La Petite Josette en Provence by Ashley Davidson-Fisher and Illustrated by Martinique Louise Fisher


My enormous thanks to the author Ashley Davidson-Fisher for a copy of her book La Petite Josette en Provence in return for an honest review.

La Petite Josette en Provence is available for purchase here.

La Petite Josette en Provence


La Petite Josette loves adventures and history and she is super excited for her trip to one of the most beautiful villages in Provence, France.

What will she find? A castle, knights, perhaps a “treasure” to take home? There’s so much to do before the trip, but with the help of her big sister, they’ll be on their way in no time.

Beautifully illustrated by the author’s daughter, this bilingual, French and English language adventure and learning book is designed to help teach children and adults basic, multi-language skills and to foster a love for exploring the world.

My Review of La Petite Josette en Provence

It’s time for a family trip to Les Baux-de-Provence.

I thoroughly enjoyed La Petite Josette en Provence and think it would appeal especially to young girls in the six to 11 age range, because not only is it an interesting story, but they would identify very readily with Josette. Similarly, adults learning French will also appreciate this book.

Alongside a lovely account of a day out, Ashley Davidson-Fisher manages to convey an accurate and appealing view of France and its culture so that children can learn as well as be entertained. There’s reference to geography, history and food so that there’s much to learn and discover here. The author is obviously a true Francophile. I could see La Petite Josette en Provence being perfect for families travelling in France.

I thought the balance of French to English was just right, affording an opportunity for French language learners to practice and enhance their skills in a way that was non-threatening and adults with little or no French could easily share this book with their children. I have to admit to a sneaky feeling of satisfaction at understanding the French even without the cleverly placed English and think language learners would attain a real sense of achievement reading La Petite Josette en Provence. Similarly, I thought the English vocabulary was an excellent balance of accessible and challenging vocabulary so that English language skills as well as French could be improved.

The illustrations in La Petite Josette en Provence elevate the story too as they are just beautiful. I particularly liked the way in which they related so closely to the text so that the French language elements such as the pic-nic items like ‘les tartelettes aux framboises’ are more understandable, allowing readers to absorb language without noticing.

La Petite Josette en Provence is a lovely story. It’s an educational and entertaining book and is beautifully illustrated. I really enjoyed it.

About Ashley Davidson-Fisher


Born and raised in Southern California, Ashley and her husband, Michael, fell in love with France shortly after arriving in Provence with their four young children in 2003. While Ashley was participating in her university’s study abroad program in Aix-en-Provence, Michael enrolled the kids into French public school and additional language-learning classes. The children quickly made friends and learned the language at lightning speed, but it took a lot more time for Ashley and her husband to make progress in the language.

In between schoolwork and classes, what better way was there to practice those new-found language skills? Adventures, bien sûr! Thanks to their little, white, station wagon named “François” and PB&J croissants (say what??!!), weekend and holiday road trips allowed the family to immerse themselves into the French culture while taking in the magnificent sights of the Provençal countryside. And voilà……just like that, a love of all things French was born.

Upon the family’s return to the USA, Ashley completed her Bachelor of Arts degrees in French Culture Studies and Business at California State University-San Bernardino. She loves traveling, hiking, photography and reading. Since 2010 Ashley has lived in Provence, France with her husband and their youngest daughter, Presley.

You can follow Ashley on Twitter @backyardprovenc and find out more about her and La Petite Josette en Provence here.

About Martinique Louise Fisher


Martinique is an illustrator from California. She is the oldest child of Ashley and Michael and has been drawing since she was two years old. At the age of thirteen she decided she wanted to become an illustrator and started building her portfolio. She has illustrated book covers, tarot cards, greeting cards, has been featured in online magazines, and has shown in galleries all over the United States.

Martinique has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts, in New York. You can find more of her art work on her website. You’ll also find her on Facebook.

Staying in with Laury Egan


With so much negativity in the world it gives me great pleasure to be staying in with Laury A. Egan today as I think she has just the book to cheer us all up!

Staying in with Laury A. Egan

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Laury. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me. Tell me, which of your books have you brought to tell me about this evening and why have you brought it?


It is my pleasure to bring my newest novel, Fabulous! An Opera Buffa, with me.

(That looks a lot of fun Laury!)

Why did I write this novel? Sometimes the origin of a story comes from a plot concept, a memory, a dream, or a setting. In the case of Fabulous!, Gil’s voice came through loud and clear and demanded my immediate attention. What is an author to do except sit down at the computer and let him rip? One of the early remarks he provided was his psychic’s funny line: “It’s just a matter of time…” Gil interprets this as the start of his career, meeting a new lover, and making all of his dreams come true. Well, sort of, but first he has to go through a lot of trials and tribulations. My own connection to the Metropolitan Opera as a long-time subscriber and my freelance work as an opera production photographer there and at the Opera Company of Philadelphia (plus other venues) was additional inspiration. This book is not, however, only for opera lovers—it is first and foremost a great story for all readers.

(I’m not much of an opera lover but I still love the sound of Fabulous! An Opera Buffa.)

What can we expect from an evening in with Fabulous! An Opera Buffa?

Considering all the depressing news in the world, Fabulous! is irrepressibly cheerful, funny, and a perfect antidote to whatever ails us. There is also a dollop of suspense and a thimbleful of romance to round out this lively, mad-cap story about a young, talented opera singer, Gilbert Eugene Rose, who is hired to sing the soprano lead in Così fan tutte and, as a tenor, to star in a production of Rigoletto, both staged concurrently. In addition, Gil has been appropriated by a Handel-loving female mobster, who is the archenemy of the Così director and must also fend off the advances of a gay tenor and a lusty female mezzo soprano all the while trying to remember if he is wearing the right wig, clothes, and makeup—or not.

(That sounds completely mad and thoroughly entertaining!)

What else have you brought along and why?


What did I bring to celebrate this bubbly tale? Prosecco, of course! And we must listen to some opera. Perhaps a wonderful recording of Così fan tutte, starring my favorite mezzo, Tatiana Troyanos, who, if she were still alive, would no doubt entertain us with an aria or two. Gil also sings Broadway, so a dessert of My Fair Lady might be an excellent last course.

I’ll pour the drinks and you get the music on. Thank you for staying in with me, Laury, and telling me all about Fabulous! An Opera Buffa

Fabulous! An Opera Buffa


Gil is a talented singer who moonlights as a drag queen to pay his rent.

Like others, he’s dying to become famous.

To his dismay, he might get that wish.

As fate would have it, his two newest gigs are fronts for opposite sides of a mob war, and the crime lords involved are more than happy to use Gil as a pawn to do their bidding—or as a target for hitmen when he refuses to do their dirty work.

To avoid a swan song, happy-go-lucky Gil needs to win a game of cat and mouse in the middle of Mobster Boulevard, aflutter in heels, dresses, and wigs, with only his wits for protection and a new romance for inspiration.

If you love fabulous characters, fast-paced plots, and hilarious books that only get better as the pages turn, then this is the book for you.

Fabulous! An Opera Buffa is available for purchase here and on Amazon.

About Laury A. Egan


Laury A. Egan is the author of The Outcast Oracle, listed as a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2013, the collection, Fog and Other Stories, the psychological suspense, Jenny Kidd, the comedy, Fabulous! An Opera Buffa, and Wave in D Minor (forthcoming, 2019).

For many years, Laury worked as an administrator and senior designer at Princeton University Press and also freelanced for 20 publishers. Her short stories have been published in over 35 literary journals and anthologies.

You can find out more about Laury on her website or blog.

The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse

Coordinates of loss 2

Now, when Annabelle Wright got in touch to ask me if I would like to be part of the blog tour for The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse, life was so difficult that I wasn’t actually accepting anything new. That said, Amanda Prowse is one of my favourite authors and I simply couldn’t resist the opportunity to read The Coordinates of Loss. I’m so glad I said yes to this tour!

Amanda Prowse has featured so often on Linda’s Book Bag that I think it might be easiest simply to post the links:

My review of Anna is here.

My review of Another Love is here.

My review of My Husband’s Wife is here.

My review of The Food of Love is here.

My review of The Idea of You is here.

I have also been privileged to interview Amanda here.

The Coordinates of Loss

Coordinates of loss 2

From bestselling author Amanda Prowse comes a tale of a blissful life, a happy marriage, a beloved son…and a tragedy that destroys it all.

When Rachel Croft wakes up on her family’s boat in Bermuda, it’s to sunshine and yet another perfect day…until she goes to wake her seven-year-old son, Oscar. Because the worst thing imaginable has happened. He isn’t there.

In the dark and desperate days that follow, Rachel struggles to navigate her grief. And while her husband, James, wants them to face the tragedy together, Rachel feels that the life they once shared is over. Convinced that their happy marriage is now a sham, and unable to remain in the place where she lost her son, she goes home to Bristol alone.

Only when she starts receiving letters from Cee-Cee, her housekeeper in Bermuda, does light begin to return to Rachel’s soul. She and James both want to learn to live again—but is it too late for them to find a way through together?

Published by Lake Union, The Coordinates of Loss is available for purchase here.

My Review of The Coordinates of Loss

Rachel, James and Oscar have the perfect Bermudan lifestyle, but it is not to last.

I cannot express adequately enough just how much I adored The Coordinates of Loss. I think Amanda Prowse’s writing just gets better and better. There isn’t a single discordant note in this fabulous story. I loved the quality of the prose and at the risk of sounding patronising, I think the author has taken her writing to a new level in this book. Amanda Prowse combines craft and emotion in an ideal blend that hooks the reader and doesn’t let them go until every word is devoured.

I found the characters in The Coordinates of Loss so vivid, especially Oscar and Cee-Cee. Cee-Cee’s letters to Rachel affected me very deeply because she articulated the kind of emotions so many of us experience but can’t describe effectively. Her wisdom and truth felt to me like a tenet to live the rest of my life by. This is powerful writing indeed.

James and Rachel’s deep and overwhelming grief could so easily be mawkish and overdone, but under Amanda Prowse’s skilful pen it is raw, believable and hits the reader in the solar plexus – hard. I so wanted them to heal and be reunited but the stark picture of the realities of grief made me realise life doesn’t always provide a straight and carefree path. I was with them completely on their journey so that I felt their emotions resonate inside my very soul and felt as if I were part of the story too.

I just loved this book. Wise, warm and utterly, utterly wonderful, The Coordinates of Loss is Amanda Prowse at her most perfect best and I’d defy anyone reading this story not to be affected on a deep and personal level. It is fantastic.

About Amanda Prowse

Amanda Prowse

Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author who has published sixteen novels in dozens of languages. Her chart topping No.1 titles What Have I Done?Perfect Daughter and My Husband’s Wife have sold millions of copies around the world.

Other novels by Amanda Prowse include A Mother’s Story which won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the year Award and Perfect Daughter that was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016. Amanda’s book The Food of Love went straight to No.1 in Literary Fiction when it was launched in the USA and she has been described by the Daily Mail as ‘The Queen of Drama’ for her ability to make the reader feel as if they were actually in the story.

You can follow Amanda Prowse on Twitter and visit her website here. You will also find her on Facebook.

All of Amanda Prowse’s wonderful writing is available here .

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

The Coordinates of Loss Blog Tour Banner

Staying in with Glenn Bryant

A Quiet Genocide by Glenn Bryant COVER

As I get sent books all the time and I simply can’t read them all I began these ‘staying in with…’ posts to feature books that I would love to read or that I think deserve more attention. Today Glenn Bryant has agreed to stay in with me to tell me about a book I think sounds utterly wonderful. See what you think…

Staying in with Glenn Bryant

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Glenn. Thanks so much for agreeing to stay in with me. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it? 

A Quiet Genocide by Glenn Bryant COVER

I have brought along my own book this evening, A Quiet Genocide. Why have I chosen it? It is very topical for me right now and was only published in August [2018]. It is a story very close to my heart, which is what motivated me to write it.

(Oh, how exciting. Congratulations Glenn. So tell me a bit more about it.)

What is it about? On one level, it has a dual narrative – about a boy growing up and a mother and wife trapped in an unhappy marriage. The narratives start together; then split apart; then finally come back together at the end of the story.

On another level, A Quiet Genocide is one family’s story among an estimated 5,000-25,000, who were victims in the Holocaust in the Second World War [1939-45]. Why were they targeted by the Nazis? Not because of religion or race or political views, but because they had a mental or physical impairment – and because they were children.

(And I think it’s an era we do well to remember and learn from Glenn.)

What can we expect from an evening in with A Quiet Genocide?

Hopefully, a tense and emotional family drama. Yes, the ultimate backdrop to the story is dark subject matter, certainly. But that certainly is not the book’s or story’s focus. The focus is on a little boy, uncertain of himself and a middle aged woman, too uncertain of herself for different reasons. In discovering and accepting their true history, they accept who they really are and who they might become. It is a story of self-discovery and of hope in that sense.

(I think A Quiet Genocide sounds wonderful.)

It has received some wonderful early reviews from bloggers. One, Cathy Johnson wrote:

“Books such as A Quiet Genocide perform an important role in ensuring that such atrocities are never forgotten. Compelling, factual, chilling.”

(You must be so pleased with that assessment.)

That is absolutely why I was first so moved and motivated to try and write a novel about it. Writing a novel – and then pitching it to agents and potential publishers – is such a huge undertaking, you have to be massively motivated otherwise you will never reach the finish line.

But, as we have already talked about, I also wanted to write a story people feel in love with as much as I did as the author. Another review, by Barbara Searles, commented:

“Bryant writes like an author with many more books to his credit. A Quiet Genocide is absorbing. Its truth-telling is subtle and unfurls like a big black umbrella on a rainy day.”

(I really do think I need to add A Quiet Genocide to my TBR pile Glenn.)

What else have you brought along and why? 

Glenn & Juliet

I have brought along a photo of me and Juliet, an artist, who inspired me to write the story. A Quiet Genocide is dedicated to her ‘work and spirit’. The photo says more than I ever can.

What a glorious photo. And how brilliant to have a book dedicated to her. Juliet must be thrilled. Thank you so much for staying in and telling me all about A Quiet Genocide Glenn. It sounds such a good book and I wish you every success with it.

A Quiet Genocide

A Quiet Genocide by Glenn Bryant COVER

Jozef grows up in a happy household – so it seems. But his father Gerhard still harbours disturbing National Socialism ideals, while his mother Catharina is quietly broken. She cannot feign happiness for much longer and soon rediscovers love elsewhere.

Jozef is uncertain and alone. Who is he? Are Gerhard and Catharina his real parents?

A dark mystery slowly unfolds, revealing an inescapable truth an entire nation is afraid to confront. But Jozef is determined to find out about the past. And a horror is finally unmasked which continues to question our idea of what, in the last hour, makes each of us human.

Published by Amsterdam Publishers on 22nd August 2018, A Quiet Genocide is available for purchase here.

About Glenn Bryant

A Quiet Genocide [Amsterdam Publishers] by Glenn Bryant PORTRAIT lowres

Glenn Bryant grew up in Grimsby, the north of England. He has a master’s degree from the University of Dundee, Scotland in modern history where he studied the Warsaw Ghetto 1940-43. He is a qualified and experienced senior journalist. A Quiet Genocide is his first novel.

You can find Glenn on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @GlennMBryant.

An Extract and Giveaway: Petals and Stones by Joanne Burn

Petals and Stones_Hi res cover

I’m a huge fan of the books published by Legend Press and am thrilled to feature another from them today: Petals and Stones by Joanne Burn. I have a wonderful extract to share from Petals and Stones and a chance for a lucky UK reader to win their own copy.

Petals and Stones was published on 6th September 2018 and is available for purchase here.

Petals and Stones

Petals and Stones_Hi res cover

When Uma discovers her husband’s infidelity just hours before his untimely death, the carefully woven threads of her life begin to unravel.

Struggling to manage the grief of those around her, she escapes to a remote cottage by the coast where she swims in the winter sea, cooks the forgotten Keralan dishes of her childhood and begins the search for her husband’s lover.

It isn’t long before Uma realises what she must do to pick up the tattered threads of her life. But will her choices jeopardise the only family she has left?

An Extract from Petals and Stones

Holly’s dark ringlets and olive skin meant the two of them were easily mistaken for mother and daughter. The shopkeeper – her elbows and heavy chest resting on the counter top, her long grey hair slicked behind her ears – seemed to make that assumption, exchanging knowing looks with Uma as Holly brushed her fingertips across the chocolate bars and packets of sweets.

‘So lovely at this age…’ the shopkeeper said, offering Uma the kind of smile that said how lucky you are, how lovely she is, how proud you must be. ‘I always wanted a daughter but all I got was boys.’

If she had asked directly then Uma would have put her straight. But she didn’t, and Uma let the untruth stand beside them like another customer waiting to be served. A deception of sorts, but nothing like an outright lie.

Outside, the snow blew into their eyes and mouths despite their generous layers of wool and fleece and all attempts to turn their faces from the bitter gusts. They walked, heads down, Uma squeezing Holly’s hand through their gloves in silent encouragement.

‘I’m cold, Auntie Uma,’ Holly whimpered eventually, two streets from home.

‘If we walk quickly, we’ll be back in no time.’

Holly was slowing, resisting the tugging of Uma’s hand, bowing her face towards the snow beneath her feet.

‘We just need to keep going,’ said Uma.

She thought of the log burner in the kitchen, the gentle warmth of the underfloor heating, the fairy lights she had strung around the place once the days had shortened. She imagined them sinking into plump cushions as they snuggled together to watch the television.

‘Think how nice it will be, once we’re home.’

The steps up to the house were buried, hardly discernible beneath the snow, and they kicked until they found the stone, making a game of it.

Inside the house, they stamped their feet, shedding their sod-den clothes and scattering an icy slush across the hallway tiles.

‘Your phone is ringing Auntie Uma.’

‘Is it?’ Uma said, straining to hear, faintly making out the sound. ‘What brilliant ears you have!’

She ran to the kitchen and snatched up the handset. You have new messages. Please wait to be connected to your messaging service. Holly appeared in the kitchen, making straight for the wood burner, flopping onto the rug and lifting her feet towards the glass.

‘Not too close.’

Voice text.

Uma sighed. They were an annoyance, these occasional, accidental text messages that came through to the landline – hard to decipher the robotic text translation and tedious to track down the mobile number in her contacts list to work out who it was from. Uma reached for a pad from the table and scribbled the number as it was given.

Message received today at 3.55pm: Missing you already Danny-boy. Why is it never enough? xxx

Motionless, she looked at the numbers on the paper.

To listen to the message again press one. To save it press two. To delete it press three.

Uma took the phone from her ear, looked down at the keypad and carefully, heart quickening, pressed one. The message played again. Missing you already Danny-boy. Danny-boy? Who would address him so affectionately? His mother didn’t call him Danny-boy. His sisters didn’t call him Danny-boy. And why is what never enough?

A sense of unease, slow and cautious, seeped through her. She saved the message and replaced the phone in its cradle, staying where she was, looking through the window at the large garden that swept down towards the stream at the bottom. Everything familiar had been erased by white. Every shape and contour had been muffled beyond recognition by a thick blanket of snow. She became aware of Holly speaking, reaching up her little hands to pull on Uma’s arm, taking her fingers, leading her towards the cupboards on the other side of the kitchen.

‘I’m hungry Auntie Uma. I need a snack.’

She looked down at her Goddaughter. She was perfect – crazy ringlets, flawless skin, the tiniest scar from her lip operation. Her gaze rested on Uma, trusting her needs to be met.

‘A snack,’ Uma repeated, allowing herself to be manoeuvred. She took bread from the bread bin and cut it with a knife, dropping it into the toaster.

‘Can I have chocolate spread?’

‘Peanut butter would be better,’ Uma said, her voice a whisper. ‘Don’t you think? You’ve got your sweeties too so I think peanut butter would be better. And some orange juice.’

Holly didn’t argue, and fetched her special plate and cup. They were heavy crockery with pictures of Pooh and Piglet. Uma had bought them when she first agreed to have Holly after school once a week. She had been aware of her efforts to make it special, of her craving for the child to like her – to really like her. Pippa, Holly’s mother, had laughed at the expensive crockery. You want plastic, she had said, picking up the plate and turning it over in her hands. She’ll throwthis straight on the floor. But somehow, even as a toddler, Holly had known not to throw things. And now, of course, she loved her Pooh and Piglet plate, and how grown up it felt to be trusted with something so lovely.

Uma put the snack in front of Holly and left the room. She sat on the bottom step of the stairs, the paper with the scribbled number on it trembling in her hands. She checked the number against her contacts list, but it wasn’t recognised. She dialled it – no idea what she intended to say – but it rang out and went through to voicemail. She listened to the voice-text message again, as if she needed to, as if every word hadn’t already become a song she had known forever, a song she couldn’t prevent from repeating. Missing you already Danny-boy.

Her confusion was merging slowly, inescapably, with suspicion, and a looming certainty that she knew what this was. She was trying to turn away from it but it was everywhere she looked. Her face was hot, her mouth dry. And Daniel was having an affair. Her husband was doing that thing that people do.

Uma grabbed handfuls of her jumper, pulling the soft wool to cover her face, images of him kissing another woman, his hands against imaginary skin, running through her mind.

(I don’t know about you, but that has made me determined to read Petals and Stones as soon as I can.)

About Joanne Burn


After studying politics at the University of Sheffield Joanne worked in the charitable sector, for various homelessness and community development organisations. In 2004 Joanne trained as a life coach, and specialises now in creativity coaching. She lives in the Peak District with her husband and two daughters.

Petals and Stones is her debut novel.

Find out more by visiting Joanne’s website or following her on Twitter @Joanne_Burn.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

tour poster


A Paperback Copy of Petals and Stones by Joanne Burn

I’m delighted to be able to offer the chance for a lucky UK reader to win a paperback copy of Petals and Stones by Joanne Burn thanks to the lovely folk at Legend Press.

For your chance to enter click here.

Giveaway closes at UK midnight on Thursday 4th October 2018 and once the winner is identified and their address to receive their prize passed to Legend Press, please note that I will not retain any of your data!

Staying in with Sue Bentley

We Other

I always love it when I get to stay in vicariously with an author I have actually met in real life, so it gives me enormous pleasure to welcome Sue Bentley to Linda’s Book Bag today to stay in with me and tell me about one of her many books.

Staying in with Sue Bentley

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Sue and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me. It’s good to catch up with you again. Last time I saw you you were giving a presentation about your writing for children, so which of your books have you brought along to share this evening?

We Other

This evening I’ve brought along my novel We Other to share. I’ve chosen it because it had an interesting journey from inception to publishing and beyond, and because it’s my first book for older readers in quite a while.

It’s a book I’d been planning to write for a long time. I wanted to get my teeth into some complex and ‘in depth’ writing, after concentrating on writing books for children aged 5-9 years (well over 50 books, in all). People might imagine that We Other is a big departure from writing children’s books. But I started out writing for adults, with twelve books and a book of short stories, all published traditionally.That’s a long tale, for another time!

(Ha! I know a bit about that already but as you say – a story for another time!)

So – We Other. It draws on many things, firstly my own love of reading fiction which contains something out of the ordinary. I like books that surprise me, books that remain with me for a long time after I finish reading them. I do like a streak of darkness, even nastiness, too! I’m fascinated by ‘what’s beneath the stone’. I was the sort of child that would turn the stone over to find out. The interesting and unusual still inspires me. I love a little-known fact or strange belief. I think this is a legacy of my love of dark and gritty fairy tales, lesser-known folklore and strange weird events. Truth really is stranger than fiction. Like all writers I collects scraps of ideas like glittering threads, which might inspire a short story, a character, or even an entire book.

(I think authors are like magpies Sue – always collecting items for their writing.)

So, what can we expect from an evening in with We Other then Sue?

We Other is more than a re-working of adult fairy stories. It begins in a contemporary setting, before broadening out and taking many unexpected twists. Hopefully I keep my readers guessing! I find it hard to label this book as just Young Adult or Fantasy – although that’s where it’s generally placed.

(One of the very few things that annoys me about the book world is the need to categorise books and label them. Good writing is good writing as far as I’m concerned! I love so called YA fiction and I’m a very long way away from 18…)

It’s certainly not sword and sorcery, perhaps I’d call it out-of-the-ordinary, an urban tale with a dark heart. Because Jess Morgan, the main character, is eighteen the books has been labelled as YA. Which is fine if it helps a reader locate it in a book shop or on-line. Interestingly though, a large proportion of my reviews have been from adults. Here are some examples:

Goodreads 5 star – Karen Cole  – ‘The characterisation in the book is superb, Jess and Caleb are both hugely likeable and have that necessary ‘otherness’ which makes them somehow relatable to anybody who has ever felt they don’t quite fit in. A word here too for Ivy Stark who despite her rather spiky personality became one of my favourite characters, particularly as her full story and reason for her rather detached demeanour becomes apparent.’

Goodreads 5 stars – Yvonne ‘I absolutely adored this book, it was like a dark faerie tale with a modern twist and mix, blending fantasy with social factors and creating a brilliant and absorbing story.’

(Oh! I know and respect both those reviewers in the blogging world so you must be delighted with their comments Sue.)

Amazon – 5 stars  – characters and places so well described – Alan Reville – ‘Thoroughly enjoyable! Wasn’t sure it would be my cup of tea, but the characters and places are so well described I soon found myself getting sucked in. I read it as part of a book club and everyone else enjoyed it as well and although the book is targeted at young adults I would recommend it to readers of all ages (I’m 50!). Just hope I don’t have to wait too long for the sequel.’

(That’s exactly what I meant about categorising books as YA – they are great for us all!)

What else have you brought along this evening Sue and why?

Staying in with Linda - fairy food jpg

A plate of fairy food – which I brought back from a recent visit to Faery. Be warned! We can look and admire, but we mustn’t eat any of it. Otherwise we’ll become addicted to the taste and drawn into Faery while we attempt (unsuccessfully) to sate our appetites and probably sicken and die. Faery is a dangerous place, full of trickery and traps for the unwary – we enter at our peril. If we could see this enchanted plate of food with ‘true sight’ we’d see it is actually made up of bugs, toadstools and other nasty stuff.

(Crikey! Good thing you said as I was just about to dive in!)

Staying in with Linda - brownies

Something we can eat. Some gorgeous and very rich chocolate brownies I made especially for Staying In. Chocolate is my favourite treat, if there are nuts involved even better. These have chopped walnuts for a bit of crunch. I hope you’re not allergic – I’ve brought Vanilla ice cream to go with them.

(That’s more like it. I am most definitely NOT allergic to chocolate. It’s a staple part of my diet!)

victorian faery

I’ve also brought along a book about Victorian Fairy Painting. I bought this book from The Royal Academy of Arts in 1997, after I went to see the exhibition there of the same name. I’ve always loved the work of John Anster Fitzgerald in particular and knew there would be some of his paintings on show. I wasn’t disappointed. Seeing all these wonderful paintings in one place made a huge impression on me, and directly inspired key scenes from We Other.

The book was also the exhibition catalogue, so I was able to relive the experience of seeing the actual painting and devouring details of them at my leisure.

I’d like a closer look at that Sue. In the mean time I think we’ll give Linda’s Book Bag readers a bit more information about We Other. Thanks so much for staying in to tell me more about it. You’ve made me want to put We Other right at the top of my TBR!

We Other

We Other

Family secrets, changelings, and fairies you never want to meet on a dark night.

Jess Morgan’s life has always been chaotic.

When a startling new reality cannot be denied, it’s clear that everything she believed about herself is a lie. She is linked to a world where humans – ‘hot-bloods’ – are disposable entertainment. Life on a run-down estate – her single mum’s alcoholism and violent boyfriend – become the least of Jess’s worries.

We Other is available for purchase here.

About Sue Bentley


Sue was born in Northamptonshire, UK. Where she still lives. She fell in love with books at an early age and worked for Northamptonshire Libraries for many years.
She writes for children aged 5-9, Teens and Adults. Her worldwide, best-selling Magic Kitten, Magic Puppy, Magic Ponies and Magic Bunny series have been translated into many languages.

We Other is Sue’s first book for teens and adults. Sue says, ‘This book was inspired by my love of traditional fairy tales and UK folklore. It’s an urban thriller with an unusual edge and will keep you guessing. You wouldn’t want to meet the fairies in this book on a dark night!’

Sue is fascinated by the extraordinary within the every day. The darkness that hovers at the edges of the light. There’s usually some element of magic or ‘the hidden’ in her books.

Sue is also an artist. She loves trees, cinema, reading, vintage clothes, dark chocolate, literary festivals, meeting readers, interacting with fans around the world. She enjoys the company of creative people and talking all things books and writing. Her stationery fetish is getting out of hand, as is her library. She says her imagination was always too big. And she was that child in a room full of gauzy wings and pink tutus who was dressed as a bat.

You can find out more about Sue by visiting her website, finding her on Facebook and following her on Twitter @suebentleywords.

Froggy Day by Heather Pindar and Illustrated by Barbara Bakos


I’m a big fan of Maverick Children’s Books and would like to thank them for a copy of Froggy Day by Heather Pindar and illustrated by Barbara Bakos in return for an honest review.

Froggy Day will be published tomorrow, 28th September 2018, and is available for purchase here.

Froggy Day


When the weather woman says it’s going to be “very froggy” she means it!

There are frogs on the streets, on the bus, in the supermarket and even in school!

Everything has gone hopping mad!

How will people live with all these frogs?

My Review of Froggy Day

The weather forecast is for a very froggy day!

I loved this funny and engaging children’s read. Froggy Day is such a beautifully produced book with vibrant illustrations that not only enhance the story, but that are in a style that appeals to adults and children alike. I loved the frogs in the shops.

I thought the story was smashing as the froggy situations are ones that children can identify with so that there is a familiarity as well as a running joke of such unusual weather. Settings contain the town and the country so that children in all locations can feel included. The diversity of people such as having Jan in a hard hat as a construction worker gives perfect subliminal messages to children too.

As usual for me when reviewing children’s books, I can’t help commenting on the educational aspects and Froggy Day is just great. I love the playing with language so that children are encouraged to experiment with sounds and to have fun with language. I like the way the story ends because children can develop oracy as they predict what might happen with the weather the next day. I think there’s great educational value for numeracy in the illustrations too as children could count how many frogs they find.

Froggy Day is funny, fun and engaging. It would be brilliant for home or classroom reading and I can imagine children wanting to read it, or have it read to them, over and over again. It’s a smashing children’s book that I heartily recommend.

About Heather Pindar

heather pindar

After growing up in Yorkshire, Heather studied German at university, and then settled in London for many years. She recently moved with her partner David to live in Guildford where she can spend more time cycling and walking, and riding her cheeky grey horse, Finty.

Heather has over twenty years’ experience as a teacher; she currently works part time in a Primary School in South London. She finds the children’s brilliant imaginations and love of stories are her biggest inspiration for writing picture books.

You can follow Heather on Twitter @HeatherPindar.

About Barbra Bakos

barbra bakos

Barbara, and I grew up in Budapest and  can’t remember a time when she wasn’t drawing. She  graduated as an animation director at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest.

You can find out more here and you can also follow illustrator Barbara on Twitter @barbrabakos.

An Extract from The Love Detective by Angela Dyson

The Love Detective

My enormous thanks to Helen Lewis for inviting me to be part of the launch celebrations for The Love Detective by Angela Dyson. I’m thrilled to be able to share an extract with you today.

Published by Troubador today 27th September 2018, The Love Detective is available for purchase here.

The Love Detective

The Love Detective

The first in a hilarious new series featuring a regular girl set down a path strewn with misadventures and murder to her destiny as `The Love Detective’.

Clarry is 26, attractive, funny – and on the road to nowhere. Living a makeshift existence as a waitress, she knows life should be led with some sort of plan, but unfortunately planning is something she needs to get around to.

Enter her best friend Laura with a seemingly simple request: check out Simon, estate agent and new boyfriend, to make sure he really is interested in Laura and not the solicitor help she can provide. Clarry is no detective, unless you count tracking down where her next tip is coming from. Still, what harm could a little amateur sleuthing do?

With the aid of Flan, a glamorous septuagenarian, Flan’s lover, and a cast of colourful characters from the restaurant she works at, Clarry plunges into the investigation with a few pitfalls, pratfalls and a dodgy moment where she’s mistaken as a pole dancer (and not in a good way). It isn’t until 1) she discovers that Simon’s a two-timing creep, and 2) in a sinister turn, she uncovers an evil criminal enterprise, that she realises amateur sleuthing is not for the faint of heart!

Cynical and yet romantic, Clarry is an unlikely heroine that readers will both identify and fall in love with. Her misadventures and comical outlook mesh brilliantly with a thrilling story that will appeal to readers of romance, crime and chick lit. Set to be the first in an entertaining new series, you don’t need to follow the clues to know The Love Detective is one book you don’t want to miss out on!

An Extract from the Love Detective

And then, without indicating, the van suddenly swung a left disappearing around a corner. In pursuit, I picked up speed and swerved after it, only to find that it had come to a halt right on the bend. Urgently, I pressed down hard on the brake pedal but it was too late, I was going to ram straight into it. Forcing myself back into my seat as if somehow, magically, the movement of my body could prevent collision with the rear of the other vehicle, I ground my foot down again and pulled desperately at the handbrake. The wheels spun for what seemed a very long minute but in reality could only have been a few seconds. My old Renault rocked violently on its axis but I had missed hitting the van, and with only inches to spare.

I took a long, ragged breath. Nausea threatened and briefly I closed my eyes trying to force it down. Instantly, I opened them again at the sound of the van door being opened. The driver was getting out. I could see now that his bomber jacket was of shiny leather and that he was in his thirties with black receding hair, I registered, in my rear-view mirror, something small and white that floated out and down from the van’s nearside window, to land amongst the scrubby grass that lined the edge of the kerb. Somebody in that van had thrown out a piece of paper.

(And now I need to know what happens next!)

About Angela Dyson

Angela Dyson

Angela Dyson ditched her London life and downsized her home to move to the sticks in Surrey, to follow her dream to become a professional author. She loves to write but to pay the bills (Angela soon discovered that utility companies, bank managers and landlords aren’t known for their generosity and understanding natures,) she had to squeeze the writing in with working for a living. Some of the jobs to which she only gave half her attention have included working for a recording studio and a record label, running a building maintenance company where pretty much the only upside was getting to boss a lot of men about all day, doing a bit of plus size modelling (strictly clothes on) and, for one memorable summer, making a living reading palms on a Greek Island.

You can follow Angela on Twitter @AngelaDysonAuth, visit her website and find her on Facebook.

love detective banner

The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan

The Christmas Sisters

My enormous thanks to Sarah Calder at Harper Collins for a surprise copy of The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan in return for an honest review.

The Christmas Sisters will be published by HQ, an imprint of Harper Collins, on 1st November 2018 and is available for preorder here.

The Christmas Sisters

The Christmas Sisters

It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree, but who’s around it that matters most.

All Suzanne McBride wants for Christmas is her three daughters happy and at home. But when sisters Posy, Hannah and Beth return to their family home in the Scottish Highlands, old tensions and buried secrets start bubbling to the surface.

Suzanne is determined to create the perfect family Christmas, but the McBrides must all face the past and address some home truths before they can celebrate together . . .

My Review of The Christmas Sisters

The McBride sisters spend most of their time avoiding one another, but Christmas this year might be different.

Why on earth haven’t I read Sarah Morgan’s books before? I may have been on holiday in scorching temperatures when I immersed myself in this book but The Christmas Sisters proves that smashing, feel-good fiction can be read and thoroughly enjoyed at any time of the year.

Although all the women in the story are well rounded and realistic characters, it was Posy whom I enjoyed reading about the most. I loved the fact that she was feisty, independent and yet still bound by family ties so that I identified with her completely. The men in the story, Luke, Jason, Adam and Stewart, play a slightly reduced role but form a perfect backdrop for Suzanne, Hannah, Beth and Posy making the narrative beautifully well balanced and immensely satisfying. The blending of the American and Scottish elements also adds to the huge enjoyment gained in reading The Christmas Sisters.

The plot is lovely. Readers might expect a happy ever after ending from this kind of women’s fiction, but the journey to the denouement is humorous, well constructed and romantic. I thought the italicised asides lent just the right level of extra detail so that I felt included in the story; especially when some of the characters didn’t have the information or detail I had. As well as levity, however, there are some weighty themes to explore too so that The Christmas Sisters prompts the reader to ponder family and relationships, trust and guilt and, most importantly, to consider what, or rather who, really is important in life.

I’m probably going to sound sexist here but I swear there isn’t a woman alive who has prepared for a family Christmas would wouldn’t find echoes of themselves and their loved ones in The Christmas Sisters. It is an absolute joy to me that Sarah Morgan gives her readers the permission to step back and not strive for unrealistic perfection whilst simultaneously entertaining them royally. This book is joyful, touching and a jolly good read!

About Sarah Morgan

Sarah Morgan

Sarah Morgan is a USA Today bestselling author of romance and women’s fiction. She has sold over 16 million copies of her books and is a 3-time winner of the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America.

Sarah lives near London with her family and when she isn’t writing or sprawled on the sofa reading, she likes to spend time outdoors walking or riding her mountain bike. She still can’t believe she is lucky enough to be paid for doing a job where she makes things up.

You can find out more by joining Sarah’s mailing list by visiting her website. You can follow her on Facebook Twitter @SarahMorgan_ and on Instagram.

Staying in with Nancy Boyarsky

Liar Liar

It’s always so good to meet new to me authors and today I’m delighted to welcome writer Nancy Boyarsky to Linda’s Book Bag to tell me all about one of her books.

Staying in with Nancy Boyarsky

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Nancy. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me. Tell me, which of your books have you brought to tell me about this evening and why have you brought it?

Liar Liar

I brought my new book, Liar Liar, with me because was published yesterday, and I’m very excited about it.

(I bet! And a Happy Publication Day for yesterday Nancy!)

It was challenging and, in the end, a lot of fun to write because my fearless sleuth, Nicole, shows a new aspect of herself, one she doesn’t like. She becomes an accomplished liar, although not to the extent of the other main players in the book. She struggles with the guilt she feels lying to her fiancé about her continuing involvement in a murder case. Josh, she now realizes, is overly protective in a way that stifles her instinct for righting a terrible injustice. He doesn’t want her anywhere near the murder trial, especially since it’s a high profile story that attracts huge attention from the media and paparazzi.


In my previous mystery, The Bequest, Nicole herself was the target of the tabloids to such an extent that she had to hide out to escape them (as well as a murder threat).

(This sounds incredibly exciting.)

Delving into this story bought up some interesting questions: Do we ever really know the whole truth? Do we each have our version of past events? I enjoyed writing about the push-pull between the truth and lies and how difficult it is for other people to figure out what really happened.

(Oh yes! I’m always fascinated about the way we can construct our own truths. I think I’d really enjoy this series and Liar Liar in particular Nancy.)

What can we expect from an evening in with Liar Liar?

If you love mysteries, you’ll find yourself caught up in a fast-moving, character-driven story that tunes in on today’s headline stories. It begins with a rape accusation that escalates and turns deadly. The plot unfolds with a number of twists and surprises. Basically this is a who-done-it. female-sleuth story; we know fairly early on who didn’t do it. As the plot progresses, it’s clear that many involved are not telling the truth. Even Nicole, finds herself lying when her fiancé objects to her looking into the murder that he feels could put her in danger. I put in several court-room scenes, but kept them short and to the point. You can expect the action to keep going all the way to the end.

(It sounds great.)

What else have you brought along and why? 


Because mysteries are addictive, I’ve brought along a big plate of amazing brownies baked by my friend Charlotte, along with munchies, including roasted mixed nuts, guacamole and chips.

(Now, if you’re going to bring along those kind of snacks, you can come again Nancy!)

I’ve also brought my technical advisors, Cathy Watkins, a P.I. and my brother-in-law Jeff, a criminal defense attorney, because they’re fun to talk to.

(We’d better give them a chance to join in then!)


And finally, I’ve brought a couple of bottles of Pino Grigio, so everyone can relax and have a good time.

It’s been so interesting finding out about Liar Liar, Nancy. Thank you for staying in with me. I’ve really enjoyed our evening. Now, let’s pour Cathy and Jeff a drink…

Liar Liar

Liar Liar

Nicole Graves finds herself in the crosshairs when she reluctantly agrees to babysit a witness in a high-profile rape trial. Mary Ellen Barnes is suing her university’s star quarterback for rape when the authorities won’t act. In the court of public opinion, Mary Ellen appears to be the quintessential, pious, good girl. But her lies and mysterious comings and goings lead Nicole to suspect that she’s not what she seems.

It isn’t just Mary Ellen who’s acting suspiciously. No one wants to own up to the truth in Liar Liar, not even Nicole, whose fiance; begs her not to look into the case. But when the witness goes missing during the trial, Nicole is caught up in a tangle of lies that turns deadly. After the investigator assigned to the case fails to do his job, Nicole is determined to find the killer on her own, no matter the risks.

Published by Light Messages Publishing, Liar Liar is available for purchase through the links here.

About Nancy Boyasky


Before turning to mysteries, Nancy coauthored Backroom Politics, a New York Times notable book, with her husband, Bill Boyarsky. She has written several textbooks on the justice system as well as articles for publications including the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, and McCall’s. She also contributed to political anthologies, including In the Running, about women’s political campaigns. In addition to her writing career, she was communications director for political affairs for ARCO.

Liar Liar: A Nicole Graves Mystery is Nancy Boyarsky’s third novel. The Swap, her first in the series, received the Eric Hoffer Award for Literary Excellence. The Bequest, the second Nicole mystery  received five stars from Kirkus Reviews.

You can find out more about Nancy by visiting her website, or finding her on Facebook.