Posted in Uncategorized

Dear Dad: Giselle Green 

Book blurb

Handsome, 27-year old, Nate Hardman is a frontline reporter with a big problem. Suffering from shell-shock and unable to leave his house, he’s already lost his social life and his girlfriend. Now his career prospects are sinking fast. 

9 year-old Adam Boxley who lives alone with his ageing nan, also has big problems. Neglected at home and bullied at school, he’s desperate to reach out to his dad – and that’s when he sends his first letter to Nate. Only Nate’s not who he thinks he is. Will he help? More importantly – can he? 

Across town meanwhile, caring but impulsive teacher Jenna Tierney really wants to help Adam – except the feisty redhead has already had enough of teaching. Recently hurt by yet another cheating boyfriend, Jenna’s now set her sights on pursuing a dream career abroad … only she’s about to meet Nate – her dream man who’ll make her re-think everything. 

The big question is; can three people desperate to find love, ever find happiness when they’re only connected by one big lie?

My review

This is an ambitious topics or the very best of writers – for instance I could see it easily under the byline of Amanda Prowse as her next bestseller. But that said hybred author Giselle Green carries it off with aplomb.

 Normally with books I visualise which movie it reminds me of but Dear Dad is without a home in my film repertoire – but I can see a movie in my head, even who to cast as the lead figures in this innocent ‘Ménage des trois’

Three people scarred by life, by a life not of their own making. A little boy in need – desperate to find his dad. 

Jenna, his temporary teacher, distrusting of any male over the age of sixteen and finally Nate the emotionally road crashed reporter who brings them all together by way of a letter.

Not the kind of book one forgets. 

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized

The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower: book review 

Book blurb

Anouk LaRue used to be a romantic, but since she had her heart well and truly broken her love life has dissolved into nothing more than daydreams of the perfect man. Retreating to her extraordinary Little Antique Shop has always been a way to escape, because who could feel alone in a shop bursting with memories and beautiful objects…

Until Tristan Black bursts into an auction and throws her ordered world into a spin.

Following your heart is a little like getting lost in Paris – sometimes confusing and always exciting! Except learning to trust her instincts is not something Anouk is ready to do when it comes to romance, but the city of love has other ideas…

My review

I laughed when I saw the title. My mum is into antiques and I’ve spent a fair few days tumbling around dusty old shops and packed antique fairs so the book immediately attracted my notice on NetGalley. 

There’s an olde world charm about this book. Pictures of Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn spring to mind, not to mention Cary Grant as the ‘To Catch a Thief’ plot unfolds. Anouk is a stylish Parisian with rolled up locks and wide belts; an antique dealer with old fashioned values and a bad taste in men. She’s been hurt in love and then there’s a thief on the loose…

I found a slight slapstick comedy element to the vignettes she presents but the writing is devine. Ms Raisin has drawn every word out of her writer’s toolbox and placed them where they’ll do most damage to the reader’s emotions. There’s lots of highs and lows as the plot thickens and relationships dip and dive. The characterisations are well thought out: the mother with her cooking exploits, the unbending  father, the kooky sister and an assortment of odd best friends and customers to keep each page busy. 

The scene:- Set between Paris and St Tropez you can almost imagine yourself there. I was in St Tropez a couple of years ago and, for me Ms Raisin’s words brought back an array of happy emotions. The grand super yachts on the horizon. The quirky cafes with wrought iron chairs and tumbling geraniums, the ten Euro ice creams, the legendary traffic jam along the main artery – next time I’m going to dust off my Sunseeker. 

An old style heartwarming read full of Parisian charm. 

Amazon Link

Posted in Uncategorized

Bits and bobs

Not much going on today. Still working through my next on the TBR pile hoping I can get the review in on time.

I had to go to the hospital today and was tempted with a couple of cheap books, I do like historical’s from time to time, by that I mean vintage ones… Not sure when I’ll get to read them though.

This evening I’ve been working on some promotional stuff. As an Indie with a determined budget of zero I have to do all the marketing stuff myself – it’s certainly been a huge learning curve. Hope you like it? Off to catch up on some reading – I owe myself after actually working on my current masterpiece earlier! 

Posted in Uncategorized

Black Water Lilies: Michel Bussi

image

Book Blurb

Giverny. During the day, tourists flock to the former home of the famous artist Claude Monet and the gardens where he painted his Water Lilies. But when silence returns, there is a darker side to the peaceful French village.
This is the story of thirteen days that begin with one murder and end with another. Jérôme Morval, a man whose passion for art was matched only by his passion for women, has been found dead in the stream that runs through the gardens. In his pocket is a postcard of Monet’s Water Lilies with the words: Eleven years old. Happy Birthday.
Entangled in the mystery are three women: a young painting prodigy, the seductive village schoolteacher and an old widow who watches over the village from a mill by the stream. All three of them share a secret. But what do they know about the discovery of Jérôme Morval’s corpse? And what is the connection to the mysterious, rumoured painting of Black Water Lilies? Available from 30th June 2016

My Book Review

After The Crash was one of my favourite reads of 2015 but it turns out this was only the start.

After the crash was the Aperitif – Black Water Lilies the Banquet.

I opened this book a couple of days ago and was drawn between the pages almost against my will. I had things to do on Friday but obviously not – Michel Bussi had better ideas.

I’d read 10% and I was I enthralled. The words, lover-like drew me into their arms and captured me with their nouns, verbs and adjectives. I, probably prematurely tweeted about how he reminded me of Stieg Larsson – the audacity! I know how this Tweet was received. As a nurse I’ve had years of reading between the lines. I know when a person is in pain and my comment caused pain! But tenacity is my watchword and one click later I found this little gem of affirmation.

‘A novel so extraordinary that it reminded me of reading Steig Larsson for the very first time . . . Bussi breaks every rule in the book, but I doubt I’ll read a more brilliant crime novel this year (Sunday Times on AFTER THE CRASH).’

So enough of that and back to the book.

Three women – one young, one in her prime and finally the hag (Bussi’s words, not mine). A crime to be solved and two detectives to do it, all set in the beautiful Monet paradise of Norman French Giverny.

Laurenc Serenac, the senior detective – yum. Just imagine Morse but younger – no not that young!  Z Cars is not what I meant. A golden haired hunk as opposed to Morse’s Silver Fox. His intelligence, his love of the arts – there, you have him captured within your minds eye. Now replace the Mark  11 Jaguar with a vintage  Tiger Triumph motorbike and Voila!  However his side kick, Sylvio Benavides is no pleasantly bumbling Sergeant Lewis. This is a youthful Dr Watson with a severe case of OCD, love of barbecues and an impossibly beautiful wife. Can these two French plods work out who killed Jérôme Morval or is there something darker going on?

Then there’s Neptune, the irascible Alsatian that seems to be everywhere and nowhere – is he he link in this Bussi’s masterpiece, or should we focus on the other characters presented?

And now I’ve finished the book do I still hold with my original view. Is Michel Bussi the next Stieg Larsson? Well of course he’s not but there are elements within his prose that do strike a cord all the same. Aficionados of Larsson will rightly hate it, but people like me who want a well written unusual read with an outstanding ending will love it. At a push I’d have to say it’s a cross between the writing of Larsson and Catriona Ward’s Rawblood, and then again it’s not – it’s just the perfect read – my perfect read. 

Jenny OB (c)

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Why I love/hate writing book reviews.

image

This comes on the back of finishing Valerie Keogh’s book review of Murder on Clare Island and the completion of what, at the moment feels like the best book I’ve ever read.

There are good reads ‘Murder on Clare Island’ and then there’s that exceptional book that ticks all your personal boxes for best read ever – I can’t even start on telling you why Black Water Lilies is so good, and as for the review – how am I ever going to do such a book justice?

Who am I anyway – a little ( 5ft 1/2 ” ) squirt of an Irish woman that’s trying to make a name for herself in this mega industry? My book blog is tiny in comparison to others and my review policy dictatorial at best. I don’t write for the Broad Sheets or any other literary publication and, believe me this book will be examined and drooled over by the best of these Ivory Tower reviewers.

image

But I am a reader. I read 3 books a week and not just the ones publishers send out to these top reviewers for their esteemed opinion. I read Indies alongside award winners  to unknowns trying to cobble together a writing career in their own personal garrett  (2 up 2 down in Hackney!). I worked out this morning I’ve read 6396 + books over the years, and that’s not including the ones I’ve purposely left out.

I’ve left out anything read under the age of ten including my favourite book ever – it had a clock on the front – I made my dad read it over and over to me – I do wish I could remember the name…

image

So I am word experienced and, as a writer word ready – I just hope Michel Bussi is ready! There’s one little mistake in his book and as an Irish woman living just a stones throw away from what he’s correctly coined the most beautiful Island in the world (Sark), I’m yet decided if I should point it out to him.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

The TBR pile grows…

Okay you know I love to read but someone’s having a laugh. Last week I went on a teeny weeny shopping spree on NetGalley. It had been a while and I’d felt in a bit of a reading rut so to speak. But for all the top publishers ( I’m not going to name and shame you – you know who you are!) to approve my requests. OMG I am meant to have a life outside books – but apparently not – I should probably just jump inside the next one I find and take up permanent residence away from Brexit and the like.

So I’m digressing, I’m always doing that! These are late additions that will be read.

Please note my review policy – it’s a wee bit firm but I have dishes to wash and an ironing pile to rival that of my TBR!

All are still available on NetGalley if you want to review.

J x

image.png

Description
Dreaming of the perfect man? Kate Golightly needs to move forward and what better way to do that then with a trip to the Cornish coast with best friend and boss, Izzy.
Kate Golightly needs to move forward and what better way to do that then with a trip to the Cornish coast with best friend and boss, Izzy.

The sea wind is just what Kate needs to finally relax and begin to let go of her past. Except she’s suddenly got one big reason to panic! She RSVP’d ‘yes’ to the Queen Bee of her high school’s wedding saying she’s bringing her boyfriend (she doesn’t have one) who looks just like Ross Poldark!

With only two weeks to find the Poldark look-alike of her dreams Kate is under a lot of pressure for the Cornish coast to deliver…

A hilarious and moving romantic novel from bestselling author, Samantha Tonge. A must-read this summer!

image

Description

What magic is this?

You follow the hidden creek towards a long-forgotten house.

They call it Keepsake, a place full of wonder … and danger. Locked inside the crumbling elegance of its walls lies the story of the Butterfly Summer, a story you’ve been waiting all your life to hear.

This house is Nina Parr’s birthright. It holds the truth about her family – and a chanceto put everything right at last.

image.png

Description
A heatwave brings emotions to boiling point…

It is high summer in London and trouble is brewing.

Chef Dan should be blissfully happy. He has the woman of his dreams and a job in a trendy Hampstead bistro. But his over-anxious partner, engrossed in their baby, has no time for him.

Stressed doctor Geoff finds solace in the arms of a mercurial actress. Journalist Harriet’s long-term relationship with Sanjay hits the buffers, leaving each of them with serious questions to answer. Meanwhile single mother of four Karen lacks the appetite for a suitable relationship.

Passion and panic rise in the heatwave. Who can spot the danger signs?

Posted in Uncategorized

TBR list

Evening All!

So I have 7 books to review and here they are.

Please bear in mind my review policy, which is one sentence  – if I don’t finish your book I won’t review it…

The first one will be Valerie Keogh’s Latest Murder on Clare Island. It’s already been coined the most unusual murder ever and I’m tending to agree as I’m 70% through. This isn’t on NetGalley or published yet like the remaining 6 so if you’d like an ARC please contact Valerie directly via Twitter on @valeriekeogh1

image

The next six are in no particular order but I’m going to pop Rachel Abbott next as she’s the most successful Indie, within wave distance and like Valerie writes killer thrillers. I purchased Stranger Child because I’d been meaning to for ages – the rest is history as they say. image

THE NEXT FIVE ARE ALL AVAILABLE CURRENTLY ON NETGALLEY

Black water lilies

I read Michel’s previous work and therefore was readily awaiting his next masterpiece. For a Geography professor from Rouen he certainly writes great thrillers image

The last four are all random picks, I don’t know why I chose them – some are out of genre but to a book they all intrigued me

imageAll is not forgotten

Jenny’s wounds have healed.
An experimental treatment has removed the memory of a horrific and degrading attack.
She is moving on with her life.

This last kiss

image

As original as One Day and as heartbreaking as Me Before You, This Last Kiss is the perfect emotional and romantic read.

Love or nearest offer

image

On paper, Iris Atkins is an estate agent, but she’s not just good at finding suitable houses for her clients. In fact, she has a gift: Iris is able to see into their lives and understand exactly what is missing and what they need – and not just in bricks-and-mortar terms either. Not that she tells them so….

Last but not least, I’m working through my Kindle so in fact this was the first one I downloaded

The Little Antique Shop Under the Eiffel Tower

Escape to Paris this summer and prepare to be swept off your feet…

image

As for my latest bestseller lol. I’m on chapter 4 – see you in six months x

Posted in Uncategorized

Cover Reveal: Murder on Clare Island by Valerie Keogh

image

I’m delighted that Valerie Keogh has written the next in her Garda West Series. This one finds Garda West on the beautiful island of Clare situated off the west coast of Ireland.

This is book three in the series from this very prolific Irish writer. You might remember I’ve blogged previously about her Nicola Connelly series that runs in parallel with this one.

For more information on her previous novels here’s the link    More later…

Posted in Uncategorized

Sarah Morgan, book review Sunset in Central Park

 

image

Introduction

Firstly I’m wondering myself why I chose to review one of Sarah’s books. Yes, I know she’s been called a magician with words but I’ve been let down too many times in the past by the media storm that follows such well known best selling writers. I wrote recently about just how disappointed I was in a recent book from one of my favourite writers, you know – one of the ones on display in Waitrose – if you’re on display in Waitrose you know  you’ve made it! Well I won’t be buying another one of her books any time soon – life’s too short.

If you can’t hook me by that first sentence. If you can’t drag me within the fold of your story by page five so that I forget to pick the kids up from school. If you can’t make me forget about the ironing pile, the full dishwasher, to phone the plumber by the end of page five it’s curtains whatever your reputation.

I do have a couple of things in common with Sarah in that I’m a nurse and, when I started my writing journey the twins were still in pull-ups. I’ve also had rejection letters from Harlequin, I’m still getting them but that aside I’m a reader first and there’s nothing I like more than a good book and Sarah’s latest is a good book.

image

Book blurb

After witnessing the fallout of her parent’s divorce, love has never been a priority for garden designer Frankie Cole. The only man in her life is her friend Matt–but that’s strictly platonic. If only she found it easier to ignore the way he makes her heart race…

Matt Walker has loved Frankie for years but, has always played it cool. Until he uncovers new depths to the girl he’s known forever, and doesn’t want to wait a moment longer.

Matt knows Frankie has secrets and has buried them deep, but can he persuade her to kiss him under the Manhattan sunset?

My review

Actually I’m a little lost for words – unusual as I’m Irish and a writer to boot!

Its not so much the story – three girls in a house with one man has been done before, ‘Man about the house’ immediately springing to mind but not like this. So if it’s not the story what is it that made me read this in one sitting? It’s the words.

I spoke at the start about another writer, who will remain nameless but her book bored me. Too much dialogue interspersed with too much monologue and not enough plotting.  ‘Show not tell’ is the mantra of editors and publishing houses across the globe and Sarah has this down to a fine art. Just like with Maya Angelou’s view on music so it is with my view on reading.

image

Books have to entice me like an erstwhile lover, but not with chocolates and flowers with 26 letters placed in the right order and plotting that shifts and changes with each page read. I wasn’t bored, I was enthralled. This is how it should be done and Sarah deserves her label of magician.

Claws was well thought out. I had a cat once like claws, I still have the scars – and for Jaws… The writing is flawless and as for the research. I know about gardens, probably more than most as my brother is a horticulturalist and Sarah has certainly dipped more than her toes into this field – she’s tipped her whole leg!

Why do we read? There’s nothing worse than change – well actually there is – There’s nothing worse than monotony! Sarah, like any other good writing magician will help you escape by trapping you inside her pages – believe me, you won’t want to escape.

Happy reading

Jenny x

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Is writing the unhealthiest of professions?

image.jpegI’m writing this lying flat on my back with a disc injury, you’ll be pleased to know not writing related but more due to nearly 35 years of nursing. There’s not much you can do on your back, and certainly not THAT but it got me thinking – writing is a very unhealthy occupation.

Of course there’s sky diving, but if it goes wrong at least the ending is quick. The same could be said for caving and I’m not even going to dwell on lion taming…image

But, jokes aside writing is not good for either your mental or physical wellbeing. Hours upon hours trying to sort out that plot problem, or misplaced Oxford comma shut up in isolation in the same position with only a pot of coffee and a pile of chocolate to keep you company – sound familiar?
I blogged a while ago on romance writers asking for photos of where they worked and the results will surprise you. Some have amazing ergonomically designed spaces while many had a makeshift chair in front of a wonky table. As writers we all know how words are important, but surely not as important as the person penning them?

Mental health

image

So you love to write. You’re a bit of a loner even? You have to at least enjoy your own company because, boy you’ll be spending most of it in isolation. Humans are pack animals. Being alone, whilst good for your word count is bad for your health. There’s nothing worse than a depressed writer.

Physical health

image

So you’ve got the body of Adonis (or Venus) and you’re as fit as the proverbial fiddle – hurray for you. Is sitting still for long periods good for you? Ever experienced cramp, backache, neck pain, headaches – or even worse? There is worse believe me.

Some tips for your mental and physical wellbeing.

  • Do you have a view? Make one. A flower (remember to water it at the end of each chapter). A photo collage of your favourite people, things. A favourite picture. Think how you can make your work space more interesting.
  • Coffee. Coffee is a stimulant. It stimulates you and then, you know what without it you end up falling off that cliff. It’s up to you how much you need, want but just be aware of the pros- cons. Drink water too. Don’t have the coffee pot in the same room. Get off your gluteus maximus and walk to the kitchen to make it.
  • Time yourself – this is not a joke. Just how long have you been sitting there typing or indeed flicking through your social media accounts without moving? If it’s more than 1/2 an hour it’s too long. Get up and look out the window. Hang the washing out, feed the dog – even if you don’t have one! Just move…
  • Your work space – can you improve it. Does it need improving? Do you have a desk at the right height and a proper chair to sit on? It doesn’t have to cost much. You probably have something at hand that’s better. Have a quick search and you’ll find more tips than I can be bothered to copy and paste for you
  • Eating. I’ve a problem with my G key at the moment – some erstwhile crumb has got stuck – well you try typing flat on your back! But seriously never eat at your desk. I know it’s tempting especially when you’re on a word roll but it’s also a great opportunity to recharge those brain cells and move those muscles.image
  • Exercise – a dirty word to many and I’m certainly not able to preach! For me after a hard days physical labour on the ward I’m scarcely able to lift a pencil. Do what you can. If this means running a marathon so be it. It it means walking to the corner shop to stock up on chocolate at least you haven’t taken the car. Just be aware physical inactivity is storing up problems for the future.

I’m now going to practice what I preach and make my way in an orderly fashion to the kitchen to boil the kettle – well I did manage a swim of sorts yesterday.

Jen x