A Village Affair by Julie Houston ~ Contemporary #Romantic #Fiction reviewed for #RBRT @JulieHouston2 #FridayReads

Author: Julie Houston

Published: November 2018 by Aria

Category: Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Romance, Book Review

Cassie Beresford has recently landed her dream job as deputy head at her local, idyllic village primary school, Little Acorns. So, the last thing she needs is her husband of twenty years being ‘outed’ at a village charity auction – he has been having an affair with one of her closest friends.

Cassie Beresford’s life was pretty perfect—a handsome, loving husband, two great kids, a beautiful home and she was about to realise her professional dream of the deputy head position at Little Acorns primary school. She and Mark, with a group of their closest friends, were attending a charity auction when Cassie’s world as she knows it takes a shocking turn. Her husband and her best friend Tina, have been having an affair for the past two years. It was announced in spectacular style to the whole room by Tina’s inebriated husband.

Cassie gets through the next few weeks with difficulty, not made any easier by the fact she is asked to fill in as head teacher, starting immediately. There’s also a development company planning to build a housing estate on the green belt  around the village, which includes her grandfather’s wildflower meadow. Making a bad situation worse, they also want to demolish Little Acorns.

‘The village of Westenbury itself, really,’ Edward smiled. ‘We own it all.’

‘But not our little bit.’ David smiled back, the smile not quite reaching his eyes. ‘The Church owns the land Little Acorns is built on.’

‘But we own all the fields, all the land that surrounds the school…’

‘And you want our little bit of land because, without it, you can’t access your huge amount of land to build the three thousand plus houses the Bamforth Estate has put forward the plans for to Midhope Council.’

Cassie is a very likeable and sympathetic character and I love how she manages to turn her life around after the huge shock of her husband’s affair and at the same time being thrust into the role of a single parent. Luckily she has excellent support in the form of friends and family. The new job and the fight against the development help to keep her mind off her personal problems.

I think I was fooled somewhat by the cover. I hadn’t read Julie Houston before otherwise I probably would have known better, because A Village Affair wasn’t at all what I was expecting (and I mean that in a good way.) Although the narrative is full of humour, which balances out the heartache and drama, serious and more sensitive subjects are handled delicately and are interspersed with wonderful and sometimes hilarious illustrations of life in a primary school

A very well written, real and easy to relate to story with memorable, well defined characters. I particularly enjoyed Cassie’s free spirited and unconventional mother. The unpredictability of life makes Cassie re-evaluate who she is and what she wants and, more importantly, what she doesn’t want. With some great twists the pace is steady but never slow. A really lovely read. I’ll definitely be reading more of Julie Houston’s books.

I chose to read and review A Village Affair for Rosie Amber’s book review team, based on a digital copy from the author.    

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US

About the Author

Julie lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire where her novels are set, and her only claims to fame are that she teaches part-time at ‘Bridget Jones’ author Helen Fielding’s old junior school and her neighbour is ‘Chocolat’ author, Joanne Harris. After University, where she studied Education and English Literature, she taught for many years as a junior school teacher. As a newly qualified teacher, broke and paying off her first mortgage, she would spend every long summer holiday working on different Kibbutzim in Israel. After teaching for a few years she decided to go to New Zealand to work and taught in Auckland for a year before coming back to this country. She now teaches just two days a week, and still loves the buzz of teaching junior-aged children. She has been a magistrate for the past nineteen years, and, when not distracted by Ebay, Twitter and Ancestry, spends much of her time writing. Julie is married, has a twenty-four-year-old son and twenty-one-year-old daughter and a ridiculous Cockerpoo called Lincoln. She runs and swims because she’s been told it’s good for her, but would really prefer a glass of wine, a sun lounger and a jolly good book – preferably with Matthew Mcconaughay in attendance.

She hates skiing, gets sick on boats and wouldn’t go pot-holing or paddy diving if her life depended on it.

Author links ~ Website | Twitter | Facebook  

Blog Tour #GuestPost from @HMLynnauthor together with an #Extract & #Giveaway “A coming of age story for the mid-life crisis generation.”

I’m delighted to welcome Hannah Lynn with a guest post and extract from her latest release, Peas, Carrots & an Aston Martin. First of all, here’s the book info…

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Blog Tour #Spotlight & #Extract ~ Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek and Dave Philpott #NewRelease @DerekPhilpott #Humour

**Happy Release Day**

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for the unique Dear Mr Pop Star, which features humorous letters to pop stars about their songs with genuine witty replies.

About the Book

For nearly 10 years, ‘Team Philpott’, as their followers fondly refer to them, have been on a quite bonkers crusade, writing good old-fashioned letters to pop and rock stars (sometimes even sent to their home addresses with prior consent!), either picking up on genuine ambiguities within their lyrics or often deliberately misunderstanding them for comedic effect.

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The Haunting of Hattie Hastings (Parts 1, 2 & 3) by @audbyname Mini #BookReviews #GhostStory

I was in the mood for something different and this fit the bill perfectly. A serialised novel, it tells the story of Hattie who is happily married to Gary. They have a teenage son Johnny who sometimes tries Hattie’s patience, as teenagers tend to do. Cat, Hattie’s best friend since primary school, has thankfully ditched her controlling husband and is much happier. Her brother Jack is in a strong relationship with his partner, Ben. Hattie’s mother Rachel is an elegant lady with a few gentlemen friends who is about to face a frightening battle. 

All the novellas are now published so I was really pleased to be able to read them consecutively.

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The Getaway Girls by Dee MacDonald ~ FeelGood #Fiction @DMacDonaldAuth #Humour @bookouture

Author: Dee MacDonald

Published: July 2018 by Bookouture

Category: Humour, Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Book Review

Connie McColl is finally free to make her own decisions for the first time in decades. And when she meets glamorous Gill and downtrodden Maggie, at a rather dull flower arranging class, it seems that she’s not the only one dreaming of adventure. The three very different women all agree it’s about time they had a holiday to remember.

After reading The Runaway Wife, I was looking forward to Connie McColl’s next adventure very much. And I wasn’t disappointed.

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The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman ~ Contemporary Women’s Fiction @amplecat #Humour #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Abbi Waxman

Published: May 2017 by Sphere

Category: Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary, Humour, Book Review

Lilian Girvan has been a single mother for three years – ever since her husband died in a car accident. One mental breakdown and some random suicidal thoughts later, she’s just starting to get the hang of this widow thing. She can now get her two girls to school, show up to work, and watch TV like a pro. The only problem is she’s becoming overwhelmed with being underwhelmed. 

I’m very late with this review as the book decided to hide in the many shelves and stacks around the house. Glad I found it though! Thoroughly enjoyable.

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The Little Tea Shop of Horrors by @janelovering Dark Edged #Romance with Flashes of Humour @ChocLit #FridayReads

Author: Jane Lovering

Published: March 2017 by Choc Lit

Category: Romance, Humour, Book Review

Secrets, lies, carrot cake – and an owl called Skrillex! 

Amy Knowles has always been the plain sidekick to her pretty best friend Jules. And whilst the tea room they both work in on the Monkpark Hall estate in Yorkshire is not exactly awash with eligible bachelors, it’s obvious where the male attention is concentrated – and it’s not just on the cakes! 

The story focuses on Josh and Amy, with alternating chapters from each of their perspectives, two people with completely different backgrounds and experiences of life.

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Life Begins When The Kids Leave Home and the dog dies by Barb Taub #Humour @barbtaub #Memoir #Relationships

Author: Barb Taub

Published: 1st February by Amazon

Category: Humour, Memoir, Essays, Parents, Kids, Relationships

ONCE UPON A TIME…

Chapter 1. A California girl named Barb met her prince of a guy. He was tall, dark, and handsome. (Actually, he was a Republican. But he was definitely tall.) They fell in love, and got married.

Chapter 2. He brought her to his castle in England and they lived happily ever after.  THE END**

**Luckily, 35+ years of living happened between Chapters 1 and 2, giving Barb plenty of material for this collection (in no particular chronological order) from her newspaper columns, articles, blog posts, and that time she killed Mom.

And that’s before Chapter 3 even starts.

“I have learned to put down the coffee and place breakable objects at a safe distance when a post from Barb Taub comes up. It is very hard to drink coffee and laugh at the same time without redecorating the desk…”—author Sue Vincent

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ Do Not Wash Hands In Plates ~ by @barbtaub #Travel #Memoir #Humour

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.

I knew I would enjoy this, having read the hilarious posts on Barb’s blog during her travels. I wasn’t wrong. It’s a quick, but very funny, read at less than 100 pages and was published in January 2016. Continue reading

#Interview & #Extract ~ Miles of Files by Michael J Sahno @MikeSahno #FridayReads #Humour #Thriller

Welcome, Mike. First of all, please introduce yourself and tell us what you like to do when not writing.

I began writing at a very early age, and eventually went on to study English and American literature in the university setting. I got a Master of Arts in English from Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY at the age of 24, and went on to become a full-time professional writer in 2001. When I’m not writing, I love to get into the other areas of the arts: concerts, visual arts, and so on. To to stay healthy, I run and work out. 

What was your inspiration for Miles of Files?

In Miles of Files, a young man find out that his boss is stealing from the company retirement plan, but not in a traditional embezzlement: he’s actually created these fake employee files, to make it look like he’s paying out benefits to former employees. The germ of the story is based loosely on an experience of my own: I once worked for a company that “froze” the company retirement plan for a year, so no one could take funds out or even put funds in. That was an unnerving experience. Continue reading