183 Times A Year by Eva Jordan @EvaJordanWriter #BookReview

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

About the Author:

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

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

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

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Sisterly Love by Michelle Vernal @MichelleVernal @rararesources #BookReview

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

Synopsis:

Nobody’s Perfect Are They?

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

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

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

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

Social Media Links – FacebookTwitterInstagram

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

 

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

Synopsis:

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

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The Flowerpot Witch by Wendy Steele @WendyWooauthor @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing  The Flowerpot Witch by Wendy Steele with you today. This is not my usual genre to read but I was a little bit intrigued by the synopsis when I was invited to be part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. You can get a copy of this “witch-lit” ( I love this term) book at  – AMAZON UK or AMAZON US.

Synopsis:

The Flowerpot Witch (A Wendy Woo Witch Lit Novel Book 3)

Lizzie Martin has chosen pottery to be her new career…

But the teacher from hell threatens to thwart her ambitions before she starts.

She has support from her best friend Louise and Evan, another pottery tutor, but Rowan, her fifteen year old daughter is restless, Josh, her ex-husband is colluding with her aunt and though her mother is alive, access to her is forbidden. When The Morrigan appears in her sacred circle, Lizzie knows she has a battle on her hands.

There is hope though.

Stardust the chicken brings a new creature into Lizzie’s life and a long awaited meeting with her Aunt Matilda brings Lizzie’s past into perspective.

Lizzie’s magic ventures beyond The Sanctuary, into the Welsh landscape and the realms of the fae.

My Thoughts:

I do have a little bit of a habit of reading books that are part of a series but I don’t start at the beginning of the series. This book is a prime example. I did find that although it could be read as a stand alone book, I felt I was missing something about things that had possibly gone on in previous books. It did take me a while to find the characters recognisable and also their association with other characters. So I would advise reading the series in order.

So as I read and gradually came to grips with this “witch-lit” story I discovered the main character of Lizzie and her daughter Rowan. My goodness what a character Lizzie is, how she has the energy to deal with everyone else’s “drama” is beyond me. I discovered that she is a really lovely, genuine, helpful and loving person. She likes to see the good in everyone and gives everyone a chance, and a second chance, and a third chance and well you can see where I’m going here.

There are quite a few things going on that seem to continually get in the way of what Lizzie would like to do. With her daughters occasional outbursts, an insensitive ass of an ex-husband, a family feud, possible new business opportunities and friends problems it is a wonder she gets any time to herself.

I wasn’t sure when I began how I would get on with a “witch-lit” read, but I am so glad I gave it a chance. I was pleasantly surprised with the plot of the story and I got a real sense of the authors personal interests coming through. It is after I finished the book that I decided to see what the author was about and I realised that this lady does have a real insight into the subject she has written about, and it really does show.

I would definitely recommend this book to readers who like chick lit with a twist, give this book go. It has at its heart a woman trying to find a balance as she juggles family, friends, ex’s, business and new opportunities. The third in the series and one I will be looking to read the other two books.

About the Author:

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Wendy Steele is author, wise woman, goddess. She is writer, dance teacher, mother and healer.

Her passion is magic.

‘The Lilith Trilogy’ leads the reader along the paths of the witches Qabalah, following Angel Parson’s story of betrayal, retribution and redemption. Her magical story contains high magic as well as pagan ritual.

‘The Standing Stone Book Series’ focuses on the lives of three women linked together across time and space by the standing stone. The countryside is the focus of their magic, embracing the gods and goddesses, tree spirits, elves and fairies.

Her latest series, The Wendy Woo Witch Lit Series, begins with The Naked Witch. Lizzie Martin, receptionist, single mother and witch, is asked by her new boss to conform and embrace the corporate dress code. The reality of paisley to pin stripe, an unexpected stay in hospital, monitoring of her fourteen year old daughter’s latest crush, the search for the truth about her father’s death and two new men in her life, give Lizzie plenty of plates to spin. In the Orphan Witch, Lizzie is grieving while trying to find her real mother and the truth about her father and in the third book, The Flowerpot Witch, due to be published on 21st June, she embarks on a new career, thwarted at every step by those around her.

You can hear Wendy telling her short stories in Pan’s Grotto on her Welsh riverbank, on her YouTube channel, The Phoenix and the Dragon.

Wendy’s non-fiction title ‘Wendy Woo’s Year – A Pocketful of Smiles’ offers the reader 101 ideas to bring a smile to every day.

Wendy lives in Wales with her partner, Mike, and cats. If she’s not writing or teaching dance, you’ll find her renovating her house, clearing her land or sitting on her riverbank, breathing in the beauty of nature.

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Mary Rosie’s War by Catherine M Byrne @Katrine66 @rararesources #BookReview #Giveaway (UK only)

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I am delighted to be sharing Mary Rosie’s War by Catherine M Byrne with you today as part of the blog tour by Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources. You can buy a copy of this fabulous book HERE. This is my first time with this author and this series. Each book is written so it can be read as a stand alone and I am immensely grateful for this. There is also a fabulous GIVEAWAY running to be in with a chance to win Catherine’s books, check it out below xx

Synopsis:

WW2 has been declared. A strange find on the beach gives Mary Rosie the chance to fulfil her dreams and contribute to her country, but all is not what she imagined.

After witnessing the first bomb to be dropped on mainland Britain, Mary watches her friends leave to join the forces and longs to be with them, but is held back by loyalty to her widowed mother.

France has capitulated. Johnny Allan’s regiment has been annihilated by German troops north of Paris. Johnny has to find a way to get home and to the girl who no longer waits for him.

Leisel is a German Jew who lost her family to the Nazis and has to make her way in Britain, a strange new country, while harbouring a desire for revenge.

Their lives become entangled in a way that no one could have envisaged.

A story about war, family ties, love, loyalty and loss.

My Thoughts:

Mary Rosie is the daughter of Chrissie and sister to Peter. Chrissie, a single parent after the death of her husband, has brought up her children between wars. It is where the story starts as the impeding WWII is still only rumour, how could there be another war after the end of WWI, it was supposed to be the war to end all war.

As WWII is declared it is Peter that is the first to enrol and leave home, followed by some of Mary’s friends. Mary felt quite put out that many others were going off “to do their bit” and she had to stay at home with mum. It is one night when Mary is out on the beach that she discovers Liesel and it sets the start of various events that will change the life of not only Mary, but many, many others.

This story is set in Scotland and uses some local dialect and also terms. Some readers like this inclusion some loathe it, me I love it, it really helps to imagine the voices of the characters and helps make them more memorable at times. I think this is because I tend to pay more attention to the dialogue as I read. In my head I have the perfect accent, what happens when I try to actually speak is a different matter entirely.

The beautifully written story took me into the life of Mary and the Rosie family and their friends within their small community. While I did understand Chrissie wanting to keep her daughter safe at home, I also really understood the need for Mary to want to help. She was a character I could understand, though some of her naivety did make me chuckle, that however was soon rectified as she met new friends. I have to admit to liking this naive Mary, it added a charm and honesty to her character that I did find quite endearing.

The author took me through the more traditional early 1900’s lifestyle and way of life, incorporating family values and expectations. Along with this is the worry of the turmoil occurring in Europe and the settings proximity to Scapa Flow, I was allowed a glimpse into the life of the Rosie’s. I got a real feeling of pride not only in the family but also of their friends and community. The setting was brilliantly described and even though I have not been to this area of Scotland, I was able to build up a good image from the authors descriptions.

The story moves through several years quite quickly from the build up to the War, during and also after. It gave me a chance to see the change in Mary, not only in her personally but also of her character. There are some scenes described that involve the war from various perspectives, but Mary is really the main character. The author has kept a continuation to the story even as the character point of view changes.

This is a story of family, war, hope, despair and love. It has been written in such a way as to keep me avidly turning the pages as I was transported into Mary’s life. A book that I would highly recommend to readers who enjoy historical, family saga, WWII setting and general fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be looking to read more books by Catherine Byrne.

About the Author:

Mary Rsies War - Author.jpg Catherine Byrne always wanted to be a writer. She began at the age of eight by drawing comic strips with added dialogue and later, as a teenager, graduated to poetry.  Her professional life however, took a very different path.  She first studied glass engraving with Caithness Glass where she worked for fourteen years. During that time she also worked as a foster parent.  After the birth of her youngest child she changed direction, studying and becoming a chiropodist with her own private practice.  At the same time she did all the administration work for her husband’s two businesses, and this continued until the death of her husband in 2005.  However she still maintained her love of writing, and has had several short stories published in women’s magazines.  Her main ambition was to write novels and she has now retired in order to write full time.

Born and brought up until the age of nine on the Island of Stroma, she heard many stories from her grandparents about the island life of a different generation. Her family moved to the mainland at a time when the island was being depopulated, although it took another ten years before the last family left.

An interest in geology, history and her strong ties to island life have influenced her choice of genre for her novels.

Since first attending the AGM of the Scottish Association of Writers in 1999, Catherine has won several  prizes, commendations and has been short-listed both for short stories and chapters of her novels. In 2009, she won second prize in the general novel category for ‘Follow The Dove’

In 2016 The Road to Nowhere  won second prize in the Barbara Hammond competition for Best Self Published novel. The follow up, Isa’s Daughter won 1st prize in the same competition the following year.

Although the books follow the fortunes of the same family, they are all stand-alone.

The fifth book in the Raumsey series is  Mary Rosie’s War.

Catherine Byrne lives in Wick, Caithness.

Follow Catherine on – Facebook – Website – Twitter – Blog

∗∗∗∗∗GIVEAWAY∗∗∗∗∗

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Giveaway – 1st Prize – all 4 of Catherine Byrne’s previous books in paperback .
6 x Runners Up Prizes – PB copy of Broken Horizon  (UK Only)

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

∗∗∗∗∗ENTER HERE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN, GOOD LUCK 🙂 XX∗∗∗∗∗

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The Heat Is On by Helen Bridgett @Helen_Bridgett @RedDoorBooks #LoveBooksGroupTours #TheHeatIsOn #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on “The Heat Is On” by Helen Bridgett for Kelly at Love Books Group Tours. It is due for release on 5th July and you can pre-order your copy HERE. My thanks to Kelly and Helen for my spot and my ecopy of the book. This is the second in “The Mercury Travel Club” and if you have not read the first book then grab yourself a copy HERE xx

Synopsis:

‘And have you booked in your vejazzler?’
‘My what?’
‘You can’t roll up with your grey wire wool when he’s expecting rhinestone!’

Angie Shepherd is back and this time she means business!

Life is perfect for Angie Shepherd. Her dreams of becoming an entrepreneur have come true, business is booming, and her best friend Patty is back in town. So when the opportunity of investing in a luxury hotel comes up, it seems like a no-brainer. It’s all going swimmingly until a rival travel agency opens up across the street. Before long, The Mercury Travel Club is undercut, double-crossed and in deep trouble. It’s time for Angie to up the stakes. But with costs mounting up, sales going down, and her personal life suddenly in freefall, can Angie and her friends weather the storm?

Witty and charming in equal measure, this feel-good novel shows that when the going gets tough, the tough definitely get going.

My Thoughts:

As I mentioned this is the second book in this series, it see’s the return of Angie and her band of co-workers Charles and Josie, her larger than life friend Patty with their various partners. The arrival and opening of a rival shop causes some moments of panic as the new owner uses less than friendly tactics to lure in customers.

I was so glad to see the return of this totally mad cap bunch, they are a fun and caring group that put their customers first. Although this could be read as a stand alone  you will get a much better idea of what makes the characters tick if you read in order.

The cast come back in a full of beans style, especially Patty, she is an absolute howl a minute with her inappropriate comments, well they are not so much inappropriate more just the way she says what is on her mind and definitely without a filter.

The story focuses on the new ideas the travel agency has to come up with as they try to compete with an ultra modern rival shop. But also in with that are a couple of stories that deal Patty and Charlie’s personal lives and complement the main plot very nicely.

This is a book I spent the afternoon reading outside in the sunshine. There are some more serious plots in the story but most of the time I was reading this with a big grin on my face with the occasional shocking moment, and the odd lump in my throat, and yeah I admit the odd tear.

A fabulous book for whiling away the afternoon with and one that I would definitely recommend to readers of women’s or general fiction with humorous undertones.

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The Calico Cat by Amanda James @akjames61 @bombshellpub @sarahhardy681 : #NetGalley #BookReview

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I am delighted to be on the Blog Blitz today for “The Calico Cat” by Amanda James. Published by Bombshell books, this book is available from Amazon UK. My thanks to Sarah for my spot on the tour and an ecopy of the book via NetGalley

Synopsis:

At thirteen, Lottie discovers a huge secret which her parents have kept from her, the impact of which proves to be life changing.

Because of the way Lottie’s mother handles the consequent fall-out, the two become distant. Lottie’s rejected by her mother and deemed troublesome, rude and wilful. Ever since then, Lottie has struggled with fitting in and actively tries to be different from others.

As an adult Lottie decides to quit her teaching job and follow her dreams to become an artist. But will she succeed and can she put her troubled past behind her?

As Lottie embarks on a journey of self-discovery she will come to examine the importance of life, love and friendship.

My Thoughts:

Charlotte has had enough of her job and just walked out. She decides to follow in her grandmothers footsteps and become an artist. Her very vocal and disapproving mother doesn’t approve and believes Charlotte  is making a big mistake.

Oh this is a book that I adored and so very different to the couple of other books I have previously read by this author. Set in beautiful Cornwall I got to meet Charlotte, or Lottie as she prefers to be called, and learn of her story. She tells of her family life from a teenager to present day. There have been changes, teen rebellion but also of a dramatic change in her family that still has a hold over her and her feelings. Lottie is not quiet or timid, she is quite vocal in her beliefs and extremely principled with a very matter of fact way in her conversation and thoughts, with an interesting way of voicing her opinion. I would say she is the sort of person that would be very easy to misunderstand, but that is the way she is and it is quite refreshing.

A chance of a holiday with a friend gives Lottie a chance to meet various people from different walks of life. Their experiences help Lottie to realise that there are different perspectives in all things. That sometimes in life a broader outlook is needed rather than a narrower tunnel version. She has to deal with

This is a gentle amble around the Cornish coastline and also Lotties life, it mixes elements of the dramatic landscape and personal heartache with hope and moving forward, with new starts and beginnings. The plot and story of how Lottie and those in her life has been done in a wonderful way that gradually drew me in. I wanted to know more about her and why she reacts the way she does, it held my attention and I loved being immersed in her world for the few hours it took me to read it. This also has a romantic theme, it is not your lovey-dovey, gushy sort as that wouldn’t fit with Lottie.

A book that was the perfect read for a sunny May day and that I think is perfect for readers of women’s fiction, contemporary fiction and romance. It is a book I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

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Amanda has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published, given that she left school with no real qualifications of note apart from an A* in how to be a nuisance in class. Nevertheless, she returned to education when her daughter was five and eventually became a history teacher. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true when her first short story was published. Amanda has written many short stories and has six novels currently published.

Amanda grew up in Sheffield but now has realised her lifelong dream of living in Cornwall and her writing is inspired every day by the dramatic coastline near her home. She has sketched out many stories in her head while walking the cliff paths. Three of her mystery/suspense novels are set there, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Summer in Tintagel and the Behind the Lie. Rip Current is also set in Cornwall and will be published by Bloodhound Books in April 2018.

Amanda, known to many as Mandy, spends far more time than is good for her on social media and has turned procrastination to a fine art. She can also usually be found playing on the beach with her family, or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.

Follow Amanda on her – Blog –  Twitter –  Facebook

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#BlogTour : Small Change by Keddie Hughes @keddiehughes : @Authoright : #BookReview

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Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Small Change” by Keddie Hughes as part of the blog tour with Authoright. Small change can be purchase in paperback or eBook format from Amazon UK. My thanks to both the author and Kate Appleton for my copy and also my spot on the tour.

Synopsis:

Murder, marital troubles and the murky world of football corruption collide into one woman’s life in this dramatic new novel, set against political upheaval and Sectarianism in Glasgow in 2011.
Forty-two year old Izzy Campbell wants more to life than husband who is over fond of a drink as well as a fanatical Rangers supporter. For as long as she can remember she’s always put her family’s needs first, but with her son turning eighteen she decides it’s time things change. Izzy signs up to volunteer at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and enrols to study for a part time degree in Social Sciences, where she meets fellow student and SMP candidate, Bridget, who encourages her to start a career for the first time, something her husband Jim does not support. Meanwhile, Jim’s security company is preparing to make a bid for a contract with his beloved Rangers, in spite of the Club’s reportedly murky finances. So when Izzy encounters charismatic journalist, Sean Docherty who reveals to her that he is investigating alleged financial corruption at Rangers, she finds her loyalties torn. However, hoping to protect her husband, and with her interest piqued in more ways than one, she finds herself oering to help Sean with his research unaware of his family connections to the murder of a young Celtic fan. A murder her husband witnessed.

Growing up in Glasgow, in a staunchly Protestant home, with a Rangers fan for a father, Keddie Hughes is no stranger to the blight of Sectarianism which she refers to as ‘Scotland’s secret shame’. However, she’s quick to highlight that her story isn’t only about the problems surrounding football. As a self-proclaimed woman entering the ‘third age’ she wanted to create an authentic and relatable character in the form of Izzy. Through her main protagonist, Keddie acknowledges the struggles that women can often go through —from self-doubt to loneliness and feelings of invisibility— when faced with the prospect of their children growing up and moving away. Combining her own experiences as a psychologist and executive coach, Keddie hopes that her character’s journey will provide inspiration and understanding to others and show them that even small changes can add up to make a big dierence in life.
An engaging and relatable story of one woman’s personal evolution and transformation against a backdrop of social and political upheaval in Glasgow, Small Change by Keddie Hughes is the perfect next read for fans of commercial fiction with an edge.

My Thoughts:

Normally I would start “My Thoughts” with my version of a synopsis, but I think you will agree the one above is very thorough. So I will get straight on with what I thought.

This is an enjoyable and very interesting read. I was a little concerned that having a football theme I might not take to it, I am not really a fan of football , but even though it does feature it is not overly done and so I could really enjoy the story. I got to meet Izzie and was taken on a journey into Glasgow and the life in which Izzie has. It explored the contrast between a comfortable homelife to those with nothing or on the brink of loosing what they had. Izzie works with CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau) and meets a wide range of people with a myriad of different problems. Problems are something that Rangers FC are well aware of, and it plays its part in upsetting the world of Izzie and her husband.

The character of Izzie is a really likeable, warm, cosy woman who wants to help others and is also a loyal wife and mum. The story is told from her perspective and I was given a chance to feel like I was getting to know her. Every couple of chapters or so you get a dialogue in script form from her husband Jim and this added an extra sense of what was going on. The plot is how Izzie takes various changes around her and adapts to them. You begin to sense the change in her and its a wonderful journey that I really got caught up in.

The rivalry between football clubs and fans is something I was awware of but I didn’t realise how deep rooted it actually was, so this was a bit of an eye opener for me.

This is a really good story. It is one of those that ambles along at it’s own pace, for me it was the perfect pace. A book that kept my attention and held it throughout, I should mention that I read this in one sitting and finished just after 1am! A wonderful read and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

About the author: Born in Glasgow, Keddie Hughes has worked for over thirty years in executive coaching and leadership development for large multi-national companies. In 2012 she completed the Faber Academy writing course and later enjoyed writing for eighteen months under the mentorship of author Jill Dawson. Today Keddie lives in Buckinghamshire where she dedicates as much time as she can to writing. Her first novel, An Obstinate Vanity was published in 2016 (CreateSpace). Small Change by Keddie Hughes (published by Spiffing Covers ) is available to purchase from online retailers including Amazon and to order from all good bookstores.

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#BlogTour : Her Secret by Kelly Florentia @kellyflorentia @UrbaneBooks #LoveBooksGroupTours #HerSecret #GuestPost #CharacterSpotlight

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I am delighted to be sharing the book love for “Her Secret” by Kelly Florentia with a Guest Post by the author  as part of the blog tour with Urbane Books and Kelly at Love Book Group Tours. Her Secret is a Women’s fiction, contemporary fiction, adult romance, chick-lit and available in paperback and eBook format from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

“A brilliantly-woven tale of love, friendship, heartbreak and hope – I couldn’t put it down.” Jill Finlay Fiction Editor of The Weekly News

“a must-read for anyone who loves intelligent, grown-up romance” – Louise Douglas, bestselling author of The Secrets Between Us

Following the events of No Way Back, Her Secret sees our heroine, Audrey Fox, now married to Daniel. But Daniel’s grown daughter Connie is still causing trouble in paradise and it is not long before Audrey is neck deep in secrets and lies, and once more searching for true love and happiness. Her Secret is the brilliant third novel of up-and-coming chick-lit author Kelly Florentia. Perfect for fans of Fiona Gibson, Marian Keyes, Sheila O’Flanagan and Lisa Jewell it is a wonderful contemporary adult romance.

• The idea behind Her Secret, the sequel to the bestselling No Way Back, is to highlight a positive, independent woman’s lifestyle choice, showcasing that single women in their 40s and 50s are eligible, sexy, and fun – connects directly to large ‘chick-lit’ readership • ‘A truly-talented storyteller who had me hooked from the very first page. – Jill Finlay, Weekly News

Guest Post:

Her Secret by Kelly Florentia : Character Spotlight

Who is your protagonist?

Audrey Fox

The inspiration for your protagonist

Someone recently asked me why I chose such an old-fashioned name for my central character, but when I explained that I named her after Audrey Hepburn I got the thumbs up – everyone loves Audrey Hepburn, right? Before building a character profile, I usually get an image of my protagonist in my head and then give her a name. For me, the name is important and it has to fit. Perhaps the name Audrey is unfashionable but it’s also a classic name, so I hope it’ll be quite memorable.

The creation of your protagonist

Audrey’s character is based on 40-something women who aren’t wives or mothers. Although Audrey is married in Her Secret, she begins her journey as a single woman in the first book in the series, No Way Back. We all have different needs, roles, and aspirations in life. What is right for one person may not be right for another. I wanted to showcase the 40-something woman in a modern light, in a 40 is the new 30 kind of way, in a nonconformist way, and I hope I’ve achieved this in creating Audrey Fox.

 About your protagonist’s character

I wanted my heroine to be relatable and ordinary. Audrey is a 42-year-old woman; she makes mistakes, puts on weight easily, says the wrong thing frequently, and puts her foot in it often. Audrey is loveable and witty, caring and loyal, but she isn’t a pushover. She’s very understanding and generous as a rule, but can be a bit feisty at times. She has a passion for designer shoes and is a bit of a tidy-freak – can’t stand seeing things out of place, and has a bit of a thing for germs, too!

 Do they have any similarities to someone ‘real’? If so, tell us more!

Sadly, no. Audrey Fox is a figment of my imagination. However, she does have some of the characteristics and attributes of some of my friends. She’s the kind of person I think most people would like to have as a best friend – loyal, funny, smart, caring and fun.

 What do you like most of your protagonist?

Her sense of humour and her loyalty. There’s never a dull moment when Audrey Fox is around.

 What do you dislike about your protagonist?

Audrey does have a tendency to put her foot in it – she’s a bit impulsive and ends up in awkward situations and then, sadly, has to suffer the consequences.

 Would you and your protagonist be friends in ‘real’ life?

Absolutely. We would be the best of friends.  In fact, when I typed The End I was heartbroken because I knew that I’d miss her.

 What’s next?

I’m in the early stages of book 4 – so watch this space!

About the Author:

  Kelly Florentia was born and bred in north London, where she continues to live with her husband Joe. Her debut novel THE MAGIC TOUCH was published in March 2016. TO TELL A TALE OR TWO… is a collection of her short tales. Kelly has a keen interest in health and fitness and has written many articles on the subject. SMOOTH OPERATOR (published in January 2017) is a collection of twenty of her favourite smoothie recipes. No Way Back was published by Urbane in Sept 2017.

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#BlogTour : Decide To Hope by June A. Converse @JuneAConverse : @rararesources #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Decide To Hope” by June A. Converse as part of the Blog Tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. My thnaks to June for my copy and Rachel for my spot. Decide To Hope is available in paperback and eBook from Amazon UK and Amazon US

Synopsis:

An unimaginable trauma. A future that seems impossible. When your world shatters, how do you put it back together?

For 950 days, Kathleen Conners has struggled with that choice. Behind a scarf and sunglasses, she hides from the world, from herself, from The Event, from any future with anyone.

After receiving a box of letters from his deceased mother, Matt Nelson is shoved from his predictable, controlled life to a secluded beach in North Carolina. While trying to understand his mother’s intent, he discovers Kathleen.

Matt must choose whether to follow the path his mother orchestrated or rescue the woman who has captured his heart. When the only person Kathleen blames more than herself reappears, can Matt be the strength Kathleen needs to create a new life, or will he be forced to walk away if she decides the climb is too great?

My Thoughts:

Now I admit to being a little unsure whether to read this book when it landed in my in-box. I was in a bit of a grumpy mood and when I came back to the email the next day I decided that yes I did want to be part of the tour. Life can at times get in the way of things and how we deal with these things goes in some way to explaining what makes us react as we do. Why am I telling you this? Well, life for the two main characters Matt and Kathleen is what this book is about, though their life problems are very different to mine.

Matt is a high-flying tax attorney who has a job that is routine, the job it what he does and not who he is. Kathleen is a recluse dealing, or rather not really dealing with her past, she exists. They do not know each other but the connection is Matts mum and the letters she left to her son  regarding him and Kathleen. His mum saw a special something in Kathleen and hopes that he will see that same something. He cannot ask his mum anything about the letters as she had died recently, he has to decide if he wants to work his way through them.

The plot of this story is about two people who do not realise how to live life to the best they can, they are consumed with different things, Matt’s is his work and Kathleen’s is her past. They have to come to a realisation and make their own decisions as to how they want to experience life. Thy have to make the choice to Decide to Hope.

This book is a beautiful and also a hard book to read. At times I thought that Matt was overbearing, but actually he was taking control in order to help, but is he up to giving the strength that will be required. The story behind Kathleen is brutal and it is gradually teased out as the story progresses.

This is a story about two people and their battle. It is a story that brought me to tears several times with this incredible story. It has that raw, honest, brutal and awe-inspiring feel that gives a glimpse into others lives. The author has given me a glimpse into a side of mental illness at a level I am aware of but have not read about in this quite this way before.

This is a story that I would highly recommend to readers of Womens Fiction.

About the Author:

June Converse Author Photo.jpg  June happily resides in Sandy Springs, Georgia, with her husband, Dave, and their dog, Sodapop.  They have two wonderful adult children and two grandchildren.  She is an enthusiastic exerciser and an accomplished cook.  She and her husband enjoy hiking with Sodapop, traveling, scuba diving, trying new restaurants, concerts, and whatever other adventures they can find.  Reading and a constant desire to learn keeps her busy too.

A trauma survivor who struggles with mental illness, June is continuously reaching for hope like the characters in her books.  She openly discusses her personal struggles on her blog, JuneConverse.com

Decide to Hope is her first novel and relies a great deal on her own experience with trauma, choices, recovery and hope.  If you’d like to discuss trauma, coping and recovery, contact her at JuneConverse.com or DecideToHope.com

Follow June on – Facebook – Twitter –  Website

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