Book review: The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan

As a Jenny Colgan fan, I was excited to receive a copy of her latest book to review.

Endless Beach cover

Title    The Endless Beach

Author   Jenny Colgan

Blurb

On the quayside next to the Endless Beach sits the Summer Seaside Kitchen. It’s a haven for tourists and locals alike, who all come to eat the freshest local produce on the island and catch up with the gossip. Flora, who runs the cafe, feels safe and content – unless she thinks too hard about her relationship with Joel, her gorgeous but emotionally (and physically) distant boyfriend.

While Flora is in turmoil about her relationship. her best friend Lorna is pining after the local doctor. Saif came to the island as a refugee, having lost all of his family. But he’s about to get some shocking news which will change everything for him.

As cold winter nights shift to long summer days, can Flora find her happy-ever-after with Joel?

My thoughts

On a cold January day, there is nothing quite like a Jenny Colgan book to transport you to another place, in this case, The Endless Beach on the Scottish island of Mure. The scenery is breath-taking and the community is as close-knit as it was in the first book of this series – The Summer Seaside Kitchen. The book focuses on Flora with her bakery and the emotions of falling in love with Joel, her brother Fintan and Saif the island’s GP who is waiting anxiously for news of his family in Syria.  Jenny Colgan’s writing has a relaxed, natural flow which drew me instantly into the story and fall in love with Mure all over again. Her collection of characters are always memorable and mainly down to earth.  I would have read it in one sitting if it was not for life getting in the way. Instead, I stayed up until the early hours to finish it. For all the ideas I had about where the story was leading, I was not expecting that ending.

It is the perfect book if you love light romantic books for wintery nights curled up near the fire or on a beach on a summer’s  day.

As common in her books, Jenny Colgan writes a welcome which I appreciate these as they recap what has gone before which is always handy and I love the recipes inspired by the book at the back. One day, I may even try them.

Thank you, NetGalley and Sphere for an advanced copy.

Have you read it? Leave your comments below

Happy reading!

Book review: I Should be Writing: A Writer’s Workshop by Murs Lafferty

The first book review of the year is Murs Lafferty’s book I Should be Writing: A Writer’s Workshop I first read this book when I received a digital ARC from NetGalley but I loved it so much a physical copy appeared under the Christmas tree. Sometimes only a real book will do.

One of the main reasons I enjoy this book is its straightforward and concise nature.  I may have heard some of the advice before by browsing the web and reading other writing books but the waffle is stripped away, leaving a book that is like a personal cheerleader on my desk, encouraging me to stop procrastinating and write.

Her language, delivery of the information and the inclusion of the conversations between a fictional muse and bully fit my way of thinking. After all, I have my own muse, Elsie. The chapters are short (handy for a brain which has a tendency to get distracted) and covers all aspects of writing including

  • writer’s doubts and fears
  • tools you need
  • myths
  • writing your first and second draft
  • editing
  • self-publishing
  • traditional publishing

At the back, there are several exercises to complete to help you on your writing journey after all writing is a journey and not just a destination. Now I need to catch up on her podcasts and the others she recommends.

Have you listened to any podcasts on writing and what books on writing would you recommend trying?

Happy writing!

Blue Monday, Domestic Abuse and Free Book – Isolation Junction

Christmas is over and bills are hitting the door mat in anticipation for Blue Monday. It can be a hard time for everyone but it also causes the risk of domestic abuse to escalate. Domestic abuse happens behind closed doors but the statistics are eye opening. In 2015/2016 affected 1.2 million women and 651,000 males*. It can happen to anyone. It is not dependent on age, class, race or gender.  Author Jennifer Gilmour has popped over to talk about  why she is offering her debut, Isolation Junction, free for 5 days at this time of year and how it came about.

Jennifer Gilmour speaks about why she is giving her novel away for FREE

Author Jennifer Gilmore

My name is Jennifer Gilmour and I am a survivor of domestic abuse, I have published two books both with a focus on raising awareness about domestic abuse at their core. Whilst both aim to raise this awareness one is written as a work of fiction whilst the other is a compilation of survivor stories and therefore non-fiction. Both work in different ways to educate and raise awareness of this insidious and unacceptable behaviour.

Over Christmas, incidents of domestic abuse reported to the police rise. Assault and domestic murders increase 25% during the festive period with a third of them been on Christmas Day itself. Bombarded with images of the perfect nuclear family gathered around the gold baubles of a Christmas tree, it can be easy to forget that Christmas is a time of coercion, punishment and violence for many women** and men.

Now I know it isn’t Christmas anymore but January can be just as bad be-cause all those credit card bills come in alongside your usual direct debits. There is even a day in January called Blue Monday and this year its on the 15th. The date is generally reported as falling on the third Monday in January, but also on the second or fourth Monday, or the Monday of the last full week of January.
The formula uses many factors, including: weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action.
Can you imagine this formula and applying it to an abusive relationship?

For 5 days my debut novel, Isolation Junction is going to be FREE on Amazon Kindle, this is the first time ever to happen. It’s the week before Blue Monday, I wonder if those reading will be inspired to take action?

I ask you all to share the link and break the silence surrounding domestic abuse.

 

UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LX4HLT0

US link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LX4HLT0

 

Synopsis of Isolation Junction

Rose is the mother of two young children, and finds herself living a robotic life with an abusive and controlling husband. While she struggles to maintain a calm front for the sake of her children, inside Rose is dying and trapped in ‘Isolation Junction’.

She runs an online business from home, because Darren won’t let her work outside the house. Through this, she meets other mums and finds courage to attend networking events, while Darren is at work, to promote her business.

It’s at one of these events that Rose meets Tim, a sympathetic, dark-haired stranger who unwittingly becomes an important part of her survival.

After years of emotional abuse, of doubting her future and losing all self-confidence, Rose takes a stand. Finding herself distraught, alone and helpless, Rose wonders how she’ll ever escape with her sanity and her children. With 100 reasons to leave and 1,000 reasons she can’t, will she be able to do it?

Will Tim help her? Will Rose find peace and the happiness she deserves? Can Rose break free from this spiralling life she so desperately wants to change?

 

If you need support you can contact National Domestic Violence helpline on 0808 2000 247 or check out Jennifer’s page http://jennifergilmour.com/support/

** https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/welfare/2015/12/it-s-hardest-time-year-why-domestic-violence-spikes-over-christmas

Weekly Reading Update 8th Jan 2018

This is the first weekly reading update of the year. One of my 2018 goals is  to check in weekly to share my current reads for the week and hopefully hear what you are reading too.

I have just finished an ARC for Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood, a fantasy YA with elements of a twisted fairy tale. I will post a review nearer to its publication date next month.

I have started Jenny Colgan’s The Endless Beach, also an ARC and would love to pause time so the to-do list can be forgotten so I can just read undisturbed. Her books always demand my attention once they are started.

Thank you NetGalley and publishers for allowing me the opportunity to have a sneak preview at books. I am so grateful.

Though I have read Murs Lafferty’s I Should be Writing, I am dipping in to complete the exercises.

Also Jennifer Gilmour’s debut novel Isolation Junction has been downloaded on my Kindle along with her second book Clipped Wings. If you can head over there now – Isolation Junction is available FREE for 5 days (8th – 12th Jan 2018) to raise awareness of domestic abuse. We will also hear more from Jennifer later in the week but in the meantime why not pop over to download your copy.

UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LX4HLT0

US link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LX4HLT0

What are you reading this week?

Happy reading and writing!

 

Reading, writing and New Year plans

Happy New Year! I hope 2018 is full of happiness, good health, inspirational ideas and good books to read.

My main goal for this year is the same as last year and probably every year – write! I may not have finished my first draft yet but I have learnt lots in 2017, made close friendships with fellow aspiring writers and have discovered the desire to write is not going away.

Goals for 2018

  • Be more organised – this seems an impossible dream.
  • Use a life planner or similar to keep my grasshopper brain on track. I found a wonderful, thought-provoking life planner I would love to use and it was free. Thank you The Swish Family Robertson for creating it.
  • Use a planner to keep track of book reviews, blog tours and writing deadlines
  • Explore more places, be spontaneous.
  • Meet up with writing friends I have met online.
  • Sit in a coffee shop and write. I see other writers do this and I am always envious.
  • Learn how to write short stories.
  • Be brave and contact relevant people to help in my research. The first hurdle is admitting I am a writer to strangers.
  • Finish my first draft of The Ellfaenian Journals.
  • Read more books about the craft of writing.
  • Pluck up the courage to enter competitions.
  • Read more and send in reviews to Amazon and Goodreads. It was only recently I discovered the importance of this for writers. If you want to support the authors who bring you the stories you love, write a review.

Pile of books

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