Q & A with Childrens Author Stuart Reid

I am very excited to welcome Stuart Reid onto my Blog today, I hope you are ready for bogies, snot, bottom burps and bums…I kid you not! If I say that this author has described as the “Billy Connolley for kids” that should give you some indication of how this post today is going to go!

Stuart is an author of the Gorgeous George books for Children, he is a regular at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and tours schools bringing his books to children everywhere. . I admit I had great fun writing up this post. I hope you all enjoy it…


I don’t know about you, but for me I love Book Covers! Want to have a look at a couple of Stuart’s? (I apologise for reducing the synopsis for each book!)

Gorgeous George and the Zigzag Zit-Faced Zombies

Sneezing, sniffing, snoring and snots! Zombies, zebras and zits! 

Must…..have….bogiieeeeeeeeeeeeeees!

Bogies, baddies, bagpipes and bums! Farting, false teeth and fun!

A must read for children (and anyone else) who love crude, rude, exciting, silly, sometimes smelly and humorous books.


I must admit the kid in me is sniggering sssoooooo much 🙂 🙂

Okay now for the Q & A (aka – author interrogation!) – make yourself comfy…

1.When was the moment that you realised you wanted to write children’s books?

​I’ve always loved writing. When I was 16, becoming a sports journalist would’ve been my dream job (basically being paid to watch football) but I studied Business Management instead because I thought it was sensible. After 25 years in business, I was running a 300-bedroom hotel in Dubai; I had a large house, a maid, a gardener, a swimming pool and two 4×4’s and I realised that I wasn’t happy. Work was unfulfilling and the credit crunch made things much harder. My wife persuaded me to start writing again… anything that would make me happy… and I began writing about people, situations and weird stories that I laughed at when I was 9 years old. I regressed back into my childhood and have never been happier.

I think being happy is your work is important, but still WOW…

2.Where did the idea of taking your books direct to your audience come from?

In 2009, I decided to give up my job… along with my salary, my car, my house, my healthcare and my pension… to start writing children’s books, so my family and I returned to Britain where I finished my first book. I was luckily enough to find a small publisher who agreed to publish the first book but he said “You’ll never make any money being a children’s author” so I started working as an area manager in retail again (which was soul-destroying). I realised that my target market meet together five days a week, forty weeks of the year… if I could tick the education box for the teachers, the reading inspiration box for the parents and the enjoyment and excitement boxes for the kids, then I might have a product that schools could benefit from. Six months after my first book was released my diary was so full with bookings from schools, libraries and book festivals that I was able to give up my proper job again and become a full-time children’s author. Since then, I have hosted over 1,500 events throughout the Uk and Ireland, as well as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, India, Hong Kong and Australia.

Finding your target audience was obviously important!

3.Is there a special standout moment from your books or from your performances?

Yesterday I was boarding a flight in Australia, returning from the Adelaide Festival, when an Emirates check-in staff member asked for my ticket and passport. She looked at the passport and then asked, ‘Are you the author? Were you performing at the Fringe? You asked my husband up onto the stage to be a lady elephant!’ – I nearly wet myself laughing. I also hosted an event in the Middle East with a group of boys from a royal family and almost started a riot. After one of my Edinburgh Fringe events last year, one of the parents described me as ‘Billy Connolly for kids’ – which is a massive compliment but one which I felt wholly inadequate to justify (didn’t stop me putting on my posters though). Writing scenes in my books where kids can help me bring the stories to life is great. Young volunteers help the audience visualise certain chapters by throwing false teeth at me, becoming snot zombies, enacting the water and the mountains and the tents around Justin Bieber’s campsite, as well as unleashing the two cheeky chimpanzees that amuse the crowd and terrorise the elephants.

Audience participation appears to be a key factor and also increases the fun!

4.Its obvious children love these performances from the video. I also noticed the adults loved it as well. Is this something you expected?  

​The more I’ve toured, and met mums and dads and teachers, the more I’ve found that most people still hold onto their inner child… the little person they once were that enjoys silliness, that laughs uncontrollably and helps them realise that it’s okay to have fun. Life can often be challenging but people need to laugh more, to enjoy life as much as possible and never take themselves too seriously. We’re only on the planet for a visit!

Yep, I have many silly, hysterical moments, and thats all I am saying about that lol

5.As I am a lifelong bookworm, I have to ask what were your favourite childhood books?

When I was about nine, I was hooked on a mystery series entitled Alfred Hitchcock’s The Three Investigators, where my love of an abstract adventure came from. Before that, the first book I remember reading by myself was Roald Dahl’s The Twits, and loved the monkeys gluing the furniture on the ceiling and Mr Twit pulling off the birds’ legs (which sounds a big gruesome nowadays). I also remember a hilarious book called Fungus the Bogeyman, as up until that point, I never knew you could put bogies in a book! And as a teenager, To Kill A Mocking Bird was the first book I ever read twice.

I remember The Twits and have heard of but never read Fungus.

6. And because I am nosy, what are your favourite books as an adult?

​I am obsessed with Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, and have recently started another Stephen King phase. My two teenager daughters are brilliant at recommending books too. I’ve just finished You by Caroline Kepnes, although it was a wee bit rude so I will be having words with that daughter! I couldn’t put John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars down, and it was the first book where I’ve actually cried buckets. Me Before You was very good and I shed a tear or two with RJ Palacio’s Wonder. I still enjoy reading children’s and young adult books, as I need to be aware of market and like to recommend books to little readers and their teachers.

Never too old to read children’s books!

7. And yes, I’m very nosy! What are your interests and hobbies away from books?

​I love cooking and will always be experimenting in the kitchen – creating new tapas dishes is my favourite thing right now. My wife and I love to travel, so if she’s not joining me on my book tours, we try to squeeze in a cheeky wee holiday or weekend break every couple of months. And although my stage shows are quite energetic, and my fitness levels are okay, I don’t play football anymore, as I’m scared of breaking my leg and not being able to perform on stage. Playing FIFA on the PS4 is the best sport I can manage these days.

8. Apart from bringing stories to a younger readers, what are your future aims or dreams for your books?

​If I was to allow myself to have a dream for my Gorgeous George books,it would be a movie or television series, with a young Rupert Grinch playing George, an older, balder Robert Carlisle wearing an enormous ginger moustache would play Grandpa Jock. A younger version of Letitia Wright (from Black Panther) would be Barbara and Allison would be played by the Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams, if she had a time machine go back to being a kid again. The adventures would be a mixture of live action, bright animation and full-on CGI, with Simon Cowell as the villain in Giant Geriatric Generator. We’d need a cast of hundreds for the Zig-Zag Zit-faced Zombies story and Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright and Woody Harrelson would have feature too, with time-warp trouser trumpets, aliens, Loch Ness monsters, piles and piles of pink poo, a parody of A Christmas Carol would need to be the festive adventure and there’s also a love story for Grandpa Jock too. But to be honest, I haven’t really given it much thought.

Oh I agree no thought at all hahaha

9. If I could wave a magic wand what would you wish for?

​Wow… you mean apart from the last answer? Well, I suppose I want every kid in the world to see one of my live events, and to feel inspired enough to want to read more books, more often. And not just my books, but any good book. And to learn to love reading, and to share that love of reading with their own children. My books are yucky… they are about boogers, bums and big bottom burps and my characters will never grown up… but I know that every little reader will, and they’ll leave Gorgeous George behind and read other books, better books and more intelligent books but I’d love it if my books were the inspiration for that. Oh, and world peace.

My love of reading started as a child and has been with me ever since!

10. Now the 3 W’s – What is next? Where Will it be? And When will it be?

​It’s already shaping up to be another busy year. My diary is full for months with a short tour of N.Ireland, followed by my first gigs at the Brighton Fringe, then the launch of Book no.8 Gorgeous George and the Incredible Iron-Bru-Man Incident in July. My sixth year at the Edinburgh Fringe is in August with 60+ appearances there, more school events, Book Week Scotland and my first tour of schools in Qatar. There is also the possibility of hosting events in Australia again with Perth Fringe in January 2020 and back across to Adelaide again in February. It’s great to be so busy… I think I have the best job in the world!

Wowsers…very busy and I wish you all the very best. I agree, it does sound like you have the best job!!


Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be appreciated so much 🙂 xx

Come Back For Me by Heidi Perks #COMEBACKFORME @HeidiPerksBook @arrowpublishing #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Come Back to Me by Heidi Perks. My huge thanks to Rachel Kennedy for arranging my advanced copy of the book and accepting my request to join the Blog Tour.

Before I go any further, let’s have a look and see what this Psychological Thriller is all about…

A shocking discovery. An island wrapped in secrets.You can bury the body, but the truth will always surface…

A tiny island community is stunned by the discovery of a long-buried body. For Stella Harvey, the news is doubly shocking, as the body is found in the garden of her childhood home. The home her family fled without explanation twenty-five years ago.

Now, questioning her past and desperate to unearth the truth, Stella returns to the Dorset island.


But she quickly finds that the community she left isn’t as welcoming as she remembers – and that people in it will go to any length to protect their secrets. But one thing rings true… You can’t bury the truth forever.

Fans of THE BAY, BROADCHURCH, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR and Lisa Jewell’s THEN SHE WAS GONE will not be able to put this novel down.

Stella loved living on the island of Evergreen, growing up in this isolated community was wonderful. She was heartbroken when her parents decided to suddenly move and Stella not fully understanding why! It is only years later that she begins to learn the truth as she returns to her childhood home to discover who the newly discovered body is! She discovers that it is not the place she remembered it to be, the secrets run deep as the naivety of her childhood is challenged.

This is a story with two timelines and told by two main characters, Stella and her mother and alternates between the present day and back to 1993 when Stella was 11 years old. From these two characters, I gradually learnt about the other family members and friends as the truth of the story began to emerge. The truth is not obvious and the author teased with details, just allowing little snippets and glimpses to be revealed. I was never sure if, or who I could trust anyone, and as this is a psychological thriller, this mistrust works well. Also adding to the psychological aspect is the isolation of the island and also the community. There are only a handful of residents mentioned and they do have their part to play, what they also add is the general feeling of the community.

The setting of this community on an island adds to the air of mystery. It sounds idyllic with its beaches, cliffs and wooded areas. Visited only by tourists in the height of the season, accessible only by boat. This mystery and intrigue is mirrored by the sparse smattering of characters. While I loved the idea of the setting the characters I just could not take to, they felt cold and aloof and, never once did I feel I could trust any of them.

I did think I had this story worked out early on, haha yeah right! Me and thinking I have things right … definitely not a strong point of mine! As I got further in I found I was adding to my original theory as the author gradually teased me with little reveals and revelations along the way. I like this continual seeding of self-doubt and it added to the general feeling of suspense.

If you like psychological thrillers that are all about discovering past truths and uncovering secrets then you will enjoy this one. It has plenty of drama and disfuntional families with a dramatic setting adding to the suspense-filled air.

It is one I would definitely recommend.

Heidi Perks’ debut novel Now You See Her twice reached the Sunday Times bestseller list, first in hardback in July 2018 at No.9 and again at No.6 in paperback in March 2019 where it was a Richard & Judy Book Club pick for Spring 2019. Now You See Her has sold over 120,000 copies across formats to date and has received a staggering 200 five start reviews on Amazon from readers. It has also been optioned for TV from the production company behind BBC One’s ‘The Miniaturist’ and Channel 4’s ‘National Treasure’.

Heidi Perks worked as a marketing director for a financial company before leaving to become a full-time mother and writer. She is a graduate of the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative Online Novel Writing Course (the only creative writing school run by a literary agency). Follow Heidi on Twitter @HeidiPerksBooks and join in the conversation with #COMEBACKFORME.

You can get a copy from Amazon UK

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the Blog Tour…

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

I Looked Away by Jane Corry @PenguinBooksUK #ILookedAway #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for I Looked Away by Jane Corry. My huge thanks to Ellie Hudson from Penguin Books for sending me an ARC of Janes latest book.

Now, let’s see what it is all about…

THE GRIPPING NEW THRILLER FROM THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF MY HUSBAND’S WIFE AND THE DEAD EX

Every Monday, 49-year-old Ellie looks after her grandson Josh. She loves him more than anything else in the world. The only thing that can mar her happiness is her husband’s affair. But he swore it was over, and Ellie has decided to be thankful for what she’s got.

Then one day, while she’s looking after Josh, her husband gets a call from that woman. And for just a moment, Ellie takes her eyes off her grandson. The accident that happens will change her life forever.

Because Ellie is hiding something in her past.

And what looks like an accident could start to look like murder…

I am a big fan of Jane Corry and have read her previous books, I looked Away is amazing and my favourite one by her…so far!

This author has created such an addictive and emotional story that incorporates so many different elements. These have been brilliantly researched and woven together to create a stunning read.

It revolves and evolves around Ellie. Where to even start with this fabulous character… circumstances took her from a happy, carefree childhood so full of love and happiness that is until her world is totally upended. After a traumatic experience, she finds her life changes, what should be a new start turns sour. She finds herself in situation after situation, at times only barely coping, this is not how childhood should be. She feels lost, continually isolated and inadequate. These feelings over the years are gradually cemented and added to and it doesn’t help that she has never come to terms to deal with the grief that her original trauma stems from.

As I mentioned this author deals with some serious elements and she does them exceptionally well. Dealing with PTSD, emotional abuse, mental health and homelessness are definitely serious and often misunderstood. Now given the nature of some of the topics you may think that this book would be a sombre one, in fact, it is far from that. Instead, the author has created a flow and pacing that suits her story so well, it effortlessly flows and is an absolute page turner. I found myself wanting to get the bottom of what makes Ellie tick, to discover all about her life.

At the end of the book, Jane shares some personal experiences and also a section called “The Science Behind the story”, and also an insightful Q & A with Claire Pooley who specialises in trauma and is a psychotherapist and mental health nurse. I found these additions to be so interesting, they add an extras something special to the work that went into the story.

This book is such a good read on so many different levels. It’s emotional, poignant, insightful and thought-provoking, along with that I saw a glimpse into a different side of society.

I Looked Away is a book I would Highly Recommend!


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

Summer Season on the Seafront by Katie Ginger @KatieGAuthor @rararesources #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Summer Season at the Seafront by Katie Ginger. I had the pleasure of reading her previous book in this series “The Little Theatre On The Seafront” so I was excited to return and see what was going to happen next. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and to Katie for my e-copy of her book.

Let’s see what it’s all about…

The Greenley Players are back practicing their Shakespeare and, as usual, things aren’t going to plan.

Sarah Powell is fed up with her sad single status and when her estranged father walks back into her life things get even worse. Can dishy doctor Finn MacDonald mend her broken heart and help her figure things out?

TV star, Nate Hardy’s career is going from strength to strength until his performance is interrupted and he has to flee the West End to hide away in Greenley. Will he ever get his career back on track or will Sarah and the rest of Greenley’s madcap residents capture his heart forever? 

Purchase links for Amazon UK US

I loved coming back to the Theatre and the Am Dram players. It didn’t take me long at all to remember the characters and their quirky ways. This time Sarah takes the main stage, with supporting roles by Gregory and Cecil, although other cast members do also have parts to play.

I immediately took to Sarah and found myself sympathising with her as she forlornly fails to find a decent match on the dating sites. A surprise lands on her doorstep and it leaves her having to re-assess what she originally thought. I loved this surprise for Sarah and though the author handled the reactions very well. Oh my goodness that was so cryptic!

Nate, the actor fleeing London under a shadow is a great character. Yes, I will admit that initially, I felt he was little stereotyped, but after I got to know him I was pleasantly surprised. Just goes to show how wrong you can be about people, which is perfect for him!

This is such an adorable read and I was so happy to reconnect with the wonderful and slightly mad-cap characters. Mrs Andrews… though I think she would scare the socks off me, also had me giggling. Gregory and Ceil are simply perfect in both their character, outlook and cheeky little asides and are such a wonderful compliment. Sarah and Nate are the main focus and I loved their individual stories. Friendships, relationships, and dealing with emotions are wonderfully wrapped up and around a story that I adored.

In picking out and highlighting just a few characters it meant the flow of the story did just that “it flowed” beautifully. I was happily turning pages from start to finish and I cannot wait to see what comes next in this series.

If you are after a wonderful story, in fact, a series then have a look at this one. Wonderful storylines, brilliant characters that had me smirking, laughing, and also wiping the odd stray tear. Summer Season on the Seafront gets a Highly Recommended from Me!

KATIE GINGER lives in the South East of England, by the sea, and apart from holidays to very hot places where you can sit by a pool and drink cocktails as big your head, she wouldn’t really want to be anywhere else. Summer Season on the Seafront is Katie’s second novel. Her debut novel The Little Theatre on the Seafront was shortlisted for the Katie Fforde Debut Novel of the Year award. She is also the author of some cosy mystery short stories. Katie loves making her characters either fall in love, or killing them off – it depends on her mood!

When she’s not writing, Katie spends her time drinking gin, or with her husband, trying to keep alive her two children: Ellie, who believes everything in life should be done as a musical number from a West End show; and Sam, who is basically a monkey with a boy’s face. And there’s also their adorable King Charles Spaniel, Wotsit (yes, he is named after the crisps!).

For more about Katie you can visit her website: www.keginger.com, find her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/KatieGAuthor, or follow her on Twitter: @KatieGAuthor

Sere what other Book Blooger think by following the Tour

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

Step Sister by Jennifer Donnelly #ReadersFirst1 #Review

I am delighted to share my review for Step Sister by Jennifer Donnelly. I won a copy of this book from Readers First so my huge thanks to them.

As a child I loved fairy tales, especially Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. They told of magical adventures and whisked me off to far away lands to meet all sorts of people and beasts. Step Sister is the story of what happened after Ella was found to be the owner of the glass slipper.

‘In an ancient city by the sea, three sisters – a maiden, a mother, and a crone – are drawing maps by candlelight. Sombre, with piercing grey eyes, they are the three Fates, and every map is a human life . . .’

Stepsister takes up where Cinderella’s tale ends. We meet Isabelle, the younger of Cinderella’s two stepsisters. Ella is considered beautiful; stepsister Isabelle is not. Isabelle is fearless, brave, and strong-willed. She fences better than any boy, and takes her stallion over jumps that grown men fear to attempt. It doesn’t matter, though; these qualities are not valued in a girl. Others have determined what is beautiful, and Isabelle does not fit their definition. Isabelle must face down the demons that drove her cruel treatment of Ella, challenge her own fate and maybe even redefine the very notion of beauty . . .

Cinderella is about a girl who was bullied; Stepsister is about the bully. We all root for the victims, we want to see them triumph. But what about the bullies? Is there hope for them? Can a mean girl change? Can she find her own happily ever after?

This is the story of Isabella, one-half of the “ugly sisters”, the other being Octavia. I was really interested to see how or where the author would go with this story. The author took a route that included Fate and Chance, it wasn’t the story I thought it would be. Instead, it was so much better than I could imagine.

I immediately got the fairy tale vibe as I started this story, and I was so glad of that. I think it is important to have this as it follows on from such a famous one. The main focus is Isabella and I learned of her childhood and growing up. More importantly, I discovered what the turning point was in her life for her to turn ugly.

The way the author portrayed the character and showed things from Isabella’s perspective was interesting and became very compelling. Instead of the flippant, high-maintenance and demanding girl instead, I found someone very different. A girl who so much wanted for her mother to be proud of her. A girl who was expected to become someone she didn’t want to be. A girl caught in an endless circle.

As this tale unfolded I was drawn deeper into the lives of the sisters. The story made me think about them in a different way as a new light had been shone on them. The author has given the sisters something different and for me, it worked really well. There was more of a feminism flare to the story, and as this strain started to make itself felt the fairy tale started to fade. There is still the magical feel but it just feels more grown up.

If like me, you still like fairy tales then Step Sister is one you should really take a look at. It has darkness that has been balanced with the various other threads of the story. For me, this version of what happened after is very good and makes for brilliant reading.

It has strong characters, a wonderful storyline and gives great escapism. It gets a Definitely Recommended from Me!

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

Edie Brownes Cottage by the Sea by Jane Linfoot @janelinfoot @rararesources #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Edie Brownes Cottage by the Sea by Jane Linfoot. A huge thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and also to Jane for my e-copy of this wonderful book.

Those who don’t jump will never fly…

Hurtling through the sky was supposed to be Edie Browne’s flight of independence. But when she falls head over champagne bucket while celebrating her successful landing, her life is changed in an instant. 
 
But starting over has its benefits, and as Edie relearns the basics under the watchful eye of her Aunty Josie and an entire Cornish village of new friends and neighbours, she finds love and joy she never could have imagined in the unlikeliest of places… 

Come home to St Aidan and Periwinkle Cottage for a romance full of love, laughter and friends for life!

Purchase Links: From Amazon – UKUS

There is so much more to this book than first meets the eye. In fact, the same can be said for Edie Browne. The synopsis tells how Edie’s life changed and she has to relearn things, so many things that are taken for granted that are not even thought about until they have been taken away…

I met Edie as she was parachuting from a plane. Then I met her as she is making her way to Cornwall and I gradually got to know her and what had happened to her. She is trying to work out who she is now as she is still reeling from her illness and struggling to find her feet.

Moving to Cornwall with her Auntie Jo gives Edie a chance to leave the hustle and bustle of city life. Instead, she can chill out and adjust to a much more relaxed tempo. In helping herself, Edie also finds that she is not the only one in need of help. Auntie Jo needs help with the house and renovations on that and the barn-yard open some exciting new opportunities. Auntie Jo needs Edie just as much as Edie needs Auntie Jo!

Friendship and laughter accompany this book and is such a large part of it. I loved the crafting community and it is so appropriate for small Cornish villages. The mentions of neighbours and friends helping out and lending a hand is another thing I love about the Cornish community. The author has picked up and used this so well and has wrapped it around and into Edie’s story so well.

The author has used Edie’s illness and highlighted that it is not people of a certain age that have illnesses, it can hit people of any age. The use of the illness defining Edie at the start of the story and her struggle to come to terms with changes was something that really touched me. It is a heartfelt read with an important aspect to it, but also not at all morbid or depressing although the frustration and despair are there, it also has a humour to it that is just the right balance. It gives it a more upbeat feel.

This was a wonderful story with so many things that I thoroughly enjoyed. Some fabulous characters with various backgrounds and stories to them, the Cornish setting is a big thing for me and she was spot on with that. The plot was interesting and also very addictive to read.

Edie Brownes Cottage by the Sea gets a Highly Recommended by Me! 🙂

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.

See what other Book Blogger think by following the Blog Tour

The Gift of Friends by Emma Hannigan #RandomThingsTours @annecater #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Gift of Friends by Emma Hannigan. My huge thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for accepting my request to join the Blog Tour and also to Headline Review for my copy of this beautiful book.

Let’s have a look and see what it’s all about…

Kingfisher Road – a leafy, peaceful street in the town of Vayhill. But there are whispers behind closed doors. Who is moving into Number 10?

Engaged to handsome, wealthy Justin Johnston, Danielle appears to her new neighbours to have the perfect, glossy life. But not everything is as it seems…

In fact, each of the other four women who live close by has a secret, and each is nursing their own private heartache.

But could a gift be waiting on their doorsteps? And, by opening their front doors, and their hearts, to each other, could the women of Kingfisher Road discover all the help they need?

This thirteenth and final novel from the beloved and inspiring Emma Hannigan is a life-affirming, uplifting story that celebrates the strength and joys of female friendship.

Emma Hannigan was the No. 1 bestselling author of eleven novels including Letters to Daughters, The Wedding Promise, The Perfect Gift, and The Summer Guest, as well as a memoir, All to Live For, which was about surviving an eleven year battle with cancer – facing cancer 10 separate times over the course of those years – and remaining strong, positive and warm. Very sadly, we have now lost Emma in the fight against cancer – she passed away at the end of February 2018.

The Gift of Friends went straight to number one on the bestseller lists in Ireland and has remained there ever since.

As I sit and write this review I feel quite emotional. I am so sad that such a talented and amazing author was taken far too soon. Sad also that it is only now I have read one of Emma’s books, though I do have 3 of her books on my kindle, no excuse! Emotional because of the beautiful story she wrote and also for the words in the Acknowledgments. Having read The Gift of Friends I am determined to read the rest of this authors books.

The Gift of Friends is a perfectly wonderful story. I was warmly greeted by the residents of Kingfisher Road, Nancy, Maia, Pearl and Betsey. A wonderful group of women who alternate between being carefree, friendly, loud, sensitive, bold and just a little bonkers, but in a very good way. They are not backwards in coming forwards with advice or opinion, by that I mean they very much say what they think. Poor Danielle is a little overwhelmed by her new home with Justin and also with the 4 women when they introduce themselves in their very exuberant way.

As much as I felt for Danielle, I couldn’t help but smirk as the author described this encounter. This was the start of a story that had me riveted as I got to know about Kingfisher Road and it’s residents. Danielle gradually gets to know these women and friendship forms. Bonds are built upon and she finds that not only are they able to help her settle in, but that she is also able to help them.

As the story unfolds I began to realise that things are not as rosy as they first appear. There is something that is held back by each of the characters. Even though they are very close I began to realise that certain things were kept secret. It was one of those scenarios that showed that we don’t always know what goes on behind closed doors. Not everything is shared, somethings are so deep and so painful that the owner of them wants to keep them buried, rather than talk of the secret they carry.

This book had me with so many “lump in my throat” moments, and at times that lump broke and left me in tears. It was such an emotional read with serious as well as more lighthearted moments and beautiful friendships. I got to gradually discover the truth about the households and their residents.

This story had such an easy flow to it and a wonderful balance between the more serious and also the lightheartedness. It is such a beautiful read and one I would Highly Recommend.

Emma Hannigan was an Irish author and blogger, best known for writing about her experience of suffering from cancer. 

With a family history of breast and ovarian cancer, Hannigan’s mother and maternal aunt tested positive for the responsible gene, BRCA1. She also received a ‘positive’ result in August 2005, which carries an 85% risk of developing breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer. In 2006, Hannigan underwent a bi-lateral mastectomy (or both breasts removed) and a bi-lateral oopherectomy (or both ovaries removed) to reduce the risk of cancer developing to 5%. However, breast cancer soon developed, “in the neck, shoulder and under my arm”, in 2007. After repeated treatment, a tumor always reappeared. She died at age 45 after her tenth battle with cancer.

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Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow @MatthewCrow @annecater #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow with you today. I was lucky to win a copy of this book on a Giveaway run by the fabulous Anne Cater on her blog at Random Things Through My Letterbox.

Let me tell you a story, about a man I knew, and a man I know…

Mr Baxter is ninety-four years old when he falls down his staircase and grudgily finds himself resident at Melrose Gardens Retirement Home.

Baxter is many things – raconteur, retired music teacher, rabble-rouser, bon viveur – but ‘good patient’ he is not. He had every intention of living his twilight years with wine, music and revelry; not tea, telly and Tramadol. Indeed, Melrose Gardens is his worst nightmare – until he meets Gregory.

At only nineteen years of age, Greg has suffered a loss so heavy that he is in danger of giving up on life before he even gets going.

Determined to save the boy, Baxter decides to enlist his help on a mission to pay tribute to his long-lost love, Thomas: the man with whom he found true happiness; the man he waved off to fight in a senseless war; the man who never returned. The best man he ever knew.

With Gregory in tow Baxter sets out on a spirited escape from Melrose, bound for the war graves of Northern France. As Baxter shares his memories, the boy starts to see that life need not be a matter of mere endurance; that the world is huge and beautiful; that kindness is strength; and that the only way to honour the dead, is to live.

Baxter’s Requiem is a glorious celebration of life, love and seizing every last second we have while we’re here.

What a stunning book Baxter’s Requiem is! Meeting the character that is Baxter was memorable. A grumpy old man on the outside but with a wonderful wit and a huge heart on the inside! Greg is again another wonderful character, he is quiet and withdrawn in an almost moody way. With over 70 years separating these two there are bound to be differences but, actually not that many!

Both Greg and Baxter have personal stories in them. They are kept close and they almost protect them from the outside world. They are precious memories that they have built up and I can understand this almost secretive shield they have around them.

When Baxter and Greg meet it is at the care home that Baxter has been sent to recover from a fall. Baxter sees Greg as something more than quiet and withdrawn, he sees sorrow and pain. Baxter believes that he can help Greg somehow and so the process of building up a friendship and a bond begins.

It is not only Greg that needs help, Baxter does from a care point, but Baxter has something else in mind. He wants desperatley to go to France, it is something that means so much to him. So without realsining it Greg needs Baxter to help him to be able to live his life and break free of what holds him back. Baxcter needs Greg to break out and fulfil a heartbreaking promise to the man he loved.

I read this book 3 weeks ago and it is only now that I am coming back to my paper notes and what I thought. I have a lump in throat as I type this up, it reminds me how beautiful and poignant this story was. It shows that life can be so fragile and fleeting and also so full of love.

I loved the emotions that the author brought out of me with Baxter’s Requiem, smilrking at some of the one liners from Baxter only for the realisation that life has an expiry date. Care homes are often referred to as “Gods waiting room” but in Baxter’s case he sees them as “practising being dead and paying for the privalige”. This cracked me up and then the reality of what he said…

Sadness and a sort of melancholy was what I expected before I began this book. But then I found that it was heartwarming, moving, funny and yes there is sadness and heartbreak. but, this book wasn’t about that. This was a story that showed me a life lived, a life loved, a life apart and a life to come.

If you after a gorgeous, stunning, beautiful read then you seriously need to read this book. It get a Highly Recommended from Me!

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

Crikey a BodyGuard by Kathryn Freeman @KathrynFreeman1 @rararesources #Review #ChocLituk #Giveaway (INT)

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for Crikey a Bodyguard by Kathryn Freeman My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for accepting my request to join the Blog Tour and for organising my e-copy of this book.

She’s got the brains, he’s got the muscle …When Kelly Bridge’s parents insist on employing a bodyguard for her protection, she’s not happy. Okay, so maybe not every woman is on the cusp of developing a vaccine against a potential biological terrorist attack – but crikey, it’s not like she’s a celebrity! 

Ben Jacobs flunked spectacularly out of school, so he knows his new client Dr Kelly Bridge spells trouble for him. But on a conference trip to Rome he finds things are worse than he thought. Not only is he falling for the brilliant scientist, he’s also become horribly aware she’s in grave danger. As they go on the run, dodging bullets and kidnappers, can he resist his feelings and keep her safe?

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When Dr Kelly Bridges voices concerns to her parents that she feels she may be being followed, her parents call in a security firm to provide a bodyguard. Enter Ben Jacobs…

The two main characters are Kelly and Ben and initially they appear that they are like chalk and cheese in so many ways, or maybe I should say they are brains and brawn! Kelly is a genius when it comes to her career and her research into viruses, she is all about her work. Ben is macho and just a bit yummy sounding… ok!… a lot yummy sounding! He, like Kelly is also all about work, he takes his job seriously, he is intense in quite a few ways. Kelly is reluctant to have a bodyguard and thinks it just an over-reaction, but Ben soon proves that he is actually needed.

This was such a fabulous story to get caught up in. The threat to Kelly is such a good plot line to have for this story, it fits in well with Kelly’s work and the author has wrapped up a little bit of science in there as well! It was just the basics, but enough to get a grip on Kelly’s work.

Kelly and Ben as individuals are as I said very different, however, the further I progressed the more I realised they are also similar in the respect that they are also two very lonely people. Both caught up in their work with little time for any social activities. I was expecting sparks to a certain extent, and there was some wonderful smouldering and definite sparks moments. This is not a straight forward romance instead the author had her characters dancing like puppets on strings as they wove their way through the story.

There was such a good amount of banter through this story and a nice balance of humour that had me smirking. It gave a lighter touch to the story and also added to the romantic suspense.

The author has done a wonderful job mixing a science, romance, threats, suspense and romance into this story. This was a book I read on my kindle, I originally planned on reading 50% and was then going to watch a film… I never got to the film… instead, I got to the end of the book!

So it gets a definitely recommended from Me

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.

With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

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Giveaway to Win a PB copy of Oh Crumbs (Open INT)

*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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson #Review

I am delighted to share my review for The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson. I have had this book on my shelf for a while now and I also have a small confession… I actually own around 7-8 Milly Johnson books and I have not actually read any of them until now! Now that I have read my first one, and have discovered that I have been missing out on some really fabulous reads… it will not be long before I read another.

When Lewis Harley has a health scare in his early forties, he takes it as a wake-up call. So he and his wife Charlotte leave behind life in the fast lane and Lewis opens the antique shop he has dreamed of. Bonnie Brookland was brought up in the antiques trade and now works for the man who bought out her father’s business, but she isn’t happy there. So when she walks into Lew’s shop, she knows this is the place for her.

As Bonnie and Lew start to work together, they soon realise that there is more to their relationship than either thought. But Bonnie is trapped in an unhappy marriage, and Lew and Charlotte have more problems than they care to admit. Each has secrets in their past which are about to be uncovered. Can they find the happiness they both deserve?

The Queen of Wishful Thinking is such a fabulous story. It is all about Bonnie Brookland and the people in her life, be them old friends or new ones, she is surrounded by such a myriad of wonderful characters… well mostly she is!

Bonnie works in an antique… no that’s not quite right… she worked in an antique shop that is now more of a junk shop. Sadly the death of Bonnie’s father saw a change in ownership and the shops demise soon followed. The new owner is odious and is the opposite of Bonnie’s standards and her sense of what is right and fair. Bonnie’s moral compass points her to a new job.

Lew is the owner of “Pot of Gold” and after meeting Bonnie and discovering her knowledge of the antique business he decides she is right for the job. Not only does she have a great knowledge she also has a list of contacts… no scrub that… she has the most flamboyant, amazing, eccentric and superb group of friends a girl could ever want to have in her life. The nicknames are an absolute readers dream, they just fit them all to a tee. Just you wait till you meet them!

Bonnie and Lew are just a great match for the Pot of Gold. I should mention that they are not an item, they are both married to other people. Over the course of the story I had found a sense of something untoward that turned into something a little dark. It caught me unawares to a point, it was unsettling and had me avidly turning pages. I did try on a couple of ocassions to put the book down so I could go to bed. I did that “I’ll just read one more chapter” thing, well that kept going on until I ran out of chapters just before 2am.

If like me you have not had the pleasure of picking up and reading a Milly Johnson book, then I seriously urge you to do so. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, well I suppose I expected romance, a touch of humour and what I got what an amazing story that completely drew me in and kept me engrossed from start to finish. The book is 478 mpages long and I read it in one go… yes in one go until 2am in the morning for goodness sake!

The story is one about people, families, taking a chance in life and I suppose taking a chance on life. There is such a mix of emotions that cover dearth and grief it is humourous and also a dark and nasty turn of events. This author has got a wicked sense of humour and it comes across in many different ways, the characters names, newpaper snippets. The newspaper items had me sniggering and snorting in such an ungainly manner!

This is a fabulous story that I would highly recommend 🙂

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