Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Somebody to Love - Sheryl Browne - Author Guest Post & Extract

I am so happy to welcome author Sheryl Browne to my blog today! 

I read Sheryl's earlier novel Recipes for Disaster and really enjoyed it; a great mix of humour, pets, romance, and food, written with warmth and wit. I'm really looking forward to reading Somebody to Love, and Sheryl has kindly visited the blog today to introduce this new book, and to provide us with an extract. I love the cover design of this book so much! 

Hi Lindsay! Thank you so much for inviting me onto The Little Reader Library to talk about my recently released book, Somebody to Love.  It’s never easy to talk about your own book without wanting to say, I believe that it’s good, I believe you will enjoy it (please read it!!).  You do believe it’s as good as it can be, of course.  Authors, who have often been writing and learning for many years, work hard to make sure their books are.  The ‘written in blood’ adage really does apply for a writer.  Passionate about what you do, you pour your whole heart and soul into your stories, working hard on research, determined to get the detail right and never to trivialise emotive issues that some people might live and struggle with on a day-to-day basis.  My writing, though romantic comedy – and I am happy with that title, because romance and comedy are the key elements – has been described as funny but thoughtful.  Thoughtful because I feel drawn to look at the relationships of people whose lives may be little more complicated than most and therefore their emotions a little more tangled.

Simply, In Somebody to Love, my protagonist, Mark, has a special needs son, ergo a lot riding on any relationship he might enter into.

The story was inspired by ‘a lost little boy’.  An autistic little boy, who wasn’t lost at all, it seems, but on a mission to throw his shoes over his neighbour’s garden fence in order to facilitate a meeting with her three-legged dog.  Though I do have experience of special needs children, still I worried about that all-important detail, particularly as I was incorporating the little boy’s Autism Assistance Dog (ADD) into the story.  A tremendous amount of research was called for therefore.  I could go on, but I think a snippet from the book’s first review – which actually rendered me speechless, so overcome was I when I saw it – has dispelled those worries: 

This fabulous book is a Rom Com with a difference. It’s funny, its heart-breaking, and it will either make you sigh with contentment or scream with frustration.  At times it made me weep. The special needs thread running through this book will tug at your heartstrings and give you a greater understanding of what it’s like trying to find love when your life is full of complications.

Through this book, Sheryl Browne has captured the essence of love, life, family and the fear of giving away your heart. She has also perfectly captured the highs and lows of parenting a special needs child.

Thank you, Jontybabe JB Johnston. You succeeded where no one ever has in rendering me silent.

Here’s an excerpt.  I do hope you enjoy.  
Without readers and reviewers, writers would be lost:

Donna glanced at Karl, trying to ignore the murmur of male voices behind them, for fear of losing his attention. ‘I think Starbuck might want to try some shoes on, Karl. Does Karl think he does?’
Donna watched and waited.
The furrow in Karl’s brow deepened. ‘I think Starbuck might want to try some shoes on,’ he eventually said.
‘Good boy, Starbuck.’ Donna breathed a sigh of relief, then moved around the dog, lifting each paw one by one and popping the paw-protectors on, whilst trying very hard to ignore Mark Evans staring at her from where he stood by the door.
Mark kept staring.
Utterly mesmerised.
Quite unable to tear his disbelieving eyes away from her.
Dr Lewis leaned towards him. ‘I think we landed on our feet with Donna, if you’ll forgive the pun.’
Mark hardly dared to breathe, thinking if he did, he might wake up from whatever hangover-induced hallucination this might be.
‘She has a natural empathy,’ Dr Lewis went on in the same low voice he’d been addressing Mark with in the last few minutes, rather than distract Donna from her mission, and Karl from Donna.
Mark nodded, at a loss for words that might describe how he felt about Donna just then. How could he have been such an idiot? She was smiling at his son. Talking to his son. Engaging with his son. Getting a reaction from him, and he’d been bloody fool enough to think she’d walk away at first knowledge of him.
He kept watching, what should be a Eureka moment, feeling sick to the bottom of his soul.
‘All set,’ Donna said, straightening from her task, then cocking an ear in Starbuck’s direction. ‘What was that, Starbuck?’
‘Oh,’ she said.
Mark’s mouth twitched into a smile.
‘Starbuck won’t go unless Karl wears his shoes.’ Donna sighed melodramatically. ‘He says Karl might hurt his feet. And then Karl might not be able to go walkies. And then Starbuck will be sad, because he doesn’t want to go walkies without his best friend.’
Best friend? Jesus. That’s where it had come from. Mark reeled inwardly. Could almost feel a collective holding of breath, a palpable tension as Karl climbed from his chair, walked over to his shoes, picked them up, plonked himself on the floor and pulled them on.
‘Good God!’ Dr Lewis stared in awe. ‘I don’t…’ He looked from a shoed and ready to go Karl, to Donna, back to Mark, but Mark was gone, half out door.
He couldn’t stay to watch anymore.
‘Mark?’ Donna stepped tentatively towards him.
He stayed where he was, his back to her.
‘Why didn’t you tell me?’
‘I, er…’ He ran his hand though his hair.
Turned around after a while.
Swallowed hard.
Oh, Lord. He’d been crying.
Donna searched his face. She had no clue what to say to him. Why he was so upset. Why he hadn’t mentioned he had a special son. Except…
‘Why didn’t you tell me, Mark?’ she asked again, because she had to.  ‘Was it because you didn’t think I’d be in your life long enough for you to warrant mentioning him?’
‘What!?’ Mark looked at her, visibly shocked. ‘No. I…’ He swallowed again. ‘I have to go,’ he said, dropping his gaze. ‘Can I call you, Donna? Will you please let me talk to you?’
He glanced back at her, hopefully.
Donna hesitated, then nodded. He might well have a harem on his landing. She wouldn’t be surprised if some voluptuous female popped out of the boot of his patrol car, complete with toothbrush and tassels, but… Her shoulders were broad. She had ears. She could listen if he needed to talk.

As mentioned, the story is fictional, based on a little fact, and a good deal of research, particularly in regard to Autism Assistance Dogs. To Karl, to three-legged Sadie, and with huge thanks to Danemere Animal Rescue Centre and Our Dog Publications.

About the story of Somebody to Love...

How do you tell her?

After a turbulent marriage to a man who walked off hand-in-offshoot with something resembling a twig, divorced mum, Donna O'Conner, doubts happy endings exist. She'd quite like to find herself an Adonis with… pecs …and things. Alas, that's not likely, when her only interest outside of work is hopping her three-legged dog in the park, carrying a poop-scoop. In any case, Donna isn't sure she'd know what to do with an Adonis if she fell on one. When PC Mark Evans comes along, gloriously gift-wrapped in blue, however, she can't help wishing she did.

Mark, a single father, is desperate for love. He doesn't hold out much hope, though, that there is a woman out there with a heart big enough to love him and his autistic son. Enter big-hearted Donna, plus three-legged dog. And now Mark has a dilemma. Pretending not to mind her house-bunny chewing his bootlaces, he's smitten with Donna on sight. Should he tell her his situation up-front? Announcing he has a child with autism spectrum disorder on a first date tends to ensure there isn't a second. Or should he skirt around the subject, which amounts to a lie? When one lie leads to another, can he ever win Donna's trust back? Admit that he didn't trust Donna enough to let her into his life?

Publisher’s Note: Somebody to Love has been made with love... love of animals. Sheryl Browne has done excellent research on assistance dogs for the handicapped, specifically their use with autistic individuals. With a focus on romance with police officers, appealing to all readers who love our boys in blue, the author's "teasing but not telling" style makes this read appropriate for anyone, including young adults and older teens.

Somebody to Love (Safkhet Publishing) is published on July 1st 2012.

Available from: Amazon UK, Amazon, any local bookstore, or direct from Safkhet Publishing
loveahappyending Editor and featured Author  
Twitter: @sherylbrowne

Thanks so much, Sheryl! 


  1. Aw, Lindsay, thank you so much! You have done me proud. I totally adore my cover, thank you. It's just perfect for the book! I'm uber-pleased with the fabulous review, too. We really would be struggling without people to showcase and read our books. In fact, I'm overwhelmed by the positive and warm response by readers generally. Somebody to Love really is a book that is special to me. THANK YOU! :)

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit and comment Sheryl. x

  2. Thank you Lindsay for this beautiful showcasing!
    We are all really happy that Somebody to Love is enjoyed by the readers and reviewers - it means a lot to us!

  3. Congratulations Sheryl on what sounds like a fabulous book. I loved to read 'your story behind the story' about the research and I can't wait to read Somebody to Love which is on my Kindle right now!

    1. Thank you, Janice! Knowing people are reading and enjoying the book is what makes writing worthwhile! :) xx

    2. Thanks for your comment Janice :) I loved reading about the research too.

  4. Lovely to read about Sheryl's 'Somebody to Love' on your blog Lins x

    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting Shaz x

    2. Thanks from me too, Sharon. You have to love the two bunnies almost side-to-side. Worked hard on that, we did! :) xx

  5. Great to see Sheryl here Lindsay, and another fab book! Can't wait to read it too.

    1. Thanks for your comment Linn, sounds like a good one!

    2. From me, too, Linn. Thanks so much!

  6. I've got this on my Kindle and can't wait to read it! Great post, ladies....

    1. Thanks very much for commenting Nicky, glad you enjoyed the post :)

    2. Oooh, thanks, Nicky. I hope you enjoy!


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