All mums together….

The Single Mums' Mansion Book Cover The Single Mums' Mansion
Janet Hoggarth
Women’s Fiction, Family Drama
Aria
October 4, 2018
368

For all fans of Motherland, Allison Pearson and Hurrah for Gin.

Amanda Wilkie unexpectedly finds herself alone with three children under five in a rambling Victorian house in London, after her husband walks leaves them claiming he's just 'lost the love', like one might carelessly lose a glove.

A few months later, Amanda's heavily pregnant friend, Ali, crashes into her kitchen announcing her partner is also about to abscond. Once Ali's baby Grace is born, Amanda encourages them to move in.

When Jacqui, a long-lost friend and fellow single mum, starts dropping by daily, the household is complete.

Getting divorced is no walk in the park, but the three friends refuse to be defined by it. And, as they slowly emerge out of the wreckage like a trio of sequin-clad Gloria Gaynors singing 'I Will Survive', they realise that anything is possible. Even loving again...

A fun book all about the trials that beset women who have suddenly become single mums as their husbands decide that they no longer love them.

So, left alone with lots of young children, they form a self-support group in Amanda’s victorian house in South London, which is only half renovated as her husband left before completing it. With little money, the group find themselves dependent on each other for everything – including support after monster hang-overs and crying jags.

This is a light and fun novel but yet it still manages to highlight the desperate feelings and often poor living conditions of the ‘first’ wife and the emotional toll that having a husband leaving and then acquiring a second family often imparts.

I enjoyed this book even though I have little experience personally of what the characters written about go through, I found that the writing gave me that knowledge and made me very aware of just how awful it must be to be in that situation. A well written book with enough humour not to make it too emotionally draining.

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Forgotten life in Vegas? You would not be unusual…

Wann Get Lucky? Book Cover Wann Get Lucky?
Lucky O'Toole Vegas Adventure
Deborah Coonts
romance, contemporary, women's fiction, suspense, humour, women sleuths
Deborah Coonts
(13 Feb. 2017)

A young woman plunges from a Las Vegas sightseeing helicopter, landing in the Pirate Lagoon in front of the Treasure Island Hotel in the middle of the 8:30 Pirate Show. Almost everyone writes her off as another Vegas victim. But, Lucky O'Toole, head of customer relations at the Babylon mega casino, smells a rat, though she's got a lot on her plate: the adult film industry's annual awards banquet, a spouse-swapping convention, sex-toy purveyors preying on the pocket-protector crowd attending ElectroniCon... Still Lucky can't resist turning over a few stones.

When a former flame is one of the snakes she uncovers, Lucky is certain the woman's death was no Sin City suicide. To top it all off, Lucky's best friend, Teddie--Las Vegas's finest female impersonator--presses to take their relationship to the next level. Leave it to Lucky to attract a man who looks better in a dress than she does.

Lucky must manage the Babylon's outrageous festivities, solve the crime, and struggle to keep her life and libido from spinning out of control.

This series explains why, despite a strong sense that I really should be a voyeur there for 24 hours, just to gape, mouth open, I don’t ever intend to go to Las Vegas.

The town offends me on so many ways and levels.

The ostentation. The flash and glitter. The incredible waste of water (it’s a desrt – don’t taje water from farmers, and yes, the town wouldn’t exist if they didn’t – but is tat such a bad thing? the catering to addictive tastes – gambling and drinking being only two. And then there is the ridiculous architecture as is exemplified in the hotel that is core to these stories – The Babylon. Although seeing a Mama Duck and her Ducklings wandering through a hotel foyer would be fun. Not to mention the selfishness of the people who go there, as deomstrated in this particular story in the series, where a guest at the hotel, being denied passage in the main body of the airplane for her 3 cats, shuts them in her trunk and puts them in cargo. And then demands that the hotel deals with a. the urine smell on her clothes; b. the urine smell in her trunk; and c. find the cats who had run away! Well, wouldn’t you run from such an owner?

And then there are the Conventions that are held there. Probably because nowhere else would have them, such as the Swingers, and the Adult Film Industry (aka porn) Awards.

All that beside, you read the book mouth agape at this strange world, but also smiling and sometimes giggling at the antics got up to. And how our heroine copes. Note to self, elbows break noses and don’t get bruised knuckles..

I like this series, so far. It is well written. Fun to read. Not heavy and really good for the beach or garden.

And PS., the cellulite for bums and thighs treatment is also used in burns scars treatment, at a lower intensity – as i know from personal experience. It helps loosen up the skin..

 

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New baby in the house?

Confessions of a First Time Mum
Poppy Dolan
parenting, raising children, humour, women's fiction
Canelo
(25 Jun. 2018)
Kindle

Stevie’s life has changed beyond recognition since having her first baby. Stevie loves being a mum, but between the isolation and being vomited on five times a day, she really wishes she had someone to talk to.

With husband Ted working hard to keep the family afloat, Stevie really doesn’t want to burden him with her feelings. Turning to the internet, Stevie starts the anonymous First-Time Mum blog and blasts the rose-tinted glasses of parenthood right off her readers.

In the real world, Stevie meets the formidable Nelle and gorgeous Will, along with their own little treasures, and starts to realise that being a ‘perfect mum’ isn’t everything. But when the secret blog goes viral, Stevie must make some tough choices about who she wants to be, and whether she’s ready for the world to know the truth…

Oh yes, I remember it well. 5 years of no sleep except in short naps (preparation for menopause and beyond if i did but know); exploding poo – or rabbit droppings all over a friend’s guest bedroom; the wee in the eye (little boys); the sick and more sick; the joy of measles when the youngest catches it at 13 months just before her injection and you’re in hospital after an op, and husband brings her in to see Mum!

And don’t get the kids started on being forgotten in a supermarket car park and then there was Orlando and Disney!

So I’ve been there and thus my memory helped me laugh at the tales of mishaps and joys that are in this book. So much truth and such great fun to read.  May not appeal to those without knowledge of bringing up a child.

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When there is more than you think: Dawn explains

More Than Us Book Cover More Than Us
Dawn Barker
Women’s Fiction, Family Drama
Canelo
21st May 2018
Kindle

When parents disagree on how to care for their child, is it justifiable to take extreme measures?

Emily and Paul have a glorious home, money in the bank and two beautiful children. Since leaving Scotland for Paul to play football for an Australian team they have been blessed. But sadness lies behind the picture-perfect family - sixteen-year-old Cameron has battled with health troubles his entire life. There's no name for what he has, but his disruptive behaviour, OCD and difficulty in social situations is a constant source of worry.

When Paul's career comes to a shuddering halt, he descends into a spiral of addiction, gambling away the family's future. By the time he seeks help, it's his new boss Damien who recommends and pays for a rehab facility.

While Paul is away, Emily has to make a tough decision about their son. She keeps it from Paul knowing he'll disapprove. And when a terrible accident reveals the truth, Paul takes his son and goes on the run, leaving Emily to care for fourteen-year-old Tilly, who unbeknown to her parents is fighting battles of her own.

Can the family join together for the sake of their loved ones, or will their troubles tear them apart?

 

Dawn Barker explains Autisim and the book

First of all, thank you for having me on your blog today. I’m very excited that More Than Us is out now!

Thank you also for asking me to explain a little bit about some of the mental health conditions that are central to the characters in More Than Us. For those who haven’t read it yet, More Than Us tells the story of a family who must make drastic decisions about the mental health treatment of their son, and then deal with the fall-out for their family, and particularly their children, when the parents have completely opposing views about his psychiatry treatment.

One of the main characters in More Than Us is a teenage boy named Cameron. Cameron has always been different to his sister, and different to the other children around him. He was harder to manage as a baby and toddler, with behavioural issues and struggles at school. His mother is sure there’s something wrong with him; his father thinks he’s just a child and shouldn’t have to be the same as everyone else.

I chose to write about this issue in the book as when I’m not writing, I work as a child psychiatrist here in Perth, Australia. I therefore see every day that diagnosing behavioural and emotional difficulties in children is not as straightforward as diagnosing a medical illness: there’s no blood test or scan that can tell us what’s ‘wrong’ and we depend on information and observation from many places to help formulate a diagnosis and tailor treatment, both psychological and sometimes, medication, if appropriate. Also, children are developing and changing all the time, and so are their symptoms.

In More Than Us, Cameron doesn’t fit neatly into any box. He has features of an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, and he also has features of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Over many years, other symptoms appear that seem to relate to ADHD, or anxiety, or depression. This again, is not uncommon in my day to day work.

In child psychiatry, symptoms often overlap. For example, an Autistic Spectrum Disorder involves symptoms of not only social difficulties, but also restricted and repetitive interests and behaviours. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder involves, amongst other symptoms, repetitive compulsive behaviours that may appear to parents, or teachers, as restricted behaviours. The two conditions, however, are very different, as is their treatment. To complicate things, children may have both conditions, and in fact many mental illnesses commonly co-occur with others.

I see children with social difficulties all the time in my practice, and Cameron in More Than Us struggles to relate to his peers at times. It had been suggested when he was younger that he may have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, which, by definition, involves difficulty in social communication. However, he doesn’t quite fit in that box.

Other mental health disorders can create social difficulties too: someone with OCD may be so preoccupied with their worrying, obsessional thoughts and completing their compulsions that they can’t concentrate on social interactions; someone with ADHD may struggle to control their impulses or their attention on conversations; someone who is depressed will be so flat in their mood that they don’t have the energy or motivation to relate to others.

I wanted to explore in the book how all of our behaviours exist on a spectrum, from what we would class in our society as ‘normal’, social and confident children, to those people whom we see at work or school every day who don’t fit the norm. They may be ‘quirky’ or a little odd, or avoid social interactions, or just seem to not understand social communication. That’s not necessarily an illness or mental health condition and diagnosis depends on a really careful and thorough history and observation of a child and family over time. Not every child who has social difficulties has an autistic spectrum disorder, and diagnosing children is complex.

I hope that readers of More Than Us can put themselves in the place of Cameron’s mother and father, and consider what they would do in that situation, if Cameron was their child. After writing the book, it has become even clearer to me that there is no right or wrong answer, and no right or wrong way to raise your own child, but even if parents disagree about treatment, or any aspect of parenting, they mustn’t forget that the most important thing is to ensure that their child is happy and thriving, regardless of their own views.

Thanks again for having me on your blog today and I hope your readers enjoy More Than Us.

Links to Book:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

Author Bio:

Dawn Barker is a psychiatrist and author. She grew up in Scotland, then in 2001 she moved to Australia, completed her psychiatric training and began writing. Her first novel, ‘Fractured’, was selected for the 2010 Hachette/Queensland Writers Centre manuscript development programme, was one of Australia’s bestselling debut fiction titles for 2013, and was shortlisted for the 2014 WA Premier’s Book Awards. Her second novel is ‘Let Her Go’. Dawn lives in Perth with her husband and three young children.

Twitter: @drdawnbarker

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Way to spend the ‘Festive’ Season

Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe Book Cover Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe
Comfort Food Cafe
Debbie Johnson
Christmas stories
HarperImpulse
October 20, 2016
208

Becca Fletcher has always hated Christmas, but she has her reasons for being Little Miss Grinch. Now, though, she can't avoid her version of ho-ho-hell because she's traveling to the Comfort Food Café to spend the festive season with her sister Laura and her family. She's expecting mulled win, 24-hour Christmas movie marathons and all kinds of very merry torture. Little does Becca know that the Comfort Food Café is like no other place on earth. Perched on a snow-covered hill, it's a place full of friendship where broken hearts can heal, and where new love can blossom. It's where Becca's Christmas miracle really could happen--if only she can let it ..."--

This is the 3rd  book in the Comfort Cafe series that I have read and still found it enjoyable in its genre.

Becca, the Xmas Grinch, just has to change her attitude when she comes to stay with her sister at Xmas. Especially when she finds out just how irresistible Surfer Sam the Coastguard and Shore Ranger really is..

So the cafe and its inhabitants of the mythical Budbury cast a spell again and change a life for the better and we all feel hugged again in Cherie’s vast bosom and happily drinking Laura’s Hot Chocolate….

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