2020 Book Reviews

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A look back at the books I reviewed this year…

The Practice Boyfriend – Christina Benjamin

It feels like forever ago that I read this. I remember Aria wasn’t sleeping well and sitting in the dark cuddling her to sleep, and reading this on my Kindle.

Crown of Conspiracy– Kara S. Weaver

If you sign up to Kara’s newsletter, you get a free book – I know because it’s on my Kindle waiting for me to read. In addition, since reading book 1 in the series, two more titles have been released!

Trust Me -Maddie James

I’m pretty good at choosing books I love but I misjudged this one. I don’t often write negative reviews but this honestly wasn’t for me. Sorry.

Wiccan Romance: Amelia’s Story – Nicola Hebron

I was so lucky to win this sweet YA Fantasy. Since reading this book I’ve gotten to know Nicola better and she was even part of my Stream Team for the Ocean Heart book launch.

And The Stars Were Shining Brightly – Danielle Jawando

Oh my! This book moved me, changed me, made me think. The story was provoking tackling difficult topics like suicide and bullying. I read an eCopy but want a physical copy so I can hug it.

Mermaid School – Lucy Courtenay

This sweet MG Fantasy was a Net Galley ARC. I don’t read MG often but I couldn’t resist it being a mermaid story. The plot is about friendship and helping each other.

Sorceress of Truth – J D Groom

I’d been looking forward to this books release and it didn’t disappoint, qualifying it as an all time favourite. I’m now eager to read book 2 in the series, and can’t wait for its release. Gushing over this book and the merchandise I bought, was one of my first YouTube videos.

Forgotten Scars – Natalie J. Reddy

This book was won! I tried to make a YouTube video about my prize but kept having issues, maybe I’ll manage it in 2021! And, now book 2 in the series is out.

Out Of My League – Sarah Sutton

I read an ARC copy of this book and loved it. Later, Sarah gifted her ARC readers with a copy of her book and some character art postcards – such a sweet gesture. Showing this off was one of my first YouTube videos.

The Emotion Thesaurus – Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

This book was incredibly useful once editing. But, it’s not the only resource book I read this year but… I didn’t review the others. I must make a note to do that.

Sea Witch – Sarah Henning

I loved this story. It’s kind of a fairytale retelling but told from the perspective of the Sea Witch and how she can to be. It was really well done.

A Court Of Thorns & Roses – Sarah J Maas

I loved this book. The romance was a bit too instant for me but the ending redeemed itself. It was incredible and so unexpected. I’ve been told the series gets better… and the other books are already waiting for me on my bookshelf.

Agent Undone – Cassidy Reyne

Romantic Suspense is not my usual genre but I really enjoyed. One of the MCs is a trafficking survivor on the run. At the time of reading Ghislaine Maxwell had been arrested and similar real life testimonies were in the news, which added to my reading experience (the book is fictional and has nothing to do with the Epstein scandal).

If The Broom Fits – Sarah Sutton

I managed to snag another Sutton ARC. Reading this was figuring out my own book launch did slow me down and I didn’t finish it in time for release, but it’s a sweet Halloween holiday romance worth checking out.

Ocean Heart – Ally Aldridge

Ocean Heart is OUT NOW!

Finally, this last one isn’t a book I read in 2020, but one I published…

Ocean Heart is a YA Contemporary Fantasy. It has romance, coming of age themes, and a teen discovering she’s a mermaid.


If you enjoyed this, you will like:

My Review’s of Books Page

Reviews of Ocean Heart

Behind the Book: Agent Undone – Cassidy Reyne

About Ocean Heart

How was your 2020?

I think we can all agree that this year has been unexpected. I started the year with concerns over a new flu virus threatening to sweep the world and feeling a bit silly for being so worried about it. But, by the end of February, the rest of the country had caught up with my fears, and we were on lockdown.

Conspiracy Theories

As a result, it has made me more open to conspiracy theories. The things I saw at the start of the year that caused my concerns were of people being chained in their homes to prevent the spread, Wuhan the hospitals being overwhelmed, and people dropping dead in the streets. Thankfully, we’ve not had it that severe here. In fact, I suspect those early videos weren’t real. Luckily we don’t know anyone personally that has had Covid. I’m over being worried.

I’m following a few Court Cases: Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard, Ghislaine Maxwell (and Epstein) vs the trafficked girls (and boys, if any come forward), and Trump vs Election Fraud.

Adapting to the new normal

My husband and I are now predominantly working from home. We even had a short spell of home schooling our son – which was quite challenging but we did it. My little girl has adapted to having us both home. It has brought us closer together as we get to spend more time together as a family.

All this staying home has been great for the environment. I hope when we come out of this, people do think more about whether they need to travel.

What we’ve missed

Play groups is something I feel I’ve missed the most. Aria was enjoying playing with other kids and using different toys, and I appreciated meeting up with other mums. Noah has just hit that age where he wants to play at his friend’s homes, and found not having a party for his birthday tough. My hubby has missed the freedom of going out, like having the option to just visit someone.

We missed days out. Even when the lockdown relaxed we didn’t go out like we used to. For example, this summer, the local beach was heaving with people so we avoided it. We also didn’t go to the local farms. We did manage to go to the zoo and had a lovely day out.

What I’m thankful for

Mostly, I’ve been in the minority that has enjoyed lockdown. I like not having the commute to work, there’s no wear and tear on my car, or cost of car parking, and petrol. I enjoy not having any social pressures to go out, meet up, dress nice, or attend any special occasions.

I liked my stay at home birthday, minimum fuss, and collection dinner from the Dooley (local pub). I’m looking forward to a quiet cosy Christmas with just my husband and kids. It feels like life has slowed down so we can enjoy moments and value what is important.

Something we’ve all come to value is out health and wellbeing. We will continue to take care of ourselves and each other.


I am so chuffed I hit my goal of publishing Ocean Heart. Originally I wanted to publish it in May but it was a lot more work than I anticipated and I ended up putting the date back to 1 Dec.

The launch was another big achievement. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and did things I would never have done before. I started a YouTube channel, and did a few live streams, including my launch party. I did two press release interviews, and I did a radio interview that was played live twice. And, I managed to arrange a book signing in a pandemic!

What a way to end the year! I must admit, I do feel exhausted, but I am eager to get writing that next book.

Happy Christmas

Thank you for be part of my 2020. I have been blown away by the support of so many this year which has been a real highlight. I want to wish you a Happy Christmas – however, you chose to celebrate the holidays.

I hope you are able to find things to be thankful for, and are surrounded by loved ones. I hope you have a good book to help you escape the madness this year has been.

Wishing you all the best for 2021

My next post won’t be until 2021 as I am spending the rest of this year setting my goals and developing a plan to achieve them.

On that note, I wish you a happy new year too, and I hope 2021 is full of joy.


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Book Reviews

NaNoWriMo Ouctome – November 2020

Writing Progress – May 2020

My Debut Novel Releases Tomorrow (1 Dec)

It’s another IG LIVE!

I had the most fabulous live chat with author Lyndell Williams (on Instagram as @laylawriteslove).

Meeting Author Lyndell Williams

She recently had some mobile woes and took the plunge to get a new phone. It wasn’t as straight forward as just popping to the shops to get it and she had to wait F O R E V E R for her new handset to come in. She this on Instagram and I offered a few words of support. We got messaging and she asked if I’d help her test out her new mobile with an IG live.

As you know, I am trying to get braver in front of the camera My inner introvert was screaming “Say no!” but to get more experience on camera, I said Yes. And, I am so glad I did. Layla was so lovely to speak to.

Going Live on Instagram with @laylawriteslove

We agreed a date & time for the Instagram Live, and both connected without any issues. Yay!

We mostly discussed writing and reading romance. I discovered her novels are steamy, and her series features around diverse characters. Her readers demanded more stories about her side characters, so she wrote some novellas. You can discover more about her book here.

She also shared tips with me on plotting. And, we covered writing in different point of views and making believable characters. She is a developmental editor and we both discussed how valuable they are. She has five novels and uses a developmental editor too. You can find out more about her services here.

Check Out Our Live


If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Author & Me Show

Check out my Live Stream Team

Technical Difficulties

Book Review: Agent Undone by Cassidy Reyne

Book Review: If The Broom Fits

This story is the perfect teen Halloween romance. Set in a town called Hallow, they make the celebrations a drawn out week of festivities.

The genre is YA Romance and it’s a second chance romance. The story is a novella, a short quick read.

About the Book


The book starts with Blaire breaking up with her boyfriend, Lucas. We don’t know why she has done it but it’s quite clear that she’s still love with him.

Blaire has also received a letter. A letter she doesn’t want to read, or keep, but can’t quite bring herself to destroy it. A letter written in her dad’s handwriting.

Blaire is still grieving the loss of her mum. An event that shook her dad so greatly, he took off without a goodbye and left her in the care of her Grams. The anniversary of this tragedy was last Halloween causing her to dislike the holidays.


Blaire lives with her Grams, and works at the family’s catering business. This often involves her wearing costumes, especially around Halloween.

Blaire’s best friend is her cousin Donnie. It was through Donnie she first met Lucas, the three of them hanging out together. The break up has affected their social dynamics.

Donnie helps Lucas try to get Blaire back. They get her to agree to do four Halloween events, to help change her mind about Halloween.

Blaire finds it hard being “friends” with Lucas. Her feelings are still there and he makes it clear he wants her back, forcing her to push him away more.


Blaire finally breaks down and opens up. She faces her fears, opens the letter, and gets her Happily Ever After.

Final Thoughts

If The Broom Fits is a delightful festive read. It has all the Halloween vibes and the sort of sweet romance you can trust Sarah Sutton to deliver. There were times I wanted to slap Blaire, but she’s been through so much, her actions were believable. Blaire is a family oriented girl and this is seen in her sacrifices for the family business and interaction’s where ex’s family. Lucas gets this, and no matter how hard Blaire pushes him, he makes it clear he’s ready to give them a second chance. Lucas is the guy every girl needs.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link.


If you enjoyed this, you will love:

Behind the Book: Out of my League by Sarah Sutton

Behind the Book: What Are Friends For? By Sarah Sutton

Book Review: Out Of My League by Sarah Sutton

Book Review: Duet Rubato by Claerie Kavanaugh

Book Review: Agent Undone by Cassidy Reyne

I love Cassidy. She has a big heart and its no surprise she writes romance. If you don’t follow her on social media you’re missing out.

Cassidy always says the perfect thing when someone needs picking up. She helped with my blurb and novel. I’ve never read romantic suspense before, but for her I wanted to.

If you don’t like spoilers, scroll quickly to my final thoughts.

About the Book


Carter is an agent that got injured during the last mission. He’s now renting a cabin by the coast whilst recovering. In addition, he is hear broken over a colleague/lover that died. He has a lot of emotional stuff to process and doesn’t want a relationship. While he rests up, his best mate/colleague, Nate, let’s him stay at his beach holiday home.

Maddison writes articles about women in abusive relationships. It’s a topic very personal to her as she barely escaped her ex, Konrad, alive. Now she lives in fear he may one day find her. Maddie is renting the cabin next door to Nate’s, where Carter is staying.


Both characters are private people. Carter needs to maintain secrecy about who he is and what he does, and Maddison is constantly checking over her shoulder for her ex or one of his goons.

They enjoy running up and down the beach, and soon start doing this together. Carter is attracted to Maddie but doesn’t want to get involved woth anyone. He tries to manage his sexual urges with a few one night stands, careful to pick girls that won’t get close. The more time he spends with Maddison, the less effective his cold showers become.

Maddison has to visit her employers head office to collect her pay checks. Little does she know, but during this trip she is spotted by a goon. And despite her careful precautions, she’s now being followed back to the beach hut.

Carter’s leg has healed and he’s approved to return to duty. He’s to be an undercover agent to catch a sex and drug trafficking ring. Carter feels bad that he couldn’t say bye to Maddie and asks Nate to check on her.

Nate reports that Maddie has gone, and Carter accepts he is unlikely to ever see her again.

Carter is making progress fooling Konrad, the suspected boss of the ring he is investigating. Carter doesn’t know what to think when Konrad parades his girlfriend around his sleazy club, and Carter recognises her as Maddie.


There are lots of misunderstandings between the pair. Carter assumes that Maddie was helping Konrad get girls and after the bust, he wants nothing to do with her.

Fate causes the pair to cross paths again, it’s messy and they’ve a lot of baggage to unpack. But, there isa HEA and a very steamy sex scene .

Final Thoughts

This was a great read. It has some very steamy scenes but brought together with a strong plot. The characters are very complex, with rich back stories that feeds into who they are.

It’s only in recent years I’ve become aware of that domestic trafficking takes place. Cassidy sensitively deals with this topic. She shows how it has shapes Maddie and affected her life. The early chapters made me feel uneasy every time Maddie left the safety of her cabin. Carter also has complex issues to resolve. Their hesitation to get involved in a romantic relationship is very real.

There where times I wanted to knock Carter’s head but I think he was scared of the truth, as he was scared of getting close and losing someone again. I read the las chapters really fast as I loved when he starts to get over his fear and get honest with himself. He needs the truth, and he needs Maddie. Such a satisfying ending.

I’ve not read romantic suspense before. The suspense made me feel on edge and anxious. It was refreshing to try something different. I loved how developed the characters were, and obviously the way the steamy scenes made me feel.


If you enjoyed this, you’ll love:

Behind the Book: Agent: Undone by Cassidy Reyne

Behind the Book: The Sentinels series by Cassidy Reyne

The Making Of The Blurb for Ocean Heart

Book Review: Out Of My League by Sarah Sutton

NaNoWriMo Outcome

Spoiler alter! I didn’t reach 50k. I knew I wouldn’t because November is a busy month, mainly with birthdays galore, but add to that everything that goes with launching a book and it’s pretty impressive I wrote anything.

Maybe I should have passed this year’s NaNo but I just can’t help myself. I love the NaNo community.


The goal for NaNoWriMo is to write 50k words in 30 days. This works out to roughly 1,667 words per day.

But, what if you can’t write every day. What if you know on certain days it will be near impossible to write? And, 30 days is a long month if never allow yourself a single break.

I made a calendar in Excel and put Y or N depending on if I could write or not. I think counted the Y, and worked out I could write on 18 days of the month. This meant on my writing days, I needed to achieve 2778 words.

How It Went…

Week 1, went well. I had planned for a day off for for going live with Holly but joined a World Indie Warriors writing sprint afterwards. I also planned a day off for my birthday but decided to celebrate by writing This put me ahead of target. I needed to hit 13,890 words and had 16,306 words.

Week 2, I allowed one day off for my son’s birthday so it didn’t impact my goal. But, I also skipped two planned writing days, and that put me behind. I needed to hit 30,558, but I only had 26,725. This is why in my mid point check in I said I was behind, even though I had more words than NaNo participants that were on target, because I knew I had less days than them to write.

Week 3, was not good. I had planned a day off for going live with Nicola. But, I agreed to an unplanned live with Lyndell. Then, I decided to sell my house and had to tidy up (everywhere) for the Estate Agent (and then we decided not to sell). Then our boiler broke and spent a whole evening trying to create a bath warm & deep enough to bathe. This resulted in my not writing on four days I planned to – not good. I needed to hit 47,226 words, and I had only reached 31,473 words.

Week 4, was getting close to my release date and I wanted to give it my full attention. I only planned to write on one day and I did. This week involved pre-recording a radio interview. I also attempted to migrate my website myself from one server to another, and transfer my domain to the new location. It wasn’t smooth sailing. I also attended a full online writing festival, Indie Fire. I needed to reach 50,000 words but only had 38,643. I could have written some evenings but I didn’t want to burn out.

Week 5, is just the last two days of the month.

Was It A Success?

I didn’t get 50k words, so I failed NaNoWriMo. But…

My big goal for this year was to publish Ocean Heart, and I wasn’t going to let NaNo ruin that. If NaNo had distracted me from my launch then it would have been an epic fail.

When I set out to do NaNo this year, I just wanted to get back into Sky Heart. I achieved that. To me, personally, that makes this NaNo a success.

What’s Next?

I’m going to enjoy my book release week as I need to recharge and revel in this long awaited moment.

I will continuing working on finishing Sky Heart, book 2 in The Soul Heart Series. I’m hoping the first draft will be ready for Betas by the end of January.

Book 2 in The Soul Heart Series

I’ve created a work in progress cover, to visualise achieving my goal. Do you like it?

I’m also working on two Novellas. I’m hoping with these being shorter they’ll be quicker to get out & help with the wait for Sky Heart. I’ll announce those once I have a title.

All Author Cover Contest

Ocean Heart is currently entered in the All Author December 2020 Cover Contest. If you like the cover of Ocean Heart please vote for it.


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Check out my Live Stream Team

I hope you were able to watch my recent series of Live Streams. The last one was earlier this week for my Ocean Heart launch party.

My Stream Team have been amazing, and we’ve had lots of fun learning Stream Yard together and getting to know each other better. But, I want to give you a chance to discover more about them too.

Stream Team

J D Groom

Jodie is an author with two series out and working on another. She has done Behind the Book interviews for Envy and Sorceress of Truth.


Elexis Bell

Elexis has written a number of dark fantasy stand alones. Elexis has done Behind the Book interviews about Annabelle, Soul Bearer, Gem of Meruna, A World For The Broken, and A Heart of Salt & Silver. She enjoys digital design and creating her own character art.


H.B. Lyne

Holly is the Urban Fantasy author of the Shifters of Caerton series. You can buy the full set or individually. She’s also author of the Goal Setting For Writers book, runs a popular podcast called Unstoppable authors, and was behind Indie Fire.


Nicola Hebron

Nicola Hebron is author of the YA Fantasy Romance series the Wiccan Romances. The first two books (Amelia’s Story and Sam’s Story) are already out, and the other two can be expected in 2021.


Launch Party

I was so happy to share my launch party with these fabulous authors, that are part of the incredible supportive indie community.


Congratulations to Aimee (UK) and Nora (International) for winning the Giveaway. Both have been notified and I am looking forward to dispatching their prizes this weekend.

Discover more about my fabulous team by visiting their websites.

For J D Groom visit: https://jdgroom.com/

For Elexis Bell visit: http://www.elexisbell.com/

For H.B. Lyne visit: https://hblyne.com/

For Nicola Hebron visit: https://nicolahebronauthor.com/

Ocean Heart is currently entered in the All Author December 2020 Cover Contest. If you like the Cover of Ocean Heart please vote for it.



Did you miss my Virtual Book Tour?

I want to say thanks to my virtual book tour team who all made sure they posted something unique and meaningful to spread the word about Ocean Heart in the lead up to my release.

Virtual Book Tour Team

Here’s a little more detail about the team and links to their articles:

J D Groom

Jodie is an author with two series out. One is a collection of short stories (Book 1 is Envy), and the other is a Paranormal Romance series (Book 1 is Sorceress of Truth).

Author Q & A by Jodie

Ciara Delahunt

Ciara is an Urban Fantasy Irish writer with her debut series planned for early 2021. Sign up to her newsletter to discover more about her Upcoming Hybrid Wold series.

Ocean Heart Setting by Ciara

The Magic Book Corner

Laura is book blogger with a dragon. She’s often uncovering hidden gems by indie authors. Her site is packed with content on various genres, book reviews, and author Q & As.

Book Review: Ocean Heart by Laura

Sarah Neofield

Sarah is an Australian author of fiction and nonfiction books. Sarah enjoys travelling and her writing often challenges people to rethink their beliefs.

Author Q & A by Sarah

Cassidy Reyne

Cassidy is an author of Romantic Suspense novels, with several titles out, including her popular The Sentinel series. Check out my review of her book Agent Undone.

Ocean Heart – A Review by Cassidy

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Ocean Heart is currently entered in the All Author December 2020 Cover Contest. If you like the Cover of Ocean Heart please vote for it.

All Author Cover Contest

They say not to judge a book by its cover but I need you to do just that. If you liked the cover of my book, Ocean Heart (The Soul Heart Series Book 1), please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on AllAuthor.com!

I’m getting closer to clinch the “Cover of the Month” contest on AllAuthor! I’d need as much support from you guys. Please take a short moment to vote for my book cover here:

Ocean Heart Cover

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My debut novel releases tomorrow!

Coming Soon: Ocean Heart Launch Party!

About Ocean Heart

All Author Cover Contest – Vote Ocean Heart