Monday, 25 November 2013

Review - Grumpy Old Menopause by Carol E Wyer

Carol E Wyer is one of the funniest authors I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Her account of life is so accurate, so hilarious and so entertaining. Thus book us no exception! Full of witty and useful tips of how to cope through a time that we know is coming and from the age of around 40 we probably all wonder if daily occurrences are the start of our fateful journey! Written in a very light-hearted way, this us a book that all women of a certain age should keep in their handbag! 

If you know a woman, will have to come into contact with a woman or are a woman, this book could help you get through the rest of your life! 

Here's blurb about this brilliant book: 

Have you started to write post-it notes with your kids' names on them? Do you need to change your underwear after every sneeze? Guess it's time to read this book then. It'll help you get through "that" time in your life with a spring in your step and a smile on your face.

With numerous suggestions, sensible advice and amusing anecdotes, Grumpy Old Menopause will help you sail through that tricky part of a woman's life with ease and humour. It should prevent you from turning into Mrs Crabby or worse still, a demonic monster.

"An excellent mix of humour and sound advice. This book is a must-read for all women ... I highly recommend Grumpy Old Menopause. It is the perfect blend of humour and excellent advice to help all women sail through the menopause." - Nicky Snazell, Fi STOP Consultant Physiotherapist in Spinal Pain, Fellow of Institute for the Study and Treatment of Pain. International Lecturer in Pain and Health. 

Excerpt from Grumpy Old Menopause

Have you started to write post-it notes with your kids' names on them? Do you need to change your underwear after every sneeze? Guess it's time to read this book then. It'll help you get through "that" time in your life with a spring in your step and a smile on your face. (Yeah right!)

I hit puberty late in life. When I say late, I mean late. Every girl in my class had huge breasts, Bic disposable razors, and boyfriends, and giggled a lot about sex. I was behind the times and my body didn't transform until I was about seventeen.

Now, I am in my fifties and I am still a late developer. All my friends journeyed through the miserable menopause several years ago while I trailed behind.

At least I was able to amass a stack of information to help me transit this time with the minimum of woe and bad temper. I learned much from my friends and have discovered that you can get through the menopause without wanting to rip off people's heads or lying in bed with terrible cramps.

This guide will help you when your other half and your family don't seem to understand what is happening to you. It will ease your mind, when you are awake at night, wondering if you are the only woman in the universe to be swimming in a puddle of sweat with your heart palpitating. This little book will help you sail through a tricky part of a woman's life with ease and humour. It should prevent you from turning into Mrs Crabby or worse still, a demonic monster.

I would make sure you haven't got any sharp knives around the house though just in case I happen to be wrong.

Menopause is one of those life changes. How we handle it is up to us. Whether we choose to use hormone therapy replacement, whether we set up our own physical and mental regime through exercise, diet, or other means, or whether we decide to "go it alone" and just ride it out until it's hopefully over, we are entirely responsible for the daily attitude we carry throughout this time.

The menopause often occurs at a time in our lives when most, if not all, of our children are leaving or have left the nest. (For some, it unfortunately happens when their off-spring are going through puberty which can cause fireworks.) We may begin to feel needed less. Our purpose in life seems to have left, along with its dirty washing and noisy music. It is a time when we might begin to question what lies ahead.

Now that we have more time to ourselves we may begin to notice those indicators of age: facial wrinkles, the drooping turkey neck, and the triceps that are turning into the infamous "bingo wings". It's not a very appealing picture. However, we should not be concerned with the "old" woman who is staring at us in the mirror. We should concentrate on the "new" woman on the inside.

What can we do to get through this phase of our lives? Surprisingly there is much that we can do to stop blowing up at people and having a rough ride. We can take measures to look after ourselves and ensure we do not get too overwhelmed by what is happening to our bodies. However, the best medicine of all is laughter.

So, without further ado, sit back with a small glass of wine, a large box of chocolates and this book.

Question: What can a husband do when his wife is going through menopause?
Answer: Keep busy. If he's handy with tools, he can finish the basement. Then when he's finished, he'll have a place to live.

You can buy this book via Amazon UK

Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines

Surfing in Stilettos

How Not to Murder Your Grumpy

Just Add Spice

Grumpy Old Menopause

Tutorials and Tools for Prospering in a Digital Age (Contributing Author)

Indies Unlimited 2012 Flash Fiction Anthology(Contributing Author)

First Chapters (Contributing Author)

You can follow Carol on Twitter at 

Interview with Holly Kingston, author of A Cinderella Christmas

Delighted today to be joined by Holly Kingston, author of A Cinderella Christmas. It is such a good read, great fun, lots of laughs and very entertaining. Holly agreed to be interrogated, oops sorry, I mean interviewed by me about what inspired her to write this book and about her writing journey. So, let's grab a coffee and have a chat. Ladies and gents, let me introduce you to the lovely Holly Kingston. 

Have you ever been involved with amateur dramatics at all?

Yes! I was in a few pantomimes and plays when I was much younger.

I still get nostalgic whenever I watch any theatre production. I’m almost tempted to jump upon stage and join in! But I appreciate there’s a medium - to high risk - of me being manhandled by security. And they’d probably confiscate my Fruit Pastilles. 

I do miss it though. There’s an infectious buzz about being in the theatre, and I love being backstage, it’s like being part of a huge secret. Those feelings were a huge influence when writing A Cinderella Christmas.


If you could be any stage character who would you be and why?

If I could sing... and if I could roller skate...I’d quite like to be in Starlight Express. I love the bit when the cast whizz into the audience in those crazy costumes. It’d be fun! But clearly my inability to sing and skate is seriously restricting my musical theatre career. To be fair I would be a complete liability trying to move around on tiny wheels. Grace and balance are not on my list of positive attributes.


Who would your favourite leading man be?

If it were a romantic role then I think George Clooney would get the gig. If it were more of a gritty action man role, then I’d quite like Colin Farrell please. And if my main man was solving a ridiculously complex, impossible crime, then it would have to be BenedictCumberbatch. *sighs*


Where did you get the inspiration for this story? 

It all started with the cow suit. I was thinking of unusual seasonal jobs. And the back end of the panto cow popped into my head. Poor Lucy, from her very conception as a character she was already stuck in that suit. I do think she handles herself with remarkably dignity though! She does get put through the wringer a bit in the book!


What has been your writing journey? 

Even as a kid I enjoyed writing, but my first attempt at writing a novel was about ten years ago. It wasn’t a great attempt. I managed an entire chapter before giving up. I’ve kept that chapter hidden away in a filing cabinet. It makes for horrible reading. After that I put a lot of time into reading books on how to write. Probably too much time! Then about six years ago I started writing regularly. A novel, then a sitcom pilot, then a few short films, then a feature film, a couple of plays, then I reedited the book...a few times! It took me until last November to even consider approaching an agent. It’s quite an intimidating thing to do. And you have to write a synopsis. That bit’s almost harder than writing the flippin book!


What do you like to read? 

Humorous fiction is my favourite, but I will read most genres if they have well crafted characters and a good pace. Hmmm, looking at my book shelf now, I can see a predominance of, Marian Keyes, Nick HornbyDavid Nicholls, and Janet Evanovich.


Do you write full time or write alongside a day job? If so, what do you do? 

I have a freelance sales job which involves me travelling around to visit lovely clients, to have a nice natter, and sometimes a cup of coffee. If I’m given a biscuit too then I am over the moon. If someone gives me a piece of cake, it’s like Christmas dayApparently I shouldn’t rate my efficiency by the number of coffees and biscuits I’ve consumed, but to me that’s a sign of a good day!

Writing full time would be amazing though. Think of all the coffees I could have if I were home alone with my kettle?!?


If you could meet a well known author who would you pick and why? 

I would have loved to have met the late Roald Dahl. Just to say thank you. I grew up with the Twits, Witches, and Giant Peaches! He must have had the most fabulous mind.


What can we expect next from Holly Kingston? 

I might try and learn to sing and roller skate so that I can audition for Starlight Express. But on a more practical note I think I’ll stick to drinking coffee and typing. I’m quite proficient asitting down and I’m highly addicted to writing.

I’m currently half way through my next novel and I’m really enjoying the characters. Hopefully it’ll ready for human consumption very soon!

Thank you very much for all the lovely questions!

Here's the blurb about the book:

Lucy Tilley dreams of a career in show business. But this isn’t quite what she had in mind …

This year’s Cinderella pantomime is the hottest production in town. What’s more, Lucy is starring alongside Ryan Aspall: famous TV actor, sex symbol and potential love of her entire life. One teeny problem – Lucy is tripping the light fantastic as … the back end of the comedy cow. Surely nothing kills a flirty moment quite like wearing a massive set of udders?

At least she has the support of glamorous (if potentially flammable) Charmaine; a reality star diva of a Cinderella, who Lucy is completely fascinated by. But behind the fame and beauty, Charmaine is not all she seems.

With more drama off the stage than on it, and everyone wanting to be star of the show, will Lucy find the confidence to make it out of the cow suit and into the spotlight this Christmas?

You can follow Holly on Twitter@HollyKWriter.

You can buy this book via Amazon UK

Monday, 18 November 2013

Review - Solomon's Tale by Sheila Jeffries

What a delightful story, but it should come with a warning - you may need tissues!
I first read this book last year, but was delighted when I was contacted to say that this beautiful book had been spotted by a top agent (Judith Murdoch) and was bought by Harper Collins for their Avon Books imprint. 
It is therefore, with my very greatest pleasure, that I was invited to review a longer copy of this enchanted and magical book. 
Solomon is a healing cat from the spirit world who is sent back to earth to be born again with the sole purpose of helping Ellen and her family.  When his soul decides that he wants to be born again, he embarks upon an important and interesting adventure to find and help his precious Ellen who lives with her husband Joe, their son John and their very naughty cat Jessica.  John has a foul temper and gets the family into financial difficulties but Ellen stands by him and when they lose everything they own, they start again in a small caravan. 
Solomon and Jessica have fallen in love and while Ellen works hard so that they all have a nice life, John drinks and feels sorry for himself all the time and can be abusive towards Ellen both verbally and physically.  Solomon is a healing cat and his healing ways bring healing, love and promise to this family but it all gets too much for Ellen to cope with and she becomes very ill.  Solomon is guided by his angel who he sees and hears and who advises him how to deal with particular circumstances.

There was such a lot of emotion in this lovely tale.  The love story between Jessica and Solomon is wonderfully told and Jessica’s appalling behaviour is quite hilarious at times. To talk about a love story between two cats sounds a bit bizarre but it really works well. 

The story is actually told by Solomon which takes a little getting used to, but once I did, I really enjoyed the book and found it extremely emotional in parts with some very upsetting topics throughout, yet it was an absolute pleasure to read how this wonderful healing cat had such an impact on this families lives. 

At the end of the book I cried and cried.  In fact, I have to admit that I sobbed but in a good way and for a nice reason if that makes sense!  What an amazing book!  It covers the topics of reincarnation, spirituality, angels and death beautifully.  I think this would be a good book to help children understand when a pet dies and help them feel a whole lot better about that situation.  In fact the way that she described when an animal dies made me think about that happening when my mom died and that made me feel a whole lot better about that too!

I’m not a massive cat fan yet this book still appealed to me so you clearly don’t have to be a cat lover to get and love this book as much as I did.  It really was a delightful tale of a love story between two cats and a cat and its owner.   Simply beautiful!

Sheila Jeffries the author has a lovely style of writing, very relaxed and enjoyable.   The words flowed well with the pages turning themselves and I read it very quickly.   I can't review this book and not comment on the cover which is just one of the most sparkliest, beautiful covers ever! Matches perfectly the magical story.

This book was inspired by Sheila’s own cats and experiences that have happened in her life and it’s a book that could be read and enjoyed by both adults and children alike. 
Sheila Jeffries wrote four full length children’s novels which were published before she left school. After studying at Bath Academy of Art, she trained as a teacher and taught special needs children.  She started to write again full time in 1982, and had a further eight children’s books published.  

A more recent project was a commissioned Mind Body & Spirit book called Talking to Fairies. Sheila is also an amazing artist and has had exhibitions in London and the West Country.  In the 90’s she moved to Cornwall and had her own studio selling her paintings, cards and books and there she developed her interest is esoteric subjects, particularly healing and sacred geometry.  This led her to discover a new landscape zodiac in Cornwall and to publish three books on the topic. 
Sheila Jeffries has brought up a family, helped to run a small-holding, and planted a fifty acre wood with her husband Ted. In her spare time she likes to study ley lines, Feng Shui, and ecology. She writes and reads poetry and has won a number of prizes including the Southern Daily Echo Poetry Trophy and the Writers Forum Prize. Now living in Somerset, Sheila is writing some new books for children, an adult saga, and two non-fiction Mind Body Spirit books and also runs writing workshops. 

You can learn more about her at her website
You can buy the book via Amazon UK.

Review & Giveaway - It's Got To Be Perfect by Haley Hill

When Ellie Rigby hurls her three-carat engagement ring into the gutter, she is certain of only one thing, that she has yet to know true love.
Following months of disastrous internet dates and conflicting advice from her dysfunctional friends, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Although now, instead of just looking for a man for herself, she's certain her life's purpose is to find deep and meaningful love for all the singles in the world.
Five years on, running the UK's biggest matchmaking agency, and with thousands of engagements to her name, she has all the answers she needs. She knows why eighty-five percent of relationships fail. She knows why twenty-eight is the most eligible age for a woman. She knows that by thirty-five she'll have only a thirty-percent chance of marriage.
Most of all, she knows that no matter what, it has to be perfect. Or does it?
This was a thoroughly entertaining book.  I really enjoyed reading it.  It was full of laughs and full of energy.  There was never a dull moment or a lull in the story which was constantly full-on. 

Hayley has a lovely writing style which lead to me picking the book up at every possible opportunity and she takes real life experiences and writes some of them in a light-hearted way and others in a really dramatic way.  She seems to take issues that I know between me and my friends we've all experienced and tackle them head-on.  I did have moments when I thought she may have been listening to my friends and I when we've been chatting about everyday life! She has certainly done her research!

I shall really look forward to reading more of Hayley's work in the future. 

For your chance to win one of three signed paperback copies please click on the following link and follow the instructions. Good luck!! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Reviews
Finalist - readers' Favorite (US) Book Awards
Finalist - Best Dating Book 2013
‘As deliciously gossipy as it gets’--Sadie Nicholas, journalist
‘High drama and lots of laughs’--Susan Quilliam, Fabulous Magazine

‘Hilarious and so very, very true’ -- James Preece, The Dating Guru


Chapter Fourteen
‘Blonde hair, blue eyes and big tits,’ he said to Mia.
Fortunately for him, in the four years we’d worked together, she had
learned to temper her eye rolls and her expression was fixed at
something that could have even been described as earnest.
‘Would you consider green eyes?’ Mia asked.
‘No,’ he said, pushing up his sleeves to reveal a diamond encrusted
Rolex. ‘I dated someone with green eyes once. It didn’t work
I continued typing on my keyboard on the table next to them,
brushing the hair away from my face to sneak a sideways glance at
He wore a shiny grey suit, the garish end of Gucci. His watch
was obnoxiously bling like a bank balance on his wrist, his hair: blond,
highlighted. Tan: deep, natural. Eyes: blue, sparkling. Smile: cheeky,
lopsided. Teeth: even, white. Age: I’d guess, thirty-seven. Height:
around 5ft 7in, unfortunate considering his other physical attributes.
Body language: overtly male, legs splayed, hand near crotch, shoulders
wide. Eye contact: good. Champagne choice: predictably expensive.
Overall assessment: inflated ego, directly proportional to, and fully
dependent on, his net assets.
I looked over at Mia, watching how her dark hair hid her face
as she leant over a notepad and began writing. He sat opposite her, his
hands miming two large beach balls.
‘Like this,’ he said, a self-satisfied smile sweeping across his
face. ‘Are you looking?’
Mia raised her head and the curtain lifted. I could tell she was
fighting to suppress an emotion. I supposed it was either amusement
or rage, but I couldn’t quite tell.
‘Yes, got it,’ she replied. ‘Please continue.’
‘And I like nipples that point upwards.’
‘Upwards-pointing nipples,’ she said, scribbling away.
‘And I prefer pink to brown.’
‘Preferably pink.’ She paused and looked up, eyes narrowed.
‘Is that a deal breaker? The pink nipples?’
He weighed his head from side to side and I pictured a tiny
cluster of brain cells rolling around inside his skull.
‘Yes. Definitely pink. I’m not fussed which shade.’
‘There are shades?’
‘Of course, from light pink, like the colour of your nail
varnish, to a dark pink, a bit like your lipstick.’
‘Wow, you learn something every day.’
‘I’m surprised you didn’t know that.’
‘Yes, you being a –’
‘No, being a woman. You must have seen hundreds of your
friends’ nipples.’
‘My friends don’t have hundreds of nipples.’
‘You know what I mean.’
‘Oh, you mean all those topless pillow fights we have?’
He nodded and winked.
She locked him with Medusa eyes. ‘Right, now your turn.’
‘What else do you need to know?’
She ripped out a sheet of paper from her notepad and slid it
across the table along with a pen. ‘Draw an outline of your penis for
me, please.’
‘An outline?’ he asked.
I giggled inwardly and wondered if he had selected the wrong
word for clarification.
‘Yes, sketch the outline and then add in any unusual features.’
Her expression remained fixed at a plausible serious.
He picked up the pen. ‘Does it have to be to scale?’
‘Preferably. Or else you can indicate the measurements.’
With an expression of intense concentration and with a tight grip on
the pencil, he soon completed the sketch. Then after a further five
minutes of shading and corrections, he held the sheet of paper aloft
for Mia to see.
‘Obviously we’ll have to verify this with a photo,’ she said,
taking it from him and studying it.
He leaned back in his seat. ‘Will you want that signed by my
bank manager?’
‘Ex-girlfriend will do. But if your bank manager is happy to do
it …’
Moments later, after he’d left and the buzz of his phone was fading
into the distance, Mia turned to me with a tight smile.
‘Another Prince Charming,’ she said, handing me the sketch.
‘Good sport though.’
I looked at the drawing, winced and then quickly folded it
away. It appeared, his ego wasn’t the only thing that was inflated.
‘So, what were you scribbling down?’ I asked. ‘A full
psychological profile?’
She shook her head. ‘Shopping list.’
I sighed. ‘Mia.’
‘He’s a client. You’re supposed to be focused on helping him.’
‘I am.’
‘Go on then.’
She laughed. ‘Well, under all the bravado, there’s probably a
lost little boy who just wants to be loved.’
‘Mia. Stop it.’
‘Know any stupid girls with big tits who want a rich guy?’
My mind flicked through its archives. ‘Yes,’ I said, nodding
slowly, ‘but she’s not stupid. She’s quite intelligent actually. Her name’s
‘We don’t care about her name. What’s her cup size?’
‘Hang on.’ I picked up my phone and typed her name into
Google images, then handed the phone to Mia. ‘There you go, pink
Mia sniffed. ‘Of course, a glamour model. She looks so
… what’s the word?’ She drummed her fingers on the table.
‘Yes, that’s it. Intelligent.’
I rolled my eyes, something I appeared to have acquired
from Mia. ‘You okay to arrange the introduction?’
‘Sure,’ she said, stuffing her notebook back into her bag.
‘Living the dream.’
About the Author

Haley was born in London in 1977, with a big heart, big feet and big ideals. In 2005, she set up what turned out to be the UK's biggest matchmaking agency. She has since sold it and drunk the proceeds. She lives in Battersea with her husband James, a wine merchant and consequent enabler of her habit, their twin girls and a scruffy hound called Rufus. She spends her days chasing her toddlers around the house, trying to write but mostly just messing about on Twitter.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Forbidden by Linn B Halton

This is a delightful romance that explores the possibility of there being something more than just the ‘here and now’. If that were the case, how would it work? What keeps us on the path determined for us, when we have free will? How would the spirit world link with us as we go about our lives? Love is a powerful emotion, but can it change the course of someone’s destiny? 
In Forbidden Ceri and Alex find it difficult to let go of the guilt they carry for things that have happened in their past. No two lives are the same and each of them has their own emotional baggage.  But what if someone else calls the shots and you are simply meant to follow the path that is set out before you? Will that take Ceri and Alex in different directions, no matter how hard they try to stay together? Ceri’s journey continues …
Linn has a wonderful writing style and you very easily lose yourself in her books. This is a great trilogy that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading. I could read Linn's work continuously and my only negative about these books is that they finish too soon! 

Falling (Angels Among Us #1) 

Forbidden (Angels Among Us #2)

Now available to pre-order:

Forever (Angels Among Us #3)

Twitter: @LinnBHalton

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Festival of Romance 2013

Wow! What another fab day! 

I knew it was going to be a great day when I bumped into Sheryl Browne, a fellow LAHE member and person from my neck of the woods, in the hotel reception! Big hugs from this lovely lady made a wonderful start to the Festival of Romance for me. 

Coffee and cake was just what I needed and there were readings from 14 brilliant authors. I love to hear authors read from their own books as they were written to be read. It's especially poignant for me when I've read the book too. 

Great to finally meet my fellow book blogger JB Johnston who had flown over from Northern Ireland. Joined by the lovely Carol Wright (DizzyCLLB) too it's just so good to meet up with people you mix with daily on line. Lovely also to meet Lou Graham again.

We headed over to the Romance Fair where it was wonderful to see Linn B Halton, Janice Horton and Mandy Baggot on the Love A Happy Ending stand. Again hugs all round.  Fab also to see Sheryl again, Nicky Wells, Will Sutton and others on the Safkhet Publishing stand too. 

An interview with last years award winners (Rowan Coleman (aka Scarlett Bailey), Fiona Harper, Pia Fenton (aka Christina Courtenay), Nicola May and Pippa Croft (aka Philippa Ashley) was really informative and interesting with questions from Lou Graham then from the audience. Fab to hear so many different experiences and opinions on writing, publishing and romance. 

Lovely for me to meet the fantastic Nicola May who I feel I already know so well through her books and social media and I got the squeeze I'd been promised from her. 

More readings in the afternoon from a number of again more fabulous authors and the opportunity to chat with them and buy their books made this another day to remember.  The bloggers then went off for a cuppa and a chat with a Festival Organiser, Literary Agent and Publisher Kate Allen before they all headed off to get ready for the ball and I headed home. Next year Cinders will go to the ball! 

I will announce the winners later today but just wanted to write briefly here about what a fab day out the Festival of a Romance 2013 was and share some of my pics. Roll on next year! 


Sunday, 3 November 2013

Review - Dead Burn by Jennifer Chase

I do love to read about the vigilante pursuits of Emily Stone!

We join Emily in her toughest case yet, when a serial killer is on the loose in California, tracking down and gruesomely killing it's victims in a string of vicious arson attacks.  Emily, Rick & Jordan work as a united team in an attempt to track down the killer and find and protect his targets before he strikes again. 

She thrives on danger, but this time, someone has their eye on her too! Will she get to them, before they get to her? 

When Jennifer asked me if I would like to review the latest book in the Emily Stone series, I jumped at the chance.  I've read all the others in the series and they are brilliantly written thrillers.  Within a few seconds of opening this book, I was very quickly reminded of Emily's determination, courage and highly protective personality and continued to read most of the book whilst holding my breath.

There were times when I wanted to shout at Emily because I knew she was in danger and she couldn't see it.  I've always compared Jennifer's writing to James Patterson and I still think this way, yet I do think it also improves if possible with each book.  Her writing is full of suspense, intrigue, thrill and mystery. You just want to keep on turning the pages even though your heart is pounding away like mad!

I could read about Emily Stone all day long.  She is one hell of a courageous, independent, gutsy, tough cookie, prepared to take on the world in an effort to help others.  I'd love her to be watching my back!

It would be brilliant to see this series transferred to TV. It would make for a riveting watch on the edge of your seat!

Jennifer Chase lives in California and holds a bachelor's degree in police forensics and a master's degree in criminology. She also holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling and is a member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists so she definitely knows what she's talking about.  Compulsion is the first novel that stars Emily Stone and Dead Game the second.  I love that Jennifer has a section of her website that is dedicated to Emily.


Books: Compulsion  Dead Game  Dark Mind  Dead Burn  Silent Partner  Screenwriting