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Grow Bag Gardening by Kevin Espiritu

Goodness, my head is reeling! There is so much information packed into this book.

Author Kevin Espiritu is obviously passionate and incredibly knowledgeable about gardening in general and grow bag gardening in particular, and his enthusiasm shows on every page. It’s only to be expected that the reader absorbs this fervour too, along with all the information.

Anyone, anywhere can do grow bag gardening, whether you only have a balcony or are blessed with a good-sized garden. Grow bag gardening means you can create a small, dedicated environment for a particular plant. If your soil type has hitherto limited what plants you can grow, well, that’s no longer the case. You can create a patch of sandy, well-draining soil in the midst of your heavy clay, or vice versa. You can grow everything from microgreens to a tree in a grow bag. The author gives you the ‘how’ for every scenario. He also throws in the where (indoors and outdoors), when (seasonal or pretty much all year round depending on the plant involved and where it’s being grown), what (everything) and why (too many reasons to list here!) for good measure. And don’t forget the who – everyone can grow-bag garden.

I learnt a truckload, and not just about how to choose or make the ideal grow bag for whatever project is in mind. I’ve been gardening for years but hadn’t come across air-pruning before, nor such detailed guidance concerning creating your own potting mixes and fertilisers. I love to discover new concepts, approaches and ideas and I’m already putting them into practice.
The book is well written in that everything is clearly explained and demonstrated, and the accompanying photographs are relevant and instructive.

It’s without a doubt one of the best gardening books I’ve ever read. And in nearly six decades I’ve read a heck of a lot!

I could go on for days about this book, but you’ll have to excuse me now as I have to go and do some grow bag gardening!

Revolutionary, inspiring, absolutely to recommend.

 

Published by Cool Springs Press. Available from 23 February 2021.

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One Summer In Monte Carlo by Jennifer Bohnet

Synopsis

Monte Carlo means different things to different people; a billionaires’ playground, overflowing with glitz and glamour but also where dangerous secrets hide.

For Nanette Weston, and her then fiancé, F1 racing driver Zac Ewart, their dream life came to an abrupt halt 3 years ago following a car accident which Zac walked away from, but left Nanette being airlifted back to the UK, never to return and never to see her fiancé again.

Monte Carlo was a place she wanted to forget, not revisit. But when her friend and employer, Vanessa asks Nanette to look after her children in the Principality for a few months, Nanette knew she had no choice but to return.

As the F1 circus once again comes to town, with Zac in pole position, mistakes of the past, leave legacies for the future…

This book was previously published as Follow Your Star by Jennifer Bohnet.

 

My review

It’s not all glitz and glamour in Monte Carlo, and neither are the lives of stars and famous people. This book shows you both sides of these places and people: Monte Carlo with its seedy side, and the less attractive side of an admired racing driver. Things are not what they seem.

Atmosphere is the main strength of this novel, and all the settings we are taken too are vividly depicted for us.

We have an interesting, varied range of characters, some of whom we warm to more quickly than others, but that’s only to be expected when we’re seeing them warts and all.

An enjoyable, thoughtful novel.

 

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3cqDnQh

 

Author bio

Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of women’s fiction, including ‘Villa of Sun and Secrets’ and ‘A Riviera Retreat’. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.

 

Social media links

http://www.jenniferbohnet.com/

http://facebook.com/Jennifer-Bohnet-170217789709356

http://twitter.com/jenniewriter

http://instagram.com/jenniebohnet

Newsletter sign up link: http://bit.ly/JenniferBohnetNewsletter
Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jennifer-bohnet

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Lost in Translation by Audrey Davis

Synopsis

Charlotte Egerton and family are off to Switzerland, after husband Dom bags a big-time job promotion.

But Charlotte isn’t exactly yodelling with delight at the prospect. Not since a chance discovery cast a shadow over her ten-year marriage. And navigating twisty Swiss roads and getting to grips with French only adds to her woes…

Following a bumpy encounter with an arrogant German, Charlotte is far from convinced the expat life is for her.

With doubts about Dom — and concerns for her best friend, Ruth — plaguing her mind, will Charlotte embrace the Swiss way of life, or are some mountains just too hard to conquer?

Embark on a journey filled with laughter, tears and lessons in love. Sometimes you just have to seize the day…

Praise for Audrey Davis

‘Warm, witty and highly entertaining.’

‘The author never fails to provide humour and pathos in equal measure.’

‘The story-telling is rich, intelligent and rewarding.’

 

My review

This is a thoroughly delightful novel that gives a realistic insight into the life of a trailing spouse. From the outside it might appear to be glamourous and enviable, but on the inside it’s a rather different matter of coping with a new culture and trying to fit in. There are added difficulties for Charlotte, too, with Dom’s wandering eye.

Charlotte is a likeable, genuine character. She’s not afraid to express her true feelings, apart from in front of the children. There are times when even the most gung-ho of spirits will quail, and Charlotte is certainly no pushover. She tackles her new life with as much enthusiasm as she can muster but can’t quite shake off the square peg in a round hole feeling.

There are lovely descriptions, fascinating insights into life in Switzerland, plenty of humour, touches of pathos and anger, and flowing writing that sweeps you into the story and keeps you enthralled all the way through. Very enjoyable.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Translation-romantic-comedy-starting-ebook/dp/B08P7WTQ9K/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Translation-romantic-comedy-starting-ebook/dp/B08P7WTQ9K/

 

Author bio

Audrey Davis is a Scottish-born former journalist, now resident in Switzerland. Her newspaper career saw her cover events in Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands, as well as working for a London-based movie magazine writing reviews and carrying out interviews.

She self-published her debut romantic comedy novel A Clean Sweep in June 2017, following an online Open University course in Writing Fiction.

Audrey followed up with a short, darker prequel A Clean Break before beginning work on a rom-com novella trilogy with a ghostly twist – The Haunting of Hattie Hastings. Again, reviews across the board were excellent, and it was combined into a standalone novel in November 2018. Her third novel, A Wish For Jinnie, was published in June.

Apart from writing, Audrey enjoys travel and spends a lot of time in Edinburgh. At least she did until recently…  She is an avid cook, watcher of scary movies and reluctant gym-goer.

 

Social media links

https://twitter.com/audbyname

https://www.facebook.com/audreydavisbooks/

https://www.instagram.com/cowieaudrey/

https://audreydavisauthor.com

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Meant To Be by Louisa Leaman

Synopsis

After a spate of terrible boyfriends, Jess is sure she’s found her perfect man in dependable – but occasionally dull – Tim. But when her grandmother, tasks her with retrieving a family heirloom from a local auction she finds herself face to face with a charming stranger, Guy.

Guy has already bought her grandmother’s precious necklace and whilst Jess desperately tries to buy it back from him, he somehow convinces her to go out on a date instead.

Ridiculous. But Guy has the necklace and Jess’s grandmother’s health is declining rapidly. Jess has no choice but to indulge Guy and go on a date with – if only to get the necklace back.

Will saving the necklace risk disrupting Jess’s happily-ever-after? And will she care if it does?

 

My review

This is a fast-moving, interesting romance that revolves around a vintage butterfly necklace.

Jess makes for a lovely heroine. She’s strong-willed, yet also lacking in confidence due to boyfriend disasters and an accident that has left her walking with a stick. Aggie, her sister, is the perfect foil. They’re chalk and cheese but united by family loyalty and love.

The two main male characters of dependable boyfriend Tim and the charming, impulsive newcomer Guy – well, we’ve met them a hundred times before in other romcoms, but that doesn’t make them any less effective here. They fulfil their roles splendidly, and Guy is definitely multi-faceted and fascinating.

The opening setting of an auction room is excellent, a real eye-opener to those of us who’ve never ventured into one. The recurrent themes of art nouveau and jewellery are equally attention-grabbing, and really set the book apart.

The plot keeps a tight hold of the reader’s attention, so this is certainly a very entertaining book, as sparkly as some of the gems we come across within its pages.

 

About the author

Louisa Leaman was born, raised and now lives near Epping Forest. She studied Art History at Leeds University before becoming a teacher working with children with special needs. After winning the Times Education Supplement’s New Writer’s Award, she turned her hand to writing books for children. Louisa currently writes content for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, but has also been published in the Guardian, the Observer, the Independent and The Times Educational Supplement. Her interest in the arts is often inspiration for her plots and her first book, The Perfect Dress, was inspired by the V&As large wedding dress collection and fulfils her dream of writing romantic fiction. When she isn’t busy writing or rearing her three lively children, she paints portraits, takes long walks and spends far too long browsing vintage clothing shops.

 

‘Meant To Be’ is published by Penguin.

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Publication day promo: Just for Christmas by Emily Harvale

Just for Christmas

Could this be true love? Or is it just for Christmas?

Finding an abandoned dog beside the road isn’t the Christmas surprise interior designer, Molly Ford is hoping for. But when the local vet can’t find a space for the bedraggled dog, Molly makes a rash decision.

The problem is, she’s spending Christmas with her brother, Terence, and his girlfriend is allergic to dogs, so the bundle of wet fur, which Molly has named Miracle, might not be the only one needing a home this Christmas.

And Miracle causes chaos wherever he puts his paws. He pees on the Christmas tree, shreds the Christmas presents and eats the honeyed ham. That’s just the first night.

When Terence’s best friend, Chance offers Molly and Miracle a place to stay for Christmas, Molly is ecstatic. She doesn’t mind at all when he informs her there are strings attached. She’d rather like a festive fling with gorgeous Chance.

Now Molly’s in for another surprise. Chance is about to pop the question. Except it’s not to Molly. In fact, he needs her help to get the dilapidated cottage he’s bought, all clean and sparkly in time for his girlfriend’s impending arrival on New Year’s Eve.

But as Molly and Chance grow closer, spending time together beneath the stars in a winter wonderland and enjoying the Christmas festivities, they realise they have feelings for each other.

Could this be true love? Or is it just for Christmas?

 

Purchase Link –  mybook.to/JustforChristmas

Author Bio –

Emily writes novels, novellas and short stories about friendship, family and falling in love. She loves a happy ending but knows that life doesn’t always go to plan. Her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily loves to connect with her readers and has a readers’ group in which many have become good friends. To catch up with Emily, find out about the group, or connect with her on social media, go to her website at www.emilyharvale.com.

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now writes full-time. She’s a member of the SoA, an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. When not writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both. Emily has two mischievous rescue cats that like to sprawl across her keyboard, regardless of whether Emily is typing on it, or not.

Social Media Links –  https://www.facebook.com/emilyharvalewriter

https://www.twitter.com/emilyharvale

https://www.instagram.com/emilyharvale

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Let’s Talk About Cats. Conversations On Feline Behaviour by Anita Kelsey

Let’s Talk About Cats: Conversations on Feline Behaviour features 16 unique in-depth conversations with devoted feline experts, each chapter answering a question about our cats. An abundance of catty conversation points which provide many useful takeaways for cat owners to improve their own every-day connection with their cats.

This book, the first of its kind, presents the combined wisdom of experts from all over the world on the psychology, behaviour, diet and training of cats, in a relaxed and conversational style. Contributors include Jackson Galaxy, star of My Cat From Hell, and composer David Teie, whose ground-breaking album, Music for Cats, was released by the Universal Music Group.

Each illuminating chapter exudes a love for cats and a wealth of fascinating insights.

This book is packed with helpful advice, guidance and true stories from the author’s own professional experience of cat care topics, explaining the most important cat concepts, giving food for thought and expanding on all the most important issues and debates in the cat world.

 

My review

This book does exactly what it says on the cover: it talks about cats. It consists of a collection of interviews with a range of experts in the feline field. It’s absolutely fascinating!

It’s a book that will appeal predominantly to cat lovers, but anyone interested in animals in general is sure to find it a rewarding read.

Cats are looked at from all angles – from how similar their behaviour is to that of wild cats, to whether they like music, to how to communicate using both language and telepathy with them, to keeping them happy, well groomed, properly fed and cared for. It’s a positive wealth of information and gives you lots to think about.

Some of the interviewees are every bit as fascinating as the feline subject matter of this book.

I learnt an awful lot from ‘Let’s Talk About Cats’ and I’m sure our six cats, all waifs and strays collected over the years, will benefit from my new knowledge and understanding of these intelligent and complex creatures.

I now have a much better idea what our Treacle (pictured left) is thinking about… Gigi (pictured below), who loves to sit in the dustpan, may, however, be a tougher nut to crack!

Absolutely one to read.

 

 

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lets-Talk-About-Cats-Conversations-ebook/dp/B08HKNXBFT

US – https://www.amazon.com/Lets-Talk-About-Cats-Conversations-ebook/dp/B08HKNXBFT

 

If anyone would like the chance to win a free copy of Let’s Talk About Cats plus some fun cat toys from Purrs In Our Hearts and 4Cats then join the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/letstalkaboutcats

There will be 5 fun cat photo competitions posted on 23rd Nov With the entries closing 4th Dec. Rules and how to enter on the page.

Author Bio –

Anita Kelsey holds a first class honours degree in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work based BA Hons) and runs a vet referral service dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats. She is also a qualified cat groomer and specialises in grooming aggressive or phobic cats. Anita writes for Your Cat Magazine and is on their experts panel answering readers questions on cat grooming. She also advises on feline behaviour for the CFBA (Canine and Feline Behaviour) magazine as well as being a full member. Anita, a strong advocate of a vegan lifestyle, is based in London but consults all over the UK as well as international requests. She lives with her husband, a music producer, and two Norwegian Forest cats, Kiki and Zaza.

Her debut book ‘Claws. Confessions Of A Professional Cat Groomer‘ was published by John Blakes in 2018 and her second book Let’s Talk About Cats, Conversation On Feline Behaviour is due out November 28th 2020.

Visit http://www.catbehaviourist.com.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/catbehaviourist

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cat_behaviourist/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/catbehaviourist/

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A Real Royal Christmess by Linda West

A Real Royal Christmess

Jess is trying to win back her boyfriend, who dumped her for being boring. Jamie is trying to complete his father’s bucket list before he takes the Crown. Both of them are hiding who they truly are, and when the truth is discovered, it’s a real royal Christmess!

 

My review

There’s quite a strong element of fairy tale in this fun and festive novel where rather boring accountant meets dashing, secret royal. It has a winter holiday background so is very seasonal.

Our two main characters are chalk and cheese. Jamie is outgoing, caring, laid back and a little economical with the truth at times. Jess is earnest, a touch needy, and frankly exasperating in her attempts to win back her boyfriend who is so not worth it! She takes a while to warm to. However, we do ultimately care what happens to her. Her friend Molly is altogether more feisty and engaging, and she plays an important part in the story.

It’s an entertaining, quirky story and makes for a fairly quick read. It’ll while a winter’s evening very enjoyably.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08KTMFCK4

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KTMFCK4

Author Bio

Linda West is the best selling author of the adorable and enchanting “Christmas Kisses and Cookies.” It is a delightful series of holiday romances based around the town of Kissing Bridge and the magical Landers sisters who are the reigning blue ribbon cookie queens thanks to their mothers’ ‘special’ recipe book.

Linda was the owner of Mayberry – a celebrity-filled restaurant in Malibu where many of her recipes enchanted the regulars such as Tom Hanks and Anthony Hopkins to name a few. Her recipes are sprinkled throughout her fiction books much to the delight of her fans.

Her newest venture is in the cosy mystery and humour genre. With – Death by Crockpot – the first in her newest series, Linda takes her favourite known characters from Kissing Bridge and throws them into some side-splitting funny adventures.

 

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/Morningmayan

http://www.morningmayan.com/

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Quickie review: Ingredients by George Zaidan

Blurb

Cheese puffs. Coffee. Sunscreen. Vapes. George Zaidan reveals what will kill you, what won’t, and why—explained with high-octane hilarity, hysterical hijinks, and other things that don’t begin with the letter H.

Ingredients offers the perspective of a chemist on the stuff we eat, drink, inhale, and smear on ourselves. Apart from the burning question of whether you should eat that Cheeto, Zaidan explores a range of topics. Here’s a helpful guide:

Stuff in this book:
– How bad is processed food? How sure are we?
– Is sunscreen safe? Should you use it?
– Is coffee good or bad for you?
– What’s your disease horoscope?
– What is that public pool smell made of?
– What happens when you overdose on fentanyl in the sun?
– What do cassava plants and Soviet spies have in common?
– When will you die?

Zaidan, an MIT-trained chemist who cohosted CNBC’s hit Make Me a Millionaire Inventor and wrote and voiced several TED-Ed viral videos, makes chemistry more fun than Hogwarts as he reveals exactly what science can (and can’t) tell us about the packaged ingredients sold to us every day. Sugar, spinach, formaldehyde, cyanide, the ingredients of life and death, and how we know if something is good or bad for us—as well as the genius of aphids and their butts—are all discussed in exquisite detail at breakneck speed.

My review

This book is absolutely fascinating, and written in such an enjoyable way. Think mad professor, eccentric genius, and that’s the author, and I mean that as a massive compliment. He brings such life and fun to a rather serious subject.

We cover a huge variety of ingredients in the three parts of this mine of information. The first part focusses on processed food, plants and microbes. Part Two is intriguingly named ‘how bad is bad’ and weighs up certainty versus uncertainty, and Part Three, Should you eat that Cheese Puff or not, takes a level-headed but joyous look at the alleged evils of many familiar items, edible and otherwise. It finishes with the chapter ‘So what do I do’?’
I’ll tell you what to do – read this book and you’ll come away much better informed and more able to assess for yourself all the food warnings and/or enthusiastic promotions that bombard us practically all the time.
And you’ll know what some of the 950+ chemicals in roasted coffee are.

Writing this review – rather longer after reading the book than intended – has reminded me of exactly how informative and entertaining it was. I’m going to have to read it again now.
I hope we’ll see more from this author.

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Quickie review: Murder in the Christmas Tree Lot by Judith Gonda

Blurb

Landscape architect Tory Benning returns in a holiday mystery tied up with a bow!

Still struggling with the death of her husband, Tory Benning is doing her best to get into the festive spirit of the holiday season, but when her landscaping company’s email is hacked and there’s a break-in at the office, it’s enough to make her see red. And then the unthinkable happens, when the owner of a specialty food truck is brutally slain at the company’s Christmas tree lot, and Tory finds herself mired in murder once again.

With a long list of suspects—including an untold number of revelers disguised in Santa suits, seasonal employees handling tree sales, and even a vengeful jilted suitor—the police investigation grinds along slowly and methodically. But as Tory begins piecing together clues on her own, she finds she’s the target of a menacing stalker who may be out to do more than just scare her. Refusing to be intimidated, Tory vows to nab the culprit, even if it means that catching a Christmas killer has become her lot in life . . .

 

My review

A thoroughly enjoyable festive cosy with a strong and likeable heroine. Unlike many amateur sleuths, who tend towards the ditzy, Tory is understated, calm and gracious.

The plot is clever and intriguing, with plenty of seasonal overtones. Setting is well constructed, and you get a very strong sense of community. People pull together here – apart from when they’re bumping each other off, of course! The author gets the balance just right – we get glimpses of enough people to show this is a small town but we don’t get swamped by a sea of names.

Throughout Tory is continuing to come to terms with the loss of her husband, and this adds an extra layer to the story.

There’s excitement, tension, friendship, loyalty and courage. A wonderful read.

 

Kindle book available at all Amazon stores.

Published by Beyond the Page Publishing.

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Murder at the Gorge by Frances Evesham

Synopsis

When the Exham-on-Sea residents are targeted by anonymous emails containing apparently harmless nursery rhymes, no one knows whether to laugh or shudder until an unexplained death touches the town.

Libby Forest, baker, chocolatier and Exham’s very own resident private investigator, alongside her partner Max Ramshore, set out to solve the puzzle before more people die. But when Max’s ex-wife arrives on the scene, ahead of Max and Libby’s long-awaited nuptials, things go from bad to worse.

With the town and their relationship under threat, Max and Libby need the help of the Exham History Society if they’re going to find the nursery rhyme killer in time.

Murder at the Gorge is the seventh in a series of Exham-on-Sea Murder Mysteries set at the small English seaside town full of quirky characters, sea air, and gossip.

If you love Agatha Christie-style mysteries, cosy crime, clever dogs and cake, then you’ll love these intriguing whodunnits.

 

My review

This is an enjoyable, absorbing read, very much character-driven but with a strong sense of setting and a plot that’s complex and clever. You need to keep your wits about you because there’s a lot more happening than you might think. Murder at the Gorge is a deceptively simple.

Max and Libby are both very likeable characters, both empathetic and sympathetic. They make a good team with a variety of strengths between them. However, Stella’s resurfacing – she’s Max’s ex-wife – threatens to throw a very big spanner into their smooth-working machinery.

There’s a good cast of supporting actors, with plenty of action to interest the reader all the way through. It’s well written, and makes for a rewarding read.

 

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3cnJN1F

Author bio

Frances Evesham is the author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea Murder Mysteries set in her home county of Somerset. In her spare time, she collects poison recipes and other ways of dispatching her unfortunate victims. She likes to cook with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other, her head full of murder?fictional only.

 

 

Social Media Links

http://facebook.com/frances.evesham.writer

http://twitter.com/FrancesEvesham

http://instagram.com/francesevesham

http://bookbub.com/authors/frances-evesham

Newsletter sign up: https://bit.ly/FrancesEveshamNewsletter