Saturday, 15 June 2019

A Random Act of Kindness by Sophie Jenkins

It only takes a moment, to change a life for ever…
Fern is too busy making sure other people feel good about themselves to give much thought to her own happiness. But somehow, without her noticing, life has run away from her.
Suddenly, Fern realises her vintage clothes business is struggling, and the casual relationship she’d always thought she was happy in doesn’t look so appealing.
But sometimes, karma really does come through. And when Fern goes out of her way to help 85-year-old Dinah, little does she realise their new friendship will change her life.
Dinah may have troubles in her past, but she’s lived and loved to the full. Can Dinah show Fern that even the smallest acts of kindness can make the world a better place?

This is a lovely story. Fern has a market stall selling vintage clothing,something she has always wanted to do. She meets David who she more or less falls for immediately but he has a girlfriend and there's not much chance for a Fern.
An older woman,Dinah also comes into Fern's life. She has collected clothes for years, vintage clothes back when they weren't called vintage. Fern then meets her husband who is a tailer and doesn't want to stop working. Dinah and her husband seem to have a perfect relationship. He calls her "his bride" which is lovely,but there is a secret between them and it's going to do a lot of damage.
Fern's mum is a complete pain,but Fern is living in an apartment owned by her parents nd has to put up with her mum's criticism and put downs.
I enjoyed this book. There were laughs and sad moments too. The descriptions of the vintage clothes were so vivid I could see them hanging on Fern's stall. And David? Well he is lovely!
 Out  Here in paperback and kindle download.

Friday, 14 June 2019

A Summer Reunion by Fanny Blake

Amy, Linda, Kate and Jane were best friends at school. Now, years later, they have grown apart. When Amy discovers her husband has been stealing from her successful interiors business, and with a milestone birthday looming, she decides it is the time to reach out to her old friends once again. 
So, she decides to invite the other three to her beautiful villa in Mallorca for a reunion weekend. As the four friends gather, secrets are unearthed, old scores settled and new friendships forged. Will this holiday bring them together or tear them apart? And will each of them grasp their second chance for happiness...?


Amy runs a successful business but it's not what she wanted to do when she left school. Now over thirty years later things are going wrong both in her business and personal life. She realises that to move on she needs to confront what happened to her at school and why it caused her life to spiral out of control.

She knows she was let down by her three childhood friends,Jane, ,Linda and Kate and that probably one of them was to blame for what happened to her.
Over years the friends have been in touch with each other now and again but Amy decides to invite them all for a week end at her villa in Mallorca.
As they all meet expecting to have a chilled out few days from their problems the last thing they expect is to see a face from the past and to be confronted by Amy about what went on back then.

I enjoyed this book it was an easy read. One of the woman wasn't very likeable and it stayed that way with me throughout the book.
I thought Amy was quite mad to think they would all get on over a few days but I don't think she really cared that much.
The descriptions of Mallorca and the villa made it all very real. I have visited Soller where the women went for meals and drinks and it's just as lovely as described.
I love that Fanny Blake writes stories for older women. Her women are strong and vibrant and also get the better of the men who are usually weak and useless.
Another good story by a great author.

Out now in paperback and kindle download Here

Thursday, 13 June 2019

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak.

'In the first minute following her death, Tequila Leila's consciousness began to ebb, slowly and steadily, like a tide receding from the shore. Her brain cells, having run out of blood, were now completely deprived of oxygen. But they did not shut down. Not right away...'
For Leila, each minute after her death brings a sensuous memory: the taste of spiced goat stew, sacrificed by her father to celebrate the long-awaited birth of a son; the sight of bubbling vats of lemon and sugar which the women use to wax their legs while the men attend mosque; the scent of cardamom coffee that Leila shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each memory, too, recalls the friends she made at each key moment in her life - friends who are now desperately trying to find her. . .

I'm delighted to be today's stop on the blog tour for 10 Minutes and 38 seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak.
What a unique title when these days the books on the shelves all seem to be titled Little shops by... Or somebody's daughter or someone's sister. This title will stand out among them.
We start at the end, Leila is dead and lying in a metal wheelie bin. What a way to end your life.
Leila's heart may have stopped beating and her body de- composing but her brain will live on for 10 mins 38 secs. During that time Leila will think about all that is important in her life. Her family,food she liked to eat,smells that remind her of good and bad times and of course her five special friends.

This is a probably the most heartbreaking start to a book I have ever read. The story is set in Istanbul and we learn of the family traditions,the way women are treated and the harsh life there if you have no place to call home,no money, and are a woman of the streets.Leila's life was never easy but as we are introduced to her five friends and learn about their lives we realize that she was loved.

The author's style of writing is almost poetic. We feel we are in Istanbul,can smell the city and the street food. Over the years of Leila's life there are mentions of historical happenings and we feel involved in those too.
The last third of the book we meet her friends again and although it is at a sad time it really makes for some funny scenes. I'll leave you to find them for yourselves.
A book that's a little bit different, from the title, the end at the beginning right to the real end of the book where I shed a few tears. I didn't want to leave these people.

Out for kindle,hardback  Here.   Paperback will be published on 2 nd Jan 2020

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Come Back For Me by Heidi Perks

A tiny island community is stunned by the discovery of a long-buried body.
For Stella Harvey the news is doubly shocking. The body has been found in the garden of her childhood home - the home her family fled without explanation twenty-five years ago.
Now, questioning her past and desperate to unearth the truth, Stella returns to the isolated island. But she quickly finds that the community she left isn’t as welcoming as she remembers – and that people in it will go to any length to protect their secrets.
One thing rings true…
You can’t bury the truth forever. 

Stella was born on the Island of evergreen just off the coast of Dorset. She loved living there unlike her older sister Bonnie who has always felt unsettled. Brother Danny seems to have social problems and doesn't like communicating with people.
One night when Stella is eleven years old her family leave the island in the middle of a storm. Her father and mother insist they have to go even in such dangerous conditions for sailing that night. It is never spoken of again.

Twenty five years later a skeleton is discovered just outside the back garden of Stella's old house in the garden. Stella has always wanted to return to Evergreen, to her best friend,her mum's best friend and to Annie who was like a second mother to her.
It might not be the best time to return but Stella is pulled back to the island and into mystery and intrigue and danger as someone makes it known she's not welcome.

I found myself saying,"Don't go back Stella" "Don't do this Stella!" but she didn't listen.
I was drawn right into the story of this family as so many things seemed wrong,so many secrets. Some of the islanders seemed a bit strange and like Stella I didn't know who to trust and who not to. I feared for Stella.

The story went from present day to twenty five years ago and Stella's life on the island. I liked both timelines. I was kept on my toes reading this book, never knowing what was coming next.
I thought the police investigation to be a bit slow. I don't think they even asked the question to Stella of why she had decided at this particular time to visit the Island when she hadn't been there for 25 yrs. I would have thought that a bit suspicious.
That's the only slight concern I had in what turned out to be a cracking good read.
This is a new author for me but after reading this one I will try her other books.

Kindle edition published today and hardback on 11th July Here

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop

Athens 1941. After decades of political uncertainty, Greece is polarised between Right- and Left-wing views when the Germans invade.
Fifteen-year-old Themis comes from a family divided by these political differences. The Nazi occupation deepens the fault-lines between those she loves just as it reduces Greece to destitution. She watches friends die in the ensuing famine and is moved to commit acts of resistance.
In the civil war that follows the end of the occupation, Themis joins the Communist army, where she experiences the extremes of love and hatred and the paradoxes presented by a war in which Greek fights Greek.
Eventually imprisoned on the infamous islands of exile, Makronisos and then Trikeri, Themis encounters another prisoner whose life will entwine with her own in ways neither can foresee. And finds she must weigh her principles against her desire to escape and live.
As she looks back on her life, Themis realises how tightly the personal and political can become entangled. While some wounds heal, others deepen.
This powerful new novel from Number One bestseller Victoria Hislop sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Greece's past and weaves it into the epic tale of an ordinary woman compelled to live an extraordinary life.

Published today! And what a gorgeous cover.

In an apartment in Athens Themis is celebrating her birthday with another eighteen people, her children and grandchildren. At the end of the day only two remain to help clear up,her granddaughter Popi who lives close by and her American grandson Nikos.
Popi talks about the crisis Greece is going through and tells her grandmother she cooks too much food and shouldn't be so wasteful.
Listening to her naive granddaughter's words Themis decides to leave both of them with a legacy, the story of her life, something she has never told anyone else. It begins with her pointing out the corner across the street where her childhood friend dropped dead of starvation.

If that's not enough to make you pick up and read this book I'll eat my hat.
Like all  books by Victoria Hislop this one is a traumatic read.
Themis takes us back to her very young childhood in the 1930's. She lives through an earthquake, Italian and German occupation and civil war.
In the little apartment where her and her brothers and sister lived with their grandmother arguments were plenty with siblings supporting opposite sides in the civil war. As they each leave home to support their cause Themis finds herself being thrown from one disaster to another.

I think what made this book so readable is I felt I was reading a true story. Although this is fiction built around true events it's  probably the story of so many many people living in Greece at that time. I found it quite unbearable to read how cruel ordinary everyday people can be to each other in the name of war. No one was safe. Neighbour against neighbour, brother against brother and sometimes even father against son. All fighting for what they believe in and no one winning.
Once I started reading I couldn't put it down. Lots of research has gone into this book. Victoria Hislop makes history come alive especially for those who found it boring at school. She is my favourite writer. Don't miss this book.

Published today in hardback and kindle Here

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Her Husband's Mistake by Shelia O'Flanagan

Roxy's marriage has always been rock solid.

After twenty years, and with two carefree kids, she and Dave are still the perfect couple.
Until the day she comes home unexpectedly, and finds Dave in bed with their attractive, single neighbour.
Suddenly Roxy isn't sure about anything - her past, the business she's taken over from her dad, or what her family's future might be. She's spent so long caring about everyone else that she's forgotten what she actually wants. But something has changed. And Roxy has a decision to make.
Whether it's with Dave, or without him, it's time for Roxy to start living for herself

Roxy's beloved father has just died and on the day of his funeral she returns home to the house she shares with her husband and two children. A massive surprise awaits her and it will change the way she looks at her life.
Roxy took over her dad's  chauffeur business while he was ill and now he has passed away both her mother and her husband, Dave expect her to wind it up and sell the car.
Dave is particularly neanderthal about this and wants Roxy back as a stay at home mum and pregnant again. Roxy really enjoys working and the people she meets and she starts to change as a person. 
The question is, will Roxy follow her heart or conform to what her family expect her to be? 
Once again a great story by this author. Her books are always easy to read. I loved Roxy's mum and her outlook on life. 
Dave drove me mad and I couldn't understand why Roxy had stuck with him for twenty years. He needed a mother,not a wife.
Roxy is a great character and I was rooting for her throughout the book.
A few surprises in the book and I didn't know what way they were going but I'm happy with the ending.

I'm not too keen on the title of the book and wouldn't have been attracted to it in a bookshop. 
A mistake is something done by accident and I didn't get this from the story, although a man would probably say mistake! 😂
The author's name made me want to read it as I love her books.

Published on 30 th June Here

Monday, 15 April 2019

The Feud by Amanda James

Matthew Trevelyar leaves his job in London to return to his Cornish roots in the village of St Agnes. After losing his wife to leukaemia, he wants to make a fresh start. 
His new life is going well until Matt returns to his cottage to discover a grim warning on his doorstop. The message is clear – Leave now and go back to London.
Not wanting to give up his new life, Matt eventually discovers that there has been a 200-year-old feud between his family, the Trevelyars, and another local family, the Penhallows.
When Matt learns that one of his ancestors burned down a barn belonging to the Penhallows, and that there were tragic consequences, he understands why his family name is mud. But why is Matt paying for the sins of his ancestors now? And is there more to the feud than meets the eye?

When widower Matt Treveleyar leaves London for a teaching post at the village school in the Cornish village of St Agnes he doesn't realize he is walking into a whole lot of trouble.
Outside his rented cottage is a badger's head on a pole together with a nasty message telling him to go back to London. Matt decides he won't be scared into leaving. This was the village where his grandparents and their parents were born and where his roots are and he wants to belong here.

What Matt doesn't know is that there is an age old feud between his family and the Penhallows and one of them is out for revenge. In the village he bumps into Lavender Penhallow and is immediately besotted with her but is he putting himself in more danger with her friendship, is she involved in the battle to make him leave? Can he trust her?

The opening chapter of this book is dramatic. It gripped me straightaway and demanded my attention. I could imagine it being the opening scene from a film it was so descriptive.
I loved the village and all the supporting characters. Most were lovely and helpful to Matt, only a few were so crazy they needed to be locked up. The tension throughout the book about what was going to be the outcome for the lovely Matt kept me from my housework and not want to put this book down. And Matt was lovely, who would want to do him harm?
This book had everything you need for a good read, suspense, witchcraft, romance, revenge and it was written by Amanda James who never fails to tell a good story.

The Feud is published today in paperback or kindle download (99p) Amazon

A Random Act of Kindness by Sophie Jenkins

It only takes a moment, to change a life for ever… Fern is too busy making sure other people feel good about themselves to give muc...