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Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase By Jane Riley

Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase‘Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase’ is the latest book by Jane Riley.

Jack had two dying wishes: that his wife scatter his ashes somewhere ‘exotic’, and that she not give up on life once he was gone. He intended to spur her on to new adventures, but despite clinging to her red suitcase, Geraldine Verne hasn’t left the house for three months. It takes an accident for Geri to accept help from her friends, but when Meals on Wheels arrive she is mortified. Yet heartbroken volunteer Lottie brings with her more than cottage pie and custard. Like Geri, she too is struggling to cut loose. As a gloriously unlikely friendship blossoms, Geraldine begins to feel a long-lost spark of life and a newfound confidence. Perhaps what both women needed most, after all, was each other.

Although this book is a story of loss and grief, it’s delivered in such a upbeat and quirky style that I was immediately absorbed in this story.

The story is seen through the narrative of young at heart Geraldine Verne, who’s struggling with the loss of her husband. So much so that keeps his possessions and ashes in a red suitcase that she wheels around with her. A once vibrant character, she’s become reclusive and avoids company until one day after having an accident, her friend called Len Goodman sets her up with Meals on Wheels so she can be looked after whilst he’s away on a cruise. Geraldine becomes friends with Lottie, one of the meal delivery ladies and although there’s over 30 years of difference in age between the 2, they become friends and share a mutual share of grief. As Lottie deals with a relationship breakup and Geraldine deals with no longer having Jack in her life.

I loved this story, it’s warm-hearted, funny and tender and made for really sweet reading. Geraldine is a great character, she’s eccentric and vibrant and as much as loves company finds it hard to talk to people without Jack no longer being at her side. It’s lovely to read her and Lottie’s interactions, as Lottie gently coaxes her into getting back into the world and help Geraldine rediscover her lust for life. To help her deal with her grief, Jack leaves a puzzle for Geraldine to solve and this makes her feel that he’s still with her and this makes for sweet reading as she discovers letters and clues from her true love. One addition that made for interesting reading was Jack’s passion with butterflies and it made for fascinating reading at the variation of the species.

‘Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase’ is a poignant and fun story about love, loss and letting go.

You can buy ‘Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Girls’ Night Out By Liz Fention and Lisa Steinke

Girls' Night Out‘Girls’ Night Out’ is the second book by writing duo Liz Fention and Lisa Steinke.

For estranged friends Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren, it’s time to heal the old wounds between them. Where better to repair those severed ties than on a girls’ getaway to the beautiful paradise of Tulum, Mexico? But even after they’re reunited, no one is being completely honest about the past or the secrets they’re hiding. When Ashley disappears on their girls’ night out, Natalie and Lauren have to try to piece together their hazy memories to figure out what could have happened to her, while also reconciling their feelings of guilt over their last moments together. Was Ashley with the man she’d met only days before? Did she pack up and leave? Was she kidnapped? Or worse—could Natalie or Lauren have snapped under the weight of her own lies? As the clock ticks, hour by hour, Natalie and Lauren’s search rushes headlong into growing suspicion and dread. Maybe their secrets run deeper and more dangerous than one of them is willing—or too afraid—to admit.

For the last few days, I’ve had my head stuck in ‘Girls’ Night Out’, a gripping story about the complexities and issues of female friendships with unexpected results.

The story is seen through the eyes of once best friends, Ashley, Natalie and Lauren as they all disappear to Mexico to try to rekindle the old friendship that they had, but life and jealousy has gotten in the way making them wary of each other. What should be an adventure and an opportunity to mend old wounds turns into a nightmare when Ashley disappears leaving both Natalie and Lauren wishing they had been better friends. The story floats between the past and present tense leading up the Ashley’s disappearance.

The three friends are interesting characters. They pretend to be best friends, but really they are all hiding something from each other. Ashley is quite obviously the leader of the pack, men want to be with her and women want to be friends with her, but her two best friends see another side of her that they don’t like. She’s domineering, self-centred and likes everything to be her way, much to the despair of Lauren and Natalie. Natalie is the peacekeeper of the group, always neutral and trying not to take sides, but she’s finding it hard to keep things together when her own marriage is falling apart, whilst Lauren will never forgive Ashley for not really being there for her when her husband died and thinks that this holiday will be the ending of the relationship.

A taunt thriler from the very beginning and riddled with tension throughout that made for dramatic reading, ‘Girls’ Night Out’ is a thrilling story of jealousy, that shows female friendship at its very worst.

You can buy Girls’ Night Out from Amazon

The Ocean Liner Book Tour – Writers Tip

“MariusI’m delighted to be kicking off the book tour for ‘The Ocean Liner’, the latest historical novel by Marius Gabriel.

Set in the Golden Age of the ocean liner, Marius takes readers on a journey of opulence and tragedy upon the SS Manhattan, a ship charged with carrying refugees from WW2 Europe to a promised new life in America. Based on in-depth research of this period, of real U-Boat attacks and successful rescue journeys, ‘The Ocean Liner’ is a story of escape and loyalty, of love and loss, but most of all it’s a story of hope. The novel was thoroughly researched and ‘The Ocean Liner’ is a fictionalised portrayal of some of the true stories from The Golden Age of the Ocean Liner, and sensitively pays tribute to some of true tragedies of the period. From the destruction of the SS Athenia, the heroics of Commodore Albert ‘Rescue’ Randall, to the events that changed Rose Kennedy’s life forever, Gabriel brings to life a cast of refugees escaping WW2.

Today, on the book tour, Marius offers a writers tip to aspiring authors out there.

The Ocean Liner

Without hesitation, I advise all aspiring writers to let your imagination run free. Don’t write to a formula. Write what’s inside you. Hold nothing back. Let every fantasy, every fear, spill out on the page. Nothing Before starting to use my computer, I fill a book with handwritten notes. I write with a fountain pen in green ink. There’s no better way of getting my thoughts down – they seem to flow from my heart onto the page.

Then I use that notebook to guide me as I write in MS Word. I never disobey the instructions I’ve given myself in ink. I know that, however odd they may sound, they were my truest and most creative impulses.

Don’t write to a formula. Write what’s inside you. Hold nothing back. Let every fantasy, every fear, spill out on the page. Nothing else is interesting – only what’s in your imagination. On that you will fail or succeed.

You can buy The Ocean Liner from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Matt Dunn Releases New Book – Home

“Home”Good news for fans of Matt Dunn, as he is back with a new book this year called ‘Home’

The story of ‘Home’ is –

It’s been eighteen years since Josh Peters left dreary, dying Derton—the seaside town where he grew up—and headed for the bright lights of London. Now his dad is sick and his mum needs him, so he’s back—though he’s promised himself he won’t be staying for long…

Then Josh finds himself unexpectedly detained in Derton, living in his cramped teenage bedroom, with simmering family tensions a little too close for comfort. Back amongst the old friends, old enemies, and old flames he left behind, he’s worried that some things may never change.

But is Derton the same place he couldn’t wait to escape from back then, full of failures and bitter memories, or has it been doing just fine without him? As Josh revisits his past, will he find that the only one who hasn’t moved on is him?

His London life is calling him back—but sometimes there’s no place like home…

Like Matt’s previous offerings, this book is guaranteed to an entertaining story.

You can pre-order Home from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 10th November 2015.