Book reviews, Womens fiction

One Christmas Night by Hayley Webster – Book Review

BC807EC6-E18A-424C-8182-0DA2A967DD97
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

‘Hayley Webster’s wonderfully written novel combines love, crime, friendship and family with the very best festive spirit. One Christmas Night is a heartfelt page-turner I will find hard to forget.’ AJ Pearce, bestselling author of Dear Mrs. Bird

Nine lives. One street. And a secret behind every door.

Christmas is ruined on Newbury Street, Norwich.

Presents have been going missing from resident’s homes. There are rumours going around that it’s one of their own who’s been stealing from the neighbours. Festive spirit is being replaced with suspicion and the inhabitants of Newbury Street don’t know who to trust. The police presence isn’t helping matters, especially when they all have something to hide. 

But Christmas is a time for miracles… and if they open themselves up to hope and look out for each other, they might discover the biggest miracle of all.

An uplifting novel about love, friendship, connection and community, for readers who love Joanna Cannon, Ruth Hogan and Libby Page.

‘Tender, beautifully-written and full of magic and mystery’ – Emma Flint

83D33553-79FA-46E5-ACD9-053206B2B923
MY REVIEW

Firstly, I must say……Oh what a lovely book….

There is a thief roaming Newbury Street, burgling a different home every few days just before Christmas. What a heartless thing to do.

Each of these homes have secrets, there are money troubles, potential affairs, domestic violence and fraud. Like they say you never know what goes on behind closed doors.

But, when times are hard the community rally together. Looking out for each other and really brings the spirit of Christmas alive.

Yes, there are a few dark moments but this is really about love, friendship and community in an absolutely lovely, magical and heartwarming tale…..it makes me want to put up Christmas lights and get the mulled wine on…. I loved every minute.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Hayley Webster is a writer and teacher who grew up in Newbury, Berkshire. Her first novel, Jar Baby, was published by Dexter Haven in 2012 and, as Hayley Scott, three books in her Teacup House series for emerging readers were published by Usborne in 2018. She has written for Grazia, The Observer Magazine, and did a sold-out event at Edinburgh festival in 2018. She’s a mentor on the 2019 National Writers Centre Escalator scheme and she lives in Norfolk with her daughter.

 

 

Book reviews, Womens fiction

Syrian Brides by Anna Halabi – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

This delightful collection of short stories offers insight into the lives of Syrian women, both the married and the brides-to-be. It reveals the warmth and humor as well as the oppression in the Syrian society. The stories make the reader laugh while addressing serious issues such as domestic violence.

Um Hussam can’t find a suitable bride for her son, testing each candidate’s sight, hearing and reading skills, occasionally cobbing a feel. Jamila’s husband Hassan can’t forget his deceased wife, until she makes sure he never mentions her again. 

Rami can’t help but wonder whether his new bride is a natural beauty or a talented surgeon’s masterpiece. Khadija’s maid stabs her in the back while Rana’s husband Muafak can’t find the right excuse to avoid a fight.

00D58E66-02CD-4638-9922-8FC4A5EB9D8C

MY REVIEW 

Syrian Brides by Anna Halabi is a collection of short stories of women living in Syria.

It tells of love, marriage, life and sometimes domestic violence and controlling behaviour. These behaviours are not specific to Syria, but unfortunately the world over.

But, this also has wonderful insights into the life and culture and food of the country, with beautifully descriptive writing that really brings it to life.

Tales of strong women that’s original, touching and humorous too. I loved it.

Thank you to the author, Anna Halabi for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review. 

Book reviews, Womens fiction

Devon And Hell : Four Seasons By The Sea by Karen Wheeler – Book Review

9EBD8C65-D21B-4D7A-9ADE-A4F99114900E
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

One woman, one dog and a disastrous move to Devon. Throw in an estranged mother who has just been diagnosed with dementia and the result is a brilliantly written comic memoir with more ups and downs than the South West Coastal Path.

This is not your usual tale of ‘I moved to a chocolate-box cottage by the sea and lived happily ever after’. Instead, it is a powerful and gripping story of relocation – and a maternal relationship – gone wrong.

Ultimately this is an uplifting, feel-good story as Karen triumphs over adversity and finds new peace following the death of her mother. 

Synopsis

After eight years of living in France, Karen Wheeler returns to live by the seaside near Budleigh Salterton on East Devon’s Jurassic Coast. Plum Tree Cottage, with its full set of cottagey credentials – climbing roses, old Georgian floorboards and a dove-grey Aga – is a classic case of love at first sight. But the disasters begin before she has even moved in.

Wheeler is left reeling when Plum Tree Cottage reveals a very unwelcome surprise. She then receives the shocking news that her mother – a cold and cruel woman from whom she has been estranged for most of her life – has been sectioned.

 Living the dream by the sea rapidly descends into a living hell with each day bringing a new onslaught of domestic and mother-related disasters. Convinced that her cottage is unlucky, Wheeler consults Harsh Jain, a practitioner of vastu shastra – the Hindu equivalent of feng shui.

Back comes a report that would have most people not just moving their gas stove – which Wheeler discovers is ideally placed for ‘burning up blessings’ – but sticking their head in it. Harsh predicts that the cottage will bring a host of problems and ‘unwelcome surprises’. The doom-laden report finishes by warning the author – who is planning to walk the Jurassic Coast Path  – to ‘Please be avoiding high places’.

One by one, Harsh Jain’s predictions come true – in surprising detail. Wheeler is forced to face up to the childhood she has long tried to ignore and is literally taken to a cliff edge before the book’s end. But then, in a heartwarming twist, she makes a surprising discovery that changes everything.

 

EF37A353-DE40-4CE4-951A-E12649DF80CE 

MY REVIEW 

Carrie has moved from France to Devon, she has bought the beautiful Plum Tree Cottage and is looking forward to moving in with her beloved little dog Biff…….but Rats put the kibosh on her plans….

Then she gets a call her mother has been sectioned…..and so the drama begins.

This is full of humour, hurt and chaos, it’s so funny in parts and then so emotional too.

This really struck a chord with me, as my childhood was similar and now my mother has dementia and is in a care home after breaking her hip….so I know the feelings Carrie was going through.

I loved the friendships she made, her flustered panic, flip flops and her paint dealer all brought to life by Karen Wheeler’s creative writing……lots of laughs and a few tears too. A very engaging, heartwarming read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2WxjAqs

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

572A168C-1F09-4A6A-AE63-8E218D9E30E3

Karen Wheeler is a former journalist and national newspaper fashion editor who has successfully published five comic travel memoirs about her life in France, starting with Tout Sweet: Hanging up my High Heels for a New Life in France, which made it to #1 in Amazon’s travel writing book chart.

She wrote for the Financial Times for over fifteen years and is a former fashion editor of the Mail on Sunday. She studied Modern History at Kings College, London University and worked briefly at Sotheby’s art auctioneers before embarking on a career in fashion journalism. 

During her career she has interviewed many of fashion’s top names including Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein. Her work has also appeared frequently in Vogue Japan, You magazine, the Daily Mail and Sunday Times Style.

Originally hailing from the north of England, Karen is one of the many ex-pats now returning to the UK – as she points out the food is much better here. She has run holiday cottages, knows the Farrow and Ball colour chart inside out, never turns down a glass of pink champagne and lives near Budleigh Salterton in East Devon with her boyfriend and her dog Biff.

You can read more about her life at http://www.toutsweet.net – the blog she started while living in rural France; and follow her on Twitter at @mimipompom1

Karen has great interview experience and is available to write feature pieces.

 Earlier this year the Daily Mail published a moving feature on her relationship with her bipolar mother: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-6676089/Writer-shares-story-cruel-childhood-reluctant-deathbed-visit.html 

Devon and Hell will appeal to fans of Eleanor Oliphant, as well as the armchair renovators who enjoy watching Grand Designs, Homes by the
 Sea and Amazing Spaces and to the large number of Brits who are moving to the coast or taking ‘staycations’ in the UK. Devon and Hell is set in Lympstone, an aspirational and newly fashionable area of Devon, which was recently shortlisted in Penelope Keith’s C4 series, Britain’s Best Villages: Village of the Year 2017 and recently saw 
the opening of Lympstone Manor, by Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines.

 

 

Book Format Information

Devon and Hell: Four Seasons by the Sea is the omnibus version of a four-part series of mini e-books, launched earlier this year as Dream Cottage: Four Seasons in Devon and released in accordance with the seasons. All of the books were designated Amazon ‘Hot New Releases’ and made it into the top five in travel writing.

 Devon and Hell: Four Seasons by the Sea will be released in e-book format on 28th October 2019, £9.99, by Sweet Pea Publishing. The print version will be published in October 2020.

 

 

Book reviews, Womens fiction

The Birthday House by Jill Treseder – Book Review. @Jill_Treseder @SilverWoodBooks @annecater #TheBirthdayHouse

AFE8FD01-71A2-49FB-AAC5-110B71A7442F
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The year is 1955, the location picturesque Devon.

In a house by the River Dart, schoolgirl Josephine Kennedy posts invitations to her twelfth birthday party – a party that never takes place.

Horrific violence is committed that night in the family home, leaving all of its occupants dead. 

Based on a disturbing real-life crime, this compelling story explores Josephine’s fate through the prism of friends and family – the victims and survivors who unwittingly influenced the events that led up to the tragedy.

Josephine’s best friend, Susan, is haunted by the secrets of the birthday house. Can she ever find a way of making peace with the past? 

288A4661-B615-4238-A0E3-8A0FA31616DF

MY REVIEW

Set in Dartmouth, this novella tells the story of Susan. Her best friend Jo, was killed when they were 12 years old and this tells how Susan has tried to come to terms with this over many years.

Told from various perspectives, including Susan, Jo and her parents, and in 1954-55 to 2018. 

Jo was killed by her father, he’d also killed her mother and then himself. He had been a moody man but had loved his family. What drove him to such an awful event?

Susan had been told they died in a car crash, to protect her from the truth. But this caused her problems throughout her life as she didn’t really trust anyone to tell the truth. 

A beautifully written tale of friendship, betrayal, loss and grief that lasts a lifetime. It is full of emotion, and tells of letting go and hope. This will stay with me for a long time. 

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

0A8E8C9D-CD0F-4B64-826E-BE3524E7D0BC

I started writing in a red shiny exercise book when I was seven years old. But in that time and place it was an ‘invalid’ activity, was overlooked, but never went away. It was many years before I felt able to call myself ‘writer’.

But there came a day when the phrase ‘I am a writer’ no longer sounded pretentious, but legitimate, and even necessary. Was it because I had a writing room instead of the corner of a landing? Or because I spent more time writing? Or because I’d got better at it? Or because I get miserable and bad-tempered if I don’t write? Probably a combination of all of the above.

Writing is my third career. The first was as a social worker with children and families, a job I loved, but left because I could no longer cope with the system.

This led to a freelance career as an independent management consultant, helping people to handle emotions in the work context. I worked in the IT industry, in companies large and small, as well as public organisations. Later I became involved in research projects concerned with the multi-disciplinary approach to social problems such as child abuse. So, in a sense, I had come full-circle.

All these experiences feed into the process of writing fiction, while my non-fiction book ‘The Wise Woman Within’ resulted indirectly from the consultancy work and my subsequent PhD thesis,‘Bridging Incommensurable Paradigms’, which is available from the School of Management at the University of Bath.

I live in Devon and visit Cornwall frequently and these land and seascapes are powerful influences which demand a presence in my writing.

Writers’ groups and workshops are a further invaluable source of inspiration and support and I attend various groups locally and sign up for creative courses in stunning locations whenever I can. I try doing writing practice at home but there is no substitute for the focus and discipline achieved among others in a group.

I have written some short stories and recently signed up for a short story writing course to explore this genre in more depth.

I live with my husband in South Devon and enjoy being involved in a lively local community.

 

Twitter @Jill_Treseder

D8B4D3DD-33A1-4467-8733-603247294999

 

Book reviews, Family drama, Womens fiction

Three Little Truths by Eithne Shortall – Book Review. @eithneshortall @CorvusBooks @annecater #ThreeLittleTruths

4ECAADF3-02C3-4A2B-9C38-F87B3D22B633

PUBLISHERS BLURB

A brilliant novel about our neighbours and the secrets we keep from one another, from the bestselling and award-winning author of Grace After Henry.

One happy street. Three pretty houses. So many lies… 

Martha used to be a force of nature: calm, collected, and in charge. But since moving her husband and two daughters to Dublin under sudden and mysterious circumstances, she can’t seem to find her footing.

Robin was the “it” girl in school, destined for success. Now she’s back at her parents’ with her four-year-old son, vowing that her ne’er-do-well ex is out of the picture for good.

Edie has everything she could want, apart from a baby, and the acceptance of her new neighbours. She longs to be one of the girls, and to figure out why her perfect husband seems to be avoiding their perfect future.

Three women looking for a fresh start on idyllic Pine Road. Their friendship will change their lives, and reveal secrets they never imagined. Liane Moriarty meets Lisa Jewell in this story of the love affairs, rivalries and scandals that hide behind every door…

ABDB48DA-E91F-436F-B023-844F83015F6E

 MY REVIEW 

This is the story of Pine Road in Dublin and its residents.

Robin has returned to her parents’ home with her son after a relationship breakdown.

Edie, married and desperately wants a baby, but her husband doesn’t seem so keen. Why?

Bernie, the ‘matriarch ‘, the top woman who rules the Road.

These are the three main characters and the story revolves mainly around them with hilarious asides from other residents WhatsApp messages. There’s a rat hole, stole newspapers and wheels. We hear gossip and secrets, affairs, petty minded people and neighbourhood disputes but also a close community, love, laughs and family.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

EDFB5D0F-FB18-4AB8-8909-C3C13EE6BDAD

EITHNE SHORTALL studied jouralism at Dublin City University and has lived in London, France and America. Now based in Dublin, she is chief arts writer for the Sunday Times Ireland. She enjoys sea swimming, cycling and eating scones.

Grace After Henry is her second novel. Shorthall’s bestselling debut novel, Love in Row 27, has been optioned for a TV series by NBC Universal Studios International, the production company behind Downton Abbey. 

 

PRAISE

 

Liane Moriarty meets Maeve Binchy meets Marian Keyes. I laughed, I cried, I shuddered, I was agog.’ Jo Spain, author of The Confession

‘Eithne Shortall writes a community of neighbours so vividly that I feel like I’m one of them, adjusting my telescope and keeping a glass to the wall for fear that I’d miss anything. Funny, endearing, mysterious and outrageous, this book is wildly entertaining and hugely enjoyable.’ Liz Nugent, author of Unravelling Oliver

three little truths 

Eithne Shortall

 

 

 

Praise for Grace After Henry

 

‘Beautiful and moving’ Good Housekeeping

 

‘Poignant, funny and deeply satisfying’ RED

 

‘A tender, warm-hearted read’ Prima

 

‘A moving exploration of what it means to lose your love… and if it’s wise to try to recreate what you once had.’ Daily Mail

 

‘Grace After Henry is sometimes heartbreaking and sometimes very funny as Eithne Shortall mixes humour and tragedy with a deftness reminiscent of Marian Keyes.’

Irish Times

 

‘A bittersweet story that tackles grief, love and moving on after a partner, and keeps readers guessing until the final page.’ Irish Independent, Book of the Year, 2018

 

‘Grace After Henry made me WEEP… it was so moving – but also witty and well written. I loved it.’ Louise O’Neill

 

‘I really enjoyed it – satisfying and warm, and written with humour and heart.’

Sheila O’Flanagan

 

‘Grace After Henry is an engrossing, surprising, and empowering story about the complexities of love, grief, and family. The characters were so beautifully developed that by the time I finished reading, I felt like I’d known them forever.’

Jill Santopolo, bestselling author of The Light We Lost

 

‘This book is an emotional rollercoaster of the very best kind. Sad, funny, touching and ultimately uplifting, Grace After Henry is simply wonderful.’ Chrissie Manby

 

  • Winner: The Big Book Awards: The Best Page Turners, 2018 
  • Shortlisted: Popular Fiction Book of the Year: The Irish Book Awards, 2018
  • An Irish Independent Book of the Year, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book reviews, Womens fiction

Joan Smokes by Angela Meyer – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Winner of the inaugural Mslexia Novella Award (2019). 

She used to be someone else, but now she’s arrived in Vegas, where she can start again. It won’t do to let the past leak in. It’s the Sixties now. She’s going to become … Joan. She makes a list: Buy a new dress (fitted, floral). Dye her hair (dark). Curl it. Buy red lipstick. Buy cigarettes and a lighter, too: Joan, she decides, is a smoker.

There’s no need to dwell on why she’s here, what went before. She is just moving forward, one foot in front of the other, becoming that new person. Joan. This city of flashing neon, casinos and shows is full of distractions. Finding a job will be quick and easy. Things to do. New people to meet. A clean sheet. She’s certainly not thinking about Jack, or … No. Not anymore. Her new life starts right here, right now

2D33A469-1DC1-4BF1-AD29-D606791DB9D0

MY REVIEW 

“How does the mind learn to let things go?”

Set in the 60’s, an unnamed woman has arrived in Vegas, she’s calling herself Joan …and Joan with her floral dresses and dark hair …smokes, it’s what a Joan would do!

She will not think about the past, just walk to the future, one small step at a time…

What is Joan running from? What is so terrible, she hasn’t even found the right words yet to write to her mother in Australia?

This is a tiny book, a 68 page novella, but don’t let that fool you …this is something special. The tale of a woman on the edge of a breakdown, who thinks if she changes herself she can forget….it never happened did it? That was someone else? 

Incredible, sophisticated and emotion packed literature.

Thank you to Ruth Killick Publicity for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

due for publication December 2019

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

A71E4BFF-1BE8-48DD-AEFF-D6BEFC29E467

Angela Meyer’s Joan Smokes won the inaugural Mslexia Novella Competition in 2019. Her short fiction has been widely published, including in Best Australian Stories, Island, The Big Issue, The Australian, The Lifted Brow and Killings. By day she works as a publisher for Echo Publishing, an Australian imprint of Bonnier Books UK, and in this role has discovered and developed a range of award-winning, globally published and bestselling talent, including global number one bestselling author Heather Morris. A Superior Spectre, Angela’s debut novel, is already shortlisted for a number of prestigious awards.

 

Angela Meyer is @literaryminded on Twitter and Insta. @literarymindedblog on Facebook. You can find her online at literaryminded.com.au where there are also some book club questions for A Superior Spectre.

Saraband is @SarabandBooks

 

Book reviews, Womens fiction

Reunion by R V Biggs – Book Review

A53BEBB9-285C-48FF-A347-CB8F6B8592A9

PUBLISHERS BLURB

One random, violent act is enough to change Sarah Macintyre’s life forever.

Left unsettled, and yearning for a new beginning, Sarah is unsure of what to do with her life. But one day she discovers an anonymous letter hidden amidst a pile of unopened mail.

The note, however, contains nothing more than a confusing riddle.

Intrigued and excited, Sarah’s hunger for a new life compels her to search for the author to understand the puzzle and solve the mystery.

Embarking on a journey that will shape the rest of her life and that of her family, Sarah uncovers a past of which she had no knowledge, a present she must find a path through, and a future filled with intense grief and utmost joy.
85696095-A280-44AD-AF35-D46348A7EDDB

MY REVIEW 

Reunion is the follow up novel to Song of the Robin by R V Biggs and follows the life of Sarah Macintyre.

This tells of Sarah’s journey after leaving the hospital, but due to some slightly odd experiences, she doubting her own sanity and she wonders if she’s dreaming.

She then receives a letter, in amongst Christmas post, but the brown envelope gives her a feeling that something is about to happen. As she reaches for it, the letter moves…maybe these odd events are real after all.

The tale is about Sarah’s search for the letter writer and the meaning of the letters contents…..

Can Sarah come to terms with her new life and her abilities ?

An absorbing tale of love, tragedy, Faith and the supernatural. Not a quick read, but one to slow down and savour. Thought provoking.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review

 

C824B985-29A9-444A-81EF-2780BFB9541C

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

R V Biggs lives in a small ex-mining village near Wolverhampton, England, with his wife Julie, and Mags the black lab. He has four grown up children and six grandchildren.

Walking with the dog is a favorite pastime and much of the story line for his first novel was developed during these lengthy outings.

Robert worked for 35 years in telecommunications but changed career paths to a managerial supporting role within a local Mental Health NHS trust. It was during the period between these roles that the concept for Song of the Robin was born.

Robert is a firm believer that destiny and co-incidence exist hand in hand and this conviction extends to his writing. He has a passion for holistic well-being and after first-hand experience of the potential healing powers of Reiki, a form of energy therapy, took a Reiki level 1 training course to heighten his spiritual awareness. Robert’s experiences in these areas helped conceive the ideas that led to Song of the Robin and its sequel Reunion, novels with central themes of fate, love and the strength of family. His writing however is not fantasy but is set in modern times involving real people living real lives.

 

Twitter @RVBiggs

 

Book reviews, Womens fiction

The Romantic Prophecy by Tessa Andrews – Book Review

 

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Karen Devitt is a young, beautiful and ambitious artist. She is also struggling to make ends meet. And to make matters worse her father has fallen ill. Through love and a sense of duty, she neglects her painting to be by his side while her brother, in the absence of their father, is forced to take over the family firm which is now collapsing under his stewardship, leaving the entire Devitt family in disarray and facing certain financial ruin.

Single, but not looking for love, Karen meets the dashing and ruggedly good looking Ralph Corbeck, a wealthy landowner of a prestigious game reserve in southern Africa. He is also a highly regarded businessman and a ruthless investor with a reputation as a womaniser. And he has identified and targeted the Devitt’s family business for an aggressive takeover.

From Karen and Ralph’s first encounter emotions run high, and unwittingly, Karen is lured to his game reserve where she stays at his extraordinary safari chalet, Vundu Lodge. Here, she begins to get an insight into the real Ralph Corbeck. Betrayal, deceit, jealousy and love all have their role to play, and the inferno and beauty of the African wilderness fuels this searing and beautiful romance.

88DFA7AB-5498-47E3-B1C8-906A9AE5BAEC

MY REVIEW

Karen and Ralph’s first meeting is a little frosty to say the least…‘I’m not sure if anyone has ever told you but your opinion of yourself is excessively overinflated,’ and her brother warns her off him……but she is attracted to him anyway..

When Ralph invites her to his game reserve, she accepts….

This is where Tessa Andrews marvellously descriptive writing takes hold, you can feel the peace of this quiet and beautiful landscape, its magical simplicity.. but there is also danger, from the wildlife, poachers and even the dry landscape itself….

A romance begins between Karen and Ralph, but circumstances and misunderstandings cause this to change and they begin to drift apart…if only they would talk to each other properly……so frustrating!

Eventually, they do come to their senses……but will it all end well….?

A beautifully written, compelling romance with twists and surprises all set amid the African landscape. Stunning.

 

Book reviews, Womens fiction

The School Run by Helen Whitaker – Book Review

A2C23E77-0F11-4F31-8C8A-13E636AB74F1

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

‘Funny and frank’ DAWN O’PORTER 

‘Truly brilliant’ EMMA GANNON

Two mothers. Two daughters. One school place.

Imogen and Lily are old friends – they’ve shared hangovers, unsuitable boyfriends and wild nights out together. But now they’re mums, and their partying days are behind them.

When a place comes up at one of the best primary schools in the area, both women want it for their daughters. From faking religious beliefs to bogus break-ups, Imogen and Lily will go to any lengths to secure the perfect school for their children – and so will all the other mothers.

Will their friendship survive the strain? Will their marriages take the pressure? And when a sexy new vicar arrives on the scene, will the mothers’ keep focus for long enough to keep their eyes on the prize?

A hilarious, heartwarming read, perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Fiona Gibson.
E3C12830-0FA7-40D5-8E39-87F862F6D9AA

MY REVIEW 

The School Run is a quick, fun read that will resonate with all parents trying to find a good school place for their children.

This shows the extent some people will go to get that elusive place, although I’m sure most people do not go the the extreme lengths like Lily and Imogen..

There are some serious subjects, which I felt were written in a very sensitive manner and the emotions are so real you will feel the frustrations and disappointments.  With great characters and laugh out loud moments, a perfect summer read.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here (only .99p on Kindle too)

https://amzn.to/2MYZdQe

 

Book reviews, Family drama, Womens fiction

One Year Later by Sanjida Kay – Book Review

743BD2CB-72C3-4284-9F5E-BFCFF715EE6D

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Some secrets won’t stay buried…

Since Amy’s daughter, Ruby-May, died in a terrible accident, her family have been beset by grief. One year later, the family decide to go on holiday to mend their wounds. An idyllic island in Italy seems the perfect place for them to heal and repair their relationships with one another. 

But no sooner have they arrived than they discover nothing on this remote island is quite as it seems. And with the anniversary of the little girl’s death looming, it becomes clear that at least one person in the family is hiding a shocking secret. As things start to go rapidly wrong, Amy begins to question whether everyone will make it home…
BEC0D0DD-B354-4D97-8253-90C17D8D730C

MY REVIEW 

One Year later is a tale of family, tragedy and secrets…..Amy and Matt’s young daughter, Ruby-May had died in a tragic accident….but who was meant to be watching her ?

On the anniversary of her death, Amy wants to get away…..not to Somerset, but a holiday without constant reminders of her daughter…It’s decided on Italy, for the whole family, except one member…….he would not be welcome.

So, they arrive and find they are in an idyllic area, in a lovely cottage near a pool and the sea…..but then Nick, Amy’s brother arrives with their father in tow…..the tension is palpable at this point…..he is blamed for Ruby-May’s death, as he was meant to be watching her…..wasn’t he? He doesn’t remember being asked to look after her….is he in the early stages of dementia? Bethany, Amy’s sister believes this to be the case…who is telling the truth?

I loved Sanjida Kay’s descriptive writing, from Somerset to Italy, you could feel the heat of summer and smell the thyme, which all build the atmosphere beautifully. The characters are all so well developed you will share their emotions and more than a tear or two at times. Utterly gripping, this us A tale of family, loyalty, love and heartbreak…an emotion packed psychological thriller and family drama with the odd twist too. Brilliant.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  and this is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here 

 

https://amzn.to/2YwWc0j

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

5CF58C65-DCA0-4D89-8F3A-BCB7D4675CA9

 

SANJIDA KAY is a writer and broadcaster. She lives in Somerset with her daughter and husband. She has written three previous psychological thrillers, Bone by Bone, The Stolen Child and My Mother’s Secret to critical acclaim.

 

 

 

Praise for My Mother’s Secret

 

‘So compelling you have no choice but to race through it… Twisty, tense and chilling. Brilliant!’ Sam Carrington

 

‘Chilling and compelling, filled with exquisitely drawn characters and gut-wrenching twists that force you to ask the most terrifying question of all: how would I cope if this happened to me?’ Cavan Scott

 

‘With her vibrant prose and razor-sharp observation, Sanjida’s story hooked me right from the start, pulling me in with an increasing sense of unease until the final spine-chilling climax.’ Caroline England

 

‘A gripping page-turner – the twists kept coming!’ Catherine Ryan Howard

 

‘A gripping yarn with a vicious sting in the tale that shows the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.’ L V Hay

 

‘Sanjida Kay captivates the senses, then delivers the killer blow.’ Lucy Dawson

 

 

 

Praise for The Stolen Child

 

‘Gripping and totally unpredictable’ Daily Mail

‘An excellent piece of work [that] triumphs both as an edge-of-the-seat whodunnit and a psychologically perceptive study of the impact of grief, loss and alienation.’ Irish Independent

‘Utterly absorbing’ CrimeReview.co.uk

‘A taut thriller that boxes you in with more lies and red herrings than you can shake a stick at.’ The Book Trail

‘The Stolen Child captivated me, terrified me and left me deeply moved.’ Holly Seddon

‘Beautiful terse writing and the build to the shattering climax is palpable.’ Peter James

‘Grips to the very last page… I couldn’t put it down.’ Amanda Jennings

‘Gut-wrenching… The Stolen Child succeeds as both a fast-paced thriller and a haunting tale of a fragile family.’ Peter Swanson

 

 

 

Book reviews, Womens fiction

Tilly by Patricia Dixon – Book Review

014E1631-63B0-4326-A6A4-31A408D3A513

 

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

How many people out there say ‘I do’ for the wrong reasons?

Matilda Parker is flying to France for what should be the wedding of her dreams but soon discovers she is about to star in her own private nightmare.

Freda has spent a year planning her daughter’s perfect wedding and nothing is going to ruin it. Not even a house full of relatives, the imminent arrival of her feckless son-in-law-to-be or his irritating parent’s will be allowed to spoil it.

On the other side of the village, Anna has problems of her own. She loves Daniel with all her heart. With all her family about to descend, including her precious sons Joe and Sam, Anna has vowed that nothing will ruin their much awaited summer holiday.

Beneath a sweltering summer sun, two clans, a naughty dog, a gaggle of relatives and friends gather in the Loire. But when a visitor from hell pays a surprise visit and Joe bumps into Tilly, it looks like all of Anna and Freda’s plans are about to go up in smoke…

4B2C2B27-EEDF-4A64-BCCF-0ED7F821E8C6

MY REVIEW

Tilly found out her boyfriend Luke had cheated on her….he was full of apologies, wanted a second chance to prove his love…..la la la…..so he proposed and Tilly accepted….

The wedding has been arranged mainly by her Mother, Freda and it’s to be in France….all the guests are travelling to the venue, many from long distances…..but Tilly doesn’t want to marry Luke,  but how can she let everyone down? So, she decides to marry him, just to keep everyone happy !!!!

Tilly has travelled to France a couple of weeks early, to get ready for the wedding, her mother falls ill with ‘flu, so Tilly visits Anna and meets her son, Joe…

We also meet Rosie, some relatives from hell and a naughty dog….with some great humour and realistic touches, Like Freda and her menopause…she’s a great character and made me laugh out loud…

“Luke’s mum was everything Freda was not. She was loud, overbearing and over-made-up, with fake boobs, fake-tanned skin the colour of streaky Bisto”

I really enjoyed this tale of family, heartbreak and love, with its beautiful descriptions of the Loire region of France and great, likeable characters….a fun, heartwarming summer read.

Thank you to Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review. 

You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2Ym5Hzy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

3227BCD2-0679-4EC1-8D91-3DC85EDDA11E

Patricia Dixon was born in Manchester where she still lives with her husband. They have two grown up children and one grandson. 

Ignoring her high school reports and possibly sound advice from teachers, Patricia shunned the world of academia and instead, stubbornly pursued a career in fashion. Once the sparkle of London life wore off she returned north and embarked on a new adventure, that of motherhood. 

Now, almost thirty years later she has acquiesced to the wise words of her elders and turned her hand to writing. Patricia has written a total of eight novels, the latest is due for release in March 2019.

 

Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Patricia-Dixon/e/B00I1YV2RM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

Twitter 

@pbadixon

 

Email – dixon.patricia@icloud.com. 

 

Facebook Links

 

Author Page

https://www.facebook.com/pbadixon/?ref=bookmarks

 

Profile Page

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009000921564

Book reviews, Womens fiction

The LittleVineyard In Provence by Ruth Kelly – Book Review

09D4C571-CF44-47D8-8511-73CEDA0D97E7

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Ava’s marriage has been a lie. For the past five years her husband Mark has been squandering their money on gambling and dodgy deals that have amounted to nothing. Mark has left Ava and their daughter, Sophia, to fend for themselves with a mountain of debt and not as much as an explanation as to where he’s gone or when he’ll be back.

Just when Ava couldn’t feel any lower, she receives the news that her grandfather has passed away. When Ava was a child, she used to spend her summers picking grapes on her grandfather’s vineyard in Provence, before a rift between his daughters tore the family apart. They hadn’t seen each other for years, which is why Ava is shocked to learn her grandfather has left money to her sister, Olivia, but his entire vineyard, Chateau Montrose, to her.

Fresh coffee and croissants for breakfast, a glass of red with the handsome local waiter Jacques; Ava starts to feel quite at home. But it would be madness to walk away from her marriage, to take a chance on a place she fell for as a child – wouldn’t it?

41FB328F-E9F5-44BF-85BA-3583F52911D2

MY REVIEW 

With a charming cover, this lovely summertime novel is a perfect read.

Ava has a bit of a tough time, with a rather unlikeable husband, Mark and a disrespectful daughter….

Ava then receives a letter, she owes a vineyard !! The excitement and joy was palpable and contagious….so off she goes to France and new adventures. Maybe a bit of distance between her and Mark will help…

But, this isn’t going to be easy, the vineyard and farmhouse are in a state of disrepair, and the gardener and housekeeper are struggling.

There’s a friendship with Jacques, a waiter….but does he have an ulterior motive? Poor Ava…..she’s such a likeable character and deserves a little happiness…

Set in an idyllic location, with great characters and a great story. A perfect beach read.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here

 

https://amzn.to/2Ss9Ona

 

Book reviews, Womens fiction

Strings Attached by Erin Reinelt – Book Review

47B9930B-AB07-4789-AA47-3F989A22A046

 

PUBLISHERS BLURB

Straight-laced Jean has always done what’s expected of her – by her traditional parents, by her demonic boss, and by her overgrown baby of an ex-boyfriend.

Until now.

Taking her life into her own hands, she decides to do something that takes her out of her comfort zone; a woman heels-over-head, and not head-over-heels, in love. When Jean meets married-but-open pianist Gabriel, she explores all that modern romance has to offer… but can relationships last without entangled hearts being broken?

Jean is about to find out.
9F15446C-E93B-4F9E-96D2-5494855597EA

MY REVIEW

This is a fun read…..a modern look at the more free thinking approach to life, sex and relationships.

Jean has a boyfriend, Charlie, a charming, but thoroughly useless POS….when he pees in Jean’s velvet stilettos, she’s had enough…when he drunkenly sets fire to a wedding marquee she finally dumps him….

“On her bad days, which were becoming more frequent, she worried that her only life skill was clearing up clusterfucks left by grown men.”

She decides she’s not a doormat anymore and plans to live life how she wants it to be…… “‘What would you do if you stopped living by other people’s rules?’”

This covers everything from a polyamorous marriage to sex parties and most things in between, marvellously funny, full of sarcastic wit, embarrassing moments, sex and life. A present day tale of female liberation, honest, frank and fun.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

Book reviews, Womens fiction

The Red Word by Sarah Henstra – Book Review

9AE3D1C5-DF30-4AD9-AF7F-9299E5A8EA43

PUBLISHERS BLURB

The Red Word asks a bold question: what if women weren’t content to wait for the next assault to take action? What if they got tired of the his-word-against-hers stalemates? Set against the sex wars of the 1990s and the birth of third-wave feminism, the result is a smart, dark, take-no-prisoners look at the extremes to which ideology can go.

As her sophomore year begins, Karen enters into the back-to-school revelry—particularly at a fraternity called GBC. When she wakes up one morning on the lawn of Raghurst, a house of radical feminists, she gets a crash course in the state of feminist activism on campus.

GBC is notorious, she learns, nicknamed “Gang Bang Central” and a prominent contributor to a list of date rapists compiled by female students. Despite continuing to party there and dating one of the brothers, Karen is equally seduced by the intellectual stimulation and indomitable spirit of the Raghurst women, who surprise her by wanting her as a housemate and recruiting her into the upper-level class of a charismatic feminist mythology scholar they all adore. As Karen finds herself caught between two increasingly polarized camps, ringleader housemate Dyann believes she has hit on the perfect way to expose and bring down the fraternity as a symbol of rape culture—but the war between the houses will exact a terrible price.

DB556A9D-200A-4BE3-952B-E62110D70EFF

MY REVIEW

Well where do I start?….

This is not an easy read but it’s totally mesmerising…..it’s about behaviour, about what is acceptable and what’s not……but just who makes that decision?

Do men decide what is acceptable? Do women? Or is it culture?

“If I get drunk I become rapeable. If I take my clothes off I become rapeable. If I leave your room at night when your passed out I become rapeable”

Karen is at Uni in the US, she’s enjoying the Uni life to the full, but one morning she wakes up in a garden after a drunken night at a frat party.  She’s at the house that had advertised for a housemate and she’d intended applying but had wanted to make a good first impression, but here she is grass stained and hungover….

After a weird interview, she is accepted into a fiercely feminist house….and she’s a little in awe but wants to be the same…..she is conflicted though.

What follows is a story, while set in the 1990’s is so relevant today … the question of consent, can a woman under the influence of alcohol or drugs give consent? or is it that a man will take advantage of the situation for their own ends? It’s also about the ‘rape culture’….the ‘She was asking for it dressing like that’ statement…

In this tale, I wonder if the feminists take things too far to make a point, but then the despicable behaviour by the frat boys is accepted as the norm by society …so how else can these behaviours be changed?

An incredibly thought provoking tale, that reminded me of Fay Weldon’s books a little. This is going to stay with me for a long time …for me this is a must read and a favourite for 2019….

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  and this is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2XoMKLV

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

5AA5DF12-6C2C-4D00-934A-F3B94AE2DF37

Sarah Henstra is a writer and professor of English literature at Ryerson University, where she specialises in 20th Century British Fiction. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

The Red Word is her debut adult fiction novel.

 

PRAISE

“An aesthetically arresting interrogation of rape culture on campus…Timely and brilliant.” –Kirkus Reviews

“A compulsive and perfectly formed novel reminiscent of The Secret History.” –New Statesman

“The Red Word will get you fuming, laughing, cheering, and most of all, thinking.” –Cosmopolitan

“A timely, telling look at rape culture on campus, Sarah Henstra’s The Red Word boldly goes to the places where memoir can’t but fiction can — and gives way to one hell of a realistic narrative.” –Pop Sugar

“The Red Word examines rape culture on college campuses with a precision and gentleness that few novels have achieved. . . While The Red Word is entertaining, it’s also a sobering reminder of the horrors inflicted on women, trans, and nonbinary people on college campuses.” —Bitch

“The smartest, most provocative novel I’ve read in a long time. Sarah Henstra dives headlong into some murky, turbulent waters — gender politics, campus sexual assault, complicity, moral responsibility — and emerges with a book that’s as shocking as it is essential.” – Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children and Nine Inches

“The Red Word is set in the 1990s but speaks directly to the present feminist moment. Sarah Henstra takes us into two worlds: that of Women’s Studies classes and lesbian pagan rituals, and of frat boys and S&M theme parties. As I watched Karen struggle with politics, power, and her own culpability in the fallout of I could not put this book down.” — Darcey Steinke, author of Suicide Blonde and Sister Golden Hair

 

Winner the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction

“The Red Word echoes Donna Tartt’s The Secret History –

but there is nothing derivative about Henstra’s tale.

The Red Word is a beautifully written, gripping take on the battle between the sexes”

The Financial Times

 

THE RED WORD

SARAH HENSTRA

 

Published by Tramp Press in trade paperback, 21st March 2018, £12.99

 

The Red Word captures beautifully the feverish binarism of campus politics and the headlong rush of youth toward new friends, lovers and life-altering ideas.

With strains of Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot, Alison Lurie’s Truth and Consequences and Tom Wolfe’s I Am Charlotte Simmons, Sarah Henstra’s debut novel arrives on the wings of furies.

Consent.

Rape culture.

The male gaze.

Sex-positivity.

 

About Tramp Press

Tramp Press is an independent publisher based in Dublin; recent successes include Notes to Self by Emilie Pine, Sara Baume (Spill Simmer Falter Wither, A Line Made By Walking) and Mike McCormack (Solar Bones). More information can be found at http://www.tramppress.com/

@TrampPress  ​ tramppress

Book reviews, Womens fiction

The Fifty at 5pm Collections by Morgen Bailey – Book Review

21754041-1585-438F-A8CD-FC06360A812D

PUBLISHERS BLURB

This collection comprises five volumes of fifty stories written from a variety of prompts and published on Morgen’s blog: http://www.morgenbailey.wordpress.com, where

you can still read the list of prompts – a story a day for nearly a year.

In this book there are stories of revenge, luck and misfortune, sharp edges, sticky red hands, no faded circle of skin, family heirlooms, Chelsea buns, and alien hums.

We meet a generous aunt, men in uniform, a fan of Hawaiian shirts, untidy teenagers, characters looking to improve themselves, a young girl with wings, a modern-day Cleopatra, and a curious fortune teller.

These stories all go to show what can be done with a prompt, a few hours, and a colourful imagination.
53C9A699-A3A6-4484-AEC2-79B07EBD0003

MY REVIEW

Each of these 250 short stories are the result of Morgen Bailey’s a-prompt-a-day. Some are only a few lines long and others a couple of paragraphs or a little more, but all can be read in a few minutes.

There’s all sorts here, from stories of children, humour …(I loved the Adam Ant) thrillers and so much more.. all are very different and just shows the astounding creativity of Morgen …perfect to dip into while having a coffee and,  I think, a great way to maybe spark an idea.

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

Author Bio:

283DBA25-EAB1-442F-B655-6FAF3A4F2999

Morgen Bailey (Morgen with an E) is an author (of novels, short stories, writing and editing guides), freelance editor (for publishers and indie authors), writing tutor (in person and online), Writers’ Forum magazine ‘Competitive Edge’ columnist, blogger, speaker, and co-founder of Northants Authors. The former Chair of three writing groups, she has judged the H.E. Bates Short Story Competition, RONE, as well as the BBC Radio 2, BeaconLit, and Althorp Literary Festival children’s short story competitions. She also runs her own monthly 100-word competition. 2018 events include talks and workshops at Troubador’s Self Publishing Conference speakers, workshops and panels at Delapre Book Festival, interviewing and workshops at BeaconLit, and NAWG Fest with her ‘Editing your Fiction’ weekend residential course. Morgen can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and many others. Her blog is http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, and email address morgen@morgenbailey.com.

 

LINKS

 

author = https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine

editor = http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/editing-and-critique

tutor = http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/courses

blogger = https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com

speaker = https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/writer-for-hire/speaking-at-your-event

Twitter = http://twitter.com/morgenwriteruk

Facebook = http://facebook.com/morgenwriteruk

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Womens fiction

The Case by Leopold Borstinski – Book Review

D2A232D9-3EF0-4AC6-B3F2-83F7B754C67C

PUBLISHERS BLURB

One Private Eye. One Case. One sackful of trouble.

When Jake agrees to take a package across America, he doesn’t know if he’ll live to tell the tale. If the CIA, the Feds and the British Secret Service don’t get him then the mob will. How’s a cowardly private dick going to survive in these bloody times?

The Case is a stand-alone pulp noir novel. A wry take on the jaw-dropping violent side of private investigator life by Leopold Borstinski, writer of the six-book Lagotti Family series.

D8BF511A-A832-48E1-814B-418A919A2F9F

MY REVIEW

This is classic pulp noir, a Private Investigator who gets caught up with the Mob, putting himself in more danger than you can shake a stick at….

Our PI is investigating ‘The Case’ ….a huge case that will hopefully bring some reward……with plenty of background into previous cases you really get a feel for Jake as a character.

This is a dark, violent and at times sexy and shows the seedy and unpleasant side to the characters and the lifestyle they lead….a compelling and entertaining read.

Thank you to Damppebbles Blog Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.
1743CAD0-8915-4ED7-AA84-17D3FFCCC1DBM

About the Author

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

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

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

 

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/borstinski

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LeoBorstinski

Website: http://www.leopoldborstinski.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B071ZZXZMR?_encoding=UTF8&redirectedFromKindleDbs=true&ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000&rfkd=1&shoppingPortalEnabled=true

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Case-Leopold-Borstinski-ebook/dp/B07QDF1KGB/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+case+leopold+borstinski&qid=1560364887&s=digital-text&sr=1-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Case-Leopold-Borstinski-ebook/dp/B07QDF1KGB/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+case+leopold+borstinski&qid=1560364981&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Publishing Information:

Published in paperback and ebook formats by Sobriety Press on 23rd June 2019.

1F225A1D-59BF-4A72-9FAF-7A9C3EC17BD3

Book reviews, Womens fiction

It’s Not You, It’s Him by Sophie Ranald – Book Review

8FB27B36-07A7-4FE1-996E-F49D83BB8B92

PUBLISHERS BLURB

New Year’s Eve. The most overrated night of the year, right? I have to get through a night of enforced fun, drink all the prosecco and talk about new beginnings. But I don’t want new beginnings. I want my old beginning back.

It’s been ten days, two hours and forty-three minutes since Tansy got dumped. Two heartbreaking weeks since Renzo, who made her weak at the knees and dizzy with excitement, found out Tansy’s secret – and ended it on the spot.

Since then, she’s spent every evening scrolling through their old photos, drunk texted him twenty-six times (he stopped reading after five), and lost count of how many packets of Kleenex she’s cried her way through.

That’s where Operation Get Renzo Back comes in. She ropes in a new wing-woman, maxes out her credit card and accidentally-on-purpose bumps into him at every opportunity. Oh, and she finds a fake boyfriend, as you do…

But while she’s busy pretending, Tansy’s plan is thrown a major curveball. She has to learn the hard way that it’s not her, it’s him – and that sometimes, a break-up can end up being the making of you.

A fresh, funny and fabulous novel for anyone who has been dumped, got a post-break-up haircut, stalked an ex on Facebook, and then realised they were WAY better off without them. Fans of Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk and Matt Dunn will love this laugh-out-loud read.
D1CC516C-ED77-4C35-B806-BD0E220A2F52

MY REVIEW

It’s Not You It’s Him is the story of Tansy…when Renzo told he loved her, Tansy felt the same but just had to tell him about her past….he dumped her there and then leaving her to rerun the scene over and over in her head.

Her flat mates are having a quiet evening to see in the New Year…..with lots of Prosecco flowing, she makes a New Years Resolution, she’s going to get Renzo back…….but after 26 texts (some drunken……we’ve all done it!!) and no response….she starts to make her plans…

She gets herself in a bit of a mess with her finances, but carries on her plan, arranging to be in the same places as Renzo by ‘accident’…..when this doesn’t work she starts to realise, maybe the problem is not her but him…

Tansy starts to grow up and realise the special someone may be closer than you think …

An amusing read but also it touches on the more emotive subjects of eating disorders, gambling and the exploitation of low paid workers…..thoroughly entertaining.

Thank you to Bookouture for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my in honest, unbiased review.

Author Bio:

F0535B24-B01E-46F9-8502-30DCF900D941

Sophie Ranald is the youngest of five sisters. She was born in Zimbabwe and lived in South Africa until an acute case of itchy feet brought her to London in her mid-20s. As an editor for a customer publishing agency, Sophie developed her fiction-writing skills describing holidays to places she’d never visited. In 2011, she decided to disregard all the good advice given to aspiring novelists and attempt to write full-time. After one false start, It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t It?) seemed to write itself. Her second, third and fourth novels followed, and The Truth About Gemma Grey was released in summer 2017. Sophie also writes for magazines and online about food, fashion, finance and running. She lives in south-east London with her amazing partner Hopi and Purrs, their adorable little cat.

 

To find out about Sophie’s forthcoming releases and get access to free books and special offers, sign up to her newsletter at sophieranald.com or

Author Social Media Links:

Website: sophieranald.com

Twitter: @SophieRanald

https://twitter.com/SophieRanald  

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SophieRanald.

 

BOOK DETAILS

Title: It’s Not You It’s Him

Author: Sophie Ranald

Publication Day: 18/06/2019

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://geni.us/B07NL1LSSDSocial

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2HvX8ct

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2TOCVVR

Googleplay: http://ow.ly/lNUv30o87mm

Book reviews, Graphic novels, Womens fiction

Horizontal Collaboration by Navie and Carole Maurel – Book Review

582FD971-AC54-4031-A9FC-7A0CCA16BB71

PUBLISHERS BLURB

“Horizontal Collaboration” is a term used to describe the sexual and romantic relationships that some French women had with members of the occupying German forces during World War II. In this poignant, female-centered graphic novel created by writer/artist duo Carole Maurel and Mademoiselle Navie, the taboo of “sleeping with the enemy” is explored through the story of a passionate, and forbidden, affair. In June 1942, married Rose (whose husband is a prisoner of war) intervenes in the detainment of her Jewish friend and then accidentally embarks on a secret relationship with the investigating German officer, Mark. There is only one step between heroism and treason, and it’s often a dangerous one. Inside an apartment building on Paris’s 11th arrondissement, little escapes the notice of the blind husband of the concierge. Through his sightless but all-knowing eyes, we learn of Rose and Mark’s hidden relationship, and also of the intertwined stories and problems of the other tenants, largely women and children, who face such complex issues as domestic violence, incest, and prostitution. This fascinating graphic novel tackles the still-sensitive topic of who it is acceptable to love, and how, and the story’s drama is brought vividly to life by intimate and atmospheric illustrations.

C0A9E1EE-2788-4B14-808B-30B291A839FE

MY REVIEW

Well this broke my heart !

A stunningly illustrated graphic novel that tells the tale of women in France during World War 2…

Virginie’s grandmother, admits she never loved her husband Raymond, but she had been in love once…

The story then goes back to the war, in France. Rose lives with her young son, Lucien, her husband Raymond is away, a prisoner of war. She is a nurse and she is helping young Anael, a young Jewish boy who is hiding with his mother in the same building…

There is also Josephine, she works at a cabaret….but is really an ‘escort’…the only way she can survive, but she is struggling to cope and there is tragedy ahead…

Madame Flament, an elderly woman, who appears a bit dotty, but this is not the case….can she be trusted…..can anyone?

Young Rose falls in love with a German soldier…..they keep their trysts secret as no one would understand….

Camille the blind man is loved by all and although he is blind he sees more than anyone….

A beautiful story that shows the awful circumstances many women found themselves in and the effects of war on those left at home alone…..what they had to do just to survive, with love, loss, domestic violence, tragedy and betrayal…..a stunning read..

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

PURCHASE LINK

https://amzn.to/2L3oBTB

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

1529344B-3053-4913-A52B-307EA9E5B355

Carole Maurel cut her teeth on animated films before devoting herself to illustration, in particular, graphic novels. Her 2017 book The Apocalypse According to Magda was awarded the Artémisia Avenir award, which celebrates women in comics.

Navie is a screenwriter for press, cinema and television. She has a degree in history from The Sorbonne in Paris, where she specialized in the history of fascism – making Horizontal Collaboration an excellent fit for her first graphic novel.

Twitter @rolcamaurel

 

Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller, Womens fiction

The Body Lies by Jo Baker – Book Review

30FDE34F-6AF5-46FC-ABF8-7150D230B6AE

PUBLISHERS BLURB

When a young writer accepts a job at a university in the remote countryside, it’s meant to be a fresh start, away from the big city and the scene of a violent assault she’s desperate to forget. But when one of her students starts sending in chapters from his novel that blur the lines between fiction and reality, the professor recognises herself as the main character in his book – and he has written her a horrific fate.

Will she be able to stop life imitating art before it’s too late?

At once a breathless battle-of-wits and a disarming exploration of sexual politics, The Body Lies is an essential book for our times.

D588A918-9992-4DDD-8B58-E5A7A95CDC64

MY REVIEW

“It was on the busy, dirty Annerley Road in south London that the man hit me”

The Body Lies starts with the assault of the pregnant, unnamed main character (MC), for the next 3 years, she is constantly anxious about the Blue Anorak Man….always on alert and feeling a little on edge. She applies for, and gets a job at a university a few hours from London, teaching Creative Writing.

Husband, Mark decides is not the time for him to move as it’s in the middle of the school year and he can’t (or won’t) leave his pupils, so they decide to live apart temporarily, with visits at weekends and term time….to spend time with young son, Sammy.

Our MC starts the course, meeting her pupils and we read a few chapters of their own writing, Nicholas’ is particularly dark……all true he says…he becomes a little creepy, and his writing seems to be about a dead girl…..who was she?

Then after a party, he rapes our MC and then disappears, she doesn’t report it as she didn’t fight back and just gave up rather than be hit again….”giving up is not consent”…….

but her troubles begin in earnest…her husband leaves her for someone else, a student makes a complaint about her behaviour, she is suspended from her job, a budding romance ends abruptly and someone is watching her…will this end in violence? Will Nicholas be found?

Little Sammy is a happy darling of a boy that brings brightness to this tense tale, while this may not be a typical psychological thriller, it has an insidious tension that will resonate with many women….that constant wariness when being out alone, even being overburdened at work as we don’t want to say no, rather than being deemed ‘difficult’…..of a friendly smile being seen as something more…..everyday occurrences for many.

It’s not a light read due to the subject matter at times and I wonder if a man would read this the same way…..I found this to be a very powerful and thought provoking read and it’s going to keep popping into my thoughts for a long time.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here (click on the image)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

E6A92D0C-F0C2-4DA2-B6C2-195D3E3BA4D6

JO BAKER is the author of the acclaimed and bestselling LONGBOURN and A COUNTRY ROAD, A TREE.

Her new novel, THE BODY LIES, is a thrilling contemporary novel that explores violence against women in fiction but is also a disarming story of sexual politics.

Jo Baker lives with her family in Lancashire.

Twitter @JoBakerWriter

Hardcover: 288 pages

  • Publisher: Doubleday (13 Jun. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085752643X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857526434

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Body-Lies-Jo-Baker/dp/085752643X

Book reviews, Womens fiction

Anna by Patricia Dixon – Book Review

BBAA387D-075D-457E-AA3A-DE694199109D

PUBLISHERS BLURB

Set on the coast of Portsmouth and the beautiful Loire Valley, this is the story of Anna. A married mother of three, the unremarkable rock of her family is content with her life until she discovers that Matthew, her husband of 22 years, is having an affair.

Consumed by hurt and tainted memories, Anna’s life is turned upside down by first betrayal and then loss. Her confidence totally destroyed, she is tormented by the spectre of Matthew’s unknown lover. Whilst keeping the secret of his affair from her family, Anna must find her way through the pain alone.

With one son on the other side of the world, another about to enter a war zone and her daughter off to university, her life gradually begins to crumble. A shock discovery, an unwelcome revelation and an advert in a magazine are the catalysts for her road to recovery.

Can Anna find peace and learn to love again?
5657ABE1-13FC-434C-8CA0-010C6EFD587D

MY REVIEW

Anna is on her way to her husband, Matthews funeral.

But she has a secret, Matthew had been seeing someone else, and she just doesn’t know where to turn to……

Anna decides its now her time, and sets off for a holiday, but Matthew’s secret is still playing on her mind all the time, just who was that woman she saw him with? She is tormenting herself, but who can she share her thoughts with? Can she ever truly trust anyone again?

Set mainly in the Loire valley, France, this is a tale of love, secrets, betrayal and friendships…beautifully emotional writing which will have you laughing and crying along with Anna…brilliant.

Thank you to Bombshell Publishing for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review
381D0762-CBF1-404B-B0E6-66CC36310A0A

Author Bio

Patricia Dixon was born in Manchester where she still lives with her husband. They have two grown up children and one grandson.

Ignoring her high school reports and possibly sound advice from teachers, Patricia shunned the world of academia and instead, stubbornly pursued a career in fashion. Once the sparkle of London life wore off she returned north and embarked on a new adventure, that of motherhood.

Now, almost thirty years later she has acquiesced to the wise words of her elders and turned her hand to writing. Patricia has written a total of eight novels, the latest is due for release in March 2019.

 

Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Patricia-Dixon/e/B00I1YV2RM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Twitter

@pbadixon

Email – dixon.patricia@icloud.com.

Facebook Links

Author Page

https://www.facebook.com/pbadixon/?ref=bookmarks

Profile Page

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009000921564