Cover reveal: A Scottish Highland Affair by Julie Shackman

It’s Friday and nearly the weekend! I’m thrilled to be one of the first to show the cover of an upcoming novel, A Scottish Highland Surprise by Julie Shackman.

First the blurb to whet your appetite for a new book:

Blurb

Discover the secrets and surprises that the scenic Scottish town of Briar Glen has to offer…

When wedding planner Sophie Harkness refuses to move a friend’s wedding to accommodate a spoilt bridezilla, she finds herself out of a job. That is until she discovers her late grandma has purchased a local shop for her in the pretty Scottish town of Briar Glen.

Surprised and delighted, Sophie opens her own porcelain shop in honour of her grandmother. But when an unusual tea set is left with Sophie, along with a mysterious letter, she can’t help but be intrigued by the story behind the antique.

And when the handsome but aloof art critic Xander North comes knocking on her door, Sophie is about to find out the true colourful past of her latest treasure.

The perfect feel-good romance for fans of Jo Thomas, Katie Fforde and Trisha Ashley.

So are you ready?

Here it is the beautiful and cheery cover for A Scottish Highland Surprise by Julie Shackman

A Scottish Highland Surprise by Julie Shackman

Title: A Scottish Highland Surprise

Author: Julie Shackman

Publisher: One More Chapter

Genre: Romance, women’s fiction

Release Date: 22nd April 2022

Pre-order links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scottish-Highland-Surprise-Julie-Shackman-ebook/dp/B09MMZ75KL

US – https://www.amazon.com/Scottish-Highland-Surprise-Julie-Shackman-ebook/dp/B09MMZ75KL

Author Biography

Photo of author Julie Shackman
Julie Shackman

Julie Shackman is a former journalist from Scotland, who has always wanted to write feel-good romance. As well as being an author, Julie also writes verses and captions for greetings card companies. Julie admits to having an obsession with stationery and handbags. She is married, has two sons and a Romanian rescue pup, who she named Cooper. A Scottish Highland Surprise is Julie’s sixth novel.

Social Media Links – https://twitter.com/G13Julie

https://www.facebook.com/julie.shackman

https://www.instagram.com/juliegeorginashackman

A photo of the cover A Scottish Surprise cover on a blanket

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this reveal and making my TBR list a little longer.

Happy reading!

Love

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Book Review: The Helsingør Sewing Club by Ella Gyland

I’m happy to share my review for a historical novel The Helsingor Sewing Club by Ella Gyland. I read this on Holocaust Memorial Day making it more poignant and hard hitting.

Book Review: The Helsingør Sewing Club by Ella Gyland

Book cover for The Helsingør Sewing Club by Ella Gyland
The Helsingør Sewing Club by Ella Gyland

Title: The Helsingør Sewing Club

Author: Ella Gyland

Publisher: One More Chapter

Genre: Historical fiction

Release Date: 31st Jan 2022

Purchase: amzn.to/3nv7jR6

Blurb

Inspired by the incredible true story of how the people of Denmark saved their Jewish neighbours during WW2

Helsingør, Denmark, 1943

In the midst of the German occupation during World War Two, Inger Bredahl joins the underground resistance and risks her life to save members of Denmark’s Jewish community and help them escape to Sweden.

Copenhagen, 2018

Inger’s granddaughter, Cecilie Lund, is mourning her death when a mysterious discovery while cleaning out Inger’s flat leads past and present to intersect. As long-held secrets finally see the light of day, Cecilie learns the story of her grandmother’s courage and bravery, and of the power of friendship, love, and standing for what’s right…even when you have everything to lose.

An inspiring tale of the resilience of the human spirit and the power of community.

My Thoughts

This fascinating dual timeline novel showcased the bravery of the Danes in the second world war and their determination to protect and help the Jewish community against the Nazi regime. It was a revelation to me that 90% of Dutch Jews survived. Along with my recent reading of The Hidden Village by Imogen Matthews, this story has made me have great respect for the Danes and provided me with hope that there is a good in humanity.

 In both time periods, there was a good sense of place allowing me to visualise the locations and added to my desire to visit Denmark and Copenhagan. Like many dual timelines, I was drawn to one protagonist’s voice than the other and it was Inger and her comrades that won here. I wanted to know more about Bodil and Gudrun so would have been happy to read this story as a single timeline. This would allowed more space to be devoted to them and dig deeper into the resistance movement. I wanted to feel more emotionally connected to them all as I felt I was being kept as an observer rather than in their heads. This detachment did help me cope when the expected dark themes were discussed.

With the title The Helsingør Sewing Club  I kept expecting to hear about sewing machines and thread but only discovered why it was called that towards the end so to save you scratching your heads while reading, Helsingør Sewing Club was a code name for the resistance. If the community’s phones were tapped it would sound as if they were discussing the village’s sewing circle.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this novel gives an inspiring account of a side of the war I knew little about and made me see the good in humanity when often it is hidden. It provides a springboard to discover more and will be enjoyed by those who love historical fiction based in the world wars.

Author Biography

Author Ella Gyland
Ella Gyland

Originally from Denmark, I have lived in London for many years, surrounded by my family, cats, books and the Scandinavian hygge I try to create everywhere I go. As a linguist I love playing with words and language, and I am addicted to story-telling. I also believe strongly in social responsibility and sustainable living.

Social Media Links

Twitter: Ella/Henriette Gyland, @henrigyland

Website: https://henriettegyland.wordpress.com/ 

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

Love

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Other blogs on this tour

Book Promo: The Beach Reads Book Club by Kathryn Freeman

I’m excited to share a book that arrived on my Kindle at just the right time and would love to share the blurb with you.

The Beach Club Reads by Kathryn Freeman

Title: The Beach Reads Book Club

Author: Kathryn Freeman

Publisher: One More Chapter

Genre: RomCom

Release Date: 30th June 2021

Purchase Links:

UK AMAZON https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0931Y5W12 US AMAZON https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0931Y5W12

Blurb

Welcome to the Beach Reads Book Club…where love is just a page away…

When Lottie Watt is unceremoniously booted out of her uptight book club for not following the rules, she decides to throw the rulebook out the window and start her own club – one where conversation, gin and cake take precedent over actually having read the book!

The Beach Reads Book Club soon finds a home for its meetings at Books by the Bay, a charming bookshop and café owned by gorgeous, brooding Matthew Steele, and as the book club picks heat up, so too does the attraction between Matt and Lottie.

If there’s anything Lottie has learned from the romances she’s been reading, it’s that the greatest loves are the ones hardest earned.

A love letter to chicklit, romance, romcoms, whatever you want to call them!

Author Biography

Kathryn Freeman

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a sexy hero. 

With a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

Social Media Links

Website:  http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KathrynFreeman1

Why not visit other blogs on this tour

Thank you Rachel Random Resources for inviting me to this tour. Watch this space for the upcoming review of this delightful book.

Love

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Cover Reveal: The Secret Notebook by Julia Wild

I’m so excited to be involved in a cover reveal for The Secret Notebook by Julia Wilde.

So first here is the blurb to tempt you.

Blurb:

When Izzie Dean’s beloved nan, Molly Blackshaw, passes away, Izzie returns to the Blackpool bungalow where she grew up, to say goodbye once and for all. When Izzie’s homecoming reunites her with her first love, Justin Swift, every emotion that Izzie has repressed since the day he broke her heart comes rushing to the surface. But then an unexpected discovery changes everything.

Between the pages of the battered secret diary Molly kept during WWII, Izzie discovers a story of love, heartbreak, and the incomparable hardship of life in a world at war. Reading her grandmother’s words soon puts her own story into perspective, and suddenly Izzie realises that the only thing holding her back from happiness, might be herself. Now she just has to convince Justin that they deserve a second chance at forever…

Pre-Order Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08RS6JBRJ/

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RS6JBRJ/

Publisher: One More Chapter

Genre: Romance, woman’s fiction

Publication Date: 8th July

So are you ready? Here is the cover for The Secret Notebook by Julia Wild.

The Secret Notebook by Julia Wild Book Cover

It looks beautiful, intriguing and I’m adding it to my TBR list.

Author Biography

Julia Wild

Lancashire born, I moved to Bedfordshire in the late seventies, married and started a family. I’m a past Hon Sec of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, have been a member since 1993 when I joined their New Writers’ Scheme as a probationer. That came about after winning a week’s historical writing course on the strength of the first chapter of my third Poldark-era romance. The tutor on the last day loved the story and handed me details of the Romantic Novelists’ Association – she said I absolutely must join as they would be able to help me towards publication.

Some four years later my first published book, Dark Canvas, won the RNA’s New Writer’s Award in 1997, the sixth, Illusions, won the RNA’s Romance Prize in 2003.

After working in the local library service for 18 years, during library cut-backs I took the leap to become self-employed as a writer and worked on releasing my backlist as eBooks for Kindle.

Most recently, I’ve had the pleasure of working with amazing Charlotte Ledger when she pulled me from the writing wilderness and have now signed a three-book deal with One More Chapter.

Social Media Links –                       www.facebook.com/authorjuliawild

Twitter:                                                @juliawildauthor

Instagram:                                          juliawildauthor

Website:                                             www.juliawildauthor.co.uk

The Secret Notebook will be released on 8th July 2021, why not check out the blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources around that date.

Happy reading!

Love

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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: The Book of Us by Andrea Michael

I am excited to kick of this blog tour and share my review for The Book of Us by Andrea Michael.

Book Review: The Book of Us by Andrea Michael

The Book of Us cover

Book Review: The Book of Us by Andrea Michael

Title: The Book of Us

Author: Andrea Michael

Publisher: One More Chapter, Harper Collins

Release Date: 6th March 2020

Genre: Women’s fiction, Adult fiction

Blurb

The Book of Us is a story of the complexity of forgiveness and the friendships that change our lives forever. Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Jojo Moyes and Diane Chamberlain.

We’ve got some important things to talk about. It’s time.

Cass and Loll used to be inseparable. They met at university and they made sense, like two halves of a whole. They had planned their lives around each other, writing down their dreams in The Big Book of Our Life – the things they wanted to achieve, the places they’d go after they finished university. But then one night changed everything.

Seven years later, Loll receives a letter from her old friend. The coming year will be the year they both turn 30, but Loll might be making it to 30 alone. Cass has cancer. Loll had believed she would have her whole life to come to terms with Cass’ betrayal, but time is running out. Cass’ final wish is to complete The Big Book of Our Life, but has enough time passed to heal old wounds?

Purchase Links

Amazon – https://amzn.to/2UOqpnW

Waterstones – https://t.co/8R8nkwzQKV?amp=1

My Thoughts

The blurb gave a hint that tissues were required while reading this novel, but I was unprepared by how many I would need. The opening chapter had not finished before a lump formed in my throat; the description of Cass’ ability to soothe Lauren’s pain made me long for my best friend from school. It hit a nerve and the shared loss of a close friendship lured me into the story.

The writing has depth as it explored the complex relationship between Lauren and Cass. Throughout there was a sense of unresolved angst and mystery over what happened to end the friendship and more tears ensued when it was revealed. There were lighter moments as they follow the plan written in their book of their lives and Veronica was a delight to read about.

The novel covers many topics including death and all were handled sensitively as it took me on an emotional, heart tugging journey across the world. It highlighted the importance of friendships and how the camaraderie between women can guide you through the darkest days. By the end of it, I wanted to plan a big girly meet up once lockdown is over and hold my friends tight.

Would I recommend?

This is not a book to read while feeling fragile but is highly recommended. It is a powerful  book about friendship and Cass, Loll and Vee will stay in my heart for a long time. I am on the edge of tears just thinking about them. If you love the movie Beaches, you will love this book. Just stock up on hankies and prepare yourself for an emotional ride.

Author Biography

Andi-1202-2

Andrea Michael

Andrea Michael writes books to explore complicated relationships. Having trained in using writing for therapy, she really believes in the magic of stories to change your life. Failing that, sparkling wine and obnoxious sing-a-longs also do the trick.

Andrea works in content marketing, and runs Writing for Wellbeing workshops. She lives in Hertfordshire with her fiancé and their crazy cat, and can be found reading in a comfy corner or digging something at the allotment.

You may also know her from her romantic comedies written as A L Michael.

Andrea is represented by Hayley Steed at Madeleine Milburn. The Book of Us is her thirteenth book. She’s hoping it’s lucky.

 Social Media Links –

Twitter @almichael_

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

Instagram @andreamichaelwrites

Thank you Rachel Random Resources for this copy of this heart tugging read to review and give my unbiased opinion.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

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Book Review: Notting Hill in the Snow by Jules Wake

More Christmas delights are ready to be shared with you today with my review for Notting Hill in the Snow by Jules Wake.

Book Review: Notting Hill in the Snow by Jules Wake

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Notting Hill in the Snow by Jules Wake

Title: Notting Hill in the Snow

Author: Jules Wake

Publisher: One More Chapter

Genre: Christmas Romance, Women’s fiction

Release Date: 11th October 2019

Blurb

It’s mayhem in Bethlehem…unless they can work together!

Viola Smith plays the viola in an orchestra (yes really!), but this year she’s been asked to stretch her musical talents to organising Notting Hill’s local nativity.
Nate Williams isn’t looking forward to Christmas but as his small daughter, Grace, has the starring role in the show, he’s forced to stop being a Grinch and volunteer with Viola.

With the sparks between them hotter than the chestnuts roasting in Portobello market, Nate and Viola can’t deny their feelings. And as the snow starts to fall over London, they find themselves trapped together in more ways than one…

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Notting-Hill-Snow-heartwarming-uplifting-ebook/dp/B07RNFF9Q1/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Notting-Hill-Snow-heartwarming-uplifting-ebook/dp/B07RNFF9Q1/

My Thoughts

I loved this novel. It is Christmas bound in words, pages and a cover. It drew me in from the beginning with the introduction of Viola on her way to the Opera House and my love for it was cemented with the arrival of an armadillo in the nativity play. The chemistry between Viola and Nate sizzles and the relationship between him and his daughter, Grace pulls at the heart strings. Some children seem to be placed in a book as an afterthought or a way of directing the plot, but she is a fully formed character who I fell in love with.

I loved Jules Wakes style and ability to bring the festive cheer of London into my own home. It is humorous, emotional and entertaining.

Would I recommend?

Yes! Yes! Yes! Grab your duvet and hot beverage and read it. It is a beautiful and entertaining novel which ticks all the boxes for a festive read and more. It will be on my forever shelf for rereads in the run up to Christmas.  I am thrilled to discover other books written by Jules Wake to enjoy including another Christmas one.

Author Biography

Jules Wake (2)

Jules Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands and not so luxury brands. This proved fabulous training for writing novels as it provided her with the opportunity to hone her writing and creative skills penning copy on a vast range of subjects from pig farming and watches, sunglasses and skincare through to beer and stationery.

She writes best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for One More Chapter as Jules Wake and under her pen name Julie Caplin, she writes the Romantic Escapes series.

Between them, the two Js have written twelve novels, Notting Hill in the Snow being the latest.

Social Media Links

Twitter: @Juleswake

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juleswake.co.uk/

Instagram: juleswakeauthor

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and One More Chapter for an advanced copy to review. It has woken up my Christmas spirit and a new author to follow is on my list.

Love

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