Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Humour, Literary Humour, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Woman of a Certain Rage Georgie Hall 5*#Review @GeorgieHallUK @AriaFiction @HoZ_Books #WomanofaCertainRage #Women #Ageing #Menopause #humour #loss #repost #BookReview #paperback #publicationday

Eliza is angry. Very angry, and very, very hot.

Late for work and dodging traffic, Eliza’s still reeling from the latest row with her husband Paddy. Twenty-something years ago their eyes met over the class divide in oh-so-cool Britpop London, but these days their eyes only meet to bicker over the three-seat sofa.

Paddy seems content filling his downtime with canal boats and cricket, but Eliza craves the freedom and excitement of her youth. Being fifty feels far too close to pensionable, their three teenage children are growing up fast, and even the dog has upped and died. Something is going to have to change—menopause be damned!

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

This story captures the essence of what it’s like for most women growing older, with a wealth of experience and knowledge but not to be seen. Eliza’s story immerses the reader in a myriad of emotions, there are many hilarious moments, but these are tempered by the fear, poignancy and the sense of loss.

Eliza is menopausal and suffering. Her body is unrecognisable, life’s pleasures seem a distant memory, and everyone appears to be getting on with their lives without her. This is an entertaining read written in an engaging but relatable way. It explores many issues that women at this stage of their life face.

It’s an easy read and will appeal to many women of a certain age.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, Literary Humour, Motivational, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Stepping Up Sarah Turner 5*#Review @TheUnmumsyMum @TransworldBooks #SteppingUp #LiteraryHumour #LiteraryFiction #FamilyDrama #sisters #romance #friendship #motivational #uplit #BookReview #parenting

Beth has never stuck at anything.

She’s quit more jobs and relationships than she can remember and she still sleeps in her childhood bedroom. It’s not that she hasn’t tried to grow up, it’s just that so far, the only commitment she’s held down is Friday drinks at the village pub.

Then, in the space of a morning, her world changes.

An unspeakable tragedy turns Beth’s life upside down, and she finds herself guardian to her teenage niece and toddler nephew, catapulted into an unfamiliar world of bedtime stories, parents’ evenings and cuddly elephants. Having never been responsible for anyone – or anything – it’s not long before she feels seriously out of her depth.

What if she’s simply not up to the job?

With a little help from her best friend Jory (purely platonic, of course …) and her lovely, lonely next-door neighbour, Albert, Beth is determined that this time she’s not giving up. It’s time to step up.

This is a story about digging deep for strength you never knew you had and finding magic in things that were there all along.

Amazon UK Waterstones

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

My Thoughts…

I like this book because of its engaging blend of heartbreaking sadness and heartwarming humour. Beth is relatably flawed and easy to empathise with, and I care what happens to her. Sensory imagery brings the characters and events to vibrant life. Beth’s viewpoint captures the emotional clarity of their daily lives in a poignant way that keeps you immersed in their story.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Literary Humour, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Heartcross Castle Christie Barlow 5*#Review @ChristieJBarlow @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources #LoveHeartLane #BookReview #Humour #Romance #romcom #family #secrets #celebrity #HeartcrossCastle

Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what.

A second chance…
When her grandfather Marley passes away Grace Power discovers she’s been left the beautiful but crumbling estate of Heartcross Castle. As a single mum of three, Grace has no idea what she’s going to do with it – but who can say no to a roof over their kids’ heads and a chance to get away from past hurts?

And a forever home
Heartcross Castle is full of secrets – especially a lost security deposit box that holds the truth to everything… But when celebrity chef Andrew Glossop sets his eyes on the castle and, to make matters worse mistakes Grace as the new housekeeper, Grace tells him there is absolutely NO CHANCE he is getting his hands on her home. Devastated to have got it so wrong, Andrew will do anything to make it up to her – but is she willing to listen?

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

Heartcross Castle is an engaging read. Grace is a likeable, strong character who puts her children first. The chance to escape from an abusive relationship takes her back to her hometown, and she soon finds support from friends despite her absence.

Believable characters and a vibrant setting immerse the reader in this story. The mix of humour and poignancy is perfect. Family secrets, renewal of old friendships and the chance of romance make this one of my favourite books in the Love Heart Lane series.

Christie Barlow

Christie Barlow is the number one international bestselling author of fifteen romantic comedies including the iconic Love Heart Lane Series, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Kitty’s Countryside Dream. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.

Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 international bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.

When Christie isn’t writing she co-presents The Book Show on Radio Northwich, enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Literary Humour, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Love Heart Lane Boxset Christie Barlow #promo @ChristieJBarlow @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources #LoveHeartLane #BookPromo #Humour #Romance #romcom #weekendreads

Don’t miss this gorgeous eBook boxset of the first three novels in Christie Barlow’s bestselling Love Heart Lane series – also including a bonus Christmas short story!

Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what.

Love Heart Lane

When Flick Simons returns to the cosy village of Heartcross she only expected to stay for a few days. The white-washed cottages of Love Heart Lane might be her home, but the place holds too many painful memories, and of one man in particular – Fergus Campbell.

Foxglove Farm

Isla and Drew Allaway appear to have the perfect life – a strong marriage, two beautiful children and their picture-perfect home, Foxglove Farm.
But, new mum Isla is struggling. When she discovers that Drew has been keeping secrets from her, Isla has to face losing the home they all love.

Clover Cottage

When Vet Rory Scott inherits ramshackle Clover Cottage in the quaint village of Heartcross, Allie MacDonald just knows this is their happy ever after. A place to call home with the man she loves – it’s her dream come true!
Until Rory drops a bombshell. He loves Allie but he has dreams of his own to follow – to live and work in Africa. Clover Cottage will have to wait just a little longer…

Plus the exclusive short story –  Christmas at Heartcross Castle.

Celebrate Christmas with all your favourite residents from Love Heart Lane – a short Christmas story not to be missed! Merry Christmas! X

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Christie Barlow

Christie Barlow is the number one international bestselling author of fifteen romantic comedies including the iconic Love Heart Lane Series, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Kitty’s Countryside Dream. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.

Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 international bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.

When Christie isn’t writing she co-presents The Book Show on Radio Northwich, enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Humour, Literary Humour, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Woman of a Certain Rage Georgie Hall 5*#Review @GeorgieHallUK @HoZ_Books #WomanofaCertainRage #Women #Ageing #Menopause #humour #loss #BookReview

Eliza is angry. Very angry, and very, very hot.

Late for work and dodging traffic, Eliza’s still reeling from the latest row with her husband Paddy. Twenty-something years ago their eyes met over the class divide in oh-so-cool Britpop London, but these days their eyes only meet to bicker over the three-seat sofa.

Paddy seems content filling his downtime with canal boats and cricket, but Eliza craves the freedom and excitement of her youth. Being fifty feels far too close to pensionable, their three teenage children are growing up fast, and even the dog has upped and died. Something is going to have to change—menopause be damned!

Woman of a Certain Rage is a smart and funny novel for all the women who won’t be told it’s too late to shake things up, and Eliza is a heroine many will recognise. She may sweat a lot and need a wee all the time, but she has something to prove. 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from ‘Head of Zeus’ via NetGalley in return for an honest review. 

My Thoughts…

This story captures the essence of what it’s like for most women growing older, with a wealth of experience and knowledge but not to be seen. Eliza’s story immerses the reader in a myriad of emotions, there are many hilarious moments, but these are tempered by the fear, poignancy and the sense of loss.

Eliza is menopausal and suffering. Her body is unrecognisable, life’s pleasures seem a distant memory, and everyone appears to be getting on with their lives without her. This is an entertaining read written in an engaging but relatable way. It explores many issues that women at this stage of their life face.

It’s an easy read and will appeal to many women of a certain age.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Literary Humour, New Books

The Black Dress Deborah Moggach 4*#Review #DeborahMoggach @TinderPress @headlinepg #Age #Women #Relationships #Humour @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Tinder Press in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Reading the blurb for this story evoked a whole series of images in my mind, which compelled me to read the book. The reader is introduced into Pru’s life when she buys the black dress, and then the reasons for her purchase are revealed intimately and insightfully from the main protagonist.

The writing style is full of sensory imagery, which makes it an easy read. Pru is a conflicted but fascinating character. She appears transparent in her revelations but is really an unreliable narrator. What comes across strongly in this story is her loneliness and how it defines her. Whilst she enjoys a series of adventures, many of which end badly, her need for companionship and identity motivates her.

Sophisticated humour and wit make this an engaging read, but it’s the underlying sadness that resonates.

Deborah Moggach
Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Humour, Literary Humour, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

Death and Croissants Ian Moore 4*#Review @MonsieurLeMoore @farragobooks @BGLitAgency @RandomTTours #cozymystery #France #Rural #MurderMystery #humour #mystery #FolletValleyMystery #DeathandCroissants #BlogTour #BookReview #publicationday

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an originally styled cosy mystery set in rural France with an unexciting Englishman and a mysterious French woman as the amateur sleuths. The writing is full of sensory imagery, which makes the reading experience enjoyable. It’s easy to imagine the characters and settings. It would translate well to television.

Richard is eccentric and innately humorous. Valerie is glamorous and secretive, and they form an unlikely but mutually beneficial crime-fighting alliance. Whilst the plot is simple, the characters’ dialogue and the vividly described action make this enjoyable.

Ian Moore

Ian Moore is a leading stand-up comedian, known for his sharp, entertaining punditry. A TV/radio regular, he stars in Dave’s satirical TV show Unspun and Channel 5’s topical comedy Big Mouths. He is also the author of two memoirs on life in France. À la Mod and C’est Modnifique. Ian lives in the Loire and commutes back to the UK every week. In his spare time, he makes mean chutneys and jams.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Literary Humour, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Primrose Park Christie Barlow 5* #Review @ChristieJBarlow @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources #PrimrosePark #BlogBlitz #BookReview #LoveHeartLane #Humour #Romance #romcom #weekendreads

Vet Molly has always been career driven and focused on caring for her animals, but when she meets a gorgeous Mystery Man at a conference and their connection is off the charts, well, one night off work won’t hurt anyone…except the next morning he’s vanished and all Molly knows about him is his first name.

Three months later, back in Love Heart Lane, everyone loves the story of Molly’s amazing one-night stand.  It’s so unlike her! But when Mystery Man turns up walking his dog through Primrose Park and their night together seems to mean nothing to him, Molly needs her friends and neighbours more than ever. And especially when she’s left with the most unexpected of surprises…

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

Molly, the vet, is the focus for this story, set in and about the lovely village of Heartcross and the iconic Primose Park, where characters often meet. Even though it’s the sixth book in this lovely uplifting series, it reads well as a standalone. Each book focuses on a previously unexplored main protagonist.

Career-driven Molly has an uncharacteristic and unforgettable one night with Cam, who disappears afterwards without a word. They meet again in the park, but it’s not the dramatic reconciliation Molly wishes for.

This story is full of heartache and surprises. Molly needs to solve the mystery surrounding Cam. Contemporary issues are interwoven into the more lighthearted storylines, which give this story an authenticity that makes it enjoyable.

Christie Barlow

Christie Barlow is the number one international bestselling author of fifteen romantic comedies including the iconic Love Heart Lane Series, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Kitty’s Countryside Dream. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.

Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 international bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.

When Christie isn’t writing she co-presents The Book Show on Radio Northwich, enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.

Christie is an ambassador for the @ZuriProject alongside Patron of the charity, Emmerdale’s Bhasker Patel. They raise money and awareness for communities in Uganda.

Christie loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Literary Humour, Political Thriller

Facets of Death Michael Stanley 4*#Review The Detective Kubu series @detectivekubu @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #FacetsofDeath #DetectiveKubu #BlogTour #BookReview #MondayBlogs

A dark and sophisticated thriller set in the heart of Botswana,
introducing Michael Stanley’s beloved Detective Kubu

Recruited straight from university to Botswana’s CID, David ‘Kubu’ Bengu has raised his colleagues’ suspicions with his meteoric rise within the department, and he has a lot to prove.

When the richest diamond mine in the world is robbed of 100,000 carats worth of gems, and the thieves are found, executed, Kubu leaps at the chance to prove himself.

First he must find the diamonds – and it seems that a witch doctor and his son have a part to play.

Does this young detective have the skill and integrity to engineer an international trap? Or could it cost him everything?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Orenda Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Botswana in the late 1990s, this story introduces the reader to Kubu as he embarks on his career as a police detective. The story is multi-viewpoint and written in a police procedural style with a keen insight into the culture and politics of the Botswanan setting.

This is an atmospheric noir story with multiple murders. Kubu proves to be worthy of his fast-track appointment, as he gradually wins around those opposed to his detective status. He is an intuitive, intelligent investigator. His relative youth makes him impulsive in following leads despite the personal risk, but this is also what makes him effective.

This is an absorbing story with a likeable detective.

Michael StanleyMichael Sears and Stanley Trollip

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialised in image processing and remote sensing and taught at the University of the Witwatersrand.

On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective David ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger.

The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original mystery and was shortlisted for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was shortlisted for an International Thriller Writers award. They have also written a thriller, Dead of Night, following the investigative journalist, Crystal Nguyen, who gets caught up in the war against rhino poaching and rhino-horn smuggling.

Posted in Blog Tour, Guest post, Literary Fiction, Literary Humour, Mystery, New Books

Just Bea Deborah Klee #GuestPost @DeborahKlee @rararesources #homeless #uplit #selfdiscovery #mystery #BlogTour

Sometimes you have to stop trying to be like everyone else and just be yourself.

Bea Stevens and Ryan O Marley are in danger of falling through the cracks of their own lives; the only difference between them is that Bea doesn’t know it yet.

When her world is shaken like a snow-globe, Bea has to do what she does best; adapt. Homeless man Ryan is the key to unlocking the mystery of her friend Declan’s disappearance but can she and Ryan trust one another enough to work together? 

As the pieces of her life settle in new and unexpected places, like the first fall of snow, Bea must make a choice: does she try to salvage who she was or embrace who she might become?

Just Bea takes the reader on a heart-warming journey from the glamour of a West End store to the harsh reality of life on the streets and reminds us all that home really is where the heart is.

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Just Bea -Homelessness Guest Post Deborah Klee

I was inspired to write Just Bea as there were two occasions when women I knew said that they were tempted to offer a temporary home to a homeless man. The first was a single woman whose two children had left home for university. She came across a young man, a similar age to her absent son, who was living in a tent. It was winter and her heart went out to him. She seriously considered offering him a home rent free, until her children talked her out of it as they didn’t want their mother putting herself at risk.

Several years later a gentle, caring woman who lived in my village told me about a homeless man who had been sleeping rough in our neighbourhood. This was an unusual occurrence in our little community. This woman befriended the man, buying him food and giving him books to read. As she came to know him better, she was tempted to offer him a room in her house. Again, friends and family advised her not to do so as they felt it was unsafe.

I can understand how a compassionate woman might be persuaded to invite a homeless man into her home. Bea Stevens, the protagonist in my story has more reason than most: Ryan, the homeless man, is known and trusted by her friend Declan, Bea has had too much to drink at the office party and so her judgement is impaired, she spilt hot chocolate over Ryan’s sleeping bag, and it is snowing heavily.

‘Why don’t you sleep in my spare bedroom tonight?’ Bea blurted out and immediately regretted it. She didn’t know anything about him. But he was a close friend of Declan, and she owed it to Declan. It was too cold for Ryan to sleep outside.

            Ryan looked as though he too was surprised by her suggestion. ‘Because you’re a single girl. A slightly inebriated single girl. I’ve got a little sister, about your age. I would be telling her not to let a strange man into her home on any account – no matter what the circumstances.’

            But he’s not a stranger, Bea thought, and then she decided if Declan trusted him, then so could she. ‘Please. It would make me feel better about spilling hot chocolate on your sleeping bag. I could pop it in my washing machine and it’ll be dry by the morning.’

            ‘I’m not sure. This’ll be the booze a talking. You’ll wake up, forget you invited me in, and scream blue murder.’

            They looked at each other, each weighing up the risks. The snow whirled in the light of a street lamp and Ryan pulled his jacket closer around him. ‘I’d better be off. This isn’t going to let up.’

            ‘That settles it,’ Bea said. ‘Come inside before we both freeze to death.’

One day when I was walking across London Bridge on my way to work, I noticed a young Mediterranean looking man huddled in a blanket. I looked closely at his face and imagined him as a tour guide, a gondolier on a Venice canal, anything but a homeless man. He could have been anything. Anyone. He mattered. At that time, I was too shy to talk to him. Further along the bridge I noticed a woman ask another homeless man whether he would like a tea or coffee. I chased after the woman and asked her whether her offer was welcomed by homeless people or refused. She assured me that it was always appreciated. From that day on, I have always offered to buy a drink and sometimes food for the people I meet who are living on the street. It has also helped me in my research. One man told me that by listening to him I had given him all that he needed.

Everyone who becomes homeless has a story. It is easy to fall through the gaps as Bea and Ryan discovered in Just Bea.

Deborah Klee

Deborah has worked as an occupational therapist, a health service manager, a freelance journalist, and management consultant in health and social care.

Her protagonists are often people who exist on the edges of society. Despite the very real, but dark, subject matter her stories are uplifting, combining pathos with humour. They are about self-discovery and the power of friendships and community.

Just Bea is her second novel. Her debut The Borrowed Boy was published last year.

Deborah lives on the Essex coast. When she is not writing she combines her love of baking with trying to burn off the extra calories.

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