The French Escape by Suzie Tullett @SuzieTullett @bombshellpub #BookReview

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I am delighted today to be sharing my thoughts on The French Escape by Suzie Tullett as part of the blog blitzby Bombshell Books. My thanks to Emma Welton for the invite to join and Bombshell for my ebook. You can buy a copy from AMAZON UK in either paperback or e-book format.

Synopsis:

It’s fair to say that Flick has had a terrible year. Her beloved father died, she had the wedding of her dreams and only hours after the ceremony her husband ran out on her.

Brenda, fed up with her daughter living like a hermit, decides to drag Flick off to France to stay in a chateau. What could be better than an idyllic escape?

But when they arrive Flick discovers the chateau is all but abandoned.

The only upside of her French escape is the handsome and mysterious neighbour, Nate.

Nate loves his life living in the cottage on the grounds of the abandoned chateau but that is about to be put in jeopardy…

Can Nate and Flick ever learn to come to terms with the past and find love again?

My Thoughts:

Flick and her Mum Brenda, are on their way to France. Flick has no idea where she is going as Mum has made all the plans, and Flick also has no idea what Mum has planned until they arrive at a slightly run down chateau. Nate is a neighbour who seems to be a little moody, maybe secretive even… Flick has her own problems and Mum thinks this is the break her daughter needs to help her get her life sorted.

I love Brenda, the way she keeps her daughter in the dark about various things is great, I can see she has Flick’s best interests at heart. Brenda is concerned that Flick has lost her spark and is becoming lifeless and lost, as the story unfolds I got to discover why. As much as I had sympathy for Flick, I had to agree with Brenda, Flick needed a kick up the backside to get her life going again.

Now throw into the mysterious neighbour Nate. Well he has some interesting skeletons that he tried to keep hidden, though not hidden from everyone it seems. Yet another character I really liked, he has an interesting story and one that I didn’t quite expect.

As well as these three, there are also some other characters from the surrounding area that have an interest in the chateau and its new visitors, there reasons why soon become obvious. As do various other developments that the author has cleverly woven in.

This is a really great read and I soon found myself caught up in this story, the descriptions of the area were vivid, I could easily imagine the chateau in its surroundings. As much as I liked Flick’s story I found it was Nate’s story that really caught my interest, a little bit different and also sad.

This is a story about starting over, moving on from the past, making the decision to try things and also there is a bit of romance. The story has a great mix of personalities that compliment the main cast and also each other as well. It is an uplifting story that is captivating, idyllic and one that I would definitely recommend xx

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

Autumn at The Cafe at the End of The Pier by Helen Rolfe @HJRolfe #BookReview

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Today I am sharing my thoughts on Autumn at The Cafe at the End of The Pier by Helen Rolfe. This is part of a series that I absolutely love and have eagerly anticipated each instalment. You can get a copy of this one from AMAZON UK

Synopsis:

Looking for love this autumn? You’ll find it at The Café at the End of the Pier… A feelgood novella and the continuation of the Café at the End of the Pier series.

Autumn brings golden leaves and crisp days to Salthaven-on-Sea – but inside the Cafe the lights are glowing, the hot chocolate is warming, and romantic sparks are flying…

Jo has found her place at the heart of the seaside community, her blind dates are fizzing with chemistry, and this season she plans to bring young and old together with her pumpkin-carving event. But Jo must also find a way to heal the rifts in her own family, even if it means facing up to some home truths.

With the mystery of Jo’s own secret admirer to unravel, there are bound to be fireworks this bonfire night at The Cafe at the End of the Pier…

My Thoughts:

Autumn has arrived at The Cafe at the End of The Pier as the busy summer rush of visitors finally starts to slow. It gives Jo a chance to catch her breath a little before thinking about Halloween and her special themed evenings.

This series is a bit special as I have followed Jo through the seasons. She is an asset to the community and is revelling in her business. It is hard work and she is still upbeat. From originally helping her Grandparents run their cafe, Jo now runs it herself and her grandparents pop in to give her a hand. Even though Jo has her own take on the cafe it still has the charm and love that her grandparents instilled.

There are a few things in this book that start to answer some of the questions that arose in the very first book, and yes you really need to read the previous stories to completely get what going on. There is a family rift, a secret admirer and not all is revealed and there are still questions to be answered… this author does like to keep her readers wondering and speculating. So as one secret is revealed another is continuing to keep me in the dark. I have my suspicions about a who… well actually I have a couple of choices but I do have a favourite… I think!!

This is very much a warm, heartwarming series and this book keeps that sense of returning to see old friends feeling as I began the story. The cafe is welcoming and full of warmth and as its autumn, hot chocolate in abundance. Sumptuous sounding cakes, lashings of soups and savouries still tantalize the taste-buds and all mixed in with friends and family to add the icing on the cake. All I need now is the cherry to top it off, roll on Christmas at The Cafe at the End of The Pier…

This is perfect for escaping into and is ideal for readers who like women’s fiction, general fiction with a hint of romance and a big slice of family and friendship, one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

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Helen J Rolfe writes romantic fiction and contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community. Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries around the world. So far, locations have included Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Connecticut, Bath and the Cotswolds.

Helen writes some books in series as listed below, but all can be read as standalone books:

Magnolia Creek Series
1. What Rosie Found Next
2. The Chocolatier’s Secret
3. The Magnolia Girls

New York Ever After Series
1. Christmas at the Little Knitting Box
2. Snowflakes and Mistletoe at the Inglenook Inn
3. Wedding Bells on Madison Avenue
4. Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin – coming December 2018!

Helen J Rolfe also writes for Orion Books under the name Helen Rolfe. Her new series, Cafe at the End of the Pier, is out in 2018 and begins with a free Valentine’s short story. The series can be read in the following order:

Valentine’s Day at the Café at the End of the Pier
Spring at the Café at the End of the Pier
Summer at the Café at the End of the Pier
Autumn at the Café at the End of the Pier
Christmas at the Café at the End of the Pier

The Little Café at the End of the Pier is the bind-up version of all the Café at the End of the Pier stories in one and will be released January 2019.

Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she studied writing and journalism and began writing for women’s health and fitness magazines. She also volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases. Helen began writing fiction in 2011 and hasn’t missed the I.T. world one little bit, although the I.T. skills have come in handy of course, especially when it comes to creating and maintaining a website.

After fourteen years of living in Australia, Helen returned to the UK and now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and their children.

To learn more about Helen and her writing, find her at: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram

See the Series so far…

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

Perfect Match by Zoe May @zoe_writes #BookReview

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I am sharing my thoughts today on Perfect Match by Zoe May. You can get you own copy from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

Can you ever find true love online?

Sophia Jones is an expert in all things online dating: the best sites, how to write a decent bio, which questions to ask and the right type of photos to use. The only thing she’s not so great at? Picking the guys…

After sitting through yet another dreadful date with a man who isn’t quite what she expected, Sophia is just about ready to give up on the whole dating scene. But her flatmate, Kate, persuades her to give it one more chance, only this time she must create a profile describing her ‘perfect’ man.

Yes, he must look like Robert Pattinson and needs to own a multi-million pound business, but there are a couple of other deal breakers, too! So, when a guy comes along who ticks every box, surely there’s got to be a catch?

A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy, perfect for fans of Catherine Bennetto and Rosie Blake!

My thoughts:

Sophie has tried most of the on-line dating apps. Her latest date is boring her with random facts about food. Sophie and her flatmate Kate make a list of who Sophie’s perfect date would be. So when Mr.Perfect actually turns up Sophie is bowled over.

This is such a fun read and had me sniggering when Sophie and Kate made their Mr Perfect list. When Daniel walks in and is everything Sophie wants she is waiting for the catch. When she realises he is what he appears to be she starts to relax.

Daniels world is so far removed from Sophie’s and there are so many differences in their lifestyles. There are a few characters that make this story move along at a nice pace.

The story is not just about Sophie’s relationship with Daniel. It also has Sophie’s close friends and also her work colleagues. With using the characters, the author has done a great job of showing what sort of person Sophie is and also her values as a person. Sophie is so desperate not to be the last shoe in the shop as people around her seem to be married or in relationships.

This is ideal for readers who like a romance with some humour, a good story line and plenty of fun moments. One I would recommend.

About the Author:

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Zoe May lives in south-east London and writes romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She moved to London in her early twenties and worked in journalism and copywriting before writing her debut novel, Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe could not resist writing a novel about dating, since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!

As well as writing, Zoe enjoys going to the theatre, walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading.

Zoe loves to hear from readers, you can contact her on Twitter and Instagram at: @zoe_writes

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

Spring At Lavender Bay by Sarah Bennett @Sarahlou_writes #BookReview

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Today I have Spring At Lavender Bay by Sarah Bennett, this is book one of a three book series and I am looking forward to continuing my journey at Lavender Bay. You can buy this book via AMAZON UK and while your at it why not pick up the rest in the series 🙂

Synopsis:

A season for change…?

Beth Reynolds loved growing up close to Eleanor’s Emporium – a bric-a-brac shop full of wonders on Lavender Bay. Devastated to learn that Eleanor has died, she returns home from London immediately and is shocked to discover that the elderly lady has left the shop to her!

Vowing to restore it to its former glory, she only intends to stay until the end of the season. Although the longer she spends in the colourful seaside town, the more she falls back in love with everything she left behind…and quite possibly, with her best friend Eliza’s older brother, local chef Sam Barnes!

Why didn’t she notice he was quite this gorgeous before? And will their spring fling be enough to convince her to stay?

Spring at Lavender Bay, the first book in the enchanting Lavender Bay trilogy! Perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley, Rachael Lucas and Hilary Boyd.

Book 1: Spring at Lavender Bay
Book 2: Summer at Lavender Bay
Book 3: Snowflakes at Lavender Bay

My Thoughts:

Beth is left a bric-a-brac shop by her good friend Eleanor. Beth had left home and made a life for herself in London where she is overworked, and unappreciated until the inheritance. Not sure what to do with the shop she decides to clean up and sort through the various items and then re-open, better to sell as a going concern… or should she stay put…

This is one of those delightful romantic reads about decisions that need to be made. Beth has good neighbours and friends in an area that is popular with holiday makers visiting this seaside town.

Her friends Libby and Eliza are a great help with decisions about what to do with the shop and offer support with the sorting. Next door is the pub and home to another childhood friend Sam. Sam is a chef who has returned home to help out after his fathers failing health made him cut back on the hours he works. Sam and Beth go way back and have always wanted to remain friends but as the two reconnect there is a definite spark.

This is a “will they won’t they” kind of story that has the wonders and memories of the shop mixed in with a good amount of friendship and a great sense of community. The author has done a great job of bringing various elements together giving a deliciously addictive read. I followed Beth through the highs and lows and also the odd funny moments of this story.

This is a picturesque, delicious and wonderful read that would be ideal for readers who like light-hearted romance with some other wonderful story lines threaded through. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

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Sarah Bennett has been reading for as long as she can remember. Raised in a family of bookworms, her love affair with books of all genres has culminated in the ultimate Happy Ever After – getting to write her own stories to share with others.

Born and raised in a military family, she is happily married to her own Officer (who is sometimes even A Gentleman). Home is wherever he lays his hat, and life has taught them both that the best family is the one you create from friends as well as relatives.

When not reading or writing, Sarah is a devotee of afternoon naps and sailing the high seas, but only on vessels large enough to accommodate a casino and a choice of restaurants.

You can connect with her via Twitter or on Facebook

Sarah is the author of the Butterfly Cove, Lavender Bay and the forthcoming Bluebell Castle trilogies, published by HQ Digital UK.

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

#Q&A #HeartSwarm by Allan Watson @allanwatson12 @sarahhardy681

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Today I am delighted to be sharing a Q&A with you all for Heart Swarm by Allan Watson as part of the Blog Blitz with Sarah Hardy. Allan is attending Bloody Scotland this is Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival, if you are around for this event it is held 21st-23rd in Stirling DETAILS HERE. This is an event I really want to go to (pulls sulky face and stamps feet)… most of the time I am very content living in Cornwall until I see a book event I would love to attend that happens to be hundreds of miles away.

Here is the purchase link so you can grab a copy of your own from Amazon UK. I didn’t have time to read this so instead I just bought a copy for future reading  🙂

Now lets see what the book is about.

Synopsis:

Heart Swarm – Prepare to be Scared…

It feels like history is repeating itself when out-of-favour detective Will Harlan gets summoned to a crime scene in the village of Brackenbrae after a young girl is found hanging in the woods.

Five years ago Harlan headed up the investigation of an identical murder in the same woods; a mishandled investigation that effectively destroyed his credibility as a detective. The new case immediately takes a bizarre twist when the body is identified as the same girl found hanging in the woods five years ago.

The following day a local man commits suicide and the police find more dead girls hidden in his basement. The case seems open and closed.

Until the killing spree begins.

Harlan finds himself drawn into a dark world where murder is a form of self-expression and human life treated as one more commodity to be used and discarded.

The only clue that links everything is a large oil painting of ‘Sagittarius A’ – a massive black hole at the centre of the galaxy orbited by thirteen stars daubed in blood with the words –

Question and Answer:

You will be attending Bloody Scotland this year, how important do you think it is for authors as well as readers to attend events like these?

Readers also attend? Really? Whenever I go along to a Crime-fest I’m always narrowly avoiding being trampled to death by hordes of wild-eyed, drink-fuelled authors. I think it’s a great thing for writers to meet up and swap war stories, commiserate on the latest rejection letters, and lie through our teeth over how many Amazon 5 Star reviews we have for our latest book. It provides a sense of community and fosters camaraderie. So much better than my early days as an isolated writer, not ever meeting anyone else with the same obsession. I even remember trying to join a writers club at my local library and finding myself trapped in a small room with a group of mad people whose idea of writing was penning lengthy articles for Caravan Monthly. Each to their own, I suppose.

Can you tell us a bit more about what a normal writing day for you is like?

I normally write in the evenings as I work during the day. In fact, when I say evenings, I mean midnight is usually my starting point. It’s a good time to work as I don’t normally get interrupted by phone calls about car accidents I’ve never been in or people at the door wanting to Tarmac my driveway or replace my guttering. It’s also an acceptable time of night to drink lots of gin.

What would your dream office/writing space be like?

My perfect writing space would be on a revolving spot-lit stage in a huge auditorium filled with admiring fans. Whenever I write a particularly pleasing piece of prose the audience will cheer and go crazy and flash bombs and strobe lights go off. When I make a typo the audience will let me know by sighing loudly and in extreme cases maybe throw Space-hoppers from the balcony. Um… I guess I haven’t really thought this one through properly.

What made you decide to write in the crime genre?

Peer pressure. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always enjoyed reading Crime, but I preferred to write fiction that was darker and not necessarily restricted to this reality. Unfortunately, that side of the fiction fence gets branded with the big Horror tag and no one takes you seriously. A fellow author recently pointed out that by simply sticking a policeman in the heart of the story you can reinvent yourself as a Crime writer and suddenly everyone feels fine about the unusual stuff going on the background. Personally, I feel there’s so many books out there tagged as crime, especially all the serial killer thrillers, that are basically just Horror dressed up as Crime. But these days the public shy away from the ‘H’ word. Horror isn’t all about giant slugs and mutant rats, you know.

For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of reading your books, can you tell us a bit more about DI Will Harlan, the protagonist from your series?

Will Harlan was once an ace detective who badly messed up a high-profile murder investigation and lost almost everything as a consequence, including his marriage. He’s spent the best part of five years being marginalised at work, overlooked for everything except the most mundane cases. He lives in a small hotel next door to the Glasgow City Necropolis. It doesn’t help his fading reputation at work that his landlord is a retired old-school London gangster. Redemption for Harlan finally comes along in the novel Heart Swarm. In the second novel, Wasp Latitudes, Harlan has rediscovered his old talents but still always looking over his shoulder for the next ambush from his colleagues. I’ve been told he’s not terribly likeable.

Where do you get inspiration from for the crimes you feature in your novels?

It’s very difficult to come up with a new crime that hasn’t already been committed in someone else’s book, or in real life, come to that. All you can do is apply a decorative touch to try and set it apart as semi-original. I’ve stopped trying to come up with anything remotely unique as the toy box has already been emptied. For me, the location of a crime can be more shocking than the crime itself and that’s been my focus lately.

Finally, what are you currently working on at the moment and what else can readers look forward to from you in the future?

I’m currently working on the third book in the DI Will Harlan series, a novel called ‘Nightingale Static’. After that I plan on changing tack and writing something different. It’s still nebulous and shape-shifting right now, but hopefully it’ll reveal itself when I need it to.

About the Author:

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Allan Watson is a writer whose work leans towards the dark end of the fiction spectrum. He is the author of seven novels – Dreaming in the Snakepark, Carapace, The Garden of Remembrance, 1-2-3-4, Monochrome, Heart Swarm and Wasp Latitudes.

In between the books, Allan wrote extensively for BBC Radio Scotland, churning out hundreds of comedy sketches, in addition to being a regular contributor for the world famous ‘Herald Diary’.

He occasionally masquerades as a composer/musician, collaborating with crime writer Phil Rickman in a band called Lol Robinson with Hazey Jane II whose albums have sold on four different continents (Antarctica was a hard one to crack)

Allan lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland, but has never worn the kilt or eaten a deep fried Mars Bar. He also once spent three days as a stand-in guitarist for the Bay City Rollers, but he rarely talks much about that… 

Follow Allan on – His Blog – Twitter Heart Swarm Face Book Page

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After He Died by Michael J Malone @MichaelJMalone @OrendaBooks @annecater #BookReview

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I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my thoughts on After He Died by Michael J Malone as part of the blog tour for Orenda Books. I would like to thank Anne Cater for my invite onto the tour for this fabulous book and also Orenda for my copy. You can get your own copy from AMAZON UK

Synopsis:

You need to know who your husband really was…

When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son, Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed…
When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought they knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger.
Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets…

My Thoughts:

Paula Gadd lost her son almost seven years ago, her husband has just died. But a stranger asking Paula how well she knew her husband leaves her questioning all she thought she knew.

Straight away I want to mention the cover, how simple, effective and amazing it is. The story itself is far from simple, but it is effective and it really is amazing. I got to meet Paula at the funeral of her husband Tommy, she is still stunned, shocked and in a daze when this random stranger just walks up and asks Paula how well she knew her husband…

By this point I am already hooked, what follows left me on the edge of my seat as the story unfolded. Paula is rocked and as she discovers there are things that her husband has done that she had no idea about. I also got to meet some of Tommy’s family and also the stranger and how she fits into the story. Yes this is vague for a reason, no spoilers from me..

This is a book that is fast paced but one where I forced myself to slow my reading of so I didn’t miss any little detail. The author does the most amazing job of building up tension and suspense and at the same time sows so many seeds of doubt along the way. The plot is deliciously deceptive and twisted, but never once did I feel confused, the writing simply flowed as the story was revealed.

The characters in the story are such a random lot, and yes some I did like, those that I couldn’t make my mind up about and some that completely hoodwinked me. I love the concept of how well you know someone and how the author has used that and then completely turned it on it backside to reveal a world of doubt, mistrust, conflict and finding the truth about the person you thought you knew.

This is the first book I have read by this author, I have now bought a myself a couple more as this was so amazing. If you are a fan of crime, mystery, thriller, and suspense with a good helping of domestic noir then you will absolutely want to read this one. An absolutely fantastic read that I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

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Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes: Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.

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Haircuts, Hens and Homicide by Stephanie Dagg @llamamum @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on Haircuts, Hens and Homicide by Stephanie Dagg as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for the invite and Stephanie for the copy of her book. You can buy your own copy HERE.

Synopsis:

Megan finds mayhem when she arrives in France to bury her Gran and sort out her affairs. She expected difficult encounters with civil servants and red tape but not with wandering chickens, an imperious policeman and a dead body. Together with her unlikely new friend, the elderly and grumpy Alphonse and his canine equivalent, Monsieur Moustache, Megan becomes involved in investigating the fowl-related foul play that’s at work in this sleepy part of rural France.
She’s helped but mainly hindered by the people she comes across. These include the local mayor, who wants Megan to stay and set up a hair salon in his village to help keep it alive. There are the cousins Romain, the gendarme, and Nico, the clumsy but hunky farmer. They have always clashed, but do so constantly now that Megan is on the scene. Michelle, Romain’s terrifying ex who wants him back, appears along the way, as does Claudette, a wheelchair-bound old lady, and Kayla, Megan’s best friend, who is hugely pregnant but not above taking on the forces of French law and order when Megan finds herself the prime suspect after Alphonse is stabbed.

There’s excitement, humour and lots of ruffled feathers in this rom-com slash cosy mystery, the first in a projected series.

My Thoughts:

When Megan’s Gran dies, it’s up to Megan to travel to France to sort out her Gran’s things, the farm, the legal stuff, the chickens and duck. Oh and the body…

When I read the synopsis for this book it was one that sounded fun and one I definitely wanted to read, it came across as a wacky and fun story-line. As Megan makes her way around this rural area of France she meets a real mix of characters. As word gets out that Megan is a hairdresser, her services are called in and she chops and trims as she goes. A great way to meet and get to know people.

From a visit to the vet with a hen on the back of a scooter and discovering her Gran’s business dealings, Megan had me smirking and chuckling as I read. The characters are fabulous Romaine and his clumsy cousin Nico, Alphonse and Monsieur Moustache are just the tip of the iceberg.

The idyllic setting belies a slightly more sinister side that Megan found herself caught up in. As I got to know Megan I also got to learn some of her own story, as well as her family. The story of the family is one that I am looking forward to knowing more about and it has been wonderfully wrapped in and around the hair cutting, hens and the homicide…

This is a book that I could have easily devoured in one sitting as I was taken by scooter and tractor and police car around rural France.

This is ideal for readers who like a Rom-com, cosy mystery, and a dash of drama. A great first book in the series and left me wanting to know more. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

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I’m an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. I now consider myself a European rather than ‘belonging’ to any particular country. The last ten years have been interesting, to put it mildly. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral-sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie, makes for exciting times. The current array of animals includes alpacas, llamas, huarizos (alpaca-llama crossbreds, unintended in our case and all of them thanks to one very determined alpaca male), sheep, goats, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys, not forgetting our pets of dogs, cats, zebra finches, budgies , canaries, lovebirds and Chinese quail. Before we came to France all we had was a dog and two chickens, so it’s been a steep learning curve. I recount these experiences in my book Heads Above Water: Staying Afloat in France and the sequel to that, Total Immersion: Ten Years in France. I also blog regularly at http://www.bloginfrance.com.

I’m married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful.

I’m a traditionally-published author of many children’s books, and am now self-publishing too. I have worked part-time as a freelance editor for thirty years after starting out as a desk editor for Hodder & Stoughton. Find me at http://www.editing.zone. The rest of the time I’m running carp fishing lakes with Chris and inevitably cleaning up some or other animal’s poop.

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The Choice by Edith Eger #BookReview @PenguinRHUK

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Today I am delighted to be sharing The Choice by Edith Eger, a holocaust survivor and now an acclaimed psychologist. I would like to thank Bishneen Gurwara at Penguin Random House for inviting me to read a copy of this book.

You can purchase a copy of this book at good bookshops or at AMAZON UK where it is available in various formats.

Synopsis:

‘Little dancer’, Mengele says, ‘dance for me’

In 1944, sixteen-year-old ballerina Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. Separated from her parents on arrival, she endures unimaginable experiences, including being made to dance for the infamous Josef Mengele. When the camp is finally liberated, she is pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive.

The horrors of the Holocaust didn’t break Edith. In fact, they helped her learn to live again with a life-affirming strength and a truly remarkable resilience.

The Choice is her unforgettable story. It shows that hope can flower in the most unlikely places.

My Thoughts:

Edith Eger was 16 when she made the journey with her mother and one of her sisters, to join a queue to enter her first concentration camp. This would be the last time she saw her mother. This is Edith’s story. The story of her life. The story of her survival. The story of how she was liberated and then learnt to live.

This is a book of two halves as Edith recounts her experiences of her life. A girl who wanted to dance, her parents, her sisters and first love. Then the how she survived the war in the concentration camps, sharing many thoughts and feelings not from herself but of her sister. Then how to live her life after leaving Europe to live in America.

Sometimes you can move away, but at some point you really do have to deal with the horror of your past.

The Holocaust and Auschwitz are words that evoke so many emotions. Edith Eger tells her story in four parts. The first being about her life, including the camps, up to her liberation, then her liberation, dealing with her freedom and finally how she started to heal herself.

As you would expect I found her time as a prisoner very hard to read. It is something that still brings shock, horror and disgust that any person could be treated in such a horrific and abhorrant way. I did however find that it was the story of her freedom and her healing that caught me by surprise. She then started to piece her life together and learn how to live. This is where the inspiration of this lady really Shines through, even more so than it had previously. To me this sounds slightly wrong but, she trained as a psychologist to help people from various backgrounds. They had many different problems that they struggled to deal with. In meeting and trying to help these people she found that she could also use their experiences to help herself, using her own advice if you like. This took her many years to reach a place where she felt some sort of freedom from her past, but to do that took a huge amount of courage to escape from her own fears and trauma.

This is a stunningly beautiful and candid account from a truly inspirational lady. It is moving and emotional, inspiring and hopeful. The more psychological aspect in the latter half of the book was something that I found very insightful and gave me a different way of looking at things.

This is a moving and important story that I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

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A native of Hungary, Edith Eger was a teenager in 1944 when she and her family were sent to Auschwitz during the Second World War. Despite overwhelming odds, Edith survived the Holocaust and moved with her husband to the United States. Having worked in a factory whilst raising her young family, she went on to graduate with a PhD from the University of Texas and became an eminent psychologist. Today, she maintains a busy clinical practice and lectures around the world.

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

The Little Theatre on the Seafront by Katie Ginger @KatieGAuthor @HQDigitalUK #BookReview

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Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Little Theatre On The Seafront by Katie Ginger. This is available in eBook format now and the paperback is due to be published on 15th November. It is published by HQ Digital and can be purchased or pre-ordered from AMAZON UK

Synopsis:

When Lottie’s Gran dies she leaves one last request; save Greenley Theatre.

Faced with a decaying building, a mayor who most definitely isn’t on board with the project and a group of actors who just can’t get along, Lottie has her hands full, but with best friend Sid by her side she knows she can do it somehow.

But the arrival of Jeremy, a hotshot London developer who sweeps Lottie off her feet, complicates things. Suddenly Sid gets a new girlfriend, the Greenley Players fall apart, and that crumbling building? Well it crumbles a whole lot more. With no one to turn to, Lottie has to find the courage to save the day.

Will Lottie be able to save the theatre and also follow her heart?

My Thoughts:

Lottie is left a last request letter from her Gran Elsie. Elsie was a big supporter of the Greenly Theatre and asks that Lottie take over the role as Chair. Luckily Lottie has her best friend Sid there to give a helping hand. Lottie and Sid have been friends forever and know each others moods, likes and dislikes. Things between them change when new people arrive in their lives.

This story is just an absolute delight. A decrepit theatre in need of buckets full of TLC, characters that are dramatic and maybe a little eccentric, the sense of community and a nice underlying touch of romance, that mixed together bring this story to life.

The antics of the theatres players is absolutely brilliant, some of the over the top attitudes mixed in with those quiet and shy types are just fabulous. Each has a little trait or mannerism that range from a snide remark to a snarky aside is a hilarious addition, and had me grinning several times.

As if Lottie didn’t have enough to deal with as she tries to bring the Theatre back from it’s gloomy and damp ridden existence to a charming, family theatre and community space. She also has to deal with the airs and graces from the actors, the attentions of a property developer and the committee.

The descriptions the author gives for the theatre worked really well for me, giving me wonderful images of it in its shabby state. With not only the visual cues, but the smells that would be associated with a damp building. I have mentioned it before in reviews, that it is the attention to the little details that add so much to a story, and I am glad to say this author has lots of little details squirrelled away in this one.

There are other story-lines that run alongside the renovation of the theatre but I’m not giving you anything on them, you need to read and discover for yourself.

I found this book was quick to get caught up in with fabulous characters, the author made it easy to get to know them and also to remember them and importantly care about them. Yes, I did shed a few happy tears …. and not just once.

So yes, I did love this story a lot, I read it in one sitting and would absolutely recommend it to other readers who like a bit of romance, a whole lot of drama, a touch of humour and a couple of slightly more serious aspects. Go grab a copy it’s great.

About the Author:

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Well, hello there!

I’m Katie, and I’m a writer of romantic fiction and a few cosy mystery short stories. The Little Theatre on the Seafront is my debut novel and I’ve got another rom-com coming out next year, which I hope you’ll also enjoy.

I live in Kent with my hubby, two kids, and our King Charles Spaniel, Wotsit. As I love a good chinwag, do come and say hello over on Twitter or on Facebook. I also blog about random stuff on my Website.

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

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross @HodderBooks #NetGalley #BookReview

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Today I am sharing my thoughts on The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross. This is a book aimed at a YA or Teen reader and is a retelling of the Beauty and The Beast Story. My thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for my eBook that I recieved via NetGalley. This book is avaliable in paperback, hardback and eBook format and available from AMAZON UK

I just love the cover of this book…..

Synopsis:

A sumptuously magical, brand new take on a tale as old as time—read the Beast’s side of the story at long last.

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

The day I was cursed to this wretched existence was the day I was saved—although it did not feel so at the time.

My redemption sprung from contemptible roots; I am not proud of what I did the day her father happened upon my crumbling, isolated chateau. But if loneliness breeds desperation then I was desperate indeed, and I did what I felt I must. My shameful behaviour was unjustly rewarded.

My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart; she taught me how to be human again.

And now I might lose her forever.

Lose yourself in this gorgeously rich and magical retelling of The Beauty and the Beast that finally lays bare the beast’s heart.

My Thoughts:

Beauty and the Beast is a story many are aware of from film, musical and animation. Leife Shallcross has retold the story from the perspective of the Beast himself.

There are various things that remain a constant from the various versions of this classic children’s story. A man cursed to live his day as a beast until he finds someone who loves him for what is on the inside rather than what we see on the out. There are also the gardens, the magic and for all bibliophiles THE LIBRARY……….

While this is a very good read and sticks to my memories of the story I read as a child, I did find there where parts that did feel a little bit repetitive. Now as an adult it may be that I am being overly picky with a book aimed at younger readers, so I am now wondering if this is actually a way of showing a younger reader the time that the two characters spend together in each others company, building up a friendship and also the trust.

I did like this story and from the point of view of the Beast, it gave this character a chance to say his piece and express his feeling and thoughts as well as expressing the hope that Isabeau (Beauty) is the one to break the curse.

As well as the Beast and Isabeau’s story there is also the story of the family that Isabeau left behind while she stays with the Beast. I did really enjoy this section of the story as it went into how the family left behind had to deal with this change to the family, and adjustments to be made.

This is a book that I do think younger readers and also early Teens would enjoy. It is the perfect story for readers who like the traditional “once upon a time…happily ever after” fairy tale.

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