Belonging – more reviews

Here are some more reviews from when Belonging went on tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. They are so lovely.

“A short story that will leave you entertained, enlightened and reaching to make that call to a friend or love one who you haven’t spoken to in a while. ” Hayley Reviews 10

“The romance was sweet and emotional… and the ending to this little gem of a story was absolute perfection!” Audio Killed the Bookmark

“… an uplifting story which shows its best to open up and share your grief and deal with in head on” That Thing She Reads

“Rhoda Baxter gives her readers a deeper insight into the grieving process in this witty, heartfelt novella!” Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews

“My heart broke for Niamh.” Dash Fan Book Reviews

“A lovely heart warming read … Would definitely recommend, but don’t forget the tissues!” Stardust Book Reviews


Why not check out Belonging and see if you agree with the reviews?

Buy now button

Belonging – so many reviews!

Book cover for Belonging small town romance

Belonging went on tour with the fabulous crew from Rachel’s Random Resources. After a brilliant week, there are now lots of reviews. This book is a little darker than my usual books, so I was a bit worried about how it would be received. I needn’t have worried. Here are just some of the reviews from the tour. The words ’emotional’ and ‘heartwarming’ come up a lot:

“This is a quick read, but really packs an emotional punch.” The Book Review 

“It is an emotive, contemporary family drama and romance, with a lovely ending to leave you with a smile on your face.” “I enjoyed it so much that I went to look at other books by this author “ Splashes Into Books

“Second chances, new beginnings and a heartwarming vibe make this book extra special!”  Rae Reads

“The story is not just a quick chick lit read it is quite emotional at times and has some real added depth that made it stand out for me.” Donna’s Book Blog

“A lovely and emotional story.”  B for Book Review

More reviews tomorrow.

Want to check it out for yourself? (it’s free on Kindle Unlimited)Buy now button

Inheritance Books: Sonya Lalli

This week’s Inheritance Books are from Sonya Lalli, whose debut novel is out this week! Welcome to the Inheritance Books sofa Sonya. Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself. I’ll go make us some tea.

Sonya LalliI’m a 28 year-old Canadian writer, journalist and former lawyer. I’ve been writing all my life, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to write a novel. I put my legal career on hold and moved to London to do a masters in creative writing, during which I wrote The Arrangement. While I’ll be moving back to Canada soon, right now I am currently writing my second novel and working as a legal journalist.


Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special?

I inherited my Mom’s copies of Jean M Auel’s Earth’s Children Series when I was about 12 years old.

Chris Drumm:Flickr
Photo by Chris Drumm; Flickr

I wasn’t necessary interested in anthropology, nor did I read a lot of historical fiction or sagas – but it was love at first sight. From the moment Mom gifted me her battered copies of the series I was completely captivated by Ayla’s story – a strong woman on a journey of self-discovery in pre-historic Europe.

The first one was The Clan of the Cave Bear where we see Ayla as a young girl – and ends with The Land of Painted Caves, after Ayla is farther along on her journey (geographically and spiritually) and has a partner and daughter. That last one only came out in 2011. It had been thirty years since The Clan of the Cave Bear hit shelves, and as you can imagine Mom was anxiously awaiting the final installment in the series. For the first time, we got to wait for one of Auel’s brilliant books together!


Which book would you leave to future generations? Why?

I would leave future generations Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake. It is hands down my favourite book, and while reading it as a young teenager, for the first time I truly connected with the main character of a novel.

Sonya’s books are all in Canada, so this is actually my copy

Before The Namesake, I’m not sure I’d ever read or heard a story about a kid of Indian heritage growing up in North America. (I’m sure there were some before that – I hope there were – but at that point I hadn’t discovered any.) The novel tells Gogol’s story, a young boy of Bengali Hindu heritage living in Boston. As he grows up and struggles with his identity, everything about him just felt so familiar to me. The push and pull of cultures. Falling in love with someone who was raised so different than you. The way your living room – and the world beyond your front door – can both feel so foreign.

While there still aren’t nearly enough books featuring diverse lead characters, I hope there will be plenty for future generations to choose from. I’d recommend they start with The Namesake.

Readers of this blog will know that this is something I bang on about a lot. Yes, there should definitely more books featuring diverse lead characters. I can also recommend Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Interpreter of Maladies for some incredible short stories. 

Thank you for sharing your special books with us, Sonya. All the best with your own books.

TheArrangement-BPB V2.jpegSonya’s debut novel The Arrangement is available to buy now. You can find out more about Sonya on her website. You can also catch her on Twitter and Instagram (@saskinthecity)


The first Book Review of Please Release Me

Book cover for Please Release Me - a bride at sunrise

I saw the first review of Please Release Me today (the advance review copies have gone out to reviewers now and the book is on Netgalley.) I’m limp with relief that this reviewer liked it (4.5 stars! Yay!). I’m also delighted that she took from the story what I’d try to convey.

I tried to write a book that was about falling in love, falling out of love and inadvertently becoming friends with your enemy. A small part of me was worried that it had all come out in a jumbled mess. I’m very relieved to hear that it didn’t.

You can read the review here:

Book Review – Please Release Me by Rhoda Baxter.

And, of course, you can preorder Please Release Me here:  🙂

I’m off to celebrate by eating copious amounts of chocolate.

Goodreads book review: The Cake Shop In The Garden by Carole Matthews

The Cake Shop In The GardenThe Cake Shop In The Garden by Carole Matthews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a charming book. All the descriptions of cake made me hungry, so I ate three cupcakes and half a packet of biscuits in the time it took me to read it. So, it’s also a fattening book.

Fay is lovely, but suffering from self esteem issues. Dan is sweet (and hot obviously), but there isn’t that much to him, really. Anthony starts off being the 2D ‘wrong man’, but ends up being much more solid and believable. Fay’s mother and sister are really quite horrid. My favourite of the bunch is Lija, who gets all the good lines! Stan is a bit of dude too.

This is the first Carole Matthews book I’ve read. I enjoyed it. It’s very relaxing to read, perfect for reading on a summery weekend. But, be warned. You will crave cake.

View all my reviews

Inheritance Books: Linda Mitchelmore

This week I’m delighted to welcome a fellow Choc Lit writer, Linda Mitchelmore to Inheritance Books. Hi Linda, grab a slice of cake and tell us a bit about yourself.

LINDA MITCHELMOREI’m a Devonshire dumpling! Born and brought up in Paignton, where I still live. I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else. From the house I live in now I’m just a ten minute walk from the sea in one direction, and a ten minute walk from open countryside in the other. Both places give me plenty of settings for the short stories and novels that I write. I came to short story writing back in the late 1990s when my hearing had all but gone due to viral damage – I could remember sound in my head and found it comforting to write about it. I also dabbled a bit with journalism, writing mostly about the arts for county magazines although I was commissioned to write health and beauty articles which made my family (husband of numpty-nump years, Roger, and son, James, and daughter, Sarah) laugh their socks off because I never wear make-up, save for a slick of lipstick. But a girl can’t be at the keyboard twenty-four seven so to keep the balance I walk every day for at least half an hour, often double that. And I’m a very willing pillion passenger on my husband’s vintage motorbikes, more so in summer than in winter. I’ve got the full Monty motorcycle gear that I wish was leather but isn’t, but it keeps me safe.

Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special?

A very battered, 1937, copy of Gone with the Wind was given me at a low time in my life. After the birth of my daughter I had the most severe post natal depression. At the time (1976) my parents were live-in companions to a wealthy widow, Gladys Spanton. GONE WITH THE WINDShe loved to see me and my children, although she’d never had any of her own. One day, while she and I, and my children, were all sitting in the garden I burst into tears and blurted out about the post natal depression to her – the first time I’d given it a name to anyone. She went indoors and came out with her copy of Gone with the Wind. She said something along the lines of, ‘You need somewhere to escape to, and this will do very well.’ It did. I know this book is a bit Marmite in that some love it and some detest it, but I was grabbed by the first five words – Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful …’ But she’s got something, I thought, and read on. That book transported me to another country and another time in history and it helped me crawl out of my deep post natal depression.

The third in my ‘Emma’ trilogy is just published and I’m aware now just how much Margaret Mitchell’s book has (subconsciously) influenced me. The last line of her book – After all, tomorrow is another day – was crying out for a sequel in my opinion. Except there never was one. And although, back then, the thought of writing a novel (or even short stories) had never entered my head my delight knows no bounds today to find myself on shelves in book shops and libraries between Margaret Mitchell and Nancy Mitford – what placing! And in a rather spooky way, Margaret Mitchell has dedicated her book to JRM, the same initials my son has to whom I dedicated my first novel.

Which book would you leave for future generations? Why?

Bread Alone by Judi Hendricks. This came to me as a freebie with a magazine. Like Margaret Mitchell before her, Judi Hendricks is American. I fell in love with Hendricks’ short, sharp, sentences from page one. She has – for the most part – a very spare way of getting a lot of description across in very few words. I fell in love with her first person, present tense, viewpoint – I love reading it and I love writing it. It gets the reader into the moment, I think. Again, I came to this book before I ever wrote a novel of my own. But on the last page her description of a kiss is something any aspiring writer should read. ‘The second kiss is longer, more interesting. It takes me places – like flying down the sidewalk on my first ride without training wheels. Like diving into a wave off Zuma Beach. Like spotting France from 35,000 feet and knowing that somewhere down there in a maze of pink brick, the Boulangerie du Pont was waiting for me. It sets me down gently but firmly on this speck of land off the coast of Washington where mud is drying on my shoe and Mac is holding me against him in a way that leaves very little doubt as to his intentions.’

Lovely choices Linda. Thank you for dropping by and sharing your Inheritance Books. All the best for all three of your Emma  books.

Emma and her Daughter 150 x 240Linda’s book Emma and Her Daughter is published by Choc Lit and is available to buy now. If you want to have an idea of what Linda’s books are like, I’ve reviewed Red is For Rubies here. You can stalk find out more about Linda on her blog, Facebook or find her on Twitter (@lindamitchelmor).

Inheritance Books: Angeline Bishop

This week’s Inheritance Books are from novelist, radio presenter and all round superlady, Angeline Bishop.

Hi Angeline, welcome to Inheritance books. Tell us a bit about yourself.

ambI write contemporary romance and New Adult fiction. I was born in Washington, D. C., but lived most of my life in New Jersey and consider the ‘Garden State’ my home.

Aside from writing my novels and blogging, I am the Vice President of the Cultural, Interracial, and Multicultural Special Interest Chapter of Romance Writers of America and enjoy helping authors strengthen their craft.  I co-host the AMB Talk Radio podcasts each Fall with my pop-culture loving, college-aged daughter. I’m also the founder of the AMB Ovation Awards (The Angie) which provides honor and recognition of authors’ outstanding achievements in the multicultural romance literary profession.


Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?

FourAgreementsCoverThe Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz. It was a novel my father turned to at difficult parts of his life. The four agreements are: 1. Be Impeccable with your Word, 2. Don’t Take Anything Personally, 3. Don’t Make Assumptions, and 4. Always Do Your Best.

The Four Agreements came into my life after I learned my deceased father and my paternal grandparents loved the book. I read it carefully when I entered my thirties and it helped me put my personal relationship into perspective. It reminds me that each of our relationships are real opportunities to examine our actions and intentions.

Sounds like very sound advice that we could all do with remembering. Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?

MayaAngelouI would leave the Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou because her artistry motivated me to become an author. I adored her as a writer and as a woman. She imparted wisdom to the masses up until her death this year.

An excellent choice. Thank you for sharing your Inheritance Books with us Angeline, all the best with your book.

SouthBeach_4webLgAngeline’s book South Beach is available now. You can find our more about Angeline and her work on her  website, or link up with her on Facebook or Twitter.

Inheritance Books – Janet Gover

This week’s Inheritance Books are from Aussie novelist and fellow ChocLiteer, Janet Gover. She writes contemporary romance and hosts a mean kitchen party.

Hi Janet, welcome to Inheritance Books. I’ve got some Caramello Koalas, just for you.  Tell us a bit about yourself.

Janet GoverHi – it’s really nice here on Inheritance Books. I feel right at home surrounded by lots of battered and much loved old books. I’m a wandering Aussie. I grew up in a small bush town in Queensland. There were only 15 buildings in the town (and a couple of those were sheds) – so I spent a lot of time riding my horses and reading books. My Dad was a voracious reader and he pointed me at a wide range of books – everything from Sci Fi to spy thrillers and classics and comedies. My Mum loved romance – so she sent me in that direction. I still read a wide range of books, but I write romance and women’s fiction because I love stories with heart. Stories about real people and the way they overcome the problems life throws at us all. I was a journalist for a long time – then started writing fiction. At first I wrote short stories and then turned to novels. My latest novel is Flight To Coorah Creek, which like a lot of my work, is set in the Australian outback. It’s the first of a series of books set in the small town of Coorah creek. The town reminds me a lot of the place where I grew up – a little remote and sometimes a little lonely but full of the most interesting and sometimes weird characters… not to mention strong, bronzed Aussie outback men.  


Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?

My parents introduced me to so many wonderful books….  Am I cheating if I pick an author rather than a single book? Books by Rudyard Kipling My most treasured possessions include some gorgeous if somewhat battered books by Rudyard Kipling. There’s the Just So Stories, The Jungle Book – and a wonderful collection of beautifully illustrated animal stores.  They may be children’s stories, but they still capture me every time I open the books. Some are scary are some are adventures. Some are morality tales and some deal with difficult subjects like cruelty. But all are wonderfully imaginative and I always felt he was talking directly to meHear and attend and listen; for this befell and behappened and became and was, Oh My Best Beloved, when the tame animals were wild… I think these were the stories that set me on the path to becoming a writer. My old cloth bound copies have the most wonderful illustrations as well – but as I am hopeless at drawing, all I can do is admire those.  


Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?

Now this is a hard question – there are so many great books. I think I’d have to go for a children’s book again,  but one that an adult will appreciate, because I think it’s important that we never lose the sense of adventure and the curiosity and the sense of wonder that we have as children. I think sometimes we need reminding of that. The Graveyard Book Neil GaimanSo I sentence future generations to regular readings of Neil Gaiman’s children’s books – but in particular The Graveyard Book. It’s about a boy called Nobody who goes to live in a graveyard after his parents are murdered. That sounds depressing – but it’s not. It’s wonderful – on so many levels. Strangely enough, just a few minutes ago I discovered that Gaiman says that he was trying to write something like The Jungle Book, set in a graveyard. I did not know that when I read the book, or started writing this, but that explains a lot about why I love it so much. It took Gaiman twenty years to write The Graveyard Book because he wanted to get it “right”. He did. He got it so very right. The huge pile of awards the book has won is testament to that – as is the wonder that I feel every time I open it to meet Bod… a boy raised by ghosts.

I haven’t read Jungle Book in years. I enjoyed it, but it was difficult to reconcile it with the dancing animals of the Disney version (which I adored as a child). The Graveyard Book, on the other hand, I loved. I can’t wait until my kids are old enough for me to read it to them. In the meantime, they have to put up with Blueberry Girl instead.

Thank you so much for dropping by, Janet. All the best to your latest book. 

FTCC_thumbnail copyJanet’s book Flight to Coorah Creek is available now. You can find out more about Janet (and her trips around the world) on her website, or catch up with her on Facebook or Twitter (@janet_gover).