Saturday, February 18, 2017

#MMBBR #Showcase work of Devra Robitaille

The Dream Stealers by [Robitaille, Devra]

Devin’s thrilling story of courage in the face of ruthless greed and skullduggery begins on Earth. Devin is a fifteen-year-old girl who lives with her scientist father who has invented a laser spaceship, the Traveler, and when he goes for a test run the machine returns without him. Devin bravely sets off to find him and learns how to fly the Traveler, encountering many odd and magical characters en route. She ends up on a breathtakingly beautiful planet called Vega which is the headquarters of the Dream Council, where she meets her guides, Ryan and Olam and finds her father again. She discovers that the universe is threatened by underhanded and dastardly bandits called the Dream Stealers who lurk in the border regions between dreaming and waking, attacking dreamers and stealing their dreams. They sell the dreams on the black market leaving their victims trapped in an agonizing wasteland, mere shadows of themselves. The Dream Council is organizing a resistance movement to vanquish the Dream Stealers and recapture the dreams and return them to the dreamers. To her amazement Devin discovers that she is not an earthling, but an alien with incredible talents and she bravely steps up to play her part. She enrolls in the flying academy on Vega to learn to become a fighter pilot in the reconnaissance squadron and begins her inspiring journey of defiance and victory.

Muffy and the Dog Catcher (The Muffy Series Book 1) by [Robitaille,Devra]

Muffy and the Dog Catcher

Muffy and the Dog Catcher follows a little Goldendoodle puppy named Muffy who is tired of being left home when her family, dogs and humans alike, go to work on the farm everyday. One day she meets a funny grasshopper and they play a wonderful game of chase...until Muffy realizes she has chased the grasshopper a long way from home! 
Follow along with Muffy on her journey to find her true home. Along the way you will meet the Gabriels a wonderful family who adopt dogs, their orderly pack and a most unusual dog catcher. 

Muffy's Florida Adventure: A Dog Story For Kids (The Muffy Series Book 2) by [Robitaille, Devra]

Muffy's Florida Adventure

In the second book in The Muffy Series, Muffy's Florida Adventure , Muffy and her reunited family go on a vacation to Sarasota FL. Muffy makes many friends along the way, Melodee the manatee, Harry a most unique bird and Puff the dolphin. 

The Efficiency Claus: An Improbable Christmas Tale by [Robitaille, Devra]

The Efficiency Claus

In this improbable Christmas tale Santa's chief of staff has banned all Christmas spirit at the North Pole. Facing a life without good cheer and rule under a tyrant the elves of the North form a resistance. Will they be able to liberate Christmas, the North Pole and most importantly their home? Find out in this funny adventure featuring elves, reindeer and cake. 

Devra Robitaille

London-born Devra is a prolific composer, songwriter and keyboardist, as well as an author of books for kids. Trained at the Trinity College of Music in England, she has worked with such legendary artists as John Lennon, Cher, Diana Ross, The Jackson Five, Leonard Cohen and George Harrison. She wrote 2 top-ten singles for her own band on Jupiter Records. She became well known as a virtuoso player in the London session scene in the eighties and joined Mike Oldfield of Tubular Bells fame as a keyboard player for a tour of Britain. While on the road, her manager informed her that 2 of her songs had won 1st and 2nd place, respectively, out of over 3000 entries in the BBC Song Contest. Moving to America in the nineties, Devra teamed up with a lyricist to write and compose a musical, “Cole and Porter” which had a successful run in Los Angeles at the Hudson Theatre.

Devra lives in Sarasota Florida now and has authored a series of illustrated dog stories for children; The Muffy Series. Her next book, for middle grade and young adults, "The Efficiency Claus; an Improbable Christmas Tale" is now available, November and her sci-fi adventure for older readers, "The Dream Stealers," is due February 19th 2017. 

Devra is now working on the third Muffy book, “Muffy and the Medicine Cat.” She continues to write and compose for the theater, but loves to write for children.

Q.  What inspires your writing?
A.  Well hello, and thank you for this opportunity to wag my chin with you LOL…Life inspires me, people inspire me,  I am fascinated by human nature and by the situations they get themselves into and I can’t imagine a better way to spend time than finding out things and then weaving stories around them.  It’s such an adventure.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A.  I’ve always been a dreamer, it’s like travelling to other worlds and other times from right here and right now, the only difference is that as a writer now I write it down.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?
A.  That’s a good question, I suppose I should say disciplining myself, but honestly I’m pretty good at hitting the chair and firing up the computer and writing some pages; no, for me the problem is getting my household to settle down and give me some peace and quiet so I can think straight.  I have one baby, four dogs and a grown daughter.  And the baby is my husband!!!  I think most women will understand that! 

Q.  If you could not be a writer, what would you do/be?
A.   I started as a professional musician, I had some success touring as a keyboard player with a famous group in England, then I transitioned to working in musical theatre in LA and I had a lot of interesting experiences working with singers and dancers and writing and co-writing scripts etc. and so my journey has been an organic one, but always as a creative force.  So I can’t imagine doing anything else, but if you were to press me, then I would have to say maybe have my own bakery and eat cake all the time.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
A.   LOL!  Nice one!  OK, well my first instinct is to let my dry British sense of humor have free reign and say something like “Anatomy of a mad woman, subtitle; a musical rampage into the unknown,”  but seriously now, a good title might be, “Ramblings; In the hope that what I’ve learned might be of some use.”

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
A.    I really had to search my inner database to come up with the answer to this, because I’ve always been a reader and my taste can get pretty eclectic, but when it gets right down to it, if you ask for just one book, ONE book? Well, it would have to be Jane Eyre.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A.    I go back and forth between Doctor Who and Dumbledore, with a sprinkling of Alice (just ask, Alice I think she’ll know…) and a touch of Winnie the Pooh

Q.  What character from all of your books are you most like?
A.    There’s a bit of Mrs. Kulkarni and Mrs. Blithe in me from the Efficiency Claus, and a bit of Devin from the Dream Stealers (when I was young and reckless) and of course Captain Skye from Muffy’s Florida adventure  All my characters are composites, no one is really based on a person that I know, per se, and yet all of them are - If that makes sense.

Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A.    Well, I live on the water in Florida, and next door is a vacation home where people come from all over Europe.  I often think of the great irony that, as I scrub pots and pans, up to my elbows in big yellow rubber gloves, my neighbors are shouting “Marco Polo” and leaping off the dock into the sea.  LOL,  so for me a good vacation would be to somewhere really urban, like New York or London, somewhere grungy, gray and dirty  LOL, as long as I could get home on Monday morning, that is; like visiting Paris in the time of The Three Musketeers, or Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street.   

Q.  What is your favorite season?
A.    Spring in Paris, summer and fall in England, and winter in Florida. 

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A.    Well, I dabble in painting and so I do the cover art myself, I just really like the cover of the Efficiency Claus, the expression on Santa’s face just tickles me.  I’m currently designing the Dream Stealers’ cover so the jury is still out on that one, but I’m pretty obstinate so I won’t quit until I love it.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A.    The day after I finished writing the first Muffy book, Muffy and the Dog Catcher, which is essentially about two Goldendoodle puppies, wouldn’t you know it but two Goldendoodle puppy sisters moved in three houses down.  It was spooky-weird to open my front door and see their owner walking them right past my driveway; they were identical in every way to Muffy and her sister Riff, as I had described them in the book, and I found out later that one of them was named “Addy” which is one of the characters in The Efficiency Claus, which I was about halfway through at the time.  Don’t you just love weird irony. 

Q.  Are you working on something new?
A.   Yes, I’m just about to release the Dream Stealers, which is a sort of fantasy space odyssey about a young girl who becomes a fighter pilot and vanquishes the evil lurkers who steal our dreams. And I’m writing a novel called “The Henge.”  I’m about half way through. It’s set thousands of years ago in the Bronze age and actually I would love to spend a weekend with these characters, they are kind of writing me at the moment.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A.  I am so honored to have been allowed to visit and I hope you are all reading something to write home about.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

War Hawk by @jamesrollins & @Grant_Blackwood #BookBlast @partnersincr1me #MMBBR

War Hawk


January 10, 2017 Book  Blast

on Tour February 13 - 28, 2017

Former Army Ranger Tucker Wayne and his war dog Kane are thrust into a global conspiracy that threatens to shake the foundations of American democracy in this second exciting Sigma Force spinoff adventure from New York Times bestselling authors James Rollins and Grant Blackwood.
Tucker Wayne’s past and his present collide when a former army colleague comes to him for help. She’s on the run from brutal assassins hunting her and her son. To keep them safe, Tucker must discover who killed a brilliant young idealist—a crime that leads back to the most powerful figures in the U.S. government.
From the haunted ruins of a plantation in the deep South to the beachheads of a savage civil war in Trinidad, Tucker and Kane must discover the truth behind a mystery that leads back to World War II, to a true event that is even now changing the world . . . and will redefine what it means to be human.
With no one to trust, they will be forced to break the law, expose national secrets, and risk everything to stop a madman determined to control the future of modern warfare for his own diabolical ends. But can Tucker and Kane withstand a force so indomitable that it threatens our very future?

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: William Morrow
Publication Date:December 27th 2016 (first published April 19th 2016)
Number of Pages: 544
ISBN: 0062135295 (ISBN13: 9780062135292)
Series: Tucker Wayne #2
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Tucker Wayne and Kane were introduced to Sigma Force fans in 2013 in Rollins best seller BLOODLINE.  The Tucker Wayne series was born with the release of KILL SWITCH in 2014. We have been anxiously awaiting the return of Kane in the 2016 release of WAR HAWK.

WAR HAWK delivers again.  Classic Rollins story lined based in historical fact, current world trends, thorough research to force the reader to believe, this could really happen. WAR HAWK unveils how exploiting governments engulfed is social and politic chaos, are manipulated by the greed and ego of those in powerful business positions, by directing private armies to fulfill their lust for wealth.

This is a story a story of artificial intelligence versus human intelligence and the future of warfare.  The story stays true to its Sigma Force roots with non stop action, plot twist, and the unique perspective of allowing us to understand Kane’s perspective.  Despite holding off on enlisting Sigma’s help, Tucker Wayne and Kane are ready to become part of this team.  The relationship of between Kane and his handler Wayne brings a unique skill set to fighting off terrorist, bad guys, and those who wish to do harm to others.  Those familiar with Rollins work will find themselves quickly immersed within the story, rooting for and intrigued by the characters, and hoping that if they ever make a movie, it better live up to the one the plays out in our heads.  5 stars


James Rollins
JAMES ROLLINS is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers, translated into more than forty languages. His Sigma series has been lauded as one of the “top crowd pleasers” (New York Times) and one of the “hottest summer reads” (People magazine). In each novel, acclaimed for its originality, Rollins unveils unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and historical secrets–and he does it all at breakneck speed and with stunning insight.

Catch Up with James Rollins on his Website πŸ”—Twitter πŸ”—, &  Facebook πŸ”—.

In addition to his New York Times bestselling collaborations with Clive Cussler and Tom Clancy, GRANT BLACKWOOD is the author of three novels featuring Briggs Tanner: The End of Enemies, The Wall of Night, and An Echo of War. A U. S. Navy veteran, Grant spent three years as an Operations Specialist and a Pilot Rescue Swimmer. He lives in Colorado.

Catch Up with Grant Blackwood on his Website πŸ”—Twitter πŸ”—, & Facebook πŸ”—

Monday, February 13, 2017

#MMBBR #Highlight Blackwell by Alexandrea Weis @lexandreaweis #VesuvianBooks


Hell has a new master

In the late 1800s, handsome, wealthy New Englander, Magnus Blackwell, is the envy of all.

When Magnus meets Jacob O’Conner—a Harvard student from the working class—an unlikely friendship is forged. But their close bond is soon challenged by a captivating woman; a woman Magnus wants, but Jacob gets.

Devastated, Magnus seeks solace in a trip to New Orleans. After a chance meeting with Oscar Wilde, he becomes immersed in a world of depravity and brutality, inevitably becoming the inspiration for Dorian Gray. Armed with the forbidden magic of voodoo, he sets his sights on winning back the woman Jacob stole from him.

Amid the trappings of Victorian society, two men, bent on revenge, will lay the foundation for a curse that will forever alter their destinies.


Alexandrea Weis

Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans. 

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

#Review #RoundUp @sarahjio @crimeculture @StephMorrill @SusanMallery

Hello All, 

I have been under the weather and blogging was not within my abilities.  But one good thing that comes from time in bed is...time to read a bunch of books.  Here is a round-up of books I have read and enjoyed!  I hope you check them out too!

Always: A Novel by [Jio, Sarah]

A gripping novel about the kind of love that never lets go, and the heart’s capacity to remember, from the New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter and The Violets of March

Enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiancΓ©, Ryan, at one of Seattle’s chicest restaurants, Kailey Crain can’t believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a journalist and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As she and Ryan leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister. 

When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense—everything connected and felt right. But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what—and whom—she wants.

Alternating between the past and the present, Always is a beautifully unfolding exploration of a woman faced with an impossible choice, a woman who discovers what she’s willing to save and what she will sacrifice for true love.

Jio is one of my all time favorite authors.  She writes in a way that makes your heart happy, your mind engaged and leaves you craving more.  She writes books with rich history, dynamic characters and stories that move you deeply.  Always is one of her best yet.  There is such wonderful story of the human condition.  This book is a MUST read for all.  It is perfect for any book club and a book not to be missed!

Sarah Jio

Sarah Jio is the international, USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of THE VIOLETS OF MARCH (a Library Journal Best Book of 2011 and a USA Today bestseller), THE BUNGALOW, BLACKBERRY WINTER (an instant New York Times and USA Today bestseller, as well as an international bestseller), THE LAST CAMELLIA (a Kirkus Books Most Anticipated Book of 2012), MORNING GLORY, and GOODNIGHT JUNE (to be published in June 2014)--all from Penguin (Plume). To date, Sarah's novels are published in 24 countries, including Italy, France, Brazil, Turkey (where two of Sarah's books have become nationwide bestsellers), Slovenia, Russia, China, Norway, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Spain, and many others.

A magazine writer and the former founding health and fitness blogger for Glamour magazine, Sarah has written thousands of articles and blog posts for national magazines including Redbook, O, The Oprah Magazine, Cooking Light, Glamour, SELF, Real Simple, Fitness, Marie Claire, Hallmark magazine, Seventeen, BRIDES, Health, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, The Seattle Times, Parents, Woman's Day, American Baby, Parenting, and many others. She has also appeared as a commentator on NPR's Morning Edition.

Sarah recently finished her seventh novel and is at work on her next. She lives in Seattle and is the mother of three young sons.


The American Girl: A Novel by [Horsley, Kate]

From a bright new talent comes a riveting psychological thriller about an American exchange student in France involved in a suspicious accident, and the journalist determined to break the story and uncover the dark secrets a small town is hiding.
On a quiet summer morning, seventeen-year-old American exchange student Quinn Perkins stumbles out of the woods near the small French town of St. Roch. Barefoot, bloodied, and unable to say what has happened to her, Quinn’s appearance creates quite a stir, especially since the Blavettes—the French family with whom she’s been staying—have mysteriously disappeared. Now the media, and everyone in the idyllic village, are wondering if the American girl had anything to do with her host family’s disappearance.
Though she is cynical about the media circus that suddenly forms around the girl, Boston journalist Molly Swift cannot deny she is also drawn to the mystery and travels to St. Roch. She is prepared to do anything to learn the truth, including lying so she can get close to Quinn. But when a shocking discovery turns the town against Quinn and she is arrested for the murders of the Blavette family, she finds an unlikely ally in Molly.
As a trial by media ensues, Molly must unravel the disturbing secrets of the town’s past in an effort to clear Quinn’s name, but even she is forced to admit that the American Girl makes a very compelling murder suspect. Is Quinn truly innocent and as much a victim as the Blavettes—or is she a cunning, diabolical killer intent on getting away with murder…?
Told from the alternating perspectives of Molly, as she’s drawn inexorably closer to the truth, and Quinn’s blog entries tracing the events that led to her accident, The American Girl is a deliciously creepy, contemporary, twisting mystery leading to a shocking conclusion.

This book was a wild was vivid and descriptive.  It was so captivating and, at times, a bit scary, this book is an amazing thriller that had me holding my breath and burning through the pages.  I have to admit that I had some crazy dreams after reading this novel and I am still thinking about the smart twists and turns.
A great winter read...I am looking forward to more from Horsley.

Kate Horsley

Kate's first novel, The Monster's Wife, was shortlisted for the Scottish First Book of the Year Award. Her second novel, The American Girl, will come out with William Morrow (US) and HarperCollins' Killer Reads imprint (UK) in summer 2016. Her poems and short fiction have been published in a number of magazines and anthologies including Best British Crime Stories and her work has won awards. She is represented by Oli Munson at A.M. Heath.


The Lost Girl of Astor Street (Blink) by [Morrill, Stephanie]

When her best friend vanishes without so much as a good-bye, eighteen-year-old Piper Sail takes on the role of amateur sleuth in an attempt to solve the mystery of Lydia’s disappearance. Given that Piper’s tendency has always been to butt heads with high-society’s expectations of her, it’s no surprise that she doesn’t give a second thought to searching for answers to Lydia’s abduction from their privileged neighborhood.

As Piper discovers that those answers might stem from the corruption strangling 1924 Chicago—and quite possibly lead back to the doors of her affluent neighborhood—she must decide how deep she’s willing to dig, how much she should reveal, and if she’s willing to risk her life of privilege for the sake of the truth.

Perfect for fans of Libba Bray and Anna Godbersen, Stephanie Morrill’s atmospheric jazz-age mystery will take readers from the glitzy homes of the elite to the dark underbelly of 1920s Chicago.

The point of view this book is written from is amazing.  I just loved everything about this book.  I love that a mother and daughter can read it together.  I have always have had a soft spot for YA because it is what are youth are reading and when good stuff comes along I want to read it too.  I was so impressed by this book and I highly recommend this well researched and executed novel.  

Stephanie Morrill

Stephanie Morrill is the author of several young adult novels, including the 1920's mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street (February 2017, Blink/HarperCollins). Despite loving cloche hats and drop-waist dresses, Stephanie would have been a terrible flapper because she can’t do the Charleston and looks awful with bobbed hair. She and her near-constant ponytail live in Kansas City with her husband and three kids. You can learn more about her on her author site:

A Million Little Things: A Novel (Mischief Bay) by [Mallery, Susan]

From the bestselling author of The Girls of Mischief Bay and The Friends We Keep comes a twisty tale of family dynamics that explores what can go terribly, hysterically wrong when the line between friendship and family blurs… 
Zoe Saldivar is more than just single—she's ALONE. She recently broke up with her longtime boyfriend, she works from home and her best friend Jen is so obsessed with her baby that she has practically abandoned their friendship. The day Zoe accidentally traps herself in her attic with her hungry-looking cat, she realizes that it's up to her to stop living in isolation. 
Her seemingly empty life takes a sudden turn for the complicated—her first new friend is Jen's widowed mom, Pam. The only guy to give her butterflies in a very long time is Jen's brother. And meanwhile, Pam is being very deliberately seduced by Zoe's own smooth-as-tequila father. Pam's flustered, Jen's annoyed and Zoe is beginning to think "alone" doesn't sound so bad, after all. 
Friendship isn't just one thing—it's a million little things, and no one writes them with more heart and humor than book club sensation Susan Mallery!

Mallery is a master story teller and a giver of the feels...every time!  A Million Little Pieces is one of my FAVORITES of hers.  It was so good.  From cover to cover I really loved it.  I could see this being adapted to a TV series or a movie because it was richly written, character driven and well plotted.  I know every time I read a book by Mallery I know I will end the novel feeling good and it will be an amazing reading experience.  This time I was in love, plain and simple.  Read this will thank me later!!!

Susan Mallery

Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of books about the relationships that define women's lives—romance, friendship, family. With compassion and humor, Susan keenly observes how people think and feel, in stories that take readers on an emotional journey. Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, Susan's books have spent more than 200 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list, thanks to her ever growing legions of fans.

Critics, too, have heaped praise on "the new queen of romantic fiction." (Walmart) Booklist says, "Romance novels don't get much better than Mallery's expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling," and RT Book Reviews puts her "in a class by herself!"

Although Susan majored in Accounting, she never worked as an accountant because she was published straight out of college with two books the same month, January of 1992. Sixteen prolific years and seventy-four books later, she hit the New York Times bestsellers list for the first time with Accidentally Yours in 2008. She made many appearances in the Top 10 before (finally) hitting #1 in 2015 with Thrill Me, the twentieth book in her most popular series, the Fool's Gold romances, and the fourth of five books released that year.

Susan lives in Seattle with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a tattletale toy poodle. Her heart for animals has led Susan to become an active supporter of the Seattle Humane Society. Animals play a big role in her books, as well, as she believes they're an integral component to a happy life. Visit Susan online at

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

#MMBBR #BlogTourHost The Frog Theory by Fiona Mordaunt

Displaying Fiona Mordaunt_Banner.jpg

The Frog Theory by [Mordaunt, Fiona]

The Frog Theory
Tragedy and comedy in perfect proportion.

Kim and Flow are the best of friends, living on a council estate, making money selling drugs. 

Just around the corner in a smarter part of Fulham is Clea, a well-heeled young woman coping with a violent home life at the hands of her twisted step-father.
The Principal runs a famous college for problem teens. Fostering guilty secrets which distance her from her own children, she resists the advances of a man she sees on the train every day. 

When Kim and Clea meet by chance, Kim is smitten but worried about her. Using the anecdote of the frog theory - that it will jump straight out of boiling water and live, but stay in and die if heated slowly from cold - he wakes her up to the dangerous situation she’s in at home.  

Serendipity and a cake-fuelled food fight that goes viral will bring Kim, Clea, Flow and The Principal together in weird and wonderful ways in this frenetic, laugh-out-loud story about love, conscience and lion-hearted nerve.


Displaying Fiona Morduant.jpegAbout the author
After attending school for model-making, Mordaunt started Image Casting in 1998, specialising in customised body castings. Over the course of 13 years, she worked on such films as Atonement and The Wildest Dream, as well as for personal clients like Lionel Richie. In 2012, she relocated to Botswana with her husband and daughter where she currently resides.

Your Five favourite books, or authors that you keep reading/couldn’t live without.

1. Laurens Van der PostA Story Like the Wind

Someone at work gave this to me when we moved to Africa. I struggled to get into it initially and nearly gave up but slowly, silkily, the story began to coax me into sync with its individual beat. The richly descriptive narrative flowed; first a trickle, then enough to drown out thought of all else. I even work up at 4 a.m. on a few occasions to read a bit more, taking my time, letting the words ooze through me.

It seared a place in my soul next to Bird Song by Sebastian Falkes and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak a real gift.

2. Lianne Moriarty Big Little Lies

In the genre of contemporary fiction I have really enjoyed Lianne Moriarty lately. I trust her never to get too depressing. I guess I’m a sucker for a morally satisfying ending!

The story here does nothing but build and improve, the suspense simmering then boiling towards a truly thrilling conclusion. I look forward to reading her latest.

3. Bill Bryson The Thunderbolt Kid

In thinking about the question of favourite authors, Bill Bryson kept popping up. I am so surprised; I did not realise. I don’t think I have read any of his books all the way through, apart from The Thunderbolt Kid, but they are dotted around in bookshelves all over the house and I tend to pick them up and read bits of them, when I am on my way to the kitchen, say.

4. Neil Gaiman Neverwhere

I went through an odd patch during which I just didn’t feel like reading. Any book I picked up, I soon put down again and my friend, Jo, gave me this. I started half-heartedly but it drew me in as if a person from another dimension had grabbed me by the collar and pulled me through a wormhole. Escapism at its best, I loved the unassuming hero with his high maintenance girlfriend and the alternative universe, all set in London, so familiar to me. It was the gateway that led me to reading again.

5. My Recipe Book

My mother died just before I got pregnant with my daughter, Ella. She hated cooking but that wasn’t connected to her demise! Someone gave me an Annabel Karmel recipe book and I read in her introduction that one of her babies had died young. It touched me so that she shared that with her readers; it gave me strength and comfort that she had found a way to be productive.

I taught myself to cook in line with weaning Ella, reading many recipe books along the way. I learnt a huge amount from Gina Ford. I expect most people would not associate her with cooking. Jamie Oliver is one of my heroes, too, I’ve probably learnt the most from him.

I have a massive and much loved file that I keep all my favourite recipes in, many handwritten by

friends. That is what I refer to when I say ‘recipe book’. It is the book I would grab if my house was on fire and I could only take one with me.

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