The Family Trap by Joanne Phillips @joannegphillips #Family #Drama

The Family TrapThe Family Trap by Joanne Phillips

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Family Trap is a contemporary read about family relationships. It opens with 16 year old Lipsy giving birth to a baby. Stella her 38 year old Mum has been holding her hand and is now exhausted. Baby Phoenix arrives safely and now it’s time for Stella to think about her own future.

A pregnancy test affirms Stella’s beliefs that her new grandchild will soon have a playmate who is also his Aunt or uncle. But first she must break the news to Paul. They are about to be married and move away to Derbyshire. Stella’s fears and worries about the future cause her to fumble telling Paul about the baby.

Lipsy finds motherhood hard and relies more and more on Stella, to the point where she can’t see moving to Derbyshire is a good idea. A rift occurs between Stella and Paul over the issue of children and it all comes to a head on their wedding day.

Stella has a job at a care-home, it gives her valuable support, the residents help her through the difficult months. Her family all try to help Stella too, they want what’s best for Stella, but the journey is a bump ride.

A good easy read.

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The Faerie Tree by Jane Cable

The Faerie TreeThe Faerie Tree by Jane Cable

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Faerie Tree is a contemporary family relationships drama. It is primarily set in the county of Hampshire. We meet Izzie and her daughter Claire just before Christmas, this will be their first Christmas without Conner, husband and father, who died a few months ago. Everything is still very raw, both are trying to be strong for each other.

By chance Izzie bumps into a tramp in Winchester and realises it’s Robin, a man she hasn’t seen for twenty years. Back in 1986 Robin was an office manager and Izzie sold stationary, they were just beginning a romance when Robin disappeared from Izzie’s life and left her desperate and alone.

Curious to know what happened in the intervening years Izzie searches for Robin, finding him in the hospital. When it’s time for him to leave she offers him a place to stay.

Central to the plot is The Faerie tree, a tree in the woods where all sorts of people go in search of wishes being granted, they leave ribbons, messages, money and other gifts for the fairy folk. Robin took Izzie to the tree the day before disaster struck for their relationship.

After the great storm of 1987 which swept Britain, Robin returned to the Faerie tree to make sure it was undamaged and in doing so he found a friend and began a new chapter of his life. Jennifer understood that Robin was suffering from depression and she became like a Mum to him helping him build back his life.

When Izzie finds Robin’s again, he’s recently suffered another huge blow and has dealt with it in the only way he knows how. They try to re-build their relationship but it struggles because of the grief that they both still hold.

This is a very emotional book, with several twists and turns, at one time I thought there were gaps in the storyline which didn’t add up but this all comes full circle as the story continues and you get a greater understanding of the characters. A very good read.

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Faerie Tree

In the summer of 1986 Robin and Izzie hold hands under The Faerie Tree and wish for a future together. Within hours tragedy rips their dreams apart.

In the winter of 2006 they stumble back into each other’s lives and try to create a second chance. But why are their memories of 1986 so different? And which one of them is right?


22nd March: Random Things Through My Letterbox – author Q&A

23rd March: Rosie Amber – review

24th March: Liz Loves Books – the settings & scenery of The Faerie Tree

25th March: My Reading Corner – the faerie tree itself and book giveaway

26th March: Crooks on Books – author interview

28th March: Jaffa Reads Too – the inspiration for The Faerie Tree and book giveaway

29th March: Being Anne – second chances

31st March: Beadyjan’s Books – writing with women in mind

White Horizon by Jan Ruth

White HorizonWhite Horizon by Jan Ruth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“The essentials of life; having someone to love, having something to do and something to look forward to,” advice that Daniel Woods would probably agree with on his wedding day but words which he wouldn’t actually understand until circumstances force his eyes wide open.

White Horizon is a contemporary family relationships/ romance set in and around Snowdonia and Manchester. Dan and Tina are about to get married, a regular Bonnie & Clyde in their youth, they are finally tying the knot.

With money behind him from a lucky inheritance and hard work Dan has bought Crafnant Hall and is turning it into a hotel. He’s worked really hard on getting it all set up and is looking forward to running it with Tina alongside.

Fellow guests at the wedding include old school friends Linda and Victoria, as Dan and Tina begin their married life Linda and Victoria both take a look at their own marriages and don’t like what they see. With Dan and Tina’s turbulent relationship everyone is in for a bumpy ride as Dan finds that he’s surrounded by needy people who all want a part of him.

Racing through life at the speed of the Porsche he drives Dan finds that there are some people you can’t live with nor can you live life without them. Another good book in a familiar setting from Jan Ruth.

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Ignoring Gravity by Sandra Danby

Ignoring Gravity by Sandra Danby
Ignoring Gravity is contemporary fiction, we meet Rose Haldane, a thirty-five year old journalist. She works for the London Herald and is currently working on a couple of projects; an interview with Nick Maddox from Biocare Beauty and an article on early menopause.
Rose’s sister Lily is married to William. Lily is trying for a baby to the point of obsession. Their mother has recently passed over and together they are sorting through all her belongings when they discover a set of diaries. Rose is left reeling when she discovers evidence that she was adopted. Her father is struggling with his own grief and is unable to offer Rose the support or the answer she needs.
Going into full scale research mode, Rose begins an adoption search process. She’s shocked when she is given a copy of her birth certificate and needs to find more answers to quench her thirst for her new extended family. Both Rose and Lily seek comfort and support as they go on a roller-coaster ride of life. Memories are dug up and old wounds opened and some are finally healed. The final piece of the puzzle slips into place just as Rose decides it’s no longer healthy to be so obsessed with her search.
Sandra did a fantastic job writing about all the adoption processes and emotions that would be involved for anyone wanting to find their real parents. I thought the articles that Rose was also writing for work played an important role too. They could have been just some of the reasons why couples adopt children. All in all a really great read.

Author website:

Amazon link:

ISBN: 978-0-9931134-0-6


Sandra Danby Author - photo Simon Cooper

Author bio: Since she can first remember, Sandra Danby has loved reading. Hardback, paperback, e-book, new or pre-loved, borrowed from the library and friends, magazines and newspapers, she reads them all. She grew up on a small dairy farm at the bleak edge of East Yorkshire where England meets the North Sea. At the age of four she was making magazines full of her own stories. When missed by her mother, she was usually found in a corner with her nose in a book. She devoured everything from the Famous Five and Secret Seven to Swallows and Amazons, from Little Women to George Orwell and Mary Stewart. All this reading led her first to a degree in English Literature in London, then to journalism. Now she writes fiction full-time… and still reads at every spare moment.

The next book: Sandra is now writing Connectedness, the sequel in which Rose Haldane travels from Yorkshire to Malaga, Spain, in pursuit of the birth child of controversial artist Justine tree.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Cathy reviews Midnight Sky by Jan Ruth

Today’s book review comes from team member Cathy, she blogs at


Cathy chose to read and review Midnight Sky by Jan Ruth.


James is a widower and, in the two years since his wife’s sudden death, has built an impenetrable wall around himself and is in a very dark place emotionally. He runs an equestrian centre with his sister, Liz, and finds it hard to do anything much else other bury himself in work until he, literally, drops with fatigue.

Laura and her lover, Simon, run a property development and interior design company and are working and living together. Laura and Simon had an affair while Simon was still married, and his bitter and resentful wife seems to be permanently in the picture. Consequently things are not going too well and when Laura suffers a harrowing trauma and her relationship goes from bad to worse.

Maggie, Laura’s sister, is having seemingly insurmountable problems of her own, money worries, her insensitive husband and her pretty but offensive teenage daughter. Her younger daughter, Ellie, has mild autism which is helped by her riding lessons with James, but Maggie doesn’t know how much longer she’ll be able to afford them. On top of all that she’s waging a losing battle with her weight.

All the involved story threads are woven together beautifully and, one way or another, the colourful array of characters manage to bring out the best qualities in each other. Midnight Sky encompasses such a lot, emotional highs and lows, relationships, heartache and not to mention a good dose of teenage angst. The story is set mainly in Snowdonia, which is described in evocative detail, giving a vivid sense of place.

Jan Ruth’s writing flows easily and the story is captivating and poignant. The complete mixture of emotions are conveyed with such realism and sensitivity I couldn’t help but empathise. James, suffering so much torment and yet so patient and gentle with his horses, especially the damaged, untrusting Midnight Sky, and the children he takes for specialist teaching. He is a complicated and compelling man. Laura and Maggie are both facing critical and life changing situations and learning how to deal with them.

All the characters are genuine and credible and penned sympathetically. I was drawn completely into their lives almost without realising it. Very nearly a fly on the wall. I loved it!

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Suraya reviews What It Takes By Terry Tyler

Today’s book review comes from Suraya, find her at


Suraya chose to read and Review What It Takes by Terry Tyler

What It Takes

Book Review

What it Takes

Terry Tyler

This was like reading a novel by Maeve Binchy. The characters were people you recognised. Their anxieties and concerns familiar.

The story structure was cleverly executed with characters having their own chapters so that we got to know them and their worlds from their points of view. It’s not easy to have a cast of about seven characters and to give each one a unique voice and to stay true to that for the length of the novel.

There is one dominant perspective and that is Karen’s, the plain sister of two gorgeous girls. That is like a disability that skews Karen’s view of the world making her overly cautious or flippant. In this world Karen misunderstands love. She has one night stands, misses the cues from Sam who is too afraid to express his love in case that ruins their friendship and chases Danny after fobbing him off because she thinks they are mismatched but then changes her mind. Much of what she sees is the superficial.

She envies Ava’s ‘perfect’ world and fails to see that being married to Jason means her sister is forever worrying about her appearance. Nor does she understand what lies behind Ava’s retort to Jason, ‘Oh shut up Jase. Think you’ll ever grow out of being horrible to everyone?’ (111)

Saskia, Karen’s other beautiful sister, has problems of her own. She is popular but doesn’t have the one she wants. The stories of these girls are full of ironies.

There are some wonderful down to earth phrases like this one from Chapter 14 ….’find someone who really floats your boat. Stupid bloody expression. (78)

This is all about relationships, falling in and out of love, exploring love and what makes love work and not and it’s about not seeing what is in front of you. And it’s about growing up and how hard that can be sometimes.

These are flawed characters whose apparently ordinary lives are incredibly complex and complicated. Some of it is their own doing and some of it circumstance.

It’s a great read….a kind of hall of portraits that get tangled up and untangled.

Very enjoyable and a pleasure to watch someone else’s drama’s rather than living them myself.

Five out of five stars.

Find a copy here from or * A Bargain at just 99p / $1.59 until Monday 20th*

Letter J on the April A to Z Challenge 2014

Today is the letter J on the A to Z Challenge. My book today is Jaded by Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie. Genre: YA

JadedAfter sixteen-year-old Jade discovers her late grandmother was poisoned, she’s devastated yet determined to find the killer commune member and their motive. With help from her mysterious friend Tyrian, and Peaches, the commune leader’s sweet daughter; Jade unearths dark secrets that involve her mother’s affair, her maternal grandparent’s abandonment, and a plethora of murders. To make matters worse, someone is hell bent on ending Jade’s mission for the truth. Jade can’t continue conforming to an evil society and yet she fears the Outside is just as corrupt. If she resolves to flee and is caught, the punishment is banishment to the slave cabins… and blinding.

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Kristy Feltenburger Author

My blog, Keep Calm and Write On:
Twitter: @KFGillespie

Here are links to some randomly selected sites of other bloggers taking on the challenge, please find the time to visit their sites too.

During the challenge we are asking people to leave comments on as many blogs as possible, all supportive comments are very much appreciated, thank you.

AtoZ Banner [2014]

The Summer House by Santa Montefiore

The Summer HouseThe Summer House by Santa Montefiore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the tale of a modern English Family, set in Hampshire, and how they deal with a shocking surprise during a funeral at the start of the book. A new family member is introduced and rocks the familiar routines of all involved. The distances between the family are brought together as they all join to restore the folly which stands in the grounds of the family home. Finally they understand the power of forgiveness and its role in all their lives. I really liked many of the lessons that Phaedra passed on during the book and only wish I could find an easy to pronunciation of her name. Many ghosts were put to rest by the end of the very pleasant story.

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White Goods by Guy A Johnson (Nov 8th)

White GoodsWhite Goods by Guy A. Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is full of complex twists and turns and just when I thought I’d got a part sussed, it changed again. Written around an English family in the 1980’s, where a lot of “White Goods” pass through their house, from a place called Dontask (Don’t ask). The story is mostly told from the point of view of 12 year old Scott. A complex boy with his own set of fears he finds that secrets are kept from him and there is a mysterious person called Jackie whom no one will talk about. For the reader there is also a mysterious character called Tina who plays a role in the mounting number of fatalities as the story reaches its end. The book shows a great insight into how complicated some people’s lives are, and how families rally around to support each other. White goods remain a powerful part to the story right up to the end, I don’t think I’ll ever look at a chest freezer the same again. My congratulations to Guy for writing a book with so many layers.

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44 Charles Street by Danielle Steel

44 Charles Street44 Charles Street by Danielle Steel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was attracted to this book by it’s cover and the book description. I enjoyed reading about the different people who all came to share the house at 44 Charles Street. The diverse backgrounds and the problems that they bring to the house infold to some very emotional outcomes. The book covers drug abuse, violence, parental upbringing and family relationships. A good book.

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