Are you the F**king Doctor by Dr Liam Farrell

areyouthedoctor

What they say: ‘General practice is the great unknown. We stand on the cusp of the beyond.
Science takes us only so far, then the maps stop in the grey areas of intuition,
imagination and feelings: here be dragons. Lurching from heart-breaking tragedy
to high farce, we are the Renaissance men and women of medicine; our art is
intangible. Anything can walk through our door…’

Family doctor, Irishman, musician, award-winning author, anarchist and
recovering morphine addict, Liam became a columnist for the BMJ in 1994.
He went on to write for many major publications, winning a series of prestigious
awards; in 2005, he was the first doctor to win Columnist of the Year in the
Periodical Publishers Association awards.

The book contains a selection of Liam’s best work, from his columns, blogs and
short stories.

Brilliantly funny, glittering with literary allusion and darkly wicked humour, this
book is much more than a collection of stand-alone anecdotes and whimsical
reflections, rather a compelling chronicle of the daily struggles – and personal
costs – of a doctor at the coalface.

The Review: Some of you might know Dr Liam Farrell from an Irish med tweetchat, others from Writerswise, where he hosts a totally different tweet chat with the brilliant Sharon Thompson. Either way Dr Farrell is a force to be reckoned with and I was intrigued to hear of this, a book collating many of his various articles on being a doctor. Little did I know that it would start in such a dark place (the man’s own addiction) and go to many other dark places, but with much wit thrown in. (Yes, another book where I hadn’t read the blurb, I’ll admit it!!!)

One of the stories that grabbed me was one that I suppose wouldn’t be seen as stranger than fiction, but would most definitely be something a lot of people had never come into contact with, the issues of having to treat patients that were on the run from different sides in the troubles up the north of Ireland. Another, one, definitely of a lighter tone, was one on his aunties growing up. It was about being positive, which reminded me of similar aunties I’d heard tell of in my own house!

There was also a great deal of philosophy on life and I suppose tips to help you get through and I found myself reading late into the night, nodding along as I did. I’ll admit, there’s times I’m not the sharpest tool in the box and so had to read and re-read passages, such is the literary deliverance of some of the stories, but in general it was totally my cup of tea and I appreciated the stories and advice. Definitely worth a read!

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Reading round up 2018

So as you’ve seen before 2018 is nearly over, and with that comes the end of the Goodreads challenge. I wasn’t sure what to do this year, as I haven’t done the challenge for the last two years, but I settled on 85 books and read just over a hundred so happy out really!

As for my standout books for the year, I am working off a mac that doesn’t seem to like doing work anymore so am finding it hard to link, post images, the lot but I suppose a number come to mind. My top three are

Mine by Susi Fox

No Safe Place by Patricia Gibney

Anything You do Say by Gillian McAllister. 

I had a list of over ten which I whittled down to these three. If you look over my reviews you’ll see clearly the books I’ve adored, the authors I’ve discovered and those I come back to time and time again. You’ll know when people ask for a recommendation I now have an arsenal at my fingertips of both thrillers and chick lit/ rom coms. Off hand I send people to Tracy Bloom or Fiona Gibson, Andrea Mara, Patricia Gibney, Kathryn Croft and Hannah Ellis routinely.

The books My Sisters and me, The Cornish Village School, Izzy as is, Miss Adventure, The Abandoned and The Widow Next Door and the authors Sharon Thompson, Geralyn Corcillo, Tracie Banister, T A Willians, Rich Amooi, Hannah Ellis, Annie Lyons, Emily Harvale, Nicola May, Robert Bryndza and Lynda Renham who consistently and constantly deliver (as well as dreams of becoming the next Sophie Kinsella, Helen Fielding and Marian Keyes;)) have inspired me back to writing this year.

I have a number of books for blog tours for next year read for already so that I can continue with my own writing (am hoping to have two new books out next year) and I also plan on laying into some of the gems that have been waiting patiently for me, some for years (first off Jenny Morton Potts, Louise Phillips and Clare Mackintosh) !!

Well that’s it- and I’d like to thank all the lovely, amazing bloggers out there who are always epic in all they do, the fantastic people I know through online forums, the readers, the tour hosts, the publishers and I wish you a gorgeous happy new year. Here’s to 2019!

Big hugs,

Berni

Xxxxxxxx

 

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Dreaming Of Christmas by TA Williams

dreamingofchristmas

Length: 234 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

It’s the dream Christmas: snow, mountains… and, er, an ex-boyfriend. But can Zoe still find love in the Alps?

Dumped on Christmas Eve by her long-term boyfriend, it’s been a rough year for Zoe Lumsley. But then she gets an invitation she can’t refuse: an all expenses paid skiing holiday with old university friends.

The bad news: her ex, Grant, will be there with his new girlfriend. But so will her former flatmate Billy, the organiser, and in the meantime he’s done rather well for himself. As Christmas in the Alps approaches, it’ll be great to see the old gang. Some more than others…

Perfect for readers of Tilly Tenant, Holly Martin and Philippa Ashley, this is the perfect magical Christmas getaway from the bestselling T.A. Williams.

The Review: I actually preordered this the second I finished Dreaming of St Tropez (review here ), knowing that if the author had done that sort of a job with a tropical setting, Christmas was undoubtedly going to be amazing too, and I most definitely wasn’t disappointed. So this is the story of Zoe Lumsley, who is bluntly told by her long term boyfriend Grant, that they’re done.

A year on and she’s nearly sure she’s okay with it all until she gets  an invitation for a group meet up from ‘Computer Billy’ a friend from college who is now extremely rich. Zoe agrees to go along to an all expense paid holiday in Austria in a  palatial resort, even though she knows Grant will be there.  And we’re off!

I fell into all the descriptions of this holiday, gaping in awe and wonder at the magnificent setting and lusting after the chance to spend time at such a resort. Add to this that after losing her job in a newspaper, Zoe now works for a celebrity magazine, and they want to get the low down on Billy and I was all in! The characters all kept me guessing as I frowned at Grant, smiled at the goings-on and awed at lovely, magical romance. There were a few little chortles along the way and all in all I devoured this book, nodding appreciatively as I did. Very much recommended for a warm (in the coldest of weather) cosy Christmas read! And only 99p at the moment!

 

 

 

The Christmas Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke #BookReview

Christmas Karen Clarke

Length: 300 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the café at Seashell Cove, where there’s hot chocolate to keep you warm – and the man of your dreams could be waiting…

Interior designer Tilly Campbell loves being carefree and single. But her latest job is redecorating the cosy local café for a Christmas party, and when her friends confess their plans for the big night – including a proposal, a declaration of love and a pregnancy announcement – Tilly starts to wonder if she might be missing out…

Transforming the café into a winter wonderland is more of a challenge than she thought, so when she bumps into gorgeous newcomer Seth, Tilly welcomes the distraction. Seth is a single father, struggling to settle his son Jack into their new cottage, and Tilly is determined to help them make their house into a home in time for Christmas.

But with the café still in chaos just days before the party it looks like it’s going to be a Christmas to remember for all the wrong reasons… With friends old and new relying on her, can Tilly save the Christmas party?

And could she finally find love waiting for her under the mistletoe?

A heart-warming, hilarious read about friendship, family and the meaning of Christmas. Perfect for fans of Sue Moorcroft, Holly Martin and Debbie Johnson!

The Review: So, can you tell I’m trying to get all the Christmas reads to you before Christmas? (Yes, I do know we’re there, really!)

So this is the story of Tilly, who I was thrilled to hear was an interior decorator (I love books that involve transforming places, especially at Christmas!) Tilly is trying to cope with her sister Bridget (who was excellently done in moving from spoilt and naggy to down to earth and back again!) Tilly is being pushed into committing further by her short term boyfriend Rufus who is hilarious in how dedicated he is to clinging onto their relationship because he’s so taken by Tilly’s character. And so was I (taken with her, that is!)! I enjoyed everything about Tilly and found myself always rooting for her as she tried to set up her sister Bridget with the newest addition to the area, racing driver Seth and his son (Bridget also has a child).

It’s claimed this is a ‘laugh out loud’ and I’d argue that it’s more of a ‘snort out loud’ read, as some of the moments totally catch you unaware. Sadly the only parts that I had to drag my eyes back to were actually those involving the cafe, but only because I really wanted to see how her and Seth were going to help Seth keep his son, since Seth’s mother was intent on taking over guardianship.

All in all, I very very much enjoyed this and have bookmarked Karen Clarke into my list of  authors to continue reading. Oh and I read it as a standalone as opposed to as part of the series (I might have clicked more with the cafe, her friends and boss if I had but as I said the book had mountains more to keep me occupied!!) Thanks so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for the book in return for an honest review.

The Mother of All Christmases by Milly Johnson #BookReview

 

themother

Length: 528 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

Eve Glace – co-owner of the theme park Winterworld – is having a baby and her due date is a perfectly timed 25th December. And she’s decided that she and her husband Jacques should renew their wedding vows with all the pomp that was missing the first time. But growing problems at Winterworld keep distracting them … 

Annie Pandoro and her husband Joe own a small Christmas cracker factory, and are well set up and happy together despite life never blessing them with a much-wanted child. But when Annie finds that the changes happening to her body aren’t typical of the menopause but pregnancy, her joy is uncontainable. 

Palma Collins has agreed to act as a surrogate, hoping the money will get her out of the gutter in which she finds herself. But when the couple she is helping split up, is she going to be left carrying a baby she never intended to keep?

Annie, Palma and Eve all meet at the ‘Christmas Pudding Club’, a new directive started by a forward-thinking young doctor to help mums-to-be mingle and share their pregnancy journeys. Will this group help each other to find love, contentment and peace as Christmas approaches?

The Review: So I have to admit I totally picked this up on the basis of the cover, very much in the mood for a real Christmassy read (I think I was thinking Carole Matthews and Sarah Morgen at the time!). I sat up on reading the story of Palma, who was acting as a surrogate to get the money to improve her life. It made for a slightly tougher read, as we saw the back door process she went through with a very unlikable couple who were trying to have a baby. At times you rooted for Palma, at times you kind of winced a little at the brashness of her. But then along came an old friend and I was smitten!

As you can see this is a book of many characters, I warmed to some but unfortunately at times struggled with the sheer volume of them and got a bit confused (in particular at all things Winterworld, but from some of the other reviews it would seem some of those characters were from another book so that could be it!). I loved the Christmas Pudding Club, in particular the enthusiasm of the doctor that formed it and in general I smiled at many moments throughout the book. All in all I enjoyed, but would advise this is slightly grittier than the cover suggests. Thanks to Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

How to Bake A New Beginning by Lucy Knott

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Please note that the cover leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: Three sisters. One trip to Italy. The chance to change their lives.

Amanda has always taken the role of big sister seriously. She has her life in order; a fantastic job in a great restaurant, a wonderful house and a best friend who’s a Rockstar. But, Amanda’s beginning to realise that her life is missing one monumental piece…

Sabrina is living the high life in LA. Her Instagram is full of lavish parties, her tweets are brimming with celebrity names, but in reality she’s stuck behind a desk working for a boss who is determined to make her suffer. Is it time for her to stand up and take charge of her life?

Louisa has always been drowned out by her sister’s successes. As the university drop-out she’s always felt third best. But a chance encounter in a little Italian village may be about to change that…

When their beloved grandfather passes away these sisters are forced to take another look at their lives. These three sisters are about to embark on a journey of self-discovery that could just lead them down a road of romance (with a little help from the kitchen)!

Perfect for fans of Jenny Oliver, Carole Mathews and Lucy Diamond.

The Review:

I actually came across the lovely this book when I found The Blossom Twins’ blog and jumped when offered it to review (thanks so much to the lovely Kelly and of course Lucy for the book in return for an honest review). So. You’ll have seen a few days ago I posted of how the floodgates for all tears for people who have departed this earth were raised when I read the brilliant Bernice Bloom’s book about a man speaking about his life and contacting strangers to come to his funeral. Throughout this book I reminisced about my granny and grandad, wishing I knew them now so we could have proper chats. How silly was I to move straight onto this, a book about a grandfather passing away and his family trying to come to terms with it by putting together the recipes he had helped them with over the years?

So I started this book and was thrilled to find that there were recipes in it that were for basic dishes (they are of italian origin) and sauces. A lot of them are a little funny in that they are told exactly as their Grandad helped them make the foods, although some seemed to be in more detail and these were the ones I wouldn’t have known as well so maybe they’re all re-creatable! This book was full of warmth and familial love and lovely, nice little smiley moments. I loved meeting their grandfather and how they interacted and cooked together. I have to admit the music part of the book worried me, Sabrina living the high life in LA, because it didn’t quite fit in, with Sabrina’s  job at risk from a boss who seems to be putting her own needs first, but saying that, we spent so much time away from there it didn’t really matter.

The descriptions and settings, so vibrant, totally brought me with the girls and I sobbed throughout the book too (epecially when they went back to their beloved Italy without their lovely grandad and met up with their Nanna’s sisters-oh God here I go again! Sob!). The Christmas descriptions, which were a nice surprise, given that it’s that time of year and it doesn’t look like a Christmassy book, were everything I needed, the characters lovely, fun ever present and romance gorgeous and actually that’s the word of the day for this book. Beyond recommended!

 

#BlogTour #BookReview Adorable Fat Girl and the Mysterious Invitation by Bernice Bloom @Bernice1Bloom @rararesources

Thanks so much to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and for the book in return for an honest (and very gushy) review

Adorable Fat Girl and the Mysterious Invitation

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Purchase Links

Amazon UK 

Amazon US 

What they say:

Mary Brown receives an invitation to a funeral. But she has absolutely no idea who the deceased is. She’s told that he invited her on his deathbed, and he’s very keen for her to attend, so she heads off to a dilapidated old farm house in a remote part of Wales. When she gets there she discovers that only five other people have been invited to the funeral. None of them knows who he is either.

NO ONE GOING TO THIS FUNERAL HAS EVER HEARD OF THE DECEASED. WHAT IS GOING ON??

Then they are told that they have 20 hours to work out why they have been invited in order to inherit a million pounds.

Who is this guy and why are they there? And what of the ghostly goings on in the ancient old building?

Featuring Mary Brown, star of the Adorable Fat Girl series of books, in her greatest adventure yet.

This is BOOK NINE in the series, but can be enjoyed as a stand-alone book or as part of the series.

The Review: I’ll start with the end (of the blurb!) This book can be read as a standalone or as part of a series. I’ll tell you now I read as a standalone and with no issues at all, but straight away I made a note to make sure that in the new year I get to this absolute gem of a series, if this magnificent story is anything to go by. Oh yes, we are into gush city, fasten your seat belt!

So I read this in the best possible way-I had forgotten what the book was about, was too lazy to look at the blurb, and was thinking ‘I’m not really in the mood to read.’ And then I began.

So we are greeted with an invitation to a hotel from a solicitors. It’s to announce the death of a Reginald Charters and invite Mary to the funeral. Straight away I was hooked in by the humour as Mary, on telling her mother that a Reginald was dead, was informed that it was not the Reggie she had thought it was, and her mother had given the wife of said Reggie an awful shock before they deduced they were talking about a different person.

Suddenly we are thrown back to the war and are meeting the most lovely man, Marco and his story of how he got through some terrible times to move onto brighter days (though some not so much). I was so torn between past and present, knowing obviously I was going to find out who Reginald was, but also being hooked into the Agatha Christie/ It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad (too many mads?!) World scenario, where the group of strangers (and Mary) figure out what we are slowly learning. I adored this book, my only thing was I wished I was taking actual physical notes to join up all the clues. Then I think I’d have appreciated it even more. I laughed, smiled and bawled my eyes out, thinking of Reginald and all the people who meant so much to him, in particular those who never knew what mark they’d made on his life, or he on them. It is a story that tells you the importance of helping one another and how people and community and family are the most important thing in life. It also reminds you that when someone is gone they can’t tell you their story anymore. I thought  of all the stories I missed from my grandparents, and all the days we just sat in silence after they’d asked me how MY life was going, with me smiling  politely and not asking about THEIR life (I was very young at the time but still) and I cried at this loss and actually am crying now too (shakes head at idiocy!)

Anyhoo, so there you go. Totally my type of book and beyond beyond beyond recommended!

About the author

My name is Bernice Bloom and I write funny novels about a crazy lady called Mary Brown in my ‘Adorable Fat Girl’ series. Mary is funny, gorgeous and bonkers. She’s also about six stone overweight. When she realises she can’t cross her legs and has trouble bending over to tie her shoelaces without wheezing like an elderly chain-smoker it’s time to take action. But what action? She’s tried every diet under the sun. This series is the hysterical story of what happens when Mary joins ‘Fat Club’ where she meets a cast of funny characters and one particular man who catches her eye. The series follows Mary as she goes on safari, on a cruise, to a weekend yoga retreat and on an incredible adventure when she receives a mysterious invitation to a funeral. The stories are laugh-out-loud funny and will resonate with anyone who has dieted, tried to keep up with any sort of exercise programme or spent 10 minutes in a changing room trying to extricate herself from a way too-small garment that she ambitiously tried on and is now completely stuck in. xx

My website is: www.bernicebloom.com

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