blog tour · book review · coming of age · women's fiction

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Charity of Strangers

The Charity of Strangers

You can find almost anything in a charity shop, but can you find love?

            You can certainly find friendship and there is both laughter and tears ahead when 19yr old Zaffron, lonely, anxious and without direction, meets Blaire Daintry, good-looking, charming, and gay.

            Both volunteers in the charity shop, he has a hidden agenda, she has secrets,  but they are friends from the start, despite Blaire’s constant sparring with Ida, the stern, good-hearted older volunteer who Zaffron admires. And perhaps Ida has secrets too.

            Together with other victims of the city’s housing crisis, Blaire and Zaffron set up a safe and happy home.  Secure at last, she tells him of the dreadful incident in her childhood that has marred her life, but not even his total acceptance gives her the confidence to start a relationship with an attractive and decent young army sergeant who falls in love with her.

            Is it fear of the truth coming out that holds her back? Or is there some other reason, buried too deep in her heart for her to recognise?

Purchase Links

UK –

US –

Author Bio

I was born and grew up in Lancashire, gained several nursing qualifications and had the privilege of a long and varied nursing career, briefly in the Royal Army Nursing Service abroad, mainly in the NHS in UK.

True love and a happy family came my way and now I have the time to read, write and remember.

Social Media Links

Facebook page



My Review

The Charity of Strangers couldn’t be a more apt title for this story as it centres on a group of individuals who meet through volunteer work at a charity shop. They start as strangers but end as good friends, and have a unique bond that unites them from that point onwards.

Zaffron is the principal character who wants more from life but doesn’t know how she might achieve it – living in a squat in fear of her life does not inspire her with much confidence to break out of the comfort zone. With a job interview lined up, she plans to “take” a coat from the charity stop but instead gets caught up in a conversation with the ladies running the store and can’t bring herself to steal from them. Instead she contemplates working there as a volunteer which she hopes might look good when she is really ready to find paid work.

The shop soon begins to mean more to her and she grows in confidence. When Blaire joins the workforce, she loves it even more. He’s closer to her age and a lot of fun. Life is picking up.

However, what Zaffy doesn’t realise is that Blaire is also keeping a secret. As their friendship blossoms, their lives becomes more intricately involved. Blaire moves into the squat and soon things change there for the better. In fact, as far as Zaffron is concerned, when Blaire is around everything seems better.

As time passes, Zaffy’s expectations of her future change – she applies for the assistant manager role at the shop with high hopes while also taking classes at night school for GCSE English. Suddenly she has prospects, she is more independent and with things changing at the squat (including the reason for her being so scared now gone) she is even open to a little romance. Unfortunately, this is where things begin to unravel. But there is a silver lining which I won’t reveal here 😉

I enjoyed reading this; a true slice of life drama that touches upon issues that are often side-lined – homelessness and the housing crisis, abuse and poverty – while also looking at the positive elements of life through friendship, having a purpose in life and caring about others. There are moments of sadness and hurt balanced with joy, hope and love.

Definitely a book I’d recommend to readers of coming of age and women’s fiction. It has a strong core of optimism and friendship wrapped in a shell of harsh reality.

For more news and reviews,

As always,

book review · coming of age · Featured Author - Amy Reade · historical · mystery · romance

Book Review – Cape Menace

Cape Menace

by Amy M. Reade

The blurb:

The year is 1714. Two years have passed since Ruth Hanover vanished into the wilderness of the New Jersey colony without a trace, leaving behind her husband, William, and their daughter, Sarah. Though William and Sarah have never stopped hoping that Ruth will return, as time goes by it becomes less and less likely they will ever see her again.

Now William is acting strangely. He won’t tell Sarah why he’s conducting business with a mysterious stranger in the middle of the night, he won’t explain the sudden increase in his income, and he won’t share with her what people in town are
saying about her mother’s disappearance.

When the time comes for Sarah to face her father’s secrets and figure out why her mother never came home that December day in 1712, what she learns will shock her tiny community on the New Jersey cape and leave her fighting for her life.

Get your copy here

About The Author:

Amy is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Gothic, traditional, contemporary, and cozy mysteries. A former attorney, who lives in New Jersey with her husband, three kids, a dog named Orly, and two cats. When not writing, you will find her in the kitchen or the laundry room, though she much prefers the kitchen. She loves to cook and share the things she makes.

Social Media links:








My Review:

Cape Menace is the first in a series of historical mysteries set in Cape May, and before the story starts the author explains how Cape May got its name and of its links with pirates. From that point on, I was hooked. 

It’s 1714 and two years have passed since Sarah’s mother, Ruth, disappeared. Then, the whole community was out looking for her, but to no avail, and her disappearance was deemed permanent, probably as a result of a wolf attack. Now, Sarah and her father, the apothecary, have adjusted to life without Ruth, but the mystery of her disappearance is still uppermost in their minds. The lack of visible clues, clothing, shoes, or even limbs, makes Sarah doubt the wolf attack hypothesis.

Sarah continues in her mother’s footsteps, helping her father in house and with his apothecary business, as well as teaching her best friend, Patience, to read. She is curious about a late night visitor, but her father is a closed book, and refuses to discuss the details with her. It is only when her father falls ill and eventually dies that Sarah has to face head-on those very details. Added to that, he pleads with her to find out what happened to her mother too. 

Now, orphaned and ever more determined, Sarah sets out to learn the truth about her mother’s disappearance while also taking on her father’s business. She proves to be a worthy successor, and her help is sought by many in the community. Here, the author excels in bringing the story to life with pertinent details as to how illness and injury were handled in those times. From the use of herbs to the letting of blood, from midwifery to slathering honey on the wounds of a drunken lout, Sarah rises to every challenge. 

Other historical delights are woven into the story to depict the beliefs and traditions of the period, including the rituals of propriety, unrequited marriage proposals, pirates in the bay, and more … 

Cape Menace proved to be a gently-paced story that held my interest. I enjoyed seeing Sarah grow into the young woman her mother would have wanted her to be, into the adept apothecary of whom her father would be so proud. The pace intensified with moments of high intrigue and fear of what might happen to Sarah, as it then slowed so we could appreciate her thoughts and wonderment for the future. The revelation of the fate which befell her mother was deftly delivered, a sublime and unexpected twist. 

Overall, this story crosses many genres – it is a coming-of-age story with romantic undertones, layered up with mystery and suspense, and sprinkled with beautiful historical elements. Here’s to the next in the series … 😉 

As always, 



coming of age · Contemporary Romance · cover reveal · women's fiction

Cover Reveal – The Charm Bracelet

The Charm Bracelet

A moving and heartwarming love story perfect for fans of Me Before You and One Day in December…

Leila’s charm bracelet tells a story of love, a story of loss, a story of hope.

This is the story of her … and the story of Jake.

When Leila Jones loses her precious charm bracelet and a stranger finds it, she has to tell the story of how she got the charms to prove she’s the owner. Each and every one is a precious memory of her life with Jake.

So Leila starts at the beginning, recounting the charms and experiences that have led her to the present. A present she never could have expected when she met Jake nearly twenty years ago…

Published by One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins UK

Ebook: 21 August 2020

Paperback: 12 November 2020


Author Bio

A self-confessed reading addict, Ella Allbright writes commercial women’s fiction set in her beautiful home county of Dorset. Her first novel in this genre, The Charm Bracelet will be published in August 2020 by One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins, and she’s currently hard at work on her next book. Ella is represented by agent Hattie Grünewald at The Blair Partnership, who represent J.K. Rowling.


Ella also writes as Nikki Moore, the author of the popular #LoveLondon romance series. A number of the novellas featured in the Top 100 short story charts on Kobo and the Top 20 in the Amazon UK bestsellers Holiday chart, and in 2018 the collection was released in Italy. Her first published work was the short story A Night to Remember in the best selling Mills & Boon / RNA anthology Truly, Madly, Deeply. Her debut romance Crazy, Undercover, Love was shortlisted for the RNA Joan Hessayon Award 2015.

When not writing or reading, she can be found working in her HR day job, walking the family’s cute beagle puppy or watching a Netflix series!

You can connect with Ella/Nikki on:






Amazon UK 



She also vlogs about how to get published as ‘Author By The Sea’ on her YouTube channel at


As always,




99p books · book news · coming of age · family · romance · short reads · short story

Book Promo – Play the Game

Play the Game

by Karen J Mossman


Going on a first date is always daunting, and more so for Stella,

I was an idiot. Why would I ever agree to go to a posh hotel for dinner with a hot guy? Who was I kidding? Food! The thought of a hot meal made my stomach grumble. The last time I ate anything hot was payday in the work’s canteen.

Looking at the pile of clothes on the bed, I realised that each piece of clothing had been tried on and discarded, and now my wardrobe was bare. I couldn’t recall the last time I went on a date or bought something new.

It was awkward, as guys generally asked questions. I couldn’t tell anyone about my circumstances or my dad. Anyway, who’d believe me?

Get your copy here

Coping with past tragedies, Stella lives on hope in the present. 

She plays the game and hopes that one day she will beat the odds.

Is this all there is to Stella’s story?

Self shame is the enemy…. It is a power struggle.

At times it may seem hopeless and pointless to fight the inner demons.

Sometimes, when your self esteem is low, it takes a special someone to help build it up again.

Join Karen J. Mossman at The Magic of Stories and receive Joanna’s Journey for FREE!