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white lies final

 

** My thanks to Sarah at Bombshell Books for the opportunity to read this book and inviting me to be part of the blog blitz **

 

Description:

Lydia knows first-hand that ‘having it all’ isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. As far as she’s concerned, when it comes to job versus family, it’s a case of one or the other. And whilst most women her age have spent years climbing the corporate ladder, she’s made a career out of bagging her perfect man. Now nearly thirty and still single, Lydia wonders if she’d made the right choice.

Realising the time has come to take stock, she goes against her family’s wishes and goes travelling in the hope of finding a new direction. At least that’s the plan.

So when Sam comes along, she decides to tell a little white lie, re-inventing herself as a professional chef – not exactly the best new identity for a woman who can’t cook. But the truth can’t stay hidden for long and when her family show up unexpectedly things go from bad to worse…

Can Lydia find love? Will she ever learn to cook?

Little White Lies and Butterflies is a heart-warming comedy about finding your place in the world.

My Thoughts & Review:

After reading Suzie Tullett’s previous book The Trouble with Words I was delighted to be offered an early review copy of her next book by the publisher.
Despite this being only the second book that I’ve read by this author, I definitely have a new name to add to the list of go to authors for when I need a book to pick me up or offer an escape, she’s right there alongside Holly Martin, Darcie Boleyn, Rachel Griffiths and Jenny Colgan.

I won’t go into the ins and outs of the plot, that’s something for you to discover on your own, preferably with a hot cuppa and a chocolate biscuit or two.  But I will say that I loved how the story flowed so easily in this book, the way it all wound perfectly together despite the madcap escapades of certain characters.
Lydia, wants to find her soul mate, her perfect match, the one…..and in doing so she has a strict list of criteria she is looking for and not willing to deviate from it.  But with this mindset she is potentially missing out on perfectly nice men in search of a mythical man that might not exactly exist.  There were times I could sympathise with her, if you were to settle down you would want it to be with someone special, someone who is the chocolate to your digestive, but there were also times that I wanted to give Lydia a shake and tell her to stop being so quick to judge.  To open her eyes and see what was right in front of her, see who was in front of her.

There were so many moments in this that I found I was chuckling out loud, seeing little white lies becoming huge whoppers that snowballed cataclysmically made this such a humorous read.  However, this book has more to offer than just light-hearted comedic read, it has romance, and some enthusiastic family members that cause embarrassment and panic.  But ultimately it has an important lesson to share – everyone has their own place in this life, it may not be apparent if you are quick to judge and only see one perspective, look deeper and try to appreciate what’s around you.

I absolutely love Suzie Tullett‘s style of writing, it flows beautifully and it feels like it transports you into the book.  The descriptions of the Greece were mesmerising, the beaches became such clear images in my head, the sights and smells (especially food) felt so rich and authentic.  One of those books that’s perfect to lose yourself in for an afternoon.

You can buy a copy of Little White Lies and Butterflies via:

Amazon

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Published: 28 August 2017

 

Description:

A red gash of a mouth rimmed with impossibly tiny, razor-sharp teeth yawned wide, then swift as a snake, she bent and struck . . . “
For Sandra, daughter of illusionists, Adam and Ophelia, life’s never been run of the mill. But when Adam’s wandering eye lights on yet another conquest, it proves a chorus girl too far, and Sandra’s caught in the reverberations of her parents acrimonious parting. Coerced into restoring her depressed Mother to the bosom of a family Sandra never knew existed, she’s sucked into a situation that even for her is unnerving.
 
From being without a single relative, she suddenly acquires several she’d rather do without, and learns a few home truths she’d prefer not to know. Ophelia it appears, has not been entirely honest about any number of things. There’s no doubt in Sandra’s mind, the sooner she puts as much distance as possible between herself, her newly discovered nearest and dearest, their peculiar tendencies and their failing hotel business, the very much happier she’s going to be.
 
Dire straits call for desperate measures and Sandra reluctantly rises to the occasion. A hanged housemaid, a fly-on-the-wall documentary, The Psychic Society and a quasi co-operative journalist all handled correctly should, she reckons, get the family business up and running, which will allow her to do the same – as fast as she can, and in the opposite direction. Things unfortunately move swiftly from bad to farce and then get a hell of a lot darker. One moment Sandra’s struggling to save the family’s income, the next, she’s battling to save their lives.
Turns out, some darknesses, once buried, are best left undisturbed.

My Thoughts & Review:

The reader meets Sandra just as her life begins to unravel slightly, her mother Ophelia appears and as dramatic as ever announces that she and Sandra’s father have argued and that she’s left him for good.  The fight between the two became physical and she hit him over the head before leaving, not caring if he were dead or alive.  Ophelia declares she has had enough of Adam’s roving eye and womanising ways, and this time it’s the end.
And just as the reader grasps what’s happening, Sandra begins to recount her childhood, how it was to grow up the daughter of the great illusionists Adam and Ophelia.  The relationship between daughter and parents never appears as that of the stereotypical one, Sandra was often left behind or forgotten about and the much needed parental figure coming in the form of the couples’ manager.  The way in which Sandra describes the relationship of her parents gives readers an insight into this stormy pairing.  Both seeming to spark something in the other that gives rise to an argument or heated exchange, but ultimately this chemistry is the thing that keeps their stage act alive and popular.

Back in the present, Ophelia is in full diva mode, demanding that Sandra take time off work and drive her to Stratford, she however fails to inform her daughter of the significance of the address to which they are heading.  Upon arrival at the hotel, Sandra is astounded to realise that she has family that Ophelia omitted to tell her about, having believed her mother’s tales whilst growing up that she had no family.
The family hotel is failing and Sandra decides to help out whilst she is there, and Ophelia true to her nature, disappears at the mention of helping out by doing some work.

What then follows is a tale of madness, chaos and ghostly goings on with quite possibly the strangest collection of characters.

I found this was a quick read, once I’d started I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened and where Sandra would end up in the grand scheme of things.

The characters in this have been created well, their descriptions are well rounded and show off their quirks as well as making them quite interesting to read about.

I will admit that it’s a little outside my usual crime thriller reads to it did take a little time to switch off my logical thinking brain and just let the story flow.

You can buy a copy of Witch Dust via Amazon

My thanks to Noelle and Kate at Thick as Thieves Book Publicity and Promo for the opportunity to read and review this book, and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Follow the blog tour:

Witch Dust Blog Tour Poster

 

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Description:

When Colin discovers his son is on a murder charge in France, he trails his small boat, The Dragonfly , across the channel to stay in Paris to try and help him. There he meets his grand-daughter the irrepressible Delphine for the first time. They embark on an exciting boat journey through the picturesque French canals, heading south through Burgundy, until the butter melts. Along the way, they catch up with Tyler, a spirited American, and through various mishaps and misunderstandings, they land big fish, cultivate new loves and uncover a burning secret. But can Colin finally help his son get off the hook?

My Thoughts & Review:

This was a book that I read on holiday and was lost for words when it came to writing a review.  It’s such a captivating book following Colin and his boat The Dragonfly as they travel the canals of France after receiving a letter informing him that his estranged son has committed murder.  Colin is desperate to find out why his son has acted so out of character and travels to France to try and  help him.

Colin’s arrival in France is bittersweet, the circumstances that have brought him there have also brought him face to face with the granddaughter he’s never met, Delphine.  As complete strangers they start out their journey along the French waterways, Dephine finding she  must speak in English so that her grandfather can understand her.  The relationship and bond that forms between the two steadily grows in this heart warming tale.  I really don’t want to say too much about the details of the plot and so this book an injustice, it’s not one that should be spoiled.

The French backdrop is beautifully described, and there’s a great depth to this book, the story flows easily from the pages and captures the heart of the reader.

This is a book that it’s taken so long to write a review for, so many times I thought of what to write for I could never quite capture the right words to explain what I loved so much about this book, it really is quite a special book and one that needs to be read to be appreciated.

You can buy a copy of “The Dragonfly” via Amazon

My thanks to Kate Dunn for the opportunity to read a copy of The Dragonfly, it’s reserved a special place in my library.


Author Feature: b1tzuqkbers-_ux250_

Kate Dunn has had five books published, two novels: Rebecca’s Children and The Line Between Us as well as three works of non fiction, Always and Always — The Wartime Letters of Hugh and Margaret Williams, Exit through the Fireplace and Do Not Adjust Your Set. She has written travel articles for various national newspapers and has broadcast on Radios Two, Three and Four including regular contributions to Front Row. She worked for ten years as an actress and has a PhD in Drama from Manchester University. Her third novel The Dragonfly will be published by Aurora Metro in March 2017.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

The writing process itself.  Sitting in my shed looking down the hill over other people’s gardens, thinking really hard.  Sometimes sinking deep into your imagination is almost transcendental.  I like the process of disappearing from the world like that, but also surfacing at the end of an intense day to find that everything is as it was.  The pursuit of the perfect phrase.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

I’m lucky enough to have an amazing agent, Laura Longrigg, who has been both a shield and an inspiration, but even in spite of her protection and encouragement the process of finding a publisher is incredibly stressful.  There’s a phrase for the kind of letters you receive – the rave rejection – and I’ve had a few of those.  However, the fact that The Dragonfly has found a fantastic home at Aurora Metro, who are a small independent publisher with a really personal touch, feels even sweeter.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

I think I would like to have written A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews.  She’s a Canadian writer who draws quite closely on her own experience and she has an extraordinary knack for describing the most harrowing events and putting  a comic spin on them at the same time.  Her novels are brittle and incredibly beautiful, with all kinds of interesting tensions running beneath the surface.  I love her work and would read anything she has written.  I’m awash with admiration.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

My husband and I are lucky enough to own a small riverboat in France and we spend as much time as we can racketing around the French canals.  It’s 95% blissful relaxation and 5% white knuckle terror.  In fact, the inspiration for The Dragonfly came from some of the adventures we have had, which perhaps goes to show that as a writer you’re never not thinking about your next book!

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

I tried to write in the morning when I’m freshest, and I use the afternoons for gainful employment such as copyrighting or freelance editing, both of which I enjoy and find can complement my own work.  I don’t have much of a ritual, although for every book I write I have a dedicated note book where I jot down ideas and keep a kind of writing diary, so I can chart the development of the story.  Oh yes, and silence – crucial.

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Published: 13 July 2017

 

Description:

There are some surprises that no-one should ever have to experience. Standing over the body of your beloved – and murdered – niece is one of them. For Detective Inspector Harry Virdee, a man perilously close to the edge, it feels like the beginning of the end.

His boss may be telling him he’s too close to work the case, but this isn’t something that Harry can just let lie. He needs to dive into the murky depths of the Bradford underworld and find the monster that lurks there who killed his flesh and blood.

But before he can, he must tell his brother, Ron, the terrible news. And there is no predicting how he will react. Impulsive, dangerous and alarmingly well connected, Ron will act first and think later. Harry may have a murderer to find but if he isn’t careful, he may also have a murder to prevent.

My Thoughts & Review:

To say I was excited to hear the follow up to “Streets of Darkness” was available would be a little bit of an understatement.  I devoured the first book of this series in one day, and quite honestly if it hadn’t been for housework and life getting in the way I would have managed this book in one day too.  A.A. Dhand has a style of writing that grabs the reader and doesn’t let go easily.

For fans of the first book, you will be pleased to know that we catch up with Harry Virdee and see that he is still the pained and tortured soul that he was before, but now he has a one year old son, Aaron with his adoring wife Saima.
The discovery of a murder victim starts off a nightmare for Harry that he will never forget, the victim is his beloved niece Tara who also happens to be the daughter of his brother Ronnie.  Being excluded from the investigation won’t stop him searching for answers and finding out who murdered his niece.

Perfectly baited chapters with realistic and gritty writing make this an addictive read.  The seedy underbelly of Bradford is so vividly depicted through Dhand’s writing, it screams danger and the uncertainty that lurks in the shadows is enough to make this a thrilling read.  I’ve so far managed to type and delete everything I’ve written about the plot because I would end up giving something away, there are some very topical issues dealt with in this book and some of the revelations are sordid to say the least.
The cultural details that are included in this are fascinating, and once again I find that I’ve learned something from Dhand’s books.  I had no idea about taweez and the power they hold for those they are created for and found the discussion between Harry and Saima really interesting.  The importance of family and the traditions followed were details that piqued my interest as well as adding an authenticity to the characters.

The exploration of Harry’s character made for wonderful reading, the turmoil in doing the right thing and how far he would go when his family are concerned are a constant struggle for him.  His blurring the lines of the law show his desperation for answers and justice, but what will be the ultimate price?  It’s fair to say that danger stalks Harry and those close to him, he tries to keep them safe but cannot be there all the time.
The expanded history of the rift in his family is well written, I absolutely loved seeing the reactions of his family when they had to deal with Detective Inspector Virdee as opposed to shunned Harry Virdee.  His father’s anger felt so raw and being able to “hear” in his words his hatred towards Harry’s marriage and life decisions make for riveting reading.  But juxtaposed perfectly is the touching moment shared between Saima and Harry’s mother, for a few brief moments there is genuine love and happiness.

A.A. Dhand is a master of his craft, he writes some of the most gripping plots with some of the most tantalisingly dangerous situations and keeps readers begging for more!

My thanks to Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin for the recommendation and to A.A. Dhand for sending me a copy of this book, I am forever in your debts.

You can buy a copy of “Girl Zero” via:

Amazon
Book Depository
Wordery

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Hello and welcome along to The Quiet Knitter!  It’s Friday, and that can only mean one thing (well for here anyway!), it’s time for another post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing”.
This week I am delighted to bring you a book from Bombshell Books who are an imprint of the fantastic Bloodhound Books – I thoroughly recommend checking out both as they have some cracking books to offer!  Today’s book in the spotlight is “The Trouble With Words” by Suzie Tullett and she’s kindly taken some time out to face a grilling for the author feature.


Book Feature:

Published: 29 July 2017

Description:Trouble 5(1)

Annabel is desperate to have a baby – there’s just one problem. She’s single and after losing her husband in a hit and run accident, she’s just not ready for another relationship. 

Dan is on the hunt for the perfect woman but when his mother drops a bombshell, he starts to feel the pressure.

When Dan and Annabel’s worlds collide, both start to think that maybe they’ve found the solution to their problems. But things are about to get messy.

Can Dan and Annabel get what they want?

Both will soon find out that the trouble with words is finding the right thing to say.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

This has to be one of the most powerfully emotive books I’ve read this year, it’s so packed with laughter, love and raw human emotion that this reader cannot help but give this book special place in her heart.

An enjoyable story that is equally heartbreaking as it is heartwarming, it restores your faith in humanity, kindness and unquestioning friendship through the wonderful cast of characters and their takes on life.
In the beginning I will admit to not being entirely sure of Annabel.  Her grief felt so raw and it seemed that she was rushing straight into having a baby, perhaps this was just her method of survival, we all know that grief can do funny things to people and we will do whatever it takes to just make it through a moment in time relatively intact.  But once her thought process becomes clearer, the reader begins to understand her more.
Dan on the other hand, well there’s fictional boyfriend material if ever you needed it!  It would seem that he has a heart of gold, he wants to try and keep people happy.  His relationship with his mother is so lovely, the dialogue between them felt very natural and was cause for some laughter.  Dan’s mother, what a character!  Her outlook on life is one I applaud.  Why keep things for best indeed!  If you want to wear a ballgown to nip down to Tesco for loo rolls then on you go, enjoy!  Might drag out my wedding dress and wear that next time I pop out for the shopping.  The sparkle in her eyes what shines bright with mischievous intent is so abundant throughout the story.

The easy flow to the writing makes this a quick but enjoyable read.  With so much emotion woven into the story I felt like I’d been on a rollercoaster, and there was one point I was convinced by specs were covered in dirt as I was struggling to read properly, not realising it was due to the tears threatening to spill from my brimming eyes.

It’s easy to say that a book has left a lasting impression on you, that characters have stayed with you after you’ve finished the book, but this is a book that leaves you almost feeling bereft once you reach the end.  I became so invested in the characters and I genuinely felt as a loss once I’d read the final words, there’s no doubt in my mind that this is a special book and one I will be sure to buy a paper copy of for the bookcase so I can revisit soon.  Suzie Tullett is a writer who has secured her place on my “must read” list, and I will be keeping an eye out for her next projects!

You can buy a copy of “The Trouble With  Words” via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository

 


Author Feature:

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Suzie Tullett is an author of contemporary humorous fiction and romantic comedy. She has a Masters Degree in Television & Radio Scriptwriting and worked as a scriptwriter before becoming a full-time novelist. Her motto is to ‘live, laugh, love’ and when she’s not busy creating her own literary masterpieces, she usually has her head in someone else’s.

Suzie lives in a tiny hamlet in the middle of the French countryside, along with her husband and two Greek rescue dogs.

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

One of my favourite things about being an author is the fact that I can work anywhere. All I need is a notebook and pen or a laptop and I can take myself off to a café or the beach to write. Like now, the weather is so glorious I’ve set myself up in the garden. It’s lovely to have the freedom to change environments like this.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

In contrast to the above, there are times when authors have no choice but to sit at the desk for hours on end, especially when it comes to meeting tight deadlines. This is when being an author can be quite a lonely business. I can go days and days without seeing a real live person, so the isolation can be difficult. 

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

There are so many books I’ve read that I absolutely love and all for different reasons. Wearing my author hat though, I’d probably choose the Harry Potter series. Not only are they hugely successful, I’ve heard it said many time that J.K. Rowling is responsible for getting a whole generation of people reading. Now that’s an accolade any author can be proud of.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

When I’m not plotting my next book you’ll usually find I’ve swapped the keyboard for a saw, or a hammer, or a tile cutter. We bought a run down house a couple of years ago so I’m turning into a bit of a DIY expert.

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

When it comes to starting a new book I like to write long hand, so a beautiful notebook and extra sharp pencil is a must. I don’t have any rituals as such, but I do have to have silence. No radio or music playing in the background, I find these too distracting. Once I’m in the writing zone, however, it’s a different story. Anything can be going on around me and I wouldn’t notice. In fact, a neighbour’s house once caught fire and I missed the whole event. Thankfully it wasn’t a big fire and no-one was hurt, but still, you’d think I’d have seen or heard something!
A huge thank you to Suzie for taking part and for sharing some more about herself, it’s always nice to get to know the person behind a book, and if I need some DIY done I know who I’ll be calling!!
If you would like to know more about Suzie and her books, check out the following links:

On Twitter: @SuzieTullett
website: suzietullett.com


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Paperback Published: 27 July 2017

 

Description:

Francesco has a memory of his father from early childhood, a night when life for his family changed: their name, their story, their living place. From that night, he has vowed to protect his mother and to follow the words of his father: Non mollare. Never give up.

When Francesco is rounded up with a group of young men and herded into a camp on the island of San Domino, he realises that someone has handed a list of names to the fascist police; everyone is suspicious of one another. His former lover Emilio is constantly agitating for revolution. His old friend Gio jealously watches their relationship rekindle. Locked in spartan dormitories, resentment and bitterness between the men grows each day.

Elena, a young and illiterate island girl on the cusp of womanhood, is drawn to the handsome Francesco yet fails to understand why her family try to keep her away from him. By day, she makes and floats her paper birds, willing them to fly from the island, just as she wants to herself. Sometimes, she is given a message to pass on. She’s not sure who they are from; she knows simply that Francesco is hiding something. When Elena discovers the truth about the group of prisoners, the fine line between love and hate pulls her towards an act that can only have terrible consequences for all.

My Thoughts & Review:

Mussolini’s Island was a book that I was first aware of via a review from another blogger, Mairead over at Swirl and Thread wrote an exceptionally powerful review that grabbed my attention and had me desperate to read this book for myself.

Set against the backdrop of Fascist Italy, Sarah Day takes her readers deep into the heart of part of history that many know little about, the drive to rid Sicily of  degenerates, deviants and those who would cast a shadow on the great Italian name.  Benito Mussolini, leader of the National Fascist Party founded Italian Fascism, and Prime Minister between 1922-1943, made it practically impossible for homosexuality to exist in his ideal of a fascist Italy.  And so, the confinement of gay and bisexual men was was enforced on the outlying islands of the country.  Here we follow one group who were sent to San Domino.

Our protagonist, Francesco touches the hearts of readers as he recounts early memories of his father and life before Sicily.  Soon we learn that he and his mother fled their home in Naples to being afresh in Catania, with new names and a new history.  For Francesco, hiding his true identity comes as second nature, and when he begins to question his sexuality this is yet another secret he keeps close to his heart.  He some drifts towards the local arrusi, young men and boys meeting up in the shelter of darkened alleyways, dancehalls etc to spend time with their lovers for a few short moments of illicit freedom.

The expulsion of the arrusi to the island of San Domino leaves the men stripped of their identities, no longer are they village mechanics, waiters, fathers, friends, but merely an insult to the Italian people.  They are viewed as a contamination that needs to be contained.  The people of San Domino do not want them on their island, but in times of hardship a job is a job, and so if they are to be paid to guard these prisoners then they will do it.

Throughout the book, Francesco remembers vividly the quote his father repeated to him Non Mollare – Never Give Up and that’s exactly what he tries to do.  Regardless of the difficult situation he finds himself in, Francesco looks up, holds his head high and carries on.  He feels strongly that despite having let those around him down, he will do whatever he can to protect his loved ones. 

Sarah Day has written an exceptionally wonderful novel, so full of emotion and detail.  The historical information woven into the tale is fascinating yet at the same time utterly heartbreaking.  I found at several points I wanted to scream out at the injustice of what was happening, the way that the writing brings the story to life is so moving and yet it is handled with such care and devotion.  I cannot say that this was an aspect of history that I knew about, but it’s sparked my need to find out more and I thank Sarah for this.  Not only is this a beautiful book that I will cherish, it’s also made me think about society and what we are willing to tolerate.

You can buy a copy of Mussolini’s Island via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository

My thanks to Millie Seaward at Headline Publishing Group for the opportunity to read this exceptional book and take part in the blog tour.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello and happy Friday!
Welcome along to another post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing” , this week the book being featured is ‘Hampstead Fever’ by Carol Cooper and she’s kindly taken the time out to join me for a quick author feature too.


Book Feature:

Published: 30 June 2016

Description:

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In a London heatwave, emotions reach boiling point…

Ex-con Dan has it all. The perfect job and a new baby with his dream woman. So why is he still an outsider?

Laure had baby Jack late in life. It’s only natural she’s a little over-protective. Motherhood is terrifying.

After surviving serious illness, Sanjay’s got his life back. Now he wants adventure. Where does that leave girlfriend Harriet?

Karen’s love life is reduced to casual sex with the football coach. As a divorcee with four kids, romance is on her to-do list, just below the laundry.

Doctor Geoff’s relationship with actress Daisy is bound to be a bit dramatic. But why all the mystery?

A slice of contemporary multi-cultural London life to make you laugh, cry, and nod in recognition.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

‘Hampstead Fever’ is the first book by Carol Cooper that I have read, it’s actually the sequel to ‘One Night at the Jacaranda’ but I managed to read it fine without having read the previous novel.  There are mentions to events from ‘One Night at the Jacaranda’ which might be less confusing for readers if they have read the books in order but it certainly didn’t lessen my enjoyment of reading.

The reader meets a varied cast of characters as they struggle their way through a heatwave in London, I won’t go into the who’s who of the book as it’s already clear from the book description who the major players are and what their issue is.  Through these characters the reader is faced with many themes including adultery, life changing illness and it’s aftermath, breakdown of relationships and motherhood.  I should mention there is also a fair bit of sex in this, and a little raunchy at times, so perhaps not the book to buy grandma for her 80th birthday.

The author’s medical background shines through in her writing, which I found interesting and felt it added an ethos of compassion and understanding.  The dark humour that is woven throughout the writing is superb and really appealed to me.

A quick and enjoyable read that was a lovely change of pace to my usual crime and psychological thrillers, and makes a good summer read!

You can buy a copy of “Hampstead Fever” via  Amazon UK | Book Depository


Author Feature:Carol Cooper

 

Carol Cooper is a doctor, journalist, and author. She has a string of non-fiction books to her name, all traditionally published, on topics such as child health, twins, and general practice. In 2013, she made her fiction debut with One Night at the Jacaranda, which she self-published under her imprint Hardwick Press. This year, Carol’s latest self-published novel Hampstead Fever was picked for a prestigious promotion in WH Smith travel bookshops around the UK. More fiction is in the pipeline.

 

What is your most favourite thing about being an author?

For me, the best thing is that writing is completely portable. An author can write almost anywhere in the world. There aren’t many occupations you can say that about. I might be in my apartment in Hampstead, North London, or by the river in Cambridge, which is my second home. All I need is a head full of ideas. In fact the plot for my first novel, One Night at the Jacaranda, came to me while I was on a plane heading for my father’ funeral.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Self-promotion! It would be great if all you needed for success to come knocking at the door was to write a good book and wait for people to discover it, but that just isn’t so. These days all authors need to promote themselves and their work, whether they’re self-published or with one of the Big Five. The snag is that it can feel a bit icky to shout about yourself. It’s not terribly British, is it?

If you could have written any book, what would it be and why?

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. This delightful novel is part mystery, part coming-of-age story. It brilliantly evokes growing up in the 1970s. Reading it, I could feel all the confusion of childhood, plus the blistering heat of the summer of 1976. Cannon’s prose is so fresh that, no matter how mundane a situation is, it never feels hackneyed. That’s the mark of great writing, and it’s the reason I love the book.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

There’s rarely an idle moment. I write on health for The Sun newspaper, teach medical students at Imperial College, and still see the occasional patient. I’m also involved with several charities which are close to my heart, like the Twins and Multiple Births Association (Tamba), Lucy Air Ambulance for Children, and Action on Pre-Eclampsia. When I get some down time, I like to garden, by which I mean pottering around my tiny patio, and of course I love reading novels.

Do you have a set routine for writing, or any rituals you have to observe?

I’m not sure you’d call it a routine, but I always produce my first efforts with pencil and paper. I find the ideas flow more easily that way. Transferring the scribbles onto computer is how a very rough draft gets turned into something marginally more coherent. The pencil must be super sharp, so I have a battery-operated sharpener. I used to write to music, especially anything by The Beatles, but these days I prefer silence. I get distracted more easily than I used to, so sometimes I get up early to finish a piece of writing. But, on the whole, I write whenever there’s time.

 

A huge thank you to Carol for taking part and for sharing some more about herself, it’s always nice to get to know the person behind a book.
If you would like to know more about Carol and her books, check out the following links:

On Twitter @DrCarolCooper
Blog Pills & Pillow-Talk
Website DrCarolCooper.com

 

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