It’s the season of love, forgiveness… and tidings of trouble!
Wynn Beauchene is exactly where she wants to be: a successful business owner and single mum. Lately, however, something feels like it’s missing. Even worse is Wynn’s attraction to the gorgeous policeman next door.
With his pregnant daughter coming to stay, Garrick McCabe has one last chance to repair their strained relationship. Except his daughter seems to have turned into the Grinch, and now Garrick needs Wynn’s help to turn this festive fiasco around… before it’s too late.
For Garrick and Wynn, a little chaos is the perfect gift for revealing what—and who—matters most…
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
I enjoyed this festive small-town romance, which is part of the Happy Inc series. Wynne has admired her neighbour Garrick for a while without taking it further. When he asks for her help making his home welcome for his pregnant and estranged daughter, she has to help, of course.
The romance between Wynn and Garrick is gentle and sweet, almost like first love. Both have emotional damage from early parenthood and mistakes they have to live with, but both are good people who you want to find happiness, preferably together. Their friendships groups are supportive and add to the story’s cosy feel.
Joylyn has issues most relating to her father, she matures, as her baby’s arrival draws closer, and this makes her easy to empathise. The wedding the town is famous for takes place close to Christmas and is a perfect example of community spirit and friendship.
This story is on the cute side, but everyone wants a happy-ever-after at Christmastime.
Jess’s life was turned upside down when her blog went viral. Now, with hundreds of thousands of followers, Jess is now navigating the trials and tribulations of a world online.
Being a mummy blogger was original an escape, but now it seems to be turning into a career. And after one wrong post on her social media channels, Jess discovers that life in the spotlight isn’t always peachy.
With a new baby on the way, the possibility of starring in a reality TV show and a husband who’s struggling with his wife’s new-found fame, Jess has a lot going on.
Jess needs to decide whether this is everything she wanted it to be or whether this is all a bit too much for her? Can Jess persevere against the haters, rise up above the pettiness and find the perfect balance of life in the real world and life online?
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus- Aria in return for an honest review.
Mum’s Big Break is another enjoyable chapter about Jess, her family and her life as a successful mummy blogger. Now a ‘celebrity’ social influencer Jess finds that blogging isn’t the escape it was. Amusing anecdotes and an insiders insight into the world of mummy blogging and social influencers make this a delightful read.
Mum’s Big Break is a contemporary, engaging, and humorous story about life as a mummy blogger.
Excerpt From Mum’s Big Break – Louise Emma Clark
Truthfully, she’d been a bit surprised by how much time had been demanded by the staff at the hotel, but it was too late now. She’d accepted the holiday and she had to do the work – even if that meant being dragged away from her sunbed to listen to a monologue about the interior design decisions behind an overwhelmingly brown conference hall.
It was a few hours before she was able to say her goodbyes and scurry back to the pool, but when she arrived, Chris and Bella were nowhere to be seen. Looking down at her phone and realising it was now midday and Bella had probably been tired and grouchy, she made her way up to their room.
She’d never set eyes on a hotel suite before this holiday, let alone stayed in one, and when they first arrived and were shown to their room, it had taken them a good five minutes to explore, eyes wide with shock. There were two bedrooms, joined together by a large lounge. Wardrobes opened up to reveal storage space the size of small rooms just for their clothes and shoes. Everything inside the suite was perfectly matched in hues of dark wood and warm tones of caramel-brown, and vast, floor to ceiling windows showed off the view to its absolute best.
From their balcony, they could see the whole of Jumeirah Beach stretched to the left and right of them. The white sand, the colour of the sea a perfect reflection of the cornflower-blue sky above, hotels dotted along the coast, the impressive Burj Al Arab hotel shaped like the sail of a boat to their right, and a big wheel that seemed to be sat on its very own island to their left.
Looking directly down from their balcony to the hotel grounds, a series of pools stretched invitingly in front of their hotel.
‘Seven pools, to be exact,’ their concierge had informed them on that first night. ‘Three general pools that everyone can use, one saltwater pool, one shallow pool for children, one adult-only pool, one pool for swimming laps, and a swimmable canal that connects them all.’
The biggest pool was directly below them, with the words ‘THE MERRYGOLD’ stamped on the bottom in large, black letters. And as swimmers disturbed the surface of the water, the letters shimmered and danced in the sunlight.
It was, without doubt, the most impressive hotel that Jessica had set foot in.
In fact, the room alone was so inviting that Jessica was quite tempted to spend the full week inside it, relying on room service and gawping at the views, but with a nearly-two-year-old in tow, that was never going to happen.
Jessica made it back to the room and stood in front of the heavy mahogany door with 3008 monogrammed in gold letters, pulling her key card from the pocket of her bag to unlock it. As the light flickered green, she pushed the door as gently as possible.
‘Sssshhh,’ Chris hissed, turning towards the door from his armchair. ‘F**k’s sake, Jess, please don’t wake her!’
‘Seriously?’ Jessica whispered. ‘What was I supposed to do? Beam myself through the door?’
Chris rolled his eyes.
‘You know,’ Jessica continued. ‘This hotel room is nearly as big as our house. She’s got her own room, Chris! You’re sat out here lording it up with your iPad and she’s fast asleep in her own room, with the door closed. How was I ever going to wake her?’
‘Lording it up with my iPad?’ Chris repeated slowly. ‘Good one. That’s obviously what I’ve been doing while you’ve been swanning around conference rooms for the last couple of hours…’
‘Oh whatever,’ Jessica said, shaking her head. ‘Anyway, what have you been doing while I’ve been gone? Has she been OK?’
‘No,’ Chris said. ‘She’s been a bit of a bloody nightmare actually. She was tired and hungry, and she wanted Mummy as soon as you disappeared. We waited for as long as we could, as I thought it would be nice to have lunch together, but I needed to give her something to eat in the end. Not that she enjoyed the chips I ordered her… Most of them ended up on the bloody floor, so she’s probably gone to bed hungry.’
Louise’s blog, Mum of Boys and Mabel has over 100k followers. Having moved to Dubai with her family she’s now back in the UK and is enjoying writing. From Mum with Love was her debut novel.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK- Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This story has a claustrophobic, immersive quality that draws you into the world of parenting in West London. Once there, it’s not a pleasant place to be, with its backstabbing, vicious gossip and judgy attitudes. It’s against this privileged setting that a psychological suspense drama unfolds, featuring Sarah and Liza, who are best friends, and what happens between them and their families after a tragic accident.
Liza and Sarah have dark secrets. Sarah and Liza are unreliable protagonists. Other points of view are revealed via social media group conversations, making the novel contemporary and vibrant. There is a sinister undercurrent in this story. Is it a product of a disturbed psyche or reality?
Character-driven and reflecting twenty-first-century issues, this is an addictive story created out of ordinary and often poignant events and secrets. It’s essential reading for lovers of domestic, psychological suspense and family drama.
Rebecca Thornton is an alumna of the Faber Academy Writing A Novel course, where she was tutored by Esther Freud and Tim Lott. Her writing has been published in The Guardian, You Magazine, Daily Mail, Prospect Magazine and The Sunday People amongst others. She has reported from the Middle East, Kosovo and the UK. She now lives in West London with her husband and two children. The Fallout is her third novel.
Do you listen to your mother? Even after she’s dead? Anna Hardaker is following you … This seemingly innocent Tweet fills Jamie Hardaker with confusion and fear. After all, his mother Anna has been dead for nearly three weeks. What follows is an orchestrated Twitter campaign to lead those Anna loved, and didn’t love so much, to the truth behind her “accidental” death.
I received a copy of the book from the author in return for an honest review.
Claustrophobic and toxic, a dark story about a fractured family. The story focuses on events after Anna’s accidental death. Sinister tweets cast doubt, on the circumstances surrounding Anna’s accident. There are also historical flashbacks of incidents within the family, before Anna’s demise. The story is written from Jamie’s point of view, in the first person. This narrows the story’s perspective but gives it the depth of emotion and immediacy.
A fusion of family drama and psychological suspense, where Jamie is an unreliable protagonist. He feels isolated by his mother’s death, full of anger and grief. The cast of realistically flawed characters, all have their agendas. Jamie’s father is particularly objectionable.
The plot twists, the sinister twitter campaign escalates and Jamie’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic. He talks to his mother, even thinks he sees her. A symptom of grief? Or something more disturbing?
Being inside Jamie’s mind is exhausting. The final twists, I guessed, but they are believable. They give the story a dark and tragic end.
An immersive domestic thriller that has disturbing realism.
Maria Frankland’s life began at 40 when she escaped an unhappy marriage and began making a living from her own writing and becoming a teacher of creative writing.
The rich tapestry of life with all its turbulent times has enabled her to pour experience, angst and lessons learned into the writing of her novels and poetry.
She recognises that the darkest places can exist within family relationships and this is reflected in the domestic thrillers she writes.
She is a ‘born ‘n’ bred’ Yorkshire woman, a mother of two and has recently found her own ‘happy ever after’ after marrying again.
Still in her forties, she is now going to dedicate the rest of her working life to writing books and inspiring other writers to also achieve their dreams too!
There’s nothing sexy about her humdrum life as a mum. But is her husband’s crazy scheme a bit too exciting?
Sarah’s mind-numbing housewife existence is turning her brain to mush. With her third bun in the oven, this British mum is drowning under a mountain of playdates, bills, and head lice checks. But her man’s get-rich-quick idea of writing steamy novels isn’t her ideal way to dial up life’s passion.
Drew desperately wants a break from Sarah’s whinging. And if that means researching how to write racy books all by himself, then he’ll make the sacrifice. But as he finally warms Sarah up to the sultry side hustle, their R-rated private project gets publicly exposed…
With an office scandal brewing, it’s only a matter of time before gawking workers and a perfectly nosy PTA president turn them into social pariahs. Can Sarah and Drew earn some extra income from sizzling lit without falling prey to stiff gossip?
Erotic Fiction is a charming comedy for fans of humorous fiction. If you like sweet love stories, endearing characters, and dry British humour, then you’ll adore Kindle Storyteller Award Winner Hannah Lynn’s delightful tale.
Buy Erotic Fiction to slip into something a little more lovable today!
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
I enjoyed this very British romantic comedy, full of laugh out loud moments, poignant interludes and witty retort.
Sarah is a stay-at-home-mum, expecting her third child, and wondering if she will ever see beyond the sleepless nights and tantrums. Drew loves his family, but wants to give them more, he wants Sarah to smile again, and quite by chance he finds an unusual avenue to improve the family bank balance.
This is a well-paced, easy to read, tale about children, financial struggles, marriage, parenting and relationships. It is written with vivid characters and events, that lets you visualise what is happening, it’s almost like watching a quintessentially Britsih sitcom, familiar, funny and farcical.
The plot is simple but effective and provides the perfect foil for the excellent characters. Sarah and Drew are relatable and easy to like, the cast of supporting players are noteworthy and give the story, authenticity and quirkiness that is appealing.
If you enjoy finding the humour in everyday life, with just a touch of fantasy, this story is recommended.
Hannah Lynn is an award-winning novelist. Publishing her first book, Amendments – a dark, dystopian speculative fiction novel, in 2015, she has since gone on to write the multi-award-winning The Afterlife of Walter Augustus – a contemporary fiction novel with a supernatural twist, Fiona and the Whale – a thought-provoking romantic comedy and the delightfully funny and poignant Peas and Carrots series.
While she freely moves between genres, her novels are recognisable for their character-driven stories and wonderfully vivid description.
She is currently working on a YA Vampire series and a reimaging of a classic Greek myth.
Born in 1984, Hannah grew up in the Cotswolds, UK. After graduating from university, she has spent twelve years as a teacher of physics, first in the UK and then around Asia and Europe. It was during this time, inspired by the imaginations of the young people she taught, she began writing short stories for children, and later adult fiction. Now as a teacher, writer, wife and mother, she is currently living in the Jordan.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Sparky transforms into a very special playbus for all children. Sparky is a little worried about being different from the other buses in the station, even though she is secretly proud of her new colourful paintwork. When she meets her new passengers, it all makes sense.
The’ Sparky The Dragon Bus’ story is based on a real play bus in Glasgow. Apart from her new interior and bright paintwork, Sparky has another feature, which she realises, means all children can enjoy her facilities.
This story shows the importance of inclusion, and how it can be achieved in a play environment. The illustrations complement the story and will appeal to those children not yet able to read themselves.
My grandson and I enjoyed reading this diverse, inclusive, beautifully illustrated story together.‘Sparky The Dragon Bus’ is a lovely motivational addition to the Jay-Jay Bus series of children’s books.
I am an author and a teacher and have written six children’s picture books, all with a bus included somewhere.
Having been able to share my first book, ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, it was time to think about writing a book for younger readers.
While visiting a local school the children were writing stories about a journey, we read Jay-Jay’s book and then I remembered a book that I had written some years before and I read this to the class too, and they loved it.
The original story was based on a walk with my class around the neighbourhood of Bewbush, Crawley. The walk had led to map work and sequencing. Then together with the class I wrote an imaginative adventure.
The events we imagined were put into a class book. The book was shared with many classes and it was always a favourite.
Now years later I decided it was time to update, improve and look at publishing the book.
There is indeed a walk around the district of Bewbush. and following the publication of the book I went back to see if and how the neighbourhood had changed.
‘Oh, I see you have written a book without a bus!’ commented a friend.
But, look through the pages and you will see there always has to be a bus!
The neighbourhood of Bewbush was a new estate built in Crawley town in the 1970’s. The area was built without any shops, school or safe places for children to play. It was an area of high need and was supported by a special playbus which offered a much-needed playgroup venue.
I also undertake events and author bookings and love to share my stories. There are also a few more stories in the writing process, with links to real events and buses.
But being a working mother is so much more difficult when you’re a secret agent for an underground branch of the security services.
Platform Eight have been tasked with tracking down and eliminating the traitor in MI6 who has been selling information to the highest bidder through a headhunting website for the criminal underworld that connects intelligence operatives with all manner of bad people with a simple right swipe. Deals get made. Secrets get sold. Missions fail, and agents die.
Lex’s own home life is not much easier. With a husband who rings her in the middle of a gunfight to complain she’s yet again forgotten to pick up his dry-cleaning, and a two-year-old daughter who has a newfound love of biting, surviving both the Terrible Twos and a traitor might just be too much for one exhausted mother to handle.
I received a copy of this book from Bonnier via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
More adventures, or misadventures of Lex and Platform eight. She’s tasked with finding a double agent in the secret services, and action and danger surround her.
Her home life is arguably more challenging. The mother of a two-year-old, she faces the terrible twos on a daily basis. Combining motherhood and being a spyleads to lots of drama and many humorous moments.
The plot is fast-paced and well written with twists, danger and delightful comic moments.The characters are vividly created but believable, and it’s easy to like Lex, themain protagonist.
Perfect escapism. A delightful mix of laughs and thrills, and parenting moments that are relatable for any parent.
I’m wondering how many more f*cking ‘phases’ I have to endure before my children become civilised and functioning members of society? It seems like people have been telling me ‘it’s just a phase!’ for the last fifteen bloody years. Not sleeping through the night is ‘just a phase.’ Potty training and the associated accidents ‘is just a phase’. The tantrums of the terrible twos are ‘just a phase’. The picky eating, the backchat, the obsessions. The toddler refusals to nap, the teenage inability to leave their beds before 1pm without a rocket being put up their arse. The endless singing of Frozen songs, the dabbing, the weeks were apparently making them wear pants was akin to child torture. All ‘just phases!’ When do the ‘phases’ end though? WHEN?
Mummy dreams of a quirky rural cottage with roses around the door and chatty chickens in the garden. Life, as ever, is not going quite as she planned. Paxo, Oxo and Bisto turn out to be highly rambunctious, rather than merely chatty, and the roses have jaggy thorns. Her precious moppets are now giant teenagers, and instead of wittering at her about who would win in a fight – a dragon badger or a ninja horse – they are Snapchatting the night away, stropping around the tiny cottage and communicating mainly in grunts – except when they are demanding Ellen provides taxi services in the small hours. And there is never, but never, any milk in the house. At least the one thing they can all agree on is that rescued Barry the Wolfdog may indeed be The Ugliest Dog in the World, but he is also the loveliest.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins Non Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
There are so many of this type of book around at the present time, but this series remains dominant. As soon as you start reading, it grabs you and you’re laughing out loud, or digging into the depths of family memories when a similar incident happened to you, or someone you know.
This time Ellen’s marriage is beyond help, and she faces life as a single mum. There are compensations, getting to buy the ‘house of your dreams’, well very nearly, but Peter and Jane are teenagers now and dealing with their attitude, eating habits and apathy alone, on a daily basis, means that if Ellen had a swear box it would be overflowing with cash.
The honesty, and talent for encapsulating the humour of parenting teenagers, an ex-husband, and learning how to date again, make this a lovely book to escape with. You can read a chapter or two, and then come back, and it’s easy to get into, but it is addictive reading, and why not laughter is good for you.
The relationships are so believable, the conversations with ‘Mother’, hilarious and oddly poignant, the best friend who so supportive but facing challenges she never thought she would, and the ex-husband who undermines at every opportunity and wonders why things have turned out the way they have???
There is so much to enjoy in this, humour, often satirical and self-deprecating, poignant moments of guilt, that every mother experiences, as they struggle to find themselves in their ‘mummy’ role and a keen observant exploration of parenting that most will relate to.
No sleep for twenty hours. No food for ten. And a ward full of soon-to-be mothers… Welcome to the life of a midwife.
Life on the NHS front line, working within a system at breaking point, is more extreme than you could ever imagine. From the bloody to the beautiful, from moments of utter vulnerability to remarkable displays of strength, from camaraderie to raw desperation, from heart-wrenching grief to the pure, perfect joy of a new-born baby, midwife Leah Hazard has seen it all.
Through her eyes, we meet Eleanor, whose wife is a walking miracle of modern medicine, their baby a feat of reproductive science; Crystal, pregnant at just fifteen, the precarious, flickering life within her threatening to come far too soon; Star, birthing in a room heady with essential oils and love until an enemy intrudes and Pei Hsuan, who has carried her tale of exploitation and endurance thousands of miles to somehow find herself at the open door of Leah’s ward.
Moving, compassionate and intensely candid, Hard Pushed is a love letter to new mothers and to Leah’s fellow midwives – there for us at some of the most challenging, empowering and defining moments of our lives.
I received a copy of this book from Random House UK Cornerstone – Hutchinson Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Authentic, awe-inspiring and absorbing, this sharing of a midwife’s working life is a must read for everyone. Humorous and poignant it explores what it’s like to be responsible for assisting new life into the world through the eyes of a dedicated midwife as she shares her experiences with the women she helps.
Midwifery has mystical connations, and if you have ever experienced the brutality and wonder of birth you understand why. I’ve experienced birth twice as a mother and once as a birthing partner, and this memoir brings it all back. The writing is informal but full of vivid imagery and genuine love and respect. It made me cry, laugh and remember.
Out in digital on 30th April 2019 and Hardback and Audio on 2 May 2019