Book Promo: The Charity of Strangers by Alison Burke

I’m pleased to share news of a recent release The Charity of Strangers by Alison Burke. I love browsing in charity shops for bargains and it is something I have missed doing this last year so this book appeals and is on my TBR pile.

The Charity of Strangers by Alison Burke

Book cover for The Charity of Strangers by Alison Burke

Title: The Charity of Strangers

Author: Alison Burke

Publisher: Lily Dale Press

Genre: Fiction

Release date: 25 Nov. 2020

Blurb

You can find almost anything in a charity shop, but can you find love?

            You can certainly find friendship and there is both laughter and tears ahead when 19yr old Zaffron, lonely, anxious and without direction, meets Blaire Daintry, good-looking, charming, and gay.

            Both volunteers in the charity shop, he has a hidden agenda, she has secrets,  but they are friends from the start, despite Blaire’s constant sparring with Ida, the stern, good-hearted older volunteer who Zaffron admires. And perhaps Ida has secrets too.

            Together with other victims of the city’s housing crisis, Blaire and Zaffron set up a safe and happy home.  Secure at last, she tells him of the dreadful incident in her childhood that has marred her life, but not even his total acceptance gives her the confidence to start a relationship with an attractive and decent young army sergeant who falls in love with her.

            Is it fear of the truth coming out that holds her back? Or is there some other reason, buried too deep in her heart for her to recognise?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Charity-Strangers-friends-secrets-lies-ebook/dp/B08NXHTG2B/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Charity-Strangers-friends-secrets-lies-ebook/dp/B08NXHTG2B/

Author Biography

Alison Burke

I was born and grew up in Lancashire, gained several nursing qualifications and had the privilege of a long and varied nursing career, briefly in the Royal Army Nursing Service abroad, mainly in the NHS in UK. True love and a happy family came my way and now I have the time to  read, write and remember.

Social Media Links

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/lilydaleco

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

 Website https://www.alisonburkefictionwriter.com/

If you would like to know more about this novel and author why not visit other blogs on this tour with Rachel’s Random Resources?

Blogs on the tour
Other blogs on this tour

Happy reading and stay safe now the shops are opening!

Love

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Book Review: Witches of Barcelona by Caedis Knight

The writers who call themselves Caedis Knight are back with the next instalment in the Blood Web Chronicles, Witches of Barcelona. I had high expectations for this book because I adored the previous two books and longed to see how Saskia dealt with witches. My previous review for Vampires of Moscow can be found here. Scroll down to see if it reached my expectations.

I was also intrigued by their awesome trailer: https://youtu.be/yyWSZvHTlNU

Book Review: Witches of Barcelona by Caedis Knight

Witches of Barcelona by Caedis Knight book cover

Title: Witches of Barcelona

Author: Caedis Knight

Publisher:

Genre: urban fantasy, adult fiction

Release date: 31st March 2021


Purchase details:
Universal purchase ebook link:  mybook.to/WitchesOfBarcelona

Blurb

Saskia de la Cruz is a Verity Witch and investigative reporter for The Blood Web Chronicle, the biggest news outlet on the paranormal Blood Web.

After escaping murderous Vampires in snowy Moscow, Saskia can’t imagine a more difficult or more dangerous mission. That is until her editor sends her to Barcelona to investigate a high profile disappearance at the Mage Association, which just happens to be run by her evil mother Solina.

Saskia’s plan is to spend as little time in Barcelona as possible, until she meets three junior members of the MA who know more than they let on – including information on Saskia’s missing sister, Mikayla. Among her new leads is Catalan bruixa Luisa, who has a hold over Saskia stronger than any magic.

It doesn’t take long until Saskia finds herself under the glittering spell of MA high society, where morals are few and magic is law. Can Saskia escape the clutches of a world that’s always been dangerous for her, before it turns deadly?

With vibrant characters, page-turning suspense and steamy romance, this second book in the Blood Web Chronicles series has been dubbed by early readers as ‘devilishly addictive’ and ‘a dark, magical world of power and passion.’ Co-authored by two established fantasy authors Jacqueline Silvester and N.J Simmonds, the second book in the Blood Web Chronicles series is perfect for fans of Crescent City, True Blood, The Elite, and The Craft.

My Thoughts

From Russia and vampiric ballet dancers to sunny Barcelona, Caedis Knight knows how to immerse the reader into a location by painting the stunning scenery, architecture and atmosphere of a place with their words. I’ve added Barcelona to the places I want to visit and can imagine going on a global Caedis Knight inspired holiday visiting all the places Saskia visits by the end of this series. 

Still searching for sister, Saskia goes home to her mother who is acting as First Witch of the Mage. The prologue highlights the murky world Saskia is entering and immediately I knew this book would not let me down. It shows a more vulnerable side of Saskia as she is introduced to different types of witches who are more powerful than herself, makes new friends and meets a new love while she battles with the trauma of the past and her mother. It is full of magic and imaginative imagery – the descriptions of the enchanted food and the witches’ ballgowns are stunning and would translate well to film. As would the scenes with Luisa. While not for readers under the age of 18, they are the most romantic and sensual scenes I’ve read and are in keeping with the character and plot. Like their other books, there is nothing gratuitous about the sex scenes, unlike some novels. With many unpredictable twists and turns as Saskia investigates the crimes, this multilayered novel is a thrill to read.

Would I recommend?

Hell yes! This is a strong book in the genre and my favourite so far in this series. With highly visual and imaginative imagery, a thrilling plot and sensuous sex scenes, it is one to read if you love powerful female characters, travel, spectacular magic and a rollercoaster ride of a read. Like the others, they belong on my forever shelf and can’t wait to find out what happens next

Author Biography

Photo of Author duo 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.

Social media:

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

Have you read any books by Caedis Knight? What do you think?Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

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Book Review: Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett

The weather in Yorkshire has been glorious the last few days, giving it a holiday feel on the run up to this Easter weekend. The sunny days suited a summer read so I’m pleased to share my review for Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett. This is the first novel I have read from this author but it won’t be the last. Scroll down to see why.

Book Review: Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett

Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point by Sarah Bennett

Title: Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point

Author: Sarah Bennett

Publisher: Boldwood books

Release date: 25th March 2021

Genre: Romance

‘Delightfully romantic and touching.’ Phillipa Ashley

Laurie Morgan runs a café in the small seaside community of Mermaids Point, named after the beauties rumoured to live in the waters a few miles off the top of the point. When a hazy image is posted online of what appears to be a mermaid, the café and the village are soon full to bursting with curious sightseers. 

The most eye-catching of the new arrivals is handsome author, Jake Smith, who has rented a cottage for the summer while he works on his new book. Or so he says. In fact, he is a journalist, burned out and disillusioned with life, whose editor has sent him on a crack-pot hunt for mermaids…

Jake quickly finds himself drawn to village life, and to the gorgeous woman who runs the local café. But he soon suspects there’s trouble lurking beneath the idyllic façade, and when it looks like Laurie’s family might be involved, Jake faces a difficult choice. Pursue the truth, or protect the woman he’s beginning to fall in love with…

Warm, escapist, feel-good and altogether brilliant story-telling from bestselling author Sarah Bennett. Perfect for all fans of Trisha Ashley and Milly Johnson.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/2Lokynf

My Thoughts

This is a beautifully written romantic novel that takes you to Mermaids Point, a small coastal town that is suffering from the lack of tourists visiting. It is a stunning location. The detailed descriptions capture the atmosphere of the town perfectly and drew me into the story. I fell in love with the setting and all the characters especially Laurie and her family. Jake was rather swoonsome too. The mention of cake and other tantalising food made my tastebuds zing, and I felt homesick for the family Sunday dinners from my childhood. 

With a relative simple plot about an investigative reporter searching for mermaid, it shows you don’t need complex story to give you hours of pleasure and pure escapism, just wonderful imagery, well written prose and delightful characters blended with romantic chemistry.

Would I recommend?

Yes. It is an uplifting, and emotional novel which is full of warmth. It was like going on holiday while curled up under the duvet. I didn’t want to leave Mermaid Point behind and am happy to see another is on the way in October.

Author Biography

Sarah Bennett

Sarah Bennett is the bestselling author of several romantic fiction trilogies including those set in Butterfly Cove and Lavender Bay. Born and raised in a military family she is happily married to her own Officer and when not reading or writing enjoys sailing the high seas. The first book in her new Mermaids Point trilogy for Boldwood will be published in Spring 2021.

Social Media Links:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sarahlou_writes

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

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sarah-bennett-b4a48ebb-a5c3-4c39-b59a-09aa91dc7cfa

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

Hope you all have a lovely Easter. Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

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Book Review: 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II by Mariëlle S. Smith

Last year, I reviewed Mariëlle S. Smith gratitude journal here so was thrilled to be asked by Rachel’s Random Resources to review her latest journal, 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II

Book Review: 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II by Mariëlle S. Smith

52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II by Mariëlle S. Smith

Title: 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, Vol. II

Author: Mariëlle S. Smith

Publisher: Indie

Genre: Writing Self-help

Release date: 21st Nov 2021

Blurb

‘With this book by your side, anything feels possible.’ Jacqueline Brown

Tired of not having a sustainable writing practice? You, too, can get out of your own way and become the writer you’re meant to be!

52 Weeks of Writing:

  • makes you plan, track, reflect on, and improve your progress and goals for an entire year;
  • helps you unravel the truth about why you aren’t where you want to be; and
  • keeps you writing through weekly thought-provoking quotes and prompts.

With this second volume of the 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner, writing coach and writer Mariëlle S. Smith brings you the same successful strategies to craft the perfect writing practice as she did in the first journal. The only difference? Fifty-three different writing quotes and prompts and a brand-new look!

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08P8SJ8FK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08P8SJ8FK

https://www.amazon.de/dp/B08P8SJ8FK

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08P8SJ8FK

A printable PDF is available through: https://payhip.com/b/0YgJ Get 50% off until 31 March 2021 by using the coupon code 52WOW during checkout.

My Thoughts

I’m in love with this journal and even though I’m only a few of weeks in, as long as I can keep reminding my grasshopper brain to keep filling it in, I know it will help keep me focused on my long-term goals of being a writer and encouraged to keep going. It will also help me explore and dig deeper into my writing and the reasons for doing it.

The journal’s objectives are clearly explained in the introduction and Mariëlle S. Smith is encouraging and friendly, making it feel you have someone on your side. I was excited to begin. I have the pdf version which can be printed out, but a physical copy is also available. The layout of the journal is clear and being purple, which is my favourite colour, it felt personal even before my stickers and coloured pens came out to personalise it some more.

As the title suggests, it covers 52 weeks and each week begins with a writing quote to motivate you and ends with optional writing prompts and exercises. Recently, I was introduced to general journaling and was amazed at how liberating and revealing it was to free write on topics. This is a superb extension of that. Some prompts will push my boundaries, not only in respects to my writing but my emotions around it. For example, the second week deals with fear. Fear is a large part of why I procrastinate, but exploring this helped put it in perspective, silence my inner critic and move forward even if I will need to be reminded about it again and again.

In the first week long-term goals for ten years, five, down to 3 months are set. This made me focus on where I wanted to be and gave me a boost to get cracking. The journal checks in on these goals every three months for you to reflect on and see if you are on track or need to adapt. The empathise is that these goals are fluid, which helps relieve some pressure I know as a writer I can put on myself which can end up being of being counterproductive. One failure at hitting a goal can snowball into nothing getting done because of guilt and emotion. The aim of this journal is to keep things realistic.

Would I recommend?

Yes, if you want something to keep your goals, thoughts and plans in place while being urged to explore your writing more. It would suit writers who love journaling. It provides a helping hand to keep things grounded and prevents you being overwhelmed.

Author Biography

Mariëlle S. Smith

Mariëlle S. Smith is a coach for writers and other creatives, an editor, and a writer. Early 2019, she moved to Cyprus, an 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 this advanced copy to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Have you used a writing journal? How do you find them, let me know below.

Happy reading and writing!

Love

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Book Review: The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh

Today I am pleased to share my review for Taryn Leigh’s new release The Secret Letters, a romantic suspense novel set in the beautiful setting of South Africa.

 

Book Review: The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh

 

The Secret Letters Cover

The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh

Title: The Secret Letters

Author: Taryn Leigh

Publisher: Kingsley Publishers

Release date: 9th August 2020

Genre: Women’s fiction, suspense romance

 

Blurb:

RACHEL, saved from an attack twelve years before by a faceless stranger, never got to thank him, never knew his name.

Despite the devastation she chose to rise above it to help others from their pain by becoming a psychologist…. Her only issue now is that she’s an expert at fixing everyone else’s problems, and blind to her own.

After a long relationship with her boyfriend WILL starts to go south, she turns to her best friend AMELIA for guidance.

Suddenly her world is turned upside down when tragedy strikes and she’s left with no one to comfort her but Will’s rude older brother RUARI.

Paralyzed by fear, she struggles to take grip of her life, until the day when anonymous letters begin to appear from the stranger who saved her twelve years before.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Letters-Taryn-Leigh-ebook/dp/B089GM73RS

https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Letters-Taryn-Leigh-ebook/dp/B089GM73RS

My Thoughts

This is the second novel I have read from Taryn Leigh. The first one, Perfect Imperfections, stayed with me long after I finished it and I can not look at a toy giraffe without thinking about the principal character, Sarah. This shows the impact it had. When the opportunity arose for a place on this blog tour run by Rachel’s Random Resources, I grabbed it and I was not disappointed.

This romantic suspense novel is unusual and took me on an emotional roller coaster with dark moments, followed by lighter, joyous scenes before being hurtled back into despair. It gripped me from the first chapter when Rachel was introduced to the last page as it follows her recovery from traumatic events and the romantic possibilities threaded throughout.  It covers some harrowing topics with haunting realism including assault and mental health issues, but Taryn Leigh approaches them sensitively. I felt Rachel’s pain as she dealt with several events life sends her way and her dependency on the mysterious letters to gain strength and move forward.  I guessed where some of the story was going, but this did not distract from my enjoyment or desire to know more.

Mr Lemon provides welcome relief with a tale of his own and he was a delightful, memorable character.

The settings described in the novel are stunning including the jacaranda trees in Pretoria, South Africa portrayed on the book cover. The tea garden was calming and somewhere I would love to experience in reality. The inclusion of a visit to Nelson Mandela’s house was enlightening and the quote of his speech resonated with me during these uneasy times. I have all the places in this book to my dream globetrotting itinerary.

Would I recommend?

Yes. It is an emotional, beautiful read and like her debut novel will stay with me.

Author Biography

Taryn Leigh

Taryn Leigh

 

Taryn Leigh is a South African Author, who spent her childhood with her nose buried in books. Her love for reading transpired into her ambition to become an Author.

Taryn Leigh’s first book, Perfect Imperfections, is available in Paperback, eBook and AudioBook. She lives in Pretoria with her husband and son.

Social Media Links –

Website: www.tarynleighauthor.com

Instagram: @tarynleighbooks

Twitter: @tarynleighbook

Facebook: Taryn Leigh Author

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

If you want to know more about this book, why not visit others on the tour.

Happy reading and stay safe.

Love

The Secret Letters Full Tour Banner

 

 

 

Rare disease day; The Realities of Vasculitis and Dystonia

10 years ago, I was hooked up to a drip having chemo after being diagnosed with cerebral vasculitis. Three years later I added a rare form of dystonia called dopa-responsive dystonia (DRD) to my medical records. Both are rare diseases and both were only diagnosed after years of GP visits and finally finding a consultant who listened and looked outside the box. Both times I felt relief rather than fear as I had an explanation of what was going on rather than being fobbed off with the line “it’s all in your head”. Perversely it was but not in the way that was meant when those hateful words were uttered. Both times I thought treatment would cure me and I would get my old life back; both times I was wrong.

dystonia text box

Cerebral vasculitis affects one in a million people while DRD affects one in two million. With odds like that I would rather have won the lottery. Instead these conditions were like a bomb going off in my life. In one swoop I lost my beloved library career, friendships and my mobility. Gone were the days of long walks in the countryside with my dogs, and browsing in shops alone (I really miss that. The joy of being independent, spontaneous and being ALONE). Instead I see four walls and the duvet far more than I should. Thank goodness for books, the internet which helped find my new friends, and my family.

Rare diseases do not just affect the diagnosed person; it has devastating effects on the whole family and friends. Husbands and children become carers, jobs are lost, education is affected and relationships are destroyed. Support is hard to find but social media becomes a lifeline.

The Charities

Luckily, when I was diagnosed with vasculitis, Susan and John Mills took over the vasculitis charity, Vasculitis UK. They transformed it from a small charity and basic website offering information to a go to place for patients and doctors  worldwide. Not only do they offer individual support they have increased awareness with medics, have conferences and fought for new treatments and research. They are both phenomenal.

The Dystonia Society has supported me on my journey but like many charities in recent years, funding has been cut which has had a big impact on their services. Despite their tireless efforts to raise awareness of dystonia,  DRD remains a page on the screen. Warriors of Dystonia has announced an exciting project to help dystonia awareness and support the dystonia charities. More info can be found here.

The best thing anyone can do is help is to raise awareness of these rare conditions and  charities that support them. Share tweets and posts. This allows people to find them and fund raise. This is why Rare Disease Day is so important because together the small charities are stronger. Awareness helps improve diagnosis, support and research.

Uncertain times ahead

Rare diseases in UK have an uncertain future. With only a small number of patients with each disease ,specialists are hard to find and keep. We rely on the cooperation of other countries and research. Leaving Europe has already impacted on ongoing and future research, grants and medication availability. What will happen next who knows?

There are always positives

It’s not all gloom. My life has changed but I have a new appreciation for the small things, family and friends.  I am grateful for my meds and having the movement they offer. The friends I have are the best- they have seen me at my worst and stuck around. I have time to follow my love for reading and I have rediscovered my old passion – writing. This has brought new friends and new opportunities. Maybe one day it will offer a new career.

Thanks for reading such a long post

Love

P.S Its the last day to enter RNA 60 giveaway to win 60 books. Click here for more info and to enter. Good luck!

Meet the Author: Raquel Rich

Meet the Author of Hamartia : Raquel Rich

Ever since I was a child and watched the haunting 1977 film Audrey Rose* as a child I have been fascinated by reincarnation. When a blurb hints at the topic it is instantly placed on my TBR pile so when Hamartia came to my attention I needed to know more. I am pleased and excited announce its author, Raquel Rich is here today to discuss her book, writing and other things.

First, let me introduce the book:

Hamartia-Cover-Perfect-resized

Hamartia Book Cover

Title: Hamartia

Author: Raquel Rich

Genre: Sci-Fi, fantasy

Publisher: Words Matter Publishing

Release date: 15th August 2018

BOOK BLURB:

Grace’s nine-year-old son, Jordan, is dying. First, the Metagenesis disease will tear his soul from his body, and then it will kill him. Desperate for a cure, Grace agrees to take part in an illegal clinical trial cloning souls. Supported by her best friend Kay, the two embark on the ultimate “Vegas Vacation” to the past in search of the right soul to clone, racing against time to save Jordan’s life. But someone is trying to stop them and when they discover why, Grace must make a choice: let her son die or kill her husband. If she kills her husband she triggers widespread Metagenesis, sealing the fate of the human race with a new plague. Humanity is counting on Grace choosing to let her son die.

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hamartia-Raquel-Rich-ebook/dp/B07GJXT4SG/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Meet the Author: Raquel Rich

Welcome Raquel to my blog.

What is your favourite book and who is your favourite author?

I choose books based on what’s popular and am embarrassed to admit that I don’t pay attention to the author. Funny enough, most of my favourite books don’t fall within the genre I write. Book of Negros. Shawshank Redemption. A Thousand Splendid Suns. She’s Come Undone. Cane and Able. Hunger Games. A Million Little Pieces.

Is your writing influenced by the books you have read?

Not “influenced” but “improved”. When reading, I pay close attention to the choices the author makes such as how they weave in backstory and the way they introduce characters and settings. Reading is not only for pleasure, but it’s also part of my job.

Where is your favourite place to read or write?

My reading habits literally change like the weather since my favourite places to read are poolside and at the beach. I plough through books like nobody’s business all summer long, reading more books in Canada’s short summer months than I do the other nine. As for writing, that’s a different story. Every single morning, rain sleet or shine, I write. The location varies from my warm living room to the poolside based on weather, but the habit of sipping a coffee with my laptop in the early mornings remain the same year round.

When did you begin writing and how did being published come about?

As a kid, I loved to write. But when I was twelve, my love of writing came to screeching halt when Lisa, a fictional character in one of my stories, killed herself. The story sparked concern among the authorities who believed it was a cry for help. Unfortunately, the ordeal which ensued killed my love of writing until my mid-thirties. Hamartia was the first thing I had written since my stubborn childhood sabbatical. It took four years to complete and another two to publish. After countless rejections, I entered a writing contest and won (against 200 entries). The grand prize was a traditional publishing deal and the rest is history!

If you have a genre you write, how did you begin writing in this style?

Though the core of Hamartia’s plot came from the idea of reincarnation, specifically, how fears and phobias are the results of how people lived and died in their past lives, writing sci-fi was a choice I made out of laziness. I didn’t have the patience to research diseases and thought it would be easier to invent one. Now I find myself in a pickle as I write the sequel, having weaved a thick web in book one, I’ve come to realize it would’ve been easier to perform open heart surgery than to invent a cure for the disease I made up.

Links:

Raquel’s website: https://www.raquelrich.com/hamartia

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41397476-hamartia

 

Author Biography

DSC_3993

Raquel Rich

Raquel Rich is the author of the award-winning novel, Hamartia. She loves to travel, suntan, walk her dog, and is obsessed with all things Beauty & the Beast. She despises cold weather, balloons, and writing about herself in the third person but noticed all the real authors do that. Born and raised in Canada to Brazilian parents, she lives in the Toronto area with her family. Married to the guy she’s been with since she was fifteen (her baby daddy), her superpowers include being a mom to their two awesome grown-ass boys and one fur baby.

Thank you Raquel for popping over to chat and good luck with your writing.

I am currently reading Hamartia so watch this space for the review.

Happy reading !

Love

*Audrey Rose is now on Netflix. It is based on a hefty tome of a book which is worth reading if you are interested in reincarnation and I still love the film despite its age.

Blog Tour & Book Review: Summer on the Italian Lakes by Lucy Coleman (@LucyColemanAuth) @Aria_Fiction @RaRaResources

It is a miserable grey day outside and I am reluctant to move from under my duvet. I am pleased to share my review of Summer on the Italian Lakes by Lucy Coleman which brightened up these recent wintery days. Thank you to Rachel Random Resources for my free book and inviting me to this tour.

Book Review for Summer on the Italian Lakes by Lucy Coleman

Lakes yellow

Title: Summer on the Italian Lakes

Author: Lucy Coleman

Publisher: Aria

Genre: Romance, General fiction

Release date: 5th February 2019

Blurb

Bestselling Brianna Middleton has won the hearts of millions of readers with her sweeping – and steamy – love stories. But the girl behind the typewriter is struggling… Not only does she have writer’s block, but she’s a world-famous romance author with zero romance in her own life.

So the opportunity to spend the summer teaching at a writer’s retreat in an idyllic villa on the shores of Lake Garda – owned by superstar author Arran Jamieson – could this be just the thing to fire up Brie’s writing – and romantic – mojo?

Brie’s sun-drenched Italian summer could be the beginning of this writer’s very own happy-ever-after…

Escape the January blues with this sun-drenched, heart-warming story from the bestselling author of Snowflakes Over Holly Cove.

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summer-Italian-Lakes-bestselling-feel-good-ebook/dp/B07HPD2KNV

US – https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Italian-Lakes-bestselling-feel-good-ebook/dp/B07HPD2KNV

My Thoughts

As soon as I met the main character of this book, Brie surrounded by snotty tissues while she dealt with her heartbreak I knew I was in for a treat. I love this book for three reasons.

1.The characters – Brie is an open-hearted, old-fashioned romantic and is usually a strong woman who is a defender of romance novels against those who look down at them. She comes across as balanced and despite her confidence plummeting at the beginning, current doubts and loneliness, she has a certainty about herself which makes this a refreshing read. Handsome Arran is aloof, and comes with a back story that drew me in, making me care for him. Along with Brie’s editor and best friend the characters leapt from the page making it easy to see the story like a good rom-com in my imagination.

2.The scenery – oh my! Lucy Coleman paints a picture with her words and I was there in the sunshine enjoying Lake Garda with Brie and strolling through the streets of the Italian towns. The landscapes are stunning making them the perfect location for some literary escapism.

italy-2441070_1920

Lake Garda, Italy

3.The writing tips – as an aspiring writer the tips and insights Brie offers her students at the writing retreat and the reader are invaluable. They are cleverly blended into the story but cover topics such as characterisation, writer’s block, doubts and joy of romance novels. It is a romance writing companion in disguise. I only wish I could be at the retreat in reality to soak up the tranquillity and expertise while learning how to write 3000 words before breakfast.

Would I recommend?

Summer on the Italian Lakes is uplifting and entertaining making it a perfect summer read or a pick me up on a grey, miserable day. With the characters, landscape, sun and chemistry I was reluctant to come out of the book into reality. It will be a story I will return to again and again.

Author Biography

LBH

Lucy Coleman

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Social Media Links –

Website: http://linnbhalton.co.uk/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucyColemanAuth

Giveaway – Win a Chocolate dipping set (UK only)*

Writing Retreat Prize

Chocolate Dipping Set

Enter here

If you want to know more about the book and author why not pop along to the other blogs on the tour, details below.

Thank you again to Rachel at raresourses for inviting me to this tour and NetGalley for the chance to read it for free.

Happy reading and good luck.

Love

Summer on the Italian Lakes Full Tour Banner

Other bloggers on this tour.

 

 

*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.

 

Guest post: When is a clever dog not a clever dog? When it’s a werewolf!

Last year I had the pleasure of reading Heide Goody and Iain Grant’s humorous and quirky A Spell in the Country as part of a blog tour and now they are back with a new book. I am pleased to have them here today to talk about clever dogs and a character Pickles in A Heart in the Right Place.

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When is a clever dog not a clever dog? When it’s a werewolf!

Iain and I try not to tell the same joke or use the same idea across multiple books. Iain noticed, a few books ago, that we had introduced a clever dog into our work more than once.

This was partly based on the insistence of my husband, whose yardstick for an engaging book is Dean Koontz’s book Watchers. He declared that any book worth reading must contain a clever dog, so a super-smart border collie called Jessie was introduced in Heide and Iain’s second book, Pigeonwings, where an ancient plot is unravelled, partly by Clovenhoof, (Satan sent to live on earth), but Jessie plays an important part in solving the mystery.

Disenchanted gave us another dog called Buster, who wasn’t exactly super-smart, but who certainly livened things up when he teamed up with the unhelpful dwarfs who were tasked with keeping the fairytale on track, by fair means or foul (mostly foul).

Beelzebelle, another book in the Clovenhoof universe, featured a demonic Hellhound, created in a laboratory. Transformed into a miniature Yorkshire terrier, the Hellhound lives on in tamer form as a regular character after its reign of terror in this novel.

Iain had spotted a pattern. “No more clever dogs.”

This was a new informal rule.

When we came to write A Heart in the Right Place, somehow we broke the rule again. The dog that Nick christens Pickles is an unplanned passenger on the road trip that Nick takes with his father. Nick wants this trip to be perfect, hoping that it will patch up the slightly remote relationship between the two of them. Nick’s over-zealous approach leads to some unintended consequences like a body in the boot and that awful smell that isn’t discussed for many miles. Pickles, meanwhile is not the last of the dog-like creatures in this story, because somehow, Nick and his father have got involved with assassins, boars and werewolves. Will Pickles be a help or a hindrance? Almost certainly both! Is this the last time that Heide and Iain will write about a clever dog. Yes, almost definitely yes…

Here is a brief excerpt from A Heart in the Right Place, where it becomes clear that the dog is going on the road trip with Nick and Tony.

“Tony gave him a sceptical look but stepped up to the rear door. “And why’s there a dog in your car?”

Nick cursed his own stupidity. How could he have forgotten about the dog? “Yeah. Funny that. I’ve, um, got a dog. It was a fairly recent thing. Just fell in love with him.”

“Great stuff!” said Tony, reaching in to fuss the dog. “Joining us for the ride, huh? What’s your name then, pooch?”

“Pickles,” said Nick instantly. “He’s called Pickles.”

“Really? Well unless I’m very much mistaken, this is a bitch.”

“Yes,” said Nick. “And her name is Pickles. It can be a girl’s name.”

“But you called her he. Is this one of those gender things I hear them going on about?”

“Probably that. Exactly that,” said Nick. “I don’t want to put labels on things. He. She. Pickles can be what she wants to be.””

 

a heart kindle cover

A Heart in the Right Place

 

Title: A Heart in the Right Place

Author: Heide Goody and Iain Grant

Genre: fiction

Release date: 30th November 2018

Blurb

All Nick wants to do is take his dying father for a perfect father-son weekend in the Scottish Highlands. It’s not much to ask, is it? A log cabin, a roaring fire, a bottle of fine whisky and two days to paper over the cracks in their relationship.

However, Nick didn’t plan on making the trip with a dead neighbour in the back of his car. Or the neighbour’s dog. He really didn’t plan on being pursued by a psychotic female assassin intent on collecting body parts. And he really, really didn’t plan on encountering a platoon of heavily armed mercenaries, or some very hungry boars, or a werewolf.

A Heart in the Right Place – a horror comedy about setting out with the very best intentions and then messing everything up.

Purchase Links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07K4CCR74

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K4CCR74

Author Biography

 

a heart -iain and heide by pete c b+w

Heide Goody and Iain Grant

Heide Goody is the stupid one in the writing partnership and Iain Grant is the sensible one. Together, they are the authors of over a dozen books.

The ‘Clovenhoof’ series (in which Satan loses his job and has to move to Birmingham) has recently been optioned by a Hollywood production company.

Heide and Iain are both married, but not to each other.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Clovenhoof-Books-285544508177333/

Website: http://www.pigeonparkpress.com/

Twitter: @HeideGoody and @IainMGrant

Giveaway – Win a gorgeous Moleskine Passion Traveller’s Journal (Open Internationally)

“The Moleskine Traveller’s Journal is a structured before and after record of every journey you make, from weekends away to life-changing trips and everything in between. Note down your travel plans before you leave and list all the things you hope to see and do, then add maps, photos, tickets and keepsakes when you r#eturn. The Traveller’s Journal is a place to dream, get practical and create a unique and lasting paper archive of your travels that you’ll want to revisit again and again.

a heart - giveaway prize - moleskin travel journal

  • premium box with themed graphics related to your passion
  • hard cover with themed debossing, rounded corners, elastic closure
  • 2 ribbon bookmarks
  • double expandable inner pocket
  • front endpaper with ‘in case of loss’ notice
  • ivory-coloured 70 g/m² acid-free paper
  • tabbed sections to guide your note-taking
  • themed introductory pages
  • 400 pages
  • themed stickers to customize your journal
  • Moleskine S.r.l. creates and sells FSC®-certified products”

Click here to enter

Thank you Heide and Iain for popping over. I agree with Heide’s husband a clever dog is always good in a book.

If you would like to read more on this writing duo and reviews for A Heart in the Right Place why not pop over to the other blogs on this tour.

Good luck in the giveaway and happy reading!

Love

a heart in the right place full tour banner

Blog tour dates

*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.

Blog Tour: Book review for The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker by Jenni Keer

It is the start of a new week and there are rumours the weather is turning bitterly cold so I am pleased to bring you a review for Jenni Keer’s debut The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker. You may be tempted to stay under the duvet, in the warm with a cup of tea and read.

Book Review: The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker

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The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker Book Cover

Title: The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker

Author: Jenni Keer

Publisher: Avon Books UK

Genre: Romance

Release Date: 10th January 2019

Blurb

Meet Lucy, aged 25, and Brenda, aged 79. Neighbours and unlikely friends.

Lucy Baker is not your usual 25-year-old. She is more at home reading and knitting in her cluttered little flat than going out partying and socialising.

79-year-old Brenda is full of wise and wonderful advice, but when she’s diagnosed with dementia her life begins to change. Before her memories slip away for ever, Brenda is desperate to fulfil one last wish – to see Lucy happy.

Gifting Lucy the locket that helped Brenda find her own true love, she hopes to push her reticent neighbour in the right direction. But is Lucy Baker ready for the opportunities and heartbreaks of the real world? It’s about time she put her knitting needles aside and found out…

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker will be the most charming, heart-warming and feel-good novel you will read this year, perfect for fans of Ruth Hogan and Gail Honeyman.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hopes-Dreams-Lucy-Baker-heart-warming-ebook/dp/B07DQ7HKPX/

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Hopes-Dreams-Lucy-Baker-heart-warming-ebook/dp/B07DQ7HKPX/

My Thoughts

When Brenda with her purple hair, mystical air and cheeky side arrived in the first few pages I knew I would love this book. The warm, honest writing style drew me into Lucy’s life and kept me there until the last page.

This charming, quirky story is driven by the characters Jenni Keer has created; I loved them all from the main ones Lucy, Brenda and George to the men in the warehouse where Lucy works and Scratcat the stray. They all have distinct personalities and feel real. Where I could relate to Lucy with her tendency to prefer romantic books and knitting to experiencing life or rock the boat by saying “no”, it was Brenda who captured my heart. She is who I would like to be when I am older; full of life, humour and kindness with a penchant for magic. I did not want the book to end because I did not want to leave her behind. Maybe a prequel of her youth is needed, I am sure she will have an interesting tale to tell. Her battle with dementia is heartbreaking but the topic is dealt with sympathetically and gives an insight into the pressures of caring and the challenges it creates. The love and deep friendship between Lucy and Brenda shines and proves age does not matter when you are friends.

The introduction of Scratcat, George and the locket created many memorable moments and I will never forget the knitted Poldarks which also feature in this tale of friendship, love and personal growth. I enjoyed Lucy’s journey as she tackles the insecurities at work, her colleagues and potential relationships. This debut has got under my skin and I am still thinking about the characters a couple of weeks since I read The End.

I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

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Knitted Poldark one of the stars of the book

Would I recommend?

This beautiful story is perfect for snuggling down under the duvet with a cup of tea or on the beach in the summer. The humour and strong characterisation means I will revisiting this book in the future and needs to be on my forever shelf.

Author Biography

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Author Jenni Keer

Jenni Keer is a history graduate who embarked on a career in contract flooring before settling in the middle of the Suffolk countryside with her antique furniture restorer husband. She has valiantly attempted to master the ancient art of housework but with four teenage boys in the house it remains a mystery. Instead, she spends her time at the keyboard writing women’s fiction to combat the testosterone-fuelled atmosphere with her number one fan #Blindcat by her side. Much younger in her head than she is on paper, she adores any excuse for fancy-dress and is part of a disco formation dance team.
Social Media Links

FaceBook Jenni Keer Writer

Twitter @JenniKeer

Instagram jennikeer

Website – https://jennikeer.co.uk/

Competition

I am pleased to share with you the chance to win a bundle of The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker goodies (UK only – sorry)*. The prize contains – Thornton’s fudge, a Nu notebook, a Hopes and Dreams bookmark and a set of five “Scratbag” blank greetings cards designed by Jenni Keer.

the hopes and dreams giveaway prize

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker prizes

Enter here

Thank you Rachel Random Resources for inviting me on this blog tour and the opportunity to read this book early. This my honest, unbiased review.

Happy reading!

Love

the hopes and dreams of lucy baker full tour banner

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. 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 I reserve 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 I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.