#BookReview CONFESSIONS OF A FORTY-SOMETHING F*** UP by ALEXANDRA POTTER

ABOUT THE BOOK

Nell Stevens’ life is a mess.

When her business goes bust and her fiancé with it, Nell’s happy ever after in California falls apart and she moves back to London to start over. But a lot has changed since she’s been gone. All her single friends are now married with children, sky-high rents force her to rent a room in a stranger’s house and in a world of perfect instagram lives, she feels like a f*ck up. Even worse, a forty-something f*ck-up.

But when she lands a job writing obituaries, Nell meets the fabulous Cricket, an eighty-something widow with challenges of her own, and they strike up an unlikely friendship. Together they begin to help each other heal their aching hearts, cope with the loss of the lives they had planned, and push each other into new adventures and unexpected joys.

Because Nell is determined. Next year things are going to be very different. It’s time to turn her life around.

A book for anyone who’s ever worried life isn’t going to plan, Confessions of a Forty-Something F##k Up by Alexandra Potter will make you laugh and it might even make you cry. But most importantly, it will remind you that you’re not alone, because we’re all in this together.

Time to fall in love with your life.

PUBLISHED BY MACMILLAN

PUBLICATION DATE – JANUARY 2021

PRE-ORDER LINK

AMAZON

MY REVIEW

Release date has been put back to January 2021 – pre-order it and note this down on your calendar! You need to read this book if you are under the impression that other human beings know what they’re doing, and they’ve got their shit together…. they don’t!! And we witness that realisation through the eyes of Nell, who is in her 40’s and struggling with what life has thrown her way! It was touching, hilarious, so relatable ( a little too relatable at times worryingly!!), and was full of all those ‘yes’ moments that had me laughing and commiserating in equal measures!! A perfect read!!

Nell is back in London, after living the seemingly perfect life in L.A with her fiancee running their own business! But the business went bust and so did the relationship! So she know has to pick up with friends who have all moved on to different stages in their lives – the married, mortgaged, kids part of life – and she is feeling like an alien in their world! They have become part of the showy off brigade – comparing their lives, achievements, who is the busiest, possessions… you get the drift – while Nell is just left noticing all that is going wrong with her body now she’s in her 40’s! Why do our bodies do this to us??!!

But her life changes when she gets a job writing obits for a local paper and she becomes friends with one of the ladies she interviews and it’s an extremely unlikely friendship with the wonderful Cricket! We all need to be more like Cricket! She has just lost her husband and Nell finds an instant connection with this woman, who has lived her life differently to those around her. She married late, had no kids but lived her life the way she wanted to. They both seem to inspire one another to move on with their lives and seeing them getting out and about together and have new experiences was just so wonderful and touching! They are both very good influences on one another! Cricket is also finding herself ‘shunned’ by old friends since the death of her husband – having someone single around couples upsets the balance – and it really showed up the insensitivities of others.

I adored the way this story is written – it showed the consequences of life’s heartbreaks and the moments of joy that make it all worthwhile. The humour for me was spot on, I found myself laughing so often when a situation connected with my own experiences and using the month by month way of exploring the story allowed it to flow so well. When Nell starts up a podcast, really for herself, she doesn’t expect it to connect with so many and thinks of it as just a way for her to unload all her feelings – I am sure many podcasts and blogs are all started with the same intention!

Nell shares the moments with her family and all that entails, the expectations, the disappointments and the joy! There’s the competing with friends new friends, who just live to outdo you, the unexpected discovery when she helps Cricket clear out some old clothes, and the honesty of friends who let you into the secret that all is not perfect in their worlds too despite appearances!!

Loved it! Buy it! 

★★★★★

#BookReview THE CONSTANT RABBIT by JASPER FFORDE

ABOUT THE BOOK

Peter Knox lives quietly in one of those small country villages that’s up for the Village Garden of the Year award. Until Doc and Constance Rabbit move in next door, upsetting the locals (many of them members of governing political party United Kingdom Against Rabbit Population), complicating Peter’s job as a Rabbit Spotter, and forcing him to take a stand, moving from unconscious leporiphobe to active supporter of the UK’s amiable and peaceful population of anthropomorphised rabbits

PUBLISHED BY HODDER & STOUGHTON

PUBLICATION DATE – 2ND JULY 2020

PRE-ORDER LINKS

Amazon £20

Goldsboro Books – signed first edition £20

hive.co.uk  £16.05

MY REVIEW

A satirical book about adult sized rabbits?! Yes please! And it didn’t disappoint as Jasper Fforde writes in a way that only he can, throwing our human world and all its’ issues under the bus, so to speak, to shed light on the prejudices and nimbyisms that affect us all!

50 years ago The Event happened, where 18 rabbits became semi human, and now there are 1.2 million of them as they have been breeding, well, like rabbits! This has upset many of the ‘human’ population and the rise of the UK Anti Rabbit Party ( I can’t think WHO they are based on!) means that life for the rabbit population is unpleasant.

The story is told through the eyes of Peter Knox, a human rabbit spotter, who just wants to get on with everyone in the small community he lives in. When new neighbours arrive, Doc and Constance Rabbit, the majority of the locals do all they can to get them to move on, forcing Peter to take a stand and become a prominent supporter of the rabbits who just want to live their lives peacefully.

There is so much humour in this book that I often found myself chuckling at the absurdities and similarities to the world we live in! Even the library cuts in our world are mentioned wonderfully in this book as the locals find themselves just having 6 minutes to borrow books due to the cuts in staff! There’s so many subtle digs at society that it was fun to see what would be mentioned next! There are rules for rabbits to live by, the issues facing humans and rabbits which are mostly the same and the discriminations facing them as they go about their business.

I have to say it did take a while for me to get in the flow with this story, as others have said in their reviews, but when it clicks it just becomes a fun, sarcasting and cutting read – the footnotes are always a joy to read and add even more humour to the proceedings!

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#BookReview THE BUS ON THURSDAY by SHIRLEY BARRETT

ABOUT THE BOOK

That’s when I literally had thoughts of becoming a nun, because I thought, Well, I’m never going to have sex again. If I become a nun, I would at least have somewhere to live.


It wasn’t just the bad break-up that caused Eleanor’s life to unravel. It was the cancer. And the demons that came with it.


Freshly single and thoroughly traumatised from the ordeals of breast cancer, Eleanor Mellett starts a new job as a teacher in a remote mountain hamlet. It’s certainly peaceful enough, almost too peaceful. But what’s become of the previous teacher, the saintly Miss Barker, who has disappeared abruptly under mysterious circumstances? And what’s with all those locks on the door? And what the hell is that bus doing idling outside her house late, late at night?


Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist in Twin Peaks. Darkly funny, deeply unsettling and surprisingly poignant, Shirley Barrett’s The Bus on Thursday is a strange and wild ride for all fans of Helen Fielding, Maria Semple, David Lynch and Stephen King.

PUBLISHED BY ALLEN & UNWIN

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK
hive.co.uk
whsmith

MY REVIEW

If you like your books full of dark humour and with a surreal, weird vibe, then I can’t recommend this highly enough! I fell in love with Eleanor right from the off as she faces life being single and being a cancer survivor and her cynical and funny approach to life was a joy to read, especially at the beginning where I found myself laughing at her thoughts and exploits on every page! Her world just turns very dark when she finds herself in a new town as a teacher, to replace Miss Barker who has disappeared without a trace!

Talbingo is the town and has a Twin Peaks kind of vibe! There’s very little going on and often very few people around. The missing teacher was just the sweetest according to those who worked with her and the children who idolized her and her stickers, so living up to that is something that is proving very difficult for Eleanor to deal with. But she has wine!! She seems to be able to cope with anything when she’s had a drink or three!

The more she finds out about some of the children and the old teacher then the darker the story becomes! The weird stuff just keeps getting weirder and this does detract from the story a little but still makes for very entertaining but unsettling reading! In Eleanor you have a character who isn’t in the most stable of places mentally or physically and is very prone to making rash decisions, and the stuff she finds herself involved with isn’t helping keeping her from looking back on things that happened to her or helping her move on emotionally! And the characters around her aren’t what you consider normal anyway!! Wherever you think the story might go, then you’d probably be wrong!! It was one of those books that is difficult to forget once you’ve finished as you can’t believe some of the things that went on within the pages of this book!!


★★★★

#BookReview ONE CHRISTMAS STAR by MANDY BAGGOT

ABOUT THE BOOK

Emily Parker is set to have the worst Christmas ever!

Her flatmate’s moved out, she’s closed her heart to love and she’s been put in charge of the school original Christmas show – with zero musical ability.

Disgraced superstar, Ray Stone is in desperate need of a quick PR turnaround. Waking up from a drunken stupor to a class of ten-year-olds snapping pics and Emily looking at him was not what he had in mind.

Ray needs Emily’s help to delete the photos, and she needs his with the show. As they learn to work together they may just open their hearts to more than a second chance..

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon UK

MY REVIEW

This was a lovely read for Christmas!! Full of heart, humour and a hedgehog or two! It’s the story of Emily and Ray – two people brought together near Christmas and finding that there is light at the end of the tunnel!


Emily is a primary school teacher and has a real affection for all the children in her classroom and she’s always going beyond the call of duty to help them, especially those who don’t have the best of home lives. She’s still nursing a broken heart after losing her beloved Simon a couple of years ago, and just seem stuck and unable to move on both personally and professionally.


Ray is a singer who is going through a downturn in his career! His name is being dragged through the mud in the papers and he’s finding it easier to drink his way through life than to face up to the problems he’s facing.


They’re brought together when he’s found asleep in a school shed with an injured hedgehog and becomes a source of fascination for the children! They’re absolutely hilarious and some of the scenes reminded me of the film Nativity! Such innocence but no idea of boundaries when it comes to asking questions of grown ups! As Emily spends more time with him, she sees behind the image of the man in the media and sparks really fly when he helps her with the school performance!


I really enjoyed this story as it just felt so well paced and the antics of the children added a great sweetness and fun element to balance out the romance side!

★★★★

#BookReview Colt Harper – Disparaged Vampire Cat by Tyrolin Puxty #ColtHarper

ABOUT THE BOOK

Colt Harper, now stinking of humanity, has lost his esteemed title and is doomed to wander the earth with his fugitive…ugh, ‘friends’.


Travelling through various realms in an attempt to earn back his title, Colt meets his maker, the dreaded council and an old friend he assumed was dead.


Book 2 in the award-winning series, Colt Harper: Disparaged Vampire Cat returns with his catty sense of humor.


Don’t let the Short Stature Snatcher bite…

Praise for Colt Harper: Esteemed Vampire Cat

“The first page had me hooked” – Readers’ Favorite“Terrific read! Ludicrous and fun!” – Erin Michelle Sky, bestselling author of The Wendy

“Couldn’t put it down. Fun and unique!” – Wilbert Stanton, bestselling author of Gears of Fate

“Mega fun!” G. Miki Hayden, author of Writing the Mystery: A Start to Finish Guide

“Terry Pratchett meets possessed cats!” Clayton Snyder, author of Child of Nod

purchase link

Amazon

MY REVIEW

Having loved the first book in this series – Colt Harper – Esteemed Vampire Cat – I’ve been eagerly awaiting book two and it’s just wonderful to have this character back in my life….. even if he’s a little different now! That struggle is real for Colt as he comes to terms with having ’emotions’ and ‘feelings’! His normal cynicism and snark has been replaced by a reluctant compassion and he hates himself for it!


In this story he’s reunited with some favourite characters from the first book – the tickle monster is back! – and he’s dealing with seeking his own revenge, while being hunted himself by a supernatural ‘being’ and this allows an adventure of sorts to new dimensions, alongside dimensions from other books written by Tyrolin Puxty! 


What I love most about these books are the humour – it’s less in your face here than the previous book, but it’s brilliantly subtle and allows for so many different aspects to be explored, and there’s a never ending supply of quirks and curve balls littered throughout that had me in stitches!


Having Colt so conflicted as a character really made this book for me!  Helping people is not his normal ‘thing’ but with his new human emotions, he takes to responsibility with aplomb – even if he doesn’t really know what he’s doing half the time!


   There are so many brilliant one liners –  “I’m a tickler, not a fighter” ( I want this put on a t-shirt!!) and a cliff hanger that left me shocked and desperate for more, so I’m just hoping Colt will be returning soon and wonder what complications are set to face him next time!!

★★★★★

#AudioBookReview DIARY OF A SOMEBODY by BRIAN BILSTON #LibraryLoveChallenge

ABOUT THE BOOK

Brian Bilston has decided to write a poem every day for a year while he tries to repair his ever-desperate life. His ex-wife has taken up with a new man, a marketing guru and motivational speaker who seems to be disturbingly influencing his son, Dylan. Meanwhile Dylan’s football team keeps being beaten 0–11, as he stands disconsolately on the wing waiting vainly to receive the ball. At work Brian is drowning in a sea of spreadsheets and is becoming increasingly confused by the complexities of modern communication and management jargon. So poetry will be his salvation. But can Brian’s poetry save him from Toby Salt, his arch nemesis in the Poetry Group and potential rival suitor to Brian’s new poetic inspiration, Liz? Worst of all Toby has announced that boutique artisan publishing house Shooting from the Hip will be publishing his first collection, titled This Bridge No Hands Shall Cleft, in the autumn. And when he goes missing Brian is inevitably the number one suspect.

Part tender love story, part murder mystery, part coruscating description of a wasted life, and interspersed with some of the funniest poems about the mundane and the profound, Diary of a Somebody is the most original novel you will read this year.

PUBLISHED BY PICADOR

MY REVIEW

They often say you need to find the right book at the right time, and this is exactly how I felt whilst listening to this book on audio. I was in need of light relief and a book that would make me laugh and smile, and this did exactly that and I loved every minute of it!

Following the trials and tribulations of the character ‘Brian’ on a daily basis, you get a glimpse inside the life of a man who is struggling with work, struggling with family issues and struggling to focus on his writing career! He is easily distracted by the going on in the world, the world of Twitter, the inability of leaving a bookshop with just one book, and will find comfort in eating a custard cream or 6!! I know that feeling well!

He’s dealing with his ex wife and how she’s moving on with her life in the arms of a new man, whilst also trying to be the best part time dad he can to his son Dylan. Throw into the mix the trauma of work related issues, and the rivalry at poetry club with Toby, and I just found this full of great cultural references and so quirky and engaging that it was just delightful to listen to! It was brilliantly read to and all the characters brought to life so well by the narrator which really helped.

As Toby goes missing the spotlight falls on Brian as to whether he might have been involved and he’d share his daily thoughts in a poem or two and this mix of poetry and story telling was an exciting way to tell the story, and he even starts playing detective to get to the bottom of the missing Toby!

This was so much fun and I really connected with the sense of humour and was a real treat of a listen so if you’re looking for a fun and quirky story, then look no further!

★★★★

#BlogTour #BookReview A Right Royal Face-Off by Simon Edge #Giveaway @rararesources @EyeAndLightning

A huge delight to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for A RIGHT ROYAL FACE-OFF by SIMON EDGE.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for the copy of the book and putting this tour together – and letting me be part of it all!

There’s also a chance for you to win a copy of this book too!! I do spoil you……..

A Right Royal Face-Off

It is 1777, and England’s second-greatest portrait artist, Thomas Gainsborough, has a thriving practice a stone’s thrown from London’s royal palaces, while the press talks up his rivalry with Sir Joshua Reynolds, the pedantic theoretician who is the top dog of British portraiture.

Fonder of the low life than high society, Gainsborough loathes pandering to grand sitters, but he changes his tune when he is commissioned to paint King George III and his large family. In their final, most bitter competition, who will be chosen as court painter, Tom or Sir Joshua?

Meanwhile, two and a half centuries later, a badly damaged painting turns up on a downmarket antiques TV show being filmed in Suffolk. Could the monstrosity really be, as its eccentric owner claims, a Gainsborough? If so, who is the sitter? And why does he have donkey’s ears?

Mixing ancient and modern as he did in his acclaimed debut The Hopkins Conundrum, Simon Edge takes aim at fakery and pretension in this highly original celebration of one of our greatest artists.

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Purchase Link

Readers can order the book from the Lightning Books website at 50% off (with free UK p&p) if you enter this code at checkout – BLOGTOURFACE

Eye Lightning Books

Author Bio –

Simon Edge was born in Chester and read philosophy at Cambridge University.

He was editor of the pioneering London paper Capital Gay before becoming a gossip columnist on the Evening Standard and then a feature writer on the Daily Express, where he was also a theatre critic for many years.

He has an MA in Creative Writing from City University, London. His first novel, The Hopkins Conundrum, was longlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award. He lives in Suffolk.   Read more about Simon and his work at http://www.simon-edge.com.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @simonjedge

Instagram: @simonjedge

MY REVIEW

If you are looking for a book that is the perfect antidote to the miserable, crazy world we currently live in, then you’ve come to the right place!!  This is a Georgian comedy about Thomas Gainsborough  and his rival painter, Sir Joshua Reynolds – if you thought the art world was stuffy and dull then think again!  It’s a book that made me smile and chuckle on numerous occasions and I just adored spending time with these characters and wondering where the story would take me!

It’s a dual timeline story – from the present time when a new antiques show is about to debut on TV and they’re looking to spice things up, to the past where we see Thomas dealing with royalty and rivalry on a grand scale!  There’s also letters we get to read from the past as we read the Georgian goings on from the point of view of David, a servant to the master painter and he has a whole different take on events at work, as he reports back to his family and let them know about a world they can’t even  begin to imagine!

Gainsborough is a  wonderful character! He almost seems to resent having to paint portraits but it pays the bills and he wants to be #1 – not easy when Sir Joshua seems to be flavour of the month! I loved the behind the scenes  goings on too at a sitting for a painting – the royal family gossiping and complaining about life as they chat with him!

In the present we get to witness how the world of TV operates, especially reality shows who try and use the public and humiliate them – when Muriel Mudge takes a painting along to be valued they think they’ve struck gold with her absurd claim but they’re soon the ones eating humble pie when she digs in her heels and refuses to speak to them as they try and make amends when doubts start to creep in!

The whole flow of this book was just pitched perfectly! There’s a great balance between the two timelines and so much to keep you entertained and intrigued! Just why is there a painting of a man with donkey ears?!  You can tell that the author has had so much fun with creating this storyline as it really comes across and his imagination has run riot!

A blast to read and quite touching too at times! It’s a book that has a little bit of everything from history, to mystery to satire and it  is one I highly recommend to everyone!

★★★★★

GIVEAWAY

A treat for those of you in the UK who want to win a copy of this fabulous book!

Giveaway to Win 5 x PB copies of A Right Royal Face-Of (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Click below to enter!! GOOD LUCK!!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494259/?

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