Strangers in the Night by Heather Webb

Strangers in the Night by Heather Webb

I love old Hollywood glamour and many of my favourite film stars are ones from the 1950s and 1960s, so I was intrigued to read this novel based on Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner.

At the beginning of the novel, in the prologue, Frank Sinatra meets Ava Gardner, but Ava is married to Mickey Rooney. We then go to Part One of the novel, set between 1946 and 1949. The novel goes right up to 1990 and is written in chapters from Frank and Ava’s points of view. Despite Frank being married to Nancy, he can’t help his attraction to Ava and something keeps throwing them together until their relationship becomes an obsession.

As Frank is losing sponsors and record sales by being controversial and hitting the odd photographer, Ava’s trajectory as a star is definitely on the up. As she finally gets the kind of film roles she deserves, her fame increases.

I absolutely loved this book. The writing style is beautiful and it was easy to get into. I read each chapter from Frank or Ava’s viewpoint in distinct voices and both came across as very authentic. Although it is a work of fiction, it is obviously well-researched and it all rings true, despite there being some artistic licence. I felt I learned a lot about the two main characters, but also about many other famous names mentioned as well as the way Hollywood worked at the time.

I haven’t read a book quite like this and I thought it was great. I hadn’t read any of Heather Webb’s previous novels, but will be looking out for them in the future.


It was the tumultuous romance that scandalized the world: Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner fought, loved, and lived life to the hilt. Now their unbridled story is brought vividly to life by Heather Webb, the bestselling author of Meet Me in Monaco and The Next Ship Home.

In the golden age of Hollywood, two of the brightest stars would define—and defy—an era…

She was the small-town southern beauty transformed into a Hollywood love goddess. He was the legendary crooner whose voice transfixed the world. They were Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra. Separately they were irresistible; together they were an explosive combination.

Ava’s star is rising just as Frank’s career—and public image as a family man—is taking a hit. Gone are the days of the screaming bobbysoxers and chart-topping hits. Ava, however, finds herself gracing the front page of every tabloid in America. Jealousy and cheating abound, and when the two succumb to their temperaments and their vices, their happiness is threatened at every turn.

As the pair ride the rollercoaster of success and failure, passion and anger, they both wonder if the next turn will be the end of their careers, and most devastating of all—the end of all they’ve shared.

A captivating novel with a star-studded cast spanning continents and decades, Strangers in the Night brings to life the most riveting love story of the twentieth century.

A New Year for the Seaside Girls by Tracy Baines

The book begins at the start of 1940. We meet Ruby Randolph, who has been performing on stage since she was four years old. With her elder brother Johnny, they had been top of the bill at Grimsby’s Palace Theatre, but now Ruby is ill.

We also meet Johnny’s ex-girlfriend Frances O’Leary as Johnny discovers he has a young daughter called Imogen. He finds out his mother and sister never passed on the letters the two lovers wrote to each other. In the meantime, Frances’s theatre career has suffered as she’s had to care for their child.

The story is set around the theatre and those working in it, so if you are interested in that kind of thing, this will be a perfect read for you. I loved that it was set in Lincolnshire as that is where I am from and I loved all the characters, especially how the seaside girls (variety girls) look out for each other. It has a great family feel to it and everyone is very believable, so you get involved in the story quickly and hope everything will turn out well.

This book ticks lots of boxes. If you are a fan of historical novels set in World War II, you will love this. Also fans of sagas set in England. I love these kinds of books, so I knew I would enjoy this. It is the third in the series, but can be read as a standalone as the author explains anything you need to know. However, I personally recommend reading any series in the correct order.

Tracy Baines has a lovely writing style. Her novels are easy to get into, easy to follow and her characters are authentic. Highly recommended.


A New Year for the Seaside Girls

Can the Seaside Girls embrace the new year with courage…

Cleethorpes – 1940

As the new year dawns the show at the Empire comes to an end and it’s time for the girls to move on.

Years of struggle are over for Frances O’ Leary when Johnny Randolph returns to make things right for her and their daughter – do they have a chance of happiness? of being a family after so long?

But their good fortune is fraught with complications when sister Ruby Randolph decides to have her last hurrah, leaving a trail of devastation in her wake.

Jessie Delaney is afraid to follow her dreams and leave those she loves behind – can she really have it all?

All the seaside girls have their own battles to fight. And while they figure things out it’s time for them to do their bit for the war and keep Britain smiling.

A gritty and heart-warming saga perfect for readers of Elaine Everest, Nancy Revell and Pam Howes.

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Author Bio –

Tracy Baines is the bestselling saga writer of The Variety Girls series, originally published by Ebury, which Boldwood will continue with. She was born and brought up in Cleethorpes and spent her early years in the theatre world which inspired her writing. The first title of her new saga series for Boldwood – set amongst the fisherfolk of Grimsby – will be published in October 2022.

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Interview with Hazel Prior

I first discovered Hazel Prior’s books when I read Away with the Penguins a few years ago, which remains one of my all-time favourite books. Her fourth novel is coming out later this year. Hazel kindly took the time to answer my interview questions, which I hope you enjoy.

Which childhood books and authors were your favourites? Do you think they influenced you in wanting to become an author?

I loved, loved, loved the Narnia books by C S Lewis. Like many children, I longed to go to Narnia and to meet Aslan and the other animals. That early enchantment must have cast quite an influence over me. At least, I am writing about wildlife a lot these days. It also made me realise the importance of escaping to an imaginary world, which is something we all desperately need from time to time.

The other book I remember adoring as a child was The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. Animals again! But such characterisation. Through those spotty dogs I experienced what it is to desperately care about fictional characters; also how much we can learn from the way they deal with difficult situations. I was intrigued and started creating my own stories from a very young age. I particularly remember writing Badger’s Adventures and a series starring Harold, who was a very brave beetle.

How did you get your first book published?

I entered the first three chapters for a competition. When they were longlisted, I was asked to send off the rest of the novel, which meant I actually had to write it… within 10 days! I only had a very short, messy, handwritten draft, but somehow I managed to finish it and get it typed up and sent off in time.

Then, since I had a manuscript, I thought I should try and get it published. I found a literary agent through the one-to-one appointments at Winchester Writers’ Festival. That all went pear-shaped, though, and I lost her again nearly a year later when we disagreed about edits. So, rather desperate and disillusioned, I sent out the novel (which became Ellie And The Harp Maker) to more agents. Finally I was signed by the fabulous Darley Anderson, who got me my first two-book deal with Penguin Random House, not to mention publication in America, and (so far) 18 foreign languages.

If you had to write a non-fiction book, what subject or person would it be about?

I know plenty about penguins now, and I find them endlessly entertaining and would never ever tire of research. So, penguins!

How do you come up with titles for your books?

Actually, none of the titles of my books have been chosen by me. What seems to happen is that I suggest something, and my publishers don’t think it will sell and so come up with something else. After throwing ideas back and forth for ages, we settle on something. I love my most recent title, Life And Otter Miracles, which was the brainchild of my editor, Francesca.

When you’re being interviewed about the books you’ve written, do you ever forget the names of your characters?

It’s only happened once so far, with a very minor character. But I think it might happen more and more over time, especially if I end up writing a lot of books. We’ll see!

What’s the strangest thing you have researched (or Googled!) for a book you were writing?

Do penguins snore? (The answer is yes!)

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

I’ve read a lot of wonderful books recently, many that haven’t even been published yet. Probably the best is: The Collected Regrets Of Clover by Mikki Brammer. It’s just so unusual and charming.

What’s your least favourite household chore?

Cleaning up cat sick… with vacuuming the stairs as a close second.

Do you have any rituals when you start writing a new book?

No, I don’t normally have any rituals, but I will go on plenty of walks to think about my plot. There is usually plenty of panic involved too.

Tell us about your latest book/upcoming book/Kindle deals/anything you want to promote.

My next book, Life and Otter Miracles, will be out in mid September. It’s a book club read with a bit of mystery and a big cast of lovable characters, both human and otter. You can pre-order it here:




Thank you so much for having me, Karen!

Summer Nights at the Starfish Café by Jessica Redland

As regular readers of my blog will know, I’m a big fan of Jessica Redland’s books and I’m always excited to read her new novels. Summer Nights at the Starfish Café is Book 3 in the Starfish Café Series.

In the second book, we followed Hollie and Tori. This third book continues to tell Hollie’s story, but also Kerry’s, who is a thirty-one-year-old single mum of four little ones (Maisie aged eleven, Noah aged eight and Freya and Jayden – the six year old twins) and works at The Starfish Café. The café is on a clifftop not far from Whitsborough Bay, the seaside town in North Yorkshire. They also have a seal colony at Starfish Point, which I love reading about.

The book begins four days before Hollie and Jake’s wedding at the Bay Pavilion. Hollie is 36 and as well as her work in the café, she volunteers for the RNLI and makes crafts for the Driftwood Dell shop and gallery. The wedding is beautifully described and I loved how everything was colour-coordinated and fitted the sea theme. The second wedding seemed even more beautiful, but I won’t go into details here. No spoilers!

We learn about Kerry’s past through flashbacks, how she was married to Cameron (the father of her children) and how they split up. But when she suddenly hears from him after seven years, what will happen? How will it affect the children?

I don’t want to go into the plot too much, as you really need to read it for yourself and find out what happens – and I’d recommend reading the first two books in The Starfish Café series first, to get the whole experience of learning to know and love the characters. But I’ve got to say – Artie – woo hoo! What a gorgeous man, loved his character!

Jessica Redland is brilliant at writing books which feel real. The settings, the characters and the communities of each of her novels are so completely believable, you can expect to feel genuine emotion following the storylines through the books – and there are serious issues covered too. It feels like catching up with friends you care about, you worry about their plights and hope for them to find the happy endings they deserve. With this being the third and final Starfish Café book, we can expect our main characters to find their happy ever afters, but they will have to go through the mill to get there!

The book is around 400 pages long, but I read it in three days, which is quick for me. It becomes a real page-turner and you have to keep reading to find out what happens, which resulted in a couple of later nights than I’d planned! I loved this series and Book 3 concluded it all perfectly. Another gorgeous read from Jessica Redland!


Summer Nights at the Starfish Café

Welcome back to The Starfish Café for a glorious summer, but with a few dark clouds on the horizon…

A new beginning…

As her summer wedding to Jake approaches, Hollie is excited for their new beginning as a family. But when some unexpected news threatens the future she and Jake had hoped for, Hollie will need to find the strength to overcome heartache once more.

A fragile heart….

Single mum, Kerry, loves her job at The Starfish Café, but behind the brave smiles and laughter with customers there is a sadness deep within. So when someone from her past re-appears in her life, Kerry can either hide away or face her demons and try to finally move on from her heartbreak.

A summer to remember…

For Hollie and Kerry it promises to be an emotional rollercoaster of a summer, but the community at The Starfish Café will always be there to help them through – after all, with courage nothing is impossible…

Join top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a wonderful summer at the seaside, full of love, friendship and community spirit.

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Author Bio –

Jessica Redland writes emotional but uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast where she lives with her husband, daughter and sprocker spaniel. Her Hedgehog Hollow series, set in a hedgehog rescue centre, takes readers into the beautiful rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.

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Hopeful Hearts at the Cornish Cove by Kim Nash

Meredith Robinson is nearly fifty years old and has just bought a lighthouse. She’s been living with her best friend Gabby for the past year, but moves three hundred miles away from the Midlands into her new property which is in Driftwood Bay, Cornwall.

But while Driftwood Bay Lighthouse maybe isn’t quite how Meredith expected it to be, she makes friends straight away with villagers Gemma (who owns the bakery and café) and her sister Lucy (who owns the B&B). Lucy suggests she might need help from Clement ‘Clem’ Penrose to sort out the lighthouse, as he’s a carpenter and general handyman. Oh and absolutely gorgeous and sexy and almost a decade younger than Meredith… whit whoo!

I was into the story straight away from the first page. Well, who wouldn’t be? You want to know more about Meredith and why she’s bought a lighthouse and what’s going to happen. The chapters are a really good size too, so you keep saying “Oh I’ll just read one more” and you read several.

Clem is rather lovely and I liked the fact that he was younger than Meredith, but not too much younger as she’s nearly fifty and he’s forty. I’m 53 and could see myself going out with someone in their forties, but not in their thirties. I also do relate more to books where the main character is around my age, than some size eight romantic heroine in their twenties.

Kim Nash has a wonderfully natural writing style. I can hear her voice coming across so well and her sense of humour in the pages in brilliant. The setting is great and everything is described so beautifully that I could easily picture it all. There are many great characters too. I loved Violet and my own Nanna was called that, which made her even more lovely. Vi is absolutely hilarious too, I loved her cheeky comments. And Gladys, awwww! Not all the characters are sweethearts though, some are absolutely vile and you want to keep reading to find out why.

Overall, it’s hard to find fault with this book. It’s an absolute dream of a story, with wonderful believable characters and a gorgeous setting. I hope there are more books to come in this series, because I know I’m going to miss the area and everyone who lives in it.

9.5 out of 10


Hopeful Hearts at the Cornish Cove

A perfect new start in Cornwall…

Meredith’s life is at a standstill. She’s stuck in a dead-end job, approaching fifty, and her dating life is a string of disasters. But one evening, while browsing the internet, she sees an ad for a lighthouse, and in a moment of impulsiveness, she makes a ridiculous bid for it.

With the help of local handyman Clem, she sets about renovating. And as they work together, a bond begins to form. But when Meredith finds out that Clem is keeping a secret from her, it changes everything. Will they find a way to build something more meaningful together?

A delightful story about community, friendship and having the courage to start over, perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Milly Johnson and Lucy Dillon

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Author Bio –

Kim Nash is the author of uplifting, funny, heartwarming, romantic, feel-good fiction. She lives in Staffordshire with son Ollie and English Setter rescue dog Roni, is Digital Publicity Director for publisher Bookouture (division of Hachette UK), and is a book blogger at When she’s not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog at Cannock Chase, reading, writing and binge-watching box sets on the TV.

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The Cornish Hideaway by Jennifer Bibby

We begin the story by meeting our heroine Freya Harris and discovering she has unexpectedly failed her Master’s Degree in Art. She is twenty-seven years old and lives in London with her boyfriend Matt, though when she gets back and tells him her result, he finishes their relationship. He was horrible anyway, she’s better off without him.

When she posts on Facebook about needing a holiday, her friend Lola invites her to stay with her and help out in her café, so Freya goes down to Cornwall and the quiet village of Polcarrow. Not long after she arrives, Lola reads her cards and predicts a new love for Freya, but will that happen? After all, Freya has only just come out of a long relationship with Matt, which didn’t end well. But then a stranger to the village arrives, a moody long-haired biker called Angelo. Could he be ‘the dark man’ Lola had predicted would enter Freya’s life?

Read the book to find out what happens!!

This book was very easy to get into. I felt sorry for Freya and was rooting for her right from the start. Lola’s a lot of fun too and I enjoyed her vintage style and how her house was done out. (I want to have a nosey at her bookshelf of Hollywood star autobiographies!) I could really picture the gorgeous café too and definitely felt I wanted to go in there for cake and coffee. I love the book cover too and liked comparing it to the description inside.

As you’d expect with these kinds of books, there’s a wonderful community feel to Polcarrow and lots of great characters. I loved Tristan the young vicar and Alf with his sheepdog called Scruff and we’ve all met women like the ladies from the W.I.

Reading about the seaside felt very atmospheric and calming and the whole book was like having my own little holiday in Cornwall, I loved it.

This book is Jennifer Bibby’s debut novel and I will definitely read anything she writes in the future, as this book has everything – a wonderful authentic location, great characters you fall in love with and an interesting story that holds your attention throughout.


All Freya has ever wanted to do is paint. So when she fails her Master’s Degree in Art, on the same day that her boyfriend decides he needs a ‘more serious’ partner, to Freya it feels like the end of the world.
Luckily, she has a saviour in the shape of best friend Lola, who invites her to the sleepy Cornish village of Polcarrow, to work in her café. With nothing keeping her in London, Freya jumps at the chance of a summer by the sea.
Freya needs time to focus on herself. But then dark and mysterious biker Angelo blows into town on a stormy afternoon, with his own artistic dreams and a secretive past, and Freya’s plans of a romance-free summer fly straight out of the window…

Heart-warming, heartfelt and romantic, The Cornish Hideaway is a novel of community, friendship and learning to love again, for fans of Jenny Colgan, Cathy Bramley and Heidi Swain.

A beautiful village. An artist who’s lost her spark. And a community who help her find it again.

‘Charming and romantic, sweet and sunny. I loved it’ MILLY JOHNSON

‘A warm and charm-filled story about community, passion and following your heart, The Cornish Hideaway is a feel-good delight. Its dreamy seaside setting and cast of loveable characters quickly became a world I didn’t want to leave. A holiday romance in book form – I adored it!’ HOLLY MILLER

‘A sun-drenched summer in picture-perfect Polcarrow – I didn’t want it to end’ HOLLY HEPBURN

The Translator by Harriet Crawley

The Translator by Harriet Crawley

Having studied Russian and Soviet Studies at University, I have always been fascinated by the country and its politics. These days with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, we are talking about Russia on a daily basis, with everyone wondering what could happen next. So I was fascinated by the premise of this book and keen to read it.

It’s September 2017 and we meet our hero in the Scottish Highlands. He is forty-one year old Clive Franklin, who works as a Russian language expert in the British Foreign Office. He unexpectedly receives a phone call saying he has to go to Moscow the next day. He’s been asked to be the interpreter for the British Prime Minister, Martha Maitland, at a meeting with President Serov. Although Clive is soon asked to listen to what the Russians are saying. Maybe the gap between translator and spy is not so big after all?

While he’s in Russia, he is reunited with Marina Volina, his former lover and now the interpreter to the Russian President. Marina is forty years old and is suffering the recent death of her foster son. Both Clive and Marina are great characters and you care about them straight away and hope things turn out well for them.

I don’t want to write too much about the plot, because I think it’s better to discover it through reading the book itself. But it all gets rather exciting and there’s a lot at stake! And Clive and Marina have to work together to try to sort it all out.

Being set in 2017, the novel feels contemporary, but the subject matter doesn’t have to deal with the war against Ukraine, which would be a different kind of book. I liked the modern feel though and enjoyed reading about Russia and how it all looks and feels. The descriptions feel very authentic and I could easily picture the settings. The author’s love for all the good things about Russia really shines through.

The story was easy to get into. I liked Clive from the first page and I was interested to see what was going to happen. The font in the book is a good size too and the chapters are ideal – not too long, not too short. The novel is a really well-written and well-paced political thriller with a bit of everything in there – romance, spies, drama, all sorts.


“A classic thriller of the new Cold War!” Antony Beevor, author of Stalingrad

A novel about a Russian plot to cut the undersea communication cables linking the US to the UK. Also, a passionate love story between two people determined to stop this cataclysmic act.

Written by an insider: Harriet Crawley lived in Moscow for many years, working in the energy sector at a time of exploding wealth concentration and increasingly violent political repression.

A genre-bending story that sustains the difficult balancing act of melding a rekindled yet passionate love story with a tale of espionage.

Behind the scenes in Moscow, from the Kremlin to the Lubyanka, by way of wonderfully satirical set pieces of extravagant parties on the shores of Crimea, where the President’s yacht dwarfs the cruiser Moskva, the Russian Black Sea flagship.

The Story: Moscow, September 2017. Clive Franklin, a Russian language expert in the Foreign Office, is summoned unexpectedly to the city to act as translator for the British Prime Minister. His life is turned on its head when, after more than a decade, he discovers that his former lover, Marina Volina, is now the interpreter to the Russian President.

At the embassy, Clive learns of a Russian plot to cut the undersea cables linking the US to the UK which would paralyse communications and collapse the Western economy. Marina stuns Clive with the news that she’s ready to help stop the attack, betraying her country for a new identity and a new life.

The Author: Harriet Crawley has been a journalist, writer, and art dealer, worked in television and radio, and stood for the Westminster and European Parliaments. For almost twenty years Harriet had one foot in Moscow where she launched a technical publishing business for a Russian oil and gas company. She speaks five languages and this is her fifth book.

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…

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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.

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