Book Review: New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland

The hedgehogs are back! After falling in love with the hedgehogs and setting in Finding Love in Hedgehog Hollow I was looking forward to reading the next instalment. Scroll down to read my review on New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland

Book Review: New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland

New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland

Title: New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow

Author: Jessica Redland

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

Brand new from the top 10 bestselling author of New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms and Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow.

With new arrivals comes new responsibilities…
The sun is shining, wild flowers are blooming and Hedgehog Hollow is officially open for business.

For Samantha, the proud owner of this beautiful rescue centre, life has never been busier. But with an influx of new hogs and hoglets to take care of, not to mention a full-time job and ongoing family issues, can she accept the possibility that she has taken on more than she can handle?

Fortunately, she has the love of her life, Josh, by her side for support and encouragement. But Josh has his own family troubles to deal with. And soon he must decide if he’s ready to do the one thing he swore he’d never do – forgive his father.

For both Samantha and Josh it’s a season of change and for figuring out whether the past can ever truly be forgotten.

Escape back to wonderful Hedgehog Hollow with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting read full of love, hope and forgiveness.

Purchase Link – https://buff.ly/3qVlHD2

My Thoughts

I fell in love with the first book in series and this one welcomed me back into the warmth of Hedgehog Hollow like a much-needed hug. I am local to the Wolds and Jessica Redland captures the beauty of the setting in her writing, and as someone shielding the descriptions gave me a view of the outside and an escape. Thomas’ meadow is vivid and somewhere I wish I could spend time there myself.

 The novel begins with a giggle when the rescue centre opens and I was immersed back into the lives of Sammie and Josh. It catches up with them a few weeks after the end of the previous book and covers the consequences of the Grimes brothers’ actions, family rifts, mental health as well as discovering more about Josh and his background. All topics are covered sensitively with some unexpected turns when family secrets are revealed. The hedgehogs are adorable and I have learnt so much about them by reading these novels, which is great for awareness.

The handy recap provided means it can be read as a standalone novel, but personally I think you gain so much more by reading the first book beforehand.

Would I recommend?

Jessica Redland’s books offer an escape from the humdrum of life and lockdown, and this one is no exception. The characters fast become friends, making you want to continue reading and revisit them in the future. The stunning settings, memorable characters and adorable hedgehogs make this is a book to snuggle down with under the duvet and enjoy. I can’t wait to read the next in the series and discover more about Fizz, who I connected to straight away.

Author Biography

Jessica Redland

Jessica Redland is the bestselling author of ten novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

Social Media Links –
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/JessicaRedlandWriter/

Twitter  https://twitter.com/JessicaRedland

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

Website https://www.jessicaredland.com/

Blog https://jessicaredlandwriter.wordpress.com/

Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jessica-redland

Mailing list sign up http://bit.ly/JessicaRedlandNewsletter

If you want to read more about this book and Jessica Redland why not pop along to the other blogs on the tour.

Other blogs on the tour

Thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood books for the advanced copy so I could review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Keep warm, stay safe and happy reading!

Love

signature of Katie

Book Review: Editing Your Novel’s Structure by Bethany A. Tucker

I waved my hand high in the air when Rachel’s Random Resources looked for bloggers to review Editing Your Novel’s Structure: Tips, Tricks, and Checklists to Get You From Start to Finish by Bethany A. Tucker. For the last three years I have spent my spare time writing a novel and I need all the help I can get to edit it to make it sparkle. This book looked like the answer to my prayers.

My own writing journey can be found at http://katekenzie.com

Book Review: Editing Your Novel’s Structure: Tips, Tricks, and Checklists to Get You From Start to Finish by Bethany Tucker

Editing Your Novel’s Structure: Tips, Tricks, and Checklists to Get You From Start to Finish by Bethany Tucker

Title: Editing Your Novel’s Structure: Tips, Tricks, and Checklists to Get You From Start to Finish

Author: Bethany A. Tucker

Genre: Non-fiction, Writing

Blurb

Before it’s time to check for commas and iron out passive voice, fiction writers need to know that their story is strong. Are your beta readers not finishing? Do they have multiple, conflicting complaints? When you ask them questions about how they experience your story, do they give lukewarm responses? Or have you not even asked anyone to read your story, wondering if it’s ready?

If any of the above is true, you may need to refine the structure of your story. What is structure you ask?  Structure is what holds a story together. Does the character arc entrance the reader? Is the world building comprehensive and believable? These questions and more have to be answered by all of us as we turn our drafts into books. 

In this concise handbook, complete with checklists for each section, let a veteran writer walk you through the process of self-assessing your novel, from characters to pacing with lots of compassion and a dash of humor. In easy to follow directions and using adaptable strategies, she shows you how to check yourself for plot holes, settle timeline confusion, and snap character arcs into place. 

Use this handbook for quick help and quick self-editing checklists on:

– Characters and Character Arcs.
– Plot.
– Backstory.
– Point of View.
– A detailed explanation of nearly free self-editing tools and how to apply them to your book to find your own structural problems.
– Beginnings and Ends.
– Editing for sensitive and specialized subject matter.
– Helpful tips on choosing beta readers, when to seek an editor, and a sample questionnaire to give to your first readers. 

Grab your copy of Edit Your Novel’s Structure today! Now is the time to finish that draft and get your story out into the world.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Editing-Your-Novels-Structure-Checklists-ebook/dp/B08PSP82ZQ

US – https://www.amazon.com/Editing-Your-Novels-Structure-Checklists-ebook/dp/B08PSP82ZQ

My Thoughts

This is a comprehensive book and it’s easy relate to making it an ideal reference quide for newbies and those at the beginning of their career. Each chapter gives a breakdown of the actions needed in each stage of editing with examples. Her words made me consider my completed novel and my current work in progress helping me tweak them to read better. The tips work and I’ll refer back to it in the future.

The short length and friendly tone of this book made this a quick read which is perfect for writers with limited time. The information was easy to digest and the links to further resources allowed me to expand my knowledge. I did not feel bogged down with so much information that it distracted me from the tasks I needed to do.

Would I recommend?

Yes, for would be writers and those at the beginning of their journey who needing a helping hand. It will be on my forever shelf and the useful checklists at the end of the chapters and beta reader questionnaires will be well used.  

Author Biography

Bethany A Tucker

Bethany Tucker is an author and editor located near Seattle, U.S.A. Story has always been a part of her life. With over twenty years of writing and teaching experience, she’s more than ready to take your hand and pull back the curtain on writing craft and mindset. Last year she edited over a million words for aspiring authors. Her YA fantasy series Adelaide is published wide under the pen name Mustang Rabbit and her dark epic fantasy is releasing in 2021 under Ciara Darren. You can find more about her services for authors at TheArtandScienceofWords.com. 

Social Media Links –   theartandscienceofwords.com, mustangrabbit.com

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

Do you write? What are your tips for editing?

Take care and stay safe. Happy reading and writing!

Love

signature of Katie

Book Review: Sleepless by Louise Mumford

I am happy to share with you my review for Sleepless by Louise Mumford. As an insomniac( thanks to my meds) and my failure to find something to help I connected to the protagonist from just the blurb; I needed to find out what happened next so thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour.

Book Review: Sleepless by Louise Mumford

Book Review: Sleepless by Louise Mumford

Title: Sleepless

Author: Louise Mumford

Publisher: HQ Digital

Genre: Psychological thriller, suspense

Release date: 10th December 2020

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08JB2XVVM/ 

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08JB2XVVM/

Blurb

Don’t close your eyes. Don’t fall asleep. Don’t let them in.

Thea is an insomniac; she hasn’t slept more than three hours a night for years.

So when an ad for a sleep trial that promises to change her life pops up on her phone, Thea knows this is her last chance at finding any kind of normal life.

Soon Thea’s sleeping for longer than she has in a decade, and awakes feeling transformed. So much so that at first she’s willing to overlook the oddities of the trial – the lack of any phone signal; the way she can’t leave her bedroom without permission; the fact that all her personal possessions are locked away, even her shoes.

But it soon becomes clear that the trial doesn’t just want to help Thea sleep. It wants to control her sleep…

An unputdownable, gripping psychological thriller for fans of The One, Behind Her Eyes and Girl A!

My Thoughts

I was invested in Thea from just reading the blurb but discovering more about her situation I sympathised more and this drove me to continue reading. The premise intrigued me and I wasn’t disappointed. Sleepless is an entertaining thriller that made me question what I would do in those circumstances.

It is clever and disturbing because it feels only one step away from reality despite the overall sci-fi feel to the novel. The plot delves into the importance of sleep and the consequences of interfering with the mind. With increased tension throughout the book with many twists and turns I did find the ending abrupt and had to double check I had not missed something.

Would I recommned?

Sleepless is enjoyable, fast paced sci fi thriller that I still find myself thinking about days after finishing it. With the multitude of conspiracy theories flying around social media, this novel is apt and taps into the mistrust of big businesses and pharmaceutical companies. It will not help you sleep, plays with your own psyche but worth reading on a chilly winter’s night.

Author biograpghy

Louise Mumford

Louise was born and lives in South Wales. From a young age she loved books and dancing, but hated having to go to sleep, convinced that she might miss out on something interesting happening in the world whilst she dozed – much to her mother’s frustration! Insomnia has been a part of her life ever since.

She studied English Literature at university and graduated with first class honours. As a teacher she tried to pass on her love of reading to her students (and discovered that the secret to successful teaching is… stickers! She is aware that that is, essentially, bribery.)

In the summer of 2019 Louise experienced a once-in-a-lifetime moment: she was discovered as a new writer by her publisher at the Primadonna Festival. Everything has been a bit of a whirlwind since then.

Louise lives in Cardiff with her husband and spends her time trying to get down on paper all the marvellous and frightening things that happen in her head.

Her debut thriller, SLEEPLESS, will be published by HQ on 11th Dec 2020.

Social Media Links –  Twitter @louise_mumford

                                       Instagram @louisemumfordauthor

                                          Facebook Louise Mumford Author         

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and HQ Digital for inviting me to this tour and the advanced copy so I could read and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading!

Love

                                                                                                                                                     

Book Review: One Kiss Before Christmas by Emma Jackson

The days are getting colder and Christmas is only weeks away, making this an ideal time to catch up with festive book reviews. Today, I am pleased to share my review for One Kiss Before Christmas by Emma Jackson as part of a blog tour.

Book Review: 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 romance

Release Date: 2nd November 2020

Purchase 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!

My Thoughts

A good festive romance needs protagonists the reader cares about, a highly visual and atmospheric location, food to make your tastebuds tingle and depth beyond the will they/won’t they scenario. This book has all these elements and more.

I connected with Ashleigh at the mention of her elf socks jingling as being an elf was always on my list of dream jobs. If I could not do it in reality, I was going to enjoy it through her, but the more I discovered about her backstory and her usual festive routine, the more I cared and longed for this year to be different. Likewise, I liked Olivier instantly, but the more I learnt about his complex relationship with his family, the more I wanted him to have a happy ever after too. The observations on the effects of family dynamics on someone’s self-worth gave the story depth as did their friendship with Romesh, and Ash’s bond with her Nan. All the characters felt real, adding to the emotional attachment.

The food element came in the form of chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Olivier may have been a French chef but his talent with chocolate and the descriptions of his mother’s chocolate shop made all my senses come to life, and I longed to taste the flavours they discussed. The stash of chocolate I put away for Christmas was raided early because I needed chocolate before I could continue reading.

Brighton is a location that has everything: quirky shops, unique character, the sea and atmosphere in the bucket load. I used to have day trips there as a teenager and longed to return so was in my element visiting The Lanes and seeing the sea without leaving my duvet. It was an ideal setting, but besides the chocolate shop, Ash’s street and their light display will always stand out for me.

There were scenes that made me chuckle, especially involving the transportation of the Christmas tree, and others were pure magic. I could easily see this playing on a screen as an enjoyable, festive favourite.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is a beautiful, heart warming festive story with realistic characters and emotional memorable moments. It is one for my forever shelf for a reread.

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

If you want to know more about Emma Jackson or this book, why not visit other blogs on this tour as shown above. Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and Orion Dash for inviting me to this tour and providing me with an advanced copy to give my honest opinion.

Take care, stay safe and happy reading!

Love

Book Review: Vampires of Moscow by Caedis Knight

Finally, I can share my review for Vampires of Moscow by Caedis Knight. I read this and Sirens of Los Angeles last month and been itching to tell you all about them. Scroll down to find out why.

Book Review: Vampires of Moscow by Caedis Knight

Vampires of Moscow by Caedis Knight

Title: Vampires of Moscow

Author: Caedis Knight

Publisher: Independent

Genre: Fantasy, Magic

Release date: Kindle out  Thursday 15th Oct

Paperback out Friday 13th Nov

Amazon.com links:
Vampires of Moscow – https://amzn.to/2EKx3pH
Sirens of Los Angeles – https://amzn.to/32afzNm

Blurb:

Saskia de la Cruz is a Verity Witch – her only magic being that she can tell the truth from a lie.

As an investigative reporter for The Blood Web Chronicle, the biggest news outlet on the paranormal dark Blood Web, Saskia spends her days cracking twisted para cases hoping that someday, some case, will bring her closer to finding her missing sister.

In snowy Moscow drained corpses of illegal workers have begun to turn up, with hundreds more reported missing. When Saskia is sent on assignment to investigate an oligarch Vampire crime ring that might be behind the deaths, she plans to get in out of the city’s frozen grasp quickly…preferably with her neck intact.

But beautiful ballet dancer Konstantin Volkov and his wildcard brother Lukka complicate things. The vampire brothers have their own reasons for solving the string of murders, reasons that conflict with Saskia’s mission. Soon, Saskia finds herself enmeshed in the city’s glittering web of crime, passion, and violence, where truths and lies are one and the same.

With vibrant characters, page-turning suspense and steamy romance, this new series has been dubbed by early readers as “a fun crime-solving sexual adventure across Europe.”

Co-authored by two established fantasy authors Jacqueline Silvester and N.J Simmonds, and set across a christmassy Moscow, Vampires of Moscow is the first book in the Blood Web Chronicles series. Perfect for fans of Crescent City, True Blood and Veronica Mars.

My Thoughts

I am a big fan of NJ Simmonds work which includes The Path Keeper and Son of Secrets, so was excited when I heard she was co-writing a series based on paranormals. I was even more excited when I heard her and Jacqueline Silvester’s enthusiasm for the characters and world they were building on a Facebook live. When authors glow while talking about their work, you know the reader is in for a treat. The energy and love both writers have for this series shines through, making it a fast-paced, addictive and imaginative read.

From sunny Los Angeles chasing sirens, Saskia finds herself in freezing Moscow infiltrating a club owned by two hot vampires searching for a story for the Web Chronicle. Saskia is independent and strong-willed but is still finding her feet in her new career, as an investigative reporter. This means she will take risks to prove herself, but her sense of justice also leads her into danger. With her low magical skills, she has to rely on her intelligence to get through. After constant put downs about her lack of magical ability, I enjoyed watching her learn to use her truth seeking skills and consider being a verity witch as an advantage rather than something to be ashamed of. 

The description of the locations made me shiver with cold when walking through Moscow and shudder when thrown into the seedy and murky world of vampire nightclubs. The vamps in this series are not your sparkly, tame versions from Twilight; these adore the taste and thrill of drinking human blood and have inventive ways of drinking it. With graphic descriptions, this novel is not for you if you have a blood phobia.

The idea of a vampire trained in ballet with rippling muscles and toned physique was inspired. I am currently binge watching ballets and the moves the dancers make are out of this world. Giving a vampire this ability made me fall for him hard. It took me a while to feel the same for Lukka, but the contrast between the two brothers won me over. I never expected to fall in love with two killers, but these characters have depth.

Would I recommend?

Yes, if you are a fan of witches, vampires, shape shifters and all things paranormal.  The Web Chronicles is a clever, intense and addictive fantasy crime series , perfect for winter nights and lockdown. They are steamy in places so not for under 18s and you may blush if you are reading in company. I can not wait for the next one and discover where Caedis Knight takes us.

I also have a new author, Jacqueline Silvester to read and follow.

Author biography

Caedis Knight

Caedis Knight is the pen name of two established fantasy authors, Jacqueline Silvester and N J Simmonds. Silvester began her career in screenwriting and lived all over the world before going on to pen her highly successful YA series Wunderkids. Spanish Londoner Simmonds’ background was originally in marketing before writing her fantasy series The Indigo Chronicles, along with various Manga stories and writing collaborations. Together they created Blood Web Chronicles – their first paranormal romance series set in Europe. Great friends and avid travelers, you can find them whizzing between one another’s homes in Germany and the Netherlands, or having Zoom calls to excitedly plot Saskia’s next humorous sexy adventure.

Website: caedisknight.com
Twitter: @CaedisKnight
FB: facebook.com/AuthorCaedisKnight
IG: instagram.com/caedis_knight

Thank you Caedis Knight for an advanced copy so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion. I can not wait to read the next instalment.

If you would like to discover more about this series and the author pop over to the other blogs on this tour.

Love

Book Review: Christmas at the Farmhouse by Rebecca Boxall

I am pleased to share with you a festive book review, Christmas at the Farmhouse by Rebecca Boxall.

Book Review: Christmas at the Farmhouse by Rebecca Boxall

Christmas at the Farmhouse by Rebecca Boxall

Title: Christmas at the Farmhouse

Author: Rebecca Boxall

Genre: festive fiction women’s fiction

Publisher: Wild Fox Press

Release date: 24 Oct. 2020

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-Farmhouse-festive-author-Vicarage-ebook/dp/B08J7S6SZV 

US – https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Farmhouse-festive-author-Vicarage-ebook/dp/B08J7S6SZV

Blurb:

As the anticipation of Christmas builds in the Nielsen family’s cosy farmhouse, Jo, Magnus and their grown-up children begin to congregate for a hybrid Danish-Jersey festive season, each with a surprise of their own – though the surprise that arrives over Christmas is the most life-changing of all.

Fifty years earlier, in 1969, Susan Jones finds herself being pursued by Mr Jenners, her former English teacher, and at the age of seventeen is packed off to a Home for Unmarried Mothers in London by her uncompromising father. As Christmas approaches, all she can do is desperately hope to be rescued, but will anyone be able to reach her in time?

The two timelines of this festive story gradually weave together in a tale that examines whether love and hope can eventually triumph over even the deepest sadness.

Rebecca Boxall is the award-nominated author of five bestselling novels – Christmas at the Vicarage, Home for Winter, Christmas on the Coast, The Christmas Forest and Christmas by the Lighthouse.

My Thoughts

I was drawn to this novel because of the dual nature of the storyline and the promise of an emotional ride with Susan’s tale. I am a sucker for Call the Midwife and the blurb reminded me of the many heart-breaking pregnancies it shows. From the beginning the reader is thrown into heartache with Susan being forced to give up her much wanted baby. This connected me to her and I needed to keep reading to see how things came to be and what happened next. The two timelines are told in alternate chapters and highlight a big contrast between naïve Susan preparing for birth and Jo preparing for a large family traditional Christmas with unexpected surprises from all family members. Jo’s family is full of warmth, and the descriptions of mouth-watering food and festive traditions made me want to spend Christmas at theirs this year but it was Susan’s timeline I was constantly drawn to. It could have been a book on its own. The subject is well researched and sensitively told.

Would I recommend?

This is the first novel I have read by Rebecca Boxall and am pleased to discover she has a back catalogue of Christmas books to explore. Farmhouse at Christmas is an enjoyable, cosy but emotional read which explores family connections, reactions to unmarried mothers in history bundled to together with warm festive cheer.

Author Biography

Rebecca Boxall

Rebecca Boxall was born in 1977 in East Sussex, where she grew up in a vicarage always filled with family, friends and parishioners. She now lives by the sea in Jersey with her husband, three children and Rodney the cat. She read English at the University of Warwick before training as a lawyer and also studied Creative Writing with The Writer’s Bureau. She is the bestselling author of Christmas at the Vicarage, Home for Winter, Christmas on the Coast, The Christmas Forest and Christmas by the Lighthouse and was nominated for the Romantic Novelist Association Awards in 2020.

Social Media Links –

For more information please visit her website – www.rebeccaboxall.co.uk – or her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/christmasatthevicarage.

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and supplying me with a copy to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

If you would like to know more about this author and this book, why not pop along to other blogs on this tour.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

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: 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 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 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