Thursday, 30 June 2011

Review - The One That Got Away by Lucy Dawson

The One That Got Away is a great book, written in a way that flows so well and is so easy to read that you find yourself not being able to put it down. The characters are really easy to relate to and feel like they’re your best mates (except for Leo that is!). 

Medical rep Molly is married to IT specialist Dan, and Molly thinks they are happy just the way they are when Dan announces that he desperately wants them to have a baby and tries to convince Molly that the time is right for them.  Molly is really unsure whether this is what she wants although Dan goes off on a tangent telling family and friends that they’re trying anyway.  When one of her friends mentions that she’s seen Molly’s ex Leo on Facebook, she innocently contacts him to find out about his life and oh boy – does it turn to trouble reminding Mollie that the past should be firmly left in the past?  As always in my reviews I don’t like to give too much of the plot away, but I will just say that Molly may have just done the most stupid thing she has ever done and has never regretted anything more and her marriage is under threat.    I’m sure there are loads of people out there who have thought of contacting their ex through Facebook.   If they read this book first, I can honestly say, they’ll think twice about it! 

Gripping in many parts, and leaving you wondering what’s going to happen from about halfway through, a fabulous mix of the chick lit and thriller genres makes this a fantastically well written book, which was extremely enjoyable and completely effortless to read.  Very much in the present tense, with social networking and the effects it can have on your life in the forefront of this excellent novel.   Lucy Dawson is new author to me, but her other books His Other Lover and What My Best Friend did are now firmly on my birthday list.

Lucy Dawson has been a journalist and magazine editor and lives in Kent.  You can find out more information about Lucy Dawson at her website.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Launch of

A big week ahead for 
Wednesday 29th June, sees the launch of a new interactive website where authors and readers come together to celebrate books and reading. is ….. a website to help promote new Authors and the formal online launch is on 29th June 2011. Readers will be invited to take part in the ‘launch giveaways promotion’ and that is your chance to become a Feature Reader by winning a free book so you can do your first review!

This is what says about its featured authors - authors are here to bring you novels you will want to curl up with on the sofa in winter, or read beneath that shady tree on your summer vacation. You may laugh, you may cry, but when you turn the last page it will remind you why you ‘love a happy ending‘. Positive, uplifting and feel good – a tonic!

And this is what it says about readers -
Welcome to all readers! We want readers to take an active part in providing feedback to our new authors, as they launch themselves into the world of publishing.

Appear in the ‘Review Chair‘ and author Janice Horton will interview for your thoughts on what you have read and give everyone a little bit of background information about YOU. Why? Because our Readers are equally as important to us as our Authors.

There will be giveaways and special offers - all aimed at giving our readers the opportunity to follow these new authors, support their work and grow our little community!

We also want to offer our group of writers the chance to ask YOU, the reader, the questions that will help them write the stories you want to read.
Readers can become Feature Readers or Associate Readers linked to one or several authors.

What is a ‘Feature’ Reader?  says -
….. someone who loves reading books and would like the opportunity to really make a difference to a new Author’s career.

What is an ‘Associate’ Reader’ says -
….. a Feature Reader who actively supports’s Authors by spreading the word using social media, review websites (Goodreads, Amazon etc) and maybe their own blogs. Actively telling other people about our exciting new Authors and how much they enjoyed reading their books. If you see a good website and think it should feature one of our Authors, suggest it to them! You could also support individual Author’s websites to give encouragement and feedback. Our blog will tell you what our Authors are doing and when they have promotional events. You can Twitter and Facebook links to to help us increase exposure for our Authors.

Really exciting times for everyone involved! If you want to find out more about this exciting new project why don’t you pop along to on Wednesday 29th June and take part in the fun.

Review - Dear Dee by Sue Uden

Dear Dee by Sue Uden is a fantastically well written emotional tale of how one family member’s mental illness can affect a whole family unit in very different ways and their methods of coping with this frustrating and domineering situation that impacts on all of their lives. 

Set in the 80's, with a reasonably small cast of main characters consisting of; Jackie who struggles with her mental illness and just wants help to go back to being the loving wife and mother she knows she can be and John is a really close and loving Dad to both his daughters, sad at the fact that his family’s life has been tainted by her illness and wants to write about it which he finds really cathartic.  Nikkii, is a loving Mother to both Jackie and her other daughter Claire, who is enjoying spending creative writing time with her father, is actually jealous and angry because of the attention that her sister’s illness gets in the family.   And lovely Marjorie, whose caring and understanding ways helped Jackie a great deal and in turn everyone to cope with this very trying situation. 

The book is about a confused yet extremely loving family dealing with very hard circumstances in the only way they can.  When the medical world don’t seem to be able to help Jackie, it’s even more infuriating until a new doctor is assigned to the case and radical changes impact on their lives once more.  An unexpected twist has an even more extreme impact on a family who was already under a great deal of stress and it was interesting to see which way this would affect the family unit further. 

The perfect ending to this book had me sitting with tears streaming down my fact but they weren’t particularly tears of sadness.  They were tears of love and loss and understanding and hope.  This book was fundamentally about family and the overwhelming and unquestionable love they have for each other with the mental illness issue as a background issue which impacted upon them all. 

This book certainly opened up my eyes to the trauma that mental illness can have on a family and certainly made me more understanding.  It also made me realise the things that in a family we take very much for granted.   If, through this book, Sue Uden’s story can do that for many other people then she really has done an amazing job.   It was a pleasure to read, and despite the tears, was a thoroughly enjoyable book. 

Sue Uden was born in 1946. She has had a diverse career including spells as a PA, a doctors’ receptionist, a journalist for the John Lewis Partnership and teaching assistant in Primary School.

Along the way she has published some freelance articles and short stories. Dear Dee is her first novel. She is married with two children and four grandchildren.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Review - Sometimes it Happens by Pauline Barclay

Sometimes it Happens by Pauline Barclay is a delightful, good fun, entertaining and charming tale of rags to riches millionaire lottery winner Doreen, who is staying at the elite Villas Bonitas with her fun loving daughter Trisha.  Other residents at this exclusive villa complex are either on holiday at their home or are working here. There is an important message in the writing, that it doesn’t matter how much money you have, it doesn’t always make you a good person and certainly doesn’t always make you happy. 

Pauline portrays people and places so well and so beautifully that you can imagine what the people and the places look like.  Her descriptions made me melt into the book and become part of the exclusive community.  At one point, I actually felt like I was sitting having coffee in the local café and could smell the salty sea air and fabulous café aromas, watching the plot unfold.  I was definitely lying on a sunbed around the pool on numerous occasions, watching the many characters and their funny little mannerisms. 

Sometimes it Happens is a great fairytale romance with a lot of laughs and tears along the way but with a perfect happy ending – just my type of tale.  With a perfect amount of unexpected twists and turns, with lies and deceit mixed with happiness and luxury, this book left me hoping that Pauline will be writing more about these fabulously flamboyant characters that I have become good friends with. 

Pauline Barclay, originally from Yorkshire, gained a BA (Hons) degree from the Open University. 

She now lives in Lanzarote, with her husband and two dogs, and spends her time writing fiction.  She has three books published: Sometimes It Happens..., Magnolia House and Satchfield Hall.   Find out more about Pauline at her website

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Review - All That Mullarkey by Sue Moorcroft

I’m still utterly gobsmacked at the fact that I thought I was a big reader before I started reviewing books, yet there were still loads of amazing authors I hadn’t discovered.   I’m now thrilled that I have learned about some of these wonderful writers although I have a feeling there’s still many more out there that I’ve yet to uncover! 

I’ve never read anything by Sue Moorcroft before, but I’ll definitely be looking for her other books after reading All That Mullarkey!  This is a tale of Cleo & Gav & Justin!  Written in two parts, in part one Cleo thinks all is ok in her world although her husband Gav does try to tell her what she can and can’t do once too often and she defies him - because she can!  He goes too far one night and in rebelliousness, she goes out and pulls gorgeous and single Justin in a club and spends the night with him with life changing consequences.  The story has many twists and turns and leaves you wondering what on earth is going to happen in the end.  The second part of the book is written in a wonderful way describing the all consuming love that a mother has for her child.  She made me feel the same emotions and love that I have for my son and reminded me how wonderful the amazing gift of a child is.

Sue is a great writer and in this book has created very down to earth, genuine and delightfully likable characters whose lives you become drawn into.  Sue writes in a bright, sparky and enjoyable way that makes this book a pleasure to read and one that you don’t really want to put down. 

Sue was born in Germany and from an army family moved to Cyprus & Malta which is Sue's most favourite place in the world.  She now lives in Northamptonshire working as a full time writer, a creative writing tutor, a competition judge and is a massive fan of Formula 1 racing.   Her website can be found at

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Review - Discovery at Rosehill by Kathryn Brown

Blooming heck!  This book blew me away! 


When Kathryn Brown told me about Discovery at Rosehill, I have to say I was a little concerned as she told me that it was a paranormal romance about a medium called Camilla and was best read at night!  Being a bit of a wuss, I picked it up at bedtime last night thinking that there can’t be that much that could me get me thinking scary thoughts in the first chapter.  WRONG!  The nine line prelude made my eyebrows raise a little and I decided to leave it till daytime when at the end of Chapter 1 Camilla started to ask spirits to come and talk to her. 

When I got up this morning, I had an “awake” lie-in, which means I get to stop in bed and drink lots of tea and read which is a very rare treat!  I had to physically drag myself away from this book to get in the shower at 9.45am as I had already been drawn in to the ghostly goings-on at Rosehill, a glorious house that was filled with numerous spirits, that Camilla had brought after the spirit of her grandmother helped her to find it.    She then discovers that Rosehill holds a number of life-changing secrets which she must uncover!

In the midst of all this, she befriends the local vicar Marcus, and wonders whether the feelings that she has for him can turn into something more even though their lives and beliefs are so very far apart. But is Marcus, all that he seems to be, or does he have secrets of his own?

This book is a cracking good paranormal thriller romance (if such a genre exists!)  It’s full of tension, emotion and intrigue.  Camilla is a charmingly fascinating character, and her gifted life as a medium is interesting, scary and mesmerising all at once.  I was actually sat on the edge of my seat at one stage, finding it difficult to believe that she was comfortable in a house that was full of lost souls and spirits who were trying to reach out to someone through her. 

Being the scaredy-cat that I am, I decided that nothing was going to stop me reading this book today and that as my partner was out this evening, I promised myself to read it before he went out and in daylight too!  I achieved my goal, if nothing else today.  But hey-ho, housework will just have to wait until tomorrow!  Although now its getting dark and I’m writing my review I keep hearing noises and wondering . . . . . . . .

If you are interested in the spirit world, you will love this book.   If you are not sure, it will have you asking even more questions!  If you are not a believer, I’m sure you’ll still find this a blooming good read!  I for one, am hoping that Kathryn will be writing more, and will be first in the queue for anything else that she writes.   This book was quite simply brilliant!

When she's not writing, Kathryn runs a sheep and arable farm in Northumberland.  She's a devoted mum to her beautiful daughter Amy, who is eleven years old and autistic, and is Kathryn's reason for living! The dedication at the front of the book is to her darling father, and that alone brought a tear to my eye.  I'm sure he'll be extremely proud of her when he's looking down on her right now.  Her blogsite can be found here and is well worth a visit.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Review - Touched By The Light by Linn B Halton

When Linn B Halton sent me Touched By The Light to add to my To Be Read pile, I did say it would be quite a while before I got chance to read it.  I’d like to apologize to all other authors who have sent me books to read and review as knowing that this book was about life after death and souls and spirits, and however hard I tried to walk past it and ignore it, I found that I just couldn’t! 

Mya finds herself in a very odd position.  She remembers pain and panic, and then remembers going towards a bright light and the pain and panic became peaceful and calm.  She believes that she has died and has passed over to “the other side”.  She’s desperate to find out how her friends and family are coping without her, and the only way that she seems to be able to do this is to make a young lady called Laurel help her. 

Laurel lives with Dan and no-one in her life is aware of the fact that she can see, hear and talk to spirits.  She’s always blocked it out in the past but Mya is so persistant that she finally gives in and communicates with this lost soul.  She is in a relationship with Dan but that has its own problems and she’s unsure if she’s in the right job, so has a lot going on in her own mind, and now has Mya to complicate things even further. 

This book tells the tale from all points of view and how each of the characters have an effect on each other.   Mya seems to come and go without any control and has to learn how to communicate with the people that she chooses to spend time with.   

This book is a moving, sad, funny, happy and emotional tale of a some very confused people, and a novice, befuddled spirit all making new lives for themselves.  The unexpected twist had me sat open mouthed for quite a while; it was SO not what I had thought was going to happen - quite unpredicted leaving me a little bewildered myself!

Not going to give any more of the plot of this wonderful book away, you need to read it for yourself.  If you are interested in life after death and the spirit world, you will really enjoy this novel.  If you are not interested in these things, I still think it’s a book that you will get a lot of pleasure from.  It’s a well written, easy to read, original and fresh book that I thoroughly liked reading and really looked forward to discovering what was going to happen in the end. 

Originally from Bristol, Linn lives in Nailsworth in Gloucestershire, with her husband Lawrence.  They've renovated many houses over the years and have encountered a few unusual "experiences" and "presences" along the way.  She has written about these experiences in Being A Sceptic is Oh So Easy

Linn wrote Touched By The Light shortly after the death of her mother and is a big advocate of the waying "seeing is believing!"  You can learn more about Linn at her website and also read more about

Monday, 6 June 2011

Interview with Giles Paley-Phillips

Giles Paley-Phillips, author of The Fearsome Beastie very kindly agreed to answer some questions for me.  My three and a half year old recently helped me to do a review of The Fearsome Beastie which we both loved. 
Thanks Giles for answering these questions and letting us into your life and to learn a little bit about you and what has inspired you to write.

I see that you have two boys of your own.  What ages are they?  
My boys are 4 and 2

Do they know that their Dad is a writer?  
My eldest does, I've been to his pre-school to read and sign books, I don't think it really hit him until I was there doing it!

If so, how do they feel about it?  
It's lovely to be able to read them books that I have written and which to some extent they have inspired, be it through their own actions or just that I have written something to engage them, it's a fantastic feeling to see their reactions to my work.

What are their favourite books?  
They are typical boys and like anything funny or yucky, they love Morris the Mankiest Monster by Giles Andrae, also they have become mega obsessed with the Octonauts, and we have several of the original meomi picture books.

How do you fit in your writing around a young family?  
It can be very tricksome at times, as my wife and I are both studying too, but I just do it when I get a spare minute, I often write stuff on little scraps of paper, which I eventually collage into a full text!

What inspired you to write children’s books?
Not long after the birth of my first Son, I was looking to write something for him but just couldn't get inspired, then I was looking round a charity shop and I came across book if nonsense poetry by Shel Silverstein, and I was totally blown away by it, I wrote my first text that afternoon.

How did you feel when you found out your first book was going to be published?
I was a bit choked up, to know that you've written something that a publisher is willing to invest in is a very humbling and exciting feeling

You’ve worked with two different illustrators. How do you ensure that your ideas are put into pictures?  
I've been extremely lucky that the illustrators that have worked on my texts have really engaged with them, I think although it's nice to share ideas, it's best that they are left to do their thing and I'm left to do mine.

What sort of books do you like to read?
I read a lot of cult American literature, writers like Chuck Palahniuk, Bret Easton Ellis and Douglas Coupland, but I do live reading childrens books and poetry too.

Do you do any other writing at all?
Not at the moment, I keep thinking about writing a screenplay, but not sure it'll ever happen!

Are you working on anything at the moment?
Yeah, I have several picture book texts that I'm working on, plus another book of nonsense poetry

Do you have a special place where you write?
Not really, I mainly end up in front of my desktop.

You’re still young Giles, what does the future hold for you?
I really don't know, I just hope I can continue to do the things I love doing and that children and I continue to enjoy my books.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Review - The Perfect Hero by Victoria Connelly

Every time I pick up a book to review, I wonder if I’m going to like it and what on earth I’m going to write about it if I don’t.  That really isn’t something I have to worry about at all at the moment (I do hope I’m not tempting fate!). 

The latest book I’ve reviewed “The Perfect Hero” by Victoria Connelly is another easy reading, utterly enjoyable read that made me smile, sigh, cry and laugh out loud – a few times of each! 

Kay inherits some money after she’s left all alone in the world, and follows her dreams to Lyme Regis where she buys a B&B and intends to pursue her talent for illustrating.  She is a huge Jane Austen fan and her favourite book Persuasion is the reason she moved to this part of the world.  A film crew are filming nearby and when a disaster at the place they are staying has them knocking on her door, even before she’s fully refurbished the beautiful house that she’s bought, she finds herself with her first paying guests.   Her all time hero and main character of the film and of her dreams is Oli Wade-Owen who she constantly daydreams about and when he starts paying her attention, she is totally taken under his spell.  While matchmaking for other members of the film crew, she doesn’t notice that one of them is actually falling in love with her.  I’m not going to tell you any more of the plot as it would give too much away and I really recommend that you read this book.

It’s fabulously colourful and descriptive, making you feel that you are on the beach, or walking along the Cobb or in her lovely house and even though it’s not a part of the world I’ve visited, I do actually feel that I’ve been there! I’ve not read anything by Victoria Connelly before; Victoria writes in an uncomplicated, expressive and emotional manner, the vivid descriptions bringing the characters and locations to life.  You feel that the main character Kay is a genuinely nice lady that you’d like to be friends with. 

A wonderful, feel good, book that leaves you with a smile on your face and a warm fuzzy feeling in your heart!

Victoria Connelly grew up in Norfolk before studying English Literature at Worcester Uni.  She became a teacher in Yorkshire and moved to London after getting married in 2000.    Her first novel Flights of Angels was bought after being fought over by five publishers and went on to be made into a film for TV in Germany.   Her first UK published novel – Molly’s Millions - came out in 2009 and The Perfect Hero was the second in a trilogy about Jane Austen addicts, the first being A Weekend With Mr Darcy.    Victoria lives in London with her husband who is an artist, her springer spaniel and four ex-battery hens. 

To find out more about Victoria Connelly click here.

Review - The Fearsome Beastie by Giles Paley Phillips

When Giles Paley-Phillips very kindly sent me "The Fearsome Beastie" to review, I was a little dubious as to whether it would be suitable for his age and might be a little bit too scary for Oliver, my three and a half year old, who has been known to have been a bit of a wuss at times!

It’s a wonderfully amusing, colourful rhyming tale about, strangely enough, a fearsome beastie, who roams the streets looking for small children who he befriends then eats!  The child that he doesn’t eat, runs to find an adult to help (there’s a couple of lessons to be learnt there I feel!) and an amusing twist ends the tale. 

Ollie was quite quiet when we read it, but when we got to the end, he yelled AGAIN, AGAIN at the top of his voice, which told me everything I needed to know really.  When we reached the end of the second reading, he wanted to read it AGAIN!  I asked him what he liked about the book and he said he loved the pictures and when we read it a third time he had also laughed and remembered the rhymes and joined in with some of the words.  He said he thought it was very funny!   Not a bad recommendation really from a three and a half year old!

The book is illustrated by Gabriele Antonini who has created the most amazing, vibrant images which illustrate and complement the story perfectly.

I want to compare this book to The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson which is another fantastic book that Oliver, like so many other children, adores.  I hope that Giles is flattered by this comment, as The Gruffalo is a complete classic kids book.   It is intended to be a massive compliment.  We loved this book and it will certainly be one that we read time and time again, and have already! 

I shall definitely be looking out for There's a Lion in My Bathroom: Nonsense Poetry for Children by Giles Paley-Phillips and Matt Dawson.  If you would like to find out more about Giles and his work, you can check out his blog here or you can also check out his author page at loveahappyending