Book Review: The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker

Today I am excited to share another festive book review, The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker. The blurb grabbed my attention because I am a great fan of the festive film, The Holiday starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet where they swapped houses for the Christmas period (Iris’ cottage is the ideal writer’s home) and I always wanted to know more about Australian traditions at Christmas; something I have never come across in UK fiction.

Read on to find out more.

Trailer for The Holiday

Book Review: The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker

The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker

Title: The Christmas Swap

Author: Sandy Barber

Publisher: One More Chapter, HarperCollins UK

Genre: Romance, festive

Release date: 16th October 2020

Blurb:

Christmas is coming and best friends ChloeJules, and Lucy are needing change… so swapping homes for the holidays could be the perfect present for all of them!

Australian Chloe spends her Christmas in a sleepy village in Oxfordshire, England. She is totally star-struck when she discovers who lives across the road.

Lucy, who has jetted off to snowy Colorado for her dream-come-true white Christmas, is taken into the fold of Jules’s loud and brash family, discovering more about herself in a few short days than she has in years.

And Jules leaves the cold climes of Colorado to spend her Christmas on a beach with Chloe’s friends in Melbourne, finding that time away is just what she needed.

The only thing better than one Christmas romance is three, and this wonderful festive novel is perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Holly Martin and Karen Swan.

Purchase Links

Amazon

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-christmas-swap

https://books.apple.com/gb/book/the-christmas-swap/id1522992097

https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/the-christmas-swap,sandy-barker-9780008390044

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-christmas-swap/sandy-barker/9780008390044

My Thoughts

The first chapter is a Beachesesque introduction to three young girls from different places in the world, forming a friendship that will span a lifetime and shape who they are. Strong female friendships in novels are a joy to read, and this was no exception. From the start, I was connected to them, making me turn the page.

The idea of the swap was sown when Australian Chloe’s parents abandon her over Christmas and she reveals her longing for traditional family celebrations as seen in the movies. I loved the premise of experiencing three distinctly different Christmases, especially the one in Australia. I always struggled to comprehend the notion Christmas day was in the middle of summer and celebrated without a turkey and all the trimmings. My sister lives there, and reading this novel made me feel closer to her.

These friends experience snapshots of each other’s lives and it highlights even the best friends do not share everything and there are aspects of your life you keep to yourself. There is a character for every reader to connect with and love, and I enjoyed watching them grapple the different traditions, slot into the different ways of living, and discover the closest friendships have boundaries. With stunning locations, festive atmosphere, chemistry between love interests and swoonsome embraces, it was a tonic for grey, drizzly Autumn days and perfect escapism.

Would I recommend?

Yes! This is my first experience of this author, but I loved her style. This book is an entertaining, refreshing read, and with three Christmas stories in one, how could I not love it? It is on for my forever shelf for a reread in the future.

Author Biography

Sandy Barker

Sandy Barker is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list. She loves exploring new places, outdoor adventures, and eating and drinking like a local when she travels, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, film buff, wine lover and coffee snob.

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/sandybarker

https://www.facebook.com/sandybarkerauthor

https://www.instagram.com/sandybarkerauthor

https://sandybarker.com/

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and One More Chapter for my advanced copy so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

If you would like to find out more about this book and Sandy Barker, why not visit other blogs on this tour.

Have you had your own Christmas swap and experienced a different festive day? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

Book Review: To Catch the Witch by Sharon Booth

October is here, making it the perfect time to celebrate Halloween and have a witch and ghost takeover.

My first witchy book review is To Catch a Witch by one of my favourite Yorkshire author’s Sharon Booth, who we met last year. You can find her interview here. It is the last novel in the Castle Clair trilogy. Read on to discover more.

Book Review: To Catch the Witch by Sharon Booth

To Catch a Witch by Sharon Booth

Title: To Catch a Witch

Author: Sharon Booth

Publisher: Green Ginger Publishing

Genre: Romance, uplifting fiction, witchlit

Release Date: 28th April 2020

Links

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sharonbooth.writer

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sharon_Booth1

Instagram: www.instagram.com/sharonboothwriter

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Booth/e/B00PP5S1X8

Website: www.sharonboothwriter.com

Blurb

Return to Castle Clair for the final chapter of the St Clair story.

It’s three hundred and fifty years since the famous witch’s leap happened in the North Yorkshire town. Riverside Walk is swarming with eager tourists, wanting to pay tribute to the legendary Blaise St Clair. It’s also Christmas Eve, and the family has gathered to celebrate an eventful year, and to look forward to even better times ahead.

But a shock event changes everything, bringing a whole lot of trouble to the door of Castle Lodge.

For something big is happening in Castle Clair. Strangers are arriving, a prophecy is unfolding, a mystery is deepening, a reckoning is coming … and someone’s getting rather too fond of Mrs Greenwood’s baking.

The past is colliding with the present, and the future is in jeopardy. No wonder the High Council of Witches is a bit miffed.

Will the St Clairs have enough strength, courage ~ and chocolate fudge cake ~ to see them through?

Or is this the end of the world as they know it?

My Thoughts

I was mesmerised by the other two novels based in Castle Clair which tell the stories of Sky and Star St Clair and pre-ordered this one, eager for its release but delayed reading it until now. Why? I did not want the series and the magic to end. Mistake. Big mistake, I could have reread the entire series by now. What was not a mistake was the timing. Celeste’s story begins on Christmas Eve, the 350th anniversary of Blaise St Clair’s death at Witches Leap, making it an ideal book for October with the preparations of both Halloween and Christmas. Witches and Christmas, my favourite things make it a winning combination.

Sharon Booth’s wonderful storytelling invoked the Christmas spirit and drew me into the St Clair’s world. The opening chapters are upbeat, quirky, and full of laughter as well as trepidation of what is to come. The many references to Dr Who to describe the situation made me smile and added to the festive atmosphere. Like the Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Dr Who specials make Christmas.

Celeste fast became my favourite witch with her innocent, romantic view of love, believing she will meet the one. Her gentle and kind nature makes her the ideal match for Blaise, the 17th century witch. I enjoyed watching him grapple with the steep learning curve of fitting in to the 21st century, including the changing roles of women and zippers. That scene is one I cannot get out of my head.

Would I recommend?

To Catch A Witch is witchy escapism wrapped up in an uplifting romance that also revisits the other St Clair sisters. With many twists and turns, it was a joy to read and is firmly one of my forever shelf with the rest of the series. This has become my favourite, but it would be wrong to read it again without the others. I can feel a Halloween tradition brewing.

Author Biography

Sharon Booth

Sharon Booth is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes uplifting women’s fiction — “love, laughter, and happy ever after”. Although a happy ending for her main characters is guaranteed, she makes them work for it!

Sharon grew up in the East Yorkshire town of Hessle, where her enduring love for all things Yorkshire was born. She now lives in Kingston-upon-Hull with her husband and their much-loved German Shepherd dog.

Since giving up her admin job at a medical practice, she spends a lot of time assuring her family of five children, assorted in-laws and hordes of grandchildren – not to mention a sceptical mother and a contrary hairdresser – that writing full-time IS a “proper” job and she HASN’T taken early retirement.

She has a love/hate relationship with chocolate, adores Doctor Who and Cary Grant movies, and admits to being shamefully prone to all-consuming crushes on fictional heroes.

You can sign up to Sharon’s newsletter at smarturl.it/sharonsnewsletter

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

Book Review: Not Myself Today by Muriel Ellis Pritchett

I am excited to share a review for something different, a YA novel by Muriel Ellis Pritchett called Not Myself Today. As soon as I read the blurb, my inner teenager demanded I read it so thank you Rachel Gibley for inviting me to this blog tour. Scroll down to see if it matched my expectations.

Not Myself Today by Muriel Ellis Pritchett

Not Myself Today by Muriel Ellis Pritchett

Title: Not Myself Today

Author: Muriel Ellis Pritchett

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Genre: YA fantasy, paranormal

Release date: 24th September 2020

Blurb

High school soccer star Lindsey Anderson was at the top of her game with graduation approaching and a full-ride soccer scholarship offer in her hand. Then she dropped dead on the soccer field, only to wake up in the body of a teenage sex-trafficking victim. No one believes who she really is. Not even her dad. Chased by her new body’s drug-dealing pimp and rabid parapsychologists out to dissect her, Lindsey searches to get her body and her life back before graduation day. Can her BFF and the high school nerdy boy she detests help save her life?

Purchase Links

https://www.blackrosewriting.com/teenya/notmyselftoday

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Not-Myself-Today-Paranormal-Thriller-ebook/dp/B08F5GFDNX/

Amazon UShttps://www.amazon.com/Not-Myself-Today-Paranormal-Thriller-ebook/dp/B08F5GFDNX/

 From October 8-12 (5 days) anyone in the US and the UK will be able to purchase an eBook copy of Not Myself Today for $0.99

My Thoughts

Lindsay is the perfect American athletic student with a bright career ahead of her. With a privileged background and friends, life can not get any better, but in an instant her role is changed when she wakes up in the body of a 14-year-old prostitute and addict. Body swapping has been used as a plot device before in many films to show different views and encourage character growth in both protagonists, such as Freaky Friday, Visa Versa and one of my favourite film, Heaven can Wait (1978) but this change is darker and more extreme. There could have been a risk this was too much, but it works. The stark contrast between the girls’ lives allows the reader to discover with Lindsay, the dark, murky world of child sex trafficking, and abuse in an accessible, non-graphic way. There is danger from the Annabeth’s pimp making it quick paced and page turning. Lindsay is a strong character and I doubt I would have been so calm in those circumstances, but I enjoyed watching her judgement change as she discovers more about Annabeth’s life.

It is a topical, action-packed novel about the importance of friendship, and identity highlighting the hidden and devastating world of child trafficking in the US. This is not a US problem, but worldwide.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is a refreshing YA read that ticked all the boxes my younger self wanted in a book; paranormal, reincarnation, gritty subject matter, and strong characters. It is a thrilling, fast-paced, paranormal YA read I would loved to have had on my forever bookshelf as a teenager.

Author Biography

Muriel Ellis Pritchett

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Muriel Ellis Pritchett graduated from the University of Georgia and began her journalism career while living in Japan and Germany. Her journalism career included playwriting, editing and writing for magazines and newspapers, and working in public relations, university relations, and media relations.

After retiring, Muriel’s family doctor recommended she get a hobby.  So, she began writing fun fiction about feisty older women who had been wronged and had to pull themselves up out of the muck. But her award-winning fourth book, Not Myself Today, is a change in genres—a YA paranormal thriller. It is scheduled for release September 24, 2020. Her first three “fruity” books, fun romance for older women, are Making Lemonade, Like Peaches and Pickles, and Rotten Bananas and the Emerald Dream. She is currently working on another “fruity” book, titled Sour Grapes and Balmy Knight.

When not writing, Muriel loves cruising all over the world, eating good Belgian chocolate, and spending time in any Disney park. Her favorite Disney attractions are SOARING at Disney World’s EPCOT in Florida, Alice’s Curious Labyrinth at Disneyland Paris, Journey to the Center of the Earth at DisneySeas in Tokyo, and Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland in California.

Social Media Links – 

Facebook: Muriel’s Fiction for Women @murielellispritchett https://www.facebook.com/murielellispritchett/

Twitter: @PritchettMuriel

Website: https://www.murielpritchett.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/murielellispritchett/

Giveaway to Win a Signed copy of Not Myself Today (Open Internationally)*

To win a signed copy of Not Myself Today, click here

Good Luck

If you want to discover more about this book, why not visit other blogs on this tour.

Thanks Rachel’s Random Resources for supplying an advanced copy to review and give my honest, and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Book Cover Reveal: Christmas in Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May

I am excited to reveal the book cover for the next installment of the Cockleberry Bay series by Nicola May. Here is Christmas in Cockleberry Bay.

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay by Nicola Bay

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May

Title: Christmas in Cockleberry Bay

Author: Nicola May

Release date: 4th December 2020

Blurb

Meet old and new characters in the Bay for Christmas fun and frolics.

With both the Corner Shop and Cockleberry Café in safe hands, Rosa turns her attention to Ned’s Gift, the charity set up in memory of the great-grandfather whose legacy turned her life around.

Over at the Ship Hotel, Lucas has his work cut out with his devious new girlfriend and the mystery poisoning of an anonymous hotel inspector. Will the hotel still get its 3-star Seaside Rosette?

Will Mary find true love at last? Can Titch cope with the demands of the shop and being heavily pregnant. And can Rosa, with a baby of her own, pull off the Cockleberry Bay Charity Christmas Concert in time?

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay is a festive delight for fans of Rosa and her cheeky mini dachshund Hot, delivering a feast of unpredictable events and surprises.

Pre-order Links

Kindle – UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08JHJKLQF/

Kindle – .com – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08JHJKLQF/

Paperback  – http://eye-books.com/books/christmas-in-cocklberry-bay

Author Biography

Nicola May

Nicola May is a rom-com superstar. She is the author of eleven romantic comedies, all of which have appeared in the Kindle bestseller charts. Two of them won awards at the Festival of Romance, and another was named ebook of the week in The SunThe Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay became the best-selling Kindle book in the UK, across all genres, in January 2019, and was Amazon’s third-bestselling novel in that year.

She lives near Ascot racecourse with her black-and-white rescue cat, Stan.

Follow Nicola May

Website – www.nicolamay.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/NicolaMayAuthor

Twitter – https://twitter.com/nicolamay1

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/author_nicola/

Happy reading!

Love

Book Review: The Unquiet Spirit by Penny Hampson

Autumn is here and we are on the way to Halloween, one of my favourite days of the year and a perfect time for spooky reads. I am pleased to share my review for The Unquiet Spirit by Penny Hampson which lends itself to be read on chilly, dark evenings while waiting for things to go bump.

Book Review: The Unquiet Spirit by Penny Hampson

The Unquiet Spirit by Penny Hampson

Title: The Unquiet Spirit

Author: Penny Hampson

Publisher: Darkstroke/Crooked Cat

Genre: Paranormal, suspense

Release date: 21st August 2020

Purchase Links – getbook.at/theunquietspirit

Blurb

A new beginning. A house with a past. A man with secrets.

It was a dream come true…that turned into a nightmare.

Kate Wilson thinks moving back to Cornwall might be the answer to her prayers. But it isn’t long before she begins to have doubts. Is the house she inherited from her godmother haunted? Or is she going out of her mind? With a stalker, threats, and attempted break-ins, Kate’s troubles multiply.

Then there’s her enigmatic neighbour, the brooding Tom Carbis; a man with secrets he doesn’t wish to share. Can she trust him when he says he wants to help?

In her quest to unravel the mysteries surrounding her, will Kate uncover more than she bargains for?

Set in beautiful Cornwall, The Unquiet Spirit is a gripping suspense with paranormal and romantic elements. Fans of Barbara Erskine will enjoy this tale.

My Thoughts

I was attracted to this novel for its setting, promise of spookiness and reference to Barbara Erskine, one of my favourite authors. I am always on the look out for authors similar in her style. The Cornish location for this novel and house offers the ideal set up for a ghost story and after an explosive start where I was thrown into action as Kate is pursued by a man, the hauntings begin with the smell of rosemary and classic spookiness. The authentic ghostly experiences were perfectly balanced with the developing relationship between Kate and Tom. The tension and chemistry between them kept me intrigued as did the discovery of a diary revealing the houses secrets.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is a lovely, enjoyable ghost story for these colder nights with atmospheric setting and intriguing characters parcelled up with an historical mystery waiting to be solved. It sent shivers down my spine. I would love to read more from this author especially if she writes more paranormal.

Author Biography

Penny Hampson

Some time ago Penny Hampson decided to follow her passion for history by studying with the Open University. She graduated with honours and went on to complete a post-graduate degree.

Penny then landed her dream role, working in an environment where she was surrounded by rare books and historical manuscripts. Flash forward nineteen years, and the opportunity came along to indulge her other main passion – writing. Penny joined the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and  three years later published her debut novel, A Gentleman’s Promise, a  historical mystery/romance. Other books in the same genre soon followed.

But never happy in a rut, Penny also writes contemporary suspense with paranormal and romantic elements. Her first book in this genre is The Unquiet Spirit, published by Darkstroke.

Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).

For more on Penny’s writing, visit her blog: https://pennyhampson.co.uk/blog/

Twitter: @penny_hampson

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pennyhampsonauthor

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour, introducing me to a new author to watch and giving me an ARC so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

Book Cover Reveal: One Kiss Before Christmas by Emma Jackson

Autumn has arrived and so have the festive books. I am delighted to share with you the cover for a novel, I am looking forward to reading, One Kiss Before Christmas by Emma Jackson.

Book Cover Reveal: One Kiss Before Christmas by Emma Jackson

One Kiss Before Christmas by Emma Jackson

Title: One Kiss Before Christmas

Author: Emma Jackson

Publisher: Orion Dash

Genre: Festive romanace

Release date: 2nd November 2020

Pre-order Link – http://bit.ly/OneKissBeforeXmas

Blurb

A gorgeously romantic festive read from the author of A Mistletoe Miracle, guaranteed to warm your heart this Christmas!


Could it be the start of her happy ever after?


Ashleigh could use a little Christmas magic. She’s still living in Brighton with her Nan — who could give the Grinch lessons in how to be miserable — her acting career has been reduced to playing one of Santa’s elves, and not even the prospect of a friend’s winter wedding can cheer her up…

That is until Olivier, the gorgeous French chef, reappears in her life. Or more accurately, next door.

When they were teenagers, Olivier would spend every other Christmas with his mother, who just happens to be Ash’s neighbour and owner of the best chocolate shop in England.


If anyone can bring a little sparkle back to Ash’s life, it’s Olivier. All she needs is one kiss before Christmas…

Feel-good and festive, this is the perfect romance to curl up with this winter!

Author Biography

Emma Jackson

Author of the Best Selling A MISTLETOE MIRACLE and contender for the Joan Hessayon Award 2020, Emma has been a devoted bookworm and secret-story-scribbler since she was 6 years old. When she’s not running around after her two daughters and trying to complete her current work-in-progress, Emma loves to read, bake, catch up on binge-watching TV programmes with her partner and plan lots of craft projects that will inevitably end up unfinished. Her latest romantic comedy, SUMMER IN THE CITY, was released in June 2020.

Emma also writes historical and fantasy fiction as Emma S Jackson. THE DEVIL’S BRIDE was published by DarkStroke in February 2020.

You can find out news about Emma via her website, by signing up to her newsletter at www.esjackson.co.uk or on:
Twitter: @ESJackson1

Instagram: @emma_s_jackson

Facebook @EmmaJacksonAuthor

I am excited to be on the blog tour for this festive treat, so pop by on 9th November for my review. Emma’s paranormal romance novel, The Devil’s Bride has a Gothic feel and is ideal for the darker evenings and the run up for Halloween. My review can be seen here.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Book Extract: Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage by Lucy Coleman

I am excited to share with you an extract from Lucy Coleman’s new festive novel, Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage. I have read a few of Lucy Coleman’s books and they always sizzle with festive cheer.

Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage by Lucy Coleman

Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage by Lucy Coleman

Title: Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage

Author: Lucy Coleman

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Genre: Festive Romance

Release date: 3rd September 2020

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3fGdGvu

Blurb

Join us for Christmas in the Cotswolds in this perfect festive escape, from the bestselling Lucy Coleman.

Imogen Tolliman never knew her mother. And when an accident robs Immi of her father too, she goes to live with her grandfather, Tollie, in his picturesque lock-keeper’s cottage by the Aysbury marina. 

Tollie is the star of the Santa Ahoy Special each Christmas – a festive boat ride along the canal that enthralls both children and adults alike. And as Immi grows up, she starts to appreciate the magical community she is lucky enough to live in. 

When Immi meets Gray Adams, she instantly realises he’s someone special. And as their relationship gets serious, they start to plan for the Christmas to beat all Christmases.  

But as the day approaches, and the romantic snow showers turn into blizzards, their dream of a Christmas to remember, looks set to be one they’ll never forget – for all the wrong reasons. Can they salvage the festivities, or will old secrets that are finally uncovered turn Immi’s life upside down forever?

Let Lucy Coleman transport you away to a dreamy Cotswolds Christmas full of snowflakes and secretslog fires, mistletoe, friends and much-loved traditions. Perfect for all fans of Trisha Ashley, Holly Martin and Sue Moorcroft. 

Extract from Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage

‘Right, what can I get for you, Immi?’

‘One of your surf and turf sharing platters and a bottle of something special, please. I don’t suppose the Christmas beers have arrived yet?’

Our community is very proud to have a celebrated microbrewery virtually on our doorstep. The Middle Norton Brewing Company have made a real name for themselves and it’s become quite an attraction for the marina.

Sarah nods her head. ‘This morning. Two Santa’s Helpers? Or how about trying the new one – The Bullrush Christmas Brew?’

‘You didn’t!’ I exclaim.

‘We did. We put the proposal to Pete and David, and they thought it was a great idea. Ten pence from every bottle sold will be donated to The Santa Ahoy Christmas charity fund. When Tollie pops in later, Kurt is going to tell him the news. And Pete just rang to say they are going to run a promotion on it via their stockists, which will run into January.’

‘Wow, thank you, Sarah. I mean, that’s simply amazing.’

‘What’s amazing?’

I spin around and it’s as if a cloud of happiness has wafted in through the door. Gray throws his arms around me, lifting me off the floor as he raises me up to plant a kiss firmly on my lips.

‘I’m back. What’s happening?’ He pulls away, tilting his head to peer over my shoulder. ‘Hi, Sarah, you’re looking good, and busy. Have the Christmas beers arrived yet?’

‘It’s great to see you, Gray. And yes, Immi just placed your order and it’s on the way. Grab a table quickly, guys, I’ve just cleared one upstairs.’ Sarah nods towards the door and a large group about to step through.

‘Will do. Catch up with you later, Sarah,’ Gray calls over his shoulder. Grabbing my hand, he leads me upstairs.

As my foot hits the last tread and I look out over the canal, I get the familiar thrill I always feel to see the boats. This evening everything is right in my little world and my heart soars. I squeeze Gray’s hand and quicken my pace as he strides forward to claim the last table by the window. But before he lets me go, he spins me around into his arms and we stand there for several seconds. Resting my head against his chest and, oblivious to the background chatter, I close my eyes, savouring the moment. Just to feel the solidness of him and breathe in the smell of that lemony aftershave balm he uses is heavenly.

I hate it when we’re apart, but since last October, Gray’s life has had to revolve around his mother, Rona. She’s a lovely woman who dotes on her wonderful son. Sadly, just over a year ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a gruelling programme of treatment, she began having the most awful panic attacks and became a virtual recluse. Gray and I put our plans on hold because family comes first. But for Gray he has had to struggle to work to keep the bills paid and be her only form of support, so it would be a lie to say it hasn’t affected our relationship. True love never dies, but it needs constant care and attention. We’ve both been miserable and lonely, but as hard as it’s been for me, it’s been even harder for Gray.

Rona has been on her own for a long time, since Gray’s father, Grayson Alexander Adams, returned to the States when his son was five years old. Gray has never been to America, or met his grandparents.

I think that’s one of the things that drew us together when we were first introduced, almost three years ago now. Neither of us have siblings and both have just the one parent figure in our lives, albeit mine is a grandparent. There’s a sense of responsibility that accompanies that, I’ve discovered as the years have passed. Granddad worries about me, but now I worry about him – constantly. It’s been the same for Gray. He ended up having to move back into his family home, as Rona floundered to cope with day-to-day living. And suddenly, it wasn’t just our plans for last Christmas that fell apart, but our dream was put on hold.

I try not to dwell on the seemingly impossible question over whether Gray and I will ever be able to get together as a couple, permanently. Rona won’t consider leaving the house she’s lived in since the day Gray was born and Tollie, well, the marina has been his life for more than fifty years. He’s spent the last thirteen years making sure I’m okay, but as time passes our respective roles have begun to change.

Author Biography

Lucy Coleman

Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/LucyColemanAuthor

https://www.instagram.com/lucycolemanauthor/

lucycolemanromance.com

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lucy-coleman

http://bit.ly/LucyColemanNewsletter

Thanks Rachel Random Resources and Boldwood Books for inviting me to this tour.

Happy Reading and stay safe!

Love

Book Cover Reveal:Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray

I am excited to reveal the cover of a novel which is on my TBR list for next year – Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray

Book cover reveal: Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray

 

Everything is Beautiful - Cover

Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray

Title: Everything is Beautiful

Author: Eleanor Ray

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Piatkus

Release date: 4th February 2021

 

Blurb:

Sometimes it’s impossible to part with the things we love the most…

When Amy Ashton’s world came crashing down eleven years ago, she started a collection. Just a little collection, just a few keepsakes of happier times: some honeysuckle to remind herself of the boy she loved, a chipped china bird, an old terracotta pot . . . Things that others might throw away, but to Amy, represent a life that could have been.  

Now her house is overflowing with the objects she loves – soon there’ll be no room for Amy at all. But when a family move in next door, a chance discovery unearths a mystery long buried, and Amy’s carefully curated life begins to unravel. If she can find the courage to face her past, might the future she thought she’d lost still be hers for the taking? 

Perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant and The Keeper of Lost Things, this exquisitely told, uplifting novel shows us that however hopeless things might feel, beauty can be found in the most unexpected of places.

 

Pre-order Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everything-Beautiful-Eleanor-Ray/dp/0349427437

US – https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Beautiful-Eleanor-Ray-ebook/dp/B087ZDNZM8/

 

Author Biography 

image0 (1)

Eleanor Ray

Eleanor Ray has an MA in English Literature from Edinburgh University and works in marketing. She lives in London with her husband and two young children.
Eleanor was inspired to write Everything is Beautiful by the objects her toddler collects and treasures – twigs, empty water bottles and wilting daisies. She is currently working on her next novel.

Social Media Links 

Twitter: @EleanorRayBooks
Facebook: @
EleanorRayBooks
Instagram: @
EleanorRayBooks

 

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and Piatkus for inviting me to this reveal.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

Book Review: 365 Days of Gratitude Journal by Mariëlle S. Smith @rararesources

Today I am pleased to share with you something different –  365 Days of Gratitude Journal by Mariëlle S. Smith

Book Review: 365 Days of Gratitude Journal by Mariëlle S. Smith

365 Days of Gratitude cover

Book Title: 365 Days of Gratitude Journal

Author: Mariëlle S. Smith

Publisher: Independent

Release date: 1st September 2020

Genre: Self-help

 

Blurb:

‘Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on. Get drunk.’ Rumi

Being grateful is easy…

…when everything goes according to plan.

But how do you keep at it no matter what life throws at you?

Enter 365 Days of Gratitude, the undated daily journal that will help you stay on track.

After years of barely surviving her own emotional minefield, writing coach Mariëlle S. Smith discovered the transformative power of practising gratitude. But, like no one else, she knows that cultivating an attitude of gratitude is easier said than done.

Complete with inspiring quotes, daily prompts, and recurring check-ins, the 365 Days of Gratitude Journal encourages you to create a sustainable gratitude practice too.

Ready to commit to the life-changing power of gratitude? Order your copy of the 365 Days of Gratitude Journal now.

 

Purchase Links

https://mswordsmith.nl/365daysofgratitude/

Get 50% off the printable PDF until 6 September 2020 with the following discount code: HAPPYLAUNCH. Go to https://mswordsmith.nl/365daysofgratitude or https://payhip.com/b/Hld2 to claim your copy.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08FV15CJN

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FV15CJN

My Thoughts

I am a great believer in the power of feeling grateful,  I rarely write my blessings down. This is where this journal was invaluable and made the difference. The daily record meant I could review the previous days as instructed to see what had been consistent, what had changed, and remember the fleeting moments I had forgotten about. For example, a dragonfly has visited our garden twice last month. In the past, I would have been grateful for seeing it but it would have been lost in my memories over time. With the journal’s help, I could recall tits arrival and the finer details of the day such as the blue sky, the summer heat and the joy of sitting in the garden drinking tea on a rare visit with my aunt. The journal became a record of small moments, but together the collection gave me more general sense of wellbeing.
With covid and the unrest in many parts of the world, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all and I have had times when cabin fever has set in because I am still spending shielding, thanks to my low immune system and dystonia.  This journal helped ground and remind me I have so much to be grateful for – friends I can chat to online, a writing tribe, technology to write and connect with people, my dogs, and a garden, I could go on. It made me concentrate on what I have rather than not, which was uplifting.

 

Things to be grateful for:

dragonfly visit

new dragon leggings

butterflies in the garden

and a man in the moon appearance in a cup of tea.

Contennt For 27 Book Street - 365 Worksheet Day 1

A sample page of the journal

 

Would I recommend?

Yes, I found it cathartic to use and helpful in these turbulent times but it does require a daily commitment to write in it for the full effect. The format is simple, clear an easily personalised with stickers and coloured pens. The quotes are beautiful and uplifting.

Author Biography

 

365 Days Author

Mariëlle S. Smith

 

Mariëlle S. Smith is a coach for writers and other creatives, an editor, and a (ghost) writer. Early 2019, she moved to Cyprus, and island in the Mediterranean Sea, where she organises private writer’s retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count.

Social Media Links –

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mariellessmith/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtnYOpjmj83mvMM2L348F1w

 

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this blog tour and providing me with an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest, unbiased opinion.

Do you keep a gratitude journal? Do you find it helpful?

Happy reading and keep safe!

Love

 

 

 

Book Review: The Last Charm by Ella Allbright