Cat Lady by Dawn O’Porter @DawnOPorter @RandomTTours @HarperCollinsUK #fictionpubteam #contemporaryfiction #family #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for Cat Lady by Dawn O’Porter. This is a story that is at times amusing and has some interesting looks at stereotypes and how we can set ourselves targets that are too high.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book.

SINGLE – INDEPENDENT – ALOOF – CUNNING – AGILE – CANNOT BE TAMED

We’ve all known a cat lady – and we’ve probably all judged her too.

But behind the label – the one that only sticks to women – what if there’s a story worth nine lives?

Told with Dawn’s trademark warmth, wit and irreverence, CAT LADY is a story about defying labels and forging friendships. It’s for the cat lady in all of us – because a woman always lands on her feet . . .

MY REVIEW

I am a dog owner, I know people can have cats and dogs, but for a lot of us, it tends to be one or the other. The author has chosen the cat and a woman for the main focus of her story, there is a certain stigma or stereotype around female cat owners. They are either old or single. or both. This is something that you don’t really see with a female dog owner as much.

Dawn is neither old nor single, she is married, has a successful job and seems settled. The fact that her husband’s ex-wife keeps popping in on a regular basis is annoying, but it is understandable… to a point. The living arrangements in Dawn’s house are somewhat strange, and the author does take the stereotype of a cat lover to a more extreme scenario. It was not until I learnt more about Dawn that I realised how much the cat is her support system and also why.

When I read the synopsis for this book I was interested, it sounded a bit different and quite humorous, which it is. There is also a lot more to this book though that takes a serious look at life, expectations and dealing with hurts and upsets.

Stereotyping is easily done and the author shows this in several scenarios within a group that Dawn attends. Again there is the expectation that someone looking a certain way should be expected to have a certain pet or breed of dog. In fact, our pets, whether they are furry, scaled, feathered or shelled all have a part to play in our lives. For some, a pet can be the only interaction, but for someone like Dawn, she already interacts with her family and her work colleagues. It isn’t until she starts meeting like-minded people and her life takes an unexpected knock, or two, that she finally takes the time to stop and look at her life.

While there are some funny moments, this is also a story of accepting who you are in life and not trying to live up to unrealistic targets in the belief that this will make you successful and happy. The author uses the character of Dawn to show how life has a way of knocking you down and how you respond to this and deal with it. This was a heartwarming read. I really enjoyed it and I would happily recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

DAWN O’PORTER lives in Los Angeles with her husband Chris, her two boys Art and Valentine,
cats Myrtle and Boo.
Dawn is the bestselling author of the novels The Cows and the Richard and Judy Book Club pick
So Lucky, and her non-fiction title Life in Pieces was also a Sunday Times bestseller.
Dawn started out in TV production but quickly landed in front of the camera, making numerous
documentaries that included immersive investigations of Polygamy, Size Zero, Childbirth, Free
Love, Breast Cancer and the movie Dirty Dancing.
Dawn’s journalism has appeared in multiple publications and she was the monthly columnist for
Glamour magazine. She is now a full-time writer of eight books, designs dresses for Joanie
Clothing, LOVES instagram, and has a large following on her Patreon blog.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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

Windswept & Interesting: My Autobiography by Billy Connolly #Audible #audiobook #toplisten #audioreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Windswept & Interesting: My Autobiography by Billy Connolly. I grew up and was aware of this comedian and over the years I have then watched his travelogue shows.

When I saw this on Audible I knew straight away that this was the book I was going to spend my credit on this month. It was a brilliant choice and exceptional audio and one that will be on my Top Books of the Year list!

In his first full-length autobiography, comedy legend and national treasure Billy Connolly reveals the truth behind his windswept and interesting life.

Born in a tenement flat in Glasgow in 1942, orphaned by the age of 4, and a survivor of appalling abuse at the hands of his own family, Billy’s life is a remarkable story of success against all the odds.

Billy found his escape first as an apprentice welder in the shipyards of the River Clyde. Later he became a folk musician – a ‘rambling man’ – with a genuine talent for playing the banjo. But it was his ability to spin stories, tell jokes and hold an audience in the palm of his hand that truly set him apart.

As a young comedian, Billy broke all the rules. He was fearless and outspoken – willing to call out hypocrisy wherever he saw it. But his stand-up was full of warmth, humility and silliness too. His startling, hairy ‘glam-rock’ stage appearance – wearing leotards, scissor suits and banana boots – only added to his appeal.

It was an appearance on Michael Parkinson’s chat show in 1975 – and one outrageous story in particular – that catapulted Billy from cult hero to national star. TV shows, documentaries, international fame and award-winning Hollywood movies followed. Billy’s pitch-perfect stand-up comedy kept coming too – for over 50 years, in fact – until a double diagnosis of cancer and Parkinson’s Disease brought his remarkable live performances to an end. Since then he has continued making TV shows, creating extraordinary drawings… and writing.

Windswept and Interesting is Billy’s story in his own words. It is joyfully funny – stuffed full of hard-earned wisdom as well as countless digressions on fishing, farting and the joys of dancing naked. It is an unforgettable, life-affirming story of a true comedy legend.

‘I didn’t know I was Windswept and Interesting until somebody told me. It was a friend who was startlingly exotic himself. He’d just come back from Kashmir and was all billowy shirt and Indian beads. I had long hair and a beard and was swishing around in electric blue flairs.
He said: “Look at you – all windswept and interesting!”
I just said: “Exactly!”
After that, I simply had to maintain my reputation…’ 

MY REVIEW

Billy Connolly is a voice I have known of since childhood when Mum and Dad listened to his vinyl LPs, a voice I have known but at the time I didn’t really understand, probably just as well really.

Over the years Billy has been on TV chatshows, radio, Top of the Pops, in film and to be fair in most of the entertainment genres. I have read one of his previous books, it was years ago and it was one that I lent to someone who never returned it!

I decided to listen to the audiobook of this autobiography and I have to say, compared to when I heard his voice as a child, I can understand every word. I mentioned listening to this book to my mum, and the first thing she said was “could you understand him”, yes she still remembers trying to decipher the LPs, not easy especially when Billy starts laughing!

This is a man who has had an interesting life, he has travelled the world and met so many people. He is an observer of people and has taken risks and chances. Some worked some didn’t. But he is a unique man.

Listening to this book had me laughing to a point where I had to pause the book so I could compose myself and also hear what Billy was saying! He sees life slightly differently and this is what makes his improvised stand-up routines so unique.

If you want to listen to an autobiography that gets under the skin of what makes a person tick, then this one is fabulous. Billy doesn’t hide his past, he is open about his mistakes and how he has done things as well as what has affected him over the years.

This is entertaining and funny but it is also honest and a bit of an eye-opener at times. It isn’t all humour and anecdotes, as he discusses the abuse he suffered as a child. It is something that had taken many, many years for him to come to terms with and also to understand. I did also get the hardback of this and read some sections as well as listened. And yes, as I read it I could hear Billy’s voice.

Excellent listening, honest and very addictive. I would absolutely recommend it. 

Here are a couple of quotes from the book that I found on Goodreads –

“Blessed are those who yodel – for they shall never be troubled by offers of work.”
― Billy Connolly, Windswept & Interesting: My Autobiography

“I hope I’ve shown a few disbelievers that they should never discount those they think are different, disorganised or distractible.”
― Billy Connolly, Windswept & Interesting: My Autobiography

ABOUT BILLY CONNOLLY

Image is taken from Goodreads

William “Billy” Connolly, Jr., CBE is a Scottish comedian, musician, presenter and actor. He is sometimes known, especially in his native Scotland, by the nickname The Big Yin (The Big One). His first trade, in the early 1960s, was as a welder (specifically a boilermaker) in the Glasgow shipyards, but he gave it up towards the end of the decade to pursue a career as a folk singer in the Humblebums and subsequently as a soloist. In the early 1970s he made the transition from folk-singer with a comedic persona to fully-fledged comedian, a role in which he continues. He also became an actor, and has appeared in such films as Mrs. Brown (1997), for which he was nominated for a BAFTA; The Boondock Saints (1999); The Last Samurai (2003); Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004); and The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008).

It is as a stand-up comedian that Connolly is best known. His observational comedy is idiosyncratic and often off-the-cuff. He has outraged certain sectors of audiences, critics and the media with his free use of the word “fuck”. He has made jokes relating to masturbation, blasphemy, defecation, flatulence, haemorrhoids, sex, his father’s illness, his aunts’ cruelty and, in the latter stages of his career, old age (specifically his experiences of growing old). In 2007 and again in 2010, he was voted the greatest stand-up comic on Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups.

Connolly has been married to comedian and psychologist Pamela Stephenson since 1989. In the book Billy, and in a December 2008 online interview, Connolly states he was sexually abused by his father between the ages of 10 and 15. He believes this was a result of the Catholic Church not allowing his father to divorce after his mother left the family. Due to this, Connolly has a “deep distrust and dislike of the Catholic church and any other organization that brainwashes people”. In a 1999 interview with “The Sunday Herald” Connolly condemned the SNP as “racist” and the new Scottish parliament as a “joke”.

In November 1998, Connolly was the subject of a two-hour retrospective entitled Billy Connolly: Erect for 30 Years, which included tributes from Judi Dench, Sean Connery, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, and Eddie Izzard. 

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

Welcome to Your Life by Bethany Rutter @bethanyrutter @RandomTTours @fictionpubteam #debut #contemporaryfiction #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Welcome to Your Life by Bethany Rutter. This is the first time I have read a book by this debut author and it was a fabulous one to read.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for squeezing me on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

52 weeks.
52 dates.
52 chances to find love.

Serena Mills should be at her wedding.


Instead, she’s eating an ice cream sundae and drinking an obscenely large glass of wine in a
Harvester off the M25.


Everyone thinks she’s gone mad. She’s jilted the man everyone told her she was ‘so lucky’ to find.
But Serena wants to find love. A love she deserves – not one she should just feel grateful for.
So, she escapes to the big city and sets herself a challenge: 52 weeks. 52 dates. 52 chances to find
love.

It should be easy, right?

MY REVIEW

This is the first time I have read anything by this author and that is because Bethany is a Debut Author, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I really liked the sound of the synopsis. The story is of Serena, and she has just left her wedding and is eating ice cream in a chain restaurant. Oh, and she is by herself!

This is the start of a wonderful story about how Serena tries to decide who she is and what she actually wants from her life. Not being the most confident of people and not willing to go out on a limb means she settles for what she knows. Thank goodness she realised in time that what she thought she wanted in life isn’t actually what she was willing to settle for.

This is a very modern feeling romance, that does have some chuckles but also has a more serious side to it. That serious side is one that many of us have had issues with and that is weight. I love how the author has created characters that are happy in their own skins, but still show how hurtful people can be. It doesn’t matter how confident you come across, the comments do still hurt.

So, for Serena changing not only her future but by taking a look at how she perceives what she should settle for is a huge eye-opener for her. It is hard to see herself as others see her and take compliments that are seriously meant. Serena is 28 and is starting to take steps out of her comfort zone. Living in London has opened up a different world to her, giving her some amazing and tantalising new experiences.

This was such a wonderful read. It is light and fun but also deals with some serious issues and the balance was great. This is a romance with a good amount of humour and there are some rather interesting scenes!!

I was definitely interested in how Serena was changing her attitude and also for those around her to support her when she needed it. I really enjoyed this and it is one I would definitely recommend. I am really looking forward to reading more from this author.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bethany Rutter is a writer, podcaster and plus-sized influencer. Her adult
debut, Welcome To Your Life, came to life through conversations with her
friends over drinks in London. Swapping stories of toe-curling online dates,
workplace harassment, new crushes, fashion discoveries and workout
classes, she wanted to write a heroine who turns her life upside-down just
ahead of her thirtieth birthday and is plunged into the wonderful chaos of
contemporary urban life.


In her words: ‘My heroine Serena Mills makes huge decisions. She wants
things for herself, she has Big Feelings, she desires people and is desired in
return. And… she’s fat. Of course, so much about her story has little or nothing to do with her body,
and I hope Welcome To Your Life resonates with you, whatever your body looks like and whatever
you feel towards it. This is just one story that I wanted to tell, where a fat girl gets to be the
protagonist of her own story, rather than a silly footnote in someone else’s.


Welcome To Your Life is dedicated to ‘anyone who’s ever held themselves back’ and encourages
us all to shake off our insecurities and wholeheartedly embrace everything that life has to offer.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour

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

This Charming Man by C. K. McDonnell @Caimh @Thomassshill @TransworldBooks #crime #mystery #magic #fantasy #bookreview

Vampires do not exist. Everyone knows this. So it’s particularly annoying when they start popping up around Manchester . . .

I am delighted to share my review today for This Charming Man by Caimh McDonnell. This is the second book in The Stranger Times series, I adored the first book and this one is just as good. Great for fans of crime/mystery and Magic/fantasy novels.

My huge thanks to Thomas Hill at Transworld Books for sending me a copy of this book and also the first one.

Vampires do not exist. Everyone knows this. So it’s particularly annoying when they start popping up around Manchester . . .

Nobody is pleased about it. Not the Founders, the secret organisation for whom vampires were invented as an allegory, nor the Folk, the magical people hidden in plain sight who only want a quiet life. And definitely not the people of Manchester, because there is nothing more irksome than being murdered by an allegory run amok. Somebody needs to sort this out fast before all Hell really breaks loose – step forward the staff of The Stranger Times.

It’s not like they don’t have enough to be dealing with. Assistant Editor Hannah has come back from getting messily divorced to discover that someone is trying to kidnap a member of their staff and while editor Vincent Banecroft would be delighted to see the back of any of his team, he doesn’t like people touching his stuff – it’s the principle of the thing.

Throw in a precarious plumbing situation, gambling debts, an entirely new way of swearing, and a certain detective inspector with what could be kindly referred to as ‘a lot of baggage’ and it all adds up to another hectic week in the life of the newspaper committed to reporting the truth that nobody else will touch.

This Charming Man is the second book in the critically acclaimed The Stranger Times series.

MY REVIEW

The Stranger Times is the first book in this series that I read and thoroughly enjoyed last year. It is also the name of the newspaper that caters for those with a slightly obscure/different/unique view of the world. This is the sort of paper that will report on alien sightings, mysterious noises in the basement and weird and wonderful goings-on that regularly appear.

It really shouldn’t come as a surprise when a Vampire suddenly turns up, but then everyone knows such things don’t exist! I love how the author uses this vampiric occurrence and it is almost tongue in cheek that his reporters don’t quite know what to call a pale, pointy-toothed anomaly. It struck me as funny that the reporters are fine with demons, aliens etc, but not calling a vampire a vampire. Anyhow, I do digress.

The main characters are the same that appeared in the first book, so we have Banecroft the editor, along with Grace, Stella, Ox, Stanley, DI Sturgess, Hannah who gallantly report the news while Banecroft is breathing down their necks, wanting answers and a story to print in his paper.

The bodies are a unique find and they are shrugged off as such, some things are not that easy to hide and it doesn’t take long for things to start to heat up. Tensions are brittle as lack of sleep and deadlines are approaching as well as some interest from someone higher up!

This is a humorous and quirky read that I really adored, it is a great mystery novel and the one-liners, little snide comments and the unrelenting thick-skinned Banecroft just add to the humour. Magic and special powers work alongside many other phenomena in this story and as I immersed myself in this story I found bizarre things as quite normal.

This is one that those of lighter fantasy and humorous fantasy readers will enjoy. It is witty and fun to read. There is mystery and magic, the odd body because even though Vampires do not exist, you need a corpse, don’t you? I would suggest reading the first book as it does bring you in and introduce you to the characters that you will also find in this second book, and it is also a really good read. This Charming Man is a fabulous read and one I would definitely recommend.

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

Put a Wet Paper Towel on it by Lee Parkinson and Adam Parkison #NetyGalley #nonfiction #education @HarperCollinsUK #humour #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Put a Wet Paper Towel on it by Lee Parkinson and Adam Parkinson. I admit it was the title of this book that definitely caught my eye. I remember that a wet paper towel was used in school for so many things.

A heart-warming and hilarious look at life in the classroom from the teachers who host the most popular UK education podcast, Two Mr Ps in a Pod(Cast).

Have you ever wondered what really happens during the day when your precious little angels are at school?

In this book, The Two Mr Ps will take you on a side-splittingly funny journey through the weird and wonderful world of primary schools. It will also explore the pressures of modern-day teaching, revealing exactly what it takes to wrangle a chaotic classroom (or seven) on a weekly basis. From the absolute characters found in the staffroom to school-trip mishaps and everything else in between, Put A Wet Paper Towel on It is a must-read for teachers and parents alike.

So sit up straight, four legs on your chair, fingers on lips and get ready to take a trip down memory lane. And remember – when in doubt, just put a wet paper towel on it. 

MY REVIEW

This is quite an entertaining book about working in a Primary School in the UK. The title immediately caught my eye as I can remember wet paper towels being used for nose bleeds, cut fingers, grazed knees and many other things.

The authors are brothers, both working in primary Education, one a teacher the other a teaching assistant. The authors provide a background that tells their journey into the classroom, and also rather humorously some of the events that have occurred over the years.

They list various types of personalities that you can find amongst teachers, students and also parents. There are various observations from both about the way the education system keeps evolving and how there seems to be more paperwork than ever before.

Both of the authors have a similar attitude but they also have a very strong ethos when it comes down to teaching and helping those in their care.

While this is a humorous book there are also some very important things discussed and it does highlight the plight of education, schools, politicians and the ever-changing goalposts. This is a nicely balanced book and one that I did enjoy reading. It is one I would happily recommend. 

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

The Switch by Beth O’Leary #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share a review today for The Switch by Beth O’Leary, a book I read a month ago. I really must get caught up with some of my reviews.

45134200

Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena’s tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it’s time they swapped places…

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

My Review…

After reading The Flat Share last year I knew I wanted to read more by this author. The Switch is a wonderful story that revolves around Eileen and Leena Cotton, Grandmother and granddaughter. Both sort of stuck and wanting a change, so that is what they do. Eileen stays in London for a couple of months living in Leena’s flat, while Leena lives in a small village in Yorkshire.

I adored this book right from the get-go. Eileen is an absolute hoot with her outlook on life, especially when she lives in London. Leena, in comparison, comes across as more reserved ut super organised. Both women have something in common, when they set their mind to something there is very little that will budge them from completing.

The author has described both of these women so well, on the outside they come across as strong, independent and resourceful. However, to those that really know them well, there are little cracks. Facing up to things and accepting how Leena’s sister is no longer with them is a major thing for her to deal with.

Sometimes in life, you need to step away to see things clearer and to appreciate those around you. Keeping busy doesn’t deal with problems, it masks them, buries them and they still need to be dealt with. This is very much a story of trying to find the courage to deal with problems and admitting to things that have gone on before.

Given the two very different locations, the author has done a wonderful job of presenting a sense of community, and this is down to the diverse and wonderful characters that she has created. From you to old, from shy to outspoken there is literally a wonderful cast that brings a good amount of humour and provides some truly heartwarming and also funny moments to this wonderful story.

This is a story I just loved everything about. Ideal for those who are looking for a story that you can escape into and come out the other side feeling great about. One I would definitely recommend.

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

Good Eggs by Rebecca Hardiman #GoodEggs #NetGalley @AllenAndUnwin #PublicationDay #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Good Eggs by Rebecca Hardiman. Many thanks to Allen And Unwin who granted my request to read this via NetGalley.

Happy Publication Day to Rebecca as well xx

I do have to mention this cover. As I have read this book I can look at it and it just makes me smirk. A moody teen, a rebel Grandmother and a son who is at his limits 👍😂

56887128. sy475

Meet the Gogartys; cantankerous gran Millie (whose eccentricities include a penchant for petty-theft and reckless driving); bitter downtrodden stepson Kevin (erstwhile journalist whose stay-at-home parenting is pushing him to the brink); and habitually moody, disaffected teenage daughter Aideen.

When Gran’s arrested yet again for shoplifting, Aideen’s rebelliousness has reached new heights and Kevin’s still not found work, he realises he needs to take action. With the appointment of a home carer for his mother, his daughter sent away to boarding school to focus on her studies and more time for him to reboot his job-hunt, surely everything will work out just fine. But as the story unfolds – and in the way of all the best families – nothing goes according to plan and as the calm starts to descend into chaos we’re taken on a hilarious multiple-perspective roller-coaster ride that is as relatable as it is far-fetched.

Good Eggs is a heady cocktail of that warmth and wit of Marian Keyes, Caitlin Moran and TV’s Derry Girls.

My Review…

This is such a lovely story of three generations of the Gogarty family. Millie, the 83-year-old grandmother, Kevin her son and then the teenage grand-daughter Aideen.

The synopsis does give a good idea that this is a story that is going to have a few chuckles, and it certainly does. Right from the get-go, I adored Mille, she is an elderly rebel and poor Kevin does have his hands full with her. Aideen is a troubled teen, she feels overlooked as her twin sister does tend to get more of the attention.

Between the antics of Millie and the antics of Aideen, Kevin is definitely stuck in the middle. I did feel for him as he is pulled from pillar to post. From one situation to another with often quite funny events in the midst.

This is a story that has a good heart to it, no matter what age you are or generation there is always something that you wish you had done. In some ways, this feels like a coming of age for all the generation involved. Realising that there are options and choices, that changes and chances are part of life.

This was a lovely contemporary fiction novel about a normal family, dealing with situations as they rise. At times it was quite serious as there are topics that the author deals with, but at the same time with a snigger of humour interlaced in between. It did make me chuckle as well as giving me that lovely warm heart-warming feel. One I would recommend to those who like a feel-good story.

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

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

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

Here is the new cover and I absolutely love it 😍

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Review…

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

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

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

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

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

Not Having it All is one I would Definitely Recommend.

Extract…

Emails between Bea and Allie

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

Sent: 12 June 2018 10.40pm 

To: Allie Loff (allie53@outlook.com)

Subject: Crisis at home 3

Hope Ray calmer by now?

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

Today’s crisis as follows:

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

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

F: (banging her spoon on table) No!

Me: What do you mean, no?

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

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

F: No!

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

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

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

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

Me: Why did you do that?

F: –

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

F: I don’t know, Mummy.

Me: (yelling) How can you not know!

F: (looks at me in horror)

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

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

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

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

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

So I called Maddie. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xx

About the Author…

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

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

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

Social Media LinksTwitter Facebook Website Instagram Amazon Author Page

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

Check out the other stops on the Tour…

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

Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong by Gina Kirkham @GinaGeeJay @zooloo2008 #AuthorTakeover #Bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review of Handcuff’s, Truncheons and a Polyester Thong by Gina Kirkham. This is a book I have had on my TBR for a while and when I knew Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Diary had her #AuthorTakeover featuring Gina I knew it was the perfect opportunity to pick up this book. And the title appeals to me 😁

Over the past few days Zoe and Gina have featured, extracts, Q&A’a, Behind the story features and so much more. There are interviews, reviews and it has been brilliant reading them. Please head over and have a giggle at the antics of Gina and her alter-ego Mavis Upton you will not regret it.

So, let me show you what the book is about…

Will have you laughing out loud and is hugely entertaining. This is a book that oozes charisma and character, one you will not be able to put down – Nikki’s Books4U 

Meet Mavis Upton. As mummy to 7-year old Ella, surrogate to far too many pets and with a failed marriage under her belt, Mavis knows she needs to make some life-changing decisions. It’s time to strike out into the world, to stand on her own two feet … to pursue a lifelong ambition to become a Police Officer. I mean, what could go wrong? 

Supported by her quirky, malapropism-suffering mum, Mavis throws herself headlong into a world of uncertainty, self-discovery, fearless escapades, laughter and extra-large knickers. And using her newly discovered investigative skills, she reluctantly embarks on a search to find her errant dad who was last seen years before, making off with her mum’s much needed coupon for a fabulous foam cup bra all the way from America. 

Follow Mavis as she tackles everything life can throw at her, and revel in Gina Kirkham’s humorous, poignant and moving story of an everyday girl who one day followed a dream. 

Hilarious…real life and so touching, a fabulous read! – Christina Green 

Purchase link – Amazon UK

Oh my goodness this is such a hilarious read. The author has used her own experiences in the Police and gave them to her alter ego – Mavis Upton and adds a little fiction.

The story starts and within a few pages I knew I was going to love this book. Mavis finally does something about her dream job and joins the police. A series of mishaps, some good friends and she has made it.

Now out in the real world her training has provided her with the knowledge to do her job, but her naivety still leaves her open to some of the in-jokes. She does however stand her own and makes her mark.

This book had me giggling, chuckling and laughing out loud so many times. It is just what the doctor ordered for brightening up any day. This is a book that is like a series of anecdotes, some of which you can see coming and others catch you out of the blue. Both sorts are funny no matter how they are delivered.

As this is a story based on experience it does have a semi autobiographic feel but it also has some fiction, but it is so easy to read. A book that readers who like humour, funny stories and just want a good giggle would really enjoy. I thought it was excellent and I would definitely recommend it.

Image taken from Gina’s Author Page on Amazon UK

Gina was born during the not-so-swinging 50’s to a mum who frequently abandoned her in a pram outside Woolworths and a dad who, after two pints of beer, could play a mean Boogie Woogie on the piano in the front room of their 3-bed semi on the Wirral. Being the less adventurous of three children, she remains there to this day – apart from a long weekend in Bognor Regis in 1982.

Her teenage years were filled with angst, a CSE in Arithmetic, pimples, PLJ juice, Barry White and rather large knickers. Marriage and motherhood ensued, quickly followed by divorce in her early thirties and a desperate need for a career and some form of financial support for herself and her daughter. Trundling a bicycle along a leafy path one wintry day, a lifelong passion to be a police officer gave her simultaneously an epiphany and fond memories of her favourite author Enid Blyton and moments of solving mysteries. 

And thus began an enjoyable and fulfilling career with Merseyside Police. 

On reaching an age most women lie about, she quickly adapted to retirement by utilising her policing skills to chase after two granddaughters, two dogs and one previously used, but still in excellent condition, husband. Having said goodbye to what had been a huge part of her life, she suddenly had another wonderful epiphany. This time it was to put pen to paper to write a book based on her experiences as a police officer. 

Lying in bed one night staring at the ceiling and contemplating life as she knew it, Gina’s alter-ego, Mavis Upton was born, ready to star in a humorous and sometimes poignant look at the life, loves and career of an everyday girl who followed a dream and embarked upon a search for the missing piece of her childhood.

Follow Gina on TwitterBlogAmazon

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

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds – Living The Dream in rural Ireland by Nick Albert @Nickalbertautho @rararesources #memoir #recommendedreading #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds by Nick Albert. This is a brilliant book to read and I would like to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Let me show you what it’s all about…

Nick and Lesley Albert yearn to leave the noise, stress and pollution of modern Britain and move to the countryside, where the living is good, the air sweet, with space for their dogs to run free. Suddenly out of work and soon to be homeless, they set off in search of a new life in Ireland, a country they had never visited. As their adventure began to unfold, not everything went according to plan. If finding their dream house was difficult, buying it seemed almost impossible. How would they cope with banks that didn’t want customers, builders who didn’t need work, or the complex issue of where to buy some chickens?

Buying links for UK – Kindle Paperback Audible (all via Amazon UK) or for Amazon US readers – Kindle Paperback Audible

Oh my goodness what a fabulous book this is. Following a diagnosis from his Doctor, Nick needs to drastically change his lifestyle. Stress had been a major part of his job and it has taken it’s toll. Along with his wife Lesley, decide to sell up and start somewhere new with a slower paced lifestyle.

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds is a fabulous account of the journey this couple made to finally discover a new home and they decide on the move Ireland. This book is great fun to read and it had me smirking so many times. It was great to follow their journey around rural Ireland as they become the latest “blow ins” (newcomers) to a life in rural Ireland.

The first half of the book was great and is written in such an honest way. Mistakes, mishaps and misunderstanding are all laid out. The quirky workings of a different legal system, buyers market and trying to find builders are all really interesting.

The second half of the book had me in hysterics and laughing out loud so many times as I read about the antics of Nick, Lesley and also their dogs and chickens. There were actually a couple of moments where I actually had tears running down my face with laughter! Nick has recounted so many moments so vividly that as a reader I could see what he was telling me.

This book is brilliantly written and I loved the open and honest style in which it was presented. This is a wonderful read about a couple starting afresh in Ireland, getting used to the local flow and way of life. In some ways it is their innocent naivety as they start this new stage in their lives that adds such a wonderful feel to the book and it also had me willing them to succeed. I have never been to Ireland and so I could very much empathise with the couple as they came across many different things. Ireland is a place I would love to visit with my husband, and reading this book has made this a trip change from want to visit, to definitely must visit.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes a real life stories, and memoirs. To be honest I think this book would appeal to many readers and I would highly recommend it. It is amusing, honest, funny and heartfelt.

I enjoyed it so much that immediately after reading this first book I then immediately bought the second one and I can’t wait to see what happens to them next 🙂

Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant. As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid 1980’s he qualified and began coaching sport professionally. After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country they had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs.
In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in early 2020.
Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.

Visit Nick on his Website Twitter Facebook InstagramYouTube

See what other Bloggers think by checking out the Tour…

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