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Are you young enough to read this book?

Older But Better, But Older Book Cover Older But Better, But Older
Caroline de Maigret, Sophie Mas,
Fashion
Ebury Press
January 2, 2020
272

With playful wit, worldly advice and savvy observation, the bestselling authors of How to Be Parisian tackle the Parisian art of growing up. Caroline de Maigret and Sophie Mas are back to amuse you, saying what you don't expect to hear, just the way you want to hear it. But this time they reveal how they are modifying their favourite bad girl habits and mischievous mindsets now they are more 'madame' than 'mademoiselle'. These iconoclastic, bohemian Parisiennes advise on love, seduction, fashion and dating as well as family, work, living alone and accepting imperfections. Both poignant and laugh-out-loud funny, this gorgeous, tongue-in-cheek guide astutely illuminates what it means to be a fully-fledged woman.

I liked this book in some ways – it is a sort of compilation of mini articles from a magazine – but very French orientated – which was a problem for me, as I don’t see myself having a French style at all – too short and dumpy – which was the other problem. The photos, wonderful though they were, were all of tall skinny women! No normal older – or even younger – women at all. And none of them were that old – just not young any more – by that they meant in their 20s.

I felt that the sayings were applicable to me and would have been even better if I had read the book in my 40s rather than now, when I am rather older than that, which was why a lot of the material was not applicable – and I’ve not had a divorce, and was married in my early 20s, so their lifestyle wasn’t applicable either. Which meant many of the articles weren’t.

Which was probably why the shorter pithy statements appealed to me more than the longer articles.

Guessing that it is aimed at women in their 40s or early 50s, I would give it 4 stars.

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Baseball metaphors

Stealing Home Book Cover Stealing Home
(A Sweet Magnolias Novel, Book 1)
Sherryl Woods
Fiction
HarperCollins UK
November 1, 2011
400

Coming to Netflix May 2020 Maddie Townsend might live in a town called Serenity, but there's been nothing calm or peaceful about her life since her marriage broke up.

This stay-at-home mum has no job skills, an out-of-control sixteen-year-old son, a talkative fourteen-year-old who's suddenly gone silent, a six-year-old daughter whose heart is broken, an ex-husband whose younger girlfriend is expecting their baby and two best friends who think she's somehow qualified to help them open a fitness spa for women.

But if Maddie is a tad on edge with all that on her plate, it's nothing compared to the chaos that ensues when she discovers that her son's baseball coach has feelings for her and the whole town disapproves. Maddie's faced a lot of challenges lately with strength and resolve, but Cal Maddox may turn out to be more than she can handle. Then again, he could just be the one man in all of South Carolina who can help her find serenity.

This is a metaphor title, for those who recognise it, for baseball. The very special feeling that ball players get when they advances to a base which they are not entitled to, and the official scorer rules that the advance should be credited to the action of the runner – them. … Successful base stealers are not only fast but have good base running instincts and timing.

There is a film called Stealing Home and a famous book about the Los Angeles Dodgers too. So a metaphor that would be familiar to US readers – but not UK I’m afraid.

However, the story gradually explains the very special feeling that baseball runners get when they ‘steal’ this run, and how important it is for them to play.

What is also interesting is how this story explores what it means to be a woman many years older than her lover/boyfriend and society’s reaction to this  combination – yes discrimination again as it is common among men and not commented on – other than sometimes salaciously by other men.

And adolescents and their hormones and their actions and reactions to their mother with a new life.

I thought the story was told empathetically and enjoyably. Well written in its genre.

nb re-issued due to Netflix Series – but don’t think it is quite the same as the book – it isn’t!

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Live and die by Rules

Daisy Cooper's Rules for Living Book Cover Daisy Cooper's Rules for Living
Tamsin Keily
Death, women writers
Orion
April 2, 2020
320

Rule One: Anything Can Happen Daisy Cooper's life has been pretty uneventful - until the moment it suddenly ends. Unfortunately, her death is (literally) an accident: Daisy wasn't meant to die for another fifty years. One terrible, embarrassing clerical error is behind it - and Death himself is to blame. As Daisy battles against her new reality, she starts to learn that letting go isn't just a challenge faced by those left behind. And while she learns how to survive this impossible new reality, friendship, hope and even love begin to come alive in the most unexpected ways. For Daisy Cooper, death was the perfect time to start making sense of life... A fresh, funny and joyful story about our own humanity at the most testing times.

Rules for living and dying too. This was an unusual book about life after death and being Grim Reapers 
I did have one issue with the storyline though. Death says he has been around for millennia. But, he also remembers our Middle Ages as when he was a child. And the question then arises, who was death before Death?
I liked the Rules but Daisy should never have gone back even as her part ghost. As she came to realise, it is just too hard for those left behind.
Overall, a well written book but please address the plot issues.

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Fluffy Coffee

Clouds in My Coffee Book Cover Clouds in My Coffee
Julie Mulhern
Fiction
Henery Press
May 10, 2016
256

"Mulhern's lively, witty sequel to The Deep End finds Kansas City, Mo., socialite Ellison Russell reluctantly attending a high school football game...There she stumbles on a dying teenage boy covered in blood, who asks that she tell his girlfriend that he loves her. Ellison determines to learn the girlfriend's identity and deliver the message, plus find the boy's killer...If that's not enough for one day, an unknown man turns up shot to death in her garden. Cozy fans will eagerly await Ellison's further adventures." - Publishers Weekly on Guaranteed to BleedWhen Ellison Russell is nearly killed at a benefactors' party, she brushes the incident aside as an unhappy accident. But when her house is fire-bombed, she's shot at, and the person sitting next to her at a gala is poisoned, she must face facts. Someone wants her dead. But why? And can Ellison find the killer before he strikes again? Add in an estranged sister, a visiting aunt with a shocking secret, and a handsome detective staying in her guesthouse, and Ellison might need more than cream in her coffee...

A gentle cosy but lots of fun murder – attempted and accidental and bungled – mystery set amongst tyhe gentility of the Southern gentry. Country Club members all.

The calm surface of life in 1974 hiding a seething roiling boil of jealousy, infidelity, kinks, blackmail and much more with hidden emotions and sniping and snarking. Especially amongst the women. Who had little else to do as with housekeepers, cooks, nannies and cleaners, their time was spent on nails, hair and being bitchy at the club. Sly writing style shows this set off to their worst….

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Magic Show Secrets

Witch Dust: A Paranormal Comedy Thriller
Witch Series Book 1
Marilyn Messik
Mystery & Thrillers | Women's Fiction
BooksGoSocial
12 Jan 2020

For Sandra, daughter of illusionists, Adam and Ophelia, life’s never been run of the mill! But when Adam’s wandering eye lights on yet another conquest, Sandra’s caught in the reverberations of her parents acrimonious parting. Coerced into restoring her depressed Mother to the bosom of a family Sandra never knew existed, she’s sucked into a situation that even for her is unnerving.

From being without a single relative, she suddenly acquires several she’d rather do without. Ophelia, it appears, has not been entirely honest about any number of things. There’s no doubt in Sandra’s mind, the sooner she puts as much distance as possible between herself, the newly discovered nearest and dearest with their peculiar tendencies and failing hotel business, the happier she’s going to b.

There are just a few things to sort first including a possessed chef; a hanged housemaid; a fly-on-the-wall documentary and a doppelgänger. Things slide swiftly from bad to farce and then get a hell of a lot darker. One minute she’s saving the family business the next, battling to save their lives. Turns out, some darknesses, once buried, are best left undisturbed.

A fun and different read. And they gave away just how the knives into the assistant’s outline is really done, even when he is blindfolded…
And what a way to run a hotel… and what a family. I hadn’t realised 8 was a coven but maybe with the baby they were really 9? And such a sweet baby and so used to being thrown from person to person.
I got the evil person wrong. I should of thought about the timeline more. More fool me. And the whole head twisting thing? Really nasty and then the wasps…
Not going to say all of what happens but look out for some paranormal nasties. And yes, of course Sandra or Serenissima is not going to stay away from the hotel. So we can expect more of the same in the future, which I shall look out for. I liked her – Sandra that is, and thought she coped extremely well under the circumstances. But them after coping with her parents all her life…

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