Book Review: Just For The Holidays by Sue Moorcroft

Just for the HolidaysJust for the Holidays by Sue Moorcroft

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m a fan of Sue Moorcroft’s books in general, but I think this one is my favourite.
Leah agrees to help her sister and estranged husband out by tagging along on their family holiday and being the ‘Cool Auntie’ to their two teenagers. Poor Leah. I felt so sorry for her as things started off bad and got worse… and worse.
Ronan is recovering from a shoulder/collarbone injury after a helicopter crash and spending some quality time with his son Curtis.

I loved that Leah was happy with the single life and that she was a complete petrol head. I also liked the way the teenagers kept getting in the way of … well, everything.
You really feel for both the main characters.

I really enjoyed this book. Highly recommended.

Disclaimer as always – I know Sue Moorcroft through the Romantic Novelists Association. I am also a fan of her books.

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Inheritance Books: Chrissie Bradshaw

This week’s Inheritance Books come from romance author Chrissie Bradshaw. Hi Chrissie, welcome to Inheritance Books. Please take a seat. While I make the tea, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself.

img_2468I live beside the Northumbrian coast with my family and love taking my Welsh terrier,Oscar, for a daily run along the seashore. My other feel good essentials are tea, chocolate and a good book. A career in education, as a teacher then as a literary consultant, has given me the chance to share my passion for reading with young people. I believe that there are books to suit every taste and love match-making a book with a reader. That’s why I think your ‘inheritance’ slot is such a good idea! This year has been an exciting one because I won the Elizabeth Goudge award 2016 from the RNA and published my first novel A Jarful of Moondreams. It is available as a paperback or ebook.

How cool, well done you! You’ll be getting your name added to all the famous ones on the Elizabeth Goudge trophy. 

 

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

Ifullsizerender-2 Capture the Castle was published in 1948 by Dodie Smith, before I was born, but the characters still seem fresh today. I first read Dodie Smith’s The 101 Dalmations, as a child but wasn’t given I Capture the Castle until I was an adult. It’s a book I treasure because Cassandra is, like me, a secret scribbler and her observations capture her castle environment and its inhabitants vividly. I’d pass this book to teens or adults because Cassandra’s teenage concerns are still relatable to other generations.

Cassie’s voice is engaging from start to finish, I love it from the first sentence to the last and both of those sentences are memorable. I won’t spoil it by quoting the last sentence but I can share the first. She starts with ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink….’ Why? How did you get in there? Who are you? Where are you? I’m hooked.

I usually like a novel with a resolution and I Capture the Castle has an unresolved ending yet it still remains a satisfying read. Cassandra Mortmain and her cast of characters are both complex and entertaining and, as a reader, I was totally involved in castle life and cared about what would happen to her troubled father, her moody beautiful sister, the eccentric Topaz and hardworking handsome Stephen and wanted the American Brothers, Simon and Neil, to come to the rescue in some way.
It’s a book I’ll pass on to my niece and granddaughters and I‘m sure they’ll be enthralled as I am by the Mortmain family.

 

That’s an excellent book. Which book would you leave to future generations? Why?

fullsizerenderMy sister recommended Still Alice by Lisa Genova and the story haunts me..
Alice Howland is a Harvard professor who discovers she has early-onset dementia. She tells her story for as long as she can tell it.
Alice starts out with a successful career, a husband and three grown children. When she first begins to grow forgetful, she dismisses it but eventually, when she gets lost in her own familiar neighbourhood, she realises that something is wrong. She is only 50 years old. As she loses her memory, will she lose herself? Alice has to learn to live in the moment but she is still Alice. This addresses one of my worst nightmares and Alice’s story helped me to discover and come to some understanding of the illness. I’m glad I read it and I hope future generations come to read it with the comfort of knowing Alzheimer’s disease has since become a treatable condition.

I also identify with Lisa Genova’s struggle to get this novel published. She self published in the end and, when the novel became a best-seller, she was accepted by a mainstream publisher and her novel was made into a film. Now who wouldn’t love to follow in those footsteps?

Who indeed. Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us, Chrissie. All the best with your latest book.

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Chrissie’s book A Jarful of Moonbeams is available in ebook and print on Amazon. You can catch up with Chrissie on her blog, on Facebook or on Twitter@Chrissiebeee (3 eees).  

 

 

Would you would like to share your own Inheritance Books? Just email me on rhodabaxter(at)gmail.com!

Goodreads book review: Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner

Carpe Demon (Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom, #1)Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this up after hearing Julie Kenner talking about it on the Smart Bitches Trashy Books podcast. Demon Hunting Soccer Mom. I love the idea!

Kate Connor is a retired demon hunter, but there’s a whole load of demons around and SOMEONE has to do something about it. Turns out that someone is Kate.
I like the juxtaposition between domesticity/ parenthood and the drama of demon fighting. It’s a good, light hearted read. I figured out who the baddie was (and the thing about Eddie and holy water) relatively early, but it was still good fun.

I dithered about giving this four stars because I love the premise so much, but ended up with 3 instead because I picked up the second book (I bought a box set) and thought… not right now, thanks. Is there a 3.5 stars option? No? Ah… okay then.

Brilliant premise. Good fun read.

View all my reviews

Inheritance Books: Gina Rossi

This week’s Inheritance Books come from Gina Rossi, all the way from South Africa! Hi Gina, take a seat. I’ve got carrot cake or coffee cake today – here, have one of each.

While I make the tea, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?

030 CroppedTo be honest, as 2015 flashes by, I’m not too sure where I come from anymore. After living for seven years based in Monaco, we can’t seem to sit still (I blame the contractual nature of my Real Life Hero’s career). Since June last year we have been in the Channel Islands, Paris, London, even New Zealand. We have visited Marrakech three times and set off tomorrow to Poland. Have I left someplace out? Probably. Any writer out there needing a location consultant? If so, I’m over here *waves*!

That aside, the best thing about writing is that you can do it anywhere. I’ve been writing full time since my debut was published in 2012, and I love every moment. On reflection, that’s a bit of a lie, so I’ll put it this way: I have no problem writing every day of my life…or at least thinking about writing every day of my life…or…

Moving swiftly on, I am both traditionally and self-published, with four books published, and a fifth to come before the end of 2015. I’ve written one historical novel, but the rest are contemporary romances, and this is where I’ve found my niche.

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

IMG_4126‘The Story of San Michele’ a book of memoirs and reminiscences by Swedish physician, Axel Munthe, first published in 1929, was given to me by my late father over twenty years ago. It’s hard to describe this fascinating book and my best advice is read it, now, if you haven’t already. Munthe describes life as a doctor in Naples and Rome, among the wealthiest and poorest patients of both, and how he discovers a ruined chapel on the unspoilt (then) island of Capri, and sets about restoring it, all the while venturing from reality to fantasy, between the world of celebrity and poverty. It’s an autobiography, except it isn’t. I rest my case.

From The Sotry of San Michele
From The Story of San Michele

My father, who grew up in the remote Karoo area of South Africa was sent to war in Italy in 1942, and fell passionately in love with all things Italian, having never set foot on foreign soil. After the war, he visited Italy as often as he possibly could. ‘The Story of San Michele’, quite simply, was his favourite book.

Munthe wrote when he first set eyes on the ruined chapel of San Michele:

‘Just over our heads, riveted to the steep rock like an eagle’s nest, stood a little ruined chapel. Its vaulted roof had fallen in, but huge blocks of masonry shaped into an unknown pattern of symmetrical network, still supported its crumbling walls.’

A few pages later, he says, ‘I looked at the little house and the chapel. My heart began to beat so violently I could hardly speak.’

You will know how he felt, I promise, if you ever manage to visit his beloved villa on the island of Capri: http://www.villasanmichele.eu/en/welcome.

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

IMG_4134The term ‘future generations’ brings children to mind, immediately. While there are so many wonderful new books for children and teens on the market these days, I’d love to pass some of the classics to my grandchildren (thus far we have a mere two, both under five years of age, but fingers crossed!).

While my RLH has the grandson (s) covered, with his original treasured collection of Arthur Ransome, W.E Johns, G. A. Henty, etc., my own battered collection of childhood favourites has all but disintegrated. Starting over, with big holes to fill for my granddaughter (s), I have traced some first editions of those books handed down to me by my mother, and that I in turn, passed on to my daughters.

Obviously, first editions of books like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Little Women’ are beyond reach, costing thousands, but imagine my delight when I discovered this affordable first edition of ‘Green Dolphin Country’ by Elizabeth Gouge! This was one of my treasured books as a teenager, and it resonates today as I have spent some time in the Channel Islands, and visited New Zealand for the first time earlier this year.

Why would I leave ‘Green Dolphin Country’ it to future generations? It’s a love story rather than a romance – an astonishing epic of loss, self-sacrifice, devotion, loyalty, courage, love and intricate emotions played out against the breath-taking landscapes of the 19th century Channel Islands and New Zealand. Frankly, or so I thought as a teenager, it has everything; I spent months, years, searching for another reading experience like that and I’m not sure I ever found it.
TheSeahorseDoor_w9279_750Gina’s latest book The Seahorse Door is available to buy now. You can find out more about Gina on her website, on Facebook or on Twitter (@ginagina7).

Inheritance Books – Fay Cunningham

This week, the lovely Fay Cunningham shares her Inheritance Books.

Hi Fay, welcome to the blog. Please tell me a bit about yourself.

My name is Fay Cunningham and I am a writer. 

Even when I was doing multiple other jobs like PA to a CEO, secretary at the East Anglian Examinations Board and a sales rep for Empire Stores, I still considered myself a writer. It began at school, I think, when I was about 11years old and got an award for writing a short story about a dog. From then on I was hooked. I am an only child and my friends lived mostly in my head.

When I was very small I lived with my grandmother and my aunt. My grandfather was an invalid and bed-ridden, but I remember sitting on his bed while he read me a story. He died when I was about six years old and I wish I had been given time to know him better. My grandmother and my aunt were avid readers as well, so I think I get my love of books from them. The house was always full of books and my reading was never censored, even when I was very small. I read Pilgrim’s Progress when I was ten, and I know there was a copy of Lady Chatterley in the house because I remember flipping through it. I think I found it rather boring.

I had a long absence from writing while I was bringing up three daughters and looking after grandchildren. I am now retired so I have time to write. I love writing, but I like living too, particularly holidays abroad, so I make sure writing doesn’t take up all my time. I write crime and romantic suspense and I am a member of the RNA. All my books are available on Amazon.

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

I have inherited several old books from my grandmother: a 1909 copy of The Water-Babies (the original title has a hyphen) by Charles Kingsley with illustrations by Warwick Goble; and a 1916 copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-glass and What Alice Found There (again, the original title of the book). This has illustrations by John Tenniel and the pictures are just magical.

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

I loved Water Babies as a child, and I will definitely leave this to my great grandchildren – if it lasts that long. I was taught that books are for reading, so all the old ones are a bit the worse for wear, but very much loved. Not only for the wonderful stories, but for the memories that live within each page.

I remember reading The Water Babies and finding it slightly scary. I can’t remember why it scared me though. It was probably the chimneys.

Thanks for sharing your Inheritance Books, Fay. Hope to see you again soon.

Fay’s latest novella ‘Love or Marriage‘ is available on Amazon.

 

Inheritance Books: Carrie Lynn Barker

This a new feature on my blog where guest authors and readers will tell me about the books they love. The idea is based on Inheritance Tracks from Saturday Live on Radio 4. Today, I’m talking to my fellow Uncial author, Carrie Lynn Barker.

Hello Carrie. Welcome to my blog. Tell me a bit about yourself. 

I love to write and I’ve been doing it all my life. The first novel I read was Black Beauty.  I was five.  My first novel was published in 2010.  My series that started with Revelations will reach three novels this November, when Exodus is released through Eternal Press.  Revelations also was nominated in the Best Paranormal Fiction category at EPICon 2012.  I’ve been married for nearly 10 years to my filmmaker and writer husband, Brandon Barker.  Our indy feature, Wicked Bad made the festival circuit a few years ago, winning a few awards along the way. Being married to a writer when you’re a writer yourself can sometimes be hard but we’ve made it work for 10 years and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Which book have you inherited from the generation above you?

So I didn’t so much as inherit this book as steal it from my mother when she wasn’t looking just because it is so cool.  It’s a 1946 illustrated copy of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.  I remember Mom reading it to me when I was a kid and it always stuck in my mind as one of the most beautiful books. First chance I got, I took off with it.  It’s frayed on the edges, faded and a dirty but it still is an amazing copy of an amazing story.  I’ve managed to keep it from becoming too battered but it’s condition does show that it’s been loved.

 

Which book will you leave to the generations below you and why?

I’m an avid collector of old books and I’ve been working on my collection for a very long time.  I have my favorites but it’s really hard to choose just one.  What I would leave future generations is my collection of Edna Ferber first editions.  While not in anywhere near mint condition, Edna Ferber has become a hard-to-find author.  I would hate to see her novels fade into distant memory.  Her strong female characters have influenced some of my own female characters and novels like So Big and Giant should be up there with required high school reading such as Of Mice and Men.

Thank you so much for sharing your Inherited Books with me, Carrie. I must admit, I’d never heard of Edna Ferber. I’ll look out for her books now!

 It was lovely to see you. Do come visit again soon!

Carrie’s book Revelations and  is available to buy on Amazon

If you would like to do a guest post about your favourite books, please email me on rhodabaxter@gmail.com.

Inheritance Books: Carrie Lynn Barker

This a new feature on my blog where guest authors and readers will tell me about the books they love. The idea is based on Inheritance Tracks from Saturday Live on Radio 4. Today, I’m talking to my fellow Uncial author, Carrie Lynn Barker.

Hello Carrie. Welcome to my blog. Tell me a bit about yourself. 

I love to write and I’ve been doing it all my life. The first novel I read was Black Beauty.  I was five.  My first novel was published in 2010.  My series that started with Revelations will reach three novels this November, when Exodus is released through Eternal Press.  Revelations also was nominated in the Best Paranormal Fiction category at EPICon 2012.  I’ve been married for nearly 10 years to my filmmaker and writer husband, Brandon Barker.  Our indy feature, Wicked Bad made the festival circuit a few years ago, winning a few awards along the way. Being married to a writer when you’re a writer yourself can sometimes be hard but we’ve made it work for 10 years and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Which book have you inherited from the generation above you?

So I didn’t so much as inherit this book as steal it from my mother when she wasn’t looking just because it is so cool.  It’s a 1946 illustrated copy of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.  I remember Mom reading it to me when I was a kid and it always stuck in my mind as one of the most beautiful books. First chance I got, I took off with it.  It’s frayed on the edges, faded and a dirty but it still is an amazing copy of an amazing story.  I’ve managed to keep it from becoming too battered but it’s condition does show that it’s been loved.

 

Which book will you leave to the generations below you and why?

I’m an avid collector of old books and I’ve been working on my collection for a very long time.  I have my favorites but it’s really hard to choose just one.  What I would leave future generations is my collection of Edna Ferber first editions.  While not in anywhere near mint condition, Edna Ferber has become a hard-to-find author.  I would hate to see her novels fade into distant memory.  Her strong female characters have influenced some of my own female characters and novels like So Big and Giant should be up there with required high school reading such as Of Mice and Men.

Thank you so much for sharing your Inherited Books with me, Carrie. I must admit, I’d never heard of Edna Ferber. I’ll look out for her books now!

 It was lovely to see you. Do come visit again soon!

Carrie’s book Revelations and  is available to buy on Amazon

If you would like to do a guest post about your favourite books, please email me on rhodabaxter@gmail.com.