Books · reading · review

Jingle Bells in June ~ Little duck pond cafe by Rosie Green #Review #Blogtour


Jingle Bells in June, Little Duck Pond Café
Mackenzie Morris, newest recruit at the Little Duck Pond Café, is the perfect addition to the team.
But beneath her smiles, Kenzie is hiding a dark secret. It’s the reason she fled to Sunnybrook, desperate for a fresh start that would help to lay the ghosts that haunt her.
The challenge of turning her hobby into a business is a welcome distraction, and to her relief, she finds that her range of quirky pottery mugs and vases appear to be in demand. Alone and scared when she arrived, she’s slowly making friends and starting to feel as if she belongs. Meeting a lovely guy called Aidan seems to confirm this and it looks as if love might be on the horizon.
But then Kenzie makes a devastating discovery that threatens to crush her new-found happiness.
Aidan is the one person she yearns to confide in. He’s also the one person who can never know the truth . . .

Purchase Link

My Review

I wasn’t expecting jingle Bells in June to keep me rooted to the spot like it did, and it is also not the light chick-lit with a bit of Christmas thrown in as I thought it would be! But, this is not a negative it is an amazing thought provoking read.

This is the first of Rosie’s books I have read and it is also part of The Duck Pond series, number 21!! But, it can be totally read as a standalone novel.

Rosie deals with some very deep subjects that brought out many different emotions for me, I literally could not put this book down, the characters are true to life and Mackenzie is a character that you are rooting for the whole way through the story.

There are high’s and lows within the pages of Jingle Bells In June and you do feel as if you are on a white knuckle ride with twists and turns that you don’t expect. This book will stay with me for a very long time!

All About Rosie

Rosie’s series of novellas is centred around life in a country village cafe. Look out for ‘Sun, Sea & Strawberry Shortcake’, a sunshine-filled drama full of fun and mystery, out in June 2022 and including the return of character favourites, Ruby and Hudson.

Where to find Rosie

Books · fiction · reading · review

The Little Bookshop By The Sea by Eliza J Scott #Review #Blogtour


Welcome to the Happy Hartes Bookshop in Micklewick Bay on the beautiful North Yorkshire Coast!
The Happy Hartes Bookshop has been a part of bookworm Florrie Appleton’s life as far back as she can remember. From the evocative smell of the books, to working alongside her beloved Mr H and
his black Labrador, Gerty, there’s no wonder she calls it her happy place.
Living in a town she loves, with her family and group of close-knit friends nearby, life is sweet. Until one dreadful Monday morning, when everything is turned upside down and things are changed forever.
Devastated, Florrie finds herself thrown into an unexpected situation with handsome stranger, Ed
Harte, owner of a pair of twinkly navy-blue eyes and a smile that has the knack of making mischief with her insides.
Despite being fresh out of a relationship, Florrie quickly finds herself falling for him, but she’s torn, reluctant to give her heart to someone who seems intent on not sticking around.
While her heart’s doing battle with her head, Florrie soon finds herself privy to a secret with Ed involving a heart-wrenching twist they could never have imagined.

Will love find a way to bring them together, or are they destined to go their separate ways?

Purchase Links

My Review

The Little Bookshop By The Sea is a gorgeous cosy read, perfect for days when you need some total escapism from everyday life. The Happy Hartes Bookshop reminded me of a bookshop I once worked in so brought back so lovely memories.

I loved getting to know the characters within the pages and I could picture Micklewick Bay perfectly in my mind’s eye. The budding romance between Florrie and Ed was a joy to watch unfold, Florrie in particular is a wonderful, warm character and one I could imagine having in my friend’s circle.

The relationship between Florrie and Mr Harte warmed my heart, I don’t want to spoil the story but the tragic events that occur brought a tear to my eye.

Eliza’s books always end in such a way that you feel content with the ending, i can’t wait for the next book in this series where i am hoping we will revisit some of the wonderful background characters who we have only briefly met in this book.

A huge thank you to Eliza and Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to this blog tour.

All about Eliza

Eliza lives in the North Yorkshire countryside with her family. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book/glued to her kindle or working in her garden, fighting a losing battle against the weeds.
Eliza is inspired by her beautiful surroundings and loves to write heartwarming romance stories with
relatable female characters. Her books will always have a happy ending.

Where to find Eliza

@ElizaJScott1 Twitter

@elizajscott Instagram

@elizajscottauthor Facebook

Books · reading · review

Love Blooms at Mermaid Point by Sarah Bennett #Review #Blogtour


Bestselling author Alex Nelson is slowly coming apart at the seams after a failed marriage and an abrupt change in career leave him at a crossroads in life. When an unexpected opportunity arises to escape to the idyllic village of Mermaids Point, he’s hot on the heels of his brother, Tom, who has
recently moved there. Buying a rundown bookshop might be just his latest harebrained scheme, but Alex has never been one to do things by halves.
After spending her early years caring for her mother, Ivy Fisher is finally ready to start living her own life. But when the impossibly charming, impossibly good-looking Alex Nelson swoops in and snatches her dream out from under her nose, it really is the last straw. Forced by circumstances to spend
more time with him, Ivy finally gets a peak of the real man beneath the confident exterior, and she likes what she sees.
But just when things are starting to come together for them, Ivy is reminded why men can never be trusted. Is Alex who he says he is, or is he using Mermaids Point as nothing more than research fodder for his next bestseller?

Purchase Links

My Review

Another glorious Mermaid’s Point read from Sarah , I feel like I’m revisiting my favourite holiday destination. This is the third book in the Mermaids Point series but can be read as a stand-alone, although Some characters from the previous two books reappear which is lovely.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Ivy & Alex and the addition of a bookshop makes this the perfect read! This is such a feel good read as are all of Sarah’s books. They are the perfect pick me up to transport you away from everyday life.

There is such a lovely thread of friendship and community in every Mermaids Point book which warms the cockles of your heart.

if you need a pick me up this is the book for you! A huge thank you to Sarah and Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to this lovely blog tour.

All about Sarah

Sarah Bennett is the bestselling author of several romantic fiction trilogies including those set in Butterfly Cove and Lavender Bay. Born and raised in a military family she is happily married to her own Officer and when not reading or writing enjoys sailing the high seas. The first book in her new
Mermaids Point trilogy for Boldwood was published in Spring 2021.

Where to find Sarah

Books · fiction · reading · review

Then and Now by R J Gould #Blogtour #Review


Sandy is about to retire following an illustrious career as editor of an upmarket fashion magazine.
Michael can’t retire, he thinks his work to explain the dangers of climate change is far too important.
Jonathan is considering retiring from running his fundraising consultancy.
These three were the best of friends at university before a tragedy wrecked their friendship. They haven’t spoken since.
Fifty years on, they arrange to meet at a reunion. Having reminisced about student life during a wild and self-indulgent era with its heady mix of free love, drugs and ground-breaking music, they share their life journeys since the Swinging Sixties – the successes and failures, the happiness and despair, and their optimism and fears for the future.
The reunion is drawing to a close. Dare they tackle the incident that tore them apart, an event that has brought guilt for so many years? If they are to have any chance of reconciliation they have to, but the clock is ticking

Purchase Links

My Review

Whenever I get an email inviting me on to a blog tour for any book by Richard It’s a resounding yes! I can’t put into words how much I love Richard’s style of writing. The characters truly feel like people you know and their stories are very real but also captivating.

I always feel drawn into Richard’s books by the end of the first chapter, Then and Now was no different it’s about 3 friends who were all at uni together Sandy, Michael and Jonathan. They shared a past of colourful memories some good and some filled with guilt and regret. They haven’t seen each other for nearly 50 years, each of them have moved on with their lives but they’ve all reached a crossroads where decisions need to be made.

The joy I felt at the antics of the 3 characters over their reunion weekend was endless, it proves that 70 is definitely the new 50 and proves you can grow old very disgracefully!

A gorgeous ray of sunshine of a book 📚

Thank you, thank you, thank you Richard & Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for allowing me to take part in this blog tour.

All About R J Gould

R J Gould writes contemporary fiction about relationships, using a mix of humour and pathos to describe the tragi-comic life journeys of his characters. Then and now is his seventh novel, following The Engagement Party, Jack and Jill Went Downhill, Mid-life follies, The bench by Cromer beach, Nothing Man and Dream Café. He is a member of Cambridge Writers and a rare male member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
Before becoming a full-time author he worked in the educational and charity sectors.
R J Gould lives in Cambridge.

Where to find R J Gould

Books · fiction · reading · reviews

Finding Edith Pinsent by Hazel Ward #Review #Blogtour


A moving story of love, loss and friendship that breaks and uplifts your heart. Netta Wilde has a task to complete.
She’s agreed to go through the late Edith Pinsent’s diaries and possessions personally. The problem is, she’s been busy sorting out her own life. But she’s in a better place now. She’s free of her manipulative ex, has a new love in neighbour, Frank and has reunited with her kids.
What better time to begin Edie’s story?
But the path to discovery is not easy.
There are missing diaries to contend with, boxes of memories to uncover and revelations that turn everything on its head. Revelations that make Netta question if her own life really is sorted.
Delving deeper into Edith’s history, Netta is overtaken by a need to revisit her own past and put things right, but to do that she has to find the two people who once meant everything to her.
As her two challenges intertwine, Netta realises that Edith had a purpose for her. One that she must fulfil
Bit by bit, the house yields a lifetime of secrets and the real Edith Pinsent begins to emerge.
But will it be the Edith everyone thought they knew?

Purchase Links

My Review

I don’t know where to begin this review as I absolutely adored Finding Edith Pinsent, it’s beautifully written in such a clever way. This is the second book in the Netta Wilde series but can be read as a stand alone.

The chapters swap between the story of Netta in the present day & Edith from 1942 to 2017. In Edith’s will she instructed her nephew to interview prospective buyers for her house and choose the right person who could comb through her journals where she documented every detail about her life. The person would uncover many secrets along the way.

I loved finding out about the two women, although their lives had some similarities the contrast between the 1940’s and present time was captivating. Edith’s life was bright, colourful and adventurous, and a breath of fresh air, boy did she live her life to the full! She had lots of twists and turns in her life story, some of which made me laugh out loud, some that broke my heart but all of them made this book addictive.

Netta’s part in the book is just as enthralling, she is such a relatable character, and one you feel as if you’ve known forever. Although I hadn’t read the first book in the Netta Wilde series which focuses on Netta’s life, I could piece together her past from the snippets that unfolded in her chapters. In reading Edith’s journals Netta makes the decision that there are parts of her past she needs to revisit. This is when she goes in search of Claire & Doogie, both of these characters are so real to life and I could picture them in my mind. I adored (sorry, but I could use the word adored in every sentence relating to this book!) Doogie and his and Netta’s story is just so bittersweet.

This is a must read and will stay with me for a long time, I am currently reading number 1 in the series Being Netta Wilde as the withdrawal symptoms were too much!!

Huge thank you to Hazel & Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me onto this beautiful blog tour.

All About Hazel

Hazel Ward was born in inner city Birmingham. By the time the city council packed her family off to the suburbs, she was already something of a feral child who loved adventures. Swapping derelict
houses and bomb pecks for green fields and gardens was a bit of a culture shock but she rose to the occasion and grew up loving outdoor spaces and animals.
Strangely, for someone who couldn’t sit still, she also developed a ferocious reading habit and a love of words. She wrote her first novel at fifteen, along with a lot of angsty poems, and was absolutely sure she wanted to be a writer. Sadly, it all came crashing down when her seventeen-year-old self
walked out of school in a huff one day and was either too stubborn or too embarrassed to go back.
It’s too long ago to remember which.
Against all odds, she somehow managed to blag her way into a successful corporate career until finally giving it all up to do the thing she’d always wanted to do. Shortly after, she began to write her debut novel Being Netta Wilde.
Hazel still lives in Birmingham and that’s where she does most of her writing, although she spends a lot of time in Shropshire or gadding about the country in an old motorhome. Not quite feral anymore but still up for adventures.

Where to find Hazel

#christmas · Books · fiction · reading · reviews

Christmas Surprises at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett #Blogtour #Review


Christmas is a time for love, laughter, families and friends, and in Mermaids Point, everyone is getting ready for the festive season.
For Nerissa and Tom, this will be their first Christmas as a couple, but making sure they have time for each other, whilst blending their families, will take some careful planning. What festive traditions will they make their own?
Laurie and Jake are flat out running Laurie’s seafront café, packaging up orders of mince pies, sausage rolls and other delectable Christmas goodies, as well as finding time for Jake’s journalism.
But when Jake’s mum offers them an unexpected gift, their plans are turned upside down.
Alex can’t help but be charmed by beautiful and talented Ivy, but he’s still recovering from his ex-wife’s betrayal and has a secret life he’s not ready to share with anyone yet. But as the Christmas spirit starts weaving its magic, Alex may find himself ready for love sooner than he imagines.
For Andrew, nothing is more important than family. As friends and family gather beneath his roof it’s a time for reflection about what the future might hold.
As far as Nick is concerned, pop sensation Aurora Storm is the ‘one that got away’. After they shared
a brief holiday fling, he has been thinking about her ever since. Is Christmas the perfect time to finally reach out to her, or is love at first sight just in fairy-tales?

Purchase Links


My Review

I was so excited to be invited onto the blog tour for Christmas Surprises at Mermaids Point, I love the Mermaids Point series, it’s like coming home!

It’s always lovely to revisit a series and catch up with the characters. Christmas at Mermaids Point is an epilogue to Summer kisses & Autumn Dreams, but gives you a sneak preview into the next two books in the series.

This is a a lovely short novella and perfect for a quick Christmas fix that also gives you a lovely insight into old faces and the promise of what’s to come in the future of Mermaids Point.

A huge thank you to Sarah & Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me onto this lovely blog tour.

All About Sarah

Sarah Bennett is the bestselling author of several romantic fiction trilogies including those set in Butterfly Cove and Lavender Bay. Born and raised in a military family she is happily married to her own Officer and when not reading or writing enjoys sailing the high seas.

Where to find Sarah






Sign up for Sarah’s Newsletter

#crime · Books · fiction · reading · reviews · Suspense

Faithless by Kjel Ola Dahl #BlogTour #Review

Faithless cover


Oslo detectives Gunnarstranda and Frølich are back … and this time, it’s personal… When the body of a woman turns up in a dumpster, scalded and wrapped in plastic, Inspector Frank Frølich is shocked to discover that he knows her … and their recent meetings may hold the clue to her murder. As he ponders the tragic events surrounding her death, Frølich’s colleague Gunnarstranda investigates a disturbingly similar cold case involving the murder of a young girl in northern Norway and Frølich is forced to look into his own past to find the answers – and the killer – before he strikes again. Dark, brooding and utterly chilling, Faithless is a breath-taking and atmospheric page-turner that marks the return of an internationally renowned and award-winning series, from one of the fathers of Nordic Noir.


I’m new to Nordic Noir and wasn’t sure if it was my thing, but i really enjoyed my first taste .

Faithless is a slowly unfolding thriller that ambles along picking up pace in the final chapters.

The two main characters Frølich and Gunnarstranda are true to life. Their investigation techniques are at times very relaxed and they don’t always do things to the book, nor are they always politically correct, but it makes the characters very likeable. In fact the whole book is very relaxed and a real joy to read. The nice thing is that you find out alot of background about the police officers personal lives, i like this in a novel, it makes the characters have alot more depth and enables you to feel as if you know them.

There are 2 cases running alongside each other, a missing student and the murder of a woman who has been left in a dumpster. The case becomes hard for Frølich when he discovers he knows the murder victim .

I really liked the female police officer  Lena who is feisty, smart and sassy. She really shows her worth in the last few chapters. Although the book is quite slow paced it does really pick up speed in the last few chapters and had me on the edge of my seat!

The ending leaves an definite opening for the nest instalment whicch i will definitely be awaiting!

About the Author


One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.

Thank you to Anne Cater for allowing me to take part in this Blog Tour and also a big thank you to Orenda Books.

Click here to buy Faithless

#crime · Books · fiction · reading · reviews · Suspense · Uncategorized

Unconvicted by Olly Jarvis #Spotlight #Blogtour

I’d like to thank Olly Jarvis and Canelo for including me in this blog tour.


Title: Unconvicted

Author Name: Olly Jarvis

Previous Books (if applicable): Cut Throat Defence


Genre: Legal Thriller, Thriller


Release Date: 29th January 2018


Publisher: Canelo


Unconvicted Blog Tour (5)

In a razor-sharp legal thriller, Jack Kowalski must win two challenging trials to save his reputation and his career

Junior barrister Jack Kowalski is crushed. His client Timothy Smart appears to have committed a monstrous crime while on bail – a bail application Jack fought hard to win.

When a high-profile Polish footballer is charged with rape and demands a fellow countryman represent him, Jack must overcome his guilt and get back to work. Before long he takes on a second case, a GBH for instructing solicitor Lara Panassai, who Jack remains desperate to impress. But neither case is what it seems, and Jack will face an extraordinary uphill battle to see that justice is done…

The second Jack Kowalski novel, Unconvicted is a gripping courtroom drama written with the expert insight of a practicing criminal barrister, perfect for fans of William L. Myers, Deborah Hawkins, and Scott Turow.

All about Olly


Olly Jarvis is a writer and criminal defence barrister, originally from London but now working in Manchester. Drawing on his experiences, he writes both fiction and non-fiction with a particular understanding of the pressures and excitement of life in the courtroom. He wrote the highly acclaimed Radio 4 drama Judgement, and wrote and presented the BBC documentary Mum Knows Best. He is also the author of Death by Dangerous. Olly has two children and lives in Cheshire.

Where to find Olly



Links to book


Google books uk

Apple books UK


Books · fiction · reading · reviews · Uncategorized

The Magic Of Stars by Jackie Ladbury

The Magic of Stars Cover


Sapphire Montrose always felt like a loser in the struggle of life, but when she becomes the airline manager of a run-down airline she starts to believe she is a winner – until she unwittingly propositions her new boss and all her hard work is undone.

In a moment of recklessness air stewardess, Sapphire Montrose throws caution and her dress to the wind by propositioning a handsome stranger in a hotel in Florence, only to find herself waking up alone and embarrassed in her hotel room.
Unfortunately for Sapphire, it turns out that her new boss, Marco Cavarelli, is the man she failed to seduce and she is now fighting for her job and her self-respect when he tells her there is no place in his revamped airline for an alcoholic woman with lascivious tendencies. To make matters worse she is increasingly attracted to him and he seems to be giving out the same vibes. Or is he simply testing her? One wrong move could be the end of her career. But what if he really is offering love – and is he worth the risk?

My review

The Magic of Stars Full Tour

I’d firstly like to thank Jackie Ladbury and Rachel’s random resources for allowing me to take part in this blog tour.

I was so excited to be asked to take part in this blog tour. I throughly enjoyed Air guitar and caviar, Jackie’s first book.

The magic of stars didn’t disappoint, it is written in Jackie’s wonderful familiar style. The characters jump off the page and come alive.

The first chapter catapults you slap bang into the middle of Italy, the country of romance but not so in Sapphires case. Sapphire has decided to surprise her then boyfriend who is in Florence. Her plan of seduction doesn’t quite work out when she discovers Rick in bed with another woman.

Sapphire leaves whilst she can still salvage some of her self esteem. She finds herself in a very plush hotel bar where she throws caution to the wind, whips out her credit card and books a room. She then finds the bar, Sapphire doesn’t drink…usually! The description of Sapphires drunken evening is hilarious. Jackie captures the change in personality from sober to drunk perfectly, it made me really giggle.

This is where we are introduced to Marcus, the handsome hotel owner. Marcus is the perfect gentlemen and makes sure the very drunk Sapphire finds her way back to her room. As he does so Sapphires drunken alter ego does her very best to seduce him. Marcus manages to resist…just!

Sapphire and Marcus go their separate ways never thinking their paths will cross again, but they do!

This is such a feel good book and guaranteed to bring you some sunshine and giggles.

Click here to buy The magic of stars


Sapphire looked up to see granite eyes, flecked with iron, scrutinising her, and her heart stuttered with an emotion she didn’t recognise. She scrambled off her knees and faced him. How could she have forgotten he was on board – his presence was huge? He seemed to fill the galley with his aura. ‘Oh no, I don’t drink.’

He laughed coldly. ‘You could have fooled me.’ He looked at her with such obvious disdain, it almost brought her back to her knees. He shook his head, his lips twisting. ‘She lies too.’

‘I do not lie.’ She thrust her chin upwards. ‘How dare you?’

‘I dare because I am now your boss and the truth is staring me in the face.’ The forbidding eyes pierced hers as he waited for an answer, his lips compressed into a thin line.

Sapphire glared at him and drew herself up, squaring her shoulders in defiance of his words. ‘Well since you’re the boss you’d obviously know, wouldn’t you?’

His gaze didn’t waver. ‘I hear that you are cabin services manager here, so we shall be working together over the next few months. I’ll make an appointment to talk to you about what went wrong today.’ He pursed his lips and she half expected the steepled fingers to return.

She didn’t like the sound of his words. ‘An appointment?’ She retained eye contact; she would not be bowed. ‘Mr Cavarelli, I work incredibly hard to keep standards and morale high. I love my job and I resent the implication that I’m somehow lacking.’ She pressed her lips together to stop more words from spilling out.

He raised an eyebrow, ‘Maybe your standards are not as high as mine. We will see, Sapphire Montrose.’

She was silenced by the soft, intimidating way he said her name, and hated herself for noticing his long eyelashes and darkly stubbled jawline, when she should be taking in his hard and hostile words.

He made to return to the flight deck, but paused and turned back to face her. ‘In fact, Miss Montrose, there is no time like the present. Your shift will be finished, I take it, when we land. I’ll meet you at the staff restaurant since I do not yet have an office; we can talk about the future of the airline, and your place in it.’

‘But it’s nine o’clock at night.’

‘Something happens to you after nine?’ he asked, the sardonic smile back on his lips.

‘No,’ she stammered. How did he manage to make her feel silly so easily?

‘There are no children or a husband waiting for you to come home, I hope?’

There it was again, a veiled reference to the night she wanted to forget; he would never allow her to forget it – of that she was sure. She tore her gaze away from him as he narrowed his eyes. ‘No,’ she said, seeing that he was waiting for an answer.

‘I can, of course, ask my secretary to make an official appointment if you would rather our little chat is put on the record.’ He tilted his head, waiting, and she tried to suppress the anger in her eyes, before he spoke again.

Si. We will have coffee.’

She waivered for a brief second; a little chat with him was the last thing she wanted. But she nodded, yes, she would be there – she had no choice. For someone who was so good-looking, he really was a most disagreeable man.

All about Jackie

Air Guitar - Jackie Ladbury

Jackie Ladbury was desperate to become a journalist when she left school but was ousted within minutes on the day of the exam at her local rag because she’d forgotten to bring a pen.
Short and sharp lesson learned.
Her budding writing career was not on hold for long, though, as Jackie found herself scribbling love stories of pilots and ‘hosties’ while she flew in aeroplanes of various shapes and sizes as a flight attendant herself.
Fast forward a good few years and, after being short-listed in a couple of prestigious romantic writing competitions, Jackie decided it was time to discard her stilettos, say goodbye to the skies and concentrate on writing romantic novels, where the only given is a guaranteed ‘happy ever after.’

The Magic of Stars Banner 1

Where to find Jackie



The write romantics


Books · fiction · reading · reviews · Uncategorized

The Eden Paradox by Barry Kirwan #Guestpost #Blogtour #Giveaway

Eden Paradox cover

Firstly I would like to thank Barry and Neverland Blog tours for allowing me to take part in this blog tour


 A murder… a new planet mankind desperately needs… a thousand-year old conspiracy… What really awaits us on Eden? In a world beset by political turmoil, environmental collapse, and a predatory new religion, a recently discovered planet, Eden, is our last hope. But two missions have failed to return. Blake Alexander and his crew lead the final attempt to bring back good news. Meanwhile back on Earth, Micah Sanderson evades assassins, and tries to work out who he can trust as he struggles in a race against time to unravel the Eden Paradox.

Today I would like to welcome Barry Kirwan onto my blog. I absolutely love with a capital L Barry’s Nadia Laksheva series of books, written under Barry’s pen name J F Kirwan.

Click here to buy The Eden Paradox

Click here to view on Goodreads

Today Barry hosting guest post about love and science fiction…


Why isn’t there more love in science fiction?

Guest blog by Barry Kirwan


It’s hard to think of a science fiction book or film where love is the central premise; it usually plays second fiddle at best. Readers of SciFi are looking for spaceships, aliens, new worlds, and cunning plots. Think of Star Wars, probably the best-known Scifi film – Luke initially is drawn to Princess Leia, but it doesn’t work out, and in fact she turns out to be his sister. In any case she is more interested (what girl wouldn’t be?) in Han Solo. But such threads are secondary to the vast sweep of The Empire, Darth Vader, the Force, Obe Wan Kenobe, light-sabre fights and the Death Star.


In books it’s similar. Scifi classics such as Asimov’s Foundation, Herbert’s Dune, or Clarke’s Rama series, don’t have love as a central premise – it’s not what we remember about these works, although Dan Simmons’ Hyperion has one of its pilgrims’ stories recounting a love story that is one of the most powerful I’ve ever read. Alistair Reynolds’ Revelation Space is also a rare, exceptional mixture of galaxy-spanning space opera and ‘love at any cost’. But generally, from Larry Niven’s Ringworld to Iain Banks’ culture novels, love is in the background. If readers want to read romance novels, these are available by the bucket-full in mainstream or romance fiction. Occasional cross-overs (the Time-travellers’ wife) may look like science fiction, but for most Scifi fans they belong more in the romance genre.


Of course, Scifi writers might just be geeks who don’t get much ‘luvvin’, and well, as the saying goes, you ‘write what you know’, the implication being that the converse also holds. Well, I’d have to disagree (what scifi writer wouldn’t?), and there are some notable ‘proofs’, such as Orson Scott Card who writes great Scifi (Ender’s Game, etc.), and also writes romance [thanks Orson, for shielding our collective reputation!]. Iain Banks is another eminent Scifi author who writes in other genres. I also remember, when producing my first Scifi book, having professional editors asking me to tone down the ‘love’ angle, as it didn’t fit the genre, and downright remove some of the more exotic sex scenes: simply not done, old chap!


Of course when it comes to aliens, they might not love at all. Geneticists would tell us that love is all about procreation, and in fact is a myth we’ve woven onto a biological need to further the species. This possible truth is easier seen when mapped onto fictional alien species, especially when the method of procreation can be rendered less human (e.g. insectoid species laying eggs). But good Scifi writers don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, and for example I always found a strong part of the film Alien to be that the alien in question was fiercely protective of her offspring, which makes sense for any species, and we don’t have to call it ‘love’.


What does annoy me, however, is ‘love colonialism’ [Star Trek is guilty of this over and over] wherein humans convince non-loving aliens that they are really missing out, and that love is some universal truth. It might be, but let’s not get carried away with ourselves; bacteria do pretty well in terms of survival without it, and they’ve been around a lot longer.


In my Eden series, aliens don’t normally exhibit strong love tendencies, though they ‘care’ in particular for their own, although in my third book I do have a very advanced species (called the Kalarash) who seem to have some depressingly familiar love issues: e.g. a couple of them have not been talking to each other for half a million years after a tiff. Beneath this seemingly flippant situation is a deeper hypothesis – that love might be a product of civilisation. Very advanced cultures might eschew love and go beyond it (as in Stargate’s idea of ‘ascension’), or else it might be the ultimate goal.


I have to confess that in my second book (Eden’s Trial), I have a couple of drones (artificial intelligences) fall in love (they experience ‘perfect electronic resonance’), though it is brief, and in keeping with Scifi tradition, it doesn’t end well… More seriously I’m exploring the effects of genetically-engineered advancement on the ability to love, in the Eden series, most strongly portrayed in between the characters Kat and Pierre, and the genetically modified children who grow up to become the Genners – advanced in every other way except one – they are emotionally retarded.


Which brings me to the last point, that (regrettably?) there is no scientific basis for love. Love may simply be an inferred (learned) experience that we map onto natural hormonal responses: we feel something (endorphins), and we learn to call it love. Certainly as any of us who experienced teenage love and then fell out of it, it feels like drug withdrawal, doesn’t it? Endorphins are a natural drug we have in our heads.


Of course, science, and science fiction have to accept the possibility of the alternative hypothesis – that love is real (phenomenologically speaking, this is ‘true’), but science is too dumb (yet) to be able to measure it. I hinted at this, and the importance of love for an alien species, in my short story ‘The Sylvian Gambit’, which is essentially a Scifi love story, wherein the protagonist says near the end: “Love: wrap an equation around that.”


The deeper question is not whether scifi writers include love between their covers, as many people will say ‘who cares?’ Yet science fiction is a projection of our future. What if there is no love in our future? Could we evolve and advance in other ways, yet lose the ability to love? That is what I have tried to answer in the Eden series. And to cut a long series short, the answer is that we will hang onto it, because at the end of the day, it not only defines us, but gives us a strong will to survive collectively, because we want to protect those we love.


All about Barry

J F Kirwan - Copy

Barry (J F) Kirwan is a split personality. He writes science fiction under the name Barry Kirwan, and thrillers under his pen name J F Kirwan. In his day job, he travels worldwide, working on aviation safety. He lives in Paris, where he first joined a fiction class – and became hooked! This led to an acclaimed four-book series called the Eden Paradox. But when a back injury stopped him scuba diving for two years, he wrote a thriller about a young Russian woman, Nadia, where a lot of the action occurred in dangerously deep waters.Two of these thrillers are now out and he’s working on the third, as well as a new science fiction novel called ‘When the children come.’

 Where to find Barry







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