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The Split By Laura Kay

The Split‘The Split’ is the latest book by Laura Kay.

Brutally dumped by her girlfriend, Ally is homeless, friendless and jobless… but at least she has Malcolm. Wounded and betrayed, Ally has made off with the one thing she thinks might soothe the pain: Emily’s cat. After a long train journey she arrives home to her dad in Sheffield, ready to fold herself up in her duvet and remain on the sofa for the foreseeable. Her dad has other ideas. A phone call later, and Ally is reunited with her first ever beard and friend of old, Jeremy. He too is broken-hearted and living at home again.

I started this book last night and I reluctantly had to put when I had to go to bed.

This debut even though it’s about heartbreak is fun, uplifting and incredibly warm-hearted.

The story is seen solely through the narrative of Al and begins at the moment that her girlfriend Emily breaks up with her. Heartbroken, Al returns home to Sheffield with Malcolm the cat for company, even though he’s technically Emily’s cat.

Back under her dad’s roof, Al is at a loss at what to do next with her life, disinterested in a career, her passion is for baking and is delighted when an opportunity to work in a bakery arises. Her childhood friend Jeremy is also recovering from heartbreak after his boyfriend broke up with him. Together, they find solace in each others pain and decide the best way to get over heartbreak is to do a 13 mile marathon even though they’ve never ran a day in their lives. It’s through running that Al, meets Jo and thinks that she might help with the heartbreak and distract her from emailing Emily.

I adored this book with all my heart, it’s a genuine love story and life affirming book all rolled into one. I loved Al, she’s kind, witty and has a lovely nature. I loved her interaction with Jeremy, their banter and support for each other when things got tough. I enjoyed their nostalgia journeys as they reminisced their school years and struggling with their sexuality.

Laura has written a wonderful story, flowing at a lovely pace with relatable characters and scenarios and eager dogs and moody cats. I loved this book from start to finish, wonderfully written ‘The Split’ is a fantastic debut about recovering from heartbreak and finding yourself along the way. I thoroughly recommend this book and fully understand why it’s one of Quercus’ lead debuts of 2021.

You can pre-order ‘The Split’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 18th March 2021.

The Lockdown Diary of Tom Cooper By Spencer Brown

'The Husband's Confession‘The Lockdown Diary of Tom Copper’ is the latest book by Spencer Brown.

I spent Saturday reading this book and it genuinely is a laugh out loud story that does the heart good.

2020 was supposed to be a great year. Unfortunately, Tom Cooper, like the rest of the world, is going to be spending the next few months trapped in the middle of a pandemic. Stuck inside a small flat with sole responsibility for his two single-digit children, Tom is plunged into a world of homeschooling, supermarket feuds and alfresco workout sessions, not to mention trying to keep tabs on ageing parents who won’t stay home. Faced with the problems of cash-strapped tooth fairies, buying a rat trap online, and an NHS-supporting arms race with an elderly neighbour, Tom realises he must rise to the occasion, but when his girlfriend asks for an erotic photo of his rapidly deteriorating body, it might just be one step too far.

The story is seen through the witty and hilarious narrative of single parent Tom Cooper adapting to lockdown life with his 2 children Carrie and Arthur as he tries to juggle homeschooling, work as well as Joe Wicks workouts and trying to keep his new long distance romance alive.

The story is so relatable to real life, the chaotic stock piling of toilet rolls, the weekly clap for the NHS as well as the fear of not everyone adhering to social distancing rules. Spencer addresses each of these fears and situations with comedic flair and one liners that made the first lockdown seem to be almost fun.

I loved Tom, he’s a fantastic character who’s constantly getting himself into crazy situations that made the book a joy to read. From competitions with his neighbour about the best NHS posters to trapping rats, this book was hilarious. I particularly enjoyed Tom’s chats with his friend Mark, who’s line about Covid-19 being the gift that keeps on giving almost made me fall out of my bed!

But for all its one liners, this book also delves into the fear of the illness and it coming to your door and this makes for sobering reading at times, as Tom has to deal with the possibility of losing a loved one.

I cannot recommend this book enough, it’s the perfect tonic for life right now. Light hearted, funny and warm, ‘The Lockdown Diary’ of Tom Cooper’ is the perfect antidote to a crap situation!

You can buy ‘The Lockdown Diary of Tom Cooper’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Finding Love At The Christmas Market By Jo Thomas

Finding Love at the Christmas Market‘Finding Love At The Christmas Market’ is the latest book by Jo Thomas.

Residential-home caterer Connie has had one online-dating disaster too many. Hurt in the past and with her son to consider, now she’s feeling hesitant. Then one of Connie’s residents sets her up on a date at a beautiful German Christmas market – with the promise she’ll take a mini-bus full of pensioners with her.Amongst the twinkling lights and smell of warm gingerbread in the old market square, Connie heads off on her date with a check-list of potential partner must-haves. Baker Henrich ticks all the boxes, but when Connie meets Henrich’s rival William, she starts to wonder if ticking boxes is the answer.

Having consumed Jo’s previous book called ‘Escape to the French Farmhouse’ in one sitting, I was delighted to be offered the chance to read her new Christmas book about love, friendship and food.

The story is mostly seen through the narrative of Connie, a single mum who works for a local catering company that delivers food to a care home called Lavender Hill. It’s in this job, that has made friends with the residents of the care home, especially Pearl and has decided to help them with a task of bringing the ashes of their friend called Elsie back to her home country in Germany and be scattered at the Christmas markets. It just so happens that Connie is going to Germany to meet Heinrich, her last hope at online dating. With a minibus full of elderly people who have far from lost their lust for life. They begin a 5 day adventure in Germany, embracing life and new friendships.

I loved this book, it warm, full of heart and is the perfect distraction during a pandemic. I loved Connie, she’s a kind woman, who puts other people’s happiness before her own. When she meets Heinrich, he ticks all the boxes that she’s looking for in a man. Now that her grown up son has Sam has left the nest and got himself a girlfriend, Connie is looking for company but is wary of the deception that is involved with online dating. Even though Connie wants her heart to belong to Heinrich, she finds herself drawn to William, who just so happens to be Heinrich’s enemy. Their family have been at loggerheads for years and come from bakeries in the opposing parts of the town. William is hoping that this year will be the year that his bakery will win the Christmas cake of the year and help bring in some funds to the Old Town and help mend his relationship with his wife and son. I loved William, he’s kind with a huge heart. I loved the interaction between Connie and William, from their awkward first meeting to her helping him with the baking.

This book is the perfect festive book to read. Filled with graphic scenes of the Christmas markets to the heady scents from the Christmas baked goods that seemed to leap from the pages. The story is beautifully written with wonderful characters and really highlights how people can easily be forgotten when they get older and are put into homes and out of the way. It made for sad reading in parts, as the characters reflected on how they were made to feel when family only wanted them for Boxing Day or for expensive gifts.

The humans weren’t the only great characters in this book, there was the inclusion of a sweet and deaf dog called Fritz who was able to put people at ease with his gentle nature. Like Jo’s previous books, this book is heavily food based with traditional German sweets and baked goods and Jo has included the recipes should the reader decide to create their own.

A story of new beginnings and new memories, this festive story is filled with love and heart, ‘Finding Love at the Christmas Market’ is a fun and captivating story that is packed with Christmas cheer and love.

You can buy ‘Finding Love At The Christmas Market’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Rescue Me By Sarra Manning

'Rescue MeThe news that we’ve been waiting for is released, Sarra Manning has revealed the name and synopsis for her new book called ‘Rescue Me’.

What the back cover says-

Margot doesn’t have time for love.

Will is afraid to love.

And neither of them are expecting to fall in love with Blossom: a gentle Staffy with a tragic past, a belly made for rubbing and a head the size of a football.

After their first meeting at the rescue centre, both Margot and Will want to adopt Blossom so reluctantly agree to share custody. But Will’s obsession for micro-managing and clear-cut boundaries and Margot’s need to smother Blossom with affection, means that soon they have a very confused and badly behaved dog on their hands.

Can they put their differences aside to become successful “co-pawrents” and maybe even friends? And meanwhile, does Blossom have plans of her own?

With a stunning cover and a lead canine that sounds as lovely Sarra’s beloved Miss Betsy who sadly passed away last year, ‘Rescue Me’ sounds like an absolute treat of a story.

You can pre-order ‘Rescue Me’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from 21st January 2021.

Food For Thought By Sara Madderson

‘Food For Thought’‘Food For Thought’ is the latest book by Sara Madderson.

Evelyn Macleod has spent a decade helping her husband, charismatic TV chef Seb Macleod, to become a household name. Now they’re riding high and enjoying the spoils of their success. When a tabloid forces Seb to come out as gay, Evelyn and her young son flee to a friend’s luxury resort in rural Kent. Sorrel Farm is the perfect place to hide out, decompress from her disciplined London lifestyle, and comfort-eat. The enforced break also throws into question everything that Evelyn has worked so hard for. Should she continue to chase the glittering heights of wealth and power in London? Or should she choose balance—and the chance to find love—in the beautiful English countryside?

If you’re looking for a book that is uplifting and full of spirit, then ‘Food For Thought’ is perfect for you.

Evelyn McLeod has the perfect life married to a handsome and successful chef called Seb, their restaurant empire is going from strength and they have an adorable little boy called Eddie. But things come crashing down around Evelyn when Seb reveals to her that he’s gay and he has to reveal this to the public before some photographs of him in a compromising position are leaked to the press. The couple put on a united front and reveal their story to the threatening tabloid, but whilst Evelyn has maintained her dignity, in reality she’s heartbroken and fearful of her future. So she takes herself off to Kent to visit her best friend Jess and her partner Zoe where they have a quaint resort filled with organic food, a stunning location and a handsome organic farmer to help occupy her mind. It’s during this time, that Evelyn uses this time to reflect on what and where is next in her life journey.

I loved this book, it’s packed with sass and humour and was a really fun story. The story is reminiscent of ‘This Morning’s presenter Philip Scofield’s recent coming out, a popular celebrity with a very public display, as Seb is a bit of a national treasure.

The story travels at a fun pace and with witty dialogue and great characters that make it so easy to absorb yourself into the story. Evelyn was a fantastic protagonist and was an inspiration to read, using Seb’s sexuality declaration to create a new life for herself and sweet little boy Eddie.

An up lifting and fun story about love and life, ‘Food For Thought’ is an entertaining book that made for delicious reading.

You can ‘Food For Thought’ from Amazon.