Monday, 30 November 2015

New #review posted today

AFTERNOON, all. It's evening time here in Dublin and the day has been dark and drizzly. So, I decided to cheer myself up by posting this review in full. It appeared over the weekend on author Jennifer Young's blog (if you look back, you'll see that I posted the link yesterday).

Here is the full post from Jennifer's blog: 

Thinking about books: Going Against Type
I never did like star systems. How do they work? If you give a book five stars it has to be perfect, right? So if there’s one tiny thing that irritates you, do you have to take off a star?

Sorry, I’m a bit niggly in the wake of my worst-ever review, marked down (heavily) for a couple of things I did deliberately in book 1 to allow for plot development in book 2. Writing’s a long road and bad reviews are the potholes in it. In fairness the criticism was constructive so I won’t complain. You live and learn.

After that, I needed a laugh and I found it in Sharon Black’s Going Against Type. It’s clever, it’s witty and it’s beautifully written. Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan is a sports reporter, sole woman in an office full of men. Derry Cullinane is a fashion journalist, sole man in an office full of women. Skilfully set up to begin with, the pace escalates as their relationship develops in real life while, professionally, they engage in a raging weekly row through their (anonymous) columns in their respective newspapers. 

There are no real plot twists but the book doesn't need them. It’s inevitable that they’re going to find out at some point that they’ve been abusing each other in print and the skill is in the writing — in setting up their meetings and balancing that against their professional fallouts. When will they find out? What will happen when they do? And it doesn’t disappoint. I loved the Dublin setting, I revelled in the writing and I even fell a little bit in love with the hero. That doesn’t happen often.

I had a couple of niggles, because no book is perfect. I thought there were too many minor characters flitting in and out, most of them not actually moving the plot on at all; and I’m not entirely sure the dilemma between their personal relationship and professional vendetta was satisfactorily resolved, but maybe that’s because I was so keen to find out what happened that I read on long after I was too tired to concentrate.  

If I gave stars I would have given this five, so Sharon Black can be quietly annoyed with me for cheating her of that, though I suspect (I haven’t checked) that she’ll have plenty of 5* reviews already. Lucky her.

You can find Going Against Type on the Tirgearr Publishing website. You can also find A Portrait of my Love there, to see if you really think it deserves just 2.5 stars. 

Bitter? Moi? Never.


  1. Great to see your review of this, Jennifer, as Sharon's book has been on my kindle for a while and is one I've yet to read! Sorry to see that star rating of your novel - all par for the course though and the best thing is to ignore it. Especially never ever respond to this kind of review! Haven't read yours yet either so can't comment on it yet. However, it raises a point I feel strongly about - if I can't give a book a 4 or 5 star rating, I wouldn't review it at all. I'd rather be supportive of other writers.
  2. Hi Rosemary - thanks for commenting. No, I've never given anything less than a 4* when I review either, for the same reason. Reviewing is becoming fraught with difficulties, but I find that just discussing a book is remarkably liberating. :)
  3. Morning Jennifer,
    Sorry I'm only discovering all this today. But if this is what happens when I take a day away from social media, I'll have to do it more often!!
    Thank you so much for reviewing Going Against Type. I found your review interesting and insightful.
    And I'm really looking forward to seeing what you review next.
    I've posted the link on my own blog today (This Funny Irish Life).
    Happy Sunday. x
    1. Hi Sharon - thanks for dropping by. I just enjoyed your book - simple as that. You made me smile. :)
  4. Great review Sharon! Congrats. Daithi
    1. Well, it is a fabulous book! :)

      Thanks again for reviewing, Jennifer. You'll find Jennifer's books at Tirgearr Publishing and all e-book stores.

      Have a good week, everyone.
      Sharon. xx

Wednesday, 25 November 2015


Cheery morning from drizzly Dublin. Delighted to take part in the 20 Questions for Romance Readers Club today.
Pasting in the link:
For more information, check out:



xx Sharon.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

#Guest #blog reposted on my site today.

Many thanks to wonderful author Pamela Thibodeaux for having me on her blog last Saturday. Posting the link again and pasting the guest blog here:

Good Morning!

I'm a little late posting today but as they say, better late than never. Right?

Today's guest is new to our blog, so please welcome, Sharon Black!
SHARON Black grew up in Dublin. She studied history and politics at University College Dublin and did post-graduate in journalism. She has worked for national newspapers, including The Evening Herald and The Irish Examiner. Sharon has had short stories published in U Magazine and won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition.  

When not writing, she reads, walks and sees friends. She co-founded a local book club 14 years ago. She loves theatre, old Hollywood films, science fiction and good stand-up comedy. 

She lives in a Dublin coastal village, with her husband and their three children.

Find out more about Sharon by visiting her Blog and connecting with her on Facebook and Twitter!

Some would say Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan has it all. Beautiful, smart, athletic and a great job working as a journalist – in the almost exclusively male sports department. But Charlotte is not quite as sure as she seems. Recently split from her overbearing boyfriend, she escapes for weekends, surfing in the Atlantic, and spends her free nights watching sports, roaring at the TV.

Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer, gossip columnist and sophisticated man-about-town. The go-to guy for any woman seeking expert advice on what fabulous outfit to wear for any given occasion. He’s also tall, dark, good looking – and straight! So what’s the snag? He has a track record of dating glamorous, vain and shallow women.

Charlie gets an opportunity to write a new column under the pen name Side Swipe, but is soon drawn into a war of words and wit with a rival paper’s columnist The Squire – and their verbal fireworks get readers and editors talking. Yet neither Charlie nor Derry knows just whom the opponent is...

When Charlotte and Derry meet at the Races, the attraction is instant. As their relationship develops, so much more proves at stake, than protecting their alter egos. But a blunder puts Charlotte’s job in jeopardy just as Derry’s past makes front page, and Charlotte begins to doubt her feelings. 

When Side Swipe and The Squire are finally forced to reveal themselves, will they revert to type – or confound everyone’s expectations?


In this excerpt, my heroine, Charlotte has been invited to a dinner party. Here, she’s introduced to Derry Cullinane – the man she briefly met at The Galway Races, when he tread heavily on her foot!

Charlotte smiled nervously as Fiona fussed around her. 
  ‘How many people are you having?’ she whispered.
  ‘Oh there’s ten of us altogether. You’ll love them. I’ve put you sitting next to a friend of Jack’s. Actually, you might know him, he’s a journalist but not a sports writer. Cone in and I’ll make the introductions.’
Great, she is matchmaking. Charlotte sighed inwardly as Fiona led her toa  tall, dark haired man who stood with his back to them, chatting to the three other women in the room. They seemed to be mesmerized. 
The man turned as he heard Fiona. Oh good grief, Charlotte thought. It’s Panama Hat Man. She found herself blushing as Fiona steered her into the man’s line of vision. 
A slow, amused smile of recognition spread across his face. Brown eyes locked hard with green. Okay Charlotte, play it cool. With a show of dignity, she looked away. 
  ‘Everyone, this is my old school friend, Charlotte Regan. Charlotte, this is Clare, Tina and Rosemary.’ 
Charlotte smiled and shook the other women’s hands, quickly memorizing their names, acutely aware of the man’s attention.
  ‘And Derry Cullinane,’ Fiona said. Almost reluctantly, Charlotte met his gaze again, forcing herself to breathe normally. She smiled politely and extended her hand. Derry held it a fraction longer than necessary. 
  ‘Tiny hands too,’ he murmured. Charlotte flushed.
  ‘How’s your foot?’ he asked, releasing her hand but holding her gaze. 
  ‘Oh, do you already know each other?’ Fiona asked, looking slightly puzzled. 
  ‘No,’ said Charlotte, quickly.
  ‘We met at the Galway Races,’ Derry said at the same time. An image of the peroxide blonde woman popped into Charlotte’s head. 
  ‘Can I leave you for a minute? I must check on things in the kitchen.’ Fiona briefly squeezed Charlotte’s hand and left. Charlotte glanced quickly about, hoping to engage with the other women but to her frustration she found that they’d drifted away. Leaving her with this egotistical…
  ‘So as an experiment, do you think we’ll work?’ Derry said, interrupting her thoughts.
  ‘Um, will what work?’
He shot her an arrogant smile. 
  ‘Fiona’s matchmaking attempt. Either Cupid will be on target or we’ll end up throwing bread rolls at each other.’
Charlotte gritted her teeth.
  ‘I’m a crack shot with a bread roll.’

Sounds like a good story! Get your copy today and find out.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

#Christmas Exams? It was so simple when they were small!

THE youngest arrives home from school in high dudgeon.

              'Do you know what Christmas means, Mum?' he asks. I pause. The boy is 12 and a half now, so I got the distinct impression that it was a rhetorical question.
              'Christmas exams!' He glares at me, as if I were at fault.
              'Yeah, well, that's normal sure,' I start to say, at the same time noticing the subtle shift. He just started in secondary (high school) this year and up until now, any exam was a 'test'. Somehow, the word 'test' is a lot less scary than 'exam'.
               'Normal?' he repeats. 'I have eleven subjects! That's eleven exams. How am I going to shove all that information into my head?'
I am about to say that he's doing all right at that last bit. He seems to enjoy information; it's the way study is presented that's the problem.
               'You probably know a lot of it already,' I say, watching for his reaction. He brightens.
               'I probably do,' he agrees. Ah, the wonderful self-belief of children. But I'm not out of the woods yet.
               'So, if you're learning something, test yourself on the questions in the book.'
               'I'm not writing anything down,' he says. I shake my head, as if the very idea were shocking.
               'Of course not. Just say it out.'
He seems satisfied with that.
               'I miss nativity plays,' I say, throwing that out for what it's worth. 'When you were all little, you always had your school nativity plays.' I smile at the boy. 'I remember your first one. You were the donkey.'
He groans.
              'That meant I spent the whole play crawling along on the ground wearing a donkey suit. Embarrassing!'
Could have been worse, I remember. It was a toss up between that and the cow.
               'How long do you plan to study each day?' the eldest asks.
               'About ten minutes, I suppose,' he says. We all look at him. Yep, he seems to be serious.
The eldest barely resists rolling her eyes.
               'He's delusional,' she says, later.
               'He's 12,' I remind her.
               'All the same, I think you should be encouraging him to work for these exams. I mean, it's fine when he's in Montessori, telling him that he's the best donkey you'd ever seen. That sort of Irish mammy belief isn't going to cut it now.'
             'He was the best donkey I'd ever seen.' I hold up my hand before she could say anything else. 'Do you know why he was such a good donkey?'
              'He was the right size for the costume?'
              'He did exactly as he was supposed to do. The previous year, the donkey told Mary to hurry up. Donkeys don't talk.'
She stares at me.
              'What does that prove?'
              'It means he'll figure this out too.'
Another disbelieving stare. I sigh.
Roll on Christmas.

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