What Lies Beneath by Adam Croft @adamcroft #WhatLiesBeneath #crime #publicationday #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for a new series by Adam Croft. The first book is called What Lies Beneath and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would also like to thank Joanne for my advance copy and to also wish Adam a very Happy Publication Day xx

Let me show you what it is all about…

A peaceful Sunday morning in Rutland is shattered when a dead body is discovered on the rocks at Normanton Church.  

The victim has been laid out in a crucifixion pose, facing the altar. DI Caroline Hills is certain there’s a religious connection — one which threatens the tranquility of life in the area. 

The killer has gone to extraordinary lengths to make the symbolism clear. And the deaths will continue until Caroline and DS Dexter Antoine uncover the truth behind the dark secret — and what lies beneath.

Purchase Link – Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

Also available on – KoboAppleNookGooglePaperback

This is the first book in the Ruland series and I thoroughly enjoyed it a lot. Given that Rutland is a small area to police, the police force is also small, and fictional. When a body is found, its position and placement lead DI Caroline Hills to start looking into the history of the county she has recently moved to.

I did like Caroline a lot, her move from a city into a rural location has been done well and I am looking forward to her starting to find her feet with the squad she works with. Her main sidekick is Dexter and there is already a good working relationship and some good banter going on.

The case causes problems and involves stepping on a few toes, this doesn’t make Caroline popular, but her job is to catch a killer not be polite to people. Her city ways are soon commented on!

I liked the way the author mixed in the local history with the crime, it is an area that has a lot of history when a valley was flooded to create Rutland Water. A police procedural at its heart, but given the smaller scale of the police force it made it feel more like a cosy mystery and this I did really like.

This is a book that is easily one you can sit and read in an afternoon, it is a police procedural so one for the crime fans, but also one that I really do think cosy mystery readers would really enjoy. I liked it a lot and I would definitely recommend it.

With more than half a million books sold to date, Adam Croft is one of the most successful independently published authors in the world, and one of the biggest selling authors of the past year.

Following his 2015 worldwide bestseller Her Last Tomorrow, his psychological thrillers were bought by Thomas & Mercer, an imprint of Amazon Publishing. Prior to the Amazon deal, Her Last Tomorrow sold more than 150,000 copies across all platforms and became one of the bestselling books of the year, reaching the top 10 in the overall Amazon Kindle chart and peaking at number 12 in the combined paperback fiction and non-fiction chart.

His Knight & Culverhouse crime thriller series has sold more than 250,000 copies worldwide, with his Kempston Hardwick mystery books being adapted as audio plays starring some of the biggest names in British TV.

In 2016, the Knight & Culverhouse Box Set reached number 1 in Canada, knocking J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child off the top spot only weeks after Her Last Tomorrow was also number 1 in Canada.

During the summer of 2016, two of Adam’s books hit the USA Today bestseller list only weeks apart, making them two of the most-purchased books in the United States over the summer.

Before writing full time, Adam had previously worked as an internet marketing consultant, delivery driver and professional actor.

Adam has been featured on BBC Radio, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Bookseller and a number of other news and media outlets.

Follow Adam on – TwitterWebsite

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

My Week In Books (w/e 26th July) #Booknews #Books #booksread

Welcome once again to my weekly round-up of the books I have read or listened to this week. Another literary mixed bag for me again and some absolute cracking reads. A mix of new and favourite authors made for an interesting reading week.

So here we go…

I have included Amazon UK purchase links, these are affiliate links.

What a beautifully haunting read I am Dust by Louise Beech was. I was very fortunate to win a copy of this book a few weeks ago and it is one of my #20booksofsummer reading challenge books. This author is brilliant at writing stories that cross genres and I am Dust is such an amazing read. A mix of mystery, murder, suspense, love and loss. It is gorgeously written from start to finish. I have not read all of Louise’s books yet! and the ones I have read have been absolutely superb, if you have not yet picked up one her her books then I urge you to do so. I loved everything about this book.

Purchase Links – Kindle Paperback


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The next book does not have a listing on Goodreads yet and I am not sharing the cover as this is a self published book. I suppose I ought to tell you what it is lol! Well it is the second book in The Cornish Connection – Nancy Cornish PI series by Amanda James. I loved the first book and this second one is just as good, it is a mix of cosy mystery with a supernatural theme that works so well. A brilliant read and one that I adored and I think readers who like mysteries will thoroughly enjoy this series.

Here is the link for the first book in the series – kindle paperback


Oh my goodness did Tony Forder go dark with Slow Slicing! This is the 7th book in the DI Bliss series and is an absolute belter of a read. A police procedural that sees Bliss and his team definitely challenged when body parts start turning up, I don’t mean an arm or a leg but slices of human flesh!!!!! I did say he went dark with this book!. I have followed this series from the very start and this latest shows another side to Bliss as he puts himself in the firing line to look after his team. Amazing read and my review will be part of the up coming blog tour.

Pre-order Links – Kindle Paperback


I listened to the Audio book of Maleficent by Elizabeth Rudnick and narrated by Lucy Raynor. This is the “deluxe novelization of the Walt Disney Studios film Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie.” I have watched the film and when I saw this available for download from my Library via Borrowbox I decided to give it a go. The narrator was brilliant and really brought the story and characters to life. I am going to be honest here and say that I think I actually preferred listening to this rather than the film which I really did enjoy by the way.

Purchase Links – Audible Paperback – or do as I did and borrowed online from my library.


This is a new to me author and this is the 5th book in the series… I know typical of me to start midway through a series!!! Hunter’s Secret by Val Penny was a brilliant read and I wish I had started this series from the beginning. It can be a stand-alone read but I think I would have connected better with the team if I had read the previous books. It goes to show that reading in order helps the reader know the traits and dynamics of a team. Anyway, this is a story that spans 30 years, it is dark and so well written and had me addicted as I tried to work out the connections. This was a brilliant read and you can see my full review as part of the upcoming Blog Tour.

Pre-order links – Kindle Paperback


What a fabulous read Starcross Manor by Christie Barlow was and this is a series I have read in order 🙂 I love the way the author creates a sense of community and belonging in the village of Heartcross, but the arrival of Flynn Carter sends a few shockwaves for Julia Coleman. She doesn’t trust Flynn for good reason and fears for the future of not only her B&B but also the other businesses in the village. A brilliant read and another cracking read in the Love Heart Lane series. Keep and eye out for my review for the Blog Tour.

Pre-order Links – Kindle


I usually have a few photos and this week I had a wander round the garden and discovered one of the plants I planted earlier in the year a Calla Lily. I love how the leaves are also coloured.

And now for the dogs… Buster looking on as Billy has his favouritist crow feather… 🙄😂


Well that’s me done for another week and I will wish you all a wonderful week ahead.

Yvonne xx

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

The One Who Got Away by L.A.Detwiler #20booksofsummer #suspense #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The One Who Got Away by L.A. Detwiler. This is a twisted and is another book from my #20booksofsummer reading challenge. Let me show you more about the book…

“Get out while you can. You’ll die here…”

Adeline Evans has recently moved into a home for the elderly. A safe space, where she can be cared for.

When she begins to receive cryptic and threatening notes, she is certain that someone is out to get her.

But the residents are warned against listening to a woman who is losing her memory. It would seem Adeline is tormented by the secrets in her past, and that the menace is all in her mind.

Until danger comes down the corridor and starts knocking in the night…

A compelling serial killer thriller from the bestselling author of THE WIDOW NEXT DOOR.

Purchase from – Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

This was a book that verged on the very dark and twisted. It is told over two main timelines and by two people. One of them is Adeline Evans, she has recently moved into a home for the elderly. She has signs of dementia and is forgetful, easily agitated and since her arrival, the home hasn’t been quite the same. The other voice is that of the killer!

Adeline’s story is told as her time as a 19-year-old. In her home of West Sussex, there have been disappearances of girls, their bodies turning mutilated. There is a serial killer on the loose and the police have no idea who it is.

Now as much as I liked this book I did feel that I was impatient while reading it. My impatience made it feel as if the story was dragging slightly. There are various topics that come to light in this story, one is the mutilation of the bodies and the other is of unprofessional practices in a home and I do admit to these not being my favourite topic in a book, but saying that it does add to the dark and twisted nature of the killer and also to how Adeline was so easily dismissed in some of the things she mentions.

This was a good read, as I mentioned I did feel it was a little slow in places but I still found it was quite addictive as I really needed to know all the answers. The story was quite complex with various things going on and I was kept on my toes until the author was ready to drop a hint. This hint was one that left me with an “Oh, it’s …” a sort of eureka moment if you like.

One for crime, thriller readers that is quite addictive and well-plotted and one I would recommend reading.

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

Midtown Huckster (Alex Cohen #3) by Leopold Borstinski @borstinski @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #histfic #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review for Midtown Huckster by Leopold Borstinski. This series is just getting better and better with each book. My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles Blog Tours for my spot on the Tour and for my e-copy of the book. Let me show you more about the book…

Can you keep your gelt and freedom when the cops have enough evidence to take you down?

1930s Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen runs Murder Inc for Lucky Luciano. After the death of Prohibition he must find a new way to make money, just as the cops are baying at his heels. When Luciano goes down for racketeering, Alex loses his protection and is arrested for tax evasion–he must decide between saving his skin and ratting out his friends.

If he chooses prison time then his gang will fall apart and he will end up with nothing. If he squeals then he will have to flee the city he loves and the family he once adored. What would you do in a world where nobody can be trusted and you have everything to lose?

The third book in the Alex Cohen series is an historical noir novel, which plunges you deep into the early days of narcotics trafficking and the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s piercing crime fiction delivers a fix to every reader like heroin from a needle.

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

This is the third book in the Alex Cohen series and I having been enjoying it so much. This book follows on from the previous books and while you could read them as a stand-alone I would advise reading in order.

Set in 1930’s New York as prohibition is coming to an end and as President Hoover forms the Federal Bureau to investigate tax evasion and bringing the profiteers to justice.

As I mentioned, this story follows on from the previous books, these include Alex’s arrival in New York and his Jewish background. This book feels more involved as there is more secrecy as the investigators are getting closer to convicting the main bosses. Another thing that I noticed was slightly less Jewish terms, this kind of makes sense as Alex would have become more Americanised but, I also do miss them.

The book once again uses various points of history to keep the story in the right period, with mentions of Thomas Dewey who was a New York City prosecutor in the 1930’s and whose aim was to beat organised crime. I like these historical mentions as it makes for great additional reading outside of the story.

The journey Alex has made up to this point has been gradual, he is trusted and has respect but there are things afoot that are making him suspicious. Times are changing and not necessarily in Alex’s favour. As he has had his fingers in many pies and looks for more ways to earn a living, the more the investigators have to go on, and what they can’t find well…

Another excellent read in the series and I am so glad there are more planned book to follow, I am certainly interested in what happens next for Alex. This is an excellent series for Historical fiction readers and I would definitely recommend reading Midtown Huckster.

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Social Media: TwitterFacebookWebsiteInstagram

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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

All We Left Behind by Danielle. R. Graham #hisfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for All We Left Behind by Danielle R. Graham. Let me show you what this book is all about…

A powerful and incredibly moving historical novel inspired by an untold story of the Second World War.


Vancouver 1941
As the war rages around the world, Hitler’s fury is yet to be felt on the peaceful shores of Mayne Island. Sweethearts Hayden and Chidori are in love.


But everything changes after Pearl Harbor.
Now seen as the enemy, Chidori and her family are forced into an internment camp. Powerless to help them, Hayden joins the Royal Canadian Air Force to bring about an end to this devastating war – the thought of Chidori is all that keeps him alive.


Can they both survive long enough to be reunited?  Or will the war be the only thing to separate their love?

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

This is a historical romance and fiction story that is set during WWII. It is set out as a time slip and it flows effortlessly between the lives of two people before the war, during and what happens to them after.

Chidori is a Japanese-Canadian and Hayden is Canadian, their story is told in journal entries and also from log book entries. The two have been friends for years and gradually they realise that they have formed a relationship that goes beyond friendship.

When WWII starts there are rumours about what may happen, but it is when Japan attacks Pearl Harbour that real changes happen. Those living in Canada that are of Japanese origin are being moved to internment centres, it doesn’t matter if they were born in Canada or not. So Hayden and Chidori have to deal with being exasperated.

This is a story that I really enjoyed, it has a setting that I have not about before in this era of history. The author knows this area well and I though it cam across well as she described various aspects of the town. The characters of Chidori and Hayden were really good, Hayden being a bit of a hot head, and even though he has a temper it is only shown when there is a mistjustice. Chidori is more calm and serene, she is able to keep Hayden calm and together they balance each other very well.

The story is told mainly from Hayden’s perspective and Chidori’s part is told in the journal entries and I really liked the mis of the two styles. It fills in the gaps and gives more information.

This is a lovely story and one that I really enjoyed as, I think, will other readers of historical fiction and romance set in WWII. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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

The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts by Alison Sherlock @AlisonSherlock @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts by Alison Sherlock. This was such a wonderful book to read and my huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my e-copy of the book. Let me show you more about the book…

A feel-good story of new beginnings set in a gorgeous country village, perfect for fans of Katie Fforde and Milly Johnson.


After losing her job in New York, Amber Green isn’t looking forward to visiting her godmother in the sleepy village of Cranbridge. With its empty lanes and rundown shops, it’s hardly a place to mend her lonely heart.

But when Amber discovers that Cranbridge Stores, owned by her godmother Cathy and son Josh, is under threat of financial ruin, she realises that her skills as a window dresser might just be able to help save the struggling shop.

When disaster strikes, Amber and Josh must unite to save both the shop and the village from flooding.

Can Cranbridge Stores become the heart of the village once more?

Purchase Link – Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

This is one of those heartwarming books that leaves you with a nice cosy feeling, it is also the first book in the Riverside Lane series and has left me wanting to read more.

Amber Green is visiting her godmother who also happens to be her mums best friend. Amber has vague recollections about the village of Cranbrook, but on her arrival, she finds a village that is past its sell-by date, it looks run down, neglected and not welcoming. The local shop looks no better and is a shop with everything but nothing that anyone wants.

Be3ing given an unexpected chance to get stuck into helping bring some order to the overstocked shop means she will be working with Josh. He had put his life on hold to help look after his mum and Gran and is stuck in a rut. Working together the two find a happy working relationship.

I liked the way the author showed how it is not only in larger towns and cities that loneliness occurs, it also happens in smaller communities. What was once a thriving community has long since gone, but there is a need for somewhere central, could the shop be just the place.

This was such a heartwarming story and one that had me willing the locals on, and especially willing Amber and Josh to make the shop a hub. There are some wonderful characters and I am hoping that I will see some of them in future books.

This was a wonderful way to pass a Sunday afternoon as I found myself captured by the village and residents of Cranbrook. A lovely read and one that readers of contemporary fiction and romance will really enjoy and it is one I would definitely recommend.

Alison Sherlock is the author of the bestselling Willow Tree Hall books. Alison enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Her new series for Boldwood is set in a fictional Cotswold Village and the first title will be published in July 2020.

Social Media Links – TwitterFacebookBookbub

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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

My Week In Books (w/e 19th July) #bookupdates #booksread #mygarden #MeAndMyBooks

Hello and welcome to another weekly round up of books ‘n’ stuff. It is a glorious day today (9:30 am Sunday morning) I’ve been down the garden already and picked peas, runner beans, potatoes and rhubarb for our Sunday roast, I think I have also eaten my breakfast as well, the odd radish, hand full of peas, a few raspberries and the last few gooseberries and I feel quite full 😋😋

So what have I read this week? I was quite surprised when I had a look back…

This is a brilliant book for those, like me who are menopausal or are at the early stages or are peri -menopausal. Older and Wider by Jenny Eclair is an absolute howl of a read and had me laughing and sniggering as I recognised a whole lot of signs and symptoms. It has her comedic style and is so accessible and it is also packed full of tips, advice and very useful information. I think this book worked so well because it is not full of jargon, but good to honest experiences.


OMG! OMG! this is fluffing brilliant and it is the third in the series and it just gets better and better. The Curator by M.W. Craven is fictional deviousness at its very best. Dark disturbing, devious and damned good reading. If you are a crime, thriller reader and you haven’t yet started this series… well shame on you! Yeah I liked this a huge amount and can’t wait for the next one.


This is another series I am thoroughly enjoying and The Moscow Whisper by Michael Jenkins is the third in the Sean Richardson series. A brilliant mix of espionage, deception, lies, secrets and a whole lot more. It is a brilliant fast-paced read and full of action. Brilliant read and keep your eye out for my review as part of the Blog Tour.


I borrowed this from my library via the Borrow box app and it was such a brilliant book to listen to. Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay is a book I have had on my kindle for ages but not quite got to so when I was browsing the library app I thought I would give it a listen. Adam narrates this and this means he adds more to it as it his experiences he is discussing. Do be warned that there is quite a few swear words so you may wnat to listen through headphones or well away from little ears! An excellent listen and one that had me chuckling, at others not so much due to the nature of the the tale being told. I will mention that there is a warning for one of the stories as it is very sad, and it advises skipping if necessary, ( I started to listen to it and decided to then did skip it). Well worth a listen and one I would recommend.


I really enjoyed the idea behind Wife Support System by Kathleen Whyman and I am so glad I signed up to the Blog Tour for it. Three women who move into one house together so they can share the load of childcare, cleaning and cooking sounds amazing and initially it is. The story is a wonderful one of women who have different roles, jobs, partners and expectations, I really liked the interaction and dynamics between them. Keep an eye out for my review.


Why oh why didn’t I read The City of Brass by S.A Chakraborty when I first bought it! It is a fabulous fantasy, action and adventure read. I devoured its 544 pages in two sittings and absolutely loved this first book in The Daevbad Trilogy and now have the next two books sitting in my basket ready to check out. A brilliantly captivating read that has a Middle Eastern magical feel to it. Completely transporting me across desserts with ancient warriors, healers, and a mass of other things as well. Brilliant read and one I would definitely recommend.


Well that’s me done for another week and I am back to work (Monday night-shift), I’ve loved being off and home for two weeks and would have liked it if I could stay off longer… roll on retirement or a winning lottery ticket with lots of 000,000’s 😉😁

Wishing you all a great week ahead, Happy Reading

Yvonne xx

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

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas #20booksofsummer #psychologicalthriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas. This is the 6th book in my #20booksofsummer reading challenge. This was a roller-coaster of a psychological thriller and before I tell you more let me show you what it is all about…

THE ONLY THING THAT WILL SHOCK YOU MORE THAN THE FIRST CHAPTER . . . IS THE LAST. . .

Jess and Heather were once best friends – until the night Heather’s sister Flora vanished. The night that lies tore their friendship apart.

But years later, when a brutal double murder shakes their childhood town, Jess returns home.

Because the suspect is Heather.

What happened to the girl you used to know?

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

This is a rollercoaster of a read as I followed the story of three girls, one went missing as a teenager, the other has a dark past and the other gradually moved away. Flora Powell disappeared 18 years ago, her body was never found. In present-day the younger sister Heather is found with a gunshot wound and is in hospital under police guard. Jess, who was once a friend of the sisters, has just returned back to the Bristol area after many years and reconnects with the family, she is also a reporter.

This is very addictive and also a very twisted story. I say twisted because I was never completely sure who I could trust. The story is told in a back and forth style so fills in the lives of the girls when they were younger. It is brought into the present day and gradually the truth starts to emerge, but is everything the truth? Who is lying and who is really to blame?

I liked this story a lot, it kept me hooked the entire way through and became a one-sitting read. It has a good plot line that took some dark routes that were definitely unexpected. Revelations are revealed that fill in gaps but how they are connected isn’t revealed until much later on.

This is a book where I didn’t really like the characters, it wasn’t because they were badly written but because I felt they were all hiding something, maybe rather than not liking them it is more a case of I didn’t trust them.

This is a mystery thriller that I think crime readers will really enjoy. It has a good amount of twists and is one I would recommend.

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

A Summer To Remember by Sue Moorcroft #summerreading #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I m delighted to share my review for A Summer to Remember by Sue Moorcroft. This is book #5 on my #20booksofsummer #reading challenge and what a great summer read this was. Let me show you what it’s all about…

COME AND SPEND SUMMER BY THE SEA!

WANTED! A caretaker for Roundhouse Row holiday cottages.

WHERE? Nelson’s Bar is the perfect little village. Nestled away on the Norfolk coast we can offer you no signal, no Wi-Fi and – most importantly – no problems!

WHO? The ideal candidate will be looking for an escape from their cheating scumbag ex-fiancé, a diversion from their entitled cousin, and a break from their traitorous friends.

WHAT YOU’LL GET! Accommodation in a chocolate-box cottage, plus a summer filled with blue skies and beachside walks. Oh, and a reunion with the man of your dreams.

PLEASE NOTE: We take no responsibility for any of the above scumbags, passengers and/or traitors walking back into your life…

GET IN TOUCH NOW TO MAKE THIS A SUMMER TO REMEMBER!

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

If you are after a gorgeous summer read then look no further than A Summer to Remember by Sue Moorcroft. It is set in the fictional village of Nelson’s Bar in North Norfolk and mentions many villages and towns that I know. I say know because it has to be over 30 years since I last visited the area around Hunstanton when I went on many family camping holidays.

So the story is of Clancy who is starting again in the village. The last time she was here was for her cousins’ wedding that did happen, her cousin Alice ran off before the ceremony. With this past, Clancy is not sure of her welcome, some tar her with the same brush as Alice and therefore being a trouble maker, while other seem willing to realise that Clancy is not Alice.

The village and its inhabitants are a small group and this helps to keep the story on point and focusing on key characters. I like this approach as it means there is more development with the characters and a chance for me to really get to know them all.

The story is about making new starts but is also about saying goodbye to the past, Clancy has been holding on to her past through anger and it takes a while before she realises that this is not helpful. After all, if you are going to make a break then it has to be a clean break, luckily she has some good neighbours to help ease the transition, but there are still umps and pitfalls along the way.

This is a gorgeous summery read, it has problems with families being too protective, about vindictive and narrow-minded people but there is a wonderful balance with others who are willing to help[, to take a chance and admit when they are wrong.

A romance, a contemporary fiction with drama and passion, it makes this a very addictive read that is perfect for a summer fiction escape. I would definitely recommend it.

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

Tales of the Countess by Cali Bird @calibird @BOTBSPUblicity #chicklit #QandA

Today I have something a little different for you. I have a wonderful Q&A with Cali Bird, the author of Tales of the Countess. This is one for chicklit fans and here is what it is all about…

How can a woman so capable at work be so useless at getting a man?

Kennington, London, 1998

The Countess of Kennington awakes one morning after a heavy night and realises it all has to stop.

She has to stop drinking her problems away. She has to stop acting irresponsibly. And she has to stop obsessing over the MSL: the Man She Loves.

But things are often easier said than done, and when she discovers the MSL is attending a conference where she is presenting, she cannot hold back her burgeoning hopes.

In a Sex In the City meets Toy Story scenario, the Countess lives in an unusual household where her chief confidantes, known as the accessories, are a collection of beloved handbags, a beautiful sheepskin coat and her teddy bear who provide her with support and advice.

As the conference gets underway, the Countess tries hard to focus on work, but encouraged by the accessories, she cannot resist the draw of the MSL.

The bags might talk but this is no kids book…

Tales of the Countess is a highly original chicklit novel by British author Cali Bird, about the need to find happiness in yourself before you get your man.

Buy it now for the perfect piece of romantic escapism.

Now for the Questions & Answers…

Hi Cali. Tell us about Tales of the Countess. What’s the book about?

The book is about the need to be happy in yourself and then you get your man. The main character, known only as the Countess is a modern woman, living in London, who is very capable in her work but useless on the relationship front. She drinks and parties too much and is faced with a situation where she really needs to sort herself out.

Is there any man in particular that the Countess has fallen for?

Yes. It is someone that she used to work with in New York. There had been a few sparks between them but he always insisted on remaining friends because of their work relationship. The book opens with her having left that job and returning home to London. She tries to get over him but then runs into him again through her work. She discovers they will both be going to the same conference which makes it much harder to put him out of her mind.

I’ve heard that some of the characters are handbags that talk. Is this true?

Yes. They are inspired by a collection of handbags that I already owned. I loved the film, Toy Story¸ where the toys are their own community and do their own thing while their owner, Andy, isn’t around.

I imagined the same thing happening with my handbags when I was out at work. When I bought a new one, and it became my new favourite, I always wondered what the others made of this and whether they were jealous.

Unlike Toy Story, the bags interact with the Countess. They try and advise her on her love life. When she gets upset because something has gone wrong, which seems to happen a lot, they support her through her emotions.

How did you decide what characters to give them?

That happened quite naturally as I started writing. One of them is very bitchy, while another is a girly-girl true romantic. The Countess’s teddy bear also features. I’ve always thought that teddy bears are very wise and her bear is no different. He works with the bags to try and support her. Later in the story she buys a beautiful sheepskin coat which has more of a tough-love personality and tells her a few home truths which initially, she doesn’t like.

Was it easier to write for them than the people in the book?

Yes. I always found that the conversations between the bags, including their squabbles, flowed easily.  

With the people characters it was important to make sure that they were realistic and carried the story forward in a way which works for the reader.

Do you have a favourite bag?

Tough question! The bags in the book vary between something you’d take clubbing, a formal handbag and some beautiful fake fur casual bags. The formal bag is called the Queen Mum bag. I bought it in the late 90s at the end of the January sales. It has a cream tortoiseshell patent print and I used it for work. Wherever I went with it, it was men, not women, who commented on how much they liked it. It must have reminded them of their grannies or something! I used it for years and eventually the clasp broke. I sought out a specialist handbag repair shop but they couldn’t fix it without changing the look of the bag, which was a heart-breaking moment.

Recently I bought a bag by Aspinall which is very similar to it. I call it the Queen Mum Redux and I am often found stroking it and referring to it as “my precious”.

The book is set in the late 1990s. Is that when you started writing it?

I started writing it in 2000. I’d had the idea for a few months. For a laugh, I used to call myself Countess Cali of Kennington. In 1999 I started writing and as I worked through some creativity exercises, I realised that there would mileage in a fictional version of the countess and her handbags.

It originally began as a short story but kept growing. I worked on it for a few years but then run out of steam as my own life had moved on and I was no longer single. I parked it for nine years and it sat in the proverbial drawer. During those years I learned a lot about story structure and other novel writing techniques, and worked on other projects. Three years ago, I decided to return to Tales of the Countess and this time was determined to get the story fit for publication. Twenty years after I began writing about her, the Countess is finally out in the world.

How does the book mirror your life?

I was single when I started writing it, and suffering one of many heartbreaks. Another liaison with someone I liked didn’t go the way I would have wished. Initially I was attracted to writing the story because, unlike real life, I could choose the ending!

Once I got into writing it though, the story took on a life of its own. As I revised it, the elements in the initial draft which had been based on real events dropped away. Over time it developed its own truth.

I guess I’m similar to the Countess in that at the time I was doing the same kind of work. She’s much more capable than me though. I’ve been too busy playing around with creative stuff!

Thanks very much Cali. It sounds like a fun read.

Thank you. That’s the feedback I’m getting from people who have read it. It seems to be the perfect piece of escapism for the current times.

Cali is in her mid-fifties and lives in Bedfordshire. She was single until she was nearly forty and used to be the archetypal career girl, living in Central London and working in investment banking. One day, she had an epiphany, realised that she needed to honour her creative side and started writing. Since then, she had various side projects including running a life-coaching business, giving self-development talks and blogging about creativity at www.gentlecreative.com. She has practised Buddhism for over thirty years and is a self-confessed tree-hugger.

Cali has known her husband, Graham, since they were at school together. Although they once had a smooch when they were nineteen, they didn’t get back in contact for many years. Within a month of their first date, they realised they had found someone special in each other, but it was another few years before they were married at the tender age of forty-six. It’s never too late to find love!

Twitter: www.twitter.com/calibird

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GentleCreative/

Buy Links: 

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B088WBTRKK

Amazon US –  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088WBTRKK

Amazon Spain: https://www.amazon.es/dp/B088WBTRKK

Amazon India: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B088WBTRKK

Apple UK – https://books.apple.com/gb/book/id1516176786

Apple US – https://books.apple.com/book/id1516176786

Barnes & Noble/Nook -mhttps://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tales-of-the-countess-cali-bird/1137082685?ean=2940164319793

Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/book/tales-of-the-countess/cali-bird/9781916360808

Scribd – https://www.scribd.com/book/463657008/Tales-of-the-Countess

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/tales-of-the-countess-a-chick-lit

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