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                                                 T he Rest of my Life – Sheryl Browne

                                                                                                                                                                                                 The Rest of My Life – When is it time to stop running?

“You can’t run away from commitment forever … “

Adam Hamilton-Shaw has more reason than most to avoid commitment. Living on a houseboat in the Severn Valley, his dream is to sail into the sunset – preferably with a woman waiting in every port. But lately, his life looks more like a road to destruction than an idyllic boat ride…

Would-be screenplay writer Sienna Meadows realises that everything about Adam spells trouble – but she can’t ignore the feeling that there is more to him than just his bad reputation. Nor can she ignore the intense physical attraction that exists between them.

And it just so happens that Adam sees Sienna as the kind of woman he could commit to. But can he change his damaging behaviour – or is the road to destruction a one-way street?

   Genre: Contemporary Romance : Release Date: 1st July 2015


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Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, poignant fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and short-listed for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has seven books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies.                                                 

Sheryl’s new contemporary romance novel was recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer. THE REST OF MY LIFE comes to you from award winning Choc Lit.

Publisher:  Choc Lit @ChocLituk

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Recommended by the WH Smith Travel Fiction Buyer

Short-listed for the LoveStories Awards 2015

A Being Anne’s Book of the Year 2015


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This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by the author via Brook Cottage Books



Those Children Are Ours


Jennie Bateman screamed at her daughters, cursed at her husband, packed a bag, and walked away. Twelve years later, she petitions the family court for visitation with her daughters, Alexis and Christa.

Her attorney tells Jennie that, ordinarily, she could not imagine that some type of visitation would not be granted. But, she warns, the situation is hardly ordinary.

True, Jennie suffered from a bipolar disorder when she began to drink heavily, abandoned her family, and moved in with another man. True, she has turned her life around: leaving her boyfriend, returning to school, entering therapy, taking medication, finding a job, and joining a church.

But she pressed no claim for her children when her husband divorced her, and she has made no attempt to contact them in any way. Her daughters are now sixteen and fourteen. They live four hundred miles away, and they have busy lives that do not include her, lives that will be totally disrupted by the visitation that Jennie requests.

Their father is engaged to be married to a woman who has taken the role of their mother for a decade, and neither child wants anything to do with Jennie. Alexis remembers nothing good about her. Christa recalls nothing at all.

Conflict ensues as soon as Jennie’s petition is served: her former husband does not want to share his children with the woman who deserted him; her children have no interest in knowing the mother who abandoned them, and her father believes that she is being timid and ought to demand full custody, not visitation.

As court convenes, Jennie’s past is dredged up− the desertion, the men, her drinking, her mental health − and hauled before the judge. Her claim to be a different person, now, is attacked. When the judge appears to be reluctant to grant Jennie’s request, but seems to feel that she must, her husband’s attorney suggests three trial visits, hoping that they will go so badly that Jennie will come to her senses and drop her petition.

Jennie wants to be a part of her children’s lives, but can she convince them to allow her to try?





For me, this is a strong read.

It’s not often I start a book by actively disliking the protagonist. But in Those Children are Ours by David Burnett, I felt a complete aversion towards Jennie Bateman. And, I think, this is what the author was striving for in creating this rounded character. Because, quite soon, there is a drastic change in her and the reader becomes more empathetic towards her. As, I think, so do the other characters in the book.

Although the blurb for the book gives quite a lot of the story away, I try in my reviews not to give spoilers, so I will only say what I admire in this book.

The narrative details of both of the protagonist’s extended family and her estranged ex-husband’s family run perfectly in juxtaposition and it is easy for the reader to sympathise with both sides of this emotionally complicated story.  

Each character springs from the page; they are so well drawn. I particularly liked the way the difference between the two daughters is shown -and how each deals with the situation as the plot evolves. 

The dialogue between the main characters of the families, and the internal dialogue, is extremely well written, although, sometimes, I did think the protagonist’s father, Atkins Bateman’s, dialogue was too quickly melodramatic and didn’t always fit in with the narrative. But that is my only quibble and perhaps that was how the character was meant to be portrayed. 

The points of view were always clear and concise for me and I had no trouble following the both the dialogue or the  narrative even though there are sometimes rapid shifts, both in who is speaking and in the changes of settings.

And there are excellent descriptions of the settings throughout the story which give clear sense of place, wherever the characters are.

 All in all, I really enjoyed Those Children are Ours and have no hesitation in recommending this novel


My Photo

We recently moved to our new home near Charleston, South Carolina. Three of my four books are set in Charleston, and I’ve always enjoyed the Carolina beaches. I now have the opportunity to walk on the beach near our home almost every day and to photography the ocean, the sea birds, and the marshes that I love.

I love photography, and I have photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, and a Native American powwow. My wife and I have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During trips to Scotland, we visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen, and Kismul Castle on Barra, the home of my McNeil ancestors.

I went to school for much longer than I want to admit, and I have degrees in psychology and education. In an “earlier life” I was Director of Research for the South Carolina Department of Education. My wife and I have two daughters and, by the time you read this, four grandchildren.





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                                                                                                                                CRADLED DREAMS

                                                                                                                                   By Beverly Hoffman

Cradled Dreams

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: April 2013

Publisher:  Abbott Press

As her family gathers for Thanksgiving, Georgie’s heartbreak is hard to conceal. After years of pursuing her dreams of motherhood, she has recently learned that her last option to conceive has failed. Grim amid the festive holiday celebrations, Georgie feels that she has little reason to give thanks.

Her sister-in-law, Robin, desperate to ease Georgie’s suffering, struggles for a way to help. On loving impulse, she offers a solution-surrogacy.

Flush with excitement, neither woman can predict how her life will change. But each is comforted by the knowledge that her love for the other will guide the way. Soon, after in vitro using a relative’s sperm and her own egg, Robin shares the joyous news that she is pregnant. Every conversation sparkles with her private joy at the gift she could give her sister-in-law. But she encounters unexpected criticism when discussing the plan with others. She must now deal with judgment and questions about ethics. Relationships are strained. Both must pay emotional costs they never anticipated. Soon, questions they never asked begin to haunt them both.

Where do boundaries of possibility meet long-term responsibility? Under what circumstances does science need to pause to consider moral outcomes? When organs and tiny bones grow in spite of circumstances never seen in nature, where does motherhood begin and end?

And most haunting of all is the question Robin couldn’t ask herself on that first day: Will she really be able to give up the child for the sake of Georgie’s dream?


My review: 

Cradled Dreams by Beverly Hoffman is a novel on the theme of surrogacy that turns a family into turmoil. It is the story of an impulsive offer by one sister in law, Robin, to carry a baby for the other, Georgie, who is unable to conceive.

 It’s an interesting story but as usual, I will not give any spoilers except, suffice it to say, things do not run as smoothly as the women hoped.

 For me, in this novel, there were two stories that run parallel to one another. There is the story of a town, immersed in traditions, superstition and religions where the people are split between churches and the women are controlled by a matriarchal figure, Cynthia and her followers. Even though stereotyped, these characters were wonderfully flawed and came to life through their condemnation of the two families involve in the surrogacy.

The second story for me is that of the two women and the families and the surrogacy. It’s an emotive subject and, at times, the emotions from the protagonist, Robin, are written extremely well as she struggles not to bond with the child in her womb.  But I’m afraid I failed to connect with any of the other characters in the families to any depth. For me, they weren’t rounded and didn’t interconnect as much as I wanted them too.

The detailed narration of the town, the actions of the people in them gave a brilliant sense of place and time. I loved these sections of the book even though I felt the religious theme was a little overdone. And, I have to admit, they slowed the pace of the overall story a lot and took away from the main thread, that of the book..

 Most of the dialogue between the main characters of the two families, and the internal dialogue, was well written although, sometimes the point of view were difficult to determine and I needed to read back to catch the drift of conversations. And, at times, the format was erratic, which didn’t help.

Cradled Dreams covers a sensitive subject and I would have liked the story to have tackled it to a greater depth. As a reader I was disappointed that it wasn’t.

Still, as I’ve said, I loved the whole detailed account of the town and the various story-lines of the characters in it. I have the distinct feeling that there is a whole set of plots here, just waiting to be written.

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Beverly Hoffman spent her childhood in Texas eating barbeque and drinking Big Reds. After college, she and her husband, Marty, moved to Panama, where she taught English for twenty-six years. Beverly loved to push her students to realize their full potential. She was able to help her students by taking huge assignments apart and helping them accomplish discrete pieces and then put all of them together into a finished project.

While in Panama, Beverly explored the country. She rode her bike 57 miles in one day from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, paddled the Panama Canal twice, and participated in Green Hell, an obstacle course, which included rappelling out of a 30 foot building.

Beverly and her husband later retired to Sequim, Washington, where they enjoy the bounty of fresh Dungeness crab, Washington wines, and family.

Beverly has a Masters degree in English and has been in a writing group for over six years. Beverly loves writing and hopes that through her books, she can get people to explore new concepts. Join Beverly on Facebook for giveaways, scenic photos, and more information about her books at



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