Books/book review/fiction/Romance

Beware guests…

I invited her in Book Cover I invited her in
Adele Parks
Adult, Psychological Thriller, Romance
September 20, 2018

‘I invited her in… and she took everything.’

When Mel hears from a long-lost friend in need of help, she doesn’t hesitate to invite her to stay. Mel and Abi were best friends back in the day, sharing the highs and lows of student life, until Mel’s unplanned pregnancy made her drop out of her studies.

Now, seventeen years later, Mel and Abi’s lives couldn’t be more different. Mel is happily married, having raised her son on her own before meeting her husband, Ben. Now they share gorgeous girls and have a chaotic but happy family home, with three children.

Abi, meanwhile, followed her lover to LA for a glamorous life of parties, celebrity and indulgence. Everything was perfect, until she discovered her partner had been cheating on her. Seventeen years wasted, and nothing to show for it. So what Abi needs now is a true friend to lean on, to share her grief over a glass of wine, and to have some time to heal. And what better place than Mel’s house, with her lovely kids, and supportive husband…

This dark, unsettling tale of the reunion of long-lost friends is thoroughly gripping exploration of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge from Sunday Times bestseller Adele Parks.

A chilling tale that warns you to beware of long ago friends and guests that over stay their welcome.

A story that had me hooked up until the last couple of chapters. Excellent writing and and characterisation but I felt that someone had tried out different story endings (like they do in flims sometimes), and had settled for one that could be considered happy.

It rolled up all the loose ends neatly.

Too neatly for me.

I was going to give this book 5 stars but the ending downgraded it to 4. sorry.

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How much can we know when young?

friendship, women's fiction, relationships, family
Feb 2019

ith courageous honesty, Alderton documents the highs and the lows - the sex, the drugs, the nightmare landlords, the heartaches and the humiliations. Deeply funny, sometimes shocking, and admirably open-hearted and optimistic' Daily Telegraph

'A sensitive, astute and funny account of growing up millennial' Observer

'Alderton proves a razor-sharp observer of the shifting dynamics of long term female friendship' Mail on Sunday

'The book we will thrust into our friends' hands . . . that will help heal a broken heart. Alderton's wise words can resonate with women of all ages. She feels like a best friend and your older sister all rolled into one and her pages wrap around you like a warm hug' Evening Standard

'I loved its truth, self awareness, humour and most of all, its heart spilling generosity' Sophie Dahl

'Steeped in furiously funny accounts of one-night stands, ill-advised late-night taxi journeys up the M1, grubby flat-shares and the beauty of female friendships, as Alderton joyfully booze-cruises her way through her twenties' Metro

'It's so full of life and laughs - I gobbled up this book. Alderton has built something beautiful and true out of many fragments of daftness' Amy Liptrot

A memoir rather than an autobiography, based on truth and articles and columns previously published.

An insight (for me) into the world of the millenials and their lives as renters and users of dating apps and drinking especially.

We drank as students, of course we did, and there were some drugs about too, but I married young and so never really experienced a long period of post-uni dating. We did share though, even after marriage as we just couldn’t afford our flat without ‘lodgers’, so we turned a 2 bed flat into a 3 bed and lived without much of a lounge except when we all sat together to watch TV on one guy’s bed-sofa. As I stopped being a post-grad and started earning money our flat-mates gradually moved out – the last with a bit of a push!

This book was brutally truthful. a real soul baring of life as lived by Dolly. Her life’s highs and lows. Love and loss. And it cannot help but affect the reader.

I suspect we all recognise something of ourselves (especially women) in Dolly and it certainly made me think about myself and my behaviours and how they did or did not match up.

And thanks for the recipes, Dolly. I intend to make the ice-cream and a variant on the apple pizza one day – not the marzipan though as this would be just too sweet for our taste.

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Books/book review/fiction

Are you fine too?

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine Book Cover Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
Gail Honeyman
literary fiction,
May 4, 2017

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

An exploration of what it really means when you say you are ‘fine’ through the story of Eleanor and how she gradually breaks out of cocoon of protection and discovers the world outside which is sometimes not fine at all.


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Why tea?

Author: Caroline James talking about her new book, Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean & Me

Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

Coffee, Tea, The Caribbean & Me is a story about a friendship between two women. Jo and Hattie are like chalk and cheese but have been great friends for many years and finding themselves alone, without partners in mid-life, they embark on a holiday which changes their lives. I chose this subject because one in three people in the UK over the age of fifty live on their own, either through divorce, death or choice and I wanted to show that it is possible to have a second bite at the apple and begin life again no matter what your circumstances; age should not be a deterrent. My approach is to embrace these years, run down the road to happiness whatever it throws at you along the way. It is never too late to have fun and begin again. It is set in the Caribbean on the island of Barbados because I know the island well and think it the perfect setting for a novel.

How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

I know what I am going to write about, there isn’t a bucket list of topics, it is very specific. I’ve probably thought about the subject matter for some time or it is bubbling away as I come to the end of writing a novel. I have a big note book per novel that I section and gradually fill with notes, images and anything relevant and this becomes my bible as I write the book.

How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

The research is a work in progress, as the book develops the research is done. I never know quite which route the characters will take and they often steer off the beaten track till I reign them back in so I’ll research as they take this course. I love research and can often go off-piste; far removed from the topic and then have to force myself to get back to the job in hand.

What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

I visit the place when the main scenes are set. I have to be able to walk around the area and really get a feel for the place. I talk to people and try to imagine the scene I am creating through the eyes of the locals. The internet is invaluable and so easy to gain information but I read too – any book I can get my hands on that has useful information.

How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?

I don’t write crime so have never had to approach the police but my books usually have a festival or main event somewhere in the story and I contact organisers and people in authority who run these to ensure that I am accurate when describing what happens. For example, Coffee Tea The Gypsy & Me is set around an annual gypsy horse fair in Cumbria, England, and is the largest of its kind in the world. It was set up by a Charter under the reign of James II in 1685 and lasts for a week. The events there are centuries old traditions and have to be accurately described. Organisers are generally delighted to help as they know my books will give positive publicity.

Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?

Yes – I had a zillion rejections with my debut novel before I took control and self-published. The book shot to #3 in Women’s Fiction on Amazon and was E-book of the Week in The Sun Newspaper. The press came out in force and the book was a big success. Suddenly publishers were interested.

Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

Yes, I absolutely would. I would advise that the self-publisher is as professional as possible and does everything in their power to ensure a superb book. From cover design to proof-reading and editing, get professional help and make it the best you can. Providing you have written something that has a saleable market, remember that marketing is critical and if you don’t know how to do this pay someone who does – it will make or break your book. I have turned publishers down because I thought they weren’t a good fit or something didn’t quite resonate, self-publishing is very powerful now and cream rises to the top! You will get noticed if you write well and work hard.

Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

Does anyone really tell you what they earn from writing? In the UK the top 10% of professional authors make £60k plus per annum with the top 5% over £100k. Lower earning writers (possibly the majority) average around £11k. Writing is the icing on the cake for me not just from novels but articles, short stories and features and I know that you are only as good as your last book and have to keep on writing.

What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?

I was due to make a speech to a large audience and having been told by the host that she’d announce a ‘comfort break,’ then I was on stage. I was halfway to the ladies room when I heard over the mic, “I’d like you all to welcome Caroline James…” Flustered, I had to hurl myself back on stage and cross my legs for the next forty minutes…



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