Blog Tour: Cornish Dreams at Cockleshell Cottage by Liz Hurley #BookReview

Cornish Dreams at Cockleshell Cottage

Delighted to be on the blog tour today for this beautiful, summery looking read, Cornish Dreams at Cockleshell Cottage by Liz Hurley. Thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to the tour, and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

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Sitting alongside the beach and just up from the gently lapping waves, sat a perfect cottage. She had found where she was going to live. Her own little cockleshell cove.

Ever since the Byrne sisters – ArianaAsterClemPaddy and Nic – discovered they were heiresses to the vast Hiverton fortune, their lives have never been the same. No longer living in poverty in London, they now own an estate in Norfolk, a castle in Scotland and a picturesque village in Cornwall.

When sensitive Paddy, the baby of the family despite her successful career as a model, swaps the catwalks of Paris Fashion Week for the cobbled lanes of Tregisky on the beautiful Cornish coast, it’s time for her to stand on her own two feet.

Soon, she’s settled in her new home of Cockleshell Cottage overlooking the wild surf, the seals her closest companions.

And when she meets ex-soldier Hal, she’s instantly smitten. Funny, considerate, and not to mention drop dead gorgeous, he’s perfect in every way apart from one – he’s engaged. But after a misunderstanding brings the two together in ways they couldn’t have imagined, it seems like they might just change each other’s lives.

Will Paddy fall in love with more than just the glorious blue skies of Cornwall? Or are there storm clouds gathering ahead?

This is the second in the series featuring the Byrne sisters, and I really loved the first book, A New Life For Ariana Byrne, (you can read my review of that book here), so I was looking forward to getting stuck into this one. Having read it, I can tell you that this book works perfectly well as a standalone novel, so don’t be put off if you haven’t read the first book.

This book follows the story of Paddy, one of the de Foix sisters who is a twin, and she is a totally different character to Ari, so this added an intriguing divergence from the first book from the beginning. Despite the fact she has been working as a model since she was 16, her other sisters seem to think she is a bit helpless and they fuss over her and baby her, which she finds infuriating. I wonder if any of my three younger sisters can sympathise! Given how her sisters treat her, I was rooting for Paddy to make a go of her mission in Tregisky from the off, just to prove them wrong! The author very cleverly gets the reader on her side from the beginning.

The setting of this book is escapist perfection, a tiny seaside cottage, covered in shells where Paddy can go sea-swimming with seals. Take me there immediately! I defy anyone not to enjoy being transported to this idyllic Cornish setting for a few hours, especially when we have all been locked in our homes for so long. I guess some people may find it a bit too twee, but if you are a fan of this type of romance novel, you will love it. The premise of the family owning a whole village and having to manage it, and all its eclectic tenants is inspired and novel, and gives the author chance to introduce a great range of fun, eccentric minor characters.

The romance between Paddy and Hal develops nicely along, possibly predictable, but challenging lines that will keep you interested. I like the way that Liz makes us really dislike Hal early in the book so he has to work hard to win us round, and throwing in the scheming and manipulative Bianca gives enough conflict to carry the book along at a nice clip. A very satisfying plot, all in all.

If I had one minor complaint, it would be that the time line is a little disjointed at the beginning, doing time jumps that don’t flow particularly well. I had to check back at one point to make sure there wasn’t some text missing from my proof copy. This made the narrative a little angular to start with. Not a word I have ever applied to a novel before, but it seemed the best way of describing it. I wish the transitions had been smoother. However, this was not a problem that the first book had, and it soon ironed itself out in this one, so I would not say it was too detrimental to my enjoyment of the story.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes this genre of sweet romcom. The relationship between the five sisters continues to delight me, and I am hoping we get Clem’s story next. I think the premise the author has used to bind the series together is fresh and interesting, and I definitely want to read on. A lovely, summer read.

Cornish Dreams at Cockleshell Cottage is out now as an ebook and you can buy a copy here.

Make sure you check out the other fabulous blogs taking part in the tour:

Cornish Dreams at Cockleshell Cottage Full Tour Banner

About the Author

When I grew up I wanted to be an underwater archaeologist or an astronaut but I ended up in a library. Everyone laughed as I’m not a naturally quiet person but I loved it. I went on to become a professional librarian for the money and the glamour. Not finding quite enough of either my husband and I set up a bookshop.  We didn’t find much there either so I started writing. Now I have loads of money and glamour but only in the pages of my books! In the meantime I dive and look at the stars.

Connect with Liz;

Website: https://www.lizhurleywrites.com

Facebook: The Other Liz Hurley

Twitter: @hello_hurley

Instagram: @liz_hurley_writes

Tempted By … Live and Deadly: The Holdout by Graham Moore

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One juror changed the verdict. What if she was wrong?

‘Ten years ago we made a decision together…’

Fifteen-year-old Jessica Silver, heiress to a billion-dollar fortune, vanishes on her way home from school. Her teacher, Bobby Nock, is the prime suspect. It’s an open and shut case for the prosecution, and a quick conviction seems all but guaranteed.

Until Maya Seale, a young woman on the jury, persuades the rest of the jurors to vote not guilty: a controversial decision that will change all of their lives forever.

Ten years later, one of the jurors is found dead, and Maya is the prime suspect.

The real killer could be any of the other ten jurors. Is Maya being forced to pay the price for her decision all those years ago?

Today’s Tempted By… was a no-brainer for me, to be honest. As an ex-lawyer, any books set in a legal environment are automatically appealing but it was the reference in this review by Mary Picken on her blog, Live and Deadly, to one of my favourite films that sealed the deal.

“A sort of reverse 12 Angry Men.” It wasn’t really going to take anything more than that to persuade me that The Holdout was a book I needed to read. 12 Angry Men is one of my favourite films and if you haven’t seen it, you need to go and watch it immediately. Henry Fonda gives one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen as the single juror trying to turn the minds of the other eleven jurors, who are convinced of the defendant’s guilt. It was nominated for three Oscars, so I’m not alone in thinking it is brilliant. How, therefore, could I resist a book that is being touted as  12 Angry Men on adrenaline.

Besides, Mary says that this is a belter of a legal thriller and, if there is any blog that I trust to know her thriller onions, it’s this one. Live and Deadly focuses on crime and thriller books, and she reads an awful lot of them, so she knows what she is talking about when it comes to judging a thriller. When she tells me a book is nicely paced with some good twists and turns, I am going to believe her and it is definitely one I am going to pick up. I am really looking forward to reading this when it gets to the top of my TBR pile.

If you are a lover of crime and thriller novels, Mary’s blog is one that you should be following. She is a prolific poster, reviewing all of the top new releases plus loads of great books from smaller, indie publishers that you may not otherwise come across, so this is the place to discover those hidden gems in crime fiction. She has a real knack for concise but precise reviews, so if you prefer a succinct reviewing style that really boils down the salient information, rather than my long, often inane, ramblings, this is the blog for you. Plus, she is one of the loveliest, kindest and most supportive bloggers on the scene and I love her to bits. You can find Mary’s blog here.

If this post and Mary’s review has made you eager to pick up a copy of The Holdout (and why wouldn’t it have?), it is available in hardback, audio and ebook formats and you can buy a copy here.

 

Book Review: The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp by Sarra Manning #BookReview

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Beautiful, brilliant, ruthless – nothing can stop Becky Sharp.

Becky Sharp has big dreams and no connections. Determined to swap the gutters of Soho for the glamorous, exclusive world behind the velvet rope, Becky will do anything to achieve fame, riches and status.

Whether it’s seducing society’s most eligible bachelors, or befriending silly debutantes and rich old ladies, Becky Sharp is destined for great things. Because it might be tough at the top but it’s worse at the bottom.

From London to Paris and beyond, Becky Sharp is going places – so get the hell out of her way…

My thanks to the publishers for my digital copy of this book, received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I finally got round to reading this modern retelling of Vanity Fair. I have to admit, I have not read the original. It is one of those classics that has been sat on my TBR and I have just not got round to picking up, so I went in to this book with no preconceptions and no comparisons to Thackeray’s novel and my review will be of this novel in its own right, not as a retelling.

I absolutely loved the opening chapter of the book, which sets Becky up immediately as a modern woman seeking fame in a way that has become most popular in the twenty-first century. I don’t want to say too much more and spoil the beginning of the book for anyone who has not read it but, as a member of Generation X, the events that open this book played an important part in my life. In fact, I was at school with the very first person to emerge from this experience – one of my claims to fame – and I’ll say no more than that! As soon as I started reading it, i knew this book was something different, smart and relevant.

The main character of the book, Becky Sharp, is determined and ruthless in her pursuit of a better life for herself and, as we hear the beginnings of the story, we have a lot of sympathy for her, because she has not had it easy. However, as the book carries on and she becomes more and more careless with other people in her eagerness for advancement, that sympathy begins to evaporate and, by the end, she is fairly detestable. It is a fascinating story arc, the opposite of the way most books and characters develop and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The book has many interesting and fun supporting characters as well, and the strong streak of humour running through the novel was really well done. I alternating between willing Becky on, and praying for her downfall, largely depending on how I felt about the supporting character she was taking advantage of at the time. This is the genius behind the plot, the constant conflict between the self-serving behaviour of Becky and the nature of the supporting characters leading to the reader sometimes having to choose to support the lesser of two evils.

The book in pacy and entertaining and provided a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience. I really ended up caring about the characters and wanting to know if they got what they deserved by the end. It has made me want to pick up that copy of Vanity Fair that has been languishing on my shelf for far too long and see how well this author has interpreted the book into its modern setting. I know this is an odd way round to read them, but it is a great plaudit for the efficacy of this novel.

The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp is out now and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Sarra Manning is an author and journalist. She started her writing career on Melody Maker, than spent five years on legendary UK teen mag, J17, first as a writer, then as Entertainment Editor. Subsequently she edited teen fashion bible Ellegirl UK and the BBC’s What To Wear magazine.

Sarra has written for ELLE, Grazia, Red, InStyle, The Guardian, Sunday Times Style, The Mail On Sunday’s You, Harper’s Bazaar, Stylisr, Time Out and The Sunday Telegraph’s Stella. Her best-selling YA novels, which include Guitar Girl, Let’s Get Lost, Pretty Things, The Diary Of A Crush trilogy and Nobody’s Girl have been translated into numerous languages. Her latest YA novel, Adorkable, was published by Atom.

She has also written a number of grown-up novels.

Sarra lives in North London with her Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Miss Betsy, and prides herself on her unique ability to accessorise.

Connect with Sarra:

Twitter: @sarramanning

Instagram: @sarra_manning

Blog Tour: A Cornish Wedding by Jenny Kane #GuestPost

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Abi has what she’s always dreamed of: her perfect Cornish cottage, great friends and a gorgeous boyfriend. But her idyll is shattered when a new neighbour moves in next door.

Rude and obnoxious, Cassandra doesn’t make a good first impression on Abi. But with the unexpected wedding of one of Abi’s friends to prepare for, Abi has bigger things to worry about.

However, avoiding her new neighbour proves harder than expected and Abi and Cassandra soon realise they might have more in common than they first thought. . .

But with the wedding only weeks away, can they set aside their differences before the big day?

I’m very happy to be taking part in the blog tour today for A Cornish Wedding by Jenny Kane. Huge thanks to the author for asking me to take part and for providing me with this fabulous guest post to share with you.

Penwith Dreaming by Jenny Kane

When I initially had the idea to write a story about a young woman poised to escape a suffocating life amongst Surrey’s city wife set, I needed somewhere welcoming and friendly to send her to. The answer was obvious. I had to send my escapee to Cornwall.

More specifically, I had to send the young woman, who was to become Abi, to the Penwith region of Cornwall. This includes Penzance, Lands End, and a multitude of villages and towns in between; including St Just, St Buryan, Sennen and Sennen Cove. 

My father was born and raised in Penzance. I spent every summer holiday there as a child. Consequently, I know the area very well.

There is something special about the memories which we acquire in our childhoods. For me those memories involve over vinegar-ed fish and chips, ice creams on Marazion beach, sitting on the harbour edge in Sennen watching the lifeboat go out, seeing the Salonian Ferry head from Penzance to the Scilly Isles each morning, and listening to the crash of the waves over the boulders that make up the Battery Rocks in Penzance.

All of these recollections helped to form the background to Abi Carter’s new life. However, it is one specific memory that decided me on the exact setting for Abi’s adventures.

 When I was eight years old I was walking up a hill with my parents and brother, through some of the cottages in the village of Sennen. We passed a row of stone built (former) tin miner’s cottages, and I immediately fell in love with the house on the very end of the terrace.

It was a built of light grey stones, its roof was a traditional slate blue. There was a small square front garden, complete with a low white wooden fence. The front door was painted red, and a pair of small wellington boots sat next to it. I couldn’t see into the walled garden at the back, but in my mind it held a green house, a shed, and lots of benches in which to sit in the sunshine. There would be dog- a Labrador – and rows and rows of flowers and vegetables growing neatly side by side.

It was this house that became the house that the young Abi Carter- also at the age of eight – dreamed of owning one day. Now, in her late twenties, that dream has come true.

Sennen and Sennen Cove, with its mile of fine sand beach, traditional pubs, (including the Old Success which is a favourite of the characters in both novels), harbour, art galleries, cafes, and bucket and spade shops, is as much a star of A Cornish Wedding as the human characters.

Max Pendale, Abi’s boyfriend, is an amateur expert on the Penwith area. Fond of general knowledge and local legends, there is very little Max can’t tell you about Sennen, Land’s End and the nearby Gwenver beach in particular. 

If you want to know how Cornish cream teas came into being, or who the Zennor Mermaid was, then you’d better read A Cornish Wedding. Max will be very happy to enlighten you- providing you but him a pint of St Austell Brewery’s Tribute first!

Here’s a short extract from the novel…

Abi felt an atmosphere of unspoken words fill the air between herself and Max.

‘Do you know the story of the Zennor Mermaid?’

Suspecting that Max could feel the slight tension too, and wanted to deflect the situation, Abi stared at medieval church to their left. ‘Only that there is a legend about a mermaid, I don’t actually know the tale. Are you going to tell me one of your local stories?’

Slipping on Sadie’s lead, and taking Abi’s hand, Max began to take them past the quintessentially Cornish cottages. ‘Once upon a time, many years ago, a mysterious beautiful lady occasionally attended the church behind us. Nobody knew who this richly dressed woman was, but her stunning appearance and her heartbreakingly lovely voice made her the focus of much village gossip and speculation.

‘As you can imagine, a woman who – if it’s possible – was even more gorgeous than you had no shortage of men trying to court her.’

Abi was immediately thankful that Max always knew how to break an awkward atmosphere. ‘Even more lovely than me? Fancy that!’

‘Don’t get cocky, woman, especially when we have the breathtakingly lovely Sadie with us!’

Poking Max playfully in the ribs, Abi said, ‘Go on, what happened next?’

‘Well, one of the local young men, a handsome fella called Mathew Trewella –’

‘Like you,’ Abi interjected.

Max rolled his eyes at Abi as he carried on, ‘With the best singing voice in the village…’

‘Not like you after all then!’

Looking at the retriever, Max said, ‘Sadie, lass, shall I tell you the story instead?’

Abi laughed. ‘OK, I’ll be good. What did this devastatingly handsome singing guy do?’

If you have been enticed by this taster to want to read A Cornish Wedding, you can buy a copy here.

Make sure you visit the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour for reviews of the book and other great content:

Cornish Wedding Blog Tour

About the Author

Jenny Kane at Costa

From the comfort of her cafe corner in Mid Devon, award winning author, Jenny Kane, wrote the contemporary women’s fiction and romance novels, A Cornish Escape,  A Cornish Wedding, Romancing Robin Hood,  Another Glass of Champagne, and Another Cup of Coffee.

She has also written 3 novella length sequels to her Another Cup of…..books:  Another Cup of Christmas, Christmas in the Cotswolds, and Christmas at the Castle . These three seasonal specials are now available in one boxed set entitled Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection.

Jenny is also the author of quirky children’s picture books There’s a Cow in the Flat and Ben’s Biscuit Tin.

Under the pen name, Jennifer Ash, Jenny has also written The Folville Chronicles (The Outlaw’s Ransom, The Winter Outlaw, Edward’s Outlaw), The Power of Three and The Meeting Place. She also created four audio scripts for ITV’s popular 1980’s television show, Robin of Sherwood. 

The Waterford Boy, Mathilda’s Legacy, The Baron’s Daughter and The Meeting Place were released by Spiteful Puppet in 2017/2018/2019. 

Jenny Kane is the writer in residence for Tiverton Costa in Devon. She also co-runs the creative writing business, Imagine. Jenny teaches a wide range of creative writing workshops including her popular ‘Novel in a Year’ course. (www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk)

Connect with Jenny:

Website: https://jennykane.co.uk

Facebook: Jenny Kane Romance

Twitter: @JennyKaneAuthor

Instagram: @jennykaneromance

Friday Night Drinks with…. Jane Browne

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Tonight, for Friday Night Drinks, I am joined by children’s environmental author…. Jane Browne.

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Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

It’s great to be with you, Julie! That would probably be a Disaronno and diet coke. I love Amaretto!

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If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

I’m a Leeds girl born n’ bred. There are so many great bars and Leeds has a huge reputation for being student party central, but I would take you to enjoy the views from the Sky Lounge, but there are so many incredible new bars in the city, we’d need a weekend! Or two…

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I’m a Yorkshire lass myself, and love going out in Leeds. Sky Bar is a popular choice! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

The female is easy, Jane Austen. I’d really want to pick her brains about Tom LeFroy and whether he really broke her heart. And the male, Freddie Mercury. I was a teen when he died and a school friend was devastated as Freddie was his idol. Now, I get it. Raw talent as its flamboyant best. 

Great choices. So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

Currently, I am writing Hollow’s End, Book Three in my children’s environmental series The Earth Chronicles. It’s turning out to be a whopper so I am splitting it into two parts. Last year, I decided to step back from teaching full time and begin the so-called “pivot” towards full time writing. I began writing the series back in 2007 when the environment and climate change weren’t in the mainstream media as they are now. I was so taken by a tree that had been struck by lightning whilst visiting Blicking Hall, the seat of the Boleyn family, that I literally sprinted back to my car to grab my notepad and began writing down the idea of a young girl, full of potential, with a hidden secret in her family of which she knew nothing of. 

I had many rejections from trad publishers, but now, I am so grateful for that because being an indie is who I truly am. I love that I am carving out my own writing career and I hold all the creative control. Just this month, I hit the Amazon bestseller list for Children’s Environment eBooks, so that right there was a dream come true! 

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

My proudest moment was that my Dad got to see Hannah and the Hollow Tree in print shortly before dementia completely swallowed him. One of his last ever words to me was “Hollow Tree”. To have that memory means everything, because sadly my Mum never got to see it. They’re my book angels now. 

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

Well, hitting a bestseller list was pretty incredible, but I’d love to write full time. I’m not there yet, but I will be. And, it’s a bit of a cliché but, I’d love to see The Earth Chronicles on screen, a bit like the BBC’s stellar job of His Dark Materials. But I’d have to be involved in casting, lol!

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What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

I’m doubling-down on Hollow’s End  – the cast has really grown and this book sets up the next three in the series, so I’ve got some pretty epic storylines to keep a track of. Also, my marketing strategies and website development. It sounds so glamorous, right? 

I do have a t-shirt and tote line for The Earth Chronicles via Teemill. I love their company, the ethics, and their approach to sustainable fashion. The quality is amazing. But, you won’t see me strutting down a catwalk a’la Victoria Beckham any time soon! 

After I’ve released Hollow’s End Part I  I’ll begin work on my audiobooks for release next year. 

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I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

Italy! My Mum would rave about it, having spent many holidays there with her friends when she was young. My husband also wanted to go so we booked a trip of a lifetime for our honeymoon to Venice and Sorrento. We visited Pompeii which is just breathtaking. We went back last year to Rome for my friend’s wedding, their reception was a rooftop terrace over-looking the Colosseum. Heaven! Next, I think the Maldives, St. Lucia and Dominica, too. It looks idyllic and there’s family heritage there too on my husband’s side so it feels like a place we got to experience. 

Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

My Mum and I were obsessed with Pride & Prejudice and Austen in general. We spent several summers having long “girlie” weekends visiting stately homes from the T.V. and film adaptations and enjoy endless cream teas. Pure heaven!

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. It’s unbelievable how alike humans and trees actually are and how we as a species are so dependent upon them. The book is beautifully written and the audiobook is a treat to listen to. 

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Are trees social beings? How do trees live? Do they feel pain or have awareness of their surroundings?

In The Hidden Life of Trees Peter Wohlleben makes the case that the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers. Wohlleben also shares his deep love of woods and forests, explaining the amazing processes of life, death and regeneration he has observed in his woodland.

A walk in the woods will never be the same again.

That sounds fascinating. I don’t think anyone else has recommended a non-fiction book before.  So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

Being a Yorkshire gal, I can hold my liquor, but I’d say drink a pint of water before you crash into bed. If you do have one, a full English should see you right. I’ve been plant based for over two years now, so I do my veggie version and trust me, it is just scrummy! 

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

A lazy Sunday morning reading as the smell of freshly ground coffee wafts through the house. My husband takes his coffee very seriously, lol! We have a grinder, a Bialetti coffee pot and air-tight container for the beans. And I even have a milk frother for my lattes. If you’re going to do it barista style, you’ve gotta do it right, right? ; )

Sounds perfect. Jane, thank you so much for joining me, I have really enjoyed it and maybe we can do it for real in Leeds soon.

The first two books in the Earth’s Chronicles series by Jane Browne, Hannah and the Hollow Tree and Gaia’s Revenge are out now and you can buy a copy here.

It’s in her nature

When thirteen year old Hannah is awoken by a phone call in the middle of the night, she finds herself at the centre of a family secret her mother long thought was buried with the mysterious Hollow Tree. But as Hannah’s grandmother reveals the truth, she discovers exactly who she really is, and why the life of Gaia, the Mother of All Nature depends upon Hannah staying alive…

J.A. Browne is an Amazon Bestselling children’s author born in Yorkshire in the U.K. Her environmental fantasy series, The Earth Chronicles introduces you to Hannah Walsingham, a thirteen-year-old with a destiny she knows nothing about…until now.

Passionate about environmental issues, Jane began writing the climate fiction series about the death of Mother Nature and the potential that lies within children whilst studying to become a primary teacher in her home city of Leeds. Now, having graduated with an MA in Creative Writing, she followed her dreams to become a full-time author. Her love of literature began when she was little, sharing books with her grandmothers, filling her head with fairy tales and whimsical adventures.

Whilst holidaying in Norfolk, Jane was captivated by a tree struck by lightning in grounds of the home of Anne Boleyn and began scribbling down the idea of a girl whose destiny was hidden within the depths of a hollow tree…a destiny that would save worlds…

She now lives with her husband in the Calder Valley aka “Bronte Country” and still teaches occasionally and enjoys reading and long walks in the countryside to get the creative juices flowing.

You can find out more about Jane and her writing on her website, FacebookTwitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Next week, Jessica Norrie and I will be having Friday Night Drinks back here, same time. All welcome to join us.

Book Review: Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane; Narrated by Madeline Gould #AudiobookReview

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You always remember your first love. Don’t you?

It began with four words.

I love your laugh. x

But that was 12 years ago. It really began the day Georgina was fired from The Worst Restaurant in Sheffield (TripAdvisor) and found The Worst Boyfriend in the World (Georgina’s best friends) in bed with someone else.

So when her new boss, Lucas McCarthy, turns out to be the boy who wrote those words to her all that time ago, it feels like the start of something.

The only problem? He doesn’t seem to remember Georgina at all.

This was my first Mhairi McFarlane book and I chose it because I have seen a lot of bloggers enthusing about her writing and I thought I had better see what I was missing out on. Having listened to this book, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed her work and will definitely be seeking out more.

I was intrigued by the premise of the book, how could someone who had been your first teenage love not remember you at all, and how would you deal with that? It seemed like it might be a hard idea to carry through convincingly, but Mhairi manages it, and the book was both funny and very moving. The story she has put together goes far beyond the basic comedic value of the premise and touches on much deeper and more serious issues. Combining the quite troubling aspects of the story with the funny element in a way that is not jarring is a difficult skill, but one Mhiari manages effortlessly. (I’m sure it wasn’t effortless but it certainly looks it in the finished novel.)

Georgina is a great character, hapless and unfocused, but full of chutzpah and I really liked her – an important characteristic for the protagonist in a romantic comedy! Mhairi also gives us an odious ex, plenty of mad family members with internal frictions to enjoy, and a dark, brooding Irishman as the love interest. Most of you will know how much I love a dark, brooding Irishman, in my fiction as well as in real life, so I was pretty much sold from the get go, but the execution of the promise in no way disappointed.

Being from South Yorkshire myself and having worked in Sheffield for a few years, I enjoyed the familiar setting of the book, and Mhairi’s set up of having Georgina as a waitress in a not-very-good Italian restaurant at the beginning gave scope for lots of comedy, not to mention the shenanigans with the odious boyfriend. This book made me laugh out loud as I was walking my dog along the canal bank; probably just as well that it  was usually quite deserted.

I really enjoyed the way the truth about what happened the night of the leavers’ party gradually unfurled and we finally find out what happened between Lucas and Georgina the first time around. The fact that it was so gradual kept me listening avidly; sometimes the pace of a book fails to translate from page to audio version, because the latter takes much longer to get through, but this book definitely did not suffer from any pacing problems in translation. In fact, the audio version of the book is wonderful, I really loved the narrator and even the accents were great (and I’ve heard a few dodgy Irish accents done in the past.) I would not hesitate to pick up another audiobook featuring this narrator again.

Overall, this was a funny, moving, bittersweet story with appealing characters and a fresh premise that the author carried through with aplomb. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and look forward to reading much more of her writing. Highly recommended.

You can buy a copy of Don’t You Forget About Me now in all formats here.

About the Author

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Sunday Times bestselling author Mhairi McFarlane was born in Scotland in 1976 and her unnecessarily confusing name is pronounced Vah-Ree.

After some efforts at journalism, she started writing novels and her first book, You Had Me At Hello, was an instant success. She’s now written six books and she lives in Nottingham with a man and a cat.

Connect with Mhairi:

Facebook: Mhairi McFarlane Author

Twitter: @MhairiMcF

 

Book Review: Older and Wider by Jenny Eclair

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‘If you’re after an in-depth medical or psychological insight into the menopause, I’m afraid you’ve opened the wrong book – I’m not a doctor . . . However, I am a woman and I do know how it feels to be menopausal, so this book is written from experience and the heart and I hope it makes you laugh and feel better.’ JE

Older and Wider is Jenny Eclair’s hilarious, irreverent and refreshingly honest compendium of the menopause. From C for Carb-loading and G for Getting Your Shit Together to I for Invisibility and V for Vaginas, Jenny’s whistle-stop tour of the menopause in all its glory will make you realise that it really isn’t just you. Jenny will share the surprising lessons she has learnt along the way as well as her hard-won tips on the joy of cardigans, dealing with the empty nest (get a lodger) and keeping the lid on the pressure cooker of your temper (count to twenty, ten is never enough).

As Jenny says, ‘I can’t say that I’ve emerged like a beautiful butterfly from some hideous old menopausal chrysalis and it would be a lie to say that I’ve found the ‘old me’ again. But what I have found is the ‘new me’ – and you know what? I’m completely cool with that.’

Today is publication day for Older and Wider, the hilarious new non-fiction book by Jenny Eclair, designed to help you get through the menopause with a smile on your face. Happy Publication Day, Jenny! Huge thanks to Hannah Robinson at Quercus Books for sending me a proof copy of the book. The review below represents my  honest and impartial thoughts about it. (Overly so, please, any man who knows me, don’t read any further, I beg of you. Mum, you too. And my kids. Seriously, you really don’t want to read any further right now. Come back when you hit 40, okay?)

This book arrived on my doorstep yesterday and, I was so looking forward to reading it that I dived straight in and had finished it by this morning. I probably don’t need to say any more than that to indicate that I loved it but, since two short paragraphs don’t make for a scintillating review, I’ll expand a bit.

I am a woman of a certain age (48), and I am the exact market that this book is aimed at, the woman who is just starting out on the menopause journey, feeling confused and alone and scared of what to expect. My mother has always been fairly tight-lipped on intimate personal matters and, when I approached her a couple years ago, seemed to think I was ‘too young’ to be embarking on the menopause and recalls hers lasted only a couple of years in her early 50’s. From my own recollection of events in my mid-teens, I don’t think this is correct and I knew I was going to have to look elsewhere for truthful advice about it (to be fair, my mum did cut out a bit of advice from the Daily Mail when I told her I was struggling with peri-menopausal symptoms and it proved very useful, but more on that later). Well, in this book, Jenny sets herself up as the menopause guru we all wish we had, and tells it like it is, no holds barred.

I love Jenny Eclair, always have, always will. You know when fans of those women (insert name of your least favourite, reactionary social commentator/Twitter agitator here) who tweet ghastly, inflammatory opinions designed as click bait tell you, ‘She is only saying what we are all thinking?’ I am NEVER thinking the things that they are saying but, when Jenny Eclair tweets stuff, it is nearly always exactly what I am thinking. In short, she is someone I trust and, as such, is ideally placed as common sense advice giver on matters menopausal. This book is her A-Z of personal experiences of the menopause and sensible advice on what to expect and how to deal with it, and I thought it was fabulous.

It was January 2017, at the age of not-quite-45, when I realised that I was probably entering my peri-menopausal phase. I’d had a couple of mild symptoms – itchy calves, slight vagueness of memory, the odd night sweat (horrible, let me tell you, to wake up suddenly in the night soaking wet from head to foot, as if someone has thrown a bucket of water over you in your sleep) but I hadn’t thought much of it. It was only when I started to feel like an alien in my own body, as if someone had come and removed my own personality and replaced it with that of a total stranger, that I really became worried. The final straw came one weekend when my partner and I were enjoying a lovely, family walk on a beautiful Welsh beach with our five girls and perfectly photogenic dog, looking like something (hopefully) from a Boden catalogue, I found myself uncontrollably sobbing for absolutely no reason and, when the Irishman asked me what was wrong wailing, “I don’t knooooooooow!” At that point, I thought I had better go and see a doctor.

I went the next week, got a twelve- year -old-ish male locum who couldn’t care less, told me I was too young to be menopausal and, basically, to pull myself together, and that was that for medical help at that point. I expect this experience is not unusual. I decided he was an idiot and I was quite clearly going to have to sort myself out. I took to the internet, read a load of websites that convinced me I was not going mad, was obviously peri-menopausal and that made me feel better. At this point my mother gave me a cutting from the newspaper about a supplement that might help, I gave it a try, it did indeed seem to alleviate some of the worst symptoms (mood swings, crippling period pains and aching muscles) and I plodded on for two-and-a-half years. When the horrific anxiety returned with a vengeance last autumn, I went back to the doctor, got a fabulous, understanding lady of a similar age to myself who finally did a blood test, confirmed my suspicions, offered me a prescription for Vitamin D and lots of options of how to deal with it (I plumped for CBT, which I had tried with great success to deal with anxiety in my early twenties, leaving HRT and anti-depressants as fall back options) and left me feeling vindicated and much happier and less alone. This is what we all need, and what this book offers. A tome of comforting tales of actual experience, no-nonsense advice and reassurance that you are not alone, or going mad.

Plus it is very, very funny. From the dedication page, I was laughing, and I laughed all the way to the end, even at bits which are not at all funny when you are going through them yourself, alone and confused and probably a bit scared that there might be something more seriously wrong with you than a few haywire hormones.

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And this is what this book offers. A normalisation of the whole process. Reassurance that, whilst unpleasant, this is entirely natural, transitory, survivable and a universal female experience. That, whilst we don’t all suffer exactly the same way, there is someone, somewhere out there who is going through exactly the same thing and, thanks to the wonders of the internet and social media, you can probably find her. In fact, she’s probably me, or Jenny Eclair, or the other women who take part in her podcast, or in a Twitter menopause group, or on daytime TV, or your mum, or one of your friends. Go out there, look, talk to each other! None of us has to suffer alone and in silence any more, and sod you, pubescent boy doctor without a clue or any sympathy! But, if you feel a bit shy, or embarrassed, or don’t know any women of the relevant age, this book is a really good place to start.

Not everything you experience will be in here, and you won’t experience everything she does. I haven’t had ‘temper static’ or ‘pop-sock leg’ or ‘desiccation.’ Maybe some of this will come, as I know I am only in the toddlerdom of my menopause life span. I have had the aforementioned itchy calves. I have experienced one armpit (the right) being much, much sweatier than the other at certain times of the month (and no, this is not peculiar to me, my cousin has had the same thing!). I’ve discovered the excess chin hairs she talks about, but also the appearance of a nose hair that must have been growing since birth to have got so long and rope-like before it emerged sudden and unannounced when I was far from a pair of tweezers. Did you know it is not only your head hair that goes grey? No, eyebrow hairs, and those further south too! And why are grey hairs so much thicker and more tenacious? Far from desiccation, my skin and hair have reverted back to a teenage greasiness that I thought I had put far behind me. I’ve much more inclined to pins and needles in my hands and feet than before. I’ve developed an unfortunate sensitivity to cheese (a fact which will horrify Jenny. See, Jenny, you were lucky with the red berries!). I’m sure there are other odd symptoms that other people experience as well. The point is, being abnormal is normal, but you should not be afraid to talk about these things, ask medical professionals for help, and don’t be fobbed off with impatient, embryo, male GPs who never imagined that talking to weeping, middle-aged women about problems with their down-belows was how they would spend their days after cutting up cadavers for seven long years at uni.

Some of the stuff you will recognise, it is scary but normal. When she talks about how your periods change, I could completely relate. When I was a teenager, I had such heavy periods and bad cramps that I would lie sobbing on my bed clutching a hot water bottle to my stomach. I seemed to grow out of them, but they returned a couple of years ago. I now no longer cry and lay in bed, I’ve got much more stoic as I’ve aged, but it’s not fun. Plus they are erratic. Plus, the consistency is definitely different. In fact, it has made me wonder what it must be like in there for the babies of women who have children very late in life. Something akin to hatching a tadpole in a stagnant, algae-choked pond rather that a crystal-clear pool fed by a babbling spring. Alas. My daughters will read this and tell me I am sharing TMI, but this is the point of this book. We need to talk about this stuff honestly, no more hiding away in shame, it only makes us feel lonely and sad and worried.

And it isn’t all doom and gloom. The book highlights all the positives about getting older, and I see these too. More sense of self, and knowing who we are (once you get past the aliens-taking-over-your-brain phase), more time, less angst about where life is taking you. She gives you lots of ideas of things to do to help and take control, from diet and exercise and remedies, to taking up hobbies. I already have mine lined up. I have stashed away enough books to last me a decade (Waterstones is my Lakeland). I’ve started writing my novel. I’m going to learn to read the tarot (playing into the old lady = witch stereotype, I know, I don’t care), practise origami (the Japanese have the best hobbies, although my daughters were a bit disgusted when, after learning about Hikaru Dorodango from Jenny’s book, I wondered aloud what delights we could produce from the waste products of our ponies) and finish the tapestry of The Haywain that I know is lurking half-done on a frame in the loft (I was middle-aged as a teenager, you see). And I don’t think it is a coincidence that I began this very blog at the exact time the peri-menopause symptoms kicked in. Listen to your bodies, ladies, they know what they need.

We need more books like this, that talk openly about the things that affect women, and have been taboo far too long. I don’t write reviews this long often, and only for books that really spark something in me. Last year it was Period by Emma Barnett, and Jenny’s book has affected me even more, because it is so relevant to the current phase of my life. I wish I had had access to it four years ago, before I started feel panicky and lost and a bit scared. When I’d heard a bit about some of the physical symptoms but nothing about the uncontrollable psychological side effects that were terrifying me on that Welsh beach. We need more people we admire and trust to talk about this, loudly and publicly, to take away the stigma. I will be recommending this to all my friends, if I  have any left after this over-share. I’ll be keeping this close as part of my menopause survival kit, alongside my vitamins and big pants, as I navigate the next few years of my, definitely-not-over-yet, life.

Older and Wider is out today in hardback, ebook and audiobook formats and you can buy a copy here and from all good independent booksellers.

About the Author

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Jenny Eclair is the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of the critically acclaimed novels Camberwell Beauty, Having a Lovely Time and Life, Death and Vanilla Slices, as well as the Richard and Judy bestseller, Moving, the short story collection, Listening In and her latest novel Inheritance. One of the UK’s most popular writer/performers, she was the first woman to win the prestigious Perrier Award and has many TV and radio credits to her name and co-hosts the Older and Wider podcast with Grumpy Old Women producer Judith Holder. She lives in south-east London.

Connect with Jenny:

Website: http://www.jennyeclair.com

Facebook: Jenny Eclair

Twitter: @jennyeclair

Instagram: @jennyeclair1960

Blog Tour: The Place We Call Home by Faith Hogan #BookReview

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Welcome to Ballycove, the home of Corrigan Mills…

Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Irish countryside the famed mills have created the finest wool in all of Ireland. Run by the seemingly perfect Corrigan family, but every family has its secrets, and how the mills came to be the Corrigan’s is one of them…

Miranda and her husband were never meant to own the mills, until one fateful day catapults them into a life they never thought they’d lead.

Ada has forever lived her life in her sister’s shadow. Wanting only to please her mother and take her place as the new leader of the mill, Ada might just have to take a look at what her heart really wants.

Callie has a flourishing international career as a top designer and a man who loves her dearly, she appears to have it all. When a secret is revealed and she’s unceremoniously turfed out of the design world, Callie might just get what’s she’s been yearning for. The chance to go home.

Simon has always wanted more. More money, more fame, more notoriety. The problem child. Simon has made more enemies than friends over the years, and when one of his latest schemes falls foul he’ll have to return to the people who always believe in him.

Ballycove isn’t just a town in the Irish countryside. It isn’t just the base of the famous mills. It’s a place to call home.

I am delighted to be taking part today in the blog tour for The Place We Call Home by Faith Hogan. My thanks to Sarah Hardy of Books On The Bright Side Publicity for inviting me to take part. I will be reposting my review of this book from earlier in the year, which was drafted having read a digital copy of the book supplied by the publisher. The review is my honest and unbiased opinion of the novel.

We ran out of heating oil on Saturday (due to a combination of a monitor on the blink and the distraction of Christmas – don’t ask.) As a result, our house has been freezing, just as Storm Brendan blew in. Brrrrrr!

Why am I telling you this? Because the one thing that has warmed me through while I’ve been waiting for a fuel delivery is reading this charming novel. It has left me with a happy glow, a bit like the Ready Brek kid from the advert, and I was both loathe and happy to get to the gorgeous ending.

Many of my favourite authors are Irish. Maeve Binchy, Cathy Kelly, Emma Hannigan, Marian Keyes all have pride of place on my bookshelf, because their writing is full of life and passion and warmth and real life characters. Faith Hogan is the latest name to be added to my list of go-tos when I am looking for a warm and genuine story full of Irish charm. This book brings Ireland to life within its pages, filling the story with the countryside, scenery and community of rural Ireland and its people. It tells the story of a village, the woollen mill that has put in on the map and kept its populace in jobs, and the family whose responsibility it is to keep the mill running. The story is told across dual timelines as we discover Meredith’s struggles with her grown children now, and her story growing up in Ballycove as a child and young woman, and how the repercussions from events then have shaped the future.

There is a great and realistic mix of characters in this book, not all of whom were likeable. In fact, I was surprised to read a couple of reviews of this book which said that the readers loved all of the characters, because I did not. (Just goes to show how we all react so differently to the same story!) Despite this, they were all believable, because not everyone in real life is likeable after all! I was fully involved in all of their stories from the beginning and, despite wanting to slap some sense into a least one of them, I was happy with the way everything played out in the end, and the very last paragraph made me sigh with happiness.

If you are looking for a gorgeous, feel-good read, with a good depth of story (someone else has referred to this as a saga, and I think it could indeed be classed as a mini version of such), set in a beautiful landscape with characters and a community you can care about, look no further. You absolutely will not be disappointed.

The Place We Call Home is out now and you can get a copy here.

Please do check out the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour too, for more reviews and other great content:

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About the Author

Author Faith Hogan

Faith Hogan is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of five contemporary fiction novels. Her books have featured as Book Club Favorites, Net Galley Hot Reads and Summer Must Reads. She writes grown up women’s fiction which is unashamedly uplifting, feel good and inspiring.

Faith’s latest book, The Place We Call Home is published in January 2020.

She writes crime fiction as Geraldine Hogan – Her Sisters Bones is available now!

Faith gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway.

She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!

Connect with Faith:

Website: https://faithhogan.com

Facebook: Faith Hogan Author

Twitter: @GerHogan

Instagram: @faithhoganauthor

Desert Island Books: Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy

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Generous-hearted Benny Hogan and the elfin Eve Malone have been best friends for years, growing up in sleepy Knockglen. Their one thought is to get to Dublin, to university and to freedom…

On their first day at University College, the inseparable pair are thrown together with fellow students: beautiful but selfish Nan Mahon and the handsome Jack Foley.

But trouble is brewing for Benny and Eve’s new circle of friends and, before long, they find passion, tragedy – and the independence they yearned for.

The sixth book I am taking to my desert island to be read endlessly until my sad demise is Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy.

Maeve Binchy is one of my all time favourite authors, and a huge inspiration to me, as she writes in the genre that I am attempting myself, emotional women’s fiction. Not only writes in it, is the doyenne of the genre. I have been a huge fan since I first borrowed a copy of Light A Penny Candle from my mother’s book shelf in my late teens. From that very first reading, I fell in love with her writing. Her gimlet eye for human nature. Her empathetic portrayal of emotion and the intimate frailties of the lives of real people. Her vivid portrayals of daily life in rural Ireland from the 1950s until modern times, and particularly the lives of Catholic women. Her books are a masterclass in how to write women’s fiction, and I am a true disciple, as my Maeve Binchy shelf will attest. I once saw someone dismiss her writing as ‘chicklit.’ Leaving aside the hot debate about the use of this intentionally derogatory term for books that are enjoyed by millions of women – and men – the world over, to label her work as chicklit is to fundamentally misunderstand it.

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Of all of her wonderful books, Circle of Friends has always been my favourite. It had a big impact on me when I first read it, and that impact has not lessened over the dozens of re-readings I have made of this book over the years, including the latest. The story still moves me emotionally, draws me in to its world and holds me in its grasp until the very last page, even though I know what is coming and how it ends. The ability to do this, to include layers of complexity and feeling so that the reader is held in thrall every time is a rare and beautiful skill that she possessed in boatloads and is the reason that her books have been bestsellers for decades, and are still popular many years after her death. Even now, new stage adaptations of her books are being written to delight audiences who can’t get enough of her intimate portrayals of women.

This book tells the story of the friendship of Benny Hogan and Eve Malone as they grow up as children in rural Ireland in the 1950s and eventually leave their small town to go to university in Dublin, and how the contrast between the small, safe childhoods they have known and navigating the expanded world of college, new friends and the city, impacts them individually and as friends.

Ireland, a strict Catholic country in the 1950s, held specific difficulties for women, but also the same challenges that we have faced the world over for centuries and, how the two girls navigate these challenges and support each other at the same time is at the core of the book and what will speak to women reading this book everywhere. Many of the issues that Maeve addresses are universal and will inevitably lead to the reader being able to identify with at least one of the characters in the book or one of the situations they have to face. Female friendship is an enduring topic in women’s literature, and one that is at the centre of many of Maeve’s books, and this one in particular.

Benny Hogan is one of my favourite ever characters in a novel, and one I always have, and still do, identify with strongly. The author does such an amazing job of portraying her insecurity and vulnerability through childhood and into her teenage years that I defy anyone not to be firmly on her side from the beginning of this book, not to see some aspect of themselves and any fear they have ever had about their place in the world reflected back at them. This then makes Benny the perfect character to draw us in to this story of a young, gauche girl trying to navigate the new and intimidating world of university, far away from home and all the security she has known. These are emotions that most of us can relate to in one way or another and, as such, it is impossible not to celebrate her successes in this new world and suffer her heartbreak at the same time she does. This book takes me back to my teenage years, the overwhelming emotions that you feel falling in love for the first time, how one person can come to mean everything to you and that relationship, the tornado of feelings that are unleashed and seem uncontrollable, how the end of the relationship feels like the end of the world; I remember it all and relive it again through the pages of this book.

Maeve’s writing is so tender and knowing, she really understands what makes people tick and is able to portray this in a way that makes us understand it too, but effortlessly, so you can’t even see how she is doing it. The lives of these women, their relationships and the settings of the stories come alive on the page, it is like watching a technicolour movie, and you can’t even see the joins. She writes the way I want to write, and I have spent a lot of time looking at how she does it, in the vain hope I can emulate her to some small degree. There was a discussion in my writing circle only yesterday about describing settings in books, how to do it vividly but discretely. Anyone wanting to see how it is done could do a lot worse than reading this book.

Maeve’s work led me on to reading a lot of other Irish writers who quickly became huge favourites of mine, Marian Keyes and Cathy Kelly to name but two, and on to people such as Veronica Henry and Erica James, who also write this genre similarly beautifully and who are all heroes of mine. But Maeve Binchy is the reason I feel in love with this genre in the beginning and she will always hold a special place in my heart. I miss her still and my desert island would not feel like home without my copy of Circle of Friends.

You can buy a copy of Circle of Friends here.

About the Author

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Maeve Binchy was born in County Dublin and educated at the Holy Child convent in Killiney and at University College, Dublin. After a spell as a teacher she joined the IRISH TIMES.

Her first novel, LIGHT A PENNY CANDLE, was published in 1982 and she went on to write over twenty books, all of them bestsellers. Several have been adapted for cinema and television, including TARA ROAD. Maeve Binchy received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Book Awards in 1999 and the Irish PEN/A.T. Cross award in 2007. In 2010 she was presented with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award at the Bord Gáis Irish Book Awards by the President of Ireland.

She was married to the writer and broadcaster Gordon Snell for 35 years, and died in 2012.

Tempted by… Between The Pages Book Club: Are You Watching? by Vincent Ralph

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Ten years ago, Jess’s mother was murdered by the Magpie Man.

She was the first of his victims, but not the last.

Now Jess is the star of a YouTube reality series and she’s using it to catch the killer once and for all.

The whole world is watching her every move.

And so is the Magpie Man.

Today’s Tempted By… is a book I picked up after reading a review by Gemma on her blog, Between The Pages Book ClubI don’t read huge amounts of Young Adult literature (probably because I’m a middle-aged adult!), but Are You Watching? by Vincent Ralph sounded like a book that would appeal to all ages.

This book was recommended to Gemma by a fellow blogger and, as good books always are, Gemma’s subsequent recommendation appealed to me for a number of reasons. Gemma’s review makes it sound like the kind of book you can’t put down, and I really like the premise of a girl using a reality TV show to hunt down the killer of her mother. It sounds very different to anything I have come across before, and I am intrigued to see how the plot plays out. I think the blurb is really clever at being enticing without giving too much away!

I like the thought of the plot being terrifying, who doesn’t enjoy a good scare from time to time, and Gemma says that she didn’t guess who had done it, so the mystery sounds complex too. When an admired blogger gives a read five stars, calls it one of her books of the year and tells you she read it all in a day, it is definitely something I want to pick up!

Make sure you pop over and check out Gemma’s review of the book and her blog in general. I really love the quote she has at the top of her homepage, it is a sentiment I could not agree with more!

Are You Watching? is out now and you can buy a copy here.