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Wednesday, 21 August 2019

#Bookreview Curmudgeon Avenue @SamanthaHfinds #ReviewPit #CurmudgeonAvenueSeries

Curmudgeon Avenue 
(#1 The Terraced House Diaries) 


Written by Samantha Henthorn

⭐⭐⭐


Published by  Independently published (22 July 2018)
Genre Humour, Satire
Pages 162







My thanks to author Samantha Henthorn for a free digital copy of Curmudgeon Avenue to  review. Samantha has also kindly answered a few questions for my feature Interview with the Author.

The blurb:


They say that walls have ears, and some even say that walls can talk. So when Curmudgeon Avenue takes a disliking to its new owners, the four storey Victorian terraced house starts narrating a diary about the intertwined lives of the various new inhabitants and extended family. If Curmudgeon Avenue has to put up with this set of nincompoops from Whitefield, Manchester then so should you.

Sisters Edna and Edith inherit the first house on Curmudgeon Avenue from their parents Mr and Mrs Payne who were killed in a freak accident involving an elephant. The two sisters could not be more different if they tried, and now they have to live together in the house they grew up in several decades ago, bringing the baggage of the past with them for our enjoyment. It seems that Edith cannot stop bumping into exes of her older sister, Edna. First there is Maurice - you won't believe what happened with him. 


Then, whilst Edith is heartbroken and vulnerable, she meets the notable Harold - another ex of Edna's who she really does not want to see. With Edith's son Ricky Ricketts and his on/off girlfriend Wantha (yes that really is her name) trying to protect the sisters it is only a matter of time before Curmudgeon Avenue is filled with laughter. 

But then things change when yet another ex of Edna's returns, Madame Genevieve Dubois (although things are not as they might seem with this French woman). This enjoyable novella will introduce you to the wacky and wonderful series of Curmudgeon Avenue - enjoy!




My thoughts:


The simplistic cover drew me to this book. To me it suggests a normal, ordinary street wherein we will find everyday people going about their own business, and I wanted to know what secrets the reader would find. 

From the blurb, I had expected the house to set about bumping off the obnoxious inhabitants, one-by-one, or to somehow prevent them from doing something within its walls. But it was neither of these options. Curmudgeon Avenue is a record of how the current occupants came to be there, with the occasional reference to events or back stories which obviously lays the groundwork for future instalments. 

The story is told mainly from the perspective of the house itself, Number One Curmudgeon Avenue. The house has very strong feelings about its residents and its visitors, yet is powerless to do anything other than watch and commentate on events as they unfold.

At the beginning, the original owners meet with an unusual and unfortunate end. The house is left to their daughters, Edith and Edna. Circumstances now mean that they will have to live together, something they have not done since childhood. Edith and Edna are quite different in every way. Both, however, have limited means, and as the house is in need of repair, they decide to take in a lodger. An array of unsuitable candidates arrive and are sent packing before Harold Goatshead - and he is the most loathsome character too - and Georgina Foote take up residence - not one lodger but two!  And of course they come with their own baggage!

I found the story frenetic, quirky and mildly humorous - my biggest smile came from the card in Mrs Ali's corner shop window advertising for a lodger. The ad was worded in such a way as to have attracted completely the wrong sort of person, before the vandal changed a single letter on it, thus altering its meaning completely!

This is the first in the series, and I feel that readers will need to have read this book before reading any of the others, as it has set the scene for future stories, telling us what we need to know about these characters. 




Purchase from:




Author Bio –

Samantha Henthorn was born in 1970-something in Bury, England. She has had short stories and poetry published in magazines. Her books include the Curmudgeon Avenue series (The Terraced House Diaries and The Harold and Edith adventures). '1962', 'Quirky Tales to Make Your Day' and 'Piccalilly'

She has two cats, one dog, one gorgeous grown up daughter and one husband. When not reading or writing, she is listening to heavy metal and would be thrilled to bits if someone read her books.






Interview with the Author


~ Samantha Henthorn ~




1.  What do you like most about being an author?  

I enjoy finding the right words when I’m writing – that good feeling of ‘yes!’ I’m glad my character said that!


2.  Do you have a specific routine for writing?  Is there a special place or particular tool you use? 

I wake up, I write a list of things I want to work on later in the day, I do a bit of physiotherapy, tidy up, have a rest, THEN I write between the hours of one and three. This may not sound like much but this method has been a very productive for me. Writing is my full-time job, any socialising is done at the weekend! (energy permitting).  

I was retired due to ill health because I have MS, when I wanted to start writing, however, it was quite difficult to stop people from 'popping round' during the week. The friends I have now understand and are supportive both of my condition and my ambitions.

3.  What inspired you to write The Curmudgeon Avenue series? 

In the spring of 2014, I was retired due to ill health from my twenty-year nursing career. Having always loved reading, and after a long battle with MS, I felt brave enough to join a creative writing class at my local library which started in the autumn. We were set the task of writing a short story with the prompt ‘winter’. The library was situated just off a main road which leads to Manchester. There are plenty of grand Victorian houses and the streets are lined with trees dropping their autumn shaded leaves in the low sun as I made my way home from my new career. I knew my winter story would be set here, in Whitefield. I just needed some characters and a story. Later that week, my husband took me to the supermarket. As we parked up in the disabled bay, and my husband got my walking aid out of the boot, we heard the loud screech of tyres next to us. A man was shaking his fist and treating us to all manner of insults. Apparently, we had taken his space, even though we were there first, and further more I ‘didn’t look old enough to be disabled’! As this man made his way (quicker than I could) into the supermarket, apart from thinking ‘I don’t need this’ this man, who was probably having a bad day had gifted me with the idea for my curmudgeonly and loathsome characters.  Who better to tell the story than the house?


4.  Was this the first story you had published?

I had one short story published in Take a Break’s Fiction Feast in 2016 about a woman who ate an entire cheesecake and then worried that she would not fit into her wedding dress. Following this, I started self-publishing. The Curmudgeon Avenue Series currently has three titles; The Terraced House DiariesThe Harold and Edith Adventures and Edna and Genevieve Escape From Curmudgeon Avenue. Book one sets the scene and the following books focus on one couple to tell a romantic comedy story.  Prior to these, I published a short story collection ‘Quirky Tales to Make Your Day’ and two historical fiction novels. ‘Piccalilly’ set during WWI and based around my Nana’s story and ‘1962’, the story of Ernest Bradshaw’s ambition to become a cycling champion despite global uncertainty.


5.  Do you have another story planned or in progress? When can we expect to see that? 

Of course! I am currently writing a short story collection with my writer friend Maggie Melville, called 'The Grit and The Wit'. Maggie writes gritty thrillers and I write witty nonsense! This will be ready for publication during summer 2019. 

Book four of Curmudgeon Avenue 'The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue' will be published in October 2019. A spoiler in the title, yes there will be a few bereavements on the street, but also a happy ending. In addition to this, I am part way through a creative writing degree with the Open University. My final assessment this module is to start a novel, I have a great idea, realistically, this will be a release for 2020.

6.  What do you like to do when you’re not planning or writing your next book? 

Reading has become increasingly important to me in recent years, sometimes, I have to read in short blasts but I really enjoy it.  Spending time with my fabulous husband can be anything from date night to great holidays to glamping in our campervan at a music festival. 

My daughter is grown up and although she tells me she only visits to ‘see the dog’ we are always in fits of giggles when she is here. I would not be without my two cats and Martha the Border terrier. I often feel as though I am living in a situation comedy and I would not have it any other way.

7.  What would you say is the most valuable lesson you have learned about self-publishing? 

That I am here for the occupation not the book deal! To call myself an author is an honour I am proud to own.



Thank you, Samantha, for taking the time to join me today, and answering a few questions. We wish you well with your forthcoming book, and I'll be looking out for 'The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue' in October!








Social Media Links –

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaHenthornAuthor/



Blog: https://samanthahenthornfindstherightwords.blog 


Sunday, 18 August 2019

Update 6 #20BooksOfSummer Challenge #Books @Cathy746Books

20 Books of Summer Challenge

As this challenge nears its close, I've done a quick tally, and I'm pleased with what I've achieved. I don't think that without the challenge to motivate me, I would have read as many books as I have. And I probably would have just kept adding more to my TBR list.

Since my last update, I have finished our Book Club read, Louise Candlish's Our House, which had me hooked from page 1.  I snuck in another Rich Amooi short story, and Sue Wickstead's Daisy Daydream Bus Rhymes and Jokes (although I'm not going to count this for the challenge) before picking up A Ration Book Childhood.

According to Goodreads, I've now read 14 books:
  1. Rich Amooi - Coffee, Tea or Me
  2. Robin Bennett - Space Dragons
  3. Stephanie Dagg - Anna Partridge in a Pear Tree
  4. Stephanie Dagg - Two Myrtle Doves
  5. Simon Edge - A Right Royal Face-off 
  6. Rosie Green - Confetti at the Little Duck Pond Cafe
  7. Elizabeth Jane Howard - Falling
  8. Romola Farr - Bridge to Eternity - review to be posted 27/9/19
  9. Sarah Morgan - The Christmas Sisters
  10. Clara L Molina - Confessions of a Traveler: The Observations of Alien 597 
  11. Sue Parritt - Feed thy Enemy
  12. Daniel Thompson - The Humundo Sorterium
  13. Louise Candlish - Our House
  14. Rich Amooi - Happy to be Stuck with You: A Short Romantic Comedy
That leaves 6 books to read in 16 days.

Ebooks
  1. Lucy Coleman - Magic Under the Mistletoe
  2. Jean Fullerton - A Ration Book Childhood
  3. Yawatta Hosby - Twisted Obsession
  4. Marina Johnson - A Confusion of Murders 
  5. Donna Siggers - Betrayal
  6. Stefanie Simpson - Saving Suzi


I'm almost finished A Ration Book Childhood, for which I need to write a review for publication on my blog on 5th October. 6 books might be a step too far, but even if I can get 15 titles read, I'd consider that a win!

Want to see what this challenge is all about?
Read Cathy’s blog post for more details.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

#BookReview Daisy Daydream Bus Rhymes and Jokes @JayJayBus

Other Titles from Sue Wickstead

Daisy Daydream 

Bus Rhymes and Jokes  


Written by Sue Wickstead


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Published by  Neilsen (2 July 2019)
Genre Children's Books, Nursery Rhymes
Pages 29
Format Paperback
ISBN-10 0993073794
ISBN-13 978-0993073793

Age Range 2 - 8 years

Sunday, 11 August 2019

#BookReview Happy to be stuck with you @RichAmooi #20BooksofSummer

Happy to be Stuck With You:

A short romantic comedy 

Written by Rich Amooi 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Published by Independently Published (30th Oct 2016)
Genre RomCom, Short Story
Pages 42
Format Ebook
ASIN  B01MD0QO0X







#BookReview Our House by Louise Candlish #20BooksofSummer

Our House   

Written by Louise Candlish

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Published by  Simon & Schuster UK
(1 Sept. 2018)

Genre Legal thriller, Mystery
Pages 448
Format Paperback
ISBN -10 1471168069
ISBN-13 978-1471168062







Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Update 5 #20BooksOfSummer Challenge #Books @Cathy746Books

20 Books of Summer Challenge

It's two weeks since my last update on this challenge, and I feel like I'm really struggling now. I was away on holiday last week, and only managed to get one book read. But on the plus side, I didn't add any more books to my TBR list. Let's see if I can manage not to add any more this week!

I have just started Louise Candlish's Our House. This is my Book Club read, so I need to have this read by next week for our meeting. But that shouldn't be too difficult as it's got me intrigued already!

According to Goodreads, I've now read 12 books:
  1. Rich Amooi - Coffee, Tea or Me
  2. Robin Bennett - Space Dragons
  3. Stephanie Dagg - Anna Partridge in a Pear Tree
  4. Stephanie Dagg - Two Myrtle Doves
  5. Simon Edge - A Right Royal Face-off 
  6. Rosie Green - Confetti at the Little Duck Pond Cafe
  7. Elizabeth Jane Howard - Falling
  8. Romola Farr - Bridge to Eternity - review to be posted 27/9/19
  9. Sarah Morgan - The Christmas Sisters
  10. Clara L Molina - Confessions of a Traveler: The Observations of Alien 597 
  11. Sue Parritt - Feed thy Enemy
  12. Daniel Thompson - The Humundo Sorterium
That leaves 8 books to read in 4 weeks.

Ebooks
  1. Rich Amooi - Happy to be Stuck with You: A Short Romantic Comedy
  2. Lucy Coleman - Magic Under the Mistletoe
  3. Jean Fullerton - A Ration Book Childhood
  4. Yawatta Hosby - Twisted Obsession
  5. Marina Johnson - A Confusion of Murders 
  6. Donna Siggers - Betrayal
  7. Stefanie Simpson - Saving Suzi

Books

  1. Louise Candlish - Our House


As I said, I'm just starting Our House
and I'll follow that with A Ration Book Childhood, for which I need to write a review for 5th October. 8 books should be manageable, but even if I can get 15 titles read, I'd consider that a win!

Want to see what this challenge is all about?
Read Cathy’s blog post for more details.

#BookReview Coffee, Tea or Me @RichAmooi #20BooksofSummer

Other titles on my reading list by Rich Amooi 

Coffee, Tea or Me  

Written by Rich Amooi
 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Published by Independently Published (25 Sep 2016)
Genre Humorous Fiction
Pages 216
Format Ebook
ASIN  B01LY9HATU

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Update 4 #20BooksOfSummer Challenge #Books @Cathy746Books

20 Books of Summer Challenge

So, it's just over two weeks since my last update on this challenge, and I feel like I've stalled. I took longer to read The Christmas Sisters than I expected, and I seem to have lost my momentum. And yes, I've added more books to my TBR list.

After our Book Club meeting earlier this month, I added Our House by Louise Candlish, downloaded several eBooks, and signed up for a few more blog tours. I promise to try harder this month...

According to Goodreads, the books I've read are:
  1. Daniel Thompson - The Humundo Sorterium
  2. Rosie Green - Confetti at the Little Duck Pond Cafe
  3. Robin Bennett - Space Dragons
  4. Stephanie Dagg - Anna Partridge in a Pear Tree
  5. Stephanie Dagg - Two Myrtle Doves
  6. Simon Edge - A Right Royal Face-off 
  7. Elizabeth Jane Howard - Falling
  8. Romola Farr - Bridge to Eternity - review to be posted 27/9/19
  9. Sarah Morgan - The Christmas Sisters
  10. Clara L Molina - Confessions of a Traveler: The Observations of Alien 597 

I need to revisit my list, and have decided to scrap all the books on my Netgalley list, and changed out a few on my Ebooks list to accommodate my latest commitments:

Ebooks
  1. Rich Amooi - Coffee, Tea or Me
  2. Rich Amooi - Happy to be Stuck with You: A Short Romantic Comedy
  3. Lucy Coleman - Magic Under the Mistletoe
  4. Jean Fullerton - A Ration Book Childhood
  5. Yawatta Hosby - Twisted Obsession
  6. Marina Johnson - A Confusion of Murders
  7. Sue Parritt - Feed thy Enemy
  8. Donna Siggers - Betrayal
  9. Stefanie Simpson - Saving Suzi

Books

  1. Louise Candlish - Our House


I'm just starting Feed thy Enemy for a review
 on 2nd September, and I'll follow that with our Book Club read, Our House, then back to blog tours with A Ration Book Childhood for a review on 5th October.

I don't really feel under pressure to read 20 books because I can reduce that number, and still claim success. It would just be nice though, to see 20 titles come off my TBR pile.

Why not join in the fun, and see if you can reduce your TBR list this summer?
Read Cathy’s blog post for more details.

Friday, 19 July 2019

#BookReview The Christmas Sisters @SarahMorgan_ @Netgalley

The Christmas Sisters

Written by Sarah Morgan


⭐⭐⭐

Published by HQ (1st Nov 2018)
Genre Humorous Fiction, Rural Life Humour
Pages 480
Format Ebook
ISBN -10 1848457170
ISBN-13 978-1848457171