Category Archives: Books I Have Read

Off The Record by Sue Welfare

off the Record
When Liz and Nick arrange to meet someone in Norwich, it’s a crying shame it isn’t each other.
Liz is a recently divorced thirty-something, trying to rebuild her career as a journalist. Nick is single, deeply gorgeous and trying hard to improve his job prospects. They meet, are attracted and…if only life were that simple.
For Liz and Nick, things are about to get a lot more complicated, as one small economy with the truth threatens to wreck everything.
A heady brew of incompetent exes, good friends, and alcoholic artists manage to disrupt the course of true love. Will anyone of them realise what’s going on and see the answer through the chaos? Will they finally live happily ever after?

Sue Welfare

A Classic Romantic Comedy from Sue Welfare – Sue sent the book to me to read and give an honest review of same, and so here it is:

When Liz and Nick arrange to meet someone in Norwich, they are each expecting entirely different people to turn up.

Liz has just been offered the chance to get her journo career back on track after leaving it for her marriage (now failed) and her sons. She is out to impress and feeling very nervous. Nick on the other hand is single, carefree, good looking and wanting to branch out in his career back to the real thing. They introduce themselves at the hotel where they are to meet their respective interviewees, amidst confusion of assuming they are with the intended people.  
Nick realises that Liz is not the woman he is waiting for, but he’s so smitten he tells one white lie which leads on to many more and suddenly it is too late to back track and set things straight. Which leaves Liz swooning after the wrong guy….well the right guy but the wrong name!

I was enthralled with the story at the start, but it lost my interest a little when the truth took so long to be revealed, and with the side story of the alcoholic artist Jack and his raging nutter of a wife. The comedy of the story was excellently written and the situations Liz found herself in daily while dealing with non English speaking students, her boisterous sons, her bewildered parents, her very good girlfriend (we all need one), and the horrid, domineering, whinging ex husband all added up to some really good dialogue and descriptions. 

But all good stories have to end, and will it be a happy ending for Liz and Nick or will it have to be forgotten as they both move on in their separate directions?

It is well worth the read, and I was glad I carried on through the less interesting bits about Jack, to the end.

I give this book a mark of 4 stars out of 5, mainly for the excellent belly laughs I got from reading it.

four out of five stars

The Secrets of the Lighthouse by Santa Montefiore

the secrets of the lighthouse

Ellen Trawton is running away from it all – quite literally. She is due to get married to a man she doesn’t love, her job is dragging her down and her interfering mother is getting on her nerves. So she escapes to the one place she know her mother won’t follow her – to her aunt’s house in rural Ireland. Once there, she uncovers a dark family secret – and a future she never knew she might have. Meanwhile, Caitlin Macausland is mourning the future she can never have. She died tragically in what the village thinks is suspicious circumstances, and now she is stuck in a limbo, unable to move on. And between the two of them is an old lighthouse – the scene of so much tragedy. Can each woman find the peace she so desperately longs for? And can they find the way to live again?

 

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I have long been a fan of Santa’s books, loving every word on every page. I eagerly await her next book to be released knowing very well that it will be a good story, one that I can get my teeth into and thoroughly enjoy while being transported to that land/family/life the story is based upon.
With ‘The Secrets of the Lighthouse’ Santa does not disappoint me! The story has depth, meaning and is every bit as good as any Irish books I have read written by true Irish authors! There was no danger of it reading as if written by an English author trying to put an Irish slant on the story.
Madeleine Byrne escaped her poor Irish heritage by marrying an English Lord and promptly puts all things Irish behind her. Many years later, when the impending marriage of her eldest daughter Ellen to William a young wealthy gentleman, looms, Ellen’s feelings of missing something in her life rise to the surface so strongly she decides to run away to her aunt in Connemara, from whom her mother has received but ignored letters every year.
It takes only a short time for Ellen to be welcomed into the bosom of the huge, protective family she never knew existed and life takes a dramatic turn for her. The local legends are told in the Pot of Gold, the local pub, and she learns of the story of Caitlin Macausland who died in the fire at the lighthouse 5 years before and of how brutal and uncaring her husband Conor was and still is. Ellen meets Conor after visiting the castle he and his family used to live in, now looked after by her uncle and cousin, and is fascinated by him.
Santa is excellent at weaving mysterious webs into her stories, and does again with this book. The story is compelling – it whisks the reader away to the windy hills and beaches of west Ireland and into the cosy, noisy pubs to enjoy a hearty meal and drink where Dylan plays his sad songs.
The story is not just about Ellen’s quest for freedom, true love and happiness, it also embraces the lives of her mother, aunt, uncles, cousin and the lonely songwriter Dylan. These stories are all interlaced with the story of Caitlin who is now a confused spirit and how her young life was ended so sadly and abruptly at the lighthouse.
This book is yet another great story by Santa Montefiore that you won’t want to put down and you will be sad when it ends, leaving you wanting more and more of the Byrne/Macausland families.

Little White Lies and Butterflies by Suzie Tullett

little white lies and butterflies

 

A child of the nineties, Lydia Livingston is different. The last thing she’s ever wanted is to be superwoman; she knows first-hand that ‘having it all’ isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. As far as she’s concerned, when it comes to job versus family, it’s a definite case of one or the other. And whilst most women her age have spent years climbing the corporate ladder, she’s made a career out of bagging her perfect man. At almost thirty and still single, Lydia wonders if she’d made the right choice all those years ago. And realising the time has come to take stock, she goes against her family’s wishes and banishes herself off to a distant land-all in the hope of finding a new direction. At least that’s the plan. But Lydia Livingston isn’t just different, she’s misunderstood. A fact she knows all too well. So when the totally unsuitable Sam comes along, she decides to tell a little white lie, re-inventing herself as a professional chef – not exactly the best new identity to come up with for a woman who can’t even cook. Of course, the last thing she expects is for him to find out the truth and start blackmailing her. Let alone find herself roped into catering for a local wedding. But with things going from bad to worse, her madder than mad family also turn up in something of a surprise visit, intent on celebrating a birthday she’s no intentions of celebrating!

suzie tullett

Lydia is a single woman approaching ‘middle age’ if you believed her family’s opinion, but she is finding it hard to locate Mr Right for Her. The solution that springs to mind is a holiday in the Greek Islands where she can forget her inability to snag her guy, or maybe get lucky – whichever comes first.

The idyllic island holiday she has booked doesn’t seem to be what she had been sold, but with the stiff upper lip she decides to make the most of it. The scenery and weather are both beautiful and more than make up for the lack of 5 star Hotel accommodation.

When she meets a hunky guy on the beach who is into climbing mountains, surfing, and lives in a huge mansion for good measure, Lydia realises he is not ticking the boxes on her list of ‘musts’ for the perfect man for her – and yet he is annoyingly nice and hard to ignore. Sam seems to be keen to get to know her and in her efforts to push him off, Lydia tells a little white lie which grows into a huge problem for her over the next few days of her stay. Much to the amusement of Sam.

It’s her birthday and the family who own the hotel where she is staying put on a party for her with Sam’s help. One thing leads to another, surprise after surprise, little lies evolving into big fibs, and eventually her family who she had been ‘escaping’, comes to the rescue. A wedding is involved but not for Lydia – yet.

The giggles are numerous – Lydia is rather comical and the story reminds me a little of the style of Marian Keyes in her early laugh-a-line books.

I could feel the sunshine on my face, hear the waves lazily lapping the sand as the tide slides in, and smell the wonderful aromas of the coffee houses and restaurants mingled with the fresh air, as I read this delightfully easy read.

Little White Lies and Butterflies by Suzie Tullett is available on Amazon

The Other Daddy – A World Away by Claire Louise Voet

the other daddy pic

 

Two teenage girls have mysteriously disappeared from the small Scottish Orkney island of Eday. It is as if they have vanished from the face of the earth without trace. The island is in turmoil. 
Eight years later in Cambridgeshire, seven year old Callum Thompson is trying to cope with his parents’ recent separation. He begins to act strangely –constantly talking about his ‘other daddy’ and his new friend – Jeremy, whom nobody else knows about. At first his change in behaviour is blamed on the fact that his parents – Louise and Jack are now living apart, but as time goes on, Callum’s problems becomes much more disturbing and there is cause for concern. Is this just a case of a little boy with emotional problems or is this something more sinister? Jack wonders if his son is having some kind of encounter with the spirit world, but Louise is sceptical.
Meanwhile after a successful trip to an old stately home in Hampshire, where paranormal activity is caught on camera, Dr Andrew McGregor returns to his parapsychology unit in Cambridge to find himself faced with a new challenge. It doesn’t take him long to realise that Callum Thompson’s case is far more than a paranormal investigation. Could it be that Callum is remembering another life? But what is the link between Callum and Eday, who is ‘the other daddy’ and who is Jeremy?

Claire Louise Voet

 

whittington manor the ghost of bluebell cottage

 

I have read both of Claire Voet’s previous books (pictured above) and enjoyed them immensely.

Although Claire warned me that this book was very different to her other books, I was not totally prepared for this amazing story. I’m not usually keen on mysteries or anything to do with the paranormal, but after the first chapter I was hooked.

When you read this book, it becomes very understandable as to why it took Claire Louise such a long time to write it – making sure the plot, times, facts were right for this story. Time well spent.
The story is expertly interwoven over the period of time when two young girls went missing on a secluded Scottish island, to today’s world in London, where a little boy experiences paranormal behaviours and sightings. His parents are perplexed and not sure what to do to help their little boy. Their angst and pain so well described and outlined for the reader.  An advertisement in a local newspaper leads his father Jack to seek out Dr Andrew McGregor, Parapsychologist for help.
Slowly, sensitively and carefully, Andrew draws information from the young Callum about his experiences. A nice touch to the story, Andrew’s young daughter Amy is surprisingly an immense help with getting to the bottom of the mystery – she takes young Callum under her wing and they converse in the way only children can.
Claire has cleverly woven all the various stories into one very interesting page turning story that I found difficult to put down. The end is exciting and left me feeling happy and satisfied with the outcome- always the sign of a very good book and a clever author.
A very different style of writing for Claire Voet but one that lets her skill as an author not only stand up for attention, but reaches up and slaps the reader in the face! Thought provoking with a big touch of compassion and romance.

Available as an ebook on http://www.amazon.co.uk, this is worth the read.

The Secret Nanny Club by Marisa Mackle

secret nanny club

 

“Kaylah is a single yummy mummy. She is frantically looking for Miss Right to look after her baby son, John, and time is running out.

Of course, she would love an all-singing, all-dancing Mary Poppins to land in her garden complete with umbrella and magic carpet bag, but she has to be realistic too.

It’s pretty terrifying inviting a complete stranger to live in your home and become part of your family. She has heard all the horror stories, annies partying all night, inviting boyfriends over, spending more time on Facebook than looking after their charges. Not to mention flirting with fathers? But Kaylah needs to return to work as a magazine fashion-stylist before her job is given away to somebody else. 

Will she find the perfect girl in time? Can she reclaim her freedom and even fall in love again? And what on earth is the mysterious Secret Nanny Club all about?”

mary poppins

 

I feel the synopsis does not do this book justice. It is far from being a frothy story about a single mum looking for a nanny for her little son. Marisa Mackle has etched out a description of not only the hardships of being a single mother trying to find trustworthy and reliable home help, but also of the career requirements to be a fashion-stylist for a top magazine, and struggling to make ends meet, especially during the recession of Ireland.

Her first few choices turn out to be complete duds and it looks frustratingly as if Kaylah is never going to find that Miss Right. Self doubt hits hard and she changes her mind about returning to work, countless times whenever she looks at her cute little boy’s smiling face, but the need for an income as the sole provider, spurs her on to the internet website to advertise for yet another nanny.  The baby-daddy has refused to acknowledge the baby as his and thinks maintenance payments are not his responsibility, so Kaylah is on her own totally.

While at a book club meeting, Kaylah is introduced to the hostess’ stunning nanny who seems to be an angel. A few weeks later that nanny, Tanya, asks Kaylah for a position as her nanny to baby John.

Life is idyllic for months and Kaylah is confident enough to leave the baby and return to work. Tanya is a modern-day Mary Poppins, and seems to be too good to be true. Kaylah’s mother has a favourite saying: ‘if it seem to be too good to be true, it probably is’.

The answers to the riddle of the stunning Tanya who is always dressed to kill, all fall into place eventually. The Secret Nanny Club has all the answers it seems.

A good read. Having been a single mum myself, I could relate to the main character’s problems and stepping stones which most of the time appear to be huge rocks in the way to a peaceful life.

Marisa_Makl

Mr Right for the Night by Marisa Mackle

mr right

 

“Anna wants a man. He doesn’t have to be perfect or anything. Just the basics really: stunning, smart, witty, sporty, owner of a fancy car – and yes – niece would be nice. 

All he has to do is turn up at her school reunion (hosted by Victoria, the ex-school bully) and pretend he’s madly in love with her. 

It should be easy enough. After all, Dublin is swarming with men, isn’t it? 

But as the date of the dreaded reunion looms closer, it’s becoming apparent that Mr Right (even for the Night) isn’t exactly hanging around every corner. In fact, it looks increasingly likely that – horrors! – Anna will end up at the party alone….”

Marisa_Makl

 

Written in 2004, Mr Right For the Night is a well written and funny story of a single girl no longer in her twenties but moving up the retail career ladder, unlike her married best friend who has an adorable child with her good looking husband.

Anna, the main character has a problem. She and all her former classmates have been summoned rather than invited to attend a ‘reunion’ at the home of Victoria – the class bully. Anna has dark memories of being taunted and put down by the bossy Victoria, and as far as she can recall, none of the other girls had suffered the same humiliation that Victoria seemed to inflict on her so joyfully.

Now married to a wealthy man, living in a big home, Victoria seems to have it all. Anna lives in a one roomed flat, has no steady boyfriend, rather just one night stands or at the most the guys might hang about for a week or two. Claire, her best friend is set for the reunion with a handsome husband and the dress to make her feel a million dollars. Anna has to find a guy to take along to show the bully once and for all that she is set up very nicely in this grown up world too, thank you very much.

I have read most of Marisa’s books and find myself laughing out loud all through the book. Marisa has a delightful sense of humour which is that little bit sharper than most having the Irish tinge to it for good measure. The story is fast moving and fun, covering the main character’s love life, friendships, family, career woes and self doubts skilfully, with large dobs of comedy while keeping the storyline real and credible. The unexpected twist towards the end when the classmates discover the real truth of the bully’s marriage and life, is most enjoyable and leads to Anna’s finding who her Mr Right For the Night is and was all along.

Although written in 2004, this book is equal to any written more recently and a delight to read. It can be purchased at Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Right-Night-Romantic-Comedy-ebook/dp/B004HO5XJ8/ref

Do yourselves a huge favour and pop on to the Amazon website and order your copy now. You won’t be sorry. I can vouch for it!

pink champers

The Mile High Guy by Marisa Mackle

A romantic comedy written by a former flight attendant and number one bestseller!

‘Welcome on board, Ladies and Gentlemen!

Mingling with rich and famous forst class passengers is all in a day’s work for Katie. But when she meets a gorgeous, eligible TV star on board a transatlantic flight from New York to Dublin, her whole word is turned upside down. Adam is everything a woman could want and more. But why is he insisting on keeping their relationship a secret? And is really a member of THAT club?

 

mile high guy

 

This novel was a lot of fun…light hearted and a good laugh. Katie the main character is a rather ditzy and giddy flight attendant in search of her knight in shining armour. She is a hopeless romantic in a very sweet way – some of the comments made by the main character as this story rolls on, are so typical and funny I found myself agreeing and nodding my head, while laughing out loud (much to the strange looks from the rest of the household!).

The Irish humour shines through in the book and is delightful. A feel good story laced with lots of fun.

Katie falls for one of her first class passengers, but is he really the one for her?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who likes a light read that gives a lot of laughs and giggles as well.

Delightful. I have always enjoyed Marisa’s books as they are true to life and down to earth. Most of us can relate to them in some way.

 

Marisa_Makl