Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Guest post, Romance, Romantic Comedy

How to Make Time for Me – Fiona Perrin @Aria_Fiction @fionaperrin #Family Drama #Romance #Humour #SingleMum #RomCom #Carers #Relationships #Friendships #BlogTour #Guest Post 5*#Review

No-one said being a single mum would be easy…

Everyone knows that being a single mother means having no time to yourself. But for CallieBrown, it’s more exhausting than most. She’s juggling the needs of three teenage children, two live-in parents, a raffish ex-husband, and a dog who never stops eating.

The last thing Callie needs is anything more on her plate. So when she bumps (quite literally) into a handsome, age-appropriate cyclist, she’s quick to dismiss him from her life. After all, if she doesn’t have time to brush her hair in the morning, she certainly doesn’t have time to fall in love…

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I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I love the easy to read writing style of this novel. The themes are familiar to everyone who parents or has parented teenagers or looked after elderly parents. There’s a glossary of teenage vocabulary at the end of the story for the uninitiated. It is the story that most of us have thought of writing at some time, but this author has actually done it and with great results.

Callie is a single mum, with twin girls and a son from her previous relationship who she has been a mother to for eight years, her ex is frankly abysmal, and her ageing parents are a further emotional and physical drain on her already depleted resources. Getting run over by a takeaway delivery bike, is the final straw, she’s invisible and surely something has to change?

Modern family stories are particularly popular and relevant at this moment. This story has many laugh-out-loud moments mixed in with strong emotional poignant scenes, especially concerning Wilf. It is a story of family, friends, self- worth and love, in all its forms.

An absorbing, yet quick read, I read it today in a couple of hours. Its charm is in its relatability and believable characters. A lovely, emotional humorous read.

Guest Post: All about time for you… Fiona Perrin

HOW TO MAKE TIME FOR ME was inspired by all the women I know who (in the words of the old ad campaign) juggle their lives. I was particularly interested in writing about those who find themselves part of the ‘sandwich generation’ – looking after children as well as ageing parents, mostly while holding down a job (but probably also still making the sandwiches).

It struck me that ‘having it all’ as we say, frequently means having no time to yourself. We have children to bring up, extended families to support and it can be just at the time that careers develop and grow difficult. Callie, the heroine of my novel, is also a single mother with a complicated, modern and messy family, full of happiness but also pretty challenging. How does she get any time for herself let alone the opportunity to fall in love?

I’m not a single mother now, but I was for a few years and I remember the chaos fondly, but also a constant feeling of exhaustion. Luckily, I found time to meet Alan and fall in love and now, we have just about waved all four of our kids off to Uni and careers.

But with them as teenagers, our house was hectic – demanding but also, fun. HOW TO MAKE TIME FOR ME heavily features teenagers and shows the pressures they are up against – as well as taking the mickey out them. It has footnotes to explain teenager-speak for example – they have a whole lingo of their own. While it’s great to have time to ourselves, I really miss the madness of those teenage years, and the kids and their friends all hanging around the house, doing not much. But they all seem to come home quite often too, mostly with huge bags of washing and to eat their way through the fridge.

I’m really lucky in that my Mum is about the most active, healthy, supportive parent you can imagine. However, she is also a carer for my older stepfather, while in her seventies – he can no longer walk – so I have some understanding of being responsible for the older generation too. HOW TO MAKE TIME FOR ME features two loopy parents that Callie adores but also add to the demands on her day. I have dedicated this book to my Mum just so she knows they were in no way based on her.

I would love it if readers took a little time out for themselves to read my novel. They might also enjoy Callie’s struggle to stop feeling ‘invisible’ just as she is knocked off her feet quite literally by a rather attractive neighbour. She immediately feels that there is no way she will have time to fall in love with him, but sometimes life has other ideas.

Thanks so much for this opportunity to appear on your brilliant blog.

Fiona Perrin was a journalist and copywriter before building a career as a sales and marketing director in industry. Having always written, she completed the Curtis Brown Creative Writing course before writing The Story After Us. Fiona grew up in Cornwall, hung out for a long time in London and then Hertfordshire, and now writes as often as possible from her study overlooking the sea at the end of The Lizard peninsula.

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Posted in Book Review, Romantic Comedy

I Will Follow Him – Holly Tierney-Bedord – 4* #Review @HollyTierney @rararesources #RomCom #Series #Novella #Holiday #Summer #PublicationDay

A bachelor party on a cruise ship. What could go wrong?

When private detective Francie is hired to spy on a groom-to-be as he and his bachelor party set sail for the Caribbean, she thinks she’s landed herself a week of paid vacation. Between lounging in the sun and sipping margaritas, she just needs to–best-case scenario–report back that he’s on the up and up, or–the unfortunate, more likely scenario–snap a few photos of her target in compromising positions, buy a box of sympathy chocolates for her client, and then collect her pay along with a nice golden suntan.

Blame it on the island breezes or the alcohol, but within hours of setting sail, Francie’s leisurely vacation gets complicated when she starts making careless mistakes. Like accidentally becoming friends with the groom and falling for his best man.

Can she get herself and her mission back on track, or has she blown her cover and possibly even her career?

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I enjoyed this quirky, humorous novella, part of a series of eight books, by different authors. Each is a standalone read connected by the cruise ship. Romantic comedies, they are lighthearted and reminded me of a twenty-first-century version of the 1970’s ‘ The Love Boat’, television series.

‘I Will Follow Him’, features Francie, a private investigator following in her father’s footsteps. She is hired to follow a bridegroom to be on his bachelor party by his suspicious fiancee. The party takes place on a cruise ship and then the fun really starts for Francie.

Francie lacks self-esteem, evidenced by her sometimes boyfriend’s treatment of her. The cruise proves to be her salvation but also causes professional issues for her. The romance is sweet, and a little contrived, but this adds to the enjoyment. I like Francie and would be happy to read more of her private investigator exploits.

A fun, romantic story, with believable characters and situations, a holiday setting and a heroine who is easy to like.

Holly Tierney-Bedord is the author of over twenty books including Kindle Unlimited All-Star winner Sweet Hollow Women.

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Oceanic Dreams Series

Set sail for love and laughs aboard the Oceanic Aphrodite

This series of stand-alone romantic comedy novellas releases throughout the summer of 2019.

To learn about the contributing authors and each book, watch our trailer, here: https://oceanicdreamsbooks.com/series-trailer/   and visit our website, here: https://oceanicdreamsbooks.com/ 

The Oceanic Dreams series is a collection of romantic comedy novellas by eight award-winning, bestselling, and critically acclaimed authors from around the globe.

Meet Holly Kerr, author of I Saw Him Standing There.

Meet Laura Heffernan, author of Time of My Life.

Meet Tracy Krimmer, author of Circle in the Sand.

Meet Kirsty McManus, author of I Thought it was You.

Meet Holly TierneyBedord, author of I Will Follow Him.

Meet Delancey Stewart, author of Take a Chance on Me.

Meet Monique McDonell, author of Shut Up and Dance with Me.

Meet SophieLeigh Robbins, author of The Best of You.

Giveaway to Win a $10 Starbucks card (Open to US Only)

Giveaway Link

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

Posted in Book Review, Literary Fiction

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die -Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay 4* #Review @JohnMurrays #LiteraryFiction

At eighteen, Somlata married into the Mitras: a once noble Bengali household whose descendants have taken to pawning off the family gold to keep up appearances.

When Pishima, the embittered matriarch, dies, Somlata is the first to discover her aunt-in-law’s body – and her sharp-tongued ghost.

First demanding that Somlata hide her gold from the family’s prying hands, Pishima’s ghost continues to wreak havoc on the Mitras. Secrets spilt, cooking spoilt, Somlata finds herself at the centre of the chaos. And as the family teeter on the brink of bankruptcy, it looks like it’s up to her to fix it.

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die is a frenetic, funny and fresh novel about three generations of Mitra women, a jewellery box, and the rickety family they hold together.

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I received a copy of this book from John Murray Press via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The description attracted me to this book, it was first published in 1993.

Somlata marries into an aristocratic, but cash poor Bengali family, who still have noble aspirations and therefore do not understand the concept of earning a living. To live, they sell off their assets, but even this income source is now in jeopardy. The family lives traditionally in a large house, according to hierarchy. When the matriarch dies, something has to change.

Somlata discovers Roshomoyee’s body, and also her ghost, and a quirky tale of strange occurrences, superstition and change begin. Somlata is effectively the conduit for the ghost’s wishes, and this empowers her and makes her a feared by some members of her new family. Her actions directed by the deceased Aunt bring the family to its lowest ebb, but her sense of empowerment grows and she becomes the key to their survival.

Three generations of women are featured; Roshomoyee, the aunt by marriage who was married and widowed very young, and feels she has been robbed of her rightful life, Somlata, who is bright and brave, and with a little ghostly help, changes all their lives for the better. Boshon is Somlata’s daughter, who believes in herself and her rights, and is not afraid to push against the family’s patriarch model. Interestingly Roshomoyee’s ghost diminishes when Somlata has her daughter?

The story is short but packed with detail, cultural references and family drama, it is humorous in parts and poignant in others. The style takes a little getting used to but it is an interesting story of tradition and female empowerment.

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, Mystery

4* #Review The First Time Lauren Pailing Died – Alyson Rudd @HQStories @allyrudd_times #LiteraryFiction #timeslip #love #grief #family #friends #mystery

Lauren Pailing is born in the sixties and a child of the seventies. She is thirteen years old the first time she dies.

Lauren Pailing is a teenager in the eighties, becomes a Londoner in the nineties. And each time she dies, new lives begin for the people who loved her – while Lauren enters a brand new life, too.

But in each of Lauren’s lives, a man called Peter Stanning disappears. And, in each of her lives, Lauren sets out to find him.

And so it is that every ending is also a beginning. And so it is that, with each new beginning, Peter Stanning inches closer to finally being found…

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I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story may not appeal to everyone. You have to be willing to accept the concept of parallel lives that exist but only come to your notice, if you act in a certain way. Lauren Paling as a young girl, sees snapshots of her other possible lives, she learns not to share these insights with others who don’t understand, but then she dies and the emotional rollercoaster journey begins.

In each life she is different, and although surrounded by those who love her, they may relate to her, in different ways. The stories explore, love friendship, relationships loss and grief in a poignant way.

Lauren is searching for a mystery man in each life, without knowing his significance to her, if any. This is a story that can be read more than once, and perhaps needs to be, to fully grasp everything it is about, but that might just be me?

The historical scene-setting is well done, I grew up in this time frame, and I enjoyed the mid to late 20th Century references. Each life has subtle differences to authenticate it to Lauren, as part of her struggles to accept her new present and forget what has gone before.

The plot is detailed and the characters are likeable and believable, despite the extraordinariness of the storyline. This has a uniqueness, because of its emotional content and characterisation, even though the parallel lives concept is often used in science- fiction literature.

If you enjoy variety in your reading and enjoy a lovely, out worldly story this is for you.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Excerpt, Extract, Romantic Comedy

Meet Me In CockleberryBay – Nicola May 4* #Review @nicolamay1 @EyeandLightning @rararesources #RomCom #HolidayFiction #SelfDiscovery #Romance #Coastal #Relationships #Friendship #BlogTour

The cast of the runaway bestseller, The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay, are back – including Rosa, Josh, Mary, Jacob, Sheila, new mum Titch and, last but by no means least, Hot, the adorable dachshund.

Newlywed, and with her inherited corner shop successfully up and running, Rosa Smith seems to have all that anyone could wish for. But the course of true love never did run smooth and Rosa’s suspicions that her husband is having an affair have dire consequences.

Reaching rock bottom before she can climb back up to the top, fragile Rosa is forced to face her fears, addiction and jealousy head-on.

With a selection of meddling locals still at large, a mystery fire and Titch’s frantic search for the real father of her sick baby, the second book in this enchanting series will take you on a further unpredictable journey of self-discovery.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

There is nothing fluffy about this romantic comedy. It is romantic and humorous, but it explores what happens after ‘The Happy Ever After’, and deals with addiction, self-belief and jealousy.

I haven’t read the first book in this series, but there is sufficient backstory, on events and characters, to make this one enjoyable as a standalone read. However, I do think I’ve missed out and want to read the first one too.

The setting of Cockleberrybay is authentic and lovely. The beauty of the setting hides a myriad of emotions, relationships and secrets you would never be aware of. The village setting is realistic, with the usual do-gooders, gossips and sense of community that is nearly always there and unique to this type of setting.

The story covers Rosa’s personal struggle with self-esteem and addiction, catalysed by her new marriage to Josh, which flounders when they are separated by distance. Titch needs to find her baby’s father, and her desperation adds emotional depth to this story.

Contemporary social issues are explored through flawed characters, who are easy to empathise. They are believable and you root for them. This story draws you into its picture-perfect setting and lovely, quirky real characters.

A story of real-life relationships, extraordinary friendship and community in a lovely coastal setting,

extract from Meet Me in Cockleberry Bay
where Rosa and Mary are still finding their feet in their relationship

‘Keep your sense of identity, Rosa.’ Mary took her daughter’s hand as they walked down the steep street to the beach. ‘“Give your hearts but not into each other’s keeping. For the pillars of the temple stand apart and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow”.’

          ‘Mary! Enough of Kahlil now, thanks.’

‘All he means is that space is good in a relationship.’

‘Says the woman who’s never had one,’ Rosa tutted.

Hurt, Mary released her hand. ‘You don’t know that.’

Rosa felt a sudden anger rising. ‘And anyway, I don’t need your advice,’ she said bitterly. ‘Thanks to you, I’ve been on my own in many ways and for many years.’

Mary squeezed her daughter’s shoulder. ‘And for that, I am truly sorry.’

Rosa softened. ‘Oh, I’m sorry . . . I didn’t mean . . . I think what I’m trying to say is that I’ve found love now, with Josh – and with you, of course. And I want to spend as much time as possible living and breathing it. It’s all so bloody confusing.’

‘There is no rush, let it all happen naturally. Although Josh is thirty-one now, isn’t he?’

‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ Rosa reared up again.

 ‘I know you had a miscarriage, love.’ Rosa flinched as Mary promised, ‘If you ever want to talk about it, you know you can.’

Rosa thought back to the painful and ongoing period she had suffered not long after the wedding.

 ‘In sickness and in health, my dear,’ Mary said gently.

‘I was just late, that’s all,’ Rosa lied, ‘and I tell Josh everything normally. I was just so happy about the wedding.  Didn’t want to make a fuss and spoil things.’

They reached the beach and Rosa bent down to let Hot off his lead. The excitable dachshund immediately tore down the beach towards a group of unsuspecting seagulls.

Mary stuttered, ‘I d-do love you, Rosa.’

Giving her mother a watery half-smile, Rosa turned and started to run over the sand towards the sea’s edge and away from the mutual affection they both struggled to accept and convey.

Award-winning author Nicola May lives in Ascot in Berkshire with her rescue cat Stanley. Her hobbies include watching films that involve a lot of swooning, crabbing in South Devon, eating flapjacks and enjoying a flutter on the horses. Inspired by her favourite authors Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews, Nicola writes what she describes as chicklit with a kick.

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Giveaway to Win a signed copy of The Corner Shop on Cockleberry Bay (Open INT)

Giveaway Link

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

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Mystery, Romance, Suspense

The Dead Wife – Sue Fortin 5* #Review @HarperCollinsUK @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam @suefortin1 #Suspense #FamilyDrama #InvestigativeJournalist #DomesticThriller #PublicationDay @rararesources

SINCLAIR WIFE DEAD!  HUSBAND CLEARED! 

Police have ruled out suspicious circumstances in the investigation into the death of Elizabeth Sinclair, wife of charismatic entrepreneur Harry Sinclair, found drowned in the lake of the family’s holiday park.

It’s been two years since the Sinclair case closed but when reporter Steph Durham receives a tipoff that could give her the scoop of the year, she’s drawn deeper and deeper into the secretive Sinclair family.

Elizabeth’s death wasn’t a tragic accident. And the truth will come at a deadly price…

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Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – Harper Fiction in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

You are thrown into the deep end from the beginning of this book, as you witness a personal tragedy. These scenes engender your empathy towards the victim. Is she as innocent as she seems?

Steph is the PR and journalist for a travel company based in the South of England. She has always wanted to be an investigative journalist, since her days of cub reporting in the North West, but things didn’t work out. The opportunity to review a new leisure venture in her home town is viewed with mixed emotions, but she needs the money. Her friend suggests she uses social media, to advertise her latest job, with a view to gaining further work. The interest she attracts is unexpected and leads her into a role she has always wanted, but at what cost?

The Lake District setting is always good for fiction. The beauty and danger of the landscape, the perfect foil for accidents, or even murder. The Sinclair family, practically own the town, and you are immediately wondering if their influence could cover up a murder? Steph’s estranged mother ran the initial police investigation and her deceased father worked for the Sinclairs, something that puts her at risk, even before she starts her investigation.

The suspense increases with every chapter, and the dual timeline, of Steph’s present-day investigation of Elizabeth’s death, and the historic revelations of Elizabeth’s life up to her demise, work well.

Only Steph and widower Harry are characters that you can empathise, even Elizabeth has her own agenda, and is not really likeable. The other two brothers Dominic and Owen are not attractive humans. One the dominant bully, the other weak, but manipulative. The clues are well hidden in the plot, disguised by the misinformation, but they are there. The ending is well-written, as the suspense reaches breaking-point.

This story keeps you on tenterhooks throughout, with authentic characters, a twisty plot and an unexpected end, it is an excellent domestic thriller.

Sue Fortin is an award-winning USA Today and an Amazon best-selling author, an international bestseller and has reached #1 in the Amazon UK Kindle chart. Sue writes mystery, suspense and romance, sometimes combining all three. 

Sue was born in Hertfordshire but had a nomadic childhood, moving often with her family, before eventually settling in West Sussex where she now lives with her husband, children and grandchildren. Facebook Page Twitter Instagram Website

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Psychological Thriller, Scandinavian Crime

A Nearly Normal Family – M.T. Edvardsson 5* #Review @panmacmillan @Mattiasedvard @CeladonBooks #ScandinavianCrime #FamilyDrama #Courtroom #lies #secrets #psychologicalthriller

Every murder case starts with a suspect.

What if the suspect is your daughter?

Would you believe her, or the evidence against her?

THE FATHER Believes his daughter has been framed.

THE MOTHER Believes she is hiding something.

THE DAUGHTER Believes they have no idea what she’s truly capable of . . .

There are three sides to the story. And the truth will shatter this family to pieces.

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Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from Pan Macmillan via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

‘A Nearly Normal Family’, has all the atmosphere, detail and intrigue of a Nordic Thriller, but the pace, moral questions and twists of an excellent courtroom and family drama. The protagonists are pushed to their limits, making them unreliable, so that even when you think you know, you probably don’t, giving this story the edge and mystery of a psychological thriller.

Told from three points of view, the father (a Pastor), the mother( a Lawyer), and the daughter (a clever, rebellious teenager). The events surrounding the murder are revealed, through each character’s point of view

The father is severely tested, his control of the family threatened and his moral beliefs challenged. What will he do for his daughter who he believes in totally? The daughter uses her intelligence to fuel her rebellion against her parents and their beliefs. She has secrets, one of which has damaged her, but is she capable of murder? The mother’s point of view is left until the end and reveals an unexpected twist. All lie and have secrets, making them unreliable protagonists.

The pace of this story is good, even though it is detailed, it doesn’t sacrifice ease of reading for content and this makes it addictive. The characters are believable, and their actions and motives realistic. You are forced to consider how you would act in similar circumstances.

The daughter has considerable insight, and this makes you question whether does she have severe mental health issues, or is manipulative and uses her personality to achieve her aims.

The final scenes reveal an uncomfortable truth that makes you question what has come before. The perfect ending to this atmospheric, crime based twisty thriller.