The Cocktail Bar comes fast on the heels of Oh! What a Pavlova. Although it’s not a sequel, it does continue the author’s unique – and soon-to-be very popular (you mark my words) writing voice which is like a breath of fresh air. I think Ms May enjoys writing so much that her enthusiasm shines off the page.
The prose gallops along without a boring moment as River (the main character) leaves the high life to set up his cocktail bar in Glastonbury. There’s a whole host of quirky characters from bitchy Georgina to hippy Mum populating the book that romps to an ending that will have readers crying out for more (just like the perfect cocktail).
The author, Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing.
As a Co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One).
She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’!
Oh! What a Pavlova is her debut novel… and her second novel, The Cocktail Bar, was published by Crooked Cat Books in early 2018.
Her most recent novel, “Forest Dancer” is set in Portugal and published by Crooked Cat Books. It is available from Amazon:
When I was on holiday last year I read Death in Dulwich by Alice Castle. I thoroughly enjoyed it and reviewed the book here: https://bookreviewstoday.info/2017/10… . So I was delighted, when I was browsing Amazon recently, that the site suggested I might be interested in the author’s new book The Girl in the Gallery. Amazon, for once, was right!
In this novel, Beth visits her local art gallery and finds a comatose teenage girl positioned on top of a sarcophagus. Beth takes charge of the situation when the museum assistant proves to be completely hapless. This is how she falls into investigating the case with York. The author juggles Beth’s involvment in the case with her own job at Wyatt’s College and the demands of being a single mother, bringing up her little boy. I do not want to give any spoilers, suffice to say the plot is clever, and maintains the well-paced and interesting mystery throughout. I read a great many murder mysteries, but I did not guess ‘who dunnit’ in this case.
If anything, I enjoyed The Girl in the Gallery even more that Death in Dulwich and will definitely look out for more books by this author. The Girl in the Gallery would be an excellent book club read. Alice Castle writes fine mysteries and I highly recommend this book.
Alice Castle lives in South London with her two children, two stepchildren, two cats and her husband. She was a feature writer on the Daily Express for many years and has written for most other national newspapers. She has a degree in Modern History from St Andrews University, is the British Royalty expert for Flemish TV, and lived in Brussels for eight years. Her first novel, Hot Chocolate, sold out in two weeks and her second, Death in Dulwich, was published in September 2017 as the first in the London Murder Mystery Series.
This book was the first story I had ever read that was set in New Zealand. It is the book that was book of the month in my book club.
After the Fall is a psychological thriller by Charity Norman. The author was born in Uganda and brought up in successive draughty vicarages in Yorkshire and Birmingham. After several years’ travel she became a barrister, specialising in crime and family law in the northeast of England. Also a mediator, she is passionate about the power of communication to slice through the knots. In 2002, she took a break from the law and moved with her family to New Zealand. After the Fall was published in 2013.
The story starts in the quiet of a New Zealand winter’s night, a rescue helicopter is sent to airlift a five-year-old boy, Finn, with severe internal injuries. He’s fallen from the upstairs veranda of an isolated farmhouse.
Initially, Finn’s fall looks like a horrible accident; but his mother, Martha McNamara, knows how it really happened. After the Fall tackles some tough family issues. This book kept me on the edge of getting to the heart of the truth long enough to be satisfying when I got there.
I could not put it down and read this book quickly, eager to get to the ending and understand. After the Fall is a brave, well written, book that I recommend for your to read list. The characters are so vibrant and the writing so taut and the plot is complex and keeps your interest throughout the book.
If you like a complex family drama in your reading don’t look past this nove. After the Fall goes really deep into the heart of what really matters. Great setting and great story.
I very much enjoyed a previous book by Chapeltown Books, From Light to Dark and Back Again by Allison Symes is a reviewed here: https://bookreviewstoday.info/2017/03/22/from-light-to-dark-and-back-again-by-allison-symes/ . So, I was thrilled to receive another book from this publisher in exchange for an honest review. I always give honest reviews.
Potpourri by Anusha VR is a delicious mixture of short stories, flash fiction and poems. The quality of the works is very high. The stories are clever, the flash fiction interesting and the poetry neatly constructed. There is no doubt Anusha VR is a writer with talent.
Initially, I really enjoyed the entries in this book. The stories are well put together and the twists nicely fore-shadowed. The themes covered are different and the author takes interesting angles and views.
My problem, I think, is that I read the book in two sittings over a couple of days, rather than dipping in and out of the book at leisure. Had I done this, I believe this review would have been unremittingly favourable. However, I didn’t do that, I read it all at once.
As a result of that, I was struck by the negativity throughout the book. Too many of the works cover dark themes, unprepossessing characters and misery. Examples of these include: Mrs Maurier’s Garden, A Perfect Family, Muffled Voices and Escaping the Limbo. There are entries that made me smile, including Rainbow in the Abyss and Proud, but there were too few smiles.
There are too few flowers in Potpourri. The author writes well but this book left me feeling troubled and uncomfortable.
I do not read a great many ghost stories, alhtough I did read and enjoy Kindred Spirits: The Royal Mile by Jennifer C. Wilson at the end of last year and that is reviewed here, https://bookreviewstoday.info/2017/08/30/kindred-spirits-the-royal-mile-by-jennifer-c-wilson/ .
I read The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, because it was book of the month in my book group. Susan Hill is an English author who was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England on 5 February, 1942. Her hometown was later referred to in her novel A Change for the Better in 1969 and some short stories especially Cockles and Mussels. The Woman in Black was first published in 1983.
It is the story of a lawyer, Arthur Kipps, who, recalls an experience he had as a young man, when he was sent out from his office in London to attend to the estate of a deceased client, Mrs Alice Drablow. Kipps goes to Crythin Gifford to attend the client’s funeral and to sort through her papers before returning to London.
Kipps first sees the woman in black at the funeral but does not have a chance to speak to her. After the funeral he travels to the house that belonged to the late Mrs Drabble, Eel Marsh House, and there he sees the mysterious woman again. He also hears strange sounds through the fog on the marsh.
Notwithstanding his spooky experiences, Kipps resolves to spend the night at the house to enable him to fulfil his professional duties. During the night at Eel Marsh House Kipps experiences great horrors.
Later, Kipps discovers the reasons behind the strange goings on at Eel Marsh House. So he seizes the moment and marries his love Stella. Their union is blessed with a son. The book ends with the woman in black exacting a final, terrible revenge.
The story is neatly told starting in the present, with the main part of the tale being told in flash back and the end of the novel returning to the present day. I was surprised how much I enjoyed The Woman in Black. If you enjoy ghost stories, I highly recommend this book.