Book review: Warwick’s Mermaid by Ellie Gray

Warwick's MermaidWarwick’s Mermaid by Ellie Gray

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a sweet romance set in Whitby. Chloe is recovering after escaping an abusive relationship. Arguably, her relationship with her mother is also bordering on abusive, but in a very different way. She’s rented a cottage on one side of an isolated bay.
Luke has rented the cottage on the other side of the bay.
There’s a good amount of intrigue and angst and romance. It’s a gentle, sweet read.
[And I love the title!]

Buy Link UK: Warwick’s Mermaid
Buy Link US: Warwick’s Mermaid

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Book review: Emma Ever After by Brigid Coady

Emma Ever AfterEmma Ever After by Brigid Coady

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a modern adaptation of Emma, not the easiest of stories to adapt because not a lot happens and Emma is so, well, Clueless.
In this version Emma works for a PR firm, coming up with faux-mances between celebrities for PR purposes. She lives with Gee Knightly, former boy band superstar.
Gee was a really interesting character. Emma was well meaning but a bit of an idiot. The supporting cast were interesting and varied.
I enjoyed the stuff about the Breach of The Peace fandom very much. I also found the discussion of the popular perception of bi-sexual people thought provoking. It was nice to see a bi-sexual hero in a mainstream romance novel.
A great adaptation of a classic.

Buy link UK: Emma Ever After
Buy link US: Emma Ever After

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Book Review: Heath’s Hope by Alicia Hunter Pace

Heath's HopeHeath’s Hope by Alicia Hunter Pace

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a novella set in the small town of Beauford Bend. I bought it was part of a box set of beta hero books by Crimson Romance.

Hope is back in town to help look after her father. She’s a banker. She left town after splitting up with Heath broke her heart and is surprised to see him there.
Heath is a specialist stained glass artist. He moved his business back to town after his first wife died.

Both the main characters are adorable and had real depth to them. The secondary characters who lived in the town were vivid and believable, especially the two sisters who run the knitting shop.

If you want warm and fuzzy feels, this is a good book for that.

Buy link Amazon UK Heath’s Hope: A Beauford Bend Novella
Buy link Amazon US Heath’s Hope: A Beauford Bend Novella

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Book Review: Acute Reactions by Ruby Lang

Acute Reactions (Practice Perfect, #1)Acute Reactions by Ruby Lang

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I bought this book as part of a box set of beta hero books from Crimson Romance. There is so much about it that I loved.
First of all there’s Petra – she’s competent, smart and prone to overthinking things and tying herself in knots about it. Then there’s Ian who is hardworking and caring and generally lovely – also, allergic to cats.
It’s cute and romantic. There’s a fair bit of ethnic diversity (unobtrusively delivered). There’s a great cast of secondary characters too. Including a teenager really funny called Kevin.

I really, really enjoyed this book. To be honest, any book that has ‘the man with allergies never gets the girl’ is was always going to be catnip for me!

Buy Link Amazon UK:Acute Reactions (Practice Perfect)

Buy link Amazon US (this is for a ‘box set’ of all three books in the series): Practice Perfect: The Complete Series

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Book review: The Professor’s Secret by Peggy Bird

The Professor's SecretThe Professor’s Secret by Peggy Bird

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I bought this book as a box set of beta hero books from Crimson Romance.

Claudia Manchester, English Lit professor, writes sizzling erotica under the pen name April Mayes. If her colleagues found out, she’ll never get tenure.
Brad Davis falls in love with Claudia, but she won’t tell him her real name. He knows her by yet another name – Claire Mason.

I really liked the characters in this book. Especially Claudia. Brad was a bit of a insensitive arse at one point and the resolution dragged a bit, but I cared about Claudia and wanted to see her have her happy ending.
There was some interesting discussion about the perceptions of the romance genre in there (all in context, obviously, because Claudia is an English Lit professor) and a rather excellent put down when someone asks her if she’s done all the things she writes about.

This book was rather hotter than the books I normally read (sex in a kitchen sounds unhygienic to me, but then, I’m British and we can be weird about these things).

Buy link: Amazon UK The Professor’s Secret

Buy link: Amazon US The Professor’s Secret

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Book review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U GiveThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was incredible. I put off reading it for ages because everyone was talking about it and I thought ‘it can’t possibly be as good as the hype’. Turned out I was wrong about that!

Firstly, it gave me a window into a world that I knew very little about.
Secondly, it was powerful. Sharp, to the point and clear in its description.

The most moving scene for me was the one where the family sit down to watch a game on TV. The thing that hit home was how normal is all seemed. Something happens to disrupt this, but until then, they are just like any other family – winding each other up, laughing and squabbling.

I learned a lot about black history. Coincidentally, my kids have recently started watching Fresh Prince of Bel Air, which gets mentioned a lot in the book. There was a sense of fortuitous synergy there.

Overall, I loved this book. It made me feel the same way as I did when I read The Outsiders or watched Philadelphia. It made me see a world I didn’t know about and linked it to things I could understand. This is important. We view the world through out own experience. If a book can connect someone else’s world experience to ours and make us understand that basic humanity remains the same no matter where you are, then that’s a valuable gift to the world.

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Buy link The Hate U Give: The Book Everyone’s Talking About
Buy link The Hate U Give: The Book Everyone’s Talking About

Guest post on SmartBitches about Dirk Gently

You may remember that I ADORED the first series of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency on Netflix. Season 2 came out at the end of last year and I raced through it. I’m having a good old squee about it on the Smart Bitches Trashy Books site. Go read.

If you want to see the trailer, here it is on YouTube. Welcome to Bergsberg.


Book review: Living In The Past by Jane Lovering

Living in the Past (Choc Lit)Living in the Past by Jane Lovering

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Grace is grieving, two years after her husband died. Her friend Tabitha persuades her to volunteer at an archaeological dig in North Yorkshire. When going for a walk in the area, she finds herself in a bronze age settlement. The very settlement that grumpy Scot and dig director Duncan McDonald is looking for with this dig. But Duncan has his own ghosts from the past – years ago, his girlfriend disappeared in this area and the police suspect him of having something to do with it.

The Bronze age storyline is about Tor and Hen. Tor is the leader of the small settlement, a man who protects the women and children in his care. Lady Hen is the medicine woman, who protects the same people, but in a different way. When Grace wanders into their time frame, things start to go wrong.

This book is ostensibly about a time slip (and mud, there’s a lot about mud), but it’s also about grief and letting go of the things that nag at you over the years. It’s about the importance of knowing and understanding what happened (Closure, if you like).

Grace is brilliantly prickly. I love how sarcastic she is. Duncan is grumpy and muddy and out of touch with social niceties. He’s quite sweet. You wouldn’t think a book about two prickly people sliding around on a muddy hillside would be this absorbing and entertaining, but it is.

I really enjoyed this book. I even liked the mud.

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Buy link Living in the Past (Choc Lit)

Buy link Living in the Past (Choc Lit)

Self Publishing Journeys


Last year, I went to a Society of Authors event and got chatting to a lovely bloke called Paul. We discussed how I drifted from traditional publishing into indie publishing and the advantages of being a hybrid published author. The upshot of that conversation was a longer conversation that happened on his podcast.

You can listen to the whole episode here:

We talked about my writing journey. He was most amused by the fact that my pen name is derived from Rhodobacter sphaeroides. I was most amused by the fact that he called me ‘cerebral’. We also discussed some of the self publishing courses I took so that I could learn the necessary skills.

Go listen to the episode.  Sorry if I sound like a precocious ten year old. I need to work on my radio voice.

Oh, while you’re here, do you listen to many podcasts? If I interviewed, say, UK romance authors, would you listen to the interviews?