‘Go out into the street and the first person you see will be the subject of your next book.’

This is the challenge a struggling Parisian writer sets himself, imagining his next heroine might be the mysterious young woman who often stands smoking near his apartment … instead it’s octogenarian Madeleine. She’s happy to become the subject of his book – but first she needs to put away her shopping.

Is it really true, the writer wonders, that every life is the stuff of novels, or is his story doomed to be hopelessly banal? As he gets to know Madeleine and her family, he’ll be privy to their secrets: lost loves, marital problems and workplace worries. And he’ll soon realise he is not the impartial bystander he intended to be, but a catalyst for major changes in the lives of his characters.

Told with Foenkinos’s characteristic irony and self-deprecating humour, yet filled with warmth, The Martins is a compelling tale of the family next door which raises questions about what it means to be ‘ordinary’, and about the blurred lines between truth and fiction.




Belgravia Books


Just how does a writer struggling for inspiration solve the problem?! In this book, the Parisian writer pledges to write about the first person he sees in the street, secretly hoping it’s the mysterious young neighbour he’s not managed to speak to yet….. but the universe makes him cross paths with Madeleine instead! An octogenarian whose most pressing thought is she needs to put her shopping away!!

And what follows is something that he, and you as the reader, doesn’t really expect. Under the spotlight, this woman who could have easily been an invisible person to the rest of the world, sees this as an opportunity to open up and reveal family secrets and tell her story – one that probably not many, if any, would think worth telling. But the more he delves, and the more her family get involved in the project he becomes privy to some astonishing tales and confessions. Far from the dull project he imagined when he first meets Madeleine and imagines her life to be somewhat underwhelming…… appearances can be very deceptive!

It really shows the beauty of connecting with people and both sides getting something out of a friendship – he almost becomes therapist to this family, and they in return allow him to evaluate his own life and connections with family and friends. It becomes very cathartic for all involved allowing for humour and much more touching revelations.

It is a story of reconnecting, regrets, rifts and romance and I thoroughly enjoyed the way the author approached the way of storytelling and the impact of opening up to others allows them all to take stock and take action in their lives.


My thanks to the team at Gallic Books for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.


#BookReview STILL LIFE by SARAH WINMAN #audiobook


By the bestselling, prize-winning author of When God was a Rabbit and Tin Man, Still Life is a beautiful, big-hearted, richly tapestried story of people brought together by love, war, art, flood… and the ghost of E.M. Forster.

We just need to know what the heart’s capable of, Evelyn.
And do you know what it’s capable of?
I do. Grace and fury.

It’s 1944 and in the ruined wine cellar of a Tuscan villa, as the Allied troops advance and bombs fall around them, two strangers meet and share an extraordinary evening together.

Ulysses Temper is a young British solider and one-time globe-maker, Evelyn Skinner is a sexagenarian art historian and possible spy. She has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the ruins and relive her memories of the time she encountered EM Forster and had her heart stolen by an Italian maid in a particular Florentine room with a view.

These two unlikely people find kindred spirits in each other and Evelyn’s talk of truth and beauty plants a seed in Ulysses mind that will shape the trajectory of his life – and of those who love him – for the next four decades.

Moving from the Tuscan Hills, to the smog of the East End and the piazzas of Florence, Still Life is a sweeping, mischievous, richly-peopled novel about beauty, love, family and fate.






I listened to the audio version of this book – exquisitely read by the author!! A must listen!!

Simply superb!!! The most wonderful story!! This was everything I love in a book! Endearing characters, amazing settings and historical backdrops! All blended to create a world you get sucked in to and you’re bereft when the book finishes! I want to be back in the East End. Back in Tuscany and Florence! And back with the most wonderful creation of characters that enchant you with their lives!

The start of the book is the meeting of a young English soldier in WW2 meeting with an elder art historian, and their connection is instantaneous. What follows is their lives over a number of years and how those war years stay strong in their minds. In both their lives their friends become family, and you are taken along for the ride through their private and professional lives, their loves and losses, their highs and lows…both in England and in Italy. They all endure so much throughout their lives but that sense of community and support never goes away and you really connect with the passion they all show – be it for art, their surroundings, or for one another.

It was all so spellbinding! I laughed ( a lot!), tears were shed and I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. Still can’t!! Glorious!!




It’s the following Thursday.

Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.

As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus?

But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?





There’s never a dull moment when The Thursday Murder Club meets up – no quiet games of bingo or charades for this group of pensioners!! And once more, the author adds his sense of humour to bring this story to life and elevate it to something a bit special!

Elizabeth and the gang are back for more crime solving! And this time it’s close to home for Elizabeth as she receives a letter from a dead man! Enough to start the alarm bells ringing and soon they’re all involved in a massive plot that involves diamonds and violent mobsters! And all the team bring their own unique talents to the crime solving puzzle and raise plenty of laughs along the way! Joyce in particular is turning out to be one of my favourites with her unique views on all that’s going on around her!!

There’s a lot going on, with various threads to follow and there’s so much warmth and charm throughout, despite the darker elements of the crimes being committed! It gets quite tense at times too which added to the danger for the crime fighting crew!!


#BookReview SAD JANET by LUCIE BRITSCH #SadJanet


For as long as I can remember feeling things, I’ve felt sadness. Now, for example, I feel sad that we have no money. Also a little mad that a bunch of idiots seem to have it all. But sad, mostly, because I think that’s just the way things are. It’s an all-encompassing feeling, like my lungs are filled with it instead of air.
You’d think it would feel better to be at one with the world.

Janet works at a rundown dog shelter in the woods. She wears black, loves the Smiths, and can’t wait to get rid of her passive-aggressive boyfriend. Her brain is full of anxiety, like “one of those closets you never want to open because everything will fall out and crush you.” She has a meddlesome family, eccentric coworkers, one old friend who’s left her for Ibiza, and one new friend who’s really just a neighbor she sees in the hallway. Most of all, Janet has her sadness—a comfortable cloak she uses to insulate herself from the oppressions of the wider world.

That is, until one fateful summer when word spreads about a new pill that offers even cynics like her a short-term taste of happiness . . . just long enough to make it through the holidays without wanting to stab someone with a candy cane. When her family stages an intervention, her boyfriend leaves, and the prospect of making it through Christmas alone seems like too much, Janet decides to give them what they want. What follows is life-changing for all concerned—in ways no one quite expects.

Hilarious, bitterly wise, and surprisingly warm, Sad Janet is the depression comedy you never knew you needed.




Bloody brilliant!!

I wouldn’t call Janet sad, I’d call her a realist! A non conformist. A woman being herself!! And that’s what made this such a striking read and hit home so much for me!! She doesn’t follow fads or trends, and she almost embraces her ‘sadness’ in the way she sees the world! She knows it’s not all puppies and unicorns, she despairs at the injustices and fakeness of the world where others seemingly throw themselves at ways of fitting in, scared of missing out on something.

Janet is a woman who is sad at the state of the world – she isn’t alone on that front! She works at a local dog shelter where she can avoid people! A smart woman!! But her family and friend despair at her apathetic perception of the world. They want her to smile more and find the happiness they claim to have – courtesy of a variety of pills! – so constantly pester her to seek medical help. But that’s just not Janet!! She embraces the rough with the smooth! She almost finds comfort in her sadness! She understands her sadness! The sadness just bothers other people!

Her sadness makes others uncomfortable so she starts to ponder the option given to her by the Doctor to take a pill that will let her leave the sadness behind. Is it easy to just take a pill and have a different reaction to life? It seems to work for many others in the world so maybe this new option could be a godsend for her.

I loved seeing her wrestle with this big decision. With her seeing through the b***s*** of life and all in it, she is happy being ‘quietly sad’. But to please others she starts to consider the options, weighing up the pros and cons of being part of this trial period for this pill. Is it worth it to make others happy? Does that stop her being ‘her’?

I could happily wax lyrical about this book and the character of Janet! She is so observant and incisive on the ways of the world! It totally captures the insanity of the world we live in – the obsession with popping pills, with being happy 24/7 and living in a medicated world where people just become emotionless robots, all doing the same thing, thinking the same way….. is that the true definition of happy?

She seems angry at the way the world and others think she needs fixing. What is wrong with feeling things? Why is she made to feel like she’s the odd one out and should she just do what everyone else does just to fit in – something I think we all feel especially nowadays with the impact social media has on us all.

This was a book that is dark, cutting, witty, hilarious and beautifully insightful. As Janet begins her journey into a different way of life, we get to meet others who think the way she does and see how fitting in makes her feel. Will it appease her family? And at what cost to her? This is a book that has so many moments that make you think and reassess your viewpoint on doing what is right for yourself!

A brilliant read – go buy it!!! NOW!!!!




Rachel Klein is sacked from her job at the White House after she sends an email criticising Donald Trump. As she is escorted off the premises she is hit by a speeding car, driven by what the press will discreetly call ‘a personal friend of the President’.

Does that explain the flowers, the get-well wishes at a press briefing, the hush money offered by a lawyer at her hospital bedside?

Rachel’s recovery is soothed by comically doting parents, matchmaking room-mates, a new job as aide to a journalist whose books aim to defame the President, and unexpected love at the local wine store.

But secrets leak, and Rachel’s new-found happiness has to make room for more than a little chaos. Will she bring down the President? Or will he manage to do that all by himself?

Rachel to the Rescue is a mischievous political satire, with a delightful cast of characters, from one of America’s funniest novelists.







My first Elinor Lipman book and it won’t be my last! This was such an enjoyable, funny and cutting book humour wise that I looked forward to picking it up everyday to see just what the main character was going to have to endure after her accident upon leaving the White House where she briefly worked for ‘that’ man! Until she sends a ranty email his way!!

When she starts receiving flowers from the presidents’ own family when she wakes up in hospital this starts her off on a complete life change and perfectly sums up the world we live in right now – from nobody to viral news story overnight!!

The more she finds out about the accident the more she is drawn into a world of scandal, subterfuge and gossip! All set amidst the Covid pandemic too which added to how relevant the story felt! It was probably shocking too that it all felt like it could actually happen! With the craziness that 2020 has thrown at us, I’m not ruling anything out!!

The story clipped along at a great pace and I loved Rachel’s parents as characters too! Straight talking, go getting and lots of fun! This was a timely and funny read and one I can highly recommend!! 


My thanks to Scott at Lightning books for the copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BlogTour THE BECKET LIST by HENRY BECKET #BookReview @the_becket_list @RedDoorBooks

Delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on THE BECKET LIST by HENRY BECKET! My thanks to the author, publisher and Helen Lewis for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!


What’s on your Becket List? What really grates on you? What gets you ranting at the television?

Henry Becket decided to compile a list of things that could be put right/restored/replaced to help rid the world of unrighteous anger. A list of things that make him (and he suspects many, many others) angry. Turns out there’s so much to be angry about!

This is a hilarious, witty guide that will find a good home in many a downstairs loo library. It’s the ultimate gift for the grumpy git in your life.

It’s also a wonderful form of escapism from what might be perceived as the REAL issues of the day. After all, there’s nothing like a pandemic to make you realise you miss not being able to complain about the price of a packet of crisps in a pub, or about the wobbly table leg in a restaurant… ah, those were the days!

An A to Z of First World Problems is… just that. The Becket List is a not entirely serious compendium of ‘First World Problems’ – the sort of stuff that drives us round the bend on a daily basis.

How is it that atonal music, bus stations, cling-film and coat-hangers can b*gger us up so comprehensively? Or passport control people, Chuggers, email strings, fake candles, loud eating, predictive text, or just about anything you’ll find in a typical hotel bedroom?

Embracing both the inanimate – from allen keys to rawlplugs – and the animated (well, in some cases) – from your fellow-travellers to every third-rate waiter who ever walked the earth – this book is essential for your sanity. As such, this comprehensive A to Z provides a signal service to humanity.

A collection of entries about many of the things in life that, whilst essentially trivial, day after day contrive to p*ss you off. In the greater scheme of things they don’t matter a damn, but in the context of advanced civilisation they take on a huge significance. The book is a both an important resource for future social historians and a call to action. It’s also, mostly, really rather silly.






I don’t know whether I should be concerned that I found myself agreeing with so many of the ‘grumbles’ about modern life in this book!!! Have I reached ‘that’ age already where everything annoys me?!! It appears so!! And if you find yourself being irritated by so much of life, or you know someone who loves to moan and grumble about the trivial things, then they need this book in their life!!

It’s a book that makes you laugh out loud! It’s a book that notices all the silly things in life that many shrug off, but there’s something about ticket machines, BBQ’s, Kidults, loud eating, lifestyle bloggers (hopefully not book bloggers!) , to name but a few things, that set your teeth on edge and cause an irrational (but rational  to you!) response to all that life throws your way on a day to day basis!!

It’s sweary and snarky – that always appeals to my sense of humour! – and it’s also wonderful to know that you aren’t alone in these outbursts of grumpiness!! I found myself nodding along way too readily to many of the A-Z breakdown of 1st world problems and it was just so deliciously right about the world as we know it!!  Nothing escapes the wrath of Henry Becket, no matter how insignificant it may seem to others, and I loved that!!  Why is it that all that is meant to make our life less stressful has just made it even more stressful??!!

A book that sums up life’s little inconveniences and aggravations in perfect form!! Fabulously grumpy!!


#BookReview FISHBOWL by BRADLEY SOMER #20BooksOfSummer2020


At turns funny and heartbreaking, a goldfish named Ian escapes from his bowl and, plummeting toward the street below, witnesses the lives of the Seville on Roxy residents.

A goldfish named Ian is falling from the 27th-floor balcony on which his fishbowl sits. He’s longed for adventure, so when the opportunity arises, he escapes from his bowl, clears the balcony railing and finds himself airborne. Plummeting toward the street below, Ian witnesses the lives of the Seville on Roxy residents.

There’s the handsome grad student, his girlfriend, and the other woman; the construction worker who feels trapped by a secret; the building’s super who feels invisible and alone; the pregnant woman on bed rest who craves a forbidden ice cream sandwich; the shut-in for whom dirty talk, and quiche, are a way of life; and home-schooled Herman, a boy who thinks he can travel through time. Though they share time and space, they have something even more important in common: each faces a decision that will affect the course of their lives. Within the walls of the Seville are stories of love, new life, and death, of facing the ugly truth of who one has been and the beautiful truth of who one can become.

Sometimes taking a risk is the only way to move forward with our lives. As Ian the goldfish knows, “An entire life devoted to a fishbowl will make one die an old fish with not one adventure had.”



This is book 19 of my 20 books of summer 2020.

Yes I have just read a book about a goldfish – Ian! – falling from the top of a building and absolutely adored it!! I was a little unsure when I picked it up but I was intrigued and am so glad I read it as it was just one of those books that I got completely absorbed by.

There’s an amazing cast of characters and you get to see their lives as events unfold around ‘that’ day and see what has led up to the point of Ian plummeting through the sky! There’s a huge nod to the act of ‘fate’ – being in the right place at the right time – and the coincidences that link people and being in the right place at the right/wrong time!

Ian is the star of the show, obviously, and he’s a happy little goldfish! His short term memory helps with that! He doesn’t dwell, he doesn’t ponder – a lesson to us all I’m sure! We all need to be more Ian!! And as we see his story unfold, we get introduced to the residents of the apartment block and how their varied lives are unfolding – the dramas, the fears, the highs and lows. It is human life in all its’ many forms! I loved these little glimpses into such a wide cross section of people – showing life in all the various guises and for many it isn’t pretty! From the introverted Claire, the pregnant Petunia, Garth with his secret life,Herman the boy being home schooled after being bullied, Jimenez the maintenance man, Connor the owner of Ian, about to be visited by Katie who is trying to work out how serious their relationship is – to name but a few, I just loved the mix of personalities and stories they all had to tell… and that Ian got to glimpse as he sailed past their windows!

This was a light and dark read, snappy, edgy and a very funny book!! A treat to read! 


#BookReview SLADE HOUSE by DAVID MITCHELL #20booksofsummer20


Keep your eyes peeled for a small black iron door.Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents — an odd brother and sister — extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it’s already too late…Spanning five decades, from the last days of the 1970s to the present, leaping genres, and barreling toward an astonishing conclusion, this intricately woven novel will pull you into a reality-warping new vision of the haunted house story—as only David Mitchell could imagine it.


Book 3 of my 20 Books of Summer 2020.

This was more miss than hit for me, unfortunately. I don’t know if I wanted it to be more weird, more scary, more humourous! But it just fell short on all counts for me as you didn’t get to spend enough time in the company of various characters to care enough what fate befell them! Maybe if I had read Bone Clocks before it would have all made a little more sense….

The house itself was a fascinating prospect with all its’ odd goings on, as well as the twins Jonah and Norah as their story was intriguing to say the least – I would have loved to have just read all about them and their abilities




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.






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! 




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




Amazon £20

Goldsboro Books – signed first edition £20

hive.co.uk  £16.05


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!