yardimci is an author of feel-good contemporary fiction with a little bit of romance and a whole lot of soul. She enjoys creating down-to-earth characters and scratching the surface of her own everyday life to find the underlying magic that connects us all.

Abigail is a Geordie girl living by the sea in Devon with her Turkish husband and two terrifying kids. She gets her kicks through mindful parenting styles, creative living and chocolate.

Contacting Abigail:




Instagram: @abigailyardimciauthor

Twitter: @AbigailYardimci

TikTok: @abigailyardimci_author



One moody Turkish husband, one screaming toddler, thirty days to find true happiness . . .

​After marrying Mesut, the man of her dreams, having an adorable little boy and moving to a beautiful Scottish seaside town, Jess knows she should feel more grateful. But motherhood is so tough and the cultural gap between her and her husband is starting to show.

As Mesut prepares for the Islamic month of Ramadan, Jess figures she should support him. She decides to go nil-by-mouth from sunrise to sunset for thirty days, hoping that some spirituality might rub off on her, especially if she records it all on her blog.

​When the blog becomes the talk of the town, Mesut objects to his faith being made public. But Jess is certain Ramadan will make her a better person as well as a better mum. With thirty belly-growling days to get through and thirty blog posts to write, could divine intervention be just around the corner? Or will it tear apart everything she loves?


My Little Ramadan can be read as a stand-alone book, but is also a sequel to the uplifting and inspirational Life Is Yours Trilogy.

A humorous, heartwarming read with real depth and charm, My Little Ramadan is perfect for fans of Elizabeth Gilbert, Jojo Moyes and Beth O’Leary.

​#mylittleramadan #turkey #ramadan #islam #holidayromance #multiculturallove #scotland #highlands #lifeisyourstrilogy #feelgoodfiction #upliftingstory #upliftingfiction #mustread #motherhood #parenting #postnataldepression #perinataldepression #maternalmentalhealth #pnd #inspiringbook #inspiringbooks #womensfiction #womensliterature #mustread #selfhelpbook #bookstagram  #inspiringauthor #selfhelpauthor  #selflove #spiritualbooks

Do No Harm by Jack Jordan

The book begins in April 2019 with the first few chapters written from Anna’s viewpoint. Later on, we read chapters from the viewpoints of Margot and Rachel. These are the three main characters in the story – all strong women and all survivors.

Dr Anna Jones is a cardiothoracic surgeon. She lives with her eight-year-old son Zack and their dog called Bear. One day, she comes home from work to find men in her house, who threaten her. They’ve taken her son and to get him back safe and well, she must kill one particular patient on her operating table.

Margot is Anna’s aide. Despite working hard, she is struggling. She has far too many debts and can only afford to eat if she steals money from her colleagues.

Detective Inspector Rachel Conaty works for Redwood Police, but she is also dealing with her own personal tragedy. Her team are called out to the discovery of a dead woman’s body down a well. The case takes her to the street where Anna lives. In fact, just next door.

All the main characters in the book are flawed, which makes them feel real. No-one here lives a perfect life, looking beautiful and feeling happy. Everyone has things to hide. I found Anna’s compulsive habit quite vile and sometimes had to force myself to continue reading.

The book is a tense read! The author throws loads of things at all the main characters and they don’t get much time to breathe easily. Several times, I was lamenting “BLIMEY, JACK JORDAN! HAVEN’T THEY SUFFERED ENOUGH?!” Wow! The bad stuff just keeps on coming! As the chapters are written from a first person point of view, the reader tends to sympathise with them, though none of the characters are particularly likeable. (Maybe Rachel…)

It is definitely a page-turner though, as you want to know what happens next and the stakes are high, with more than one person’s life at risk. You get drawn into the story very quickly and want to keep reading. In fact, sometimes I was very tempted to peek ahead to see what happened! (It’s okay, I managed to resist!) It felt like I was going through some of the things the characters were dealing with and I definitely needed a lie down and a glass of wine after finishing the book. Phew! What a ride!!


My child has been taken. And I’ve been given a choice….

Kill a patient on the operating table. Or never see him again.

The man lies on the table in front of me.

As a surgeon, it’s my job to save him.

As a mother, I know I must kill him.

You might think that I’m a monster.

But there really is only one choice.

I must get away with murder.

Or I will never see my son again.

I’ve saved many lives.

Would you trust me with yours?

Don’t miss the heart-stopping thriller of 2022.


Murder at Waldenmere Lake by Michelle Salter

(An Iris Woodmore Mystery, Book 2 in the series, but easily read as a standalone.)

The story starts in Walden, Hampshire in 1921. It is written in the first person, from the view of Iris Woodmore, who is a reporter at The Walden Herald.

The lake, Waldenmere, is under threat from developers, but Mill Ponds – occupied by General Cheverton – is in the way of the suggested hotel that the railway company want to build. When Iris and her journalist colleague Elijah go to the mansion to ask the General for his thoughts on the matter, they find his lifeless body on the floor.

The book has a very authentic 1920s feel to it – and lots of smoking! Iris is a modern woman for the time with her fashionable short hair, wearing trousers and having a secret boyfriend. But we also see more traditional women characters like Alice who live at home with their parents and are discouraged from forming relationships with the opposite sex, especially if the young man is from a different class.

There’s an interesting environmental angle to the story too. As one side try to save the lake, they are helped by people from the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves to stop them being built on. There’s also the issue of mental health raised, particularly in relation to soldiers and what would probably be described as PTSD nowadays.

I enjoyed the story and didn’t guess “whodunnit” so it held my interest throughout. I really liked getting to know the characters and I feel Iris Woodmore is a great series heroine.


Murder at Waldenmere Lake

A murder shocks the small town of Walden. And it’s only the beginning…

Walden, 1921. Local reporter Iris Woodmore is determined to save her beloved lake, Waldenmere, from destruction.

After a bloody and expensive war, the British Army can’t afford to keep the lake and build a convalescent home on its shores yet they still battle with Walden Council and a railway company for ownership. But an old mansion used as an officer training academy stands where the railway company plans to build a lakeside hotel. It belongs to General Cheverton – and he won’t leave his home.

When the General is found murdered, it appears someone will stop at nothing to win the fight for Waldenmere. Iris thinks she can take on the might of the railway company and find the killer. But nothing prepares her for the devastation that’s to come…

Purchase Link –

Author Bio –

Michelle Salter is a historical crime fiction writer based in northeast Hampshire. Many local locations appear in her mystery novels. She’s also a copywriter and has written features for national magazines. When she’s not writing, Michelle can be found knee-deep in mud at her local nature reserve. She enjoys working with a team of volunteers undertaking conservation activities.

Social Media Links –  




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Death at Castle Cove by Mary Grand

The story begins in October. We meet Susan, who is 62 and lives on the Isle of Wight with her cocker spaniel dog Rocco. Every morning, she takes Rocco for a walk, with her young lodger Colette (23) and her dog Libs. They meet up with a group of other dog walkers Susan has come to know well over the months – Nikki, Nathan, Trystan, Torri, Beatrice and Robert.

Later, Colette is found dead at Castle Cove and suspicion falls on the group of dog walkers, who were the last to see her alive.

Susan is such a great character, you really have to admire her. She isn’t happy with what she hears from the police and decides to look into Colette’s death herself. Even though she didn’t know her lodger for long, she feels a sense of duty and really wants to get to the bottom of how her young friend died.

Like any good book in this genre, you follow along with Susan, trying to pick up clues to see if you can work out who killed Colette and why. It seems even though their community is quite a small one, everyone has secrets and things they would rather keep hidden from other people. But who would kill, to protect their secrets?

The characters are a varied and interesting bunch. I kept changing my opinions on the dog walkers, as more things came to light. I was always on Susan’s side and hoping she could solve the mystery.

I enjoyed reading a novel with lots of dogs in and the canine companions in this book are such a lovely mix, though Libs was my favourite.

The setting of the Isle of Wight is really well brought to life. I used to live in Portsmouth so went to the island several times in the 1980s and 1990s and it was good to revisit the area, if only via the pages of a novel.


Death at Castle Cove

Island life suits Susan, and she can’t imagine ever moving from her beloved Isle of Wight. So it gives her real pleasure to see her young lodger Colette settle in to life by the sea, especially knowing that she has such a troubled past.

Susan’s days are comfortingly routine, starting every morning by exercising her beloved Rocco on Ventnor beach with her fellow dog walkers. The group may have bonded over their fondness for their canine companions, but over time their friendships have deepened.

So, when Colette dies in suspicious circumstances at Castle Cove, Susan is devastated to realise that the dog walking group were the last to see Colette alive, and one of her friends must have been responsible for her death. 

And when Susan begins to suspect that the police are minded to put Colette’s death down to an accident, Susan decides she won’t rest until she solves the mystery and finds the murderer.

Purchase Link –

Author Bio –

Mary Grand writes gripping, page-turning suspense novels, with a dark and often murderous underside. She grew up in Wales, was for many years a teacher of deaf children and now lives on the Isle of Wight.

Social Media Links –  




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The Summer House by Keri Beevis

I read one of Keri’s books – The People Next Door – in 2021 and it was excellent, I really loved it and found it such a page-turner! So I was really looking forward to reading her latest release – The Summer House.

The story begins in 2005, with a very unsettling prologue, then we move forward to the present day. We meet Lana Hamilton. Following her grandmother’s death, Lana and her twin brother Ollie have inherited her home, Mead House, where they spent most of their childhood.

Seventeen years earlier, Lana and Ollie’s sister Camille had been murdered there, aged nineteen. Lana is now clearing the house in North Norfolk, so it can be sold. Unsurprisingly, neither her nor Ollie want to live there, with all the terrible memories.

Most of the characters seem a bit suspicious. There’s Ollie’s fiancée Elise, who he’s only known a couple of months, yet they’re already engaged. There’s George Maddox, the creepy caretaker and gardener of Mead House and there’s Xavier ‘Xav’ Landry, who was Ollie’s best mate from childhood and Lana’s first love. Now he is an artist, but is quite reclusive after his brother Sebastian was jailed for Camille’s murder. Sebastian had been Camille’s boyfriend at the time.

Could it be that Sebastian didn’t kill Camille, but someone else did? Someone who is free to kill again?

And when Lana finds Camille’s secret journal, what will she discover? …

As always with Keri’s books, you’re straight into the action and want to keep reading, to find out more. Lana is the only character I really liked from the start, so I was definitely on her side. Everyone else seems suspicious and your mind comes up with all sorts of theories…

It’s all wonderfully twisty-turny so you never know quite who to trust and you just want to keep on reading to find out the answers to all those questions!

A really clever, intriguing, compelling read!


The Summer House

Mead House was once our childhood home.

Despite my fears, I always knew we would have to return to face the demons of our past.

Back to the place where it happened, to where, as carefree teenagers, we lost our elder sister in the most brutal of circumstances.

As executors of our grandmother’s will, my twin brother, Ollie, and I needed to empty the house for resale.

What I didn’t expect to discover was my sister’s secret journal that contained her most private thoughts and shocking dark secrets.

Now I am questioning everything that I saw that night. Did I get it wrong, who I saw?

Did my evidence send an innocent man, my then boyfriend’s brother, to jail for the last 17 years?

I know I have no choice. If I want to find answers, I will have to go back to that fateful night my sister died. When she made her last visit to the summer house.

Purchase Link –

Author Bio –

Keri Beevis is the internationally bestselling author of Dying To Tell, Deep Dark Secrets, Trust No One, Every Little Breath and The People Next Door. Dying To Tell reached no. 1 in the Amazon chart in Australia and was a top 25 hit in the UK. She lives in Norfolk, along with her two naughty kitties, Ellie and Lola, and a plentiful supply of red wine (her writing fuel).

Social Media Links –  

Facebook: Keri Beevis – Author | Facebook

Twitter: Keri Beevis (@keribeevis) / Twitter

Instagram: Keri Beevis (@keri.beevis) • Instagram photos and videos

Bookbub profile: Keri Beevis Books – BookBub

The Mother by T M Logan

I have been a fan of T. M. Logan for a few years now and just love his books. I tend to read books by mainly women authors, for some reason, but I buy and read Tim’s books a lot and often say he is my favourite male writer. He has a really special quality to his writing and is one of the authors that I will buy everything he writes, without even needing to read the blurb. If it’s a T. M. Logan, it’ll be good!

So I was excited to read his 2023 hardback release of The Mother.

The book begins in September 2023 at a church funeral. After this short prologue, we jump back to July 2013. Written in the first person, we read about a woman called Heather Vernon who is 33, a wife to Liam (36) and a mother of two young sons – Theo (4) and Finn (2). They live in Bath.

Heather is feeling their marriage isn’t going as well as she wants it to. They are both busy at work – she’s a Human Resources Manager – but now Liam is an MP, he’s away even more and spends less and less time with her and their sons.

They have a big argument one night, she goes to bed and he sleeps on the sofa. In the morning, she finds him dead, but what happened?

The novel moves between 2013 and 2023, as we try to piece the events together. Heather is jailed for her husband’s murder, yet protests her innocence. What really went on that night?

In the present-day chapters, her sons have grown up and she has missed spending all that time with them – a whole decade. Theo is fourteen now and Finn thirteen. As a mother myself, I could really sympathise with how much she wants to see them again and how frustrating it is that the legal system makes this so difficult.

She meets up with a guy called Owen Tanner who wrote an article supporting her some years before and together, they try to work out what actually happened, because Heather is adamant she didn’t kill her husband. I loved Owen’s character, you aren’t quite sure about him, but he’s fascinating and you want to know more. By this time, you are completely on Heather’s side and fervently hoping she’ll be proved innocent and retain custody of her sons. I liked Jodie too and how she helps Heather, despite her own problems.

As with all this author’s books I have read, you’re straight into the action and want to know what happened. I immediately sympathised with busy mum Heather and wanted to solve the mystery about Liam’s murder. The chapters are a good size, so you just want to move on to the next chapter and discover more. It’s one of those books where you wish you had a long train journey or a weekend with nothing else to do but read. You want to say “Go away, real life! I’m busy reading!”

T. M. Logan’s books are perfectly paced – they never become dull and never whizz off so fast that you can’t keep up. You keep turning the pages to find more answers, but – like the best books – you just find more questions. Your own theories on what happened to Liam on that night, and why, keep changing as you find out more, little by little. You become a detective yourself, trying to piece together the clues.

As Heather’s voice is the one we hear through the first-person narration, she is the character we feel most sympathy for and it’s so easy to hook on to that voice and go on that journey with her. We feel her frustration, her anger at being jailed for a crime she didn’t do, her sadness at missing her sons. Yet, we can also detach as the reader and question her story. Is she really innocent? If she is, who killed Liam and why?

I can find little to criticise about this book, or the author’s writing at all. It’s beautifully written, perfectly crafted and T. M. Logan is the master of “Show, not tell.” His descriptions of people really do say so much and you automatically have an opinion of someone from these beautiful observations, without him having to spell it out. Everything feels authentic, you are pulled into the story and nestle at the heart of the characters all the way through.

The Mother is an absolute triumph of a book!

The unmissable up-all-night thriller from the million-copy bestselling author of NETFLIX hit THE HOLIDAY


By T.M. Logan

Master of the up-all-night thriller

Publishing in Hardback, eBook, and Audio from Zaffre on 2nd March 2023

Framed for murder. Now she’s free . . .

A woman attends a funeral, standing in the shadows and watching in agony as her sons grieve. But she is unable to comfort them – or reveal her secret.

A decade earlier, Heather gets her children ready for bed and awaits the return of her husband Liam, little realising that this is the last night they will spend together as a family. Because tomorrow she will be accused of Liam’s murder.

Ten years ago Heather lost everything. Now she will stop at nothing to clear her name – and to get her children back.

Praise for T.M. Logan

‘The king of the fast-paced thriller is back! A book that demands to be read in one sitting.’ Good Housekeeping

‘The author of the excellent The Catch again shows us how to grab a reader by the throat from the off. A really excellent story.’  Sunday Sport

‘Twists, turns and an absolutely belting plot. Coined as thriller of the year, this is the thriller of the decade.’ My Weekly

… cont

‘We raced through this gripping thriller in two big bites.’ Heat Magazine, Read of the Week

‘One of the most exciting authors currently writing for the ever-busy crime thriller market, T.M. Logan is back with another of his ingeniously imagined and perfectly executed plots, and this one is guaranteed to blow your mind!’ Lancashire Evening Post

‘A hugely entertaining, twisting, propulsive thrill-ride from the consistently brilliant T.M. Logan’ Chris Whitaker, bestselling author of We Begin at the End

‘Tense, tight and totally absorbing’ Adele Parks

‘Assured, compelling, and hypnotically readable – with a twist at the end I guarantee you won’t

see coming’ Lee Child

‘Smart, intense, and with a humdinger of a mid-point twist. I loved it’ Gillian McAllister

T.M. Logan is a Sunday Times bestseller whose thrillers have sold more than 1 million copies in the UK and are publish ed in 18 countries around the world. The Holiday was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick and will soon be a major TV drama. Formerly a national newspaper journalist, he now writes full time and lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two children. Follow him on Twitter @TMLoganAuthorFollow him on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

Notes to editors:

  • T.M Logan’s thrillers have sold more than 1 million copies in the UK and are published in 18 countries around the world
  • The Holiday wassummer 2019’s biggest breakout crime novel. ARichard and Judy pick,it spent 10 weeks in the Sunday Times top 10
  • Logan’s debut thriller Lies was a blockbuster bestseller, one of the top ebooks of 2017, netting over 300,000 copies across all formats
  • 29 Seconds was longlisted for theSpecsaver National Book Awards 2018
  • Logan is the master of the up-all-night thriller – books about ordinary people facing the most terrible dilemmas, depicting real life with that thriller twist, set to keep you up all night
  • The Holiday was recently adapted into a major TV drama on Netflix by Trevor Eve’s Projector Pictureswith writer Michael Crompton (Silent Witness)
  • Logan’s previous novel The Curfew was an instant Sunday Times bestseller
  • His thriller The Catch is also now being filmed for TV

Awakening the Power of Self-Publishing by Rudo Muchoko

Having self-published several books now through Lulu and Amazon, I was very interested to read this guide and see if I could pick up any tips. It’s a small book of around sixty pages, but contains a lot of information.

There are both advantages and disadvantages of the book and in the spirit of offering a fair review, I will list some of each.


One of the good things to say about this book is that the author writes in a clear way which is easily accessible and understandable. The book is presented well and it’s easy to see which topic is covered by each chapter, so you could skip to a particular section if you were looking for something specific.

It’s also good to have everything written in one handy little guide. Buying this book might inspire you to finally finish that book you’re writing, or, if you have finished the writing stage, to get on and publish it.

You are bound to find something in this book that you didn’t already know, or an aspect of self-publishing that you hadn’t considered. I found the chapter on book covers particularly interesting. (Though I suspect it’s not “specific GENES [that] are associated with particular fonts” but GENRES.)

There are some good points in the text. I certainly agree with the idea that you should use your social media platforms to make friends, rather than just sell, as people tend to buy from those they have made a connection with. No-one wants to follow someone whose Twitter feed is just full of adverts for their own products and nothing else.


One the downsides of the book is that it needed a good proof-read and the little errors annoyed me. For example, you will find both “bestselling” and “best-selling” in the pages.

Another is that a lot of information in the book is obvious, things you will already have thought of. I’m sure no-one would try to self-publish a book they didn’t think was finished to a high standard.

The book is published by the author’s own publishing company, RMPublishers, and at times, this reads like an advert for their services. (“… here at RMPublishers … our packages come with editing and proofreading as standard.”)

Many of the tips involve spending money – get a professional editor, for example. I think the author should be explaining the pros and cons of each suggestion and offer low-budget ideas alongside those which cost a lot.

She rightly states that one of the best things about self-publishing is the control the author has over their book. Yet she then says that books go through six processes of development. Now even when I have had my books traditionally published, they only went through three of these six stages.

Sometimes she states something, without explaining it enough. For example, she says that audiobooks are a great way to earn money from your book. But how do you do that? How do you make an audiobook without a team behind you to finance it, find voice actors, record it to a high standard, etc.? Telling the reader that the “audio format is one of the most important tools for digitisation” is fine, but how is that achieved? One of my traditionally published books was made into an audiobook, but I had very little say in its production and wouldn’t know where to start to do one myself!

One of the author’s ways to “stay relevant after publishing your book” is to “turn your book into a film.” Yes, I’m sure we’d all love to do that, but it doesn’t seem quite so simple as the author suggests.

In Summary

This is a well-meaning book with some good advice amongst its pages.

Never Too Late by T. A. Williams

I have read a few books by T. A. Williams and always enjoyed them, so I was looking forward to reading his latest romance novel – Never Too Late.

Steph is 30 years old and works as a recording engineer, employed by her musician boyfriend Ethan. She is thrilled to be given the chance to go to Italy to work with the award-winning band Royalty, as they record their comeback album.

They stay in accommodation above the recording studio and hang out with the band, who are now in their fifties and sixties, including the lead singer Keith Bailey and his wife of thirty years, Faye.

Sometimes, novels which feature famous (fictional) bands can be a bit cliched, but this isn’t the case at all here. I was fascinated by the group’s dynamics straight away and loved how they were all older now, with wives, and it was really interesting to see how different each band member was. I liked the idea that Steph had harboured a secret crush on Ben, but in real life, he didn’t match up to her expectations.

Ethan really is a bit of a waste of space and right from the start, I felt Steph could do much better. So it was interesting to see that relationship run its course and a new one begin…

The Italian setting is a beautiful one with Keith’s luxury villa and golden beaches. I also enjoyed visiting Lerici with its interesting shops and impressive ice cream parlours. (No guilt feelings when I’m only eating the ice cream in my mind!)

As fans of T. A. Williams (Me! Me!) will know, a black Labrador usually pops up in his books – and this is no exception. Meet Waldorf! A fan of the sea and very likely to shake the water all over you.

Overall, I thought this was a fabulous book. I liked Steph straight away and loved all the people she meets in Italy. It’s a romance, but so much more besides and I found it interesting throughout and a really great read.


Never Too Late

A second chance to realise her dreams…

A classically trained pianist, Steph works as a recording engineer for a small studio when she’s offered the job of a lifetime – travel to the Italian Riviera to help world-famous band, Royalty, record their reunion album after a decades-long hiatus.

Steph could definitely do with the distraction. Her boyfriend – who also happens to be her boss – is increasingly unreliable and erratic, and she’s awaiting news from her doctor after a recent biopsy. So an all-expenses-paid trip to Italy is the perfect escape.

What she doesn’t expect is an instant connection with Rob, the son of Royalty’s lead singer. With her career – and her heart – at a crossroads, what path will Steph follow?

Purchase Link –

Author Bio – I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only nine years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.

The fact that I am now writing escapist romance is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels and I now also write cozy crime, but my first love is romance. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations, even if travel to them is currently difficult.

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Badgeland by Steve Rayson

Hearing about Steve Rayson’s book, I knew I wanted to read it. I was a member of the Labour Party Young Socialists in 1987, joined the Socialist Workers’ Party briefly in University and attended many marches and protests, including ones with the Anti-Nazi League. So although a bit younger than Steve Rayson, I trod a similar path and was fascinated to read his memories of being political in Thatcher’s Britain.

His book is written in a chatty, accessible style which is often funny. I could relate to the cultural background of it all – Doctor Who and Debbie Harry were big influences in my childhood too and my earliest political thoughts happened during the “reign” of Margaret Thatcher. His LPYS meetings led by Militant supporters were very reminiscent of my experience with the SWP. I also had constant pamphlets to read, telling me what I should believe and why.

The issue of class is a strong theme in the book too and it comes across as a very honest depiction of a working class upbringing of the time. Like Steve, I was the first person in my family to go to university – back when we had student grants. We had an avocado green phone in our hallway too!            

I happily kept reading the book, turning page after page. I think I read about fifty pages in one sitting. It really is an engaging and charming read, written with wit and describing the era with authentic references. I loved the scenes when he went to the pub with his dad and his dad’s blokey mates who really didn’t want to talk politics. You could really see it all happening; it’s a very visual book.

It’s interesting to see how Steve’s views change as he gets older and how his priorities alter over the decades. It’s a really good book and one I would recommend, especially to those of us who were into political causes around this time.


Steve Rayson believed working-class people had everything to gain from….. socialism. The only problem was they didn’t agree with him.

In 1979 Margaret Thatcher was threatening to change Britain forever, and not in a good way. Determined to defeat her, Steve joined the Swindon Labour Party, pinned protest badges to his chest and marched against mass unemployment, apartheid and nuclear weapons. His radical generation was going to change the world but, bewildered by consecutive Conservative election victories, he had to reassess what he had been taught by his Badgeland comrades.

What do you do as a young socialist when your dad’s mates in the working men’s club buy their council houses, drive Austin Metros (a British car to beat the world), read the Sun, and vote Tory? He would come to realise that politics isn’t all it seems at seventeen.

Badgeland is an insightful, warm and frequently hilarious memoir about coming of age, politics, class and social mobility in the 1970s and 1980s.

‘Steve Rayson’s depiction of British politics in the 70s and 80s is pitch perfect but this book is much more than that. It’s a tender reflection on father/son relationships in working class communities and the fault line that can develop between them through a university education. The best memoir I’ve read in years.’ — Alan Johnson, Former Health Secretary

‘Steve recalls with warmth, insight and wry humour a time when everything seemed possible’ — Lord Paul Boateng

‘Funny but poignant, brutally honest yet endearing’ — Mark Fern

‘Funny, charming, well observed and a joy to read’ — Giles Palmer

‘One man’s personal journey, … delivered with a warmth and affection that has the reader yearning for the place and time that Rayson describes’ — Charlie Downes


Steve grew up in Swindon and joined the Labour Party Young Socialists at sixteen. He believed working-class people had everything to gain from socialism. The only problem was they didn’t agree with him.

He would learn later that politics isn’t all it seems at seventeen and would surprise himself by becoming an entrepreneur. It is an underappreciated fact that teenage Trotskyists make the best entrepreneurs.

He now lives in West Sussex with his wife Chris and their excitable Labradoodle Mabel.

His first book The Fall of the Red Wall became an Amazon bestseller in 2020.

His second book Badgeland will be published in February 2023. It is an insightful, warm and frequently hilarious memoir about coming of age, politics, class and social mobility in the 1980s. 

Maid of Steel by Kate Baker

The story begins in Manhattan, USA in March 1911. We meet Emma Quinn and her friend Martina who are both supporters of the American Women’s Suffrage Association. They work at the Joseph Cobb factory, making clothes. Joseph Cobb is an unpleasant man and Emma hates her job. But then there’s a tragedy which changes things forever…

Meanwhile, in Southern Ireland, we meet Alice Murphy. She is an actress, married to Thomas who runs a hotel on the coast. The marriage was arranged by her father ten years ago and isn’t a very happy one, so she has found lovers over the years – some to benefit her career, others for more personal reasons. Her life is seemingly full of secrets…

Emma leaves America and travels to Queenstown in Ireland, where her grandparents were from. She has booked a three-month stay at The Admiral hotel, which is run by Thomas.

The book starts in a very exciting way, drawing the readers into the story immediately. I took to Emma straight away and wanted to know how her story progressed. She has faced a lot of really hard times and you hope she gets the happy ending she deserves.

Alice is absolutely horrible. She treats everyone badly, unless she’s trying to win an acting part she wants and then she is incredibly obliging (if you know what I mean). She is selfish, ruthless and rude. She treats Thomas very badly and when she sees him spending time with Emma, she starts being vile to Emma too.

Thomas, however, is a really sweet and kind man who deserves a much better life than being with Alice.

As well as following the lives of the main characters, we also meet other people in Queenstown and there are many interesting ones here, especially Aoife (who works at the hotel) and Mary, an older woman she befriends.

I really enjoyed the historical setting and also finding out about the time and place Emma’s grandparents were from. The theme of women’s suffrage is also interesting to me and the coronation of King George V, which features in the book, as I am a big fan of the monarchy.

The combination of history and romance is beautifully done, everything felt very authentic and the characters are just wonderful. An impressive debut novel indeed!

Maid Of Steel

It’s 1911 and, against her mother’s wishes, quiet New Yorker Emma dreams of winning the right to vote. She is sent away by her parents in the hope distance will curb her desire to be involved with the growing suffrage movement and told to spend time learning about where her grandparents came from.

Across the Atlantic – Queenstown, southern Ireland – hotelier Thomas dreams of being loved, even noticed, by his actress wife, Alice. On their wedding day, Alice’s father had assured him that adoration comes with time. It’s been eight years. But Alice has plans of her own and they certainly don’t include the fight for equality or her dull husband.

Emma’s arrival in Ireland leads her to discover family secrets and become involved in the Irish Women’s Suffrage Society in Cork. However, Emma’s path to suffrage was never meant to lead to a forbidden love affair…

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Author Bio

Kate Baker wrote terrible holiday diaries as a child, which her husband regularly asks her to read out loud for their entertainment. She has since improved and has written with intent since 2018. Maid of Steel is her second novel; the first is lining drawers in the vegetable rack at their farmhouse.