Interview/Q&A with Bobby Twidale – Author of Deja Vu By Lou #BobbyTwidale @CherryPublishi2 #RomanticFiction #Fiction #BookReview #Interview #Education #ContemporaryFiction #DejaVu #ReadingCommunity #BookTwitter

Interview with Bobby Twidale – Author of Deja Vu.

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Today I welcome Bobby Twidale onto my blog with an interview I conducted in-line with her book – De-Ja Vu, which I reviewed in 2021. This review, inwhich I rated the book the full 5 stars for how it handled its themes and the drive of the story, can also be found at the end of the Q&A.

De-Ja Vu is published with Cherry Publishing and is a romance, with some serious and dark undercurrents in its topical themes. Firstly, thanks to Cherry Publishing and Bobby Twidale for this opportunity for myself and on-behalf of all my readers of my blog.

Now, onto the interview, which has insightful and very interesting and full answers to all 8 questions, covering her book’s themes, her inspiration and an insight into her career in education and more…

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  1. The title Déjà Vu is an intriguing one, what was the inspiration for this?

I used to be a French teacher – the inspiration for a lot of what appears in this story. I wanted something that sounded catchy and hinted at the French theme whilst also giving a glimpse into one of the main themes of the narrative – History repeating itself. Past relationships influence current ones, you feel the effect of decisions long after they are made, bad leopards don’t change their spots. We’ve all asked ourselves the question: “Why does this always happen to me?” Maybe we need to look for the common denominator and change ourselves – that is what Connie and Matt have to do to move forward and leave the past behind.

  1. Perhaps you would like to tell readers a bit about your book and your inspiration for your characters to be school teachers?

Writers are often advised to write about what they know. I was a teacher for almost 30 years. When you’ve spent that long in schools, you come across personality traits that stay in your mind. Whilst none of my characters are based on real people, they are certainly a melting pot of the thousands of individuals I encountered in those years. I did have to be super careful in my choice of names though – I didn’t want anyone to think I was describing them!

  1. Déjà Vu deals with the darker side of people’s personalities in such a relevant way to now, when this is in the spotlight, was the timing deliberate and did you have to do any research?

I wrote Déjà Vu around 10 years ago so I guess I was ahead of an unhappy curve in that one. Or maybe these behaviours have always been around, but we are just more empowered to talk about them honestly now.

  1. Relationships are complex and they certainly are in the story you tell, what do you think the fascination is in readers getting to know the twists and turns within them is?

People are complex and life is complex, but we aren’t alone. When relationships get complicated, it can feel like you’re the only one to have experienced what you’re going through. Reading about others’ journeys (real or fictional) and their ultimate survival – I do like a happy ending – can be affirming and reassuring.

  1. There is part about a teacher trying to improve standards and getting the boys engaged in their education, what made you interested in this aspect of the education system?

This is what drove me as an education professional. You can’t avoid noticing the inequalities of opportunity when you work in a school – financial, attitudinal, geographical, cultural, health or ability-based. But almost every teacher will tell you of their experience with a class they mistakenly believed to be of much higher academic ability, a group they taught as a bunch of highflyers that produced amazing exam results they would normally never have expected to achieve. I often felt like the young people I taught lived up (or down) to the expectations I had of them.

  1. What or who inspired you to write and what made you want to write contemporary romance?

From a very young age, I was inspired to read books by my parents. We lived in the middle of a field and I’m very old, so the internet was still a glint in the eye of Tim Berners-Lee. There wasn’t much to do other than play in the fields, woodland and brooks of my parents’ farm and read. I wrote my first ‘book’ aged around 8 years old – sent it off to a publisher and everything. It wasn’t published, obviously, but I got a very nice letter encouraging me to keep writing. I write contemporary romance because it’s fun and a lovely dose of escapism. Let’s be honest, there’s a lot we’d all like to escape at the moment!

  1. What are you reading just now?

I wish I had time to read!

  1. Do you have another book you are writing, if so, can you give any details to whet people’s appetite?

I’ve just completed a master’s in journalism so I’m currently focussing on non-fiction writing, but you can find my other book, Going Off Piste, on Wattpad.

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 Review Link: Deja Vu Review

#BookReview By Lou of Should I Tell You By Jill Mansell @JillMansell @headlinepg #HeadlineFiction #RandomTTours #ShouldITellYou #BlogTour #Fiction #BookRecommendation

Should I Tell You
By Jill Mansell

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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I am so pleased and excited to be on the blog tour for Should I Tell You By Jill Mansell. Readers are in for a treat! Whether you’ve read some of her books before or not (they are complete within themselves), this is an absolutely brilliant, heartwarming, joy of a  book to pick up. Discover more in the blurb and praise more of my thoughts in my review, followed by a little about the author….

Thanks to Random T. Tours for inviting me and to Headline Books for gifting me a copy of the book.

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Blurb and Praise

The most heart-warming novel you’ll read this year … from the Sunday Times bestselling author of AND NOW YOU’RE BACK

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Should I Graphic 8 Amber, Lachlan and Raffaele met as teenagers in the seaside home of kind-hearted foster parents. Arriving in glorious Cornwall was the best thing that ever happened to them – and now, as adults, their bond is stronger than ever.
But Amber has a secret. She’s in love with Lachlan. She can’t confess her feelings because that would never work. Restless Lachlan dates a lot and definitely isn’t the settling-down type. Surely it’s better to keep him as a friend than to risk losing him for good?
Raffaele has his own dilemma. He had the dream girlfriend in Vee, until it all went horribly wrong . . . and he still can’t understand why. Is Vee hiding something from him?
Now their widowed foster dad Teddy thinks he’s found love again. Younger, charming and strikingly beautiful, is Olga as perfect as she seems? Or will she end up breaking Teddy’s heart?
Against a backdrop of sparkling seas and sunny skies, the unexpected is always just around the corner. Welcome to Lanrock!

Review

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Lachlan is an ambitious chef in high demand by the media as a journalistic interview is conducted and more is found out about his popularity and his passion for what he does in the kitchen and that he has for his valued customers. He likes London, but Peggy wants him to follow her to Cornwall, which is painted beautifully in telling readers all it has to offer. She puts up an excellent argument for why she wants him down there to cook his Michelin Star food. She seems a fun, yet formidable woman. Within just a few pages in, my interest has piqued so much that I need to keep reading voraciously on.

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A wonderful idyllic scene is created when we learn about Teddy and a cruise to Greece, it oozes with all the holiday vibes that make you wish you were there too. It’s great that Jill Mansell has tackled the theme of the solo traveller (which Teddy is), in such a positive way and including all the fun of sharing photos back home, in this case to Amber and Lachlan. This pleased me, deeply. It depicts, and rightly so, the joy that can be had. There’s also the potential of romance for Teddy.

Once the scene is set, you learn more about Amber (who works at Lanrock Glass) and her earlier life and how she is intrinsically linked to the Penhaligon’s. It is at this time of her life, when she also met Lachlan and Raffaele and what is forged is a strong bond. This isn’t a story that jumps from one timeline to another, so don’t mistaken it for that, it rather gives a great background to what comes next and so readers can delve into the characters lives that then, rather compellingly, wraps around the reader until the very end, when it then lets you go, but still leaves a lingering heartwarming feeling.

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Things get really intriguing about the characters lives, the secrets and the relationships, especially as you can delve deeper into Vee’s life and what is going wrong. There’s also a mysterious letter that appears like a bolt from the blue that leads to revealing more about Raffaele’s life. As the book continues and it’s pretty hard to put down with all the unravelling of this beautiful, scenic book that has secrets that are offered up to inquisitive and curious readers.

Jill Mansell has linked characters up so well and it is so compelling unearthing more about them all. There is also, amongst possible relationships, relationship issues and general life, some really great humour, charm and warmth. The book then, apart from the warm feeling I said about earlier, leaves you hoping there will be another book to come from this excellent author.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jill Mansell Author Pic (1) Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers including The One You Really Want and Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay.  Take a Chance on Me won the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Prize, and in 2015 the RNA presented Jill with an outstanding achievement award.

Jill started writing fiction while working in the field of Clinical Neurophysiology in the NHS, but now writes full time. She lives in Bristol with her family.

Jill Mansell is the author of over twenty Sunday Times bestsellers including The One You Really Want and Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay.  Take a Chance on Me won the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Prize, and in 2015 the RNA presented Jill with an outstanding achievement award.

Jill started writing fiction while working in the field of Clinical Neurophysiology in the NHS, but now writes full time. She lives in Bristol with her family.

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#BookReview By Lou – Every Day In December By Kitty Wilson @KittyWilson23 @0neMoreChapter_ #ChristmasRead #Christmas #December #EveryDayInDecember #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction #RomanceFiction

Every Day In December
By Kitty Wilson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Follow two lives, each with their ups and downs within them each day in December. A poignant romance for Christmas. Check out the blurb and the rest of my review below.

Every Day In December

Blurb

Every Day In DecemberTwo people. One month to fall in love.

Belle Wilde loves December. Yes, she’s just lost her job and Christmas is not a good time to find yourself ‘financially challenged’. And yes, her parents are still going on about the fact that she really should have it all together by now. But Belle believes that in December, magic can happen.

Rory Walters hates December. Whilst it looks like his life is together, he’s still reeling from a winter’s night five years ago when his life changed forever. Now back at home, he’s certain that this will be yet another Christmas to endure rather than enjoy.

But as midnight on December 31st draws closer, Belle and Rory’s time together is coming to an end. With a little help from a Christmas miracle could Belle find the one thing she really wants underneath the mistletoe?

Review

Each chapter leads readers into each day in December and into the main characters – Belle and Rory’s lives. Belle has fallen on hard times, which leads her into a different path in life. This is only the surface of her life. Going deeper in, she has had rough upbringing. She has far, far got her life sorted.
Rory’s life is also not going so well either and he has a lot going on, yet he seems destined to be with Belle, even if it is a slow-burner of a romance.

Belle shows that she has a passion for Shakespeare in inspires others as she talks about him to students and shows just how very relevant he still is, through the themes that he wrote about, which are still universal today.

There is also the equation of Belle’s God-daughter whom she has a close relationship with  and this brings a lighter dynamic to the story.

The book is also poignant about December and how the closer you get to Christmas holidays, the harder it can feel in if something bad has happened in your life. There are ups and downs that the main characters have to overcome.

There is some Christmas cheer to be found amongst the poignancy of Every Day in December.

#Review By Lou – A Little In Love By Florence Keeling @KeelingFlorence @simonschusterUK #TeamBACT #DigitalOriginals @BookMinxSJV #Fiction #Romcom #RomanticFiction

A Little In Love
By Florence Keeling

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A Little In Love is a laugh out loud rom-com and there aren’t many rom-coms I say that about. It’s so much fun. Thanks to Books And The City, Simon & Schuster for gifting me a copy of the book of which you can find out more in the blurb and the rest of my review below as well as praise by other authors for this book.

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Blurb

The little village of Weddington is fast becoming THE place to get married. With its stately home, castle and two churches it has something for everyone, and now, famous after appearing in huge romcom movie hit A Little In Love, it’s hosting a monthly wedding fayre…

Rose Pedal is the proud owner of Pedals & Prosecco, a brand new business serving ice-cold fizz from a vintage bicycle, and she’s excited to be attending her first wedding fayre. But, on the way to Weddington Hall she’s involved in a near miss crash involving dashingly handsome James from Blume’s Florist.

Arriving at the beautiful stately home drenched and disheveled, Rose is horrified to find James is not only not sorry for nearly knocking her off her bike, but he’s gatecrashing her allocated spot on the lawn. His arrogance gets her back up and it’s definitely a case of hate at first sight.  But as the wedding fayre season continues, James gently wins Rose over, and their relationship starts to bloom.

Can being just ‘a little in love’ help Rose and James find their own happy-ending…

Review

Rather apt for now, the book opens up with a bit about the environment and gas guzzling vehicles.
This is a gorgeous book about Rose Pedal and her new business – Pedals & Prosecco, set up after dropping out of university for reasons that are rather funny. She first gains some experience in the working world from working with Mr Booth at his off-licence and all wasn’t lost as there are connections to what she learnt there to her inspiration to what she would do in her new business, running from a vintage bike, complete with wicker basket and then she looks for a trailer to put her bottles of fizz in. She has a penchant for weddings, so makes this her customer base. The book is all rather warm and cute with an edge of conflict. At a wedding when a florist turns up and tensions arise. It’s great that Rose stands her ground. She’s a woman with some sass and gumption, which is great to see in such a book.

The book is rather fun, with that cosy, entertaining rom-com feel and it’s so easy to get swept along with the romance of the wedding atmosphere as well as seeing the changing atmosphere between James Blume and Rose Pedal. There’s the most fun conversations between Megan and Rose about James. The dates between Rose and James aren’t exactly what you would expect, certainly not traditional things to do at venues and there’s always something going on. There are also places like The Copper Kettle, a quaint cafe turns out not to be so easy to find either. The book becomes more hilarious as it goes on. It’s most certainly a laugh out loud book with chemestry and all the fun and splendour of weddings.

The book ended unpredictably and that was rather nice indeed.

The book is just perfect for sitting back with a glass of fizz as the words, creating fun scenes on the page lightly bubble through the book.

Praise for the Author By Other Authors

A warm, delightful joy of a book’ PATRICIA SCANLAN, Sunday Times Bestselling author

‘The perfect romantic read’ HEIDI SWAIN, Sunday Times Bestselling author

‘You’ll fall a lot in love with A Little in Love. Weddington is the village we all dream of living in, and there’s really no mystery why our heroine Rose falls for the handsome James. Secrets, romance, escapism – yes please!’ JULIET ASHTON, bestselling author of The Sunday Lunch Club

‘An absolutely charming and joyful read with lots of laugh-out-loud moments along the way.  Overflowing with fabulous friendships, dreamy romance and all things weddings, it really did warm my heart and leave me with a big smile on my face’ KIM NASH, author of Moonlight Over Muddleford Cove

‘I fell more than a little in love with this book. Florence is an incredible storyteller and this book is the perfect cute romance read’ LUCY KEELING, author of Just Friends

‘A warm, comfort read of a book with the kind of rom-com characters you recognise and root for’ ANNA MANSELL, author of What We Leave Behind

‘I thoroughly enjoyed this heart-warming and ever-so-cute story. What an adorable tale!’ LUCY MITCHELL, author of Instructions for Falling In Love Again

‘Fun, fresh and full of fizz, I loved it!’ LAURA KEMP, author of Under a Starry Sky

‘I absolutely loved this charming romance! It was funny, fresh and an utterly fabulous read’  HOLLY MARTIN, author of Sunlight Over Crystal Sands

‘Tender and engrossing, this romance will touch your heart and make you smile’ RACHEL HORE, Sunday Times bestselling author

‘A good old fashioned ‘will they, won’t they’ romance filled with as much fun and sparkle as the bubbles in Rose’s prosecco. Perfect escapism, best enjoyed with a glass of fizz!’ KATHLEEN WHYMAN, author of Wife Support System

#BookReview By Lou – Underneath the Christmas Tree By Heidi Swain @Heidi_Swain @harriett_col @simonschusterUK @BookMinxSJV @TeamBATC #UnderneathTheChristmasTree #ChristmasRead #Fiction #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction #BlogTour

Underneath the Christmas Tree
By Heidi Swain

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Halloween is now over, so now is the time that is ripe for thinking about Christmas. I am pleased to be on the blog tour for Underneath the Christmas Tree for some festive cheer. I thank Simon and Schuster for the book and for the other gifts too (please note my review is not influenced by this). Please find more in the blurb and then head down to my review.

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Blurb

***The sparkling new Christmas novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author Heidi Swain!***

Underneath the Christmas TreeWynter’s Trees is the home of Christmas. For the people of Wynmouth it’s where they get their family Christmas tree, and where Christmas truly comes to life.

But for Liza Wynter, it’s a millstone around her neck. It was her father’s pride and joy but now he’s gone, she can’t have anything to do with it. Until her father’s business partner decides to retire and she must go back to handle the transition to his son Ned.

When Liza arrives, she discovers a much-loved business that’s flourishing under Ned’s stewardship. And she’s happy to stay and help for the Christmas season, but then she has other plans. But will the place where she grew up make her change her mind? And can it weave its Christmas cheer around her heart…?

Underneath the Christmas Tree is the perfect festive read, promising snowfall, warm fires and breath-taking seasonal romance. Perfect for fans of Milly Johnson, Carole Matthews and Cathy Bramley.

Review

It’s a joy to return to Wynmouth, on the Norfolk coast, and this book has so much warmth to it that makes it great for cosying up with thick cosy jumpers, doors locked and a nice drink and snacks so not much moving is required, until the end. Underneath the Christmas Tree is heartwarming in the colder weather, with life decisions to be made and a good dollop of Christmas cheer to brighten the darker days.

Things aren’t always easy or comfortable for Heidi Swain’s characters and this time it is Liza Wynter who has choices to make, especially about the Christmas Tree business – Wynter’s Trees that was once her dad’s. The business is full of Christmas cheer within its grounds and there’s a sense of heritage, of preserving what went before, which I like and appreciate and think is important, except this isn’t without its issues within the business itself as Liza wants to give up her shares in Wynter Trees, which she has with David and Edward (Ned). There’s the decision how to tell the public to be made, but there is also a feeling of gumption as she tries to do what she feels is right for her in deciding whether forging a new path, knowing the business could still be in good hands, is for her or not. There are sad an bittersweet moments with memories for Liza about her dad.

There is also Maya and a some jealousy emerges from Liza, even though Liza herself is more popular amongst the customers than she thinks. Tangled up in this is Ned and there comes a bit of a love story.

As with most books by Heidi Swain, there is some lovely sounding food and drinks to also get your appetite going.

This is a book that I thoroughly recommend to get you in the festive Christmas mood.

Underneath the Christmas Tree Blog Tour

#BookReview of – Undying Book 1 – The Kinship of DJinns and Book 2 – My Uncle’s Son By  Ambreen Hameed and Uzma Hameed @AmbreenHameed1 #UmzaHameed

Undying Book 1 – The Kinship of DJinns and Book 2 – My Uncle’s Son
By Ambreen Hameed and Uzma Hameed

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A romance that puts traditions and modern ways of living at juxtopositions to create the tensions, wrapped around a volatile political landscape. The book shows inner lives of two sisters and there’s a touch of magic intertwined in there too. Pretty good for a debut and the books are better than I thought they were going to be.
Take a look at the blurbs in both books and then my review.
Thanks to Uzma Hameed for asking me to review their books via the Contact option on my blog.

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Blurb – Book 1

UNDYING Book 1: The Kinship of Djinns“Sibling rivalry, evolutionary science, theatre, film and even magic all have a part to play in Ambreen and Uzma Hameed’s exuberant tale of a romantic triangle… UNDYING is huge fun. Its sitcom style comedy and affectionate satire deepen into a mystery that explores what unites and divides us, in families and communities, and asks how art, science and religion try to make sense of a violent and unjust world.” Boyd Tonkin, Former Chair of Judges, Man Booker International Prize

It is 1998 and the leader of the free world is under fire after an affair with a young intern. Meanwhile, in a corner of South London, the Malik sisters have also committed a sin: they are in their thirties and still not married. Now the unexpected return of their childhood playmate spells the chance of a happy ending: but only for one of them. And this time, younger sister Zarina is determined she won’t be second in line to Sufya, the eldest – even if it means resorting to dubious occult practices. But as tensions rise across the Muslim world, sibling rivalry and Sufi spells are not the only forces with which the three lovers must contend.

Blurb – Book 2

UNDYING Book 2: My Uncle's SonChristmas 1998 approaches and the Malik sisters struggle to come to terms with Heathrow’s disappearance. A series of unanswered questions leads Sufya on a journey across the Holy Land. Back in South London, Zarina believes she is receiving messages from beyond the grave. As the leader of the free world sends bombs down on Baghdad, anger boils over in the Muslim community. The family falls under suspicion and both sisters must pick a side.

My Uncle’s Son is the thrilling conclusion to UNDYING.

Review

The books are best read when they are read sequentially. Both books are predominently about Sufya and Zarina and their lives in 1998. They are modern Muslims who are just trying to get on with their lives. The sisters have, according to their religion, committed a sin by still not being married and it is more than frowned upon as they are in their thirties. There is also the question of career/interest choice as Sufya is into scientific writing, which seems more palatable than Zarina and her interest in theatre. The book deals with the differences in attitudes between younger Muslim’s and those with more traditional views. This sort of tension creates interest and shows some of the almost juxtopositions that traditonal and modern generations sit at. There is also, however the ties that bind them together. It’s a pretty intense read, that can at times be gripping and is mostly a good read.

This is a love story that rails against traditional Muslim values. There is also some humour, but it isn’t without its darkness that looms as it doesn’t only show the moderate, but also some of the extremes too with the backdrop of some beautiful scenery.
There are also the political attitudes of the time to the affair of Clinton and Lewinsky, war, suicide bombers that are touched upon.

The title of the second book – My Uncle’s Son is the concluding part of this story. You can’t read one without the other if you want to know the ending. The title – My Uncle’s Son is the title of a film as many potential cast assemble, as this book is a bit more about the arts industry, which book 1 touches upon.

There’s a character – Heathrow, or H, who goes missing. This is a character that runs through both books. The book examines and questions how you’d feel if someone you knew wore explosives. 

Both books, intriguingly (and sometimes this works better than other times), looks at genetics in primates and humans. It offers up some thought-provoking points, especially at the parts where this doesn’t get readers too bogged down. It is an intriguing and certainly different way that the characters, mostly Sufya and Zarina, try to understand what is happening in the world as they try to make sense of it all and the enormity of the violence that is harbouring in some people.

The themes of the first book link up well in the second book, tying them both together, which I thought was good and keeps Zarina and Sufya headstrong about their views on marriage, including arranged marriage.

The book also questions whether love can conquer all, even when all around can be so brutal and relationships can be tough as can finding your own way of life, that may go against a traditional grain. It is this, going against the grain that perhaps shows change and how there are modern Muslims living life their own way and makes Zarina and Sufya’s characters most interesting and wills you on in the hope they succeed.

The second book is a very good conclusion to this duo of books that has passion, anger, violence and love throughout.