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

You Were Made For This by Michelle Sacks #BookReview #NetGalley

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I am sharing my thoughts today on You Were Made For This by Michelle Sacks. My thanks to HQ for my e-book I recieved via NetGalley.

Synopsis:

A chilling, gut-wrenching thriller.’ Helen Fields

A bold, sharp, gripping debut about a couple whose perfect life in the Swedish countryside is not what it seems…

A gripping page-turner for fans of The Couple Next Door, Michelle Sacks’s You Were Made For This provocatively explores the darker side of marriage, motherhood and friendship.

Doting wife, devoted husband, cherished child. Merry, Sam and Conor are the perfect family in the perfect place. Merry adores baking, gardening, and caring for her infant son, while Sam pursues a new career in film. In their idyllic house in the Swedish woods, they can hardly believe how lucky they are. What perfect new lives they’ve built for themselves, away from New York and the events that overshadowed their happiness there.

And then Merry’s closest friend Frank comes to stay. All their lives, the two women have been more like sisters than best friends. And that’s why Frank sees things that others might miss. Treacherous things that unfold behind closed doors.

But soon it’s clear that everyone inside the house has something to hide. And as the truth begins to show through the cracks, Merry, Frank, and Sam grow all the more desperate to keep their picture-perfect lives intact.

My Thoughts:

Husband and Wife, Sam and Merry and their son Connor now live in a remote and idyllic area of Sweden. Merry’s best friend Frank comes to stay, the women have been friends since childhood. All seems good, life appears perfect….but is it really?

This story is told from the perspectives of the three main characters, Merry, Sam and Frank in quick alternating chapters. Merry is looking forward to Frank coming to visit, as Merry is now a stay at home Mum, but she is determined to show Frank that she has a wonderful life, baby and home that everything is perfect. Frank however knows Merry from old, knows how she works, and how she make things out to be rosy, so she is trying to see if things are indeed as rosy as they appear. Sam is trying to get his business up and running so is not home all the time.

The author has taken the concept of marriage, happy families and idyllic home-life and thrown a big old spanner in the works by psychologically manipulating her characters. Friendship is not immune to this spanner either, it doesn’t take long for the pretence of perfect to start showing a few little cracks, as the bonds of marriage and friendship are not as they first appear.

One thing I really loved about this story was the lack of dialogue. Yes you read this right, no dialogue. Instead you are given the perspective from whichever characters head you are in. I got to see and hear the thoughts of past events, conversations and it worked so well for this story. It was easy to follow and it didn’t take long for me to recognise which character was which was which. The voices of the characters came out loud and clear for me. It was a way of seeing behind the mask of the character if you like, hearing their real thoughts rather than saying what they think should be said. It was also a great way to build up the suspense and the tension as the story developed even more, but even though I was in their heads there were still quite a few shocks along the way, and the mistrust built up.

Initially I thought I was warming to the characters, but as things progressed I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about them, I didn’t trust what they thought. I did empathise and feel for them but by the end I was shocked.

This is a clever look at marriage, parenthood and friendship and how each aspect of them fit together, or how they can be forced to fit. A great suspense filled psychological, noir that I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

Michelle Sacks is the author of the short story collection, Stone Baby (December 2017) and the novel, You Were Made For This (June 2018).

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

Tapestry Of War by Jane MacKenzie @JaneFMackenzie #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on Tapestry Of War by Jane Mackenzie. A Second World War setting for a story of love, war, loss and new beginnings. You can get a copy from most good bookshops and from AMAZON UK.

Synopsis:

From the deserts of North Africa, to the waters of Scotland, the Second World War touches the lives of two women from two very different worlds. In Alexandria, Fran finds her world turned upside down as Rommel’s forces advance on the idyllic shores of Egypt. The life of luxury and stability that she is used to is taken away as she finds herself having to deal with loss, heartache and political uncertainty. Meanwhile, in the Firth of Clyde, Catriona struggles between her quiet rural life and her dreams of nursing injured servicemen on the front lines. As the war rages on, the two women’s lives become intertwined – bringing love and friendship to both.

My Thoughts:

With a dual setting of Scotland and Egypt during WWII you will get to meet to women. Catrina from the Scottish Island of Islay and Fran from Alexandria in Egypt.

This is a lovely story that follows these two women from very different backgrounds. The simple island life for Catrina is not quite enough and she wants to be a nurse, Fran is a socialite and journalists. The war is in full rage and really has an impact on these women as you would expect. It gives them an extra drive to do what is right, for one to become the nurse and the other to report on the war rather than propaganda version of it. The author references military events that kept me firmly rooted in the time of the story and the research has been done well, expressing not only details of events but also the views from a political aspect. This is all woven around the story of Catrina and Fran, their families and their friends.

War changes people and for the women of this story it made them more determined and gave them challenges and also opportunities they never would have had if it was a time of peace. There is a romantic aspect to this story, and while it is not a love-dovey one it does fit in with the story well. There is that uncertainty of will the partner return from war, will they be the same, will they still be in love and it really has been dealt with in a very realistic and for me felt right for the time. I most likely have a slightly stereotypical idea of life and love during war, but the way the author approached it felt right.

This is a book I would recommend to readers of Historical fiction, Historical Romance. A slower paced story that is well written, descriptive and emotional.

 

About the Author:

Jane MacKenzie has spent much of her adult life travelling the world, teaching English and French everywhere from the Gambia to Papua New Guinea to Bahrain, and recently working for two years at CERN in Geneva. She now splits her time between her self-built house in Collioure, France and the Highlands of Scotland, where she has made her family home.

Follow Jane on Twitter or Website

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The Little Cornish Kitchen by June Linfoot @janelinfoot @rararesources #NetGalley #Giveaway (Open Int’lly) #BookReview

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I could not resist being part of the Blog Tour for The Little Cornish Kitchen by June Linfoot. I am supposed to be on a self inflicted Blog Tour break through the summer holidays but I am so glad I had a waver for this cracking book. Huge thanks as always to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite and June for my eBook copy via NetGalley. You can purchase this book from AmazonUK There is also a fab Giveaway towards the end on my post today, you have the chance to win a signed copy of The Little Cornish Kitchen, a Mermaid Notebook and a pack of Unicorns ( oops sorry, sugar unicorns not real ones 😉 ) xx

Synopsis:

It’s time to come home to Cornwall

With an exciting new life in Paris, Clemmie Hamilton isn’t looking forward to heading home to the picturesque but sleepy village of St Aidan, Cornwall. However, when she discovers that the cosy apartment by the sea, which her grandmother left to her, is under threat from neighbour and property developer, Charlie Hobson, Clemmie realises she can’t abandon her home in its time of need.

With her childhood friends encouraging her, Clemmie decides to turn the apartment into ‘The Little Cornish Kitchen’ – a boutique pop up pudding club raising money for the repairs to the building in an effort to stop Charlie once and for all. But when Charlie and his easy charm won’t seem to go away, everything soon becomes even messier than the state of Clemmie’s Cornish kitchen…

My Thoughts:

So Clemmie is on a break from her job in Paris and returns to her grandmother apartment in St. Aiden, Cornwall. The apartment was left to Clemmie and it has been a long time since she last visited. She is in St. Aiden for only a few months but her childhood friends coerce and cajole her into setting up The Little Cornish Kitchen. Clemmie needs to raise money for repairs to the apartment and her business minded besties help her raise the much-needed money.

Oh this book should come with a warning of “Do Not Read On An Empty Stomach” as the macaroons, brownies, sorbets and the array of yummy-scrummy-umptious confectionary delicacies start to make an appearance.

The setting is something that definitely appealed to me, as some may be aware, I live in Cornwall and I always like to try to link a books setting to a place I may have visited, this one made me think of a couple of places straight away. This for me made the setting and more importantly the description of said setting work so well for me.

Now this apartment is so me and I could so easily see myself there, in fact can I go right now pleeeease 🙂 It is a mish mash of unmatcing crockery, cutlery and furniture with a balcony overlooking the sea, it sounds snug and magical and absolute perfection.

Oh! I should mention the story and characters as well. The story in some respects is basic but it has been so well put together that I simply fell in love with it.  Clemmie comes home, she is the only one of her friends who hasn’t settled and instead travelled. Her story has a twist and as the story unfolds you realise how her fabulous friends are, they’re supportive and totally brilliant, if a little quirky at times, a group you would definitely love to have a drink with and there would be tons of laughing.

So this is really Clemmie’s story, about how things over the years led her to a life of travel and not settle. But the move gives her something to think about, re-kindles memories and she discovers things that she hadn’t realised she could do or had even occured to her to do. Then there is a neighbour, ‘Well hello there’. He has a few hidden talents that would come in rather handy. I wasn’t too sure on his agenda, if you read the story you will know what I mean.

This was a great story and it ticked a lot of boxes for me; well written, great cast and wonderful descriptions. It was humorous at times and also had moments that had a little more of a serious side. Thoroughly enjoyable and a book that you can definitely loose yourself in, with a heartwarming, uplifting and generally a great ‘mmmmmm good, snuggly feel. This is one I would definitely recommend to readers who look for pure escapism and want a cracking read, even though it did leave me with cake withdrawal symptoms when I had finished 😉 .

About The Author:

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Jane Linfoot is a best selling author, who lives in a muddy cottage, up a steep hill in Derbyshire, with her family, their pets, and an astonishing number of spiders. Although she loves seeing cow noses over the garden wall, she’s happy she can walk to a supermarket.

Jane grew up in North Yorkshire where she spent a lot of her childhood avoiding horizontal gales blowing off the sea, and wrote her first book by accident, while working as an architect, and renovating country houses. While she loves to write feelgood books that let readers escape, she’s always surprised to hear her stories make people laugh, admits to (occasionally) crying as she writes, and credits her characters for creating their own story lines.

Jane’s garden would be less brambly if she wasn’t on Facebook and Twitter so often. On days when she wants to be really scared, she rides a tandem.

Her latest books include a series of stand alone novels, based around a seaside wedding shop in Cornwall. Cupcakes and Confetti – The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea, Sequins and Snowflakes – Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop, and Bunting and Bouquets – Summer at the Little Wedding Shop, and most recently, The Little Cornish Kitchen. These are all published by Harper Impulse,  an imprint of Harper Collins.

Follow Jane on Twitter @janelinfoot, or find her on her Author Page Facebook or her Personal Page Facebook. She’s also on Instagram, and has lots of Pinterest boards relating to her novels.

∗∗∗∗∗GIVEAWAY ALERT∗∗∗∗∗

Giveaway – Win a signed copy of The Little Cornish Kitchen, Mermaid Notebook and Sugar Unicorns (Open Internationally)

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize. ∗∗∗∗∗ ENTER HERE ∗∗∗∗∗ Good Luck folks xxx

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One Summer In Italy by Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK #NetGalley #BookReview

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Today I am delighted to be bring you my thoughts on One Summer In Italy by Sue Moorcroft. If you are after a heartwarming summer read then this will be one of those you want to add to your list. To make it easier for you here is the link to get yourself a copy from AMAZON UK

Synopsis:

When Sofia Bianchi’s father Aldo dies, it makes her stop and look at things afresh. Having been his carer for so many years, she knows it’s time for her to live her own life – and to fulfil some promises she made to Aldo in his final days.

So there’s nothing for it but to escape to Italy’s Umbrian mountains where, tucked away in a sleepy Italian village, lie plenty of family secrets waiting to be discovered. There, Sofia also finds Amy who is desperately trying to find her way in life after discovering her dad isn’t her biological father.

Sofia sets about helping Amy through this difficult time, but it’s the handsome Levi who proves to be the biggest distraction for Sofia, as her new life starts to take off…

My Thoughts:

When Sofia follows her fathers last wishes and promises him that she will visit Italy, his home and while there to pass on a message to his brother. While there Sofia meets Amy, a young woman who has left home after finding her dad isn’t actually her real dad.

From quite an emotional start to an emotional ending this author had me hooked in this beautiful story. It is one of people not only discovering things about themselves and their families but, about finding themselves.

I liked Sophia, she has level-headed and down to earth approach, but also with a cautious nature and yet still able to take a risk. Amy I didn’t like quite as much but that was more to do with the naivety of her character, and her ability to throw temper tantrums. This however is her coping mechanism for life and it did feel right for her as I got to know her more.

As much as I liked Sophia, there were times I wanted to tell her to go and enjoy herself more as I felt that the cautious nature did hold her back at times. So with that and Amy’s petulant outbursts it made it very interesting reading as I discovered the dynamics behind their friendship. I am so glad they met as Sophia could see and help with Amy’s vulnerability.

Now then there is a romantic side to this story, and I really loved this part as well. It is not too over the top and is actually the part of the story that adds the links between the other things going on. So then I got to meet Levi mmmm, oops sorry 🙂  he has his own story to tell and he is another character I liked just a little bit 😉

There various stories that the author has weaved around theses three characters, they each have their own reasons for being in Italy and you will discover the ins and outs of their lives as you are taken around the beautiful setting. Other characters pop in and have their own opinions, some more vocal than others.

This is a book I have wanted to read for a while now and it was perfect for sitting in my garden with. The settings and descriptions were wonderful and allowed me to visualise various aspects of the Italian village. This is a book that does deal with some serious threads and scenarios running through it and for me they were dealt with sympathetically and also realistically. I was able to see viewpoints from different characters so making it possible to see various arguments.

So I really enjoyed reading this book a whole lot, it is heartwarming and beautifully written, I had grinning face at some points, teary eyes at others, there were some secrets that caught me by surprise and some that I did see coming. I felt that by the end of the story that I had got to know Sophia, Amy and Levi quite well, their stories were developed and flowed to a very satisfying ending. This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers who want to escape into a story of family, love and self discovery. Ideal for readers of general fiction, women’s fiction xx

About the Author:

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Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, an international bestselling author and has held the #1 spot in the UK Kindle chart. She writes contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes.

Sue has won a Best Romantic Read Award, received two nominations at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards and is a Katie Fforde Bursary winner. Her short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing ‘how to’ have sold around the world.

An army child, Sue was born in Germany then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a digital prepress. She’s pleased to have now wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.

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

Summer at 23 The Strand by Linda Mitchelmore @LindaMitchelmor #NetGalley #HQDigitalUK #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on Summer at 23 The Strand by Linda Mitchelmore, this is definitely a read for warm summer days. I would like to thank HQ Digital for my copy on NetGalley. You can buy this on kindle HERE at the time of writing this post its 99p 🙂

Synopsis:

Escape to the seaside this summer!

After actress Martha’s painful break-up hits the headlines, the warm golden sands and sparkling seas of Elberry Cove are the perfect escape from the paparazzi!

Nestled amongst a gorgeous line of brightly-coloured beach chalets, Number 23 The Strand is a home from home, a secret paradise where she can slowly begin to piece her heart back together.

When it’s finally time to leave, Martha decides to leave a special gift for the next guest. It’s a small act of kindness that starts a magical tradition all summer long…

A delightfully uplifting holiday read, perfect for fans of Lilly Bartlett, Tilly Tennant and Eve Devon.

My Thoughts:

This is such a delightful, uplifting and heartwarming read about acts of kindness for the visitors to 23 The Strand, it is a chalet in a Devon Holiday Village and it tells of the various guests who come and stay.

Sometimes you get a book that is just right for whatever time and place you are in. I read this book after coming back from holiday, I stayed in a chalet in a Devon Holiday Village, it was number 25. It was also in the same area as the book setting as well! It brought back memories and warm snuggly feelings of being away on holiday

This book is set out as a series of stories that deal with some aspects of the guests who stay at number 23. Starting with an actress who is trying to escape the limelight of the paparazzi she manages to relax and find peace. On leaving she leaves a little gift along with a note explaining why the chalet and her stay helped her. This little gesture is found by the next guest and they decide to keep the gift and note giving continuing.

This gives you various guests that arrive in the form of families and individuals throughout the season. Each visitor has their own agenda for being there, a problem or two, or something they need time to ponder over. Each story just flows from one to the next as the gift and note add the link.

Sometimes we all need to re-charge our batteries or need a time out from the real world for a few days and just escape. You don’t have to travel far to do this, for me my holiday was only 2-3 hours drive away. But the author has managed to capture the feelings behind the characters individual stories very well. It does have some more serious problems that the characters have to deal with, they are mentioned but not overly dwelt upon and so gives the stories a slightly more uplifting feel to them.

This really is a great summer read that had me with a smirk on my face and the odd lump in my throat and I admit to going a little misty eyed at times. The ending of the story was perfect and I did love the way the author tied up the loose ends.

A great book for readers who are looking for a delightful and heartwarming story and I am very happy to recommend this one. Pull up a chair under the sun shade, get a glass of something chilled with ice, maybe pop your feet on a footstool and relax with Summer at 23 The Strand xx

About the Author:

61y0w8T91KL._SY200_.jpg My writing life began when I was shortlisted and published in a Woman’s Own short story writing competition. Since that happy day I’ve gone on to have over 300 short stories published now. I’ve written for just about all the UK women’s interest weekly magazines and also seen my work published in Sweden, Norway, Australia and New Zealand. Radio, too, on just the one occasion. I’ve also won and been shortlisted in a fair few short story writing competitions. I’ve also been published in anthologies – five to date. LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT which is the 50th Anniversary Anthology of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and published by Mira, SEXY SHORTS FOR CHRISTMAS, SEXY SHORTS FOR THE BEACH, SEXY SHORTS FOR SUMMER – all published by Accent Press, and CHOC LIT LOVE MATCH, published – of course – by Choc Lit.
So, that was the first step. It seemed logical to move onto novels but that didn’t prove as easy for me. I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association and through their New Writers’ Scheme slowly honed my craft at novel-writing. Katie Fforde awarded me her bursary and it was just the confidence boost I needed to take me a step nearer publication. In 2012, Choc Lit published my debut novel, TO TURN FULL CIRCLE, which is the first in a trilogy. Book two is already written and on my publisher’s desk but I don’t have a publication date for it yet. I’ve also written a novella and a contemporary which are both under consideration.
I suppose you could call me a bit of a late starter. I’m a Baby Boomer and when I began working for Lloyds Bank, aged seventeen, there were still those ancient things called ‘hand-written ledgers’. So, post book publication, I’ve been on a very steep learning curve with technology. But so glad I plodded on with it because it has brought long lost school and work friends back into my life, and it’s made me so many new cyber friends, some of whom I have already met in the flesh. I would probably get a lot more written if I didn’t swan off to lunch with said friends far more often than I ought but I strive to make a work/life balance that I’m comfortable with.

Follow Linda on Twitter and on her Blog


This was our chalet overlooking the River at Shaldon with Teignmouth on the opposite side, a fabulous view and the chance for a sneaky pint 🙂

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183 Times A Year by Eva Jordan @EvaJordanWriter #BookReview

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I am so delighted to be sharing my thoughts on 183 Times A Year by Eva Jordan I have had this book on my TBR for quite a while now (shame on me) and I am delighted to have finally read this fabulous book. You can purchase a copy in either e-book or paperback from AMAZON UK. My huge thanks to Eva for my e-copy of the book that agreed to read for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Mothers and daughters alike will never look at each other in quite the same way after reading this book—a brilliantly funny observation of contemporary family life. 

Lizzie—exasperated Mother of Cassie, Connor and Stepdaughter Maisy—is the frustrated voice of reason to her daughters’ teenage angst. She gets by with good friends, cheap wine and talking to herself—out loud. 

16-year-old Cassie—the Facebook-Tweeting, Selfie-Taking, Music and Mobile Phone obsessed teen—hates everything about her life. She longs for the perfect world of Chelsea Divine and her ‘undivorced’ parents—and Joe, of course. 

However, the discovery of a terrible betrayal and a brutal attack throws the whole household into disarray. Lizzie and Cassie are forced to reassess the important things in life as they embark upon separate journeys of self-discovery—accepting some less than flattering home truths along the way. 

Although tragic at times this is a delightfully funny exploration of domestic love, hate, strength and ultimately friendship. A poignant, heartfelt look at that complex and diverse relationship between a Mother and daughter set amongst the thorny realities of today’s divided and extended families.

My Thoughts:

There are times when I agree to a book and it just sits on my TBR shelf on my kindle, then when I do eventually get around to reading it I could kick myself for not getting to it sooner 183 Times A Year is such a book.

This is a story of a family, well two families actually that through circumstances come together to live as one, they are step families. Teenage daughters, a younger son and two parents trying to support each other in this family unit, oh and grand parents. Drama and hysterics from the teenage girls, drama from friends and lack of drama from an absent father add an interesting cocktail of emotions into this story.

As I have already mentioned, I could so kick myself for not reading this sooner, the only time I stopped reading this book was to make another cup of coffee, only to let it go cold again…. It is a beautiful, heartbreaking, emotional, realistic and wonderfully written story of Lizzie and her family, Lizzie is the mum by the way.

The author has broken the story down into chapters with sub chapters and tells the story from the perspectives of mainly Lizzie and her daughter Cassie, though other family member do have the odd spotlight moment, each of these sub chapters had their own title of the character who was telling the story, but to be honest I soon got to know the characters so didn’t actually look at these headings. This for me was the moment I realised how well the author had allowed me to get to know the characters, she had given each one their own individuality, style and their own voice.

The story itself is about angst, rebellion, pushing the boundaries and the teenage world of “my life is so unfair”. But it is also about a mum working, running a home and the children to various events as well as keeping home. It portrays life for many families who have to juggle many balls, with a dad who is caught up in the middle of trying to keep the peace and support everyone.

What made this story so special for me was how the author had created an addictive read from what is essentially an everyday life for many families. She has accurately captured the emotions and struggles and managed to blend in a certain amount of humour.

There are elements from three generations that work so well, they have been balanced to create a realistic and very believable story that had me knowingly nodding my head at some of the scenarios, grinning and smirking at others as life, school, work and boyfriends are explored.

I absolutely loved this book from the very start to the last pages, I didn’t want to leave and was gutted when I finished the book. It had me grinning one moment, frowning the next and at one point absolutely crying ugly. This is a story that I would absolutely highly recommend to readers of women’s fiction, contemporary and literary fiction with a focus on family life.

A beautiful story and to quote Grandad, from the book , “it’s not life, it’s an adventure” sums it up xx

 

About the Author:

B1YE2zI6lhS._SY200_Eva Jordan, born in Kent but living most of her life in a small Cambridgeshire town, describes herself as a lover of words, books, travel and chocolate. She is also partial to the odd glass or two of wine. Providing her with some of the inspiration for her novel, Eva is both a mum and step mum to four children. Her career has been varied including working within the library service and at a women’s refuge. She writes a monthly column for a local magazine and currently works as a volunteer for a charity based organisation that teaches adults to read. However, storytelling through the art of writing is her passion. 183 Times A Year is Eva’s debut novel.

You can find Eva on Twitter Instagram Website – or join her each morning on Facebook for a cup of coffee or later in the day for a glass of wine xx

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

Sisterly Love by Michelle Vernal @MichelleVernal @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on Sisterly Love by Michelle Vernal as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. You can grab a copy of this book from AMAZON UK or AMAZON.COM

Synopsis:

Nobody’s Perfect Are They?

Rebecca Loughton’s bumbled her way through her thirty-something years making a few cock-ups along the way. Of course, these wouldn’t be so obvious if it wasn’t for her golden haired, older sister Jennifer.

In a bid to escape Jennifer’s lengthy shadow and to find her happy ever after Rebecca, high-tails it out of her hometown of Christchurch to the other side of the world landing a legal secretary job in the buzzing city of Dublin. A few drinks later, all she has to show for her new life is an embarrassing one-night stand and a dollop of flirtatious banter with her boss Ciaran, who just happens to have a predatory receptionist in hot pursuit of him.

Amidst plans of preventing such a merger, Rebecca receives news that Jennifer’s picture perfect life has a big, fat crack down the middle of it in the form of a philandering husband. Summoned home to look after her sister’s children and cooking school while she works on her marriage, Rebecca finds the reality of looking after two young children along with the bizarre array of guests booked into the cooking school grim. The only bright spot on her horizon are Ciaran’s e-mails but then she meets David Seagar whom she thinks might just be the ending to her happy ever after but will he prove to be far from perfect too?

My Thoughts:

Two sisters. Rebecca the younger lives in Dublin working as a PA. Jennifer lives in Christchurch,is a mum of two, a successful business woman and in Rebecca’s eyes has everything. A call from Jennifer asking Rebecca to come home is unexpected, especially as she is to be looking after Jennifer’s two children.

This is a story about two sisters that have grown apart, you get a chance to see how both women live and also what they think of each other. It contrasts the lives of them, the sensible, down to earth and responsible settled older sister against the slightly reckless antics of the younger. Rebecca looking after two children is definitely something that made me snigger and shake my head.

The story is quite an addictive read as I got to know Rebecca, she has a good job with a gorgeous boss. She does like to party and drink, and that has landed her in the odd hot spot. Jennifer who comes across as the in control of everything sister, does not quite fit the image she portrays. As the two get to catch up you begin to see how they are with each other, not the closest of sisters with their battles and arguments, but behind all of that they are there for each other when needed.

This is a great read that explores the dynamics between Rebecca and Jennifer, it has some wonderful descriptions and I did get wrapped up with their story. There is a love or romance side that has been incorporated, I am not going into details about that or to be honest the rest of the plot as I don’t want to spoil it. I did see a couple of things coming, but there were others that I didn’t.

This is a great book to spend a lazy Sunday reading ( that’s what I did), it is romance, sisters, humour, food, a touch of drama and one I would recommend. The author has managed to thread in a 1980’s pop quiz in as well, I like this touch and I knew all the answers 😀

About the Author:

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Hello, my name is Michelle Vernal, and by way of introduction, I’m Mum to Josh and Daniel and am married to the super supportive Paul. We live in the garden city of Christchurch, New Zealand with our three-legged, black cat called Blue. BC (before children) Paul and I lived and worked in Ireland, the experiences we had there have flavoured my books.

I’ve always written, but it was only after my first son was born that I decided to attend a creative writing course at Canterbury University. Oh the guilt dropping him at pre-school so I could learn the basics of story writing, but oh the joy of having conversation to contribute other than the price of nappies that week! The first piece I ever penned post course was published by a New Zealand parenting magazine. I went on to write humorous; opinion styled pieces of my take on parenting, but when the necessity for being politically correct got too much, I set myself the challenge of writing a novel. Six books later and a publishing deal with Harper Impulse here I am. These days I write for a North Canterbury lifestyle magazine and my latest book Sweet Home Summer has just been released by Harper Impulse.

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

What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean @CarrieKablean @RedDoorBooks #LoveBooksGroupTours #BookReview

 

9781910453612I am sharing my thoughts on “What Kitty Did Next” by Carrie Kablean, this is available to purchase from Amazon UK in paperback or ebook format. My thanks to Red Door Books and Kelly at Love Books Group Tours for my ebook and also my spot on the tour.

Synopsis:

England, 1813 – Nineteen-year-old Catherine Bennet lives in the shadow of her two eldest sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, who have both made excellent marriages. No one expects Kitty to amount to anything. Left at home in rural Hertfordshire with her neurotic and nagging mother, and a father who derides her as ‘silly and ignorant’, Kitty is lonely, diffident and at a loss as to how to improve her situation. When her world unexpectedly expands to London and the Darcy’s magnificent country estate in Derbyshire, she is overjoyed. Keen to impress this new society, and to change her family’s prejudice, Kitty does everything she can to improve her mind and manners – and for the first time feels liked and respected. However, one fateful night at Pemberley, a series of events and misunderstandings conspire to ruin Kitty’s reputation. Accused of theft – a crime worse almost worse than murder among the Georgian aristocracy – she is sent back home in disgrace. But Kitty has learnt from her new experiences and what she does next does next will not only surprise herself, but everyone else too.
Based on Jane Austen’s much-loved characters, this is the story of one young woman’s struggle to overcome the obstacles of her time and place and truly find herself.

My Thoughts:

As is the norm for me, I tucked into this book without reading the synopsis and I couldn’t help thinking I had heard of these characters somewhere before, I also had a voice of some of them in my head, it was strange so I read the synopsis and realised that this was a book about Kitty Bennett, one of the Bennett sisters from Pride and Prejudice. I love Jane Austen’s classic book and love the film.

So a new to me author writes a book about characters I am already familiar with, this is quite bazaar. I remember Kitty and Lydia being the really silly annoying girls, who were fixated with “Officers”, getting noticed and married. The author has taken over the story of Kitty and I really loved the way she has done this. The often left out one, ignored one or in the way and stupid one, my heart really did go out to her. It was great to see a change in this character grow and develop. Once out of the shadow of Lydia, Kitty comes to the realisation that she is indeed very childish and in order to be more readily listened to she must learn to grow up.

As the story progresses the author has not made it easy for Kitty, there are some obstacles that have been added and it is interesting to see how Kitty approaches these and acts to them. I really found myself warming to her as the story continued and it wasn’t long before I was willing her onward to find what she wanted in her life.

The whole feeling of the story from start to finish oozed the sense of fashion, social gatherings, etiquette as along with the setting I felt as if I had been transported back into the early 1800’s and a great continuation to a story I adore.

I would absolutely recommend this to readers of historical fiction, romance and general fiction. It is a story that continues on from a classic and reads well as a stand alone. If you are not a reader of classics then do not be put off, this is a fabulous and well paced book that will appeal to many readers.

About the Author:

Carrie Kablean began her career in London, where she was born, and now lives in Australia. Arriving in Sydney in 1990 (via eight years in Papua New Guinea, during which time she edited the local newspaper on Bougainville), she was with The Australian newspaper for more than 20 years, and was, concurrently, a theatre critic for the Sunday Telegraph.

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