#CoverReveal for #simonschusterUK of #TheLanguageOfFood By @AnnabelAbbs #Spredges Edition #ChooseBookshops @blackwellbooks @ColesBooks

Today I am so excited to reveal with Simon & Schuster UK, the absolutely gorgeous cover with beautiful spredges for the much anticipated book – The Language of Food. Check it out!
Check out bookshops, especially Coles and Blackwells to pre-order this beautiful edition.

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#Review By Lou of Woman In The Middle By Milly Johnson #bookreview @MillyJohnson @SimonSchusterUK #TeamBATC @ed_pr #WomanInTheMiddle

The Woman In The Middle
By Milly Johnson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Moving with a personal feel to it is what Milly Johnson brings to her latest book – Woman In The Middle. It’s got a bit of a different feel from other books I’ve read and that’s still okay in this pleasant read that delves so much into family life. Thanks to Books And The City at Simon & Schuster for gifting.

Blurb

woman in the middle cover picThe emotional, uplifting and completely relatable new novel from Sunday Times bestseller Milly Johnson.

Shay Bastable is the woman in the middle. She is part of the sandwich generation – caring for her parents and her children, supporting her husband Bruce, holding them all together and caring for them as best she can.

Then the arrival of a large orange skip on her mother’s estate sets in motion a cataclysmic series of events which leads to the collapse of Shay’s world. She is forced to put herself first for a change.

But in order to move forward with her present, Shay needs to make sense of her past. And so she returns to the little village she grew up in, to uncover the truth about what happened to her when she was younger. And in doing so, she discovers that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find the only way is up.

Review

Shay Bastable has a lot to juggle in her family. Caring for parents, keeping her own family going will be relatable to many people. I certainly relate to the caring for parents, in my case to keep the rest of the more adult family than in the book, going in some ways. For Shay it’s a struggle to keep all the balls freely in the air and they do indeed come crashing down all around her. Shay also has children and all their demands, especially determined, strong-willed daughter – Courtney to take care of,then there is her son who is supposed to be getting married, but she is concerned that something isn’t right within the relationship.  You feel that this would no doubt have quite an impact. The book explores this as well as how her sister does little to help and her husband, Bruce is not at all useful and practically ignores what is going on around him, which makes matters even worse as there’s not the backup needed in such a situation. There’s definitely a lot to feel sorry for Shay and how her life is panning out. So, she tries to then put herself first, which seems somewhere between sensible and losing selflessness for awhile, but you can see where she is coming too and shows the challenges of life faced in this situation, trying to also take care of yourself as well as others.

You really get the sense that Shay is The Woman In The Middle instead of at the top of her family, yet is also the glue of her family holding it all together, even though the stickyness of that glue is waining along with her resillience as the weight of pressure, conveyed so well by Milly Johnson gets to her more and more, making its impact. You get the feeling that so much has shaped her life and is still shaping it, but not necessarily as she would have planned.

#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.

A Little in Love cover pic

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.

Underneath The Christmas Tree pic

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 By Lou – The Dragon With The Blazing Bottom @simonkids_UK #Beach #PictureBook #Preschool #KS1 #ChildrensBook #KidsBook

The Dragon With The Blazing Bottom
By Beach

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There’s plenty of humour for children in The Dragon With The Blazing Bottom. Thanks to Simon and Schuster Kids for gifting me this book to review.
Please find out more in the blurb and my review below.

The Dragon With The Blazing Bottom cover

Blurb

The first in a fabulously funny and hugely commercial series about a dragon who has lost his flame – but may just find fire elsewhere . . . Perfect for fans of The DInosaur That Pooped series.

Sir Wayne’s dragon has lost his flame. Are his teeth TOO clean? Is his tongue TOO pink? Perhaps his diet is to blame. Not to worry – Sir Wayne has a meal plan of EPIC proportions, including a big lump of lava, one burning bush, some sparklers and fireworks – the ones that go ‘WHOOOOSH’. Oh, and one VERY mouldy old piece of cheese – almost as green as the snot from a sneeze . . . What could possibly go wrong?!
A hilarious and dynamic character-driven picture book, with a truly explosive ending! From the hugely exciting new picture book talent, Beach.

Review

The Dragon With The Blazing Bottom absolutely would appeal to children’s sense of humour in its rhyming tale. This is a great debut picture book by Beach. It hits all the right notes for pre-school to 5 year olds.
There are 2 great characters to meet – a knight – Sir Wayne and a huge, bright red dragon who can’t breathe fire. The knight assists the dragon and the illustrations just add to the fun of this as many ways are tried.
Young children are sure to have fun as they discover what happens to the dragon.
It’ll absolutely appeal to children with that “toilet” sense of humour and those who like dragons, knights and dinosaurs, like the one who pooped… It’s sure to gross them out in a way that will have them laugh lots.
It’s a book that is great for bringing some humour into your child’s life and one that adults can have fun with when reading it to their child(ren).

#BookReview by Lou of A Beautiful Spy By Rachel Hore @Rachelhore @simonschusterUK @rararesources #SpyFiction #CrimeFiction #HistoricalFiction

A Beautiful Spy
By Rachel Hore

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It gives me pleasure to announce that I am closing the blog tour for A Beautiful Spy By Rachel Hore. It shows the perilous and dark corners of the world in a mysterious and intense fashion. Thanks to Simon and Schuster for providing a print copy of the book and for Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to the blog tour. Find out more about the author and her book, as well as the rest of my thoughts in the review…

A Beautiful Spy

About the Author

Rachel Hore author photoRachel Hore worked in London publishing for many years before moving with her family to Norwich, where she taught publishing and creative writing at the University of East Anglia until deciding to become a full-time writer. She is the Sunday Times (London) bestselling author of ten novels, including The Love Child. She is married to the writer D.J. Taylor and they have three sons. 

Blurb

A Beautiful SpyMinnie Gray is an ordinary young woman. She is also a spy for the British government.

It all began in the summer of 1928…

Minnie is supposed to find a nice man, get married and have children. The problem is it doesn’t appeal to her at all. She is working as a secretary, but longs to make a difference.

Then, one day, she gets her chance. She is recruited by the British government as a spy. Under strict instructions not to tell anyone, not even her family, she moves to London and begins her mission – to infiltrate the Communist movement.

Review

Minnie Gray is the main protagonist, with the book predominantely sweeping through the 1930’s, but also hitting on more modern times every so often. In 1928, Minnie wants more for her life and she certainly isn’t into meeting the Chamberlains, even though they were increasingly making their mark in the House of Commons. Life moves swiftly on from that time and readers learn about Minnie and her upbringing. What she hadn’t initially realised was that her connections then were to change the course of her life. Through her connections, she certainly becomes far removed from being a dutiful and stay at home wife. She has the opportunity to be a government spy, with the remit to spy on Communist Russia and to delve deeper into UK supporters of the regime.

There’s a bit of glamour that’s in the backdrop of a deeper, darker world and has her eyes opened wide to what the propaganda really means and where meetings take place in places where no one would normally suspect anything untoward could possibly happen.

The book shows how dangerous some politics are, especially by those with no alliegence to a country. It also sets out how people are taken in by clever propaganda. There are comparison’s that can be made into the book that can be made today and not only just with Russia, but with anywhere that has a more nationalist party. Although the book is set in the past and is about the dark, dangerous, yet exciting world for a fictional protagonist, there are some lines here and there that can be linked to certain aspects of today’s world and also the world of so-called unlikely leaders being voted into power. The book doesn’t delve too much into the roads of Communism, as Communism, as readers will know, doesn’t start there, there are other books that demonstrate this, this shows more when Communism has already got its grip.

The book is a slow suspense, but none-the-less gripping, especially for those readers who find the life of a spy and keeping identities hidden, fascinating. This book is a bit different from some spy fiction in that it doesn’t totally glamourise it and can show what an anxiety inducing life it can be and how challenging it can be, and yet change a person a bit, as demonstrated in the tastes of books Minnie used to like, compared to her tastes since becoming a spy as her worldly view has changed. The book isn’t all blazing guns and gadgets either. There is however, intelligence and a life of characters that seems plausible, and there is the wrangling of Minnie and a glimmer of desire to be set free by MI5 to lead a life outside spying, but she has proven herself well and to be valuable and stays, but things get ever more dangerous…. until a point when, finally, readers will be able to breath again, as can the woman, who led a double life.

Time moves forwards to the 1940’s and Minnie’s life has changed again, as does the pace and tone, but some histories in life can’t totally be erased and nor can the residue, certain parts of life leave behind…

This is, overall, a fascinating and intense book that leaves you wondering what next for this “Beautiful Spy”, at each turn…

Social Media Links

Visit her at RachelHore.co.uk and connect with her on Twitter @RachelHore.