Valentina: Book 2 of the Chantelle Rose series by Cristina Hodgson book review

 

valentina

Valentina: Book 2 in the Chantelle Rose series written and self-published by Cristina Hodgson is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link (amazon UK): https://amzn.to/2Mot0Tn

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Chantelle Rose is back. She has lived a fairytale. But will she ever get her Happy Ever After?

To find true happiness, she must discover who Robbie and Lionel really are. Their past holds the key to her future…

Her quest follows a trail that takes her to the depths of the Pampas lands of Argentina.

There, the beautiful Valentina awaits – and holds the key.

But who is Valentina? What is the mystery surrounding her?

And why is she so important to both Robbie and Lionel?

Will Chantelle discover the truth? And, more importantly, will she discover her destiny and the fidelity in her own heart?

horse rider sunset

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

Valentina is book two in the Chantelle Rose series, I read A Little of Chantelle Rose (book one) back in March this year and it is the author, Cristina Hodgson, debut full length novel.  I instantly fell in love with the author’s style of writing which was warm, full of fabulous characters, great comedic scenes and Cristina Hodgson kept me fully entertained and intrigued till the very end.  You can find my review for Book One here.  A Little of Chantelle Rose left me wanting more and Valentina has all the same great attributes and much more.

I would highly recommend reading all the books in the series in order as the story follows on from each book.  The books in the series are:

  • A Little of Chantelle Rose
  • Valentina
  • Isabella (coming soon)

Valentina kicks off with Chantelle facing a life changing event but she is left with an unfortunate dilemma.  To help her try and make the right decision with her predicament Chantelle feels she has to speak with Robbie back in Kent, UK.  However, by the time Chantelle arrives back home Robbie has left the country and has embarked on his own journey of self-discovery, a journey of unknown heritage, a journey to make sense of questions that have been unanswered for a long time.  Robbie’s journey takes him to the rural lands of Argentina and to the mystery surrounding Valentina and to a tragic story of young love that was cruelly cut short.

Chantelle is as impulsive as ever and in her own mad-cap way is in hot pursuit of Robbie.  We are treated to a great race with time and travel with Chantelle trying to piece together fragments of Robbie’s and of Lionel’s past and that of the mysterious woman called Valentina.

The author takes us back in time 33 years ago to when a 15 year old Valentina is learning about life and love.  I really enjoyed this part of the story, Cristina Hodgson had got the atmosphere just right I could feel the first emotions of young love and of the excitement of new beginnings.  Valentina was a beautiful young girl with her whole life ahead of her growing up in a country full of culture and heritage but forces she had no control over were to bring heartache her way.

Back to the present time we catch up with Valentina in Argentina and she is still feeling the scars of anguish she experienced when she was a young girl but flickers of hope are in evidence when she hears from someone she thought had been long forgotten.

This story was another fabulous romcom from Cristina Hodgson that was filled with intrigue, mystery and was a little mystical.  Chantelle’s character still shone through the story but I was also captivated by the introduction of other strong female characters and sense that this series from the author has a strong heritage of female intuition and beliefs that hold many secrets.  Fun, fabulous, romantic with an air of intrigue.  I look forward to the next instalment in the series.

To learn more about the author Cristina Hodgson and her work please do visit the following pages:

Website:  http://cristinahodgson.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/hodgsoncristina

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

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The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part 3 by Audrey Davis blogblitz Promo Post

 

the haunting of Hattie Hastings part 3

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part Three written and self-published by Audrey Davis is available in ebook format from today, 30th July 2018.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:   https://amzn.to/2LOUs8j

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Nothing lasts forever … Gary’s time on earth seems to be coming to an end. His visits are less frequent and his visibility is fading fast. But he still has a mission to accomplish, which involves Hattie and her ability to pass on a heart-rending message.

Best friend Cat’s ex-husband is determined to prove that he deserves another chance, but do leopards really change their spots?

Times are tough for Hattie’s mother Rachel, but where there’s life, there’s hope …
Meanwhile, is there someone already in Hattie’s life who can help her move on when it’s finally time to say goodbye?

Get your tissues at the ready – both for laughter and tears – with the final instalment of a trilogy that has been hailed ‘brilliant’, ‘hilarious’, and ‘a great feel-good read’.

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part 3

I’m so pleased to be involved in the Publication Day blogblitz for Audrey Davis and her third instalment in The Haunting of Hattie Hastings series.  Happy Publication Day Audrey Davis.

About the Author – Audrey Davis

Audrey Davis survived secondary school on the West coast of Scotland. Rubbish at science but not too bad at English, she originally wanted to be an actress but was persuaded that journalism was a safer option. Probably wise. She studied at Napier College in Edinburgh, the only place in Scotland at that time to offer a journalism course.

Her first foray into the hard-nosed newspaper world was as a junior reporter in Dumfriesshire. Duties included interviewing farmers about the prize-winning heifers to reporting on family tragedies. She persuaded her editor to let her launch an entertainment column which meant meeting the odd celebrity – or just the downright odd. From there, she moved to the loftier rank of senior reporter back in her home patch. Slightly more money, fewer farm animals but a higher crime rate. As Taggart would say: ‘There’s been a murrrrder!’

After a stint in London on a video magazine – yes, she is that old – Audrey moved to Singapore with her fiancé. She tried valiantly to embrace the stinking heat, humidity and lack of jobs, although she did work briefly on a magazine which was banned by the government for ‘artistic’ use of naked men’s bottoms.

Next on her adventures was a land Down Under where her main focus was raising Cost Centre One (aka firstborn) and coming to terms with the imminent arrival of Number Two. Still, she loved the Aussie way of life – BBQs, beaches and bring your own booze to restaurants – so it came as a blow when OH announced a move back to the UK. Not a job between them, the climate a possible deal breaker and an Exorcist-style vomiting infant on the flight home didn’t bode well …

Always a survivor, Audrey sought out similar-minded friends (i.e. slightly bonkers), got the children into a good school and thought about taking up writing again. Sadly, thinking about it was as far as she got, unless you count shopping lists. Then, hubby drops another bombshell. Switzerland. As in – it’s packing time again. Off to the land of cheese, chocolate, scarily efficient trains and a couple of teeny, tiny issues. Like driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and speaking a foreign language (French). The former was conquered fairly quickly (we’ll skip over the wall demolition in week two), the latter remains an ongoing battle of the hopeful against the hopeless. At least she provides amusement for the local workforce.
It wasn’t until 2016 that Audrey rediscovered her writing mojo with an online Writing Fiction course. From there, her first novel – A Clean Sweep – was born, although it took a bit longer than nine months from conception. A short, darker prequel – A Clean Break – followed, and in November 2017 she published the first in a novella trilogy, The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One. Part Two is published on 21 March 2018, with the conclusion following in July. After which she might have a wee lie down …

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/audreydavisbooks
Twitter-  https://twitter.com/audbyname

The Road to Newgate by Kate Braithwaite excerpt

the road to newgate

The Road to Newgate written by Kate Braithwaite, publisher Crooked Cat Books, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format. The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  https://amzn.to/2NadaHB

Product Details (as per amazon page)

What price justice?

London 1678.

Titus Oates, an unknown preacher, creates panic with wild stories of a Catholic uprising against Charles II. The murder of a prominent Protestant magistrate appears to confirm that the Popish Plot is real.

Only Nathaniel Thompson, writer and Licenser of the Presses, instinctively doubts Oates’s revelations. Even his young wife, Anne, is not so sure. And neither know that their friend William Smith has personal history with Titus Oates.

When Nathaniel takes a public stand, questioning the plot and Oates’s integrity, the consequences threaten them all.


The Road to Newgate is Kate Braithwaite’s second novel.  Her first novel, CHARLATAN, was long-listed for the Mslexia New Novel Award and the Historical Novel Society Novel Award in 2015.  You can find my review for Charlatan here.

On the publication day for the ebook for The Road to Newgate I am so pleased to share with you an excerpt from Kate Braithwaite’s latest novel.

Her sister comes. They confer upstairs. I’m sent to call the midwife and Anne’s mother, who arrives but will not even catch my eye. A succession of women flow in and out, upstairs and down, while I stand in the dining room listening to their footsteps overhead but without any way of knowing how things are progressing either for good or for bad. I hang around the bottom of the stairs, straining my ears, for what? A child’s cry? Anne’s cry? I hardly know what I want to happen, except for this thing to be over. Eventually, Sarah comes down.
“Go out, Nat.”
“What? Why? Shouldn’t I stay? Do something?”
She shakes her head and gives me a withering look. “It will be a while. The first always is.”
“But what if something happens?”
“Nat. She will be fine. God willing, they will both be fine. Go to Sam’s Coffee House. I will send a boy if there is any change. Trust me.”
“I…” What do I want to say? That I love my wife. That I might lose her. Or the child. Or both.
Sarah puts her hand to my cheek. “Go. But drink coffee. No ale and no wine. It will be hours Nat. When she needs you, I will have you fetched.”
*
Sam’s Coffee House has its usual midday mix of tradesmen, the odd lawyer, a few fellow scribblers I know. I avoid meeting anyone’s eye and sit down on an empty bench with a copy of the Gazette. The coffee-boy brings me a dish and pours my drink, slipping my penny in the pocket of his long apron. At any other time, the familiar mix of roasting berries and tobacco, the loud exchanges, even the touch of the tables and the smooth glaze of the coffee cup, would ease my mind. But not today. I stare at the Gazette but read nothing. Instead, I conjure up disasters.
Anne will die. I’m suspicious of the midwife. She’s a Quaker, which is, Anne has assured me, a good thing. But is she clean? Does she know her work? I chew on my cheek, thinking I should have been more involved in choosing this woman. After all, horror stories about midwives abound. If a child dies before being born, they often cut off limbs to facilitate removing the poor thing from the mother’s body. I imagine blood: Anne’s; the baby’s. A few years ago, a woman and her child died out in the street, slap in the middle of Threadneedle Street, after one so-called midwife held the woman by the shoulders while another witch ripped the child out of her body, killing them both. Images of Anne fighting for her life have me almost on my feet ready to run back home, but the thought of Sarah’s sensible face stops me.
To divert my mind, I brood on Anne’s family. That Anne threw herself away by marrying me is an accepted fact. My line of work, even when I was the Licenser, is viewed with derision. My haunting of coffee shops, as I believe her mother terms it, shows a tendency to gossip and idleness that they find particularly disappointing. Perhaps if I was haunting Will’s Coffee Shop, rather than Sam’s; perhaps if I was a proper writer, like Mr. Dryden, they might think differently. Dryden, famous, popular, and wealthy, keeps his own chair at Will’s, surrounded by literary wits. That’s Anne’s family’s idea of what a writer should be. Not the rather grubby news-gatherers, the cartoonists, lampoonists, and sharp-tongued opportunists I consort with. Only my loyalty to the Crown brings me any measure of approval. Sarah’s husband supposedly reads all my pamphlets, and Anne hopes that one day her younger brother and I might meet and get along. But even when the child is born, I don’t expect to be invited to dinner. A thoroughly bad mood settles on me, as thickly persistent as the coffee sticking to my teeth. Time crawls. It’s the longest day of my life.

 

About the Author

Kate Braithwaite was born and grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her first novel, Charlatan, was longlisted for the Mslexia New Novel Award and the Historical Novel Society Award. Kate lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children.

Website:  https://kate-braithwaite.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KMBraithwaite

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

 

 

Girl in the Castle by Lizzie Lamb blogtour excerpt

Cover for GILC as produced by Create Space for Kindle

Girl in the Castle written by Lizzie Lamb, publisher New Romantics Press, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.  The ebook is currently in a special Kindle Countdown Price of 99p for the next few days only.

To buy link:  https://amzn.to/2ts5SYw

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Her academic career in tatters, Dr Henriette Bruar needs somewhere to lay low, plan her comeback and restore her tarnished reputation. Fate takes her to a remote Scottish castle to auction the contents of an ancient library to pay the laird’s mounting debts. The family are in deep mourning over a tragedy which happened years before, resulting in a toxic relationship between the laird and his son, Keir MacKenzie. Cue a phantom piper, a lost Jacobite treasure, and a cast of characters who – with Henri’s help, encourage the MacKenzies to confront the past and move on. However – will the Girl in the Castle be able to return to university once her task is completed, and leave gorgeous, sexy Keir MacKenzie behind?

Book trailer for Girl in the Castle (YouTube): https://tinyurl.com/GITCvideo

Girl-in-the-Castle-tour-poster

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the Girl in the Castle.  The author Lizzie Lamb  has kindly offered to share an excerpt with you today.

Keir, wearing full Highland dress with unconscious grace and style was every inch the laird she’d dreamed about in the library. She stepped out of the shadows and into the hall. Seemingly sensing her presence, Keir slowly turned towards her. Had this been a scene in a movie, they would have been the only two in focus, the rest of the guests drifting past like smoky-grey shadows. Their matching MacKenzie plaids providing the only colour and Henri’s rapid breathing, underscored by the lilting tune played on the clarsach, the only sound. Keir said Henri’s name under his breath and looked at her wonderingly, as if unable to comprehend how quickly their relationship was moving forward; how time had seemed to speed up since that kiss on the boat. Henri whispered his name, too, mirroring his actions, and that released Keir from being held in a freeze-frame shot, as though this really was a movie. After the moment of stillness, his purposeful stride towards Henri alerted guests that something unusual and dramatic was unfolding in front of their eyes. The electricity between Keir and Henri was palpable and when he reached Henri, Keir took both her hands in his and twined their fingers. Then he pulled her close and kissed her on both cheeks, the embrace seemed no more than the polite double-kiss one might exchange with a relative, or close friend. However, as Keir kissed first her right cheek and then her left, his lips brushed across her mouth, tantalisingly. Henri’s gasp was audible, the other guests heard it and were transfixed.

About the Author

After teaching her 1000th pupil and working as a deputy head teacher in a large primary school, Lizzie decided to pursue her first love: writing. She joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted (2012), quickly followed by Boot Camp Bride. Although much of her time is taken up publicising her novels she published Scotch on the Rocks, which achieved Best Seller status within two weeks of appearing on Amazon. Her next novel, Girl in the Castle, reached #3 in the Amazon charts. Lizzie is a founder member of indie publishing group – New Romantics Press – and has co-hosted author events at Aspinall, St Pancras and Waterstones, Kensington, talking about writing and the research which underpins her novels. Lizzie hopes to publish her next romance Sweet Little Lies Summer 2018, and has more Scottish-themed romances planned. As for the years she spent as a teacher, they haven’t quite gone to waste as she is building up a reputation as a go-to speaker on indie publishing, and how to plan, write, and publish a debut novel. Lizzie lives in Leicestershire (UK) with her husband and a naughty parrot called Jasper.

Website:  https://lizzielamb.co.uk/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lizzie_lamb/

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

Searching for Steven by Jessica Redland blogtour book review

Searching for Steven HIGH RES (1)

Searching for Steven written by Jessica Redland, publisher Little Bear Books, is available NOW in ebook format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  https://amzn.to/2JfuDB3

Product Details (as per amazon page)

What if you already know your future… but not the path to take you there?

When Sarah Peterson accepts her Auntie Kay’s unexpected offer to take over her florist’s shop, she’s prepared for a change of job, home and lifestyle. What she isn’t prepared for is the discovery of a scarily accurate clairvoyant reading that’s been missing for twelve years. All her predictions have come true, except one: she’s about to meet the man of her dreams. Oh, and his name is Steven. Suddenly Stevens are everywhere. Could it be the window cleaner, the rep, the manager of the coffee shop, or any of the men she’s met online? On top of that, she finds herself quite attracted to a handsome web designer, but his name isn’t even Steven… During this unusual search, will Sarah find her destiny?

Search For Steven Full Banner

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting Searching for Steven (Welcome to Whitsborough Bay Book 1).  I was recently introduced to the work by Jessica Redland when I read Raving about Rhys (the prequel to Welcome to Whitsborough Bay) and I fell in love with her writing style and was completely comforted and entertained.  Searching for Steven has given me a full dose of Jessica Redland’s charming Yorkshire coastal stories of love, life and the paths you take that make it all the more interesting.  Each of the books in the series can be read as a standalone but I would encourage you to read them all to fully appreciate and enjoy all the great character descriptions and locations.

The books in the series are:

  • Searching for Steven
  • Getting over Gary
  • Dreaming about Daran
  • Raving about Rhys

When a new career opportunity comes Sarah’s way that it too good to miss Sarah feels that this is fate giving her a helping hand when her life is at a low after her recent relationship woes.  Moving from the city of London back home to Whitsborough Bay on the Yorkshire coast could be just the tonic Sarah needs.  With the start of a new creative venture in the florist shop life for Sarah is starting to bloom again surrounded by her family and friends.  However, when an old tape cassette of a clairvoyant reading from her teens is found Sarah is struck by similarities that have occurred in her life but there are a few things that are still left unresolved that Madame Louise predicted many years ago.  Sarah starts to become slightly obsessed with her mission to find the one, the Steven that Madame Louisa predicted and goes on a journey to find the perfect Steven with hilarious results.

Can Sarah’s Mr Right be found by the mystical views of a fortune teller?

Whilst Sarah is searching for Steven is she missing out on the perfect one and will a love from her past be the flame that she needs to reignite?

Once again the author Jessica Redland has created a gorgeous heartwarming, funny tale of love, life and the paths that we take or are stumbled upon that make life that little bit more interesting.  I love stories set in Yorkshire there is a certain charm in the locations and locals with their dialect that makes you feel at home.  I have found a gem in the author Jessica Redland and will look forward to catching up with her other stories.

About the Author

Jessica had never considered writing as a career until a former manager kept telling her that her business reports read more like stories and she should write a book. She loved writing but had no plot ideas. Then something happened to her that prompted the premise for her debut novel, Searching for Steven. She put fingers to keyboard and soon realised she had a trilogy and a novella!

She lives on the stunning North Yorkshire Coast – the inspiration for the settings in her books – with her husband, daughter, cat, Sprocker Spaniel, and an ever-growing collection of collectible teddy bears. Although if the dog has her way, the collection will be reduced to a pile of stuffing and chewed limbs!

Jessica tries to balance her time – usually unsuccessfully – between being an HR tutor and writing.

Social Media Links –
Twitter:   @JessicaRedland
Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/JessicaRedlandWriter/
Website and blog:   http://www.jessicaredland.com

 

When Archie Met Rosie by Lynda Renham excerpt

archie_bright

When Archie Met Rosie written by Lynda Renham, publisher Raucous Publishing, is available NOW in ebook format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  https://amzn.to/2Jh1NjW

Product Details (as per amazon page)

*An Unexpected Love Story*
Rosie Foster has two dreams. The first is to get off the Tradmore Estate and the second is to go to Paris. When she wins at the Gala bingo it looks like her dreams may come true. But is money the root of all evil?
Archie wants for nothing. He has his five bedroom house but no one to share it with now his beloved wife Cathy has died.
And then … Holly has a disastrous night out and Archie meets Rosie against all odds.
A funny, sad and poignant tale of how love can be found in the strangest places.

heart balloon clipart

I am so pleased to be able to share with you all today Chapter One to Lynda Renham’s latest romcom, When Archie Met Rosie.  Lynda Renham’s writing style is very witty with great character descriptions, you can’t help but have a smile on your face when you read her romcoms.  If you find yourself enjoying chapter one do check out the ‘to buy’ link above; the story sounds like the perfect summer read.

Chapter One
Rosie

Don’t you just hate those people who win at everything without even trying? A flutter on the horses or a scratch card at the newsagent and they’re laughing all the way to the bank. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed all the way to the bank. I’ve cried maybe, but that’s usually on the way back from the bank. I once considered robbing our local Barclays. I did seriously. That’s what desperation does to you. I don’t often think about robbing banks, just in case you think I do. It was only the once. Times can be hard sometimes, especially when Frank blows all our money on Millwall. The football club, that is, not the town. Not that anyone in their right mind would spend their money on Millwall, the town or the football club, but then I do sometimes wonder if Frank is in his right mind. Anyway, I digress. There’s a lot of expense involved in robbing a bank, I discovered. I’m telling you this now, just in case you were thinking of robbing a bank yourself. You need a pair of tights for a start. Not just any old pair either. A decent pair costs you a fiver. Now, I don’t know about you, but I can think of better things to spend a fiver on than a pair of nylons, that I’m just going to pull over my face. I did try an old laddered pair, but you could see my features. Not as good as you normally would, admittedly. It resembled a balaclava with one too many holes. Frank said I ought to wear it all the time.
‘It’s a great improvement,’ he’d laughed.
Cheeky bugger.
And then there’s the rucksack. You’ll need one of those. All the best bank robbers have rucksacks. We have one, but the zip is broken. It would be just my kind of luck to have the newly stolen banknotes scattered through the streets of Essex. The expense of a new rucksack was a bit daunting too, especially as Frank only uses it when he trudges down to the off-licence. It nicely holds a six-pack, he’s fond of telling me. It takes a lot of planning, does this bank robbery business. After all, you don’t want to be bursting into Barclays brandishing your P’tit Clown 74560 automatic plastic gun at the wrong time of day, do you? Midday would be a perfect time for me because it’s when I have my lunch break, but have you seen the queues? There’s bound to be one pissed off customer wanting to be a hero, who’d think nothing of wrestling me and my P’tit Clown 74560 plastic gun to the ground, while I’d be yelling, ‘Get your hands off my P’tit, you moron.’
I know what you’re thinking. I have no idea why it’s called P’tit. I imagine, because most of the people who buy it are tits, like me. Let’s be honest, how many bank robbers buy their plastic guns from Amazon? Bank robbers like me, that’s who. Anyway, last but not least, you need a getaway car. If you saw our old Fiesta you’d understand why it wouldn’t have worked. For a start, there’s no door on the driver’s side. Actually, that’s not strictly true. Obviously, there is a door. It would be a touch chilly without one and clearly illegal. It just doesn’t open. No one is sure why. Sam offered to replace it with a spare yellow door he had lying around the garage. Our Fiesta’s black and I didn’t fancy driving around in a lookalike stripy tiger, so I said no and anyway, everyone would have recognised it on the Crimewatch reconstruction. It also takes forever to climb over onto the passenger seat. It’s okay climbing over when you’ve got plenty of time. If your pantyhose got caught on the gearstick, you’ve got time to sort yourself out, haven’t you? But when you’ve got a fleet of police cars after you it’s a whole other ball game. I’m okay getting one leg over the gearstick but it’s my dodgy hip in the other leg that’s the problem. I’ve been known to get stuck in the Lidl car park before now, my crotch nestling nicely on the gears while some kind passer-by hoists my gammy leg over it. Frank says I only do it to pull the blokes. Huh, like I need another one. Although, I have to admit, it is often men who come to my rescue. I guess women are suspicious of a woman sitting on a gearstick. It’s not something you see every day is it? They probably think I’m doing something sordid. I think the men just want a gander up my skirt. They certainly get that. Anyway, the point is, I don’t imagine a kind passer-by is going to give me a leg over after I’ve just robbed Barclays bank, and quite right too.
Anyway, I never did rob the bank. I’m Rose Foster by the way, but everyone calls me Rosie. I like that. It makes me feel young. I live on the Tradmore Estate in Dagenham, Essex. It’s quite well known. Ask anyone where it is, and they’ll be able to tell you. They’ll no doubt look at you with fear in their eyes and advise you to stay away. Tradmore Estate is a regular feature in our local paper. We’re quite famous, although I suppose infamous is the correct word. We’re well known for our raves and raids, usually in that order. We’ve been on Jeremy Kyle too. That is, a few of my neighbours have, not us. I really don’t have the time to go on Jeremy Kyle. I’d love to live somewhere else, but Frank doesn’t believe in mortgages, says they’re a noose around your neck. We can’t afford to rent a house, so I guess I’ll stay on Tradmore Estate until they bring me out feet first. Although, knowing Frank, he’ll bury me on the allotment if it means saving some money. It is expensive dying, isn’t it? More expensive than living if you ask me. Frank works at the greyhound track in Walthamstow and I work three half days at Waitrose and two evenings at Cineworld in Romford. I like that job. They give us free popcorn on Saturdays. It’s rare to get something for nothing these days isn’t it?
Anyway, I’ve seriously digressed. Frank says I can talk the hind legs off a donkey. The reason I began talking about people who easily win things is because, I actually think, any minute now, I’m going to win something. Yes me, Rosie Foster, who never wins anything. I’m desperately wishing I’d had that glass of white wine that Shirl had offered earlier. It would calm my shaking hands. I’m at the Gala Bingo. That’s a joke isn’t it? After I’ve just rabbited on about how I don’t bet. I only come once a fortnight. It’s our girly night out. It’s cheap, cheerful and a bit of a laugh. I’ve never won so much as a quid, until now … right now. All I need is two fat ladies and number one. I can barely breathe. If I win this … Oh God, if I win this, it will be five thousand quid. My head spins at the thought. What would I do with five thousand pounds? Apart from pay the back rent of course.
‘Twenty-two,’ shouts the caller. ‘Two little ducks …’
‘Quackety quack,’ yells Shirl beside me.
I feel sick. This is all I need. It would be just like me to throw up just as I’m about to shout house and win five thousand quid.
‘On its own, number one,’ shouts the caller.
That’s me. Oh bejesus, I’m starting to think robbing the bank might have been easier. I’m likely to have a heart attack if this isn’t over soon. I’ll be carried out feet first from the Gala Bingo Hall instead of our flat. Oh well, at least the funeral directors will be pleased. There’s no stairs at the Gala Bingo. I hold my breath. I just know that someone is going to call ‘house’ any minute, and I feel sure it isn’t going to be me. I’m Rosie Foster, from the Tradmore Estate. I don’t win the bingo. I never win anything, not even a goldfish at the funfair, and everyone wins a goldfish, don’t they?
‘Eighty-eight …’
‘Two fat lad …’ Shirl begins but she doesn’t get to finish because I almost knock her off her stool as I jump up.
‘House,’ I yell. ‘House.’
‘I’ve only gone and won,’ I say turning to Shirl.
‘You haven’t,’ she says, straightening up.
I’m shaking so much, I can barely speak.
‘Let’s see your card darling,’ says the caller.
What if I got a number wrong? I wasn’t concentrating properly at the start. What if …?
‘Congratulations darling, you’ve won five thousand pounds.’
‘I have?’ I stammer.
‘Lucky cow,’ says Shirl, squeezing my arm.
‘Well done,’ says Doris, draining her wine glass and struggling not to look jealous.
‘I can’t believe it,’ I say finally. ‘I never win anything.’
‘Well, you have now.’
‘Shall we quit while we’re ahead,’ suggests Doris.
I nod. I want to go home and tell Frank. Maybe we’ll open that bottle of Prosecco that Waitrose gave me last Christmas. After all, five grand is something to celebrate isn’t it? Not that I have any intention of telling Frank exactly how much I’ve won. I’m soft but I’m not that soft. Money burns a hole in Frank’s trousers quicker than a firelighter. I’d like it to last us a bit longer than twenty-four hours.
‘Shall we go up west on Saturday?’ asks Shirl, ‘Now that you’re flush and all that.’
‘I’m saving it,’ I say.
Shirl and Doris look at me.
‘Saving it for what?’
‘I’d like to go to Paris,’ I say without thinking.
The fact is, I’ve always wanted to go to Paris. I fancy climbing up the Eiffel Tower. The view from there must be amazing, I imagine.
‘What do ya want to go there for? It stinks by all accounts.’
‘That’s Venice, you dopey mare,’ laughs Doris, zipping up her fake Mulberry. ‘Paris is romantic.’
‘So, you won’t be taking Frank then,’ giggles Shirl.
I try Frank’s mobile, but it goes to voicemail. He’s probably got the tele up loud. You have to in our flat to cover the noise of the neighbour’s shouting. If you like Jeremy Kyle, you should come to ours for the day. You’d love it.
We walk home arm in arm. We feel safer like that. I’ve got my five thousand quid tucked into the corner of my old Top Shop tote. The man at the Gala Bingo was reluctant to give me the cash at first.
‘It’s normally a cheque,’ he’d said.
I didn’t want a cheque. It would go straight into our bank account and straight out again to pay the overdraft. It was Frank’s fault we had that. He’d wanted part ownership in a greyhound. So now, not only do we have an overdraft but also part of a dog. I don’t know which part, the useless part probably, knowing our luck.
‘We’ll get our money back,’ Frank had assured me.
But, of course, we hadn’t and instead had accumulated interest on our overdraft. I’ve had this tote bag for donkey’s years and I keep checking that there are no rips in it. That’s sods law isn’t it? You put five thousand quid in your bag thinking it’s perfectly safe and don’t realise you’re dribbling tenners along Romford High Street. I’m not though. I know that, because I keep checking behind me. We arrive at the Tradmore Estate and I try to ignore the used condoms that litter the grass verge outside our block. A policeman hovers outside the main doors but I don’t think anything of it. There are always police around the estate. It makes me feel safe to tell you the truth.
He straightens as we approach the doors.
‘Mrs Foster?’ he asks.
Doris and Shirl look at me anxiously.
‘I’m Mrs Foster,’ I say.
‘What’s ‘appened?’ asks Doris worriedly.
‘I’ve got bad news I’m afraid,’ he says removing his hat.
It’s got to be bad hasn’t it, if they take off their hat? I must have had a tear in my bag after all. They’ve no doubt been collecting ten-pound notes all over Romford.
‘Oh,’ I say, glancing into my bag.
‘Your husband, Frank Foster, is dead I’m afraid.’
‘Dead?’ I repeat.
I sway, and Shirl supports me by the arm.
‘You could ‘ave waited until she was sitting down,’ says Doris crossly.
How can Frank be dead? He was watching the tele.
‘Sometimes it’s best just to say it,’ says the policeman.
‘Are you sure?’ I ask.
Oh dear, that didn’t sound good, did it? It’s as though I want to be sure he’s well and truly brown bread.
‘He fell into the road I’m afraid. He’d had a bit too much to drink and the Domino’s Pizza van …’
Frank was killed by a Domino’s Pizza van?
‘Domino’s Pizza?’ I repeat.
‘He liked pizza,’ says Doris.
That’s wonderful isn’t it? I win five thousand on the bingo and Frank decides to walk in front of a pizza delivery van. Now I’m most likely going to have to spend my winnings on Frank’s funeral.

 

To learn more about the author Lynda Renham please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.renham.co.uk/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Lyndarenham

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

 

Raving about Rhys by Jessica Redland blogtour book review

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Raving about Rhys written by Jessica Redland, publisher Little Bear Books, is available NOW in ebook format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  https://amzn.to/2rVzHQj

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Bubbly Callie Derbyshire loves her job as a carer, and can’t believe she’s finally landed herself a decent boyfriend – older man Tony – who’s lasted way longer than the usual disastrous three months. Tony’s exactly what she’s always dreamed of … or at least he would be if he ever took her out instead of just taking her to bed. And work would be perfect too if she wasn’t constantly in trouble with her boss, The She-Devil Denise.

When the new gardener, Mikey, discovers her in a rather compromising position at work, Callie knows that her days at Bay View Care Home could be numbered. Can she trust him not to tell Denise? If she’s issued with her marching orders, who’ll look out for her favourite client, Ruby, whose grandson, Rhys, seems to constantly let her down? What does Ruby know about Tony? And what is Denise hiding?

Surrounded by secrets and lies, is there anyone left who Callie can trust?

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I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating three years since the launch of this fabulous novella Raving about Rhys, which is the prequel to the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series.  I haven’t read any of Jessica Redland’s work before so Raving about Rhys was my perfect introduction to her work.  The ebook is of a novella size and is the ideal introduction to a new author and to a new series.

Jessica Redland’s writing style was very comforting with her description of characters that were very easily relatable and had great comedic scenes interspersed within the storyline.  I loved our main heroine Callie Derbyshire who’s in her early twenties, she’s the carer who you’d like to see in every care home.  Callie was honest, caring, reliable and loved nothing more than a good old chat with the residents of the care home.  One fault with Callie though was that she had a big heart and at the moment she was letting in womaniser Tony who was twice her age.  Callie thought she was in the ideal relationship but she was starting to have doubts with Tony as all he wanted to do was spend time with her in her flat, so the relationship was only running on his terms.  But Callie loved the attention she received from Tony which almost felt like an addiction for her.

Callie had built up a wonderful relationship with one particular resident, lovely Ruby, who with her colourful past had many tales to tell Callie.  Ruby was always going on about her grandson Rhys but as Callie had never seen him she worried that Rhys was just a figment of Ruby’s imagination.

As in all care homes there are lots of fabulous characters, those that you instantly fall in love with, the funny ones, the grumpy ones and those you try to avoid which wasn’t easy when one of them was your employer.  However, Callie was starting to have concerns about her boss Denise and she felt like someone should keep an eye on her.

This was such a lovely story that I enjoyed very much.  Full of a myriad of characters, humour, warmth, drama and it has left me wanting more.  I’m looking forward to learning more about the residents of Whitsborough Bay.

To learn more about the author Jessica Redland please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.jessicaredland.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/JessicaRedland

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