Shoutout for #RespectRomFic – #Article written By Lou – More to Rom-Fic Than Meets The Eye @BookMinxSJV @RNATweets #RespectRomFic

Today’s the 1st anniversary of the #RespectRomFic movement I joined in collaboration with @BookMinxSJV & @RNAtweets aiming to shift the dismissive attitude I believe the genre receives. There are 500 other industry professionals involved in this movement. For this, as well as tweets I have chosen to write an article about what makes Rom-Fic relevant and important to today and how there is more to this genre than meets the eye.

Rom-Fic – More Than Meets The Eye

Publishers and many authors of the rom-com/romantic fiction – also known as contemporary fiction/women’s fiction are doing a shout out about their genre, to highlight its importance and relevancy in the world. As a blogger and reviewer, sure, I read and enjoy most genres and review them, but today I would like to also draw your attention to this in a short article about a genre, not just written by women, but also men and they’re doing it well and not necessarily in ways you may presume.

Rom-Fic (Romantic Fiction) it isn’t what it used to be, it is, nowadays far from slushy and no longer as overly flowery as it once was. Over the years it has evolved and changed. It also used to be the most read genre, over crime fiction, hard to believe nowadays with everything being about that particular genre, but true, and even today it is hot off the heels to crime and thrillers. There are even elements of mystery within some romantic fiction with puzzles to solve too.

Rom-Fic is far from dull. It has drama, spirit, intrigue, secrets and grit to get your readers eyes stuck into and to unravel. Romance features, but isn’t the only part of the books. Friendships, community spirit, family ties, discovering second chances in life and mystery also all feature with realistic protagonists who have lives that are relatable. Readers can be enveloped within their lives, through the good and hard times.

Rom-Fic is important! It contains the issues of the times it is written in, or issues people have lived through, that are universally acknowledged. There are themes of friendship, grief, community spirit, romance, family ties and splits. Within those themes, there is often tensions and struggles to overcome, leaving nothing sugar-coated or saccharine.
Within this, is the power to flood all your senses. It has the power to move you emotionally, whether that’s laughing out loud and feeling good or making you feel empathy and sympathy, sometimes leaving not a dry eye in its wake. Sometimes the writing can be so evocative that you can almost touch or smell what is being written about, whether it is in the landscape, an object, food or a person. There is also the sensuality of romance, whether it is budding or in full bloom as well as the flip-side of tensions between failing relationships or the re-building of them or starting over.

The way the plots are constructed/written has grip, creating a intrigue and a page-turning experience as tensions are built up between characters and/or certain events happen, or in the way they whisk you off into a place you either know or you don’t, but there is always lots to explore.

Rom-Fic is good for your wellbeing as they are books you can relax into. It certainly gets the endorphins going as they often have a happy ending or one that you can revel in, but with the realism that to get to that place isn’t instant; there is often a rocky road to take before reaching there and success isn’t instantaneous when changing or adding to your life.
This genre is also good for society as people develop a greater understanding of others or become inspired by something for when readers re-emerge from the books, back into the real world.

Below I have 6 quick reviews and links to the full reviews, that also include blurbs and open on a different page, of the many excellent Rom-Fic books I have read, reviewed and enjoyed. Each, I think shows something different within this genre. I wish I could show them all, but imagine how large this article would be…

The Summer Fair By Heidi Swain sees Beth working in a carehome. We see her struggle with the death of her mum as she denies all she loved prior to this event. She finds herself with a new opportunity in Nightengale Square to help with a special event in the community gardens. This is a feel-good uplifting book with community spirit, grit, friendship and romance in the offering. Find the full review here:
The Summer Fair

Three’s A Crowd by S.R. Booker deals with a father and son estrangement. There is also Harriet who has many intrusive thoughts whirring through her complex neuro-divergent mind. She has had a few boyfriends, but can she find love this time? This book will have you laughing through many of the pages as well as having your heart-strings tugged. Find the blurb and full review here – Three’s A Crowd

The Daughter-In-Law By Fanny Blake is a multi-generational story showing the complexities of relationships. The romance is already there, this is more about the tensions of work and someone unexpected appears on the scene. The tensions build and the family are on a knife-edge as secrets are discovered by readers in this twisty book that show relationships are anything but straight-forward. Find the blurb and full review here: The Daughter-In-Law

In The Mood by M.W. Arnold is actually part of the Air Transport Auxiliary Mystery Club. This also, however a Rom-Fic. A marriage is breaking in 1944 through a harshness of words, but can it be saved? There is also the murky business of blackmail. This also shows how Rom-Fic can cross genres. Find my review here:
In The Mood

Promise Me By Jill Mansell is a multigenerational book set in Foxwell, a place with lovely food and shops. It is also about Lou and the community of people she meets, including a curmudgeon octogenarian Edgar. He makes her a promise when she is working for him in what becomes an uplifting, heartwarming story. What is Edgar’s promise? There is also a single man in town. What will Lou make of him?
You will also find out how all the different relationships develop. Find my full review and blurb here:
The Promise

Love In Lockdown by Chloe James shows how rom-fic isn’t afraid of the hardest, darkest of the most recent times we have lived in. This covers the lockdowns at the height of Covid-19 lockdowns. It shows kindness and compassion. It is surprisingly uplifting as people connect through different technologies and even romance starts to bud. Find the blurb and review here: Love In Lockdown


#Review By Lou of They Lie Here By N.S. Ford @nsfordwriter @WriteReads #WriteReadsTours #Mystery #SciFi

They Lie Here
By N.S. Ford

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A twisty sci-fomystery of a case that spans between present times and goes back to the 1980’s. Find out more below for the blurb and review. Thanks to Write Reads for the blog tour spot.



Kat Green has made a career out of tracking down reclusive former celebrities. When she moves to the quaint English city of Waelminster, she’s on the trail of enigmatic pop star Roskoe Darke, of the band Scorpio Hearts. He hasn’t been heard of since 1985, but she’s confident she’ll find him. However, as the clues become more bizarre and sinister, Kat has to confront the darkness of her own past. Who can she trust when everyone is hiding the truth?


Kat Green is on the hunt for Roscoe Darke from the band Scorpio Hearts, who went missing in the 1980’s. The chapters go from present times to the 1980’s as she researches and looks out evidence and interviews.
This is what she does –  tracks down, presumed reclusive celebrities in her capacity of, what can only be described as a unique blogger and researcher. This certainly makes Kat intriguing.
This case is different as it pulls her into sinister corners.

As she is trying to track down her mysterious celebrity, Kat is forced to confront her own past, also making her an intriguing, captivating character. She moves from place to place on her search for these celebrities, travelling light and has not had contact with her family for ages. The lack of family contact is explained later in the book.

The book itself is rather different in its premise, which makes it intriguing, as does the plotting. I didn’t know what to expect.

#Review By Lou of – The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels By Janice Hallett @JaniceHallett @ViperBooks #TheMysteriousCaseOfTheAlpertonAngels #Mystery

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels
By Janice Hallett

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels is by best selling author of The Appeal and The Twyford Code. It has intrigue and a sinister darkness. Check out the blurb and my full review below.


THE SMASH HIT SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER *** *** THE NEW MYSTERY PHENOMENON FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE APPEAL *** ‘The queen of tricksy crime’ – SUNDAY TIMES ‘Her best so far’ – MARIAN KEYES ‘Another resounding success’ – DAILY EXPRESS Open the safe deposit box. Inside you will find research material for a true crime book. You must read the documents, then make a decision. Will you destroy them? Or will you take them to the police? Everyone knows the sad story of the Alperton Angels: the cult who brainwashed a teenage girl and convinced her that her newborn baby was the anti-Christ. Believing they had a divine mission to kill the infant, they were only stopped when the girl came to her senses and called the police. The Angels committed suicide rather than stand trial, while mother and baby disappeared into the care system. Nearly two decades later, true-crime author Amanda Bailey is writing a book on the Angels. The Alperton baby has turned eighteen and can finally be interviewed; if Amanda can find them, it will be the true-crime scoop of the year, and will save her flagging career. But rival author Oliver Menzies is just as smart, better connected, and is also on the baby’s trail. As Amanda and Oliver are forced to collaborate, they realise that what everyone thinks they know about the Angels is wrong. The truth is something much darker and stranger than they’d ever imagined. And the story of the Alperton Angels is far from over. From the bestselling author of The Appeal and The Twyford Code comes a stunning new mystery for fans of Richard Osman and S.J. Bennett. The devil is in the detail…


The Alperton Angels is another cracking case from Janice Hallett, the author of The Appeal, which turned out to be quite the phenomenon in the attraction it garnered. I first saw Janice Hallett talk about The Twyford Code and The Alperton Angels at Bloody Scotland in Stirling in 2022 with Joanne Harris. It captured my attention, little did I know I’d have the opportunity to review it.

Cults are always intriguing when it comes to books and tv. I’ve long been intrigued and horrified by them ever since a certain episode in Byker Grove, a tv series in the 1990’s for teens. So, this book piqued my interest. The book did not disappoint!

The mystery is thought-provoking in the questions it poses in what would you do in certain situations. It in turn also creates a sinister atmosphere.
There are 2 true crime writers trying to uncover and solve a few murders, a missing baby and what of the cult that is darker than anyone can imagine?

There’s a real depth and intensity with the story being told through articles, emails, transcripts and texts. The book is sufficiently dark and twisty that it keeps you gripped and guessing the truth until the end.

Thanks to Viper for the opportunity to review and for the book in exchange of an honest review.

#BookReview By Lou of The Time Jigsaw – Adventures In Time Book 1 #TheTimeJigsaw #SciFi #CrimeFiction #Mystery

The Time Jigsaw – Adventures In Time
Book 1
By David Munro


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Having read and rating them pretty highly – two of David Munro’s books – Georgina and  I asked him if there were others, so he directed me to where it all began – The Time Jigsaw. He informs me it is inspired by where he comes from. Check out the blurb and review below…



Following a move to Nice, the life of James Carsell-Brown begins to change when he meets pretty Michelle Duvallier, whom he believes is the woman of his dreams. However. appearances can be deceptive. After the body of a young woman matching Michelle’s description is washed up on a beach, all hell breaks loose. He is kidnapped and upon his escape, decides to flee to the calmer waters of Scotland. In Scotland, though, he faces new challenges – time travelling from one period to another quite by chance.


The Time Jigsaw is a slow-burn but one that’s worth staying with. There’s time travel and as well as this, a murder to solve. It’s certain intriguing as readers are invited to not only be immersed in solving a crime, but also in the sci-fi element of time travel, which feels very well researched.

Readers can follow the main character – James Carsell Brown who gets metaphorical “itchy feet” and makes the move from Aberdeen to Nice. There are interesting comparisons made between the two, and the differences. He doesn’t get the warmest of welcomes. It isn’t long before he meets Michelle Duvallier, there’s intrigue in the conversation that piques interest as to who she is. When her body is washed up, James finds himself embroiled in whoever she truly was and has no clue about what the police are on about. There’s intrigue with a little suspense as Detective Claude Laurant takes on the case. From then the suppositions and accusations fly and all is not as innocent as first appeared with the woman who seemed like she had an average life.

When in Scotland, an innocent enough journey and this is when things get even more mysterious and interesting as he finds himself travelling through time to various time periods. The author has clearly thoroughly researched the time periods and paints a picture of each place in time he arrives in. This is when the title – The Time Jigsaw comes into its own as there are many parts to piece together.

Between the time travel and the mystery of Michelle Duvallier, it is a fairly engaging story. It is an entertaining and interesting concept of mixing crime fiction and time travel.


About the Author 

David Munro was born in the north of Edinburgh and then moved to the capital’s Royal Mile. His family originally came from Ardrishaig, on the banks of Loch Fyne. David was employed by a well-known brewery in Edinburgh, and at the age of 27, relocated to Aberdeen, then Glasgow. He attended university and college to attain Chartered Marketer status in an arts discipline. As an arts professional, and with experience of different cultures, this lends to creative literature. Relaxing to music and taking long walks through the scenic Scottish countryside, assists David in formulating ideas for his novels.

Q&A #Interview By Lou with #author of #TheNewlywed – Anna Willett @AnnaWillett9 #HenryRoiPR #ColdCaseMysteries #CrimeFiction #Mystery #QandA

Recently I had the opportunity of hosting a Q&A session with author – Anna Willett, which I conducted, thanks to Anna Willett and Roi PR.
Welcome to my blog Anna and thank you very much for taking part in a Q&A session.

Anna has successfully had 16 published books. Her latest is The Newlywed, which sees Detective Inspector Veronika Pope tackle a cold case and finds there’s a vanishing bride and there’s more to the town that meets the eye. You can find out the blurb below, before seeing what Anna Willett has to say about her book and her writing, about her background and how she winds down and what she is working on next.


Detectives dig deep to discover what happened to a lost bride

After travelling to the breezy seaside town of Seabreak with her new husband to meet his twin brother, Jane Wilson vanishes without a trace.

There is never any sign of her again, and despite blame initially being cast on the husband, with no evidence of a crime, nothing is done.

Years later, Detective Inspector Veronika Pope and her team at the Special Crime Squad reinvestigate the disappearance.

What really drove Jane to return to the town? And what made sure she would never leave?

Detective Pope is convinced the town and its windy dunes hold the secrets, but she is faced with the grim determination of others to keep them buried forever…

THE NEWLYWED is Anna Willett’s latest suspenseful mystery. It can be read on its own, or alongside two other books featuring Detective Veronika Pope, THE WOMAN BEHIND HER and THE FAMILY MAN.

Without further ado, onto the Q&A.

Who or what inspired you to write suspense/thriller novels and did you do anything different prior to becoming a writer?  

I’ve always written but didn’t take what I was doing seriously until ten years ago. At the time I was teaching. I still teach part-time.  


2.     The Newlywed is your 16th book. How does it feel, knowing you’ve managed to write 16 books and where do you get your ideas from to keep each book fresh?  

The ideas come easily; it’s deciding which ones to turn into a novel that can be tricky. For The Newlywed and The Family Man, book two in the Cold Case Mysteries, I drew inspiration from a couple of infamous Western Australian true crime cases. I take a small part of the crime itself and then everything else is pure fiction.  

I try to keep crimes themselves fresh by drawing on true crime, delving into what’s going on in the world. And also immersing the reader in the setting. Characters, old and new, must be interesting. Recurring characters need to grow and reveal new snippets of their backstory and personality traits. They have to be as real as possible. Dialogue must be authentic. A story grows stale when the same old characters have the same old reaction.  



3.      The Newlywed is a cold case, what interested you most in choosing going down this avenue of police work?  

I’ve always been fascinated by true crime, solved and unsolved, as well as crime fiction. I enjoy watching true crime documentaries and reading about infamous crimes. I’m interested in the methods used to solve or at least attempt to solve cases. I find myself theorising about certain aspects of the case. It’s a genre that intrigues me in a way that became the impetus to write about cold cases.  



4.     Your detective is Veronika Pope in the Special Crime Squad tasked with re-investigating the disappearance of Jane, how did you research this particular type of team and the re-opening of cases?  

I have a close friend who was a detective in the West Australian Police force. He is a marvellous source of information. When I’m writing a colds case story, I turn to him form procedural information and also how investigators would react in certain situations.  

I also do a good deal of online research. I try to make the stories as authentic as possible.  


5.     How did you feel getting into the mindset of a seaside town and your characters who harbour age old secrets they want to keep buried? Do you, for example, fully immerse yourself with them?  

The town, Seabreak is a fictional place based on several small communities south of Perth. Before writing The Newlywed, I visited these towns, spent days taking photos and immersing myself in the lifestyle. I’ve visited almost all the setting I’ve used in the sixteen books. It helps me to get a feel for a place. It makes it easier to write about the views, the weather the flora and fauna.  

I also live within hearing distance of the ocean, so that helped.  


6.         How do you unwind?  

For me, reading makes me a better writer as well as being a fantastic way to relax. I’m also a huge film buff so I love watching movies. I enjoy walking our GSD girl, Karma. Living with a dog is a fantastic way to destress and unwind. There’s nothing like having a wet tennis ball dumped in your lap to remind you to stop and take a break. And I love going out for lunch, trying new cafes and restaurants.  


7.         Are you reading and/or writing anything just now?  

I’m reading Watching You by Michael Robotham. He’s one of my favourite authors.  

I’m working on a new cold case, again inspired by a infamous unsolved West Australian case. This story takes place in the Goldfields, a huge, rugged landscape dotted with small remote communities. An area where so many people have vanished or perished.  

It’s a place that can be beautiful but also eerie and I’m excited to be writing about the region. My daughter has spent quite a bit of time in the area, so she’s been a great help with the research.  

#BookReview By Lou of #MiddleGrade #ChildrensBook Libby and The Highland Heist By Jo Clarke Illustrated By Becka Moor @bookloverJo @FireflyPress #Kidslit #Mystery #Adventure #ScottishCastle

Libby and The Highland Heist
By Jo Clarke
Illustrated By Becka Moore

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Libby and The Highland Heist is a middle-grade book for ages 8-12, set in the Highlands of Scotland and its capital city – Edinburgh. Thanks to Firefly Press, I have been able to write a review on my blog. First, steal yourselves down to the blurb and then my review below.


After a tumultuous term in Paris, Libby and Connie are looking forward to a quiet holiday at Connie’s family home. But before long they find themselves caught up in another mystery, this time set against the dramatic backdrop of the Highlands and Edinburgh.


Not having read and reviewed the first in the series, I don’t think it matters too much if children jump in on this second in the series or read from the start. Middle-grade readers will soon get to know Libby and Connie and how they travel on adventures.

It’s mysteriously atmospheric with a Scottish castle that holds secret passageways and priceless paintings, that are stolen, which in-turn gives the two very good friends a mystery to solve. The book is full of friendship, puzzle-solving and mystery.

There’s plenty of entertainment for young armchair detectives to let their imaginations go wild within, aided by mystical illustrations and the fun cover.

About the Author

Jo Clarke is an award-winning book blogger and primary school librarian. Her blog, BookloverJo, enables her to indulge her love of reading children’s books. She is actively involved in the children’s book community and has been a judge for both the British Book Awards and Alligator’s Mouth Book Awards.

Growing up she liked nothing better than reading mystery and boarding school stories by torchlight, when she should have been fast asleep.

She lives in Hampshire with her husband, two daughters and three cats.

Becka has been illustrating children’s books since 2012 and has over 60 books published. She has a real passion for design, and reading as many books as she can get her greedy hands on.

She lived in Wales for a time studying Illustration for Children’s Publishing at Glyndwr University, before returning to Manchester where she currently lives with her partner and two cats.