Category Archives: book review

Wild Flowers by Richard Robinson #WILDFLOWERS

Richard Robinson returns to Celtic Connexions with his second installment of the Topaz series, Wild Flowers.

Wild Flowers



In ‘Wild Flowers,’ the second explosive instalment of the Topaz Files, inexperienced spy Jones Is thrust into the heart of danger aboard the General Eduardo—a colossal container ship laden with stolen arms worth millions.

Trapped and desperate, Jenny Richmond is the linchpin in a daring operation by the Topaz team, racing against time to recover the lethal cargo hijacked by the Russians and bound for clandestine camps in Belize.

But in the shadowy world of espionage, they are not alone. Joseph Armstrong, a double agent ensnared in a deadly game, is torn between his loyalty to Russia and a tempting offer from an enigmatic Zimbabwean farmer, Irvine Terre-Blanche.

What’s at stake?
Millions of pounds and the sinister secrets of the Wild Flowers Project.

As the operation hurtles towards a catastrophic finale, a band of retired spies join the fray, seeking one last explosive job in this high-octane thriller of deception and betrayal.

Wild Flowers


Wild Flowers


This second installment of the Topaz series was a cracking good read. I reunited with characters from Book 1, like meeting old friends, and I met some new ones along the way—not all of whom were nice.

Richard’s characters leap off the page. There’s espionage, drama, danger, and a bit of comedic relief in the characters of Carl and Tom.  The author’s vivid descriptions of the scenes onboard the container ship made me feel like I was aboard. But if you want to learn more about them, you must read the books.

I can’t wait for book 3 in the series! Well done, Richard!



Wild Flowers

Richard lives in East Anglia with his wife and two daughters. He is a trained journalist and spent his early years freelancing or in agency positions across the UK, including a stint in Northern Ireland in the mid-1990s. He then transferred to the third sector, working in charities focusing on issues as diverse as international development (in India and Bangladesh), air ambulance operations, music and the creative industries, mental health and homelessness. He also acted as Chief Executive of the Olympic Park charity during London 2012.

He is currently the CEO of Hourglass, the UK’s only charity focused on ending the abuse and neglect of older people, a job he applied for after a family experience of neglect.

Richard wrote his first novel in the early 2000s but this has yet to see the light of day. Instead, he started with a new idea in 2020 and Topaz was born. He has written two more in the Topaz Files series, Wild Flowers and The Mainstay, which are expected to be published in 2024.

He is also happily in the dugout for Boxford Rovers F.C. on a Saturday, a committed cratedigger (vinyl collector) and can occasionally be seen in the stands at Loftus Road and Windsor Park.


Twitter at @TheTopazFiles

Richard on Instagram at @r_we_r

Email Richard at

Trail of the Heart by Kathleen Pendoley

Today on Celtic Connexions, I’m welcoming Kathleen Pendoley and her novel, Trail of the Heart.
Kathleen Pendoley


Marriage can be challenging, divorce harder still, which is how Jordan Roberts finds herself in the middle of a two thousand-mile backpacking journey. Resilient has become her middle name, and it’s about time she figured out what she wants without anyone else’s input.

Jordan is desperate for a few days’ rest, but her friends bail on her last minute due to a plumbing mishap. Not hanging her out to dry completely, they find a host willing to take her in.

Adam Beck is used to running things. Together, he and his lifelong friend, Jonathan Wilson, started their own robotics company. Leading the way in state-of-the-art surgical care, Advanced Automation is committed to saving lives.

Obligated to do his friend a favor, Adam gladly opens his doors to a woman who appears half vagrant, half forest sprite. Different in every way, Jordan soon has Adam considering a life outside the boardroom.

Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned. Accidents happen, and people get hurt. Ex-husbands refuse to stay away, and there are often strange goings-on in the forest.

Jordan attempts to meet each situation head-on, but when her best trail friend is hurt the most, will her newly found romance be strong enough to withstand the pressure?

Come along on a journey of dreams, some dashed, others fulfilled, and the best ones: those that come true.

Kathleen Pendoley

Book Links

Goodreads –

Buy Links –

My Review

A good love story. I loved Jordan’s character and the group she hiked with. Her best friend, Edge, is a man of few words but is there for her. And then there’s Adam.

Kathleen Pendoley brought all the characters to life, each with their own foibles. I’ll definitely be reading more books from this author.

About Kathleen Pendoley

Kathleen Pendoley

Kathleen spends her days toggling between writing and anything active: walking in the woods with her pups, kayaking, bike riding, and cross-country skiing—weather permitting. A to-the-marrow New Englander, she’s obsessed with cake, yoga, and self-actualization. Her favorite place to connect with readers is on Facebook.

Facebook –

Kathleen Pendoley

Emergency Drill by Chris Blackwater #review

I’m pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for Chris Blackwater’s novel, Emergency Drill.

Blurb for Emergency Drill

Shortlisted for the 2020 Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger award

Newly qualified offshore medic, Danny Verity, arrives on the Cuillin Alpha oil platform shortly before a storm damages the satellite system, severing the crew’s only mode of communication to the mainland.

Storm or sabotage?

Danny is forced to perform emergency surgery on an injured crewmate, whose accident he suspects was the result of sabotage. The man dies, a member of the crew disappears, and yet another is attacked.

Enter the Pied Piper, whose sinister announcements carry his threats through the entire platform.

While the North Sea rages around them, emotions and suspicions run high.

Danny knows he’s the only one who can stop the saboteur. But will the crew trust him?

With no way of calling in help and unable to risk escaping on the lifeboats, everyone aboard the oil platform is trapped. So is the killer… and Danny is determined to smoke him out.

emergency drill

My Review

emergencyI can’t imagine being on a North Sea oil rig at the best of times, let alone when the weather is foul, and you’ve lost contact with the mainland. Add in a murderer out there with you who is not only killing but sabotaging the systems, stir, and you’ve got Chris Blackwater’s novel Emergency Drill.
He brought together all the components of an unthinkable disaster and crafted a gripping read. The characters were well-rounded and likable. Danny Verity, the new medic onboard, tasks himself with saving the rig and his co-workers from disaster. Danny has his own baggage and is a great character, and I hope to see him in future books.
All in all, this was an enjoyable read.

Book Links

About the Author

emergency drill

Chris Blackwater is a writer and chartered engineer from Leeds, England. His first novel Emergency Drill, book 1 in the Danny Verity, PI series, set on a North Sea oil platform, was shortlisted for the 2020  CWA Debut Dagger Award. His short stories have appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies including contributions to the much-missed Mad Scientist Journal.

Book two in the series, Dead Crude, is  set in Orkney. Apart from Danny Verity, it features other characters who survived Emergency Drill. He is  working on a third book in the series, called Head Hunting.

Chris began writing to entertain himself whilst working on offshore oil platforms and remote power stations. His career has taken him all over the world to unusual locations and introduced him to some remarkable characters. In recent years Chris has gradually drifted down to the south coast of England where he spends his spare time learning to sail and play the flute, though not at the same time.

Follow Chris at these links:





emergency drill

#review ~ I NEED A DOCTOR by Janey Travis #giveaway


I Need a Doctor


Janey Travis


Genre: Romantic Comedy

Release Date: 15th July 2016

Publisher: Thornhill Print

Beauty and fame… a blessing or a curse?

Story synopsis: Loveless fashion model Nola Nichols thinks being beautiful is a curse; that is until she is cursed and her looks begin to fade just a week before the most important photo shoot of her career. In her attempts to get un-cursed, she finds herself taking part in a rather unconventional funeral, reveals one or two unrests in her own past, and falls madly in love with a doctor. Erm… that would be a witch doctor, right…?








What the Readers say:

“Just the right sprinkling of romance and humour.” Brook Cottage Books

“A very enjoyable and clever plot. Different, fresh and enjoyable.” Jenny in Neverland

“I couldn’t help but like Nola even though at times she is a proper diva.” Comet Babe’s Books

“I love all the quirky characters in the story and just the pure madness and fun of it all!” Books4U

“A nice balance of humour, sweet romance, morals and a spooky side!” The Little Reader Library

“A Five Star Read – I really enjoyed the light-hearted tone.”  Love Reading Love Books

Doctor Word Cloud bw Jpeg


I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I had read this book before when it was three separate novellas written under the author’s own name, Janice Horton. Now it’s back and bigger than better than before with the new title, I Need a Doctor, and her nom de plume, Janey Travis.

I Need a Doctor is a great read with larger than life characters. Even though Nola, whose real name is Nora, is selfish you can’t help but sympathize with her. After all, she believes a voodoo spell has been cast on her.

In an effort to have the spell removed, he takes part in a strange funeral ceremony with the son of the woman, Louis, who allegedly cast the spell on her.

Hilarity ensues when the rest of Louis’s voodoo practising family gets involved.

Voodoo spells, mayhem and mystery are all skilfully woven into the plot which keeps you turning the pages.

5 stars

I loved it!



Janey Travis is currently travelling around the world chasing the sun while blogging, tweeting, writing fun-to-read novels and travel magazine features. Look out for her new light-hearted romantic comedy novel I Need a Doctor. You can catch up with her on Twitter: @janey_travis on Facebook: janeytravisbooks.

Janey also writes bestselling romantic adventure fiction as Janice Horton. Find out more at

Author Links:

Janey Travis on Facebook:




An ecopy of the book (open internationally)
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Out of Control by T.A. Belshaw ~ BOOK REVIEW

T.A. Belshaw




T.A. Belshaw
Genre: Noir-Suspense
Release Date: Aug 25th 2015

It began with a trivial moment of carelessness, but the shockwaves that reverberate from this seemingly insignificant incident, spread far and wide.

Ed and his heavily pregnant wife Mary are on an errand for Ed’s ailing father before the pair depart for warmer climes. But the winter of 1962 comes early and one innocuous event and a hastily taken decision will have devastating consequences for the family of young Rose Gorton. Mary’s already fragile mental state is put under further stress while Ed tries to make sense of events that are spiralling massively, Out of Control.





My Review:

I first discovered this wonderful story through a link on Facebook to Trevor’s blog where he had serialized the beginning of the book. I was hooked and wanted more.

When it became available on amazon, I pounced on it. I couldn’t wait to finish reading it to find out how this suspense novella would turn out. Of course, I started over from the beginning to reacquaint myself with the characters and the situation.

From then until the end of the story, I couldn’t put this down! I had to continue reading. I needed to know what came next.

☆☆☆☆☆ to Trevor and his wonderful noir suspense – Out of Control!



T.A. Belshaw

Trevor Belshaw, aka, Trevor Forest, is a writer of both adult and children’s fiction. He lives in Nottingham, UK with his mad Springer Spaniel, Maisie. Trevor is the creator of Tracy’s Hot Mail (Crooked Cat Publishing,) and has recently released a noir novella, Out of Control.

Writing under the name, Trevor Forest, he has published fourteen children’s books including the Magic Molly series, The Stanley Stickle series, and Peggy Larkin’s War.

Trevor’s short stories and articles have appeared in various magazines including The Best of British, Ireland’s Own and First Edition. His poem My Mistake was awarded a highly commended status and included in the Farringdon Poetry competition best entries anthology. His children’s poem Clicking Gran, was longlisted in the Plough Poetry competition 2009.

Trevor’s short stories have been published in many anthologies including the charity anthologies. 100 Stories for Haiti, 50 Stories for Pakistan, 100 Stories for Queensland, The Best of Café Lit, (2011 2012 and 2013) The Best of Friday Flash Volume 2, Another Haircut, Shambelurkling and other stories and 24 Stories for Advent.

Twitter @tbelshaw

Facebook Trevor Belshaw and Trevor Forest

Email trevor(AT)



5 Ecopies and 2 signed Paperback copies of the book.
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Those Children are Ours by David Burnett ~ BOOK REVIEW


Those Children are Ours

by David Burnett



Jennie Bateman screamed at her daughters, cursed at her husband, packed a bag, and walked away. Twelve years later, she petitions the family court for visitation with her daughters, Alexis and Christa.

Her attorney tells Jennie that, ordinarily, she could not imagine that some type of visitation would not be granted. But, she warns, the situation is hardly ordinary.

True, Jennie suffered from a bipolar disorder when she began to drink heavily, abandoned her family, and moved in with another man. True, she has turned her life around: leaving her boyfriend, returning to school, entering therapy, taking medication, finding a job, and joining a church.

But she pressed no claim for her children when her husband divorced her, and she has made no attempt to contact them in any way. Her daughters are now sixteen and fourteen. They live four hundred miles away, and they have busy lives that do not include her, lives that will be totally disrupted by the visitation that Jennie requests.

Their father is engaged to be married to a woman who has taken the role of their mother for a decade, and neither child wants anything to do with Jennie. Alexis remembers nothing good about her. Christa recalls nothing at all.

Conflict ensues as soon as Jennie’s petition is served: her former husband does not want to share his children with the woman who deserted him; her children have no interest in knowing the mother who abandoned them, and her father believes that she is being timid and ought to demand full custody, not visitation.

As court convenes, Jennie’s past is dredged up− the desertion, the men, her drinking, her mental health − and hauled before the judge. Her claim to be a different person, now, is attacked. When the judge appears to be reluctant to grant Jennie’s request, but seems to feel that she must, her husband’s attorney suggests three trial visits, hoping that they will go so badly that Jennie will come to her senses and drop her petition.

Jennie wants to be a part of her children’s lives, but can she convince them to allow her to try?

My Review

I love discovering new authors and this book by David Burnett had me intrigued from the time I read the back cover blurb. What would make a wife and mother pick up and leave? I needed to find out.

When I first started reading this book, I wondered if it was going to be to my liking but the author hooked me and I had to read more.

The courtroom scenes were realistic. The descriptions of the locations were so vividly painted that I could see them.

I particularly liked Jenny’s relationship with her “Grandmom”.

This book was a great read and I can’t wait to discover more books by David Burnett.







We recently moved to our new home near Charleston, South Carolina. Three of my four books are set in Charleston, and I’ve always enjoyed the Carolina beaches. I now have the opportunity to walk on the beach near our home almost every day and to photography the ocean, the sea birds, and the marshes that I love.
I love photography, and I have photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, and a Native American powwow. My wife and I have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During trips to Scotland, we visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen, and Kismul Castle on Barra, the home of my McNeil ancestors.
I went to school for much longer than I want to admit, and I have degrees in psychology and education. In an “earlier life” I was Director of Research for the South Carolina Department of Education. My wife and I have two daughters and, by the time you read this, four grandchildren.





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