book review · contemporary fiction · Contemporary Romance · family · relationships · women's fiction

Book Review – The Switch

Leena is too young to feel stuck.
Eileen is too old to start over.
Maybe it’s time for The Switch…

Ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, Leena escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Newly single and about to turn eighty, Eileen would like a second chance at love. But her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen… So Leena proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love, and Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire.

But with a rabble of unruly OAPs to contend with, as well as the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – local schoolteacher, Leena learns that switching lives isn’t straightforward. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, and with the online dating scene. But is her perfect match nearer to home than she first thought?

My Review

I can honestly say I didn’t expect to love this book quite so much. I mean, how funny, sad, heartbreaking and heartwarming can one story be? The Switch made me laugh out loud and also brought a tear or two to my eyes.
The premise is a family – grandmother – mother -(grand)daughter – all still grieving for the loss of Carla and not knowing how to help each other through their grief. By switching lives, grandmother, Eileen, and granddaughter, Leena might just understand each other and themselves better, and the “a change is as good as a rest” theory might help Leena understand her mother, Marian’s decision when it came to letting Carla go.

You’d think from that premise, this story might be heavy-going … but the remaining characters enable Eileen and Leena to throw themselves into their “new” lives and in so doing become the best version of themselves as well as bringing the respective communities together. The story, while focused on Eileen and Leena, also touches on loneliness, domestic abuse, cheating partners, all of which is balanced by the funnier side of online dating for the over 70s, Neighbourhood Watch meetings, and the ultimate village rivalry for the May Fayre.
It’s a story that delivers new friendships, rekindles old friendships and that promises new starts, because you’re never too old or too young to be the better version of yourself.

Praise for The Switch:

Another life-affirming joy‘ HEAT MAGAZINE

Warmwitty, and a cast of characters I wish I was friends with – I truly loved it!‘ LAURA JANE WILLIAMS

I am blown away. I didn’t think Beth could top The Flatshare but she has. It sparkles with wit, warmth and compassion. It deserves to be huge!‘ GILLIAN McALLISTER

Heartwarming and uplifting. Everyone should have an Eileen in their life!’ HEIDI SWAIN

‘Eileen Cotton proves you don’t have to be in your thirties to be Bridget JonesA triumph of a second novel!’ ANSTEY HARRIS

Bursting with warmth and humour’ LOUISE O’NEILL

I loved it! A total joy to read. Such a breath of fresh air‘ LIBBY PAGE

‘It’s an absolute joy from beginning to end’ MIKE GAYLE

I just loved The SwitchWhat a beautiful story with such memorable charactersI have been well and truly Eileened! It’s an absolute triumph!‘ EMMA COOPER

‘Beth O’Leary has absolutely smashed it out of the park with The SwitchBrilliantwarmfunnyfull of heartCompletely loved it!‘ RICHARD ROPER

About the author

Beth studied English at university before going into children’s publishing. She lives as close to the countryside as she can get while still being within reach of London, and wrote her first novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from work.
You’ll usually find her curled up with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).

contemporary fiction · cover reveal · family · relationships

Cover Reveal – Just One Day

Just One Day – Spring

Mum-of-three Louisa thought she only had her never-ending to-do list to worry about, but the arrival of a ghost from the recent past puts her in an untenable position. Can she navigate the difficult situation she’s in without their friendship becoming common knowledge or will it cause long-term damage to her marriage?

When a family member begins to suspect there’s more to her relationship with the new sous-chef than meets the eye, Louisa needs to think on her feet or she’ll dig herself into a deeper hole. But the cost of keeping her secret, not only from her husband, comes at a high price, one which tugs at her conscience.

With everyday niggles already causing a further rift between Louisa and husband Ronnie, will she manage to keep her family on track whilst her life spirals out of control? And when tragedy strikes, will Ronnie step up when she needs him most?

books2read.com/u/4XDkre

For fans of Fiona Gibson, Holly Martin and Jill Mansell.

Pre-order Link – books2read.com/u/4XDkre

Publication Date: 17th May 2022

Author Bio

Susan Buchanan lives in Scotland with her husband, their two young children and a crazy Labrador called Benji. She has been reading since the age of four and had to get an adult library pass early as she had read the entire children’s section by the age of ten. 

Susan writes contemporary fiction, often set in Scotland, usually featuring travel, food or Christmas. When not working, writing, or caring for her two delightful cherubs, Susan loves reading (obviously), the theatre, quiz shows and eating out – not necessarily in that order!

Social Media Links

Website – www.susanbuchananauthor.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Susan_Buchanan 

Facebook – www.facebook.com/susan.buchanan.author

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/AuthorSusanBuchanan/

As always,

book review · drama · family

Book Review – All the Lonely People

Hubert Bird is not alone in being alone.
He just needs to realise it.

In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment.

But Hubert Bird is lying.

The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul.

Until, that is, he receives some good news – good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on.

Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out.
Along the way Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all . . .

Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows will he ever get to live the life he’s pretended to have for so long?

From bestselling author Mike Gayle, All the Lonely People is by turns a funny and moving meditation on love, race, old age and friendship that will not only charm and uplift, but also remind you of the power of ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference.

Add to Goodreads

My Review

Widower Hubert is in his 80s; he arrived from the West Indies (part of the Windrush generation)as a young man and fell in love with a white woman, Joyce. Due to the difference in their skin colour, her family never accepted him and so the couple married in a private ceremony with only his best friend, Gus, and Gus’s girlfriend as witness. Despite the pressures imposed on them by society back then, they settled down and had two children – a boy and a girl. Hubert trained as a plumber after years of doing any job he could to bring in a wage, and Joyce began a childminding business (spurred on by her own experience of seeking a childminder and being turned down as her children were mixed race!)
When Joyce gets dementia, Hubert cares for her with the help of his daughter, Rose, until her last days, but after that he finds himself alone. Their son, David, has taken a different path in life that leads to them falling out, and daughter Rose takes a job in Australia. She calls him every week to check up on him. But Hubert is a proud man, and doesn’t want to worry Rose, so rather than face up to his solitary lifestyle, he invents a life to tell Rose about, with friends, outings and no sign of loneliness.
When Rose excitedly tells him she is coming home for an extended visit, Hubert has a dilemma – to confess to his lies or to take action and build that life for himself. He has three months in which to do something.
Luckily for Hubert, his fate is not in his hands but in the hands of a new neighbour – a chatty young woman with a daughter of her own. Ashleigh is to be his salvation but whether he can successfully create a network of friends before Rose’s visit is dubious at first.
What follows for Hubert (and Ashleigh) is a story of new beginnings, of finding friendship where he might not expect to, and of resurrecting old relationships that he cast away after Joyce’s death.
But Hubert has another secret to share, but it’s one he is reluctant to tell – and, for me, it turned the whole story upside down (and not in a good way, if I’m honest – though this is my only criticism)

All the Lonely People covers all the bases when it comes to an emotional roller coaster. I was rooting for Hubert and Gus as they faced racism and prejudice, then Joyce seemed to make everything a whole lot better for him as he became a family man. The friendships he built later crossed the age barriers, and inspired so many others to take a chance on others in a bid to eliminate their own loneliness. A beautiful story and it’s easy to see why it was such a popular and award-winning book. I’ll definitely check out more by this author.

As always,

blog tour · book review · Contemporary Romance · family · Italy · Publication Day · relationships · sisters

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – A Little Piece of Paradise

A Little Piece of Paradise

The inheritance of a lifetime… with a catch

When Sophie’s uncle leaves her a castle in the Italian Riviera in his will, she can’t believe her luck. The catch? She and her estranged sister, Rachel, must live there together for three months in order to inherit it.  

Having worked in Rome for four years, Sophie’s excited to revisit to Italy, even if it reignites memories of a cheating ex who soon learns of her return and wants to rekindle their spark. Sophie realises that distance does indeed make the heart grow fonder – but for her friend back home, Chris, who she discovers is more to her than just a friend.

With the clock ticking, can Sophie and Rachel stick it out and heal old wounds, or are the sisters destined to go their own way at the end of the three months? And does Chris feel the same way about Sophie as she does for him?

A beautiful story of romance and sisterhood, perfect for fans of Alex Brown and Lucy Coleman.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09F5QJQDZ

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09F5QJQDZ

Author Bio

I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English.

My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years.

We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.

The fact that I am now writing escapist romance is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations, even if travel to them is currently difficult.

Social Media Links

Website: www.tawilliamsbooks.com

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/tawilliamsbooks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrevorWilliamsBooks/

My Review

I only have to see the cover of a T A Williams book and I want to read it. A Little Piece of Paradise is no exception. Once again, the story is set in stunning Italy – in a castle, no less, in the little town of Paradiso. Now, paradise it may seem to be, but for estranged sisters Rachel and Sophie, it forces them back together for three months as part of their uncle’s will. He hated them no longer being close, and saw a way through his plan to reunite them. But would it be too much for them to handle? Personally, I think I’d put up with anyone for that 😉

The plan is well-conceived, there is absolutely no get-out clause as the sisters have to check in together every day for the 92 days – miss a single check in and their inheritance of the castle is no more.

At first, the two sisters avoid certain topics, and seem to walk on eggshells around each other, but over time their barriers come down, thanks mainly to neighbour, Dan, and Sophie’s dog, Jeeves. Anyone would think there was a conspiracy going on! (Yes, Dan, I’m talking to you!)

Time at the castle gives the young women a chance to reflect on their lives, on what they plan to do with their future, and more importantly who they want to spend it with. Together, they help each other see what is, frankly, obvious to everyone but them. Making it happen is another matter, and they are both more confident in their sisterly relationship to intervene in the other’s love life – albeit with the best of intentions.

The castle is wonderful, Paradiso is a gem, and everything seems to be on course for a happy ending. That is, until Sophie’s ex turns up … briefly 😉 only to be well and truly shown the door by Dan and Jeeves! With the end in sight, however, Mother Nature storms on in and puts their check in process at risk. Will they fall at the (almost) last hurdle? And what will happen to the castle – and their relationship – if they fail?

A Little Piece of Paradise is aptly named; it’s a gem combining a stunning setting with a heart-warming, original plot. I thoroughly enjoyed escaping to Paradiso.

Thanks to Canelo and Netgalley for my copy; a review is the least I can offer.

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blog tour · book review · family · friendship · real life · starting over

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Landlord at Hummingbird House

The Landlord of Hummingbird House

When April moves into Hummingbird House, she is intrigued by her mysterious landlord, Dai.

With a bruised heart and a distinct lack of furniture, she spends the summer getting to know the other occupants. As she smartens up her home and makes peace with her recent past, she befriends Paul, a solitary ex-chef, and Betty, an elderly lady who lives in the basement flat.

But Hummingbird House holds many secrets, and the relationships of the tenants are not as straightforward as they seem. April learns some shocking truths one eventful night, and realises that victims and villains can look the same.

The Landlord of Hummingbird House is a contemporary novel exploring unlikely friendships, unexpected love interests, and family relationships. Here, everyone is in need of a second chance – and appearances can be deceptive.

Purchase Links

UK – https:// #womensfictoiwww.amazon.co.uk/Landlord-Hummingbird-House-Impressions-Chances-ebook/dp/B099J88F84

US – https://www.amazon.com/Landlord-Hummingbird-House-Impressions-Chances-ebook/dp/B099J88F84

Author Bio

Jane Harvey is a pen name (shhh). She crafts fun fiction for the thinking woman, where she enjoys exploring unexpected friendships and writing happy endings. This is lucky, because in real life her (prize-winning) fiction is a little bleaker. She was born and raised on the island of Jersey, and lives with two males and a dog. She owns an admirable collection of animal vases and unusual lighting.

Social Media Links

Instagram.com/jane_harvey_novelist

Facebook.com/janeharveynovelist

Twitter: @dreenac

My Review

I approached this book much like April, unsure of what to expect at Hummingbird House. Would the neighbours be friendly? Would the flat (accepted after a virtual visit only) live up to expectations? Was Hummingbird House the place to heal her heartbreak? Okay, so this latter issue was April’s only, but you get my drift 😉

April busies herself bringing the flat up to her standard, lovingly adding her own personal touches as she had done in her previous home – the one now up for sale after her recent break-up. Sorting the flat out is therapeutic for her, but she can’t help wondering about her neighbours. The Landlord, Dai, seems somewhat aloof, Paul next door has OCD, and Betty downstairs is the resident cakemaker. Yet what they all seem to have in common is that they genuinely care about each other. And now they’re happy to welcome April into their happy home … except not everyone is in a happy place right now. While April tries to better understand them, she’s well aware of the protective ring the other residents form around their friend and neighbour.

In essence, this story isn’t simply about April getting over her ex and moving on, it’s more than that. It’s a glimpse behind the closed doors of her neighbours too as the reader is invited inside to get to know them, warts and all. It’s soon clear that April’s first impressions are somewhat flawed as individual stories are revealed that perfectly explain everything. Their backstories are told with a delicate touch yet the pain is palpable. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of lighter moments that will make you laugh and smile, reflect and appreciate, as well as a hint of romance.

The Landlord at Hummingbird House tells the story of random strangers who have become “family” to each other, whose experiences have been shared and supported. It’s very real and relatable as well as poignant and witty … and there’s a sweet twist at the end that adds the proverbial icing to one of Betty’s cakes.

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family · Publication Day · romantic comedy · series

Publication Day Push – The Ticklemore Tavern

The Ticklemore Tavern

Violet makes her own gin.

Logan Cassidy sells it in his pub, The Ticklemore Tavern.

It should have been a match made in heaven, especially since the pair of them fancy the socks off each other, and they are both young, free and single.

Except…

Logan’s mum, Marie, doesn’t think Violet is good enough for her son. No woman is, or ever will be. And when she becomes ill, Logan is torn between looking after his mum or following his heart.

However, neither Logan, nor Marie, has taken the sheer force of nature that is Violet into account. What Violet wants, Violet gets.

Usually…

But maybe not this time, eh?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ticklemore-Tavern-uplifting-heart-warming-romantic-ebook/dp/B093DC6BL1

US – https://www.amazon.com/Ticklemore-Tavern-uplifting-heart-warming-romantic-ebook/dp/B093DC6BL1

Author Bio

Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.

She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.

She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper van and travel the world in it.

Website: https://lizdaviesauthor.wixsite.com/home

Social Media Links

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/lizdaviesauthor

Facebook: fb.me/LizDaviesAuthor1

My Review

Oh my! Where have I been? How did I miss the previous books in the Ticklemore series? I LOVED The Ticklemore Tavern! So much. Fortunately it’s easily read as a stand-alone. That said, I shall look forward to checking out the other books in the series.

So, what exactly is so wonderful about The Ticklemore Tavern? By that, I mean the story, not the pub – which sounds amazing too. Well, putting aside the glorious gin concoctions that Violet makes, the story is one that hooks you like a soap opera. Both Violet and Logan are such likeable characters, and from the moment they meet, it’s impossible not to root for them. They have great chemistry that is infectious … until Logan’s mum, Marie, gets involved.

I understand (a wee, tiny bit) that she is worried about losing Logan, and that she feels no woman would ever be good enough for him, but when those headaches start, it’s blatantly obvious what she’s up to. And, Logan, bless him, won’t have a bad word said about his mum, and consequently the tell-tale signs go way over his head.

Thank Heavens for Hattie – who I know now to be the stalwart of Ticklemore’s residents – the mender of broken hearts, the fixer of all things wrong, and, unfortunately for Marie, the seer of fake illnesses. It doesn’t bear thinking what might have happened to Logan and Violet had this wise octogenarian not done what she does best and stepped into the fray between the loved-up couple and Marie.

The Ticklemore Tavern is a sweet, heart-warming story that really pulls you in. It’s a happy, feel-good read with plenty of inner turmoil and conflict to keep you turning the pages. And those Gin flavours – please tell me they are real!

I hope there’s more to come from Ticklemore, but in the meantime I’ll busy myself catching up with the author’s back catalogue.

Highly recommended for those seeking some respite from everyday issues. Grab a copy, a cup of tea (or gin!) and put your feet up in Ticklemore.

As always,

Reviewed on Amazon UK as Meandthemutts

book birthday · book blitz · book excerpt · family · historical

Book Birthday Blitz- The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus

Sometimes there are books that come along at a time when, as a book reviewer, I simply can’t squeeze them into my reading schedule. This was one of those, and so I had to get involved in the birthday book blitz in some way, if not as a reader. (I’ve added the book to my Kindle though, and will get to reviewing it just as soon as I can)

The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus

Brothers bound by blood but fated to be enemies. Can their Empire survive or will it crumble into myth?

Istanbul, 1903.


Since his younger brother usurped the Imperial throne, Sultan Murad V has been imprisoned with his family for nearly thirty years.

The new century heralds immense change. Anarchy and revolution threaten the established order. Powerful enemies plot the fall of the once mighty Ottoman Empire. Only death will bring freedom to the enlightened former sultan. But the waters of the Bosphorus run deep: assassins lurk in shadows, intrigue abounds, and scandal in the family threatens to bring destruction of all that he holds dear…

For over six hundred years the history of the Turks and their vast and powerful Empire has been inextricably linked to the Ottoman dynasty. Can this extraordinary family, and the Empire they built, survive into the new century?

Set against the magnificent backdrop of Imperial Istanbul,The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus is a spellbinding tale of love, duty and sacrifice.

Evocative and utterly beguiling,The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus is perfect for fans of Colin Falconer, Kate Morton and Philippa Gregory.

Purchase Links

Amazon

Payhip

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

Apple

Google Store

A message from the author

Lynne, thank you so much for inviting me to share an extract from my book on your Blog, and thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising my Virtual Book Tour to celebrate the 1st Birthday of The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus.

Extract

The Gilded Cage on the Bosphorus is the book that I always dreamed of writing. Ever since I was a little girl… Initially I did not intend to publish – it was written to encourage my children’s interest and sense of pride in their heritage, and to teach them forgotten customs and traditions. I wanted to record stories and memories that my grandfather shared with me of his unique life before they are lost forever, and I also hoped to discover more about the characters and personalities hidden behind faded family photographs… Then one day my father persuaded me that others might enjoy this personal story set during the twilight years of the Ottoman Empire, so it was published and today celebrates its first birthday!

The inspiration for this scene comes from two beautiful photographs that I have of my Great Aunts. Both were strong, independent and modern young women, confined by the traditions and conventions of their time. Yet, their spirits were free:

Jean Pascal Bey now sought and received the permission of both princesses to set about creating a suitable photographic composition with the props available to him. First, he lifted the finely-gilded tête-à-tête chair that stood by the window and placed it against a wall at an angle so that one end projected into the room; then he unrolled the small Hereke carpet that he had brought with him and laid it under the back legs of the chair, ensuring that the fringe was arranged in a way that looked haphazard and informal. He was glad that he had decided to bring this carpet: he had been right in thinking that the opulent yalı would not have such a small rug to hand. After that, he picked up a three-legged pedestal table that he had previously spotted in a corner of the room and put it on the opposite side of the rug from the tête-à-tête chair, placing on it a vase full of heavy-headed blooms. Standing back to contemplate the scene, he rubbed his chin, moved forward to remove two or three of the flowers from the vase, and laid them on the table. During the entire process, the princesses had been watching him work with great interest. After a few final tweaks, he appeared to be satisfied with the scene he had created, and turned to address Hadice.

“If your Imperial Highness would be so kind,” he said, “I would ask you to please stand between the seat and the table, and place your right hand on the curved back of the seat … Oh, and maybe your left hand might be placed behind your back.” Hadice did exactly as she was bidden. “Hmm … there is something missing. I wonder …” he mused, scratching his head just above the right ear and making the hair stick out beneath his fez. “A fan! Princess Hadice, do you have a fan? I think it would complete the portrait most satisfactorily if you were to hold a closed fan in your right hand as it rests on the back of the seat.” This was an item that it had not occurred to Hadice to bring with her: she looked across the room at her sister, who opened a narrow rectangular box that was lying on a nearby table – it bore her initials in swirling gold letters – and took out an ivory fan with a beautifully-carved ebony handle. Fehime then handed it triumphantly to her sister, who smiled at her in gratitude. “Perfect!” exclaimed Jean Pascal. “Now we are ready for Aslan Bey.” He placed a richly-embroidered cushion on the seat of the tête-à-tête chair, which was upholstered in red velvet, and Hadice called Aslan to her. The dog obediently jumped up onto the seat and sat on the cushion facing the photographer just as if he knew precisely what was expected of him. Everyone laughed, and this served to lighten the atmosphere in the room even further.

Hadice looked magnificent. Her thick dark hair framed her face in a loose pompadour bun; the simple cream dress she was wearing had a high neck and ruffled sleeves that fell to the top of her white gloves, while its sweeping train lay pooled in front of her. She had decided not to wear much jewellery as she wanted the Imperial Order that hung around her neck, and the Mecidiye Order pinned to her left breast, to stand out. Fehime thought she had never seen her sister looking more lovely or more dignified.

Jean Pascal wheeled his camera forward on the small wheels attached to the tripod legs; noticing how badly they creaked, he made a mental note to have them oiled as soon as he returned to the studio. He then made a slight adjustment to the camera’s angle, tilted the lens, and disappeared for a moment beneath the dark cloth draped over the camera box in order to view the inverted image. He brought the image into focus by adjusting the distance between the lens and the film plate, moving the folding leather bellows as though he was playing an accordion. When he reappeared, he was utterly dumbfounded to see that Hadice was unveiled: during the few seconds it had taken him to re-emerge from under the dark cloth, she had unpinned her yashmak and allowed it to float to the floor. Zeynel Ağa moved forward to pick up the discarded veil, his smooth, finely-chiselled face betraying nothing of what he might be thinking. Jean Pascal, meanwhile, looked thunderstruck, having been thrown completely off guard. Unlike the old eunuch, he was incapable of hiding his mental confusion.

“Jean Pascal Bey, I think you will need to hurry before Aslan tires of the pose,” Hadice said. Fehime giggled behind her hand. How she loved her sister, and how she admired her ready wit!

Jean Pascal now disappeared under the dark cloth for a second time – more to settle his nerves than to double-check the focus. Then, standing to attention beside his camera box, he squeezed the small air-pump ball that operated the shutter system and took the photograph. Neither Hadice nor Aslan had moved even a millimetre. He knew instantly that he had captured a perfect image.

Author Bio

Ayşe Osmanoğlu is a member of the Imperial Ottoman family, being descended from Sultan Murad V through her grandfather and from Sultan Mehmed V (Mehmed Reşad) through her grandmother. After reading History and Politics at the University of Exeter, she then obtained an M.A. in Turkish Studies at SOAS, University of London, specialising in Ottoman History. She lives in the UK with her husband and five children.

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/ayseosmanogluauthor

https://www.instagram.com/aysegulnevsultan/

https://twitter.com/AyseGulnev

As always

blog tour · book review · drama · family · psychological suspense

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Between You and Me

Between You and Me

Is her new husband really who she thinks he is?

When young doctor Lauren Matheson meets Joe, an older divorced businessman, at a glittering poolside in California, it’s a chance encounter that seems life-changing for them both. Back home in London, their feelings only strengthen. But Lauren soon discovers that building a happy future with Joe is going to be an uphill struggle…

She’s determined to be a good stepmother to his children, four-year-old Toby and complicated teen Grace. But under the watchful eye of Meredith, Joe’s intimidating ex-wife, Lauren can’t seem to do a thing right. Why won’t Joe ever take her side against Grace? And what really happened between him and Meredith?

As her husband retreats into a cold, secretive version of the dashing man she met in California, Lauren starts to wonder if she’s made a costly mistake. Was Joe ever the man she thought she married?

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/2Pu9BCM

Author Bio

Carol Mason is the Amazon Charts and Kindle #1 bestselling author After You Left (more than 300,000 copies sold), The Secrets of Married Women, The Last Time We Met, The Shadow Between Us, Send Me A Lover and Little White Secrets which hit the Bookstat digital bestsellers list top 3 in the week of its launch. She was born in the North East of England where most of her novels are set. She now lives in Canada with her Canadian husband, a rescue dog from Kuwait and a three-legged cat. When not writing, Carol loves to read, cook and binge watch Netflix.

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/CarolMasonAuthor

https://twitter.com/CarolMasonBooks

https://www.instagram.com/carolmasonauthor

My Review

The last thing junior doctor, Lauren expected when she returned to London was to meet up again with Joe, an older guy she met on vacation in America. Their holiday fling didn’t go anywhere once he told her things were “complicated” for him at that moment. But now things have changed and the couple are free to pursue a relationship.

Within a short space of time, they marry and Lauren becomes step-mother to his two children – teenager Grace and four-year-old Toby. As you might expect, Lauren gets no easy ride from Grace, but does bond with Toby. That is until Joe’s ex-wife, and mother to the two kids, sticks her nose in. OK, so as their mother, Meredith obviously has rights and wants the best for her offspring, but treating Lauren like some unpaid help is not the way to go, especially when Meredith takes every chance to belittle and even mock Lauren’s attempts to build a rapport with the children. And where is Joe in all this? You might well ask! Mr Holiday-romance-turned-hubby is not exactly on his new wife’s side when things begin to go wrong. It seems Lauren can do nothing right, not even treat young Toby after an accident, despite being a medical professional

Frustrated and desperate for some support, Lauren’s checks out a forum for step-parents only to find a lot of hostility and animosity from many in her situation towards their step-kids. She does make one friend, though, but even then things aren’t as straightforward as they might seem.

There’s clearly more to Meredith’s story than we think. It comes to a head when she gets the bit between her teeth and sets out to destroy not only Lauren’s relationship with Joe and his kids, but also her career. Lauren is left fighting for her sanity, her career and her marriage in this twisty tale that makes for compulsive reading. A story of ordinary people living ordinary lives until someone throws a huge spanner in the works. The question is why … and can Lauren pick up the pieces? Will she even want to?

Highly recommended if you enjoy a solid family drama with a sinister edge.

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Reviews on Amazon UK as MeandtheMutts

book review · drama · family · historical · historical fiction · political · social history

Book Review – The Girl Behind The Wall

My favourite Historical Fiction book this year!

A city divided.
When the Berlin Wall goes up, Karin is on the wrong side of the city. Overnight, she’s trapped under Soviet rule in unforgiving East Berlin and separated from her twin sister, Jutta.
Two sisters torn apart.
Karin and Jutta lead parallel lives for years, cut off by the Wall. But Karin finds one reason to keep going: Otto, the man who gives her hope, even amidst the brutal East German regime.
One impossible choice…
When Jutta finds a hidden way through the wall, the twins are reunited. But the Stasi have eyes everywhere, and soon Karin is faced with a terrible decision: to flee to the West and be with her sister, or sacrifice it all to follow her heart?

Purchase link (publication date July 8th 2021)

My Review

Historical Fiction is one of my most favourite genres to read, and I’m a sucker for a WWII story. The Girl Behind The Wall, whilst set in Berlin, is not a war story since it takes place in the 1960s. However, the events of that day in 1961 when the Berlin Wall went up overnight has its roots very firmly set in the aftermath of WWII and the division of Berlin.

Identical twin sisters, Jutta and Karin, share an enviable thread that is about to be tested to its limits when Karin insists on travelling to the Eastern part of Berlin, despite not feeling so great. Normally, Jutta would have gone with her, but this time Karin can’t wait for her sister.

That night, their cousin, Hugo, an upcoming news reporter for the radio, hears rumblings of a story. He drags Jutta out with him to see what is going on, riding on his motorbike past all the checkpoints that mark the dividing line between East and West Berlin. Except the checkpoints are all closed and frenetic activity sees the making of a more permanent division, concrete and barbed wire split the city in two as the Berlin Wall goes up with Karin still in the East, after a ruptured appendix sees her hospitalised.

Jutta and the family in the West aren’t able to visit her but they can see no reason why she wouldn’t be allowed to return home once she recovers. Well, no reason other than the German Democratic Republic not granting her permission to leave – but they wouldn’t be so inflexible, would they? Hell, yeah.

When Karin recovers, her path to the West has been blocked and she has to accept the offer of her kind doctor to move in with him and his wife for the time being. Every step is considered temporary at first … until it not longer is.

Jutta is refused access to visit and Karin is refused permission to leave. The two young women who have never been apart are suddenly plunged into a new reality, never really understanding why their applications consistently fail. (The reason does become known eventually, but all too late for them)

Karin gets a job as a cleaner in the hospital, thanks again to the doctor, and has to come to terms with the fact that her life is now in East Berlin. Initially, she wants to leave, to go home to her family until she meets and falls in love with Otto, whose ambition is to rebuild East Germany from within as an architect. He has no real attachment to the West and only sees a future for him and his family – and Karin – in the East.

Jutta, from the other side of the Wall, is desperate to get her sister home, especially when letters aren’t getting through and telephone lines are down permanently. Her One day, when she is walking the length of the Wall, she hears the mewing of a cat and follows the sound to find a mother cat and her kittens in a deserted building that flanks the Wall. She gives the cat her lunch and explores a labyrinth of doors and rooms and ultimately a window that looks out into East Berlin.

She risks going over the window, checking carefully for any onlookers and lands with dusty knees in East Berlin, whereupon she heads for the hospital in the hope they know where Karin might now be. From here, the pace picks up as there is danger around every corner and Jutta’s paranoia reaches new heights. Even so, she continues, her desire to find her sister worth the risk.

A connection is made … but the reunion is a far cry from what Jutta expects. Karin is more alert to the dangers, but she also aware that her escape from the East could put those who looked out for her in danger too. And, of course, she has grown fond of Otto, too fond to consider a life without him.

Jutta, forlorn and disappointed, begs Karin to convince Otto to leave the East too and the two women meet up more often from then on. Jutta’s determination to bring Karin home knows no bounds, and she cannot understand why her sister might choose to stay with Otto than to return to her family.

It is not until Jutta finds love herself that she begins to understand, and while the two of them continue their very different lives, each time they meet up Jutta still hopes that Karin can persuade Otto to leave too.

The danger intensifies as Jutta is mistaken for Karin, and a familiar face keeps popping up which sets them both on edge. Have they been found out? Are they under surveillance? The mood is tense, and grows more unnerving with each visit. What began as two sisters divided by the Wall has now evolved into them having others in their lives that mean as much – if not more – to them than they do to each other. And for twins who have only really ever relied upon each other, it’s hard to accept, and even harder to admit to the other that other people are important to them too.

The Girl Behind The Wall is a story of decisions and sacrifices that threaten to tear a family apart. It’s emotional, tense, and highly addictive. So many families were broken up at this time, so many lives were lost as people attempted to flee, and so much mistrust and division was sown among communities as neighbours spied on neighbours. Thankfully, the Wall did come down eventually, but for so many it was too late. For Jutta and Karin, however, there was always hope and a thread between them that nothing could destroy.

Many thanks to Netgalley, Avon books and HarperCollins for my advanced copy of this book which I have reviewed voluntarily.

blog tour · book review · dual timeline · family · women's fiction

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Waiting to Begin

Waiting to Begin

From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a story that asks: what would you risk for a shot at happiness?

1984. Bessie is a confident sixteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet, dreaming of what life will bring and what she’ll bring to this life. Then everything comes crashing down. Her bright and trusting smile is lost, banished by shame—and a secret she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.

2021. The last thirty-seven years have not been easy for Bess. At fifty-three she is visibly weary, and her marriage to Mario is in tatters. Watching her son in newlywed bliss—the hope, the trust, the joy—Bess knows it is time to face her own demons, and try to save her relationship. But she’ll have to throw off the burden of shame if she is to honour that sixteen-year-old girl whose dreams lie frozen in time.

Can Bess face her past, finally come clean to Mario, and claim the love she has longed to fully experience all these years?

Purchase Linkhttp://bit.ly/WaitingToBegin_UK

Author Bio

Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author whose twenty seven novels and seven novellas have been published in dozens of languages around the world. Published by Lake Union, Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. Her books, including the chart topping No.1 titles ‘What Have I Done?’, ‘Perfect Daughter’, ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘The Girl in the Corner’, ‘The Things I Know’ and ‘The Day She Came Back’ have sold millions of copies across the globe.

A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s ‘The Jeremy Vine Show’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations including LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour. Described by the Daily Mail as ‘The queen of family drama’ Amanda’s novel, ‘A Mother’s Story’ won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the year Award while ‘Perfect Daughter’ was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.

Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…

Praise for Amanda Prowse:


‘A powerful and emotional work of fiction’ – Piers Morgan
‘Deeply moving and emotional, Amanda Prowse handles her explosive subjects with delicate skill’ – Daily Mail
‘Uplifting and positive, but you will still need a box of tissues’ – Hello!
‘A gut-wrenching and absolutely brilliant read’ – The Irish Sun
‘You’ll fall in love with this…’ – Cosmopolitan
‘Deeply moving and eye opening. Powerful and emotional drama that packs a real punch.’ – Heat
‘Magical’ – Now magazine

Social Media Links –

Say hello on Twitter:  @MrsAmandaProwse

Friend me on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/AmandaProwseAuthor

Tag me on Instagram:  www.instagram.com/MrsAmandaProwse

Visit my Amazon Author Page:  Amanda Prowse Author  

Check out my website: www.amandaprowse.com

My Review

As a 16-year-old, Bessie has high hopes of a future travelling the world as an air stewardess. On the day she goes to collect her exam results, her world falls apart. It’s made even worse when she discovers she’s pregnant too. That’s it – her future is over. Or is it?

Some 37 years later, Bess is a mother of two with a secret. And that secret is threatening to blow her world apart for a second time … unless she can come to terms with what she did.

Waiting to Begin focuses on family relationships and, if I’m honest, I didn’t really gel with Bess. She struck me as someone with a chip on her shoulder and a little bit snobbish, which given that everything that happened to her was of her own making, meant she came across as not hugely likeable.

Her family, however, are just the nicest people. Her dad, in particular, brought tears to my eyes with just how lovely and normal and down-to-earth … and embarrassing 🙂 … he was. I guess this is the author’s great skill to portray a warts and all view of family life from many viewpoints.

The story moves between 1984 and the present day, with an excited Bessie looking forward to life. Then in the present day, Bess is less enthusiastic about her lot, she is no longer close to her brother (who kept her secret) and nor is she in touch with her one-time best friend, Michelle. Fortunately, the ending is wonderfully positive, tying up those loose ends and restoring calm in those erst-troubled waters.

I did feel for young Bessie but I also felt, at times, that she accepted no responsibility for her actions. Unaware of what had happened to their daughter, her parents continued to be the goofy, loving people they’d always been. Yes, they were flawed, but those flaws came with warmth and unconditional love.

The story tugs at the heartstrings many a times, but is equally funny and heartwarming. It shows how everything we go through makes us who we are, and that from failure and rejection comes strength and growth.

A story that evokes the whole range of emotions. You’ll laugh, cry, cheer and despair … but you’ll close the book feeling satisfied that all is well with the world. Sort of 😉

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