Finding yourself in Seville by Steve Carter and Julie Holland

It’s always a challenge to write your second book and not write a duplicate of the first and Steve has done a great job here, with a sneaky twist near  the end. Not only the change of location and culture but themes too.  Ok, so Andy is a laddish as Rob, unable to read women and not a huge success relationally, but he’s more together than Rob.  Enough to firmly walk away from a relationship and use the results for his own ends.

In Seville, we get enough descriptions of the place to keep us happy but not away from the narrative – so often people love a place so much that they get bogged down in description.  Andy does the student stuff and more daft relationships, but its all balanced by his hilarious description of flat sharing with the mad Swede Johan who panders to what may be our stereotypical view of the alcoholic Swede but also the worst nightmare of a flatmate. 

What had me most amused was Steve’s description of the gay community and how he deals with meeting Sergio – the embarrassment and putting your foot right in it.  The pink shirt he wears on his first trip to a gay club also says  it all. There is almost more on male relationships here than with the women, which  is refreshing, but Andy nevertheless finds his true love. He  goes through all the phases of self-denial about his feelings for her and then realisation that puts  the book back into the romance category.  I wonder how much Julie had to do with hauling him back on the path????

Laddish, romantic, funny, an even better candidate for Stag lit than his first.  Read it!


A plea to self publishing authors

As my regular readers know, I’m a fan of downloading the free books on and some of them are brilliant.  I do get a bit of overload with American books -it must be a culture thing, and do favour UK ones!!!

I also critique and self publish myself, so I look with interest at their presentation and their literary qualities at the same time.  I can’t believe how many people publish so sloppily. I guess that most folks ultimate aim is to be picked up by a publishing house.  Well no one is going to look at you when you leave in spelling , grammatical mistakes and formatting errors. If you are publishing on Kindle or another reader, you must look at the finished product as it will be picked up by your readers -borrow one of you don’t own one.  What you may see on Mobi pocket programme or the Kindle book previewer sometimes doesn’t show up on the published product. You have to painstakingly check it all, its only when you have the luxury of a publisher you don’t have to do it.

However, I have seen a problem with formatting dialogue which seems to be a problem with mobi-pocket.

       ‘When you are writing a phase of dialogue, it suddenly formats the whole conversation the   indenting of the first line of conversation and so the whole thing looks odd.  It then suddenly

reasserts the correct formatting.  I don’t know how this is corrected. I cant get my blog to even do it as it self corrects!


The Millionaire’s Nanny by Carol Grace

Sometimes, you just want a simple read that you can enjoy, you can guess the outcome and enjoy the process. I know I’ve said this about other books, but this one I picked up and thought let’s have just a look. The difference for me was that there was no single mother struggling with life, no ex causing problems, no financial worries (naturally, see title), no drinks, drug abuse,  ok a failed marriage and some stubbornness, but a nice love story.  Take it to the beach and have a relax!

The Island of Ted by Jason Cunningham

How could I resist a book with such a title considering my Robinson Crusoe complex!!!!!!    A new twist on the old tale.  This guy decides to buy his own island and live there on his own a; because he can afford it  b; because every attempt he makes at altruism in his life ends as failure.  He has a highly stressed job in the film industry and a penchant for falling for the wrong woman.

There’s no shipwreck here, in fact Ted has it all stitched up, glorious isolation but with satellite channels and food arriving every couple of weeks. You can read him slowly unwinding until Friday turns up, this time a small boy.  Ted is livid and this time chases him away!

Cliche, cliche, no man is an island and Ted finds he’s sharing the island with some refugees.  There are some lovely times when he is tricked by Friday into saying something dumb to the only attractive (to Ted) woman on the island.  Ted’s past history means you know he’ll fall for her.  Nuff said.

The middle of the book changes narrative position which actually really works and through it you can now see other people’s perspectives which you can’t in the first person.  Through this the narrator so clearly shows  Ted’s self-pitying perspective, he hasnt really got himself sorted at all and he runs back home to the USA.

The last part shifts back to Ted and I didn’t see the twist coming when he decides to  return to the Island when tinsel town finally loses it’s grip on him, and quite funny too. The end is as anyone would wish, reconciliation and growth, a Godly tale of the healing power of love.  Now I wonder where there’s a cheap island going?

A Week at the Beach by Virginia Jewel

A repeat but I did so enjoy it!

I must admit to being completely shallow and downloaded the book because I liked the cover. I did think maybe this is going to be a rich bitch sex romp type thing and was ready to put it down.    It does appear to start that way, but no, while Chrissy lives well to the stereotype, Cami while seemingly a hanger-on, is not.

What I loved is the simplicity of the tale, although some might say its a bit understated and slightly lacking in depth, but it reminds me in essence of the Barbara Pymm books (that dates me), in that in its straightforwardness, you can sit and be carried along, enjoying the dialogue (which it majors in) and in the simplicity enjoy.

Cami has all the heroine’s typical traits of being self unaware,  and moves to a new awareness of her past and how her life has been.  I don’t think Nick changed particularly, but he was always strong, after what he had overcome.  Oh, its so difficult not to write a spoiler!

The reviews I’ve read seem to echo what I’m saying too! I feel the book description for me is a bit overstated, but a good sales pitch!  Enjoy!

Meditate and Declare by Lynn Dehnke

I’ve been so long reading this as I’ve been dipping into it for daily readings,whichI then try and meditate on all week  that  I felt I must get on  and write a review before I finish it.  This is such a mind expanding, challenging devotional that I can’t rate it enough!

Sound biblical basis, founded on what is in the scripture not anyone elses teaching, but ok, maybe also what Lynn thinks! She carefully explains all, so there is no doubt on what she sees as meditation and the process of declaring in your life what you believe.  She then takes Paul’s writings as each reading’s basis and explains with enough personal anecdote and challenging thoughts to get the old grey cells ticking over and then into your personal prayer  and mediation time .  I found her section on your Love walk really challenging and profound. Sound theology.deeply spiritual words and declarations.  Brilliant!

Ducks! Romantic Short Stories for Animal Lovers by Anna Rashbrook

Yes, I’m shamlessly plugging my next opus.  This is just a little it of light reading to enjoy with a coffee, or even in the sun on the beach. Its only on Kindle at the moment but things will change.  Here’s a snippet of the first story, maybe you’ll want to read more!!!!!


Waking up to a cacophony of bird song in a narrow, lumpy bed was not my idea of the best start to a summer holiday.  The sun was already burning its way through the gingham curtains, yet my watch swore it was only six a.m.  A hard shake didn’t change its mind, so I sank back beneath the quilt to try and recapture that evasive sleep.

It was no good.  From the next room I could hear rustlings, scrapes and muffled giggles. Why should I be overwhelmed with dread?  Surely I should be filled with joy, but the next two weeks yawned like an abyss in front of me.  The concept of quiet leafy woods and idyllic picnics had felt like heaven in a slushy February city, but the reality was as disheartening as the mud I’d trodden through to get into the cottage.  What do you do with two eight year olds for a fortnight when there are no playgrounds or burger bars?

Then I noticed the rustlings had grown ominously quiet.  I couldn’t believe they’d gone back to sleep and sat bolt upright, hitting my head soundly on a quaint oak beam.  Dazedly I staggered into the other room to find only a deserted bombsite.  They’d escaped before the day had even begun.  Rubbing my bump I went to the window to see if the horrors were in the garden.

At first I thought I was hallucinating, so I rubbed my eyes in the best film star fashion and looked again.  There really was a large white goat lying in a flower bed contentedly chewing on my best T-shirt.  I must have dropped it while unloading last night.  I didn’t know what to do – would the     T-shirt be swallowed before I could reach the garden?  As I dumbly watched, a tall dark haired man leapt over the wicket fence between the two cottages and grabbed the goat by a collar on its neck.  He pulled the sodden cloth from between the chewing jaws, then tugged the goat towards the back gate.  My blood began to boil, he could have at least left the T-shirt dangling on a bush rather than shoving it into his back pocket.  So much for honest country folk I snorted with indignation as I made my way back into my room to get dressed.  I was scrambling into my shorts when a loud screech came from the other side of the house. Leaving my nightdress on, I slithered down the steep stairs and into the back garden.

The children were huddled together on the path, slowly backing away from a monster which hissed and snapped at them.  Its black and white body had webbed, yellow feet, its head a fiendish red mask and gaping jaws.  The irate duck was bearing down on my terrified nephew and niece, who for once were silent, dumbly appealing for rescue. Overcoming my own fear, I ran towards the duck, shouting and waving my arms.  My actions only made it angrier, it now flapped huge wings and struck repeatedly at me.

‘Get off you brute!’ and various expletives had no effect either but at least I was between it and the children.

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