The Ops Room Girls by Vicki Beeby

The Blurb

When Evie’s dreams come crashing down, she’s determined to still make something of herself in these trying times…

It is 1939 and working class Evie Bishop has received a scholarship to study mathematics at Oxford when tragedy turns her life upside down. Evie must seek a new future for herself and, inspired to contribute to the war effort, joins the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force as an Ops Room plotter.

Posted to a fighter station on the Sussex Coast, Evie befriends two other WAAFs – shy, awkward May and flirty, glamorous Jess. Faced with earning the approval of strict officers and finding their way in a male dominated world, the three girls band together to overcome challenges, navigate new romances and keep their pilots safe in the skies.

But the German bombers seem to know more than they should about the base’s operations, and soon Evie, May and Jess are caught up in a world more dangerous than they ever imagined…

The Author

Vicki Beeby writes historical fiction about the friendships and loves of service women brought together by the Second World War.

Her first job was as a civil engineer on a sewage treatment project, so things could only improve from there. Since then, she has worked as a maths teacher and education consultant before turning freelance to give herself more time to write.

In her free time, when she can drag herself away from reading, she enjoys walking and travelling to far-off places by train. She lives in Shropshire in a house that doesn’t contain nearly enough bookshelves.

The Review

The Ops Room Girls is a coming of age story, set in the backdrop of the Second World War.

It’s heroine Evie is all set to live her dream and then life changes. She is flung into the reality of war when she joins the WAAF as an escape.

This is a story about friendship, looking after others, it touches lightly on PTSD.

It is a warm story that shows the horror of things that could and did go wrong, but focused mainly on the young people then who grew up and did their bit. I enjoyed how the book was plotted and was touching on serious subjects yet managed to stay a fairly lighthearted read.

I will enjoy reading further books in the series and Vicki Beeby writes very rounded characters that are wholly relatable.

Broken Flowers by Kate McQuaile

The Blurb

The Author

Kate McQuaile is a graduate of the Faber novel-writing course. She lives in London and works as a journalist, but is originally from Drogheda in Ireland.

Kate’s mastery lies in writing flawed characters in an intricate way and weaving very in depth plots around them!

The Review

Where exactly can I start? This is a tale told over the span of 40 years. Explanations from then to now from both main characters.

Could I say I like either character? No. They are both hiding a lot from everyone. Both seem to remember events that shape them from that night forward in a very different way. If these people were stood up in a court of law (this isn’t a spoiler do read this!), I’d be unsure about who to believe.

A very talented psychological thriller that delves deep into people, memories, revenge and how love and hate can entertains, sometimes with disastrous results.

A twisty, twisted roller coaster of a ride which is deeply, darkly addictive.

Thanks to the author and to Quercus for supplying this ARC.

Make sure you read this one!

@KateMcQuaile @QuercusBooks @katyaellis_

The Women Writers Handbook Ed. Ann Sandham

A revised edition of the publisher’s inaugural publication in 1990 which won the Pandora Award from Women-in-Publishing. Inspirational in its original format, this new edition offers insight and motivation for budding writers from dozens of distinguished authors, celebrating the breadth of women’s writing in all its forms. Also includes the original writing workshops from the first edition plus quirky B/W illustrations as well as a foreword by Cheryl Robson, publisher and Managing Editor, who was a recent finalist in the ITV National Diversity Awards – Lifetime Achievement category. Aurora Metro Books was a finalist in the 2019 IPG Diversity in Publishing Awards and has a 30 year history of ground-breaking publishing, featuring both diverse and international authors.

 The complete list of contributors: 

A.S. Byatt, Saskia Calliste, April De Angelis, Kit de Waal, Carol Ann Duffy, Sian Evans, Philippa Gregory, Mary Hamer, Jackie Kay, Shuchi Kothari, Bryony Lavery, Annee Lawrence, Roseanne Liang, Suchen Christine Lim, Jackie McCarrick, Laura Miles, Raman Mundair, Magda Oldziejewska, Kaite O’Reilly, Jacqueline Pepall, Gabi Reigh, Djamila Ribeiro, Fiona Rintoul, Jasvinder Sanghera, Anne Sebba, Kalista Sy, Debbie Taylor, Madeleine Thien, Claire Tomalin, Ida Vitale, Sarah Waters, Emma Woolf

A wide-ranging collection of over 30 essays, poems and interviews from top, international women writers, poets, screen writers and journalists. 

20% of profits to go to the Virginia Woolf statue campaign.

The Virginia Woolf statue campaign: The proposed statue will be located in Richmond on Thames where Virginia and Leonard Woolf lived from 1914-1924 and set up the Hogarth Press. A public consultation by the local council was 83% in favour of the statue and planning permission has been granted to site the first life-size statue in bronze of the famous author on Richmond riverside where the author walked her dog daily. Over 20% of the £50,000 target has been raised so far. 

See more at:

To donate to the project go here:

Buy Link


What a fantastic wee book! It’s got so many views from different female authors, and their experiences in the world of writing. It gives us an idea of the inequality in the writing world that still persists today.

This is not a book full of doom and gloom. It’s help, tips and advice from female authors and even talks about writing workshops.

It’ll be popular with those who are published and wanting to be published alike. Personally, I can see myself returning to this book for hints and tips on writing. I’d say anyone starting out in writing would benefit from this as it could give valuable information for not only a beginner, but those already breaking into writing.

Older and Wider by Jenny Eclair

The Blurb

Ladies, just remember, you’re not alone. There’s millions of us and we’re all in this leaky old boat together.

The Author (in her own words)

Jenny Eclair, has been a stand up comic for Donkeys’ years, she was the first woman to win the coveted Perrier Award and hasn’t stopped banging on about it ever since. She still gigs regularly and is on tour around the UK with her new show How To be A Middle Aged Woman (Without Going Insane).

Some of you might recognize her from tv, small screen highlights include, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, the ‘Grumpy Old Women’ series, plus the ‘Grumpy Guides’, ‘Grumpy Holidays’ and ‘It’s Grim up North’. She also occasionally crops up on day time telly and gets very excited about doing things like This Morning and Loose Women.

Other West End theatre credits include ‘Steaming’, ‘Mum’s the Word’ and ‘The Vagina Monologues’. Most recently she appeared in the title role of ‘The Killing of Sister George’ for the Derby Playhouse, unfortunately she spent the entire time she was on stage looking like a fat Margaret Thatcher.

The review

I laughed so much reading this. Not only at the sheer comedy, but it’s true. All of it. There’s so many books on how to sail through menopause and emerge like you’re 30 years younger. I’ve never had the urge to go back in time and be a pretend version of myself.

Jenny hits the nail on the head. For a start, menopause was like a dirty word with my mum, who still thinks gritting my teeth and mentioning it is shocking. And the thought that I say it in front of any man…the scandal. I should be quiet and keep it to myself and suffer in silence.

The first (female) doctor I mentioned things to was fairly newly qualified, patted me on the hand with a “we have to put up with it, dear” I wanted to deck her. I walked out angry, in tears before I got home, a snivelling angry mess.

Second (male) doctor was a gem. He talked me through options and HRT was prescribed. He also pointed me to some helpful sites.

I bought books which I found patronising in their “we are joy and strength ” attitudes and nobody seemed angry, tearful, or vaguely bloody normal. Nobody wanted to discuss it. At all.

This is the single most refreshing, honest, brutal but hopeful look at menopause. Written with typical frank, funny language. It mentions things the airy fairy books forget. Like you may want to try more than one remedy/HRT. Your skin might feel like old sandpaper.

I can only say to Jenny Eclair, a huge fat menopausal thank you. For your honesty and humour. This should be on every woman’s bookshelf. If you aren’t menopausal you’re likely to know a woman who is and she could probably do with understanding.

Thanks to Jenny Eclair, Hannah Robertson and Quercus Books for the ARC.

The Eliza Doll by Tracey Scott-Townsend


Finally it’s here the cover reveal for the Eliza Doll. Isn’t it ethereal and lovely?

Ellie lives in a campervan with her dog, Jack, selling her handmade dolls at craft fairs. There is one doll that she can’t bear to finish until she comes to terms with the truth of what has happened.

The Eliza Doll is an uncompromising family drama about upheaval, off-grid living and living on the dole in 1980s England.

Set in East Yorkshire and Iceland from the eighties to the present.

About the Author

Tracey-Scott-Townsend is the author of six novels — the most recent The Vagabond Mother (January 2020) and Sea Babies (May 2019) — all published by Wild Pressed Books and Inspired Quill Publishing. Reviews often describe her novels as poetic or painterly.

She is also a poet and a visual artist. She has a Fine Art MA and a BA (Hons) Visual Studies. She has exhibited paintings throughout the UK (as Tracey Scott). She has a long career as a workshop facilitator with community groups and in schools.

Tracey is co-director of an up-and-coming small independent publisher, Wild Pressed Books, which has a growing roster of authors and poets.

Mother of four grown-up children, Tracey spends as much time as possible travelling the UK and Europe in a camper van with her husband and two dogs, writing and editing while on the road. 

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Buy Link

The Eliza Doll by Tracey Scott – Townsend

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Before I die by Jackie Morrissey

The Review

The story begins a little slowly for me. However, the characters are all multi faceted and believable.

I can’t say I liked Dolores and I found her overbearing from the off. The fact that I wanted to warn the elderly folk about this woman’s intentions was to the authors credit. Her skill at portraying the antagonist as a person who people don’t like but people can’t seem to put their finger on why, is to her credit.

I’ve read a few stories in this genre of angel of death/mercy etc. While it was enjoyable enough, and is a good story with a decent plot, it’s not my favourite either.

Daughters of Cornwall by Fern Britton

The Blurb

The new book from the Sunday Times bestselling author.


The Great War is over, and Clara Carter has boarded a train bound for Cornwall – to meet a family that would once have been hers. But they must never discover her secret….


Caroline has spent years trying to uncover the lies buried in her family history. And once she arrives in Cornwall, the truth finally seems to be in reach. Except with storm clouds gathering on the horizon, Caroline soon learns that some secrets are best left hidden…

The Author

Fern’s warmth, humour, empathy and compassion have made her incredibly popular and she has become a much sought after presenter.

In 2008 Fern released her autobiography Fern: My Story, which was a huge bestseller.

Fern is deeply committed to a number of charities, in particular those working with and for women, children and childbirth.


What a beautiful novel. A story about people, love, hope , trust and the lies that divide and bind them. Things that don’t only affect the here and now, but have effects on future lives of the people around them. It’s written from multiple viewpoints which draws you in deeply from the beginning. This is a fantastic read. Sensitive, honest and this story will stay with me for a long time. Possibly because it shines a light on the frequently unspoken topic of babies born in wartime and their fates. This delved deep and I’d recommend it to anyone for an interesting, emotional and informative read.

Thanks to @ThePigeonholeHQ @Fern_Britton and @HarperFiction


Bedlam by LJ Ross

The blurb

In a world gone mad, who can you trust?

Fresh from a high-profile case in the Paris fashion world, elite forensic psychologist and criminal profiler Dr Alexander Gregory receives a call from the FBI. The wife of a notorious criminal has been admitted to a private psychiatric hospital and can no longer testify in his upcoming trial. Without her, their case will collapse but, amidst reports that the staff are as unpredictable as their patients, who can the police trust?

In desperation, they turn to an outsider and now Gregory must find the courage to step inside the fortified walls of Buchanan Hospital to uncover the truth. The question is, will he ever be the same again?

Murder and mystery are peppered with dark humour in this fast-paced thriller set amidst the spectacular Catskill Forest.

About the author

LJ Ross is an international bestselling author, best known for creating atmospheric mystery and thriller novels, including the DCI Ryan series of Northumbrian murder mysteries which have sold over four million copies worldwide.

Her debut, Holy Island, was released in January 2015 and reached number one in the Amazon UK and Australian charts. Since then, she has released a further sixteen novels, all of which have been top three global bestsellers and fourteen of which have been UK #1 bestsellers. Louise has garnered an army of loyal readers through her storytelling and, thanks to them, several of her books reached the coveted spot whilst only available to pre-order ahead of release. Her eleventh novel, The Infirmary, is a prequel story and is also available as a major Audible Originals audio-drama starring Tom Bateman, Kevin Whately, Bertie Carvel, Hermione Norris and Alun Armstrong.

In addition to her DCI Ryan series, Louise has created a new series of thriller novels based around the central character of ‘Dr Alexander Gregory’, whose work as a psychological profiler takes him around the world. The first two books, Impostor and Hysteria, were both #1 bestsellers and were narrated in audio by the actor Hugh Dancy. She is also writing several standalone romantic suspense novels featuring strong female protagonists which will be available in 2020.

The Review

I love the new Alexander Gregory book. In a clever plot LJ Ross forces the psychological profiler to face some of his past demons, as we see Gregory put in an impossible position, where looking at his painful past and the possibility of a future, different from the own he has forged may become a reality.

Alexander Gregory is a complex creation, brought to life skilfully from the pen of LJ Ross.

I love that he’s being unwrapped layer by layer and he is a compelling character.

This book had me on the edge of my seat reading it. It was the type of book I love, in the I will not sleep until I know what happens and if everything works out, or doesn’t. As in life the appeal of the books of LJ Ross lies in her ability to have characters who have bad things happen and things aren’t always as they seem. Her writing just gets better and better.

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