New Beginnings at Rose Cottage by Erin Green #BookReview (@ErinGreenAuthor) @Headlinepg @RNATweets #NewBeginningsAtRoseCottage

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One glorious summer brings the chance to begin again.

When solo travellers Benni, Emma and Ruth find themselves holidaying together at charming Rose Cottage in Brixham, Devon, they are initially disappointed to be sharing with strangers of a different age group.

But ‘friendship and home comforts’ are guaranteed at Rose Cottage and soon a bond blossoms between the women, who each have valuable life lessons to share.

As the summer unfolds, Benni, Emma and Ruth begin to realise that age is just a number. Before their time at Rose Cottage ends, will they take the chance to grasp the dreams that are now within their reach?

So, I was a little slack on the blog towards the end of last year, due to NaNo and Christmas (and many other excuses which I could give you but really amount to laziness) and there were quite a few books that I didn’t review. I’m letting some slide, but there are a few that I want to catch up on, so you’ll have to forgive me for bombarding you with reviews until I am up speed again. The first of those that I want to share with you is New Beginnings at Rose Cottage by Erin Green.

I was initially drawn to this book by the setting of Brixham in Devon. (Am I the only person who gets a craving for crabmeat where I hear the name of this town mentioned?) I am a sucker for a coastal setting in a novel, but I’ve never read one set here before and it is a place I have always wanted to visit, so what could be better than travelling there vicariously by book? The author brings the setting vividly to life through her writing, I could picture the town and the harbour and the lives of the locals quite clearly in my mind’s eye as I read. Unfortunately, this book did not satiate my desire to visit Brixham, it simply exacerbated it!

When I picked this book up, I thought it was going to be a straight-forward romance and, whilst romance is a big part of the book, the driving relationships in this book are the ones between the three women who are the heart of the story. This is a book about female friendship, the transformative power it can have on our lives and how it is never too late to make changes to improve your life. I really loved the fact that the three women in this book who come together as strangers in the beginning are all from different generations and backgrounds and with different life experiences, but these differences are no barriers to their friendship, or to being able to understand and support one another through the challenges that have brought them all to this cottage at the same time. It is really refreshing to see a book in which not all of the protagonists are young, as those of us in middle age know that life does not stop being interesting in your twenties and some of the most exciting changes in life can happen later on.

Not all of the characters are equally likeable, I found Emma in particular a little abrasive and edgy, but this is the genius of the author’s writing. Her characters are real people, not fluffy caricatures that I think some people can expect to find in this genre of novel. This is one of the ridiculous preconceptions about women’s fiction, that the characters are unrealistic and the storylines improbably upbeat. It takes skilled writers such as this to produce believable stories where people clash and get on each other’s nerves, make bad decisions and don’t resolve everything into a happy ever after, to change that belief and produce stories that mirror real life while still leaving us with the ‘feel good’ afterglow that is the reason we love these books. Women are complex creatures, both in and out of books! Erin Green treads this line with skill and panache, and anyone who enjoys women’s fiction that rises above the fluffy will love this book.

This is a warm and satisfying read with a great portrayal of realistic relationships and female friendship set against a picturesque back drop. What more could any romance lover ask for? I highly recommend it, especially in these dull days of January to put a little pep in your step.

New Beginnings at Rose Cottage is out now and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Erin was born and raised in Warwickshire. An avid reader since childhood, her imagination was instinctively drawn to creative writing as she grew older. Erin has two Hons degrees: BA English literature and another BSc Psychology – her previous careers have ranged from part-time waitress, the retail industry, fitness industry and education.

She has an obsession about time, owns several tortoises and an infectious laugh!
Erin writes contemporary novels focusing on love, life and laughter. Erin is an active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and was delighted to be awarded The Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017. An ideal day for Erin involves writing, people watching and drinking copious amounts of tea.

Connect with Erin:

Website: http://www.eringreenauthor.co.uk

Facebook: Erin Green Author

Twitter: @ErinGreenAuthor

Instagram: @erin_green_author

Tempted by….Books From Dusk Till Dawn: Long Road From Jarrow by Stuart Maconie @susanhampson57 @StuartMaconie @EburyPublishing #LongRoadFromJarrow #bookbloggers #amreading #readingrecommendations

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Three and half weeks. Three hundred miles. I saw roaring arterial highway and silent lanes, candlelit cathedrals and angry men in bad pubs. The Britain of 1936 was a land of beef paste sandwiches and drill halls. Now we are nation of vaping and nail salons, pulled pork and salted caramel.

In the autumn of 1936, some 200 men from the Tyneside town of Jarrow marched 300 miles to London in protest against the destruction of their towns and industries. Precisely 80 years on, Stuart Maconie, walks from north to south retracing the route of the emblematic Jarrow Crusade.

Travelling down the country’s spine, Maconie moves through a land that is, in some ways, very much the same as the England of the 30s with its political turbulence, austerity, north/south divide, food banks and of course, football mania. Yet in other ways, it is completely unrecognisable.

Maconie visits the great cities as well as the sleepy hamlets, quiet lanes and roaring motorways. He meets those with stories to tell and whose voices build a funny, complex and entertaining tale of Britain, then and now.

So, it’s back, the feature where I highlight the persuasive power of book bloggers to drive book sales by showcasing books that my fellow bloggers have cajoling me into buying with their honeyed reviews. At the same time, I get to draw your attention to some of the magnificent blogs I follow and tell you what I love about them and why I trust their judgement in recommending books.

A word of warning, this feature stalled a couple of times last year for a variety of reasons, so some of these recommendations go back while. However, I believe that book recommendations age well, like a fine wine, rather than go off like fruit, so their enticing power still remains.

So, for the new year, I am telling you how I was Tempted by…. Books From Dusk Till Dawn to buy this copy of Long Road From Jarrow by Stuart Maconie. You can find the review that persuaded me to buy the book here, written by the lovely Susan Hampson who runs this blog.

Why was I drawn to this book? Well, I do like to read some non-fiction in amongst all the fiction I read, and I am particularly drawn to books of social commentary, which this is. I like the sound of a comparison between how the country and the places have changed in the 80 years between the original Jarrow march and Maconie’s recreation, and I think the book is particularly relevant given the recent upheavals and seismic changes taking place in this country over the past few years. I have read several of Stuart’s other books and I like his narrative style. I was particularly drawn by the personal connection than Susan said she felt with the book.

If you like the sound of Long Road From Jarrow, it is available in all formats by following this link. I also highly recommend that you pay a visit to Susan’s blog which you can find at Books From Dusk Till Dawn. The reason I love Susan’s blog so much is that she has a really interesting mix of books on there, not just the mainstream titles, and her reviews are always detailed, personal and mature.

This feature will be moving back to Mondays from next week, so do check out the next one.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary Narrated by Carrie Hope Fletcher & Kwaku Fortune #BookReview #audiobook (@OLearyBeth) @QuercusBooks @CarrieHFletcher @KwakuFortune @audibleuk #TheFlatshare #freereading

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Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met….

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. 

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rule book out the window….

I’m probably one of the last people to get round to reading (or listening) to this marvellous book, so I will be preaching to the choir here but, OMG, why did I wait so long to get to it? Now I understand what all the hype has been about and why the book has won awards, I absolutely blooming’ loved every second of it.

If you are one of the very few people who have not yet got to this book (and I advise you to correct that immediately), let me try and explain just what is so special about it. Firstly, of course, there is the genius premise behind the story. What would happen if a man and a woman were sharing a flat and a bed, but never meet? How much can you find out about someone just by sharing their living space? How intimate can you become with another person without actually ever seeing them face to face? On the audio version of this book which I listened to, Beth O’Leary explains how she came up with the idea behind the novel, and it was fascinating to hear what sparks a story idea and the process behind the story development, and I really thought it was a gorgeous story to hear and leant a new dimension to the book. The plot is so clever and unique, this is the first great thing about it, this is a love story that you’ve never heard before.

Secondly, the characters. Oh, how I love them. Tiffy is the kind of person you completely want as your best friend. Warm and open and caring. Scatter-brained and clever and creative and funny. She will worm her way into your heart immediately, and you will want to take care of her, hug her and make everything alright for her from the off. Then there is Leon. Also caring, but cautious and guarded and quiet and reserved. Careful not to give his heart away. Reticent, but warm and loving underneath. You know he and Tiffy are perfect for each other from the beginning, but how can they fall in love if they never meet, and will circumstances and other people get in their way. You will be desperate to know, desperate to help but THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO except hope and listen as the story unfolds. The author gives them such distinct and individual voices, it is always clear who is telling the story at any time throughout the dual perspective narrative and she perfectly conveys their personalities through their speech. There is also a supporting cast of friends and foes to round out the story, each one perfect for their role. I absolutely adored or loathed all of them as required.

The book is beautifully paced, funny, moving, engrossing and appealing all the way through. Not a scene, not a word is wasted. Things happen at exactly the right moment to propel the story on and keep the reader interested but the tension up. It is perfectly balanced and executed and, if I had read this book a month earlier, it would have made it into my Top 10 books of 2019 list. It is already a strong contender for 2020.

A final word about the audio version of this book. As this is a dual perspective narrative, from the alternating voices of Tiffy and Leon, it is read by two different narrators and it works beautifully. Both of them completely embody the characters they are portraying and they really bring the book to life. One of the things that really works for me about this novel is getting to see both sides of the events that happen in the book from the perspective of each protagonist and I think, having two different voices narrating these events in the audiobook, really brings this contrast to life and probably enhanced my enjoyment of the story. Audiobooks have become a big thing for me over the past 8 months (after being unable to read physical or ebooks for a period last year) and I am consuming more and more of them. This one is a particularly wonderful example and if you are a fan of audiobooks, this is one that is worth the investment.

The Flatshare is out now in hardback, ebook and audiobook, and will be published in paperback on 20 February. You can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Beth studied English at university before going into children’s publishing. She lives as close to the countryside as she can get while still being in reach of London, and wrote her first novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from work.

She is now writing novels full time, and if she’s not at her desk, you’ll usually find her curled up somewhere with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).

Connect with Beth:

Website: https://betholearyauthor.com

Twitter: @OLearyBeth

Instagram: @betholearyauthor

When The Dead Come Calling by Helen Sedgwick #BookReview #BlogTour (@helensedgwick) @PtBlankBks @OneworldNews @annecater #RandomThingsTours #WhenTheDeadComeCalling

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A murder investigation unearths the brutal history of a village where long buried secrets threaten a small community

When psychotherapist Alexis Cosse is found murdered in the playground of the sleepy northern village of Burrowhead, the local police force set out to investigate. It’s not long before they uncover a maelstrom of racism, misogyny and homophobia.

But there’s worse to come. Shaken by the revelations and beginning to doubt her relationship with her husband Fergus, DI Georgie Strachan soon realizes that something very bad is lurking just below the surface. Meanwhile someone – or something – is hiding in the strange, haunted cave beneath the cliffs.

My first blog tour of the new year and I am delighted to be reviewing When The Dead Come Calling by Helen Sedgwick. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This was a crime book with a difference, quite unlike anything I’ve read before. I have to say, for quite a large chunk of the book I wasn’t’t really sure what was going on. We meet a first person narrator who is hiding out in a sea cave, but it is unclear who this person is or whether the things they are seeing are real until almost the end of the book. There are a series of crimes which no one quite knows whether they are connected or not, or what the motivations are behind them for a long time. It struck me that this is quite likely the closest feeling to how real investigations unravel, but it was an unusual construct for a novel and I was feeling my way through it quite confusedly for much of the time. I suspect this may put some, particularly impatient, readers off, but it is worth sticking with it.

The main reason I suggest you want to stick with this book is the pure beauty of the writing. The author has a masterful voice, the writing is lyrical and descriptive, truly invoking the starkness, remoteness and hostility of the book’s isolated location and imbuing it with the despair and menace that is the bedrock of the story. I could feel the sea spray, smell the seaweed, feel the decay, it was all immersive. On top of this, the book has an eerie, dream-like, ethereal quality which, again, mirrors and enhances the storyline. The line between reality and imagination are blurred and unclear throughout, questions are left hanging, not everything is explained. This is really a very unusual and exciting twist on a crime novel and it has made me very keen to see what will come next in the series.

This book will not appeal to everyone because it is so different. The pacing is not quite as frantic as some may expect from crime books, and it is a curious mix of the straight-forward and the mystic. However, the issues addressed are current, relevant and compelling, the characters diverse, well-rounded and interesting and the crime suitably violent, complex and baffling. I think it is a book that will reward a repeat read to draw out all of the subtleties and nuances of the story and that rewards readers who are curious and adventurous. I recommend it for those who enjoy beautiful writing, clever plotting and something a little out of the mainstream.

When The Dead Come Calling is out tomorrow and you can buy a copy here.

Please do check out the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour, you can follow via the poster below:

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About the Author

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Helen Sedgwick is the author of The Comet Seekers, selected as a best book of 2016 by the Herald, and The Growing Season, shortlisted for the Saltire Society Fiction Book of the Year in 2018. She has an MLitt in Creative Writing from Glasgow University and won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award.

Before she became an author, she was a research physicist with a PhD in Physics from Edinburgh University. She now lives and writes in the Scottish Highlands.

Connect with Helen:

Website: http://www.helensedgwick.com

Facebook: Helen Sedgwick Author

Twitter: @helensedgwick

Instagram: @helensedgwickauthor

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Goldsboro Books’ Book of the Month Club @GoldsboroBooks @adamhamdy @AmyLloydWrites @LizMooreBooks #bookclub #firsteditions

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So, if you have been following my New Year posts, you will know that I have vowed not to buy any new books this year in an attempt to make some kind of dent in my out-of-control TBR, which is threatening to consume my house like one of those nightmare dwellings they visit on the TV hoarder shows, except hopefully a bit cleaner.

That being said, a bit like a smoker that needs nicotine patches to take the edge off giving up cold turkey, I knew I needed something to satiate my constant craving for new books while trying to cut back, and the solution I came up with was to join Goldsboro Books’ Book of the Month Club..

My rationale was that getting one beautiful, signed limited first edition title per month would be enough to keep me happy, as well as being a good investment in a possible future collectible title. (That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.)

I signed up in December, rather than wait for January, because I really wanted the lush special edition of Black 13 by Adam Hamdy, which was the December Book of the Month. I also got a signed copy of The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd as a free gift. Both books are numbered copies of first editions and came packaged beautifully and carefully, like the precious items they are. Watch out for reviews coming soon.

I am currently waiting for delivery of the January Book of the Month, which is Long Bright River by Liz Moore. Watch out on the blog for reviews of this and the future monthly titles.

The Fiction Cafe Book Club Reading Challenge 2020 @TheRosieWalsh #TheFictionCafe #readinggoals

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I know I said I wasn’t going to do any external reading challenges this year but somehow I have been persuaded/cajoled/strong-armed/bribed into taking part in my online book club, The Fiction Cafe Book Club’s, Reading Challenge 2020, which involves reading 26 books which fall into a specific categories – one every two weeks. I think FOMO has played a big part in me succumbing to the temptation to participate, tbh. However, I will only be using outstanding NetGalley reads and books or audiobooks from my TBR for the challenges so that it doesn’t interfere with my plan to reduce these!

The details of the challenge are on the poster above, if you are interested. Watch out for the reviews of these books popping up fortnightly under the #FictionCafeReadingChallenge2020 hashtag.

(If you are interested in joining The Fiction Cafe Book Club, please follow this link and send a request. I highly recommend it, it is the friendliest corner of the internet for book lovers.)

First up is the audio version of The Man Who Didn’t Call by Rosie Walsh, which was one of the top five reads of 2019 for Nicky Maunder, one of The Fiction Cafe Book Club admins.

Friday Night Drinks with…. Els from B for Bookreview Blog @BookreviewB #bookbloggers #bookblogging #amreading #FridayNightDrinks

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I’m kicking off a brand new year of Friday Night Drinks with fellow book blogger…. Els Ebraert from the wonderful B for Bookreview blog.

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Els, welcome to the blog and thank you for joining me for drinks this evening and starting a new year on the blog. First things first, what are you drinking?

Well, normally I do not drink very often, but because this is a special time of the year you will find me with a glass of Kir Royal.

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Oh, lovely. I am afraid I am doing Dry January, so it’s Diet Coke for me but I hope you enjoy it. 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?

First we would go to the airport, hop on a plane to a tropical destination. On arrival we would grab a bite to eat. Nothing fancy but tasty. Afterwards to a bar and of course we would go dancing the night away.

Fabulous, I wish I were somewhere warm right now! 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?

I am a big fan of Cristiano Ronaldo and Madonna. Those two would be my guests as well.

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?

Nothing new at the moment to be honest. Still trying to make my blog as attractive as possible and enjoy as many books as possible. 

I am also managing a book group on Facebook together with a very good friend. It’s in Dutch because I am from Belgium and our members (over 14.500) are also or Belgian or Dutch. The group exists 7 years already and it’s still going strong. We don’t sell but we promote have competitions and people share reviews or what they are reading, … It’s fun.

Maybe the new year will bring a new challenge, but nothing on the horizon yet.

Sounds busy! What has been your proudest moment since you started blogging and what has been your biggest challenge?

My proudest moment. Hmm. I think I would say being asked by authors/publishers to review their books. My biggest challenge is to make it work and to try and fit in as many posts as humanly possible. 

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!

It’s maybe not very ambitious but I think it would be great. I see a lot of things going on book-related in the UK. In Belgium it’s a lot less. I would like to visit some events and meet authors I have enjoyed reading. 

Let’s hope you can get over here soon then. What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

At the moment it’s something not really book related, but my dog died in the beginning of August and I bought a new puppy. He is already 6 months old now but it’s still a lot of work but so much fun as well. 

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?

My favourite place is Tenerife. I had a wonderful time there a few years ago with people we met over there and we stayed in touch for a long time afterwards. Unfortunatley a tragic accident made the group fall apart, but I still smile when I think back.
On the top of my bucket list is visiting Australia. One small problem, I don’t really like flying. LOL

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

Whether it’s interesting or not, I leave it up to you, but I have lived in Tenerife for about a year and I have worked in a transport company as a dispatcher. It was lovely to ‘boss’ all those men around. LOL. No, that’s a joke. I had the most wonderful relationships (this sounds strange lol) with the drivers and the people in the warehouse. I hear from some of them regulary.

I’m always envious of people who have spent time living overseas, it’s something I’ve never had the opportunity to do but I would love to. 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 Forever Gift by Brooke Harris (now available under the title My Daughter’s Choice.)

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I remember you learning the alphabet, the first time you rode a bike… and the first time I realised something was wrong. I look at you, my daughter, my beautiful sparky daughter. I would do anything to keep you safe.

Heather’s beloved daughter, Kayla, is her world. She’s fifteen, smart, energetic and a fierce friend. They’ve always had a special relationship. For so many years it has been just the two of them, watching Friends, baking cupcakes and laughing together.

But now Kayla is sick. Heather knows she can’t fall apart – she must stay strong and do everything she can to make sure Kayla gets well again. What she doesn’t know is that Kayla wants to give something back to her mother. A gift that could change Heather’s life. Just in case.

But as mother and daughter fight for each other, a devastating turn of events leaves Kayla with a terrible choice. Nothing will ever be the same again, but can Kayla’s gift save them?

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?

Grab a snack and a soft drink in between the Kir and I don’t have a go-to cure. I feel to sick when I have a hangover that I try to avoid it at all costs.

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

Because I would have taken you to a sunny place, we would go for breakfast on a terrace and enjoy a whole day at the pool or the beach enjoying the time off.

That sounds like just what I need after the Christmas madness. Els, thank you so much for joining me on the blog today and I look forward to enjoying another year of celebrating books on your blog.

Make sure you check out Els’ wonderful blog over at B for Bookrview and you can also catch up with her on Twitter.

Next week I am having Friday Night Drinks with author, S. M. Stevens, so please come back then.