Meet Me At Number Five by Lisa Hill #review @lisahillie @ChocLitUk

Meet Me at Number Five (Choc Lit) by [Hill, Lisa]


Meet Me at Number Five won ChocLit’s Search for a Star 2016 and I can quite understand why – it’s brilliant! Grace Carrisbrook is just about to undergo IVF treatment when she is devastated to discover that her racehorse trainer husband, Charlie, has been having an affair with one of the stable girls. Stunned, she flees what is her childhood home to live with her grandmother Clara and cousin Hennie. Hennie is a single mum to two young children which is quite difficult for Grace, having just had her own dreams of motherhood shattered. Determined to stand on her own two feet and make a fresh start, Grace gets a job at the nearby restaurant Number Five under the watchful eye of sexy owner and head chef Sam.

When I was younger I used to be obsessed with horses. There was as much chance of me having one in our small garden in a terraced house in the city as there was of me going to Malory Towers but I could dream! I read loads of books with horses in them: Jill Enjoys Her Ponies, Jinny at Finmory and many books by the Pullein-Thompson sisters. So I really enjoyed the aspect of this story which was based in the stables at Farrier’s Rest and in the racing world. Like Grace, I was concerned for the welfare of the horses when she left but was pleased that new farrier, gorgeous Guy from Texas, seemed to be on her side and keeping a watchful eye on the horses.

It was obvious from the start that Grace and Sam were attracted to each other but with her being newly separated and him aiming for a Michelin star would their romance even get off the ground? The way the author has written about the pair, the electricity between them almost crackled off the page. I really wanted Grace to find the happiness she deserved but it seemed that the timing was always wrong for her and Sam. Hennie, her cousin, was also finding herself rather attracted to Guy but she had sworn to renounce men. If only her heart knew that too!

The girls’ grandmother Clara was a terrific character. She was rather well-to–do and refined with friends in high places. She was a strong-willed no-nonsense woman who wasn’t afraid to say exactly what she thought. This led to some rather funny exchanges with her grand-daughters as she didn’t quite conform to the image of a little old lady! She was determined to see that both her beloved grand-daughters were happy and settled she wanted to see this happen as soon as possible. She was definitely of the opinion that when you have the chance of happiness, you take the opportunity and grab it with both hands. From the glimpses we see of Clara’s life, I think she has led a very interesting life and it would be great to learn more about the younger Clara maybe in another book.

There is so much going on in this book and I felt really engrossed in the characters’ lives as they went through all kinds of trials and tribulations. I admired Grace’s feistiness as she began to stick up for herself, I was furious with Charlie who was the real villain of the piece, I was willing all the various romances to work out and I may have drooled a little over both Sam and Guy! 

Meet Me at Number Five has the perfect mix of ingredients I look for in a book – it is romantic, funny, sexy and emotional, with strong female characters and has not one but two handsome heroes. It made me laugh and it definitely gave me a lump in the throat at times. I found it completely captivating and was gripped throughout the whole story. I highly recommend it and will definitely be watching out for future books by this author.

Thanks to the publishers ChocLit for my copy of this book. Meet Me at Number Five was published as an ebook on 18 June. You can buy a copy online here: Amazon, iBooks, Kobo

From the back of the book

What if finding happiness was a race against time?
Grace Cavendish knows a thing or two about horses – but what she doesn’t know is that her husband, top horse racing trainer Charlie Carrisbrook, is having a literal ‘roll in the hay’ right under her nose.

When the painful truth is revealed Grace has no choice but to move in with her highly-strung grandmother Clara and cousin Hennie; a single mum who has renounced men (at least that’s what she says!)

Determined to start again, Grace takes a job at the local cafe, Number Five. And whilst serving up coffee and cake is a far cry from the stables, she enjoys it – especially as she gets to work alongside the rather scrumptious Sam Whittaker.

But the past is racing to catch up with Grace. Can her life still be a romp to victory or will a devastating secret stop her dead in her tracks?

Why I Love YA #guestpost by @Karen_King

Karen King

I have to admit that I don’t read many Young Adult books although looking at some of those mentioned in this post, maybe I read more than I think. So I’m pleased to welcome Karen King today who is talking about why she loves Young Adult fiction and tells us a bit about her own young adult novels. You’ll find lots more information about Karen at the end of the post along with social media and buying links.

Why I love YA

I love YA books. For those of you not familiar with the term, YA stands for Young Adult. These books are roughly aimed at 12-17 year olds, although many adults read them so they are often called ‘crossover’ books.  Over the past decade or so YA has been increasingly popular, and I’m not surprised as they tackle some very gritty issues but in a more easily digestible way than some adult books. I love the fact that they are emotionally-charged, and the characters are so up front, ready to challenge the world and to fight for what they believe in.  

YA books have emotional truth, energy, realism, characters facing tough challenges and hope – some of the more popular books tackle tough subjects such as cancer (The Fault in Our Stars by John Green) and suicide (I Was Here by Gayle Foreman) while others are set in cruel dystopian worlds (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins). There are, of course, lighter reads, romances about the pain and joy of first love, or the trials and tribulations of family life. Teenagers feel strongly about things, they fall in love madly, they believe they can save the world and really, really want to fight injustice. They’re a great audience to write for.

Perfect Summer by [King, Karen]

Perfect Summer was my first YA book. I got the idea for this story when I read an article about girls as young as four and five being worried that they were too fat or too ugly. That’s really sad. I started to think how far this obsession with perfection would go, would it get so bad that people who didn’t have perfect looks would be shunned from society? And how would people with disabilities be treated? Gradually a story idea formed, a teenager called Morgan living in the shadow of her ‘perfect’ friend Summer who is rich and beautiful whereas Morgan is average and has a little brother Josh who has Down’s Syndrome, so she and her family get a lot of grief from a society that is now so obsessed with perfection that being different is a crime. Then Josh goes missing.

I was lucky enough to receive an Arts Council Grant to write this book, which was runner-up in the Red Telephone Book YA Novel competition in 2011 and first published by Astraea Press USA (now Clean Reads). I’ve revised it since and Accent Press republished the new, grittier version in May this year.

Sapphire Blue by [King, Karen]

Sapphire Blue is a totally different story.  My tag line is ‘can you read it without crying’ because so many people had told me that they cried when they got to the end of it. It’s set in the afterlife and is based on the concept of true love being eternal.  Sapphire and her boyfriend Will are killed in the first chapter but love each other so much they search for each other in the afterlife. They find that the after-world is split into seven zones, each named after the colour of the rainbow. They each believe the other one to have been taken by the Soul Catchers to Red, a zone where all your nightmares come true. They love each other so much that they go to Red to find each other. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot but it’s a mix of romance and horror – the first time I’ve ever written horror, actually. An Ind’tale reviewer called it ‘The best YA book out there right now’ which was really lovely of them.

I’m now working on my third YA novel, which again tackles some gritty issues – but as with my other two YA books there is love, courage and hope.


About the Author

Karen King is a multi-published author of children’s books and romantic fiction. She has had 120 children’s books published, four romantic novels and several short stories for women’s magazines. Her first YA novel, Perfect Summer was runner up in the Red Telephone Books YA Novel 2011 competition. Her second YA, Sapphire Blue, was declared ‘The best YA book out there right now’ by an Ind’Tales magazine reviewer. Her latest romance novels with Accent Press are The Cornish Hotel by the Sea and I do?… or do I?

In addition, Karen has written several short stories for women’s magazine and worked for many years on children’s magazines such as Thomas the Tank Engine and Winnie the Pooh as well as the iconic Jackie magazine.

When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.

Author links


Twitter: @karen_king

Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page

Karen King Young Adult Books




In a society obsessed with perfection being different is a crime.

‘Amazing and emotional must read’ Holly

Set in a society obsessed with perfection, 15 year old Morgan is best friends with the seemingly perfect Summer. But when Morgan’s brother, Josh, who has Down’s syndrome, is kidnapped, they uncover a sinister plot and find themselves in terrible danger.

Can they find Josh before it’s too late? And is Summer’s life as perfect as it seems?

Watch the trailer


Buy Links


Sapphire Blue

The best YA book out there right now; -Ind’Tales reviewer

Can love survive death?

“No one has ever walked out of Red. Once the Soul Catchers get you they don’t let you go.” Denny’s words scare me but I have no choice. If Will is in Red that’s where I have to go.

I’ve never really thought what it was like when you died. I’m only 16, too young to worry about that. At least I thought I was. I’ve heard about Heaven and Hell, of course, but it doesn’t look like I’m in either of them. All I know is that Will is here too and I need to find him. I can’t face spending eternity without him.

Watch the trailer

Buy links




Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag nominated by @shortbookscribe

Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag

Nicola from Short Book and Scribes blog has nominated me for the mid-year freak out tag. I enjoy doing these – really makes me think about what I’ve read so far! Check out Nicola’s choices on her brilliant blog here.

So here are the questions and my answers

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017:

Oh this is such a hard question as I’ve read some amazing books already. But since I have to choose one, I’m going for Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland.

Lost For Words: 'A book lover's dream' by [Butland, Stephanie]

2. Best sequel of 2017 so far:

Confetti at the Cornish Café: The perfect summer romance for fans of Poldark (The Cornish Café Series, Book 3) by [Ashley, Phillipa]


3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to:

I’m about to read this in the next week or so.

Exquisite by [Stovell, Sarah]


4. Most anticipated release of the second half of 2017:

So many to choose from!

Together by [Cohen, Julie]

5. Biggest disappointment of 2017:

I’m usually a huge Sebastian Faulks fan but this just didn’t work for me.

Where My Heart Used to Beat by [Faulks, Sebastian]

6. Biggest surprise:

The book is so much better than you’d think from the cover.

Breaking All the Rules by [Richey, Rachael]

7. Favourite new author (debut or new to you):

Mary's the Name by [Sayers, Ross]


8. Newest fictional crush:

I rather liked handsome helicopter pilot Ronan in Just for the Holidays!

Just for the Holidays: Your perfect summer read! by [Moorcroft, Sue]

9. Newest favourite character:

I think that would probably be wee Mary from Mary’s the Name by Ross Sayers – the cover is above as favourite debut.

10. Book that made you cry:

Most books by Carmel Harrington have that effect on me!

The Things I Should Have Told You: A gripping, emotional page turner that will make you laugh and cry by [Harrington, Carmel]

11. Book that made you happy:

This seems to have changed its name but it made me laugh when I read it as Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings.

Three Weddings and a Scandal: The laugh-out-loud read of the year (The Laura Lake series) by [Holden, Wendy]

12. Favourite book to movie adaptation of 2017 you’ve seen

13. Favourite review you’ve written this year:

Just because I loved the book and for once seemed to find the right words. I’m not sure any blogger is ever 100% happy with their reviews.

Finding Alison by [Eustace, Deirdre]

14. Most beautiful book you bought or received this year:

The picture does not do this justice.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by [Jaswal, Balli Kaur]

15. Books you need to read by the end of this year:

Choosing three I will be reading in July

How to Stop Time by [Haig, Matt]  The Summer of Serendipity: The magical feel good perfect holiday read by [McNamara, Ali]  Friend Request by [Marshall, Laura]

I don’t want to put any pressure on anyone, but I’d love to read the choices of the following bloggers so will nominate them. Please don’t feel obliged, only do it if you have time – and anyone else who fancies it can give it a go too.

Kelly at Love Books Group

Dee-Cee at It’s All About the Books

Kate at The Quiet Knitter

Jill at On The Shelf Books

Lainy at So Many Books So Little Time



The Wedding Promise by @MsEmmaHannigan #review @headlinepg #20BooksOfSummer

The Wedding Promise by [Hannigan, Emma]

The Wedding Promise is a lovely story which follows Shelly and her family as she renovates a villa in Spain, a place she and her husband Gerry have always loved. Shelly moves to Spain at a time when there is so much going on in her family: her daughter Leila has just had a baby, her son Jake is having problems in his work and personal life and Shelly herself is dealing with a huge shock. Will the move to Spain be a new beginning for them all?

Although this book is set over the course of a year it has a really summery feel to it with its Spanish setting. Rondilla, where Casa Maria is, is based on Ronda in the hills high above Marbella. It’s a place I’ve visited a couple of times myself and I felt that the author really captured the beauty of the town. Her descriptions of the town and the villa combined with the heat certainly put me in the mood to visit this beautiful area again.

Emma Hannigan has also created characters who are easy to identify with and to like. I particularly liked Leila who was struggling to cope with her new baby and feeling like such a failure. I think that any mum will recognise her worries and insecurities that she couldn’t cope and it will take them back to that scary time when you are coping with a new baby for the first time. The confusion felt by Jake as he faced a career crisis was well depicted. Shelly’s coping with a unexpected crisis in her family was sensitively covered and felt like a very realistic portrayal of the range of emotions she would feel. Her love and concern for her close-knit family came across really clearly throughout the book.

I’m not sure that I’ve read many of Emma Hannigan’s novels before (apart from Driving Home for Christmas) but I really enjoyed this and will definitely be reading more in future. It was a lovely, feel-good read about second chances, exploring all kinds of emotional events in the life of this family, both happy and sad. The author has a talent for creating really enjoyable storylines which don’t shy away from dealing with the emotional traumas but which are also uplifting.

My thanks to Frances Gough at Headline for my review copy of the book. It is currently available as an ebook and will be published in paperback on 29th June. You can order the ebook online here: The Wedding Promise 

From the back of the book

Restoring a Spanish villa brings Shelly back to the place she and her husband once loved, fulfilling the promise he made that they would return. But as plans to transform the villa into a romantic wedding venue take shape, Shelly discovers her children may need the move more than she does.

Her son Jake has begun to question the things he values most: his career as a pilot, his relationship with his girlfriend. Could Spain offer him the change he’s seeking? Shelly’s daughter Leila arrives with a new-born baby in tow, but then hears some startling news she wasn’t expecting. As Casa Maria takes its first booking, will it turn out to be more than a romantic promise made all those years ago? Perhaps a second chance at new beginnings?

#AuthorInTheSpotlight Keith Dixon @keithyd6

Keith larger 300dpi

I’m pleased to welcome fellow Book Connector Keith Dixon today. Keith’s novel One Punch was published on 4th May 2017 in paperback and as an e-book. You can buy One Punch on Amazon worldwide: or on Apple, Kobo, B&N & elsewhere:

First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?

I was born in Yorkshire but brought up in Coventry. I studied Law for a year but hated it and gave it up, then went on to complete a Creative Arts degree (English and Drama) and then Masters in 20th Century English Literature and, later, in Organizational Psychology. I’ve worked as a copywriter, an English Lecturer, a business psychologist and an editor. I now live in France and write crime novels while drinking wine.

What inspired you to start writing?

I read from an early age and was an introverted, studious type (though quite sporty, too). When I hit my mid-teens it seemed like a natural progression to want to emulate the writers I liked, so I started writing science fiction stories and then thrillers. I’ve always liked stories that are exciting in that they engage both the brain and the heart and I’m working towards doing that myself … I hope.

Tell me about your journey to publication

I had a short story published when I was twenty-three, through an agent, but that agent died and I had to stop writing anyway in order to earn a living. During the next twenty years I wrote and pitched to agents and publishers and while there was some interest, I could never quite get over the final hurdle. So when Print on Demand became available in about 2006 I was one of the first to sign up for it, publishing the first of my Sam Dyke Investigations series. Later the Kindle and other e-formats arrived and I expanded both my inventory and my outlets. Now I have 7 Sam Dyke books in print, two stand-alone novels, two books in the new Paul Storey Crime Thrillers series and a couple of collections of blog posts on the art of writing.

In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?

One Punch: A Paul Storey Crime Thriller (Paul Storey Thrillers Book 2)

One Punch describes how my protagonist, Paul Storey, is hired as a driver by Bran Doyle, a local celebrity in Coventry. Storey is an ex-policeman with specialist skills and he soon learns that Doyle’s plans to build a sports gym are being undermined, through theft, murder and various acts of disloyalty. Reluctantly at first, he becomes involved in unravelling the network of people behind the conspiracy to ruin Doyle’s life and his family.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

I liked the idea of a straightforward title much like Lee Child’s and Elmore Leonard’s, whose style I’m slightly echoing in this new series. One Punch is actually the nickname given to Bran Doyle, who was an unlicensed boxer thirty years before.

Do you have a work in progress just now?

The very first inklings are tickling the back of my brain!

What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!

I recently re-read all of Elmore Leonard’s novels and finished with Bandits. I love the way he adopts a particular point of view for each chapter or section – usually it’s the main protagonist, but often he slips into the persona of a minor character and gives you a completely different perspective on the other characters. It’s brilliantly done and makes the books very readable and amusing.

Bandits by [Leonard, Elmore]

What are you reading just now? 

As of May 2017 I’m reading the second in Randy Wayne White’s ‘Doc Ford’ series, The Heat Islands.

If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?

Scott Fitzgerald’s Collected Works – to try to figure out how he did it.

How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?





Instagram: @theidlewriter

Twitter: @keithyd6


And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?

Perhaps Elvis Cole in Robert Crais’ detective series. He’s tough, smart, has a great friend in Joe Pike, and lives in a house with a deck overlooking Los Angeles. What’s not to like?

The Promise: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel (Joe Pike series Book 5) by [Crais, Robert]

Skin Deep by Laura Wilkinson #review @AccentPress @scorpioscribble #20BooksOfSummer

Skin Deep is a very thoughtful novel looking at whether beauty is just ‘Skin Deep’ or whether what lies beneath is most important. Diana is a former model, pushed into modelling by her mother Bunny. She has never enjoyed being stared at and judged by her good looks and is desperate to be valued for her talent. She is also a talented artist, though this is not valued at all by her mother, and longs to be respected for her art as much as her looks. “See, I am more than a pretty face. Look at me. Look at all of this.” Living in Hulme in Manchester, she is caught up in the student scene of parties, late nights, drink and drugs. At a party, she discovers the son of a drug addicted couple hidden away in a room. Young Cal is only four years old but is kept away from the eyes of others to hide his facial deformity. The nature of this isn’t specified but sounds like some kind of congenital deformity, although I did wonder if it could have been caused by his parents’ drug-taking. Diana is inspired by the little boy both in her personal life and in her art and so begins a long relationship between them.

I found Skin Deep to be a very thought-provoking novel. I think we do all judge people we meet on initial appearances to a certain extent, until we get to know them better. This was certainly a story that made me reflect that we really do need to take that time to get to see below surface appearances. It also made me think about how we should be careful what we wish for. Cal in particular, felt that if he looked different, more normal if you like, that his life would be very different. To a certain extent he is probably right, he would have had a different life had he looked more like other people. However, painful surgery he has when younger – necessary for medical reasons – does not change how he feels about himself, even though his appearance does change a bit.

Diana was a fascinating character and my feelings towards her changed many times throughout the book. Initially I felt sympathy for her as she struggled to have her talent valued more than her looks. When she met Cal and was determined to make his life better for him, I felt she was someone to be admired. But gradually I began to feel that she was exploiting Cal for her own gain as she used him in her art and became quite angry with her. It seemed that she was using him to try to feel better about herself.

I was intrigued by the chapters from Cal’s point of view. Cal’s thoughts come as he lies heavily bandaged in a hospital bed. As well as wondering why he was there, it was interesting to read his recollections of his younger life. As this point, the reader gets to learn his take on some of the events previously told from Diana’s point of view. Quite often, his perceptions were very different.

Skin Deep is a book which I found an intriguing read and one which was thoughtfully written. It asks that the reader really considers what is beautiful and what is ugly, whether people can re-invent themselves by changing their looks and if does this make them a better person. I must make mention of the very clever ending. The author had guided me to think there was a particular way the story would end but in fact, I had mis-judged the situation. A thought-provoking and quietly compelling read.

My thanks to the author for my copy of the book. Skin Deep was published by Accent Press on Thursday 15th June in paperback and as an e-book. You can order a copy online here: Skin Deep

From the back of the book

It’s what’s inside that counts…

Art student and former model Diana has always been admired for her beauty but what use are good looks when you want to shine for your talent? Insecure and desperate for inspiration, Diana needs a muse.

Facially disfigured four-year-old Cal lives a life largely hidden from the world. But he was born to be looked at and he needs love too. A chance encounter changes everything; Cal becomes Diana’s muse. But as Diana’s reputation develops and Cal grows up, their relationship implodes.

Both struggle to be accepted for what lies within.
Is it possible to find acceptance in a society where what’s on the outside counts for so much?

Buying links

Amazon:  Skin Deep 

Waterstones: Skin Deep

WHSmith: Skin Deep

Laura WilkinsonLaura Wilkinson

Liverpool born, Laura is a taff at heart. She has published six novels for adults (two under a pseudonym) and numerous short stories, some of which have made the short lists of international competitions. Public Battles, Private Wars, was a Welsh Books Council Book of the month; Redemption Song was a Kindle top twenty. The Family Line is a family drama set in the near future, looking at identity and parenting. Her latest is Skin Deep. Alongside writing, Laura works as an editor & mentor for literary consultancies and runs workshops on aspects of craft. She’s spoken at festivals and events nationwide, including the Frome Festival, Gladfest, University of Kingston, The Women’s Library and Museum in Docklands. She lives in Brighton with her husband and sons.   

Twitter @ScorpioScribble

Facebook: Laura Wilkinson Author


Pinterest: laura1765

Goodreads: Laura_ Wilkinson

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skin deep blog tour

The Woman at 72 Derry Lane by Carmel Harrington #review @HappyMrsH @HCInIreland #20BooksOfSummer


I used to say that books didn’t make me cry but that was before I read Carmel Harrington’s books! My review copy came with a packet of tissues, as you can see from the photo above, and yes I did need them, on several occasions! The Woman at 72 Derry Lane is about two women, Stella and Rea who live next door to each other in Derry Lane. Stella is married to Matt and they seem the perfect couple but behind closed doors, life is not so perfect for Stella. Rea, who is the eponymous woman at number 72, hasn’t left her home in ages as she suffers from severe agoraphobia and is widely believed by the neighbourhood to be a bit mad. Between their stories we also read about young Skye and her family on a dream holiday in 2014, a dream holiday which goes horribly wrong.

I should warn you that as well as needing hankies, you need to set aside some time to read this book as once you start you will become so immersed in the story and so invested in the characters that you won’t want to put it down. Carmel Harrington has a real knack of creating characters who are immediately believable and who you want to see overcome their problems. She has been dubbed the ‘Queen of Emotional Writing’ and I think that title is richly deserved. I could not help but feel desperately sorry for both Rea and Stella, women trapped in different ways and both feeling they had no way out. “… sometimes things can creep up on you and, before you know it, you’re in so deep, you just can’t find a way to get out.” Through an initial tentative contact, the women begin to develop a friendship and start to believe that there is hope for them and that they can somehow find the courage to break free from their situations. The bravery of Stella and Skye in particular to cope with and escape their circumstances is conveyed with authenticity and sensitivity, though Rea had to brave in her own way too.

The Woman at 72 Derry Lane is a wonderfully warm-hearted read about resilience,  the enduring bonds of family ties, the power of friendship and it is full of emotion. The strength of the women to cope with adversity and face the future with hope makes it such an uplifting read. All the stars for this book and straight on my list of top reads for 2017. (Joining The Things I Should Have Told You which I read and loved earlier this year.)

My thanks to Margaret Madden at Bleach House Library for my copy of the book which I won in a giveaway on her blog. The Woman at 72 Derry Lane was published as an e-book by Harper Collins on 15 June and will be available in paperback in the UK in November. You can order a copy online here.

From the back of the book

On a leafy suburban street in Dublin, beautiful, poised Stella Greene lives with her successful husband, Matt. The perfect couple in every way, Stella appears to have it all. Next door, at number 72 however, lives Rea Brady. Gruff, bad-tempered and rarely seen besides the twitching of her net curtains, rumour has it she’s lost it all…including her marbles if you believe the neighbourhood gossip.

But appearances can be deceiving and when Stella and Rea’s worlds collide they realise they have much in common. Both are trapped in a prison of their own making.

Has help been next door without them realising it?