Guest Post: Sarah Long

Women giving up their job when they have a baby by Sarah Long

It is terribly tempting to give up your job when you have a baby. Just do the maths: by the time you’ve paid for childcare and factored in transport, half-decent office clothes, and a sandwich at your desk, you’re only just breaking even. Instead of which you could be dandling your little darling on your knee in front of Loose Women and Countdown. Wearing pyjamas all day, singing to baby while you plant tomatoes on the window sill and knock up nourishing home made soup. It’s a no-brainer, really, if you’ve got an obliging partner who doesn’t mind being the one to go out and bring home the bacon.

Except. In the rather fierce debate about whether women ‘should’ go back to work or stay at home after, the focus is all on the immediate circumstances. It’s lovely for baby to have mummy for a few years, and lovely for mummy to take some time out. A fug of family warmth, play dates, mother and baby groups, and the occasional blind moment of panic as you wonder if this is what it has come to.

In my novel INVISIBLE WOMEN, I fast forward twenty years to take a look at how this decision can impact down the line, when the children have become adults and you are confronted by the reality of an empty nest. A ‘few years out to raise a family’ has become a habit it is hard to break. They no longer need you, but neither does the workforce. Ask any fifty-year-old woman with a twenty-year gap in her CV.

My three heroines are what used to be called ‘housewives’ and are now referred to as ‘stay-at-home mothers,’ or ‘full-time mothers’ which rather shifts the emphasis. Where once they were in service to their husbands, it implies, they are now in service to their children. It’s not all bad, not at all. Think of those horrible boring jobs they could be doing. And now the kids are off their hands, they have time to think about themselves, at last. But don’t they say the devil finds work for idle hands? Especially when the house is so empty and your husband’s always working and you’ve come such a long way from singing along to ‘The Wheels On The Bus.’ If they’re not careful, the wheels could be coming off their own buses. But maybe a little disruption at this interesting point of their lives is exactly what they need. Especially when disruption arrives in the form of your first ever boyfriend whose ardour is entirely undimmed by the intervening decades …

It is terribly tempting to give up your job when you have a baby. Just do the maths: by the time you’ve paid for childcare and factored in transport, half-decent office clothes, and a sandwich at your desk, you’re only just breaking even. Instead of which you could be dandling your little darling on your knee in front of Loose Women and Countdown. Wearing pyjamas all day, singing to baby while you plant tomatoes on the window sill and knock up nourishing home made soup. It’s a no-brainer, really, if you’ve got an obliging partner who doesn’t mind being the one to go out and bring home the bacon.

Except. In the rather fierce debate about whether women ‘should’ go back to work or stay at home after, the focus is all on the immediate circumstances. It’s lovely for baby to have mummy for a few years, and lovely for mummy to take some time out. A fug of family warmth, play dates, mother and baby groups, and the occasional blind moment of panic as you wonder if this is what it has come to.

In my novel INVISIBLE WOMEN, I fast forward twenty years to take a look at how this decision can impact down the line, when the children have become adults and you are confronted by the reality of an empty nest. A ‘few years out to raise a family’ has become a habit it is hard to break. They no longer need you, but neither does the workforce. Ask any fifty-year-old woman with a twenty-year gap in her CV.

My three heroines are what used to be called ‘housewives’ and are now referred to as ‘stay-at-home mothers,’ or ‘full-time mothers’ which rather shifts the emphasis. Where once they were in service to their husbands, it implies, they are now in service to their children. It’s not all bad, not at all. Think of those horrible boring jobs they could be doing. And now the kids are off their hands, they have time to think about themselves, at last. But don’t they say the devil finds work for idle hands? Especially when the house is so empty and your husband’s always working and you’ve come such a long way from singing along to ‘The Wheels On The Bus.’ If they’re not careful, the wheels could be coming off their own buses. But maybe a little disruption at this interesting point of their lives is exactly what they need. Especially when disruption arrives in the form of your first ever boyfriend whose ardour is entirely undimmed by the intervening decades …

Click here to get hold of your copy of Invisible Woman.

 

Five Reasons Why I Love Robert Bryndza

Bad book blogger alert. I did a really stupid thing… The second I got a copy of Robert Bryndza’s HIGHLY anticipated new Erika Foster novel, Last Breath, I gobbled it up in one greedy sitting (similar to how I will consume my chocolate eggs today…Don’t judge me.) Whilst there is nothing wrong with this in itself (and OHMYGOSH I loved the book in case you were wondering…) I didn’t write my review straight away. Now I have this thing with reviews. I have to write them as soon as is humanly possible after reading the book, otherwise I feel I can’t do the book justice and I will forget things. And believe me, Last Breath is one book I want to do justice because it was blow-your-pants-off amazing. Therefore, my plan is to re-read Last Breath (Any excuse…) and write a dazzling review, worthy of this heart-stopping, page-turner of a novel. Which brings me on to today and my stop for Robert’s blog tour…

I’ve been a fan of Robert’s books since I read my first Coco Pinchard novel back in 2014. I love every single thing he has written and he is, undoubtedly, one of my favourite authors ever. So I thought it would be fitting, instead of sharing my review, to share five reasons as to exactly why I love Robert so much… I hope that is ok and I am forgiven for being such a terrible book blogger

  1. His writing is PROPERLY laugh-out-loud.
    You hear books being described as being ‘laugh out loud’ a lot, but I personally think it’s a phrase which is used too freely. Did you REALLY laugh out loud? Are you actually a miserable sow-and-sow like me and it takes a helluva’ lot to even make you raise a smile when you’re reading a book? Don’t get me wrong – I’m one of those people who can acknowledge when something is funny, but for a novel to ACTUALLY make me laugh out loud is something that not many authors achieve. However, Robert cracks this every single time. He is just so naturally funny. His Coco Pinchard books have me howling with laughter, so much so that there’s no risk of me reading them in public any more because I just make an idiot of myself (even more so than on your average day…) His comic timing is perfect, his characters one-liners superb; and he even manages to throw in plenty of darker humour in his wonderful Erika Foster novels. LOL’s alongside a crime scene investigation? Robert has it covered…
  2. His ability to write mutli-genres.
    It’s no secret that I love Coco Pichard. She is my absolute favourite and she will forever have a place in my heart. If Robert agreed to just write a new Coco novel every six months or so for the rest of my life I would be pretty content.
    Naturally I was massively and also a little scared when I heard he was turning his hand to writing crime. How would this work? I had no doubts that Robert would nail it – let’s be honest, he’s pretty fabulous, but I was dying to see how his writing would differ when writing a thriller. Needless to say he DID nail it – and some (you know all the accolades he’s received for The Girl in the Ice and what a ginormous success it’s been…) He is a natural born thriller writer. He creates tension, his writing is so atmospheric and he has that skill of drip-feeding the reader just enough information to intrigue yet not give the story away.
    I would imagine it must be so difficult to switch from writing one genre to another – and to do it so fantastically really is something that needs to be applauded. Robert Bryndza is clearly an author or many, many talents.
  3. His Characters.
    Robert has a skill for creating energetic, fascinating, bold, larger-than-life characters who jump off the page.
    Ethel is one of my all time favourite characters in Robert’s Coco books. Not only do I love her no-nonsense personality, but I also love her accent. A true cockney; Ethel never, EVER fails to make me smile. She is also as mad as a box of frogs. I am also a massive fan of Hungarian Anouska in Miss Wrong and Mr Right (I like the way she says ‘vooman’.) and it goes without saying that I am in total awe of the wonderful DCI Erika Foster. She is such a relatable, complex and intriguing character. I admire this woman, so, so much. I like her bravery, I like her honesty, I like her sassiness, I like her kick-ass attitude, and I like how she never, ever gives up, no matter what the consequences might be.
  4. He never, EVER disappoints.
    All book-lovers have that worry when their favourite author releases a new novel. Whilst 99% of their bookish brain is filled with joy, there’s that tiny niggling 1% that worries – what if it doesn’t live up to my ridiculously high expectations? Scary stuff.
    However, the thing I have discovered with Robert’s books is that this never, ever, EVER happens. He is consistently good; up to the point where I swear his books keep getting better and better (despite this not seeming humanly possible) He somehow always pulls it out of the bag and his stories continue to amaze me, his writing continues to draw me in, and his brilliantly executed stories continue to keep me up reading way past my bedtime.
  5. He is a fantastic storyteller.
    Whether it’s crime, humour, chick lit, thriller- whatever Robert writes the way he crafts a story is phenomenal. His writing is so well executed and his plot lines are always so well thought out. I love the amount of twists and turns that his stories take, sometimes leaving you in complete awe thinking -did that really just happen!?’ He also has a knack for not giving anything away. Y’know how some stories have conclusions that you can see a mile off? Robert’s books are never like that. Always unpredictable, full of excitement and with twists and turns aplenty. Despite the unpredictability of the storylines there is one thing that you can always bank on…Once you pick up a Robert Bryndza book up, you won’t be putting it down any time soon…

 

He’s your perfect date. You’re his next victim.

When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case.

While she fights to secure her place on the investigation team, Erika can’t help but get involved and quickly finds a link to the unsolved murder of a woman four months earlier. Dumped in a similar location, both women have identical wounds – a fatal incision to their femoral artery.

Stalking his victims online, the killer is preying on young pretty women using a fake identity. How will Erika catch a murderer who doesn’t seem to exist?

Then another girl is abducted while waiting for a date. Erika and her team must get to her before she becomes another dead victim, and, come face to face with a terrifyingly sadistic individual.

Gripping, tense and impossible to put down, Last Breath will have you on the edge of your seat, racing to the final dramatic page.

Click to buy in paperback or ebook.

 

Book Review: The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

Release Date: 6th April 2017

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 464

Genre: Women’s fiction, humour

Buy: Hardback  Kindle

Rating: Image result for pink heartsImage result for pink heartsImage result for pink heartsImage result for pink heartsImage result for pink hearts

 

 

What’s the Story?

COW [n.]
/kaʊ/

A piece of meat; born to breed; past its sell-by-date; one of the herd.

Women don’t have to fall into a stereotype.

Tara, Cam and Stella are strangers living their own lives as best they can – though when society’s screaming you should live life one way, it can be hard to like what you see in the mirror.

When an extraordinary event ties invisible bonds of friendship between them, one woman’s catastrophe becomes another’s inspiration, and a life lesson to all.

Sometimes it’s ok not to follow the herd.

My Thoughts

The Cows brings us into the lives of three very different women. Cam is a hugely successful blogger who is unafraid to speak her mind, Stella is working as a PA whilst struggling to come to terms with her past, and Tara, a single mum who works within the male-dominated media industry.
It quickly becomes apparent that these women have more in common than you might think…They are each trying to find their way in the world, trying to find their own ‘voice’ and live up to the pressures that modern-day women are forced to face in such a challenging society.
When Cam’s blog changes direction, Stella’s personal life begins to unravel, and Tara finds herself at the centre of a viral-internet storm the three women’s stories become intertwined in a compelling and unforgettable way…

I am a massive fan of Dawn O’ Porter. I love her writing (I adore her column in Glamour magazine) and I also loved her YA novels. She is one of those women who I see as an inspiration, she talks a lot of sense and I love pretty much everything about her.

Naturally I was MEGA excited when I learnt she had dipped her toe into the world of adult fiction – and what a cracker of a story The Cows turned out to be. Relevant, bang-on-the-money and a huge power-house of a novel; this was one book that I simply could not get enough of. I gobbled my way through this story faster than I plan on demolishing a king-size bag of mini-eggs this weekend. It was smart, frightening, kick-ass, realistic, moving, funny and surprising. Perhaps a weird range of words to use when describing one book but those were the first ones that came to mind…and perhaps another reason as to why this book is so very special.

It’s a bold statement to make but The Cows is completely unlike any other book out there at the moment. It has that something special, as cheesy as it would be to say it has the ‘X-Factor’ I’m going to put it out there and say it, regardless…) There’s no denying that this book is pretty damn unique.

Dawn is such a superb storyteller. She has crafted these three brave, bold and relatable females and turned them into characters that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading the book. They are complex and they felt so very real. Their stories felt real, their problems felt real and the issues they faced felt frighteningly real. You might not always agree with the decisions they make, but you will undoubtedly grow to care about these three women.
The issues tackled in this book are incredible and really couldn’t be more relevant. One of the main topics that Dawn tackled which stood out for me was the power of the internet, especially as a blogger myself. With the rise of YouTube and social media, it’s frightening how 140 characters can literally make or break a person. The way this is incorporated into the story is hugely thought-provoking and unsettling.
The other overriding theme is the problems faced by everyday women in todays modern world. Friendship, motherhood, trolling, relationships and most predominantly, will we, as women, ever be enough?

I predict really big things for this novel, and rightly so. It is definitely deserving of all the praise it’s been receiving and I cannot recommend it enough. It should be required reading for females everywhere – not only does it convey a hugely important message, but it has a brilliantly executed story at its centre. A must-read.

A huge thank you to Emilie at HarperCollins.

 

 

My 5 ‘Perfect’ Literary Characters by Cecelia Ahern

I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for one of my favourite authors, Cecelia Ahern. Cecelia released Perfect, the follow up to her hugely successful YA debut, Flawed, on the 6th April and it sounds AMAZING. (My review is to follow…)
Cecelia has been kind enough to share her top five  ‘perfect’ literary characters. Be sure to let me know if you agree and who your choices would be…

1. Winnie the Pooh

2. Alice in Wonderland

3. Jack Reacher from Lee Child’s novels

4. Sara Linton and Will Trent from Karin Slaughter’s Grant County/ Will Trent Series  (I know that’s 2 but I’m cheating)

5. Lisbeth Salander (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

The thrilling, shocking and romantic sequel to the bestselling YA debut FLAWED is finally here. When we embrace all our flaws, that’s when we can finally become PERFECT…

Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine’s life has completely fractured – all her freedoms gone.

Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with the complicated, powerfully attractive Carrick, the only person she can trust. But Celestine has a secret – one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground.

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save only herself, or risk her life to save all the Flawed. And, most important of all, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed…?

Available in hardback and ebook. 

Giveaway: The Little Clock House on the Green by Eve Devon

 

Hi there and thank you so much for stopping by today.

I’ve had such a wonderful time celebrating the release of The Little Clock House on the Green and also getting to visit some gorgeous blogs as part of my blog tour that I really wanted to say a HUGE BIG LOVELY THANK YOU via that well-known medium of the #GIVEAWAY!

The Little Clock House on the Green takes place over a glorious English summer and deals with a number of themes but two which run all the way through the book are friendship and honey. Well, honey martinis, to be exact!

Um, okay, yes, technically, honey martinis aren’t a theme, but they sure do taste yummy. Trust me; I did the research just to check (you can find lots of scrummy recipes on the internet)! To be scrupulously fair here though, I should also say that other drinks are available – it is set over an English summer so, you know, tea also features heavily!

All this had me wondering how I could make The Little Clock House on the Green #Giveaway themed to help provide the perfect reading experience.

So I’ve collected together a gorgeous honeycomb & bee cushion that you can hug or squish up against in your favourite reading spot, whether that’s the sofa or on the village green in the sunshine. A summery mug and a glass so you can choose tea or, you know…a different tipple! Some scrummy chocolates. A handy bling-o-licious bookmark, and a bag to put all the necessary reading loveliness in, because:

“There is no friend as loyal as a book” Ernest Hemingway

And…

“A Day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey inside”

Winnie the Pooh

Watch out for the giveaway details at the end of this post…

Blurb: An absolute must-read for fans of Gilmore Girls!

Welcome to Whispers Wood, a cosy little village in the heart of the English countryside, where everybody knows everybody and rumours are spread thicker than jam on a scone…

When a rival village is awarded Best in Bloom, the residents of Whispers Wood are determined to regain their former glory – and with Old Man Isaac finally selling the clock house on the village green, with two potential buyers, operation ‘Summer Fete’ is on!

For Kate Somersby, the very bricks that make up the clock house hold precious memories of her childhood. Now she’s finally returned home after years of running away, she’s here to make Isaac an offer and ensure her and her beloved sister’s dreams come true. Only entrepreneur Daniel Westlake is standing in her way.

To prove they have the village’s interests at heart and in turn become the proud new owner of the clock house, Kate and Daniel must compete to raise funds for the Whispers Wood Summer Fete.

Over one glorious English summer, friendships are forged, secrets are revealed and romance delightfully bursts into bloom.

Buy Links:

AMAZON             GOOGLE PLAY                iTUNES                KOBO                   NOOK/Barnes&Noble

 

 

Bio:

My name’s Eve Devon and I write sexy heroes, sassy heroines and happy ever afters…

I kind of secretly believe it’s not too late for me to train as a professional dancer, MMA expert, or win an Oscar. I know! This is why writing fiction is for me!

Growing up in locations like Botswana and Venezuela gave me a taste for adventure and my love for romances began when my mother shoved one into my hands in a desperate attempt to keep me quiet during TV coverage of the Wimbledon tennis finals.

When I wasn’t consuming books by the bucket-load, I could be found pretending to be a damsel in distress or running around solving mysteries and writing down my adventures. As a teenager, I wrote countless episodes of TV detective dramas so the hero and heroine would end up together every week. As an adult, I worked in a library to conveniently continue consuming books by the bucket-load, until realising I was destined to write contemporary romance and romantic suspense myself. I live in leafy Surrey in the UK, a book-devouring, slightly melodramatic, romance-writing sassy heroine with my very own sexy hero husband!

Where you can find me:

WEBSITE                   TWITTER                   FACEBOOK              GOODREADS

So to be in with a chance of winning, simply enter the rafflecopter below…

And if you enjoyed reading about the honey martinis in The Little Clock House on the Green… then you’ll love meeting my match-making mixologist, Emma Danes, who is going to be working at The Clock House when Christmas at The Little Clock House comes out later this year.

Good luck – the winner will be picked on Friday 14th April!

Love and Little Clock House kisses,

Eve xx

Click HERE to be taken to the rafflecopter form and follow the onscreen instructions. Good luck!