The Big Ol’ Bike by Rachael Clarke #TheBigOlBike @raclarkewrites @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #childrensfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Big Ol’ Bike by Rachel Clarke. My thanks to Emma at damppebbles for my e-copy of this wonderful childrens book. I really enjoyed reading this one.

Big things are happening in Little Springs…

Everything about Oliver is small, from his footprint to his glasses-and a trio of bullies never let him forget it. When Oliver receives his grandfather’s old bike for his birthday, he rides tall for the first time. But the meanest bully in school doesn’t like that at all. Oliver quickly finds himself challenged to a race. Now, he’ll have to be bigger than he ever imagined in order to prove heroes come in small packages too.

The Big Ol’ Bike is a contemporary slice of life for ages 7-10. It’s filled with characters who could live down the street from you, or have a locker beside yours at school. Come hang out with Oliver, Austin, and Sue, as they experience excitement, setbacks, and adventure together. Themes of bullying, family, friendship, confidence, and community are all explored.

Longer than average for this age range, The Big Ol’ Bike is meant to be transitional between chapter books and middle grade novels. It’s an equally perfect choice for eager readers who fly through the pages, and kids who enjoy taking it chapter by chapter.

WARNING: Reading this book may cause an immediate and urgent need to ride your bike. Do not be alarmed-the feeling will pass soon enough. But don’t let it. 😉

Purchase from Amazon – UK CAN US

My Review…

What a wonderful story about The Bog Ol’ Bike was, as I read it I was reminded of my old Raleigh Chopper. I loved that bike and was gutted when I was then given a Raleigh Shopper! I was due to go to secondary school then and needed a bike suitable for carrying my school books. Yes a sensible decision, but still…

Back to the book, this is a gorgeous story that the author and illustrator has presented. It is about young Oliver and his bike. His old bike was too small for him and he is given his grandfathers old bike. Not a modern machine but one that Oliver loves.

This old bike however gives the school bullies something to tease poor Oliver about. It makes him doubt himself and also the reason behind the present.

The author has tackled bullying in this story as well as having a belief in yourself. it has been done in such a way as to encourage the reader to discuss problems they may be having. More importantly, I do think this book is a deal to sit and chat about. It would be great to pause the reading and start a discussion about “what would you do if it was you?”

This is such a lovely story and one that I do think is ideal for the age group of 7-10 that it is aimed at. It does have some very helpful advice that is part of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this and I would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

Rachael Clarke is a former police officer turned stay-at-home mom living in Portage la Prairie, MB. She rides the twisty rollercoaster of life alongside her sport-obsessed husband, adorably mischievous boys, and two quirky dogs. Rachael likes to stay busy, constantly juggling writing projects from children’s books to novels. Besides writing and illustrating, she enjoys photography, the outdoors, acting, and sipping steaming cups of coffee. Oh, and cake—can’t forget cake.

Rachael also writes multi-genre short fiction under the pen name R.A. Clarke. Her work has been featured in various publications, and has won both Writer’s Weekly and Writer’s Games.

Author Links – Twitter Facebook Website Goodreads Instagram YouTube

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Can You See Me Now by Trisha Sakhlecha @TrishaSakhlecha @RandomTTours @panmacmillan #mystery #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Can You See Me Now by Trisha Sakhlecha. This was a fabulous book and I would like to say a huge thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Blog Tours for my spot on the tour and for arranging for my copy from the publisher Pan MacMillan. It wasn’t until I read Trisha’s bio below that I realised that this book is based on an actual event!

From Trisha Sakhlecha,Can You See Me Now? is a gripping psychological suspense thriller about a young Indian woman, now a government minister, whose past secrets are about to reverberate into the present and shatter her life. Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell and Erin Kelly.

Fifteen years ago, three sixteen-year-old girls meet at Wescott, an exclusive private school in India.
Two, Sabah and Noor, are the most popular girls in their year. One, Alia, is a new arrival from England, who feels her happiness depends on their acceptance.

Before she knows it, Sabah and Noor’s intoxicating world of privilege and intimacy opens up to Alia and, for the first time, after years of neglect from her parents, she feels she is exactly where, and with whom, she belongs.

But with intimacy comes jealousy, and with privilege, resentment, and Alia finds that it only takes one night for her bright new world to shatter around her.

Now Alia, a cabinet minister in the Indian government, is about to find her secrets have no intention of staying
buried . . . 

My Review…


I absolutely adored this book and the author has done such a brilliant job of creating a story that is full of intrigue and mystery.

The story is told in two different timelines. One is the present the other is 15 years ago while three girls were at a prestigious school in Delhi. The girls are Sabah, Noori and Alia. Alia is the newest member of the group and for the first time in her life, she feels that this is a group to which she should belong.

The past is one that builds a picture of school life for the girls and shows the dynamics between the three of them. Building on their characters and personality traits, the author gradually weaves in an air of mistrust and jealousy. Close friendships are only close when secrets and trust are kept intact, but when a comment is let loose then cracks start to form.

In the present, Alia is a politician, a position she has worked hard to for over the years, Sabah is a documentary filmmaker wanting her next story. There are things in the past that have never been fully revealed. Yet there are some things that are starting to surface.

This is such a brilliantly addictive read. I really enjoyed the dual timeline format of this story. The author used it to great effect, providing links and also reasons for mistrust in the present. The mystery behind an event in the past was one that was gradually teased out. There were several little subplots that gave more suspicions and doubt and it wasn’t until much later int he story where things were finally brought to a conclusion.

Very enjoyable from start to finish. Gripping throughout and one I think readers of crime, mystery thrillers would enjoy. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Trisha Sakhlecha grew up in New Delhi and now lives in London.  For her new novel, she draws upon a true story – a famous scandal that erupted at her own high school and which changed India.  She works in fashion and is a graduate of the acclaimed Faber Academy writing course. In the past, Trisha has worked as a designer, trend forecaster, and lecturer.  She is the author of Your Truth Or Mine? www. trishasakhlecha.com or on Instagram @trishasakhlecha Critical acclaim for Tisha Sakhlecha

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

My (Last Two) Week(s) In Books (w/e 28th Feb) #Booklove #bookupdates #bumperbookroundup #MeAndMyBooks

Hello to a bumper round up post this week, I didn’t post last weeks as there were several Blog Tours and posts I had planned. You know me, I don’t tend to post twice in one day unless my diary skills let me down!

So I have 9 books that I have read this 2 weeks and also 2 audiobooks! Quite a fortnight for reading, so here we go…

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I am so glad I signed up to the Blog Tour for Under an Island Skye by Lisa Hobman. This was a fabulous book to escape into and also a first for me by this author. A gorgeous tale of love, loss, and of taking a chance. The author absolutely nailed this book for me, there were a few hard things to tackle in this book but the author managed to keep it hopeful. Loved this a lot.

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If you are looking for a slightly bizarre and entertaining mystery read then Bullet Train by Kotaro Isaka may be one for you. I do think this may be a marmite book (you’ll love it or not). I say this is bizarre, because at times I almost felt like I was reading something from that had a Japanese theatre feel to it. It was a mystery as well as a crime book but it also had me sniggering at some of the strange events during the train ride. I did enjoy this book and I shall pop my review up soon.

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I adored Can You See Me Now by Trisha Sakhlecha and this is another one I am so glad I signed up for. This was one of those books that is addictive and gripping reading. There is an old mystery that that is being brought into the present and it is told over two timelines. One from 15 years ago and from the present day. I am going to be vague about this one, in fact my full review is also vague beacause I don’t want anything to slip! This is one for those who like timelines, mysteries, suspense and thrillers. I loved it as I am sure many others will. Keep an eye out for the Blog Tour soon.

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I do wish I had read the first two books in this series, not because I needed to but because I really enjoyed Bobby Parks Will Live Forever by Alan Parks. I really like this police procedural crime thriller set in Glasgow in 1973. The way the author used the setting and the era for this story was brilliant and his characters are definitely memorable for various reasons. This is another book where my full review is vague, and deliberately so as there are many things I would love to shout about but it would spoil it for other readers. Keep an eye out for the Blog Tour for this one as well.

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It’s so nice to read a new to me historical fiction and family saga author. The Hat Girl from Silver Street by Lindsey Hutchinson was a wonderful read as I followed Ella as she makes the decision to leave her current job and styart out on her own. This is a wonderful saga novel and one that I found very hard to put down. One for those who also love historical romance, again keep an eye for the Blog Tour.

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This authors books are one that feature regularly on my reviews so I was delighted to get a spot on the Blog Tour for Mr Right Across the Street by Kathryn Freeman. Kathryn is an author who knows how to right rom-coms that just can just fall into, this one I thoroughly enjoyed. This is a book about opposites, as I got to know Mia I discovered more about her as well as the guy who lives opposite. This has some really wonderful moments and is such a lovely story.

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I love it when authors mixed fact and fiction and Anthrax Island by D. L. Marshall was just that, as well as being a terrific crime thriller read. I also see this is the first book in the John Tyler series and I am really pleased about this because it means I get to read more about his main protagonist. This is a book that brought together the bleakness of a remote island that is contaminated with Anthrax. A body is found that leads to more questions than answers. This book kept me on my toes, full review as part of the Blog Tour.

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I have all of this series of books and yet only just got around to reading the 2nd book, Hydra by Matt Wesolowski. This is a crime, mystery thriller style read that is told in a transcript format, and it works so well. Scott King interviews people that have a connection to an old crime. He interviews six people. The Six Stories series is very popular among crime readers and I can see why. The author gives a brilliant tale that has such an addictive format. I listened to the first book and I thought it worked really well. You never know, I might have read all of the books in this series before he gets to release number 6! Full review to follow shortly.

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I had recently seen the Blog Tour for Opposites Attract by Camilla Isley and there was a good deal on this book at the time so I bought it. I am so glad I spotted it because this was a story that I read one evening, yep in one evening. I loved the chemistry or lack of between the two main characters and how they gradually got past their differences. One for those who enjoy a lovely bit of escapism in their reads with the odd chuckle or two thrown in as well! Review to follow soon.

Now onto the two audiobooks.

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When I saw The Orwell Collection performed by Stephen Fry on Audible I knew straight away that this was going to be worth my credit! First, I love Fry as a narrator. Second, I love the book Animal Farm. Third I love 1984, but not quite so much as Animal Farm! One credit for two stories and by Fry! Well, a no brainer in my opinion. Listening to these over several days was great and a nice reminder as to how much I enjoyed reading both books. Yes they have a political slant. but let’s be honest, we know this before we start them. These are classics and ones that are easily accessible bot in terms of reading as well as listening. 1984 does drag a bit in places, but then that matches the atmosphere of the story. Both are fab stories to listen to and I would recommend both.


Well there you are my lovelies! 2 weeks and a total of 11 books! Quite how that happened is still a mystery to me. My OH doesn’t mind as he has obviously had hours of peace and been able to watch as much of his crappy TV programs as he wants 😉😂.

So its that time again. So, take care and have a great week ahead

Yvonne xx

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Never the Bride by Charlotte Fallowfield #onefrommytbr #romcom #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Never the Bride by Charlotte Fallowfield. This is a book that I bought in 2017 and it is the first book in the Dilbury Village series.

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From Charlotte Fallowfield, bestselling rom-com author, comes Never The Bride – A laugh out loud romantic comedy novel full of heart-warming friendships, romance, and quintessential British humour – Coming 28th February 2017.

Abbie Carter felt doomed as she clutched her bouquet and started walking up the aisle. Again. She felt like she was stuck in some kind of Groundhog Day wedding nightmare. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Eight dresses, most of them hideous, were already stuffed in her attic space. She had more bridesmaid dresses than relationships. Was she really that unlucky in love? She despaired of ever finding her soul mate and was convinced that if she packed away dress thirteen in her attic, she’d never get to wear the coveted white one and have her happy ever after.

That was until she locked eyes with one of the handsome ushers, whose wink turned her elegant and well-practiced glide up the aisle into a flailing Bambi-on-ice spectacle. Miller Davis was the first man in forever to make her heart skip a beat, as well as her legs turn to jelly. And, for once, her interest in a man didn’t seem to be one-sided. It was just a shame that the Atlantic Ocean separated them. Abbie couldn’t even make a relationship with her elderly fat pooch, Sumo, work, so what chance did she have with a permanent New Yorker? Her best friend, Georgie, told her to ignore the miles that separated her from Miller and to go for it, saying that true love knew no bounds.

Was Abbie fated to always be the bridesmaid, or would her wish for the perfect day with the man of her dreams ever come true?

While Never The Bride will be a standalone story, it’s the first in the Dilbury Village series of romantic comedy novels. All of them will be set in the quaint ficticious English hamlet in the Shropshire countryside, but feature a different village couples’ story.

My Review…

The synopsis gives a great idea as to exactly what this book is all about. Abbie, unlucky in the love department watches as her school friends gradually get married, she is always the bridesmaid and never the bride. Even when a gorgeous hunk rescues her it seems that fate has a hand to play as they live different side of the Atlantic.

I cannot believe I have only just discovered this book that has been sat on my kindle since I bought it in 2017. I was hunting for a light-hearted rom-com to lighten my reading mood as I had been on a crime reading-athon for a couple of weeks. Never The Bride more than filled the requirements for what I wanted.

The author has some absolutely brilliant characters and boy does she use to them to great and often humorous effect. There is a good deal of very British, close to the mark humour that had me sniggering and laughing as I was reading. Now don’t think this is all comedy because it isn’t, there are also some very sad moments.

This is a story about relationships and friendships in a small village near Shrewsbury. I adored the humour as well as the characters such as Daphne, Georgie, Abbie, Heath, Miller and the very flatulent Mr Sumo. The different ways Abbie finds herself in the midst of disaster, usually with Georgie in toe at some point is brilliant.

The book had me with tears in my eyes on several occasions mostly from the sniggering and laughing as well as from the occasional sad part. This was an absolutely brilliant read and if you are after a bok to lift your spirits then this is one I would defiantly recommend, I loved it.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Dreaming under an Island Skye by Lisa Hobman @LisaJHobmanAuth @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #contemporaryfiction #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Dreaming under an Island Skye by Lisa Hobman. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my e-copy of this gorgeous book.

Is there really such a thing as a second shot at true love?


After three wonderful years of marriage, librarian Juliette Fairhurst’s heart is shattered when her husband, Laurie, is taken from her much too soon.
Devasted, Juliette decides to take a sabbatical and reconnect with her mother’s birthplace, the village of Glentorrin on the picturesque Isle of Skye.
Welcomed by most of the villagers, Juliette throws herself into an idyllic community life, taking on the role of temporary summer guardian at The Lifeboat House Museum; a role that offers her the perfect escape from the tragedy of her real life.
During her time on the island, Juliette clashes with brooding single dad and artist, Reid Mackinnon and is befriended by his son Evin and dog Chewie. It’s clear that divorced Reid is struggling and scarred by his own painful experiences.
Can these two lost souls find a lifeline to rescue each other?
Or will their pasts scupper their second chance at real happiness?

Purchase Link – HERE

My Review…

When I read the synopsis for this book I knew it was one that I definitely wanted to read. I wanted a book that would whisk me away and give me a good story with a sense of place. This book definitely did that!

This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I absolutely fell in love with her descriptions of Skye. It is a place that is on my list of places to visit one day. Her descriptions are gorgeous not just of the island but also of the community that she has created, warming, welcoming and one that sounds idyllic, well for the most part. As with any community, there is always the odd soul who likes to put a dampener on things.

Juliette finally realises that she needs a break from her life and those around her. She has been going through the motions of living after the death of her husband and while people have been supported she feels the time is right to take time out for something different. Skye is very different from her life in the Cotswold’s where she is a librarian.

A few months will give her a chance to be herself, to be in a place where no one knows that she is still grieving and where people feel lost for words when they meet her. She makes arrangements to visit and it not just a random visit as she does have family connections to the island from years ago.

It is often mentioned that when you have been at your lowest, you are more likely to see the signs of it in others. This is the case for Juliette when she actually looks at Reid for the first time. Well, I say the first time, but it wasn’t. They didn’t exactly hit it off the first time! But she can recognise the signs of someone who is struggling and so as is her nature she tries to reach out to him.

A story of friendship and understanding, as well as misunderstanding, follows. A story of hard choices and heartbreak gives a wonderful story to escape into. The characters that the author has created sound, on the whole, to be a wonderful lot and I could see myself really enjoying the odd night at the pub with them!

This is such a wonderful book that delivered so many good things and also had such a wonderful sense of understanding to it. Dealing with loneliness, guilt, apprehension and loss and yet at the same time having a sense of wanting to move forward. Given what could have been a hard storyline for a reader, the author has taken it in a more positive way making it an uplifting read. I adored this book and if you love your contemporary romance then this one should be right up your street. It is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Lisa Hobman has written many brilliantly reviewed women’s fiction titles – the first of which was shortlisted by the RNA for their debut novel award. In 2012 Lisa relocated her family from Yorkshire to a village in Scotland and this beautiful  backdrop now inspires her uplifting and romantic stories.

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Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

Many thanks for reading my review, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor @jennie_ensor Relaunch #contemporaryfiction #bookreview and #extract

I am delighted to be helping out Jennie Ensor with the relaunch of her book Not Having It All. THis was a book I read last year and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. Jennie is also holding a GIVEAWAY over on her Facebook Page, more details below.

Here is the new cover and I absolutely love it 😍

This is the story of four middle-aged people who are definitely NOT having it all. Meet Bea, Kurt, Maddie and Colin.

Senior lecturer Bea Hudson juggles her job at the ‘Psycho Lab’ with looking after her demanding five-year-old daughter, badly-behaved dog and next-to-useless au pair. When her chief exec husband is sent overseas and she’s left without childcare, Bea turns to best friend Maddie for help.

Kurt, downing whiskies in his hotel room as he imagines what his wife is up to, is convinced that Bea is becoming a little too friendly with Maddie. With characteristic obsession he enlists his neighbour’s help in a secret surveillance operation.

Found-object artist Maddie longs for a child of her own with a man she can trust – and he must love cats.

Divorced, risk-averse Colin is a senior manager at ‘the nation’s number one pussy insurer’. When he meets Maddie in a lift he’s smitten, and resolves to displace Maddie’s feline companions on her sofa. But he starts to fear that Maddie sees him only as ‘a handy stud with a fat wallet’.

Can Bea and Kurt find happiness again? Can Maddie and Colin risk falling in love?

A story about love, relationships and second chances, perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Jojo Moyes, and anyone who loved Bridget Jones’ Diary or Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. If you enjoy novels with depth, heart and laugh-out-loud humour, you’ll love this razor-sharp romantic comedy like no other.

My Review…

How on earth does Bae Hudson juggle being a neuropsychologist on the brink of a breakthrough with being a wife, mum and friend? Well, I soon found that it isn’t easy for her as I read Not Having It All!

Bea is fraught and struggling. A serious career and research means she has to spend time at work to be seen as someone serious about her career. If she reduces her hours she could very easily be side-lined and her funding may disappear. Her husband also has a demanding job, often working away from home for periods. This time he is in Turkey because “he is the best man for the job”. With both of them in full time careers the housekeeping and looking after Fran, their daughter falls to Polish au pair Katie.

Along the way, I also met Madelaine, Colin, Nigel and Allie. They all have roles to play in one form or another. It seems they are also having some sort of crisis in their lives. This is at times a hilarious read as it includes such a cross-section of people. Whether they are having a midlife crisis, feeling guilty about working too much or feeling downright unappreciated, they all seem to be having problems of some sort. Life can be a pain sometimes as pressures easily mount, making mountains out of molehills and often just needed to be looked at from a different perspective or to have recognise the struggles of others. The author has taken everyday worries and wrapped them into a fabulous story that held my attention.

I liked the format or this book as it is told in journal entries, notes or emails from each of the respective characters. It felt that it added to the busy lives of those concerned. Yes, it is unusual but, it worked very well as I got to see different sides to each of the characters. It also meant that the story moved along at a good pace but also that it didn’t feel rushed.

I really enjoyed Not Having It All. I liked how it reflected today’s modern and fast world and also was upbeat and had a good level of humour that kept it from falling into a more serious read. I loved that I actually laughed out loud on several occasions.

Not Having it All is one I would Definitely Recommend.

Extract…

Emails between Bea and Allie

From: Bea Hudson (bhudson9@blueyonder.co.uk)

Sent: 12 June 2018 10.40pm 

To: Allie Loff (allie53@outlook.com)

Subject: Crisis at home 3

Hope Ray calmer by now?

Sorry to hear that my suggestion re gradual exposure didn’t work. Those emus sound nasty, it might be better to stay well away from now on.

Today’s crisis as follows:

I was trying to make Fran eat more than three spoonfuls of Rice Crispies and at the same time trying to find my laptop with the slides for the presentation I’ve cobbled together about the Phobia Group’s latest non-findings before rushing to catch a fast train to Birmingham.

Me: What are you playing at, Francesca? I’m in a hurry. I can’t wait here forever while you finish that. If you don’t hurry up, you’ll have to go to Little Lanes without your breakfast.

F: (banging her spoon on table) No!

Me: What do you mean, no?

F: I don’t like Little Lanes. I want to stay here!

Me: You can’t, I have to be at a conference in three hours.

F: No!

She picks up her beaker of orange juice and chucks it at me. I’m standing next to the table, three feet away, an easy target. The beaker bounces off my collarbone and rattles to the floor. A gush of cold liquid drenches my shirt.

I’m so shocked I can’t utter a word, let alone a shriek. Fran leaps up from her chair and runs out of the kitchen faster than I’ve ever seen her move. The juice seeps under my bra, down my stomach into a puddle at my feet. My white linen shirt is covered in several large, bright orange splodges. I pull off shirt and skirt and fling them in the sink, then have an urge to run upstairs after Fran and slap her.

How dare she do such a thing? Whatever happened to the smiling, affectionate little girl who used to jump onto my lap and hug me as we watched Mr Bean, or grab my hand and kiss it at the Waitrose checkout?

I lean on the sink, head in hands, not giving a toss that I’m in the kitchen with the blinds open wearing only a bra and knickers in full view of the neighbours. When I finally go upstairs, Fran is sitting on the floor playing with a headless Barbie.

Me: Why did you do that?

F: –

Me: Come on, tell me. I want to know.

F: I don’t know, Mummy.

Me: (yelling) How can you not know!

F: (looks at me in horror)

I take a deep breath, imagining a tropical beach and a gentle breeze cooling my bare skin.

Me: You must not throw things at people on bicycles – and you must not throw orange juice at Mummy. Especially you must not throw orange juice at Mummy! She loves you very much and tries to do what is best for you and Daddy. Sometimes what she does won’t make sense to you, but you must know that she is doing the best she can. Do you understand?

Fran: (looks at me as if I had thrown juice at her)

Me: I love you very much, Frannie. I’m not going to hurt you. But I’m not going to let you behave like that in my house. (That last bit is what Kurt says when he’s angry with her.) Don’t you dare do that again, or there’ll be no more trips to the beach.

I got out Fran’s picture book, made a cup of tea and took a shower. I couldn’t think straight, didn’t know what to do – I couldn’t face trying to get Fran in the car again after what happened last time. I was about to call Katie and ask her to come over early, then remembered her 10.30am hospital appointment (NHS, so no telling how long she’d be).

So I called Maddie. 

Maddie drove over (took less than an hour, so must have been at 90mph), told me I must go to the conference. She would stay and look after Fran, so I could call Katie and tell her she wasn’t needed this afternoon.

Thank heavens for Maddie! When I got back to Godalming this evening, Fran was a sweet little girl again, eating out of Mad’s hand – in both senses! They were sitting side by side on the sofa sharing a plate of bread with peanut butter. I’m not sure who was enjoying it most. Mad likes her food, that’s for sure. Actually, I was a bit taken aback to see them sitting so companionably together. Not jealous, exactly. Well, just a little.

Fran jumped up and wrapped her arms round me and said she was sorry she had been so horrible. I was touched, though I think Maddie put her up to saying it.

The three of us spent the evening together. Maddie cooked dinner and Fran showed me drawings she’d done. Mad had got her drawing deep sea fish from photos on the web, scary-looking creatures with enormous serrated snouts. I told her they were fabulous and she looked so pleased. She was a totally different child to the one I was with this morning – it’s so confusing.

Maybe she feels bad about throwing the juice. Or maybe it’s because Maddie is great with children. She has so many child-friendly skills that I lack. She talks to Fran differently to me, as if she’s a child herself. Yet she can be firm enough to get Fran to do what she wants, even helping to dry the dishes!

I sat in a daze, letting Mad take over, enjoying the peace – no fighting about how much ice cream Fran can have, how much TV she can watch or when she has to go to bed. And M’s such a wiz at practical things – on top of looking after Fran, she fixed the wonky gas ring, wound up the kitchen clock, put the damp remover thingies in the cupboards and swept away the bits of cobweb hanging from the hall ceiling that I keep forgetting to tell Katie about.

After we’d said goodnight to Fran, Maddie joked that I should be married to her instead of Kurt. I said yes, a wife would be much handier – Kurt does nothing around the house except watch TV, make a mess and demand food, back rubs and sexual favours (gross exaggeration, of course). We couldn’t stop laughing. It was almost as funny as years ago when the chemistry teacher at St Mary’s stopped in the corridor, blew her nose and farted (even louder than Dad used to after a helping of Mum’s stew).

Just at that moment, Kurt rang. I couldn’t speak so Mad answered, still chortling. She said I was busy, could he wait a minute? He said, ‘Please, I’d like to talk to my wife, is that too much to ask?’ and hung up.

He still hasn’t called back, which is just as well. He can stew in his own sour juice, imagining whatever he likes. By now he’s probably cooking up visions of Mad and I in bed together, getting up to no good 😨

Anyway, Maddie has offered to come over and look after Fran whenever I need her to. She loves the space and light here, she can paint out on the terrace and do her yoga in the living room. I might take her up on her offer next month, when preschool ends. Then (thank God) there’s only the summer to get through before Fran starts school full-time in September.

xx

About the Author…

A Londoner with Irish heritage, Jennie Ensor began her writing career as a journalist, obtaining a Masters in Journalism (winning two awards) and covering topics from forced marriage to accidents in the mining industry. She isn’t afraid to tackle controversial issues in her novels, either: Islamic terrorism, Russian gangsters and war crimes in her debut BLIND SIDE (a psychological mystery blended with a love story), domestic abuse and sexual exploitation in her second, THE GIRL IN HIS EYES.

Her third novel NOT HAVING IT ALL, a relationship comedy, is an excursion to the brighter side of life. A new edition was published in January 2021.

Ms Ensor’s poetry has appeared in many publications including Poetry Salzburg Review, Ink Sweat and Tears. Her poem ‘Lost Connection’ placed second in the Breakout Prose category of the Fish Lockdown Prize in 2020. In her spare time (?) she reads, walks and attempts twice-weekly yoga. She regularly cycles the punishing hills of north London and at the end of the day enjoys collapsing with a bar of chocolate/glass of strong alcohol in front of a TV crime drama.

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GIVEAWAY –  A prize draw to celebrate the relaunch will be held at 6pm on 23 February on Jennie’s FB page  https://www.facebook.com/JennieEnsorAuthor (the giveaway post is pinned to the page). 

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Seven Days (DI Jack MacIntosh #2) by Michelle Kidd #SevenDays #DIJackMacIntosh @AuthorKidd @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #PublicationDay #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers to be opening the Blog Tour for Seven Days by Michelle Kidd. This is the 2nd book in the DI Jack MacIntosh series and is a cracking read. The first book was The Phoenix Project and you can read my full review HERE.

My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book. I would like to wish Michelle a very happy Publication Day 🤗

One killer. One city. One week.

July 2012 and a serial killer is terrorising the streets of London. With the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympic Games in just seven days time, Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh and his team at the Metropolitan Police have one week to find him. With the killer’s motives unknown, and a mysterious clue being left at each scene, the case takes on a menacing and personal twist. Distracted by his own demons, will DI Jack MacIntosh solve the case before it is too late?

The clock is ticking.
Tick.
Tock.

Purchase Link – Amazon UK or US

My Review…

This is the second book in the DI Jack MacIntosh series and it is another excellent crime thriller read. A serial killer is leaving bodies of women around London, nothing seems to connect them, there are no real similarities apart from some marks left on their bodies, and a random item left near the body.

The story is set just before the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, time is not on Jack and the team’s side as those higher up want the case wrapped up before the prestigious event. The added pressure of a time constraint, as well as a case with very little clues, is bad enough, but add in a new team member who is vague, distant and at times elusive really doesn’t help.

If you have read the previous book then you will have some idea about Jack, Stu and Isabel. These three are returning characters whose stories are woven into each other. The author has continued their individual stories, well more Jack’s, into this second book. These three characters are interesting and are being developed further. If you haven’t read the first book then you will miss some detail, but the author does a good job of providing a recap. In my opinion, though they are better read in order.

The author weaves a story that has the in=vestigating team scratching their heads, they clutch at straws at times as they try to progress with their hunt for the killer. The killer also relates his actions in this novel and this adds a wonderful sense of intrigue. It also allows for some wonderful red herrings to be dropped along the way. There is a psychological aspect to the story, and again it adds another element.

I really like the characters in this series, and there are the obvious new introductions. The continuation of existing characters backstories is good and I like getting to know them more. Another good aspect was the time limits that had been placed on the case, giving the team a sense of urgency and this is added to further in the story.

This is a fabulous crime thriller read that had me hooked very quickly. Even though this is still a new series I was delighted to find how quickly a couple of the main characters came back to me. This is one for crime fans, who like their police procedurals and it is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Michelle Kidd is a self-published author known for the Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh series of novels.

Michelle qualified as a lawyer in the early 1990s and spent the best part of ten years practising civil and criminal litigation.

But the dream to write books was never far from her mind and in 2008 she began writing the manuscript that would become the first DI Jack MacIntosh novel – The Phoenix Project. The book took eighteen months to write, but spent the next eight years gathering dust underneath the bed.

In 2018 Michelle self-published The Phoenix Project and had not looked back since. There are currently three DI Jack MacIntosh novels, with a fourth in progress.

Michelle works full time for the NHS and lives in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. She enjoys reading, wine and cats – not necessarily in that order J

Bibliography:

The Phoenix Project (DI Jack MacIntosh book 1)

Seven Days (DI Jack MacIntosh book 2)

The Fifteen (DI Jack MacIntosh book 3)

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The Good Wife by Eleanor Porter @elporterauthor @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Good Wife by Eleanor Porter. This is a follow on book from The Wheelwright’s Daughter that I read last year. You can read my full review HERE.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my e-copy of this historical fiction novel.

Where will her loyalty lead her?

Once accused of witchcraft Martha Spicer is now free from the shadow of the gallows and lives a safe and happy life with her husband, Jacob. But when Jacob heads north to accompany his master, he warns Martha to keep her healing gifts a secret, to keep herself safe, to be a good wife.

Martha loves Jacob but without him there to protect her, she soon comes under the suspicious eye of the wicked Steward Boult, who’s heard of her talent and forces her to attend to him. If she refuses, he promises to destroy the good life she has built for herself with Jacob.

Desperate and alone, Martha faces a terrible decision: stay and be beholden to Boult or journey north to find Jacob who is reported to have been killed.. The road ahead is filled with danger, but also the promise of a brighter future. And where her gifts once threatened to be her downfall, might they now be the very thing that sets Martha free…?

The brilliant follow-up to Eleanor Porter’s first novel of love, betrayal, superstition and fear in Elizabethan England. A story of female courage, ingenuity and determination , this is perfect for fans of Tracy Chevalier.

Purchase Link – HERE

My Review…

This is the second book that follows the story of Martha, she was once accused of being a witch. After her marriage to Jacob Spicer, they both move and start a new life together, a fresh start with a chance of a good life and where they are unknown.

Life is indeed good until Jacob is asked to travel with his master and this means he will be away for a couple of months. Martha tries her best to continue as normal, but it seems her reputation for healing has followed her and she is called to heal again. Something that Jacob didn’t want there doing again. She gradually gets drawn into a situation that she can see no good end to. She also hears that Jacob has been killed and her only option is to stay or to leave to find Jacobs body.

The author takes Martha on a journey that sees her in a dangerous predicament. A woman travelling alone is not good, it is full of danger and yet the author has a plan for our main protagonist. While this plan is not without its own danger it is a very good option and one that allows Martha more freedom than she has had before.

She finds a companion of sorts, not completely trust-worthy but one that is at times more help than a hindrance. Martha’s travels take her into villages and towns and she is made aware of how naive she really is.

This is a story not just of love and finding the truth but also one that is bound up in superstition and the use of natural ingredients to heal. Set in the Elizabethan era when witchcraft is definitely frowned upon, it lends itself to the story of Martha.

This is a historical fiction novel that I really enjoyed, it continues on from The Wheelwright’s Daughter and shows the world through the eyes of a young woman. It has a feel of being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea as Martha is caught between two choices. The author creates a story that I found to be very addictive and while there is a desperation to Martha there is also a glimmer of hope. A lovely read and one that I would recommend reading if you like good historical fiction.

About the Author…

Eleanor Porter has lectured at Universities in England and Hong Kong and her poetry and short fiction has been published in magazines. The Wheelwright’s Daughter was her first novel.
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My Week In Books (w/e 14the Feb) #booklove #MeAndmyBooks

Hello and welcome to another weekly round-up of books I have read this week. Down here in our end of Cornwall we have missed all the snow and ice, but boy has it been bitterly cold with the wind. As I write this we have gone from being cold, windy and dry to raining and wind once again! Back to normal me thinks!

This week has seen another mix as far as the reading goes.

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I did say there was a mix! Block Printing For Beginners by Elise Young was an excellent book full of tips for lino or block printing. This is something I have done on and off occasionally and my knowledge of the technique is what I can remember from secondary school (many years ago now!). I got approval for this book after seeing it on NetGalley. This book was really great for not only reminding me but also introducing me to the techniques involved in creating blocks for printing. A great place for those like me with limited knowledge or for those who want to have a go at a never tried craft. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and I have some great ideas for future craft projects.


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Sometimes its nice to return to stories or fairy tales that I knew as a child. Malice by Heather Walter is a re-telling of the the sorceress who appears in the tale of The Sleeping Beauty. This was such an easy book to get caught up in, for me it felt like a teen/ Young Adult read and this worked really well. I enjoyed how the author gave a different side to Alice, and how, in the authors tale, she became the evil and wicked person from the classic fairy tale. Again this was another NetGalley approval and it is due for publication in April. I loved this one and I have to mention that cover… simple, effective and gorgeous!


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I read The Wheelwright’s Daughter last year and I was delighted to sign up for the Blog Tour for the second book. The Good Wife by Eleanor Porter continues the story of Martha, a woman once accused of witchcraft but now living north with her husband Jacob. This is a story that shows a woman trying to do her best against suspicion and doubt, hiding her healing gift for fear of further accusations. Life isn’t simple and this story tells of how changes and challenges once again impact Martha. Keep an eye out for the Blog Tour this week.


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Another book that is the second in the series is Seven Days by Michelle Kidd. I read the first book, The Phoenix Project, last year as part of the Blog Tour so was delighted when I saw this book. It continues the story of three main characters that were introduced in the previous book. Jacob and his brother Stu, and café owner Isabel soon came back to me as I started reading this second book. It is 2012 and in 7 days the opening ceremony of the London Olympics will begin. In 7 days the bosses want Jack to have caught a killer. DI Jack Macintosh is a brilliant and very troubled character, in with the case that he is trying to solve I got to know more about him. I really like this series and I cannot wait to read more. Full review next Monday!


I did say it was a mixed week for books!

I also bought a book that I have been thinking about on and off for years. I finally decided to hunt out a copy and found one on World of Books. I Can Jump Puddles by Alan Marshall is a book I read when I was in the last years of primary school or possibly the beginning of secondary school. It has been a book that I have been wanting to re-read. I cannot remember seeing the Tv series, but I can remember the book!

Well there we go another week done and dusted.

I wish you all the very best for the week ahead

Yvonne xx

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The Kindness of Psychopaths by Alan Gorevan #TheKindnessofPsychopaths @AlanGorevan @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Bloggers to be opening the Blog Tour today for The Kindness of Psychopaths by Alan Gorevan. This is such a brilliant book and I wish to say a huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles for my spot on the blog tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

Here is more about it…

How far would you go for those you love?

When Valentina López Vázquez vanishes from her home one morning, it’s obvious that she was taken by force. What happened to her next is not so obvious.

The disappearance forces two men on a gruelling search for the truth: Barry Wall, Valentina’s frantic husband, and Joe Byrne, the nihilistic detective in charge of the investigation.

They are locked on a devastating course that will take them to places darker than they ever dreamt – places without limits…

Don’t miss this page-turning thriller. Perfect for fans of Shari Lapena, Peter Swanson, Jennifer Hillier, and Linwood Barclay.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK or US

My Review…

Wow, this is an absolute belter of a book and one that once I had started I just could not put down. The title does hint at this having a psychological element, the synopsis hints at crime. What you get is an awesome read that has so many twists and turns making this such an addictive read.

Joe Byrne is a detective, as got to get to know him over the course of the story it is a wonder how this man manages to keep going. He isn’t going to win Mr Popularity, and this makes him a bit of a loner as he bounces from situation to situation. Each more extreme than the last that eventually leads the reader to the finale.

What starts off as a missing person soon morphs into something else. Joe has a little bit of an issue when it comes to where his moral compass points, don’t get me wrong I can see the reasons behind his decisions, but, still! I do like this character a lot, he is a maverick.

This is such a cleverly written thriller, it moves from event to event drawing the reader in further and further. Never sure who to believe, what their individual motives are. The story moves along over alternating timelines, the first part of the book jumps in time and is a great way of introducing the characters.

I am being so vague about this review, in fact, it is such a good book I just want to tell you all about the excellent plot, the brilliant storyline, the fabulous characters and that ending! Talk about a fitting title to a story or what!

This is a story that is quite complex but flows so well, the author has done such a great job of twisting in various elements and in such a way that as I was reading I could easily follow. There are so many little details dropped in along the way that gradually make sense by the time you get to the end of the book.

This is a brilliant read and one for readers who love a crime, mystery thriller read with a psychological thread. It is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Alan Gorevan is an award-winning thriller writer and intellectual property attorney. He lives in Dublin.

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