Thursday, 6 August 2020

New Book Release Spotlight & Review: A French Affair by Jennifer Bohnet



A French Affair by Jennifer Bohnet

What will be will be...

Belinda Marshall’s idyllic teenage life in Brittany, France, fell apart when her parents dramatically separated and her mother took her back to England.
Fast forward thirty-five years when Belinda’s world is once again turned upside down.
It’s the week before Christmas and Belinda's employer 'surprises’ her by asking for her help to rejuvenate their latest investment, a run-down campsite in Brittany.
Memories and anxieties that had lain dormant for years suddenly begin to resurface.
As secrets from a lost life threaten to overwhelm her, there is a realisation that maybe she wasn’t told the whole truth by her mother all those years ago.

Can Belinda reconcile her emotions and find happiness once more in the place she so loved and called home?

Amazon UK          Amazon US

I adore novels set overseas and although the backdrop for A French Affair is only a hop, skip and a jump away, it still left me wanting to buy a travel ticket, pack my suitcase and go searching for my own adventure in a part of France I've yet to explore.

When Belinda Marshall's employers ask her to oversee the renovation of a camp-site they've just bought in Northern France, the idea fills her with horror. It brings long-buried memories to the surface, a reminder of the turbulent time she spent in Brittany when she grew up, resulting in her parent's divorce. However, as she embarks of her work project and settles into life in the area she knows well, it becomes apparent, details from her past are not quite as they seemed.

The first surprise was the narrative came from a duel point of view. When I began reading about Belinda and her ties to Northern France, I believed the focus would be solely on her. So, when we're introduced to Fern, I liked we hear her voice too. The second is knowing two middle-aged women, are not too old to have another chance at a happy ever after.

The narrative is busy with lots of plot lines to keep readers invested without getting overwhelmed. It's sprinkled with some French too, which got my rusty brain working. The author brings to our attention the emotions felt by Belinda and Fern as they handle their problems while friendship grows between these two women. There's a balance between sadness and happiness as truths from the past are revealed. Additionally, Belinda and Fern finding romance highlights the point you are never too old to fall in love, thanks to Alain and Scott.

Overall, a captivating novel to escape into by a new to me author.

***arc generously received courtesy of Boldwood Books via NetGalley***

Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of over 14 women's fiction titles, including Villa of Sun and Secrets and A Riviera Retreat. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.





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Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Book Spotlight & Review: As Luck Would Have It by Zoe May



As Luck Would Have It by Zoe May

Natalie Jackson might keep up appearances on Instagram, but in reality her fiancĂ© has just jilted her after the birth of their baby and she’s moved back in with her mum. Life isn’t exactly going to plan!
So when she enters the village raffle for the holiday of a lifetime, she thinks she has no chance of winning. But her name is pulled out – and, as luck would have it, so is a ticket bought by her childhood nemesis: Will Brimble.
Surely a romantic holiday for two is the worst idea ever…right?

Amazon US     Amazon UK     Kobo     Apple     Google


As Luck Would Have It is a quick read with a short timeline. Packed with witty dialogue, Natalie and Will's journey to a happy ending is eventful, as these childhood sweethearts reunite at a local charity fund-raiser!

Told from Natalie Jackson's point of view, we discover how she and Will ended up back in Chiddingfold, the town where they grew up. To the outside world, Will Brimble used to have it all; a dazzling journalistic career and an equally impressive marriage to an heiress. Now he's rebuilding his life, close to where his widowed mother lives. Natalie runs her PR business from her childhood bedroom after the father of her young daughter abandoned them both. As a single parent, she doesn't have time for relationships any more until fate steps in.

The narrative takes off at the charity event, a fun mix of chaotic humour before the focus shifts to Morocco. I admit, I much preferred the latter as Natalie and Will navigate the awkwardness of their situation. Along with the insightful descriptions of the North African backdrop, Ms May highlights the emotions of the former sweethearts and their self-consciousness especially when the trip is far from what they expected.

The epilogue ties everything up with a pleasurable ending but for me, it's the memories of Morocco which will linger.

Anyone looking for an escapist romance will enjoy As Luck Would Have It. It's perfect for a summer day, whether on the beach or in your favourite reading place. Alternatively, I highly recommend you pick up another novel by Ms May.

***Review copy generously received courtesy of the publisher***

Zoe May is an author of romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She worked in journalism and copywriting in London before writing her debut novel, Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe could not resist writing a novel about dating, since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!

Perfect Match was one of Apple's top-selling books of 2018. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association's Joan Hessayon Award, with judges describing it as 'a laugh out loud look at love and self-discovery - fresh and very funny'.

As well as writing, Zoe enjoys walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading! She adores animals and if she's not taking a photo of a vegan meal, she's probably tweeting about the dairy industry. She is half Greek and half Irish and can make a mean baklava. Zoe has a thing for horror films, India, swimming, hip hop and Radiohead. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of handbags having spent several years working in fashion copywriting and could probably win Mastermind if this was her specialist subject!

Zoe loves to hear from readers, you can contact her on Twitter and Instagram at: @zoe_writes. Zoe's Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/zoemayauthor/

She posts updates and blogs on her website, www.zoemayauthor.co.uk



Monday, 3 August 2020

Spotlight & Author Guest Post: The Borrowed Boy by Deborah Klee




Have you ever made a snap decision and lived to regret it? I have made a few in my life, for example, the time I packed a rucksack and left for Arizona to surprise a male penfriend, forgetting that I only had a post box address.
I was twenty-one, had finished my diploma course as an OT and rather than leave London to return home to my parents, I decided to accept his invitation to stay with him in Bisbee, Arizona. I caught a Freddie Laker flight to LA, and then an internal flight to Tucson. I didn’t have to book tickets in advance, and so I just set off. I think I phoned my parents just before leaving to tell them of my plan. It wasn’t until I was in Tucson in the early hours of the morning that I realised the gravity of my situation. I didn’t have an address or even a phone number I could call to announce my arrival. My friend had sent directions to his house in a letter but I had left it at home. What had seemed romantic and exciting when I set off was now a bit scary.
We all make impulsive decisions at some point in our life, maybe several times. We are acting on a gut instinct that it is the right thing to do, despite it seeming to be irrational. Angie Winkle in The Borrowed Boy does just that. Her head tells her that she must return Danny to the young woman who lost him on the Tube and she tries to reunite them, but her instincts tell her that Danny needs her. He has welts on his back, and talks of being a naughty boy; he clings to Angie when they see the woman he was parted from waiting at the statue. The woman is smiling as she chats on her phone. Angie’s train is about to depart and she has to decide in haste. So, she acts on instinct, listening to her gut, and takes Danny with her on a journey that changes both of their lives.
The decisions that we make, shape our lives. There is a quote by Ayn Rand:
‘Everyman builds his world in his own image.
He has the power to choose,
But no power to escape the necessity of choice.’
For forty years Angie had been afraid of making wrong decisions, and so she let life pass her by, watching from the sidelines. She found that not making decisions comes with consequences too. It wasn’t until Angie realised that life was short that she decided to make the most of every minute of every day. She had let life pass her by and now she vowed not to waste another moment.
You may be wondering what happened to the twenty-one-year-old me, standing in line for a cab in Tucson, Arizona, 95 miles from Bisbee at 3.00am with no address and not enough money for a hotel. I must have a guardian angel, or the young black guy behind me in the queue was my angel. The cab driver asked me where I wanted to go. I said, ‘Bisbee but I don’t have an address’.
‘Who are you looking for in Bisbee?’ the young guy behind me said.
‘Kenneth Cabbage.’
‘Hey, I know KC. Give me a ride and I’ll show you where he lives.’
And that was what happened. Bisbee was a two-hour drive and yet by a lucky coincidence the man behind me in the line lived there and knew my friend KC. Of course, KC was not home when I arrived to surprise him, but that is another story.
I made a reckless and impulsive decision. Thank goodness my own daughter has more sense than I did at that young age. But I do not regret that decision. I spent many happy months with KC in Bisbee and it led to other favourable events that shaped my life.
Angie’s decision to take Danny with her shapes her life. Whether it was the right decision or not, I will leave you to decide. One final quote from a meme – author unknown.
‘Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.’

The Borrowed Boy by Deborah Klee
A borrowed boy, a borrowed name and living on borrowed time.

What do you put on a bucket list when you haven’t done anything with your life? No interesting job, no lovers, no family, no friends. Believing she has only weeks left to live, Angie Winkle vows to make the most of every minute.

Going back to Jaywick Sands, is top of her bucket list. Experiencing life as a grandmother is not, but the universe has other plans and when four-year-old Danny is separated from his mum on the tube, Angie goes to his rescue. She tries to return him to his mum but things do not go exactly as planned and the two of them embark on a life-changing journey.

Set in Jaywick Sands, once an idyllic Essex holiday village in the 70s, but now a shantytown of displaced Londoners, this is a story about hidden communities and our need to belong.



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Deborah has worked as an occupational therapist, a health service manager, a freelance journalist, and management consultant in health and social care.
Her protagonists are often people who exist on the edges of society. Despite the very real, but dark, subject matter her stories are uplifting, combining pathos with humour. They are about self-discovery and the power of friendships and community.
The Borrowed Boy, her debut, was shortlisted for the Deviant Minds Award 2019. Just Bea, her second novel will be published in 2021.
Deborah lives on the Essex coast. When she is not writing she combines her love of baking with trying to burn off the extra calories.

Twitter @deborahKlee


Saturday, 1 August 2020

Book Cover Reveal: Mindworm by David Pollard



Mindworm by David Pollard

The placid life of a college librarian is plunged into a desperate fight for survival when he witnesses the death of his only friend. Suddenly he is forced to confront disturbing changes in his nature and appetites and their consequences. Suspected of murder and pursued by an implacable police detective he runs – but is he running from the law or from himself?

Amazon UK           Amazon US 
Publication Date – 1st September

After more than forty years of paid employment David Pollard retired to glorious Hereford and immersed himself in the theatrical activities of the county. He is currently Chair of Hereford County Drama Festival.
David sees himself as a teller of tales – he is a playwright, author of short stories and novels. He has a preference for dark and dystopian material. He is also an actor and theatrical director. Among the many authors admired by David is Robert Louis Stevenson – for his website David adopted the appellation Tuistala – Samoan for ‘Teller of Tales’ which the Samoan people called RLS.
Several of David’s plays have been published by Lazybee Scripts – one of which ‘Aspects of a Betrayal’ was shortlisted for the Kenneth Branagh prize at the Windsor Fringe Festival.
David has two works published on KDP/Amazon:
‘His Cat and Other Strange Tales’ – a collection of macabre short stories
‘The Alienation of Ludovic Weiss’ – a psychological thriller
A third book ‘Mindworm ‘ is scheduled for publication in September 2020
When not writing, directing or acting David runs a podcast platform for the streaming of radio plays and short story readings – Hand to Mouth Sound Theatre.
For relaxation David reads voraciously with a liking for history and thriller fiction. He also enjoys country walks of the strolling variety.

Twitter: @dpollardauthor