Monday, 27 August 2012

Review - Too Much Trouble in Paradise by Michelle Betham

A fabulous comedy romance in the sun.  What more can you ask for?

Molly lives and works in Tenerife and is engaged to be married to gorgeous, generous and loving spaniard Antonio.  Her best mate Fran, also divorced, lives nearby and they have a pretty damn good life.  Molly used to be a DWAG (darts wife and girlfriend) to Paul  a darts professional, out of whose backside she used to think the sun shone until she divorced him when she found out that he was unfaithful to her.  

When her ex-husband turns up in Tenerife, declaring his undying love for her, asking her to go back to the UK with him to try to make it work all over again, she's confused and really doesn't know what to do.  Should she stay with Antonio, who makes her happy and adores her or should she try again with Paul, who, deep down, she has always been madly in love with.  But can she ever trust him again?

The trials and tribulations of should she, shouldn't she, make this a fabulous book to read, one that will take you away from anything you are currently doing and transporting you right into a starring role in the story in this sunny little bit of paradise.   

The way that Michelle describes the life that Molly and Fran live in Tenerife made me want to book a flight, pack my bags and go and join these wonderfully colourful characters in Paco's bar and watch the world go by. I'd quite like a job at Sunset Heights as well - sounds like a blast!

I really enjoyed the vivid and colourful descriptions of the places in Tenerife that they visited and it reminded me very much of a holiday I once had there, the only time I have ever been, but I think that Michelle has painted some very lovely pictures in my mind which I'll definitely be looking out for if I ever go there again! In fact after reading this book, I want to go RIGHT NOW!

The character descriptions of both Spanish Antonio and Geordie Paul were fabulous, conjuring up two very handsome but very different men and I could understand why Molly found it so difficult to choose between them.  The electric current which ran between Molly and Paul was described so well, that you could almost feel it yourself. 

I loved the character of Fran, someone you would definitely want on your side, routing for you, and the storyline was one that had you guessing what was going to happen right till the very end. 

I read this book in two sittings, because I couldn't wait to find out who she was going to choose - I'm so impatient!  And Michelle's writing left me wanting more and more of this great and funny romantic story.  And I loved all the references to Take That! Made me giggle as I was and am a massive fan!

A thoroughly enjoyable book which certainly took me to an island of sun and laughter, on this miserable, rainy, dark and dismal August Bank Holiday Monday. 

Michelle Betham was born and bred in the North East of England, although did live in Tenerife for a couple of years.  She loves darts (especially Paul Nicholson), Take That, Keanu Reeves and wine.  Sounds like a lady after my own heart.  She admits to being addicted to reality TV and loves reading books of all types of genre.  

You can follow Michelle on Twitter
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Buy this book via Amazon UK

Review - The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp by Poppy Dolan

Hilariously funny, worryingly true!

Molly lives with and loves her brother Sam dearly, but Sam is desperately unlucky at keeping the ladies in his life happy.  So she decides that she's going to help him by pointing out to him all the things that he does wrong and with the help of her friend Rachael who works in a clothes store, help him to find the love of his life, which he does very quickly!  He decides to take off to tour the world with this lovely lady and will come back to get married leaving his mom, who is a very organised business woman called Cleo, to organise the wedding.  

With Sam's room going spare, Sam's mate John who has recently split up with his girlfriend moves in and Molly feels that he needs to make a number of changes to himself and is also asked by a lot of Sam's mates to give them the same makeover treatment that she gave Sam.  With the help of Rachael who can help them in the clothes department, and their friend Josie who is a fitness instructor, they set up the Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp where people pay a subscription and they sign up for and are put through their paces for the makeover of a lifetime.  If only she could do the same for herself!

What a concept!  What a gread idea!  If only such things existed.  I'm sure there are loads of women out there in the world that would definitely consider signing their men up to this. 

This is a hilarious book, about love, family and friendship, and it was extremely entertaining.  I really laughed at many parts, and felt quite sad in others.  There was lots of emotion written into the story in all sorts of ways described really well.

Poppy created a lovely character in Molly, she's the sort of person that you would want as your best mate! And the wonderful friends Rachael and Josie, that she had around her, were great girls, really supportive to her even when her behaviour started to get a little out of hand.   I loved the way that Poppy wrote this strong friendship into the story line.  I also loved the relationship that Molly had with her brother and her mom, a really powerful family bond. All the characters were a delight to know, warm, realistic and perfectly formed. 

Her descriptions were also wonderful, making you able to picture the scenes as you were reading so that you felt part of the story and actually wanted to join in. 

Massively entertaining, this was a fabulous read and a great debut novel for author Poppy Dolan and I really wish her lots of luck for the future. 

Poppy Dolan lives in South London with her husband and what she describes as a dodgy laptop.  She enjoys cooking, eating and again in her words, mucking about on her sewing machine.  She is currently writing her second novel.

You can buy this book via Amazon by clicking here
You can follow Poppy on Twitter by clicking here
You can like Poppy on Facebook by clicking here

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Review - Yours Truly by Kirsty Greenwood

Wow!!!  What an amazing, brilliant debut novel from this wonderful author.

Natalie is the daughter of a neurotic mother who doesn't like being left alone, sister of Dionne who is a very attention seeking young lady who loves diamantes and bling and fiancee of handsome and prim and proper Olly who says she is almost perfect.  Need I say more!

Natalie's dream has always been to run a restaurant, but she had to cut short her catering classes to look after her mother.  The wedding has been booked rather quickly so mom and Dionne take charge and book all the things that she would never have chosen herself.  However, because she is so worried about hurting people's feelings she goes through her whole life putting up with things.  

That is until she is dragged along to a night out with her friend Meg, to see Amazing Brian the hypnotist and Meg is really keen to be chosen yet Brian has different plans and actually hypnotises Natalie instead to always tell the truth. 

Now this doesn't sound like it would be a massive problem, but I can assure you it is!  This new way of life of being really honest is causing havoc in her life so she traipses off with Meg to Little Trooley in search of Amazing Brian to get him to stop this charade and return her life to normal.  What she doesn't bargain for is that Brian isn't at home and also the new friends she makes at the village pub and one in particular - a big handsome hunk called Riley! 

I can honestly say that this book was a complete and utter pleasure to read.  Hilarious throughout with moments where I laughed out really loud and snorted at the same time.  Not a pretty picture I can tell you but some bits still make me laugh even later in the day.  Kirsty Greenwood appears to have the same sense of humour as I have, so it fitted really well with me and I read the whole book with a great big smile on my face. 

The character of Natalie was brilliant, really likeable and genuine, and she really didn't want to hurt people's feelings but just couldn't help it!  The chemistry between her and Riley was excellent and sizzled between the pages and they also had such fantastic fun. All the other characters were also wonderfully created, and I found the story line hilarious when she had to tell people the utmost truth when they asked her questions, which became even funnier the more personal the question, so it was a seriously funny plot. The places were fabulously described so that your imagination conjured up vivid pictures of the actual places that were written about.

It ended exactly as I wanted it to and I was really sad not to follow these wonderful characters for longer and would be ecstatic to read a sequel.  It was a book that finished far too soon for my liking as I really could have continued to read it for many more hours and I read it in one sitting because I could not bear to put it down.

I found it incredible that this is Kirsty's first book and I'm sure that in the not too distant future, she will be up at the top of the book charts with people such as Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews.   Wow, what a debut novel to create.  I cannot wait to read more of Kirsty's work and am delighted to hear that she's working on book number two. 

Kirsty Greenwood is a 30 year old writer from Greater Manchester. She's the founding editor of Female Fiction website NOVELICIOUS.COM and drinks far too much tea.

Likes: American telly, flittery book covers, green clothes, roasting potatoes, typography, 60s R&B, singing, Sunday afternoon baths, wine, Beat Sheets, reading in bed, whimsical jewellery and smiley people.

Could Do Without: The Ironside theme tune, the word Drinkie-Poos, things that are frilly, bad coffee.

Kirsty is represented by Hannah Ferguson at The Marsh Agency and is working on her second novel. 

You can like and find out more about Kirsty on facebook

You can follow her on twitter

Her website can be found at
You can buy this book via Amazon UK by clicking this link




Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Review - The Darling Girls by Emma Burstall

What a book!

This fabulous story starts in war torn Austria when a very young Leo is devastatingly taken from his family home by his mother to go to live a better life in England, but is very distressed that they are leaving his poorly young sister behind.

The story then goes to a young girl called Cat who is attending her lover Leo's funeral, trying to catch a glimpse of his wife of twenty years Victoria and their children and also wondering whether his lover Maddie is there with her daughter.

When the funeral is over and she hides out in the churchyard clearly distraught about what has happened to the man she thought that the love of her life, when Victoria appears beside her, treating her with kindness and concern and wondering whether she was okay. Maddie at this point also materialises and Victoria turns on Maddie asking whether she knew that Cat was also Leo's lover when she clearly didn't. 

Each woman thought that they were Leo's real true love. Each one led a very different life with him, and things that they thought he disliked, he liked with one of the others.  They meet up when Victoria finds things out other things about Leo's life and what he has and hasn't left behind and feels it only fair to these other two women who are connected with her in some way, to share that knowledge.

This deep and dramatic story is about how these women cope in this situation, how they have to continue with their lives although that very important person that used to be in it, isn't around any more and how they pick themselves up, dust themselves down and get on with it because they have to. 

It was a wonderful, if not an unusual, story line, excellently mapped out, with their lives taking very different directions.  Emma's writing was really superb, making the characters and the places come alive in my mind, and making me feel like I was part of the story line.  

I got completely wrapped up in the story and felt the emotions that the characters were feeling as if they were my own.  The three main characters were all extremely strong in their own way and I was totally engrossed with each and every one of them and their lives.  I particularly warmed to Victoria who was a warm, genuine and maternal character although each of them was extremely realistic and believable. 

This was a book that made me not care about what else was going on in my life.  My aim was to read that book and discover how these amazing women battled with their emotions and helped their families to grieve for a person that wasn't the person that they each thought he was and also how they behaved and coped with each other. 

There were lots of twists, turns and surprises along the way and it was a book that I would most definitely recommend and I shall be looking out for Emma's other books. Her writing is definitely a style that I like and can lose myself in. 

I loved this book, as my son says, "to the moon and back again!" I really didn't want it to end.  Although when it did, I have to say I couldn't have wished for a more perfect ending!

Emma joined me as a guest over at my blog quite recently and she grabbed some author's that she knew and asked them some fab questions.  You can read that post by clicking here. 

Emma has extensively for national newspapers and women’s magazines including the Guardian, Independent on Sunday, Red, Good Housekeeping, Woman & Home and Woman.

She read English at Cambridge University and began her career as a cub reporter on the Western Morning News in Plymouth, later becoming features editor of Woman and Family Circle.

She gets by in French and Spanish and works out – occasionally – at her local gym. After walking her youngest to school, you might also spot her jogging in Richmond Park with some friends. Slowly.

Emma lives in South West London with her husband, the political commentator Kevin Maguire, and their three children, aged 25, 20 and 10.

She’s currently working on her fourth novel.

Find out more about Emma and her books at her website

You can like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter

You can click here to buy this book

Review - Twelve Months by Steven Manchester

Twelve Months by Steven Manchester, is probably one of the most heart-wrenching, emotional books I've ever read in my entire life.

Don DiMarco has a really good life; a wife Bella that he adores, a wonderful daughter Riley and her husband Mark who he couldn't wish better for and two amazing grandchildren that complete his life.  When he finds himself feeling particularly unwell and one day goes to the doctors, he finds out he has inoperable stage 4 colon cancer and has approximately twelve months to live.

He decides that he's not going to have treatment which could prolong his life, but won't give him any quality of life.  He therefore spends the time that he has left showing his wife just how much he loves her and treats her the way he always should have, spending time with his beautiful grandchildren and showing his daughter and her husband just how much he loves them.  He lays to rest ghosts that have hung about him for too long, makes amends and peace with people he'd lost touch with and makes sure that he is kind to everyone around him trying to help people in similar and worse situations than himself. 

He makes a wish list of five things he would like to do before he dies and along with them, he experiences many beautiful moments throughout this period of his life and meets some amazing people who put his life and his wishes into complete perspective.  When he is finally sure that he has done all he can do and say all that there was to be said and that his time has come, he is taken from his family.

OMG! I think I spent the majority of this book in tears. When I say tears, I don't mean delicate little diamond drops of tears that Cheryl Cole used to do on the X Factor boot camps!  I mean heart-wrenching, shoulder-shaking, chest-heaving, nose-running, spluttering tears that I haven't cried for a very long time.  To be honest, just trying to write this review I'm finding really tough and have at this very moment tears streaming down my cheeks!

It really was the most emotional book I have ever read in my entire life. But beautiful at the same time.

It does make you wonder about your own life and that of your friends and family. About what you could do to help others to cope and to ensure that you do everything you can to make every second count, because to quote what a friend said to me recently "life does have an expiry date!"  It gives you the message to live your life to the full

It was probably made far more emotional for me to think that some of the experiences that Don DiMarco went through in his life, my dear mom went through in her battle with cancer and how hard that must have been for her, knowing that she had to say goodbye to us; her family that she loved so much and that she had spent her whole life looking after.  Unfortunately, when we found out just how ill my darling mom was, she was too ill and too weary to be able to do much at all.  And I know that somewhere deep in my heart, I have to forgive the doctor who told her that she had weeks to live, because from the moment she knew that she went rapidly downhill and that my anger towards that doctor beats me up even now!

Some people though, have their loved ones taken suddenly without being able to right all the wrongs they would always want to do.  My Nan - god bless her - always told us that we should tell people we love them, as you never know when you'll get your last chance to say it.  At least I remember my mom's last words to me were that she loved me and would always would!

Whilst I am now a total emotional wreck from reading this book, raking up my past and writing this review, I have to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and found it extremely cathartic.  I'm glad I was given the opportunity to read this magnificent book which was so beautifully written.  I read 280 pages in one sitting, then finished the last few before work this morning.  You don't want to even begin to imagine how I look today!

Thank you Steven Manchester for your wonderful, wonderful book.  I feel honoured and privilaged to have shared Don DiMarco's innermost thoughts and feelings and have been truly touched by this book. 

I do think however, that it should come with the warning "Not for the faint-hearted, you will need tissues!"  I'm off now to write a list of things I've always wanted to do and put off for whatever reason and speak to all the people I love in my life.   I'm going to live my life to the full!

Steven Manchester is the author of Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy and Jacob Evans, as well as writing several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts.  His work has appeard on many USA television and news shows.  Recently, three of Steven's short stories were selected "101 Best" for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.
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Friday, 10 August 2012

Review - Ollie The Octopus by William Banks

A fabulously entertaining and different childrens' book and what a great idea!

This is a childrens' story but not just a childrens' story.  It's also an opportunity for the children to grab their crayons and colouring pencils and join in the fun with Ollie the Octopus by colouring in the story!

You get to meet Ollie, his Mom and the Shark and the book can be whatever colour your child wants it to be.  I think this is a fabulous idea because we all read books differently and if you gave 50 people a book with a main character, and asked everyone to write down what they think the main character looked like, each one of those 50 people would probably come up with something different.  This way Ollie's life and home can be different and can everything your child wants it to be.

In this book Ollie gets into trouble with a shark and you get to find out what the outcome is.   Just the story itself is fun, the fact that you get to colour it in, makes it a double whammy for us. 

Having an Ollie of my own, who is five years old in October, made this book so pleasurable for us to read.  He loves to read books about characters with his name, and this time it's even spelt the same.  We have got some Olly Bear books, but the spelling is slightly different so this one was extra special for us and especially because the author William Banks wrote a wonderfully personal note for my Ollie at the beginning.  When my Ollie knew he could get to colour the book in, as well as read it, he said he thought it was "awesome!"

Ollie (the one that isn't an octopus!) said that this weekend, he wants to sit down with this book and colour all of it in.  Sounds good to me, think he'll be occupied in that case so I might even be able to put my feet up and do some reading of my own! Woohoo!

William Banks was 11 years old when he originally wrote and illustrated Ollie the Octopus for his friends and his classmates.   He grew up in Texas and knew that one day he would become a successful author.  He was a grand-child to a printer and painter and son of a musician and radiologist, he combined the arts and riches and he drew comics and designed books and sold them to his classmates.

He now tweets, socializes on Facebook, edits and publishes books with Safkhet Publishing, and teaches law at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England.

You can like Ollie The Octopus on Facebook

You can follow William Banks on Twitter

You can buy this book via Amazon UK

Discover Safkhet Publishing by checking out website

Review - The Au Pair by Janey Fraser

Lots of fun and wonderfully entertaining. 

When money starts to get tight, Jilly has the idea of setting up an au pair agency after hearing about some of the disastrous experiences that some of the mother's at school were having.  So she does!  What she hadn't thought about, was that the girl's might have ulterior motives for coming to England. 

The book is based around au pair Marie-France, who is searching for her father, who she knows nothing about apart from his very common name and the fact that he had met her mother when she was an au pair as a young girl herself.

Then there's Matthew, whose wife Sally has died, and whose daughter wants him all to herself and does everything in her power to drive away anyone that Matthews has to look after her. 

There's also a whole host of other young ladies, some that don't even like children, some that leave them on their own, and some that don't really know what they are even thinking of trying to be an au pair.  And then there's the mother's who think having an au pair is like having your own slave!

Janey Fraser must be a complete hoot in real life.  She has a terrific sense of humour which shines through in this story.  Because the au pair's were foreign, the way some of the words were pronounced were just hilarious and I'm still laughing about some of them even now!

It's interesting to see how different people live and also what makes people happy. What looks to be one thing might turn out to be another ! The book covers really significant and sensitive topics such as grief, parenthood, infidelity, managing work and children at the same time!  But manages to cover them all in a wonderfully understanding and in most cases humerous way.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It was a big read at 582 pages but I can honesty say that I enjoyed every single one of them.  Just reading the first page, which was an application later from an au pair made me settle myself down knowing this was going to be a fantastic read.  And it certainly was exactly that!

Janey Fraser is a pen name for Jane Bidder who has been a journalist for over 25 years and contributes regularly to national newspapers and magazines including The Daily Telegraph and Woman. 

This is her second book following The Playgroup, which I shall definitely be looking out for.

She has also published books under the pen name Sophie King.

You can read more about Janey at her website

You can like Janey on Facebook

You can follow Janey on Twitter

You can buy this book via Amazon UK

Review - A Sacred Storm by Dominic C James

Wow! The third book in the Reiki Man trilogy had quite a lot to live up to as the first two books were utterly phenomenal.  And it lived up to every single one of my expectations.

A mysterious healer appears in Mecca claiming to be The Mahdi, the Muslim redeemer.

In Rome, The Vatican announce a young priest called Christian as The Messiah.

Each of these two huge religions feel that the other is a fake. In Rome they set out to prove that they are the real thing. Panic breaks out across the whole of the world and battle commences. Who will come out as the real thing and what happens to the world before World War 3 breaks out!

This book was just amazing.  I normally find it difficult to believe things that are a little unusual in my world yet this book and Dominic's writing never ceases to amaze me and conjures up such imaginative pictures that actually astound me.  

This whole trilogy is probably one of the best trilogies in the history of writing in my eyes.  I could imagine each one of these books being made into amazing films and would be unbelievable on a big screen.

I have looked forward to this book for such a long time and was so very pleasantly surprised when it landed on my doormat earlier last week without warning. I apologise to any of the authors who are in a queue to have their books reviewed  but I had to read this book immediately!

I have been thinking since I read the last book about what had happened to the characters as the ending seemed very final. I found out what happened and finally my mind was put at rest.

Dominic C. James is a writer and Reiki Master and he lives in Banbury. He has been a singer/songwriter in various indie bands, and has scratched a living as a freelance writer, barman, draughtsman and factory worker. On being made redundant two years ago he committed himself to full-time writing.

The Reiki Man (review here) was his first full-length novel, and combines his passion for all things spiritual with his passion for all things temporal. He keeps a foot firmly placed in both worlds. He wants to bring practices such as Reiki to a wider audience by conveying Eastern ideals in an entertaining context.  The second in the trilogy was called Fear of the Fathers.  (review here). 

Dominic's website is

You can buy all of Dominic's books via here

You can follow Dominic on Twitter

You can like Dominic on Facebook 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Interview with the fabulous author Victoria Connelly

I'm delighted to be joined on my blog today by the fabulous author Victoria Connelly.  I've reviewed a couple of her books.  My review of The Runaway Actress can be found here and my review of The Perfect Hero can be found here.   
Both of these books were brilliant reads and I loved them both as you will find out from my reviews.  Victoria has now launched a fantasy trilogy which is available on Kindle called It's Magic:  'Flights of Angels', 'Unmasking Elena Montella' and 'Three Graces'.

These books were first published in Germany and 'Flights of Angels' was made into a film there which was really exciting for her.   This is the first time the books have all appeared together in the English language in this collection It’s Magic.

I interviewed Victoria recently and asked her a few questions about being a writer and wanted to share my answers with my readers and also want to say a great big thank you to Victoria for being featured on my blog. 

Thanks so much for joining me today Victoria.  I'd like to start by asking you who or what gave you the inspiration to become a writer?
As far as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a writer.  I used to make up my own versions of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five stories and I started writing my first novel when I was fourteen – bashing it out on a manual typewriter, Tipex bottle by my side, and giving it to my friends to read during Maths lessons at school!

If you weren't a writer, what would you like to do?
Go mad!  Seriously, I’d probably like to work in conservation – taking care of animals, the countryside or old historic buildings.  Or something in the film industry.  I’ve always wondered what it would be like to work in Jim Henson’s creature workshop!

Where do you write?
We’ve just moved house and I have my own study at long last!  It’s at the front of our cottage and looks out over a pretty garden to fields full of horses.  It’s lovely and quiet and it’s lined with books and lots of photographs and paintings.  I feel very lucky.  I used to have to share a room with my husband and – er – that didn’t work very well at all!

How do you keep managing to think of new plots/storylines?
It’s impossible not to!  I have so many ideas and there isn’t enough time to write everything I want to but that’s a blessing, I guess.  Ideas come from all sorts of places – usually they start with a subject I’m passionate about like my love of Jane Austen which inspired A Weekend with Mr Darcy, The Perfect Hero and Mr Darcy Forever.
They can also be inspired by events in my life too.  My new e-book collection of three magical rom coms - It’s Magic - contains Flights of Angels about a young widow who has a group of tiny guardian angels to take care of her.  It was inspired by my husband being sent to a war zone as a news cameraman just six weeks after our wedding.  I truly believed I was going to become a widow and that’s what inspired Flights of Angels – my fear of losing my husband. 
Three Graces – also in the collection It’s Magic, began with my obsession for old country houses.  It’s about a young woman who marries a duke and goes to live in his (haunted) ancestral home.  I’ve always wondered what it would be like in a really enormous house.

Can you guide us through your whole process of writing a book from the first idea through to publication?

It’s very messy at first – I make a spider diagram of all my characters’ names on a piece of plain A4 paper and then make loads of random notes and start a very rough outline of the book.  I then start writing – pretty much in chronological order but not always – doing three drafts before sending it to my editor who makes notes on it and sends it back.  Another draft later and it’s just about done. 
Then the exciting bit happens and you get to see your cover and the proofs which is the book all set out neatly, just needing proof-read.  The really magical day is when a box full of your author copies arrives and you see it and hold it for the first time.  That’s always an amazing moment!

What sort of books do you like to read? Do you have a favourite author?

My favourite novel is HE Bates’s The Darling Buds of May – a lovely romantic comedy about a family who live in rural Kent.  I also adore Miss Read’s Fairacre books, anything by Sophie Kinsella, Freya North, Amy Tan and Rosamunde Pilcher.  But I’ll occasionally break from women’s fiction and read a thriller.  I love Scott Mariani’s Ben Hope books!

You've recently moved from London, to the Suffolk countryside?  How are you getting on in your new part of the world?
I absolutely adore being in Suffolk.  London didn’t suit me at all although it was handy for publishers’ parties!  We live in a very quiet village now and have some fantastic walks from our cottage.  We have a beautiful garden full of fruit trees and I’m planting a phenomenal amount of roses!  I was brought up in East Anglia so I feel as if I’ve come home at last.

How do you find the whole social media phenomenon now from an author's point of view.  Is it a help or a hindrance? 

I have to say that I’m a bit of a fan of Facebook and Twitter.  You can find me on both (@VictoriaDarcy on Twitter) and I’m forever posting up photos on FB of our hens and the countryside.  This can, of course, distract you from the actual business of writing but it’s also wonderful to connect with readers this way and it’s great to give them a shout when your new books come out.  Publishers are very happy to encourage this!

I've seen some posts on Facebook about you keeping battery hens - how many do you have and how long have you had them? Are they hard work to look after?
We started off with four ex-battery hens in February 2011.  Alas, only one is still with us – dear old Dotty.  Ex-bats don’t have a long lifespan as they’re worked so hard in the factories for the first eighteen months of their lives. 

We rehomed three more hens back in April (Mariette, Primrose and Little Flo – named after characters in The Darling Buds of May!) so we have four again now but I’d like to get some posh hens too some time. 
Hens are such great characters.  They’re curious and cheeky and never fail to make me smile and they’re very easy to look after.  Ours free-range in the garden and, other than eating my geraniums and chasing our spaniel, they’re no bother at all.

If you could be a pantomime character, who would you be and why?

Anyone who gets to dress up in a big, fancy frock.  I’m such a girl!
To read more about this lovely lady and her fabulous books, her website address is

You can buy this book via Amazon by clicking here.

Review - Grandma Bendy by Izy Penguin

A colourful and amusing story about a very bendy Grandma who has super stretchy legs and twizzly arms. 

Granda Bendy used to be a burglar, using these amazing arms and legs to get into houses easily, but when she gets burgled herself, and loses everything she ever had, she realises that she has done wrong and hands herself into the police. 

She knows that she did wrong and has paid the price for it, so when she's released from prison, she decides she's not going to be bendy anymore!

But someone needs her help; when her neighbour gets locked out of her house, Grandma Bendy is able to help by using her bendiness to let her in.  She then decides that she's only going to ever use her bendiness to help others. 

Grandma Bendy is written and beautifully illustrated by first time author Izy Penguin.  She must be a very clever lady if she can write as well as illustrate so fantastically.   The drawings are fabulously colourful and perfectly matched to the story. 

My nearly five year old little boy Oliver said that he liked the story.  He said that he wished he was as bendy as Grandma Bendy and he'd love to play Hide & Seek with her.  He thought that it was good that she handed herself over to the police (Oliver's daddy is a policeman so he's very fond of the police!) and he particularly liked the colourful pictures.  When I asked him if there was anything in particular that he liked about the book, he said "just all of it!"

When we finished the story we had to read it again, then again, and then again!

The conclusion therefore was, it was a hit!

To find out more about this author, her website can be found here. 

You can follow Izy Penguin on Twitter

You can buy this book by clicking here

This book was published by Maverick Books, you can find out more about their other fabulous books by clicking here.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Signing Event in Lichfield for author Carol E Wyer

Abbots Bromley award winning author Carol E. Wyer will be launching 'Surfing in Stilettos' in Lichfield this month and will be appearing at a book signing/talk/reading at the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum and Bookshop, Breadmarket Street, Lichfield at 11am on Tuesday 14thAugust.

Carol’s humorous novels take a light-hearted look at getting older, encouraging others to appreciate life and attempt to "age disgracefully". Her best-selling debut novel 'Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines' launched last year, won five awards including Readers Views Reviewers Choice 2012 Award (category - humour) and won Silver medal for both the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the Indie Excellence Awards 2012.
The sequel 'Surfing in Stilettos' which follows the further adventures of Amanda Wilson as she attempts to inject some fun into her life, is a Costa Award nominee.

Carol is a featured author and associate editor who writes regularly for on-line magazines and author websites Indies Unlimited and Famous Five Plus.

To learn more about Carol, go to or follow Carol on Twitter: @carolewyer. Carol blogs at

Review - Surfing in Stilettos by Carol E Wyer

Reading this book was like taking a breath of fresh french air!

It follows on from Mini Skirts & laughter Lines by Carol which I read and reviewed last year and my review can be found by clicking here.

Amanda and grumpy Phil have left their dopey son Tom in charge of their home and have headed off for a gap-year in a camper-van  in search of happiness. Instead of finding joy at being with each other for 24 hours a day, cooped up in a small space, with nowhere to escape to, they find that they are actually getting right on each others nerves! The highlight of Amanda's life is her weekly Skype chat with her Mom who, even though she's an OAP, certainly does know how to enjoy herself!

Tom constantly texting his troubles from home, and the motor-home breaking down and them discovering that it won't be fixed for a few weeks really is the final straw and they end up staying in a holiday house of someone that they met and dog sitting Ted!

Amanda finds a new friend in Bibi who is trying to find a way to stop her husband's womanising ways once and for all but with a disasterous outcome.  And over in Australia, Todd realises that Amanda really is the love of his life and tries to get in touch to tell her before it's too late!

All these things lead to a hilariously funny story that will have your cheeks and your sides aching from laughing, conjuring up vivid pictures from the way the author fabulously describes the vivacious characters and wonderful story. 

At one point, I could actually feel the warm sunshine on my face, as I sat outside the lovely cottage they were staying in, in the gorgeous countryside, with Amanda drinking a glass of lovely french red and working through her worries.  I love reading a book which makes you feel part of it!

Carol's work is bright, lively, witty and thoroughly enjoyable with a lot of laughs thrown into a story which has a strong message behind it which is that life isn't ever over and that it doesn't matter what age you are, you can still live your life to the full and appreciate what you've got.   It also shows that things aren't always what they seem!

If my lovely mom was still alive today, I know that she would adore Carol's writing and the subject particularly of being older and retired.  My poor mom work as long as she could before she was too ill, because she said my my dad would have driven her bonkers all day if she was stuck at home with him.  I've thought about her loads while reading Carol's books and how much I know that she would have enjoyed them.  

This book was loads of fun, extremely entertaining and a real pleasure to read. Carol E Wyer has an incredible sense of humour which really shines through in her stories. 

Carol’s humorous novels take a light-hearted look at getting older, encouraging others to appreciate life and attempt to "age disgracefully". Her best-selling debut novel 'Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines' launched last year, won five awards including Readers Views Reviewers Choice 2012 Award (category - humour) and won Silver medal for both the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the Indie Excellence Awards 2012.

Carol is a featured author and associate editor who writes regularly for on-line magazines and author websites Indies Unlimited and Famous Five Plus.

Find out more about Carol at her website

You can read Carol's blog

You can follow Carol on Twitter

You can like Carol on Facebook

You can buy this book via Amazon

Friday, 3 August 2012

Angelic Wisdom Trilogy by Richard Holmes

Today, I'm delighted to tell you all about Richard Holmes' promotion which is being held this weekend (3rd to 5th August).  You'll find details about his Angelic Wisdom Trilogy below and you can also read an extract from the book.
Richard is a wonderful man and a brilliant author and I was lucky enough last year to be invited to review his amazing book Astral Travelling, The Avatar and Me.  My review of that book can be found here.  
I also met Richard earlier this year and experienced one of his guided meditations.  I've always struggled to meditate before, as my mind normally goes off in all directions, but with Richard's guided help, I was completely blown away! And I don't mind admitting that it brought me to tears!
This wonderful trilogy of angelic insights started life back in 2002, and was originally three separate volumes.  It is a delightful piece of work that allows the reader to take a peek into the very souls of these truly amazing celestial beings that we like to refer to as angels. 
The first part of the book goes into great detail as to how the angels function and what they actually do for the Earth and mankind in general.  Part two gives a deep insight into spiritual (natural) law and answers the kind of questions that tend to keep the average mere mortal frustrated and in the dark.  For example, have you ever wondered why you continuously seem to attract the same kinds of people into your life that always cause you hurt and pain? This question and many more are dealt with within the pages of part two.  There are also question and answer sessions in parts one and two, between the author and his celestial guardian, that are both thought provoking and interesting to say the least.  Finally, part three consists entirely of such a session and deals with matters that the author felt remained unanswered from the previous two volumes. This book will change your life; you can’t afford NOT to read it.


Intention is probably the most important thing in any thought, feeling or deed that you conceive, in that it is the intention behind the thought, feeling or deed that determines the outcome. The outcome in this case meaning the level of cause and effect. There have been many deeds carried out with good intentions that have not yielded desirable results. However, this does not necessarily mean that the perpetrators have acquired a degree of negative karma by their actions. It is what is in your heart that counts.
Your intentions count for everything, and this is a very important truth to grasp for all those who seek a pathway of light. Once you conceive a thought there is a simultaneous interaction between the mind and the heart. In this minute moment in time, your intentions behind the thought are determined. Remember, we have spoken previously about today’s thoughts being tomorrow’s reality. As soon as the thought is conceived it goes out into the ether and will manifest itself at some stage or other. This means that if you have a thought based on good intentions, but for various reasons forget to carry out the actions behind the thought, there is every chance that the manifestation of the good actions will take place anyway. For example, if you know of someone who is under the weather and needs healing, it may be your intention, via your thoughts, to send this person absent healing (please see the section on healing for an explanation of this). If you then forget it won’t matter because the thought has already gone out into the ether. Your angels in the higher spiritual realms will pick up on this and act in accordance with your thoughts.
Everything is created by the thoughts of man. Humans create all situations for themselves by the power of their thoughts. Life on the Earth plane is most definitely an illusion, but the actions of humans are the product of previous thoughts, which in turn became feelings and then actions. Today’s thoughts create tomorrow’s life; we have stated this on many previous occasions. Humans are slaves to their own thoughts. The human mind will “steal” your happiness and create for you unhappiness based on illusion. By the same token humans can also experience joy whilst on Earth. The thing to remember is that matter is constantly in motion and is driven by the thoughts of humankind. It’s like a child having a piece of plasticine and constantly creating different objects from the same piece. The plasticine itself will always remain the same but the object created will always be in accordance with the child’s imagination. This is the illusion. Everything on the Earth plane is comprised of matter, which is concentrated energy. The energy will always be constant, but the scenarios of people’s lives will always be a product of their thoughts. Thoughts are very confusing and changeable; therefore the illusion will change too. This is why some people appear to go from disaster to disaster throughout their lives.

About Richard Holmes

Richard is a medium and clairvoyant and also the author of spiritual books and producer of meditation CD’s that have helped to change the lives of many people from all walks of life. Only 12 years ago he was still struggling with an alcohol problem that was threatening to take his life in a very negative direction from which there would have been no return. These days he uses the same principles that enabled him to turn his life around and apply them to his client’s individual needs.
Richard says "I help people replace the old negative mindsets, that keep them rooted in the past, with new positive thoughts and attitudes that enable them to get what they dream about having and being in their lives. By drawing on my own life experience I help people to grow and realise their true worth and potential; helping them to express themselves in ways that make them feel happy and fulfilled." "People contact me when they are at a crossroads in their lives or when they feel they are stuck in a particular negative situation. It may also be because they are experiencing grief due to the loss of a loved one or they may simply be in search of some guidance of a spiritual nature. Whatever the reason, I always aim to make people feel at ease so that they can enjoy the experience. I also help people to realise the gifts of clairvoyance, mediumship and healing that are present within themselves."

"This can be on a one-to-one or group basis and is achieved through guided meditation and other methods of inner work."

If you would like to find out more about this amazing man, you can visit his website.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Review - In Her Shadow by Louise Douglas

An incredible book from an amazing author!

This book starts in Bristol in the current time where Hannah who works in a museum thinks she has seen a ghost from her past.

It then travels back to twenty years ago when Hannah and her friend Jago live in Cornwall and meet a young girl called Ellen who becomes part of their lives. Dramatic and always wanting to be the centre of attention, Ellen was complicated and hard work where Hannah's life was simple and easy. 

When the friendship between the three of them changed and became complex, deceit and tragedy hit them and changed their lives forever.

The books flits between now and then in a delightful explanation of Hannah's feelings, concerns and obsession with Ellen and twenty years on, how the ghosts of the past continued to haunt her.

This was a love story that was full of memories, mystery and intrigue.  It was dark and it was deep. It was full of passion and emotion. It was magical and mystical.  It twisted and it turned.  It was simply superb.

Louise is such a skilled author that the characters and the settings came alive before my very eyes and I can still see and hear them even now.  Even the covers of her books are beautiful and entice you to read straight away.  I could not put this book down!

The plot was outstanding. There were many moments where I held my breath not knowing what was coming next and I had no clue whatsoever as to what was going to happen. The end was a complete surprise that I had never even contemplated.  A lovely surprise I will add!

This book was an absolute pleasure to read and  I could have carried on reading it forever! Stunning! Positively stunning!

Last year I read another of Louise's books called The Secrets Between Us and my review of that can be found if you click here.

I can't wait to read more of this author's work.  I hear that she's working on her fifth book and I shall SO look forward to finding out more about it.  You kind of feel privilaged to have to read her work and if you never have - you really are missing something very special!

You can vote for this book in this year's Richard & Judy Summer Book Club by clicking here.

Sheffield born Louise moved to Somerset when she was 18 and has stayed there ever since. She lives with her three beautiful sons, and husband, Kevin. She always dreamt of being a published author and in 2006, her life allowed her to write and she began The Love of My Life, writing each evening after work.  It took her six months to complete and she submitted it to agents.  Marianne Gunn O’Connor called to say she liked the story and very soon after, thanks to Marianne and her co-agent Vicki Satlow, Louise had a contract for two books with Pan Macmillan.

In 2010, Louise joined Transworld, who published her third book, The Secrets Between Us. This book was selected for the Richard and Judy Summer Read 2012 which was an amazing experience for Louise.  Louise met Richard and Judy in London (!!!), was overwhelmed by their enthusiasm for books and reading, and had an amazing day with her Transworld and WH Smith colleagues.

Louise still has her day job with aircraft manufacturer Airbus. She works with some brilliant people and is passionate about aviation, engineering and sustainability. She continues to write her fiction in the evenings and sometimes through the night.

In her spare time, Louise enjoys being with her family and friends, reading and walking. She goes out into the Mendips as often as possible with the family’s dogs Lil, and new addition, Lola.
Learn more about Louise and her books at her website