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#BlogTour! #GuestPost from author of #BoneLines; Stephanie Bretherton (@BrethertonWords) @unbounders @annecater

It’s my turn to host Stephanie Bretherton and ‘Bone Lines’ as part of the blog tour organised by Anne Cater (RandomThingsTours). Many thanks to Anne for inviting me to take part in the blog tour where I have a guest post from the author herself. But first, here is more information about ‘Bone Lines’ and how you can purchase it:

 A young woman walks alone through a barren landscape in a time before history, a time of cataclysmic natural change. She is cold, hungry and with child but not without hope or resources. A skilful hunter, she draws on her intuitive understanding of how to stay alive… and knows that she must survive.

In present-day London, geneticist Dr Eloise Kluftwrestles with an ancient conundrum as she unravels the secrets of a momentous archaeological find. She is working at the forefront of contemporary science but is caught in the lonely time-lock of her own emotional past.

Bone Lines is the story of two women, separated by millennia yet bound by the web of life.  A tale of love and survival – of courage and the quest for wisdom – it explores the nature of our species and asks what lies at the heart of being human.

Although partly set during a crucial era of human history 74,000 years ago, Bones Lines is very much a book for our times. Dealing with themes from genetics, climate change and migration to the yearning for meaning and the clash between faith and reason, it also paints an intimate portrait of who we are as a species. The book tackles some of the big questions but requires no special knowledge of any of the subjects to enjoy.

Alternating between ancient and modern timelines, the story unfolds through the experiences of two unique characters:  One is a shaman, the sole surviving adult of her tribe who is braving a hazardous journey of migration, the other a dedicated scientist living a comfortable if troubled existence in London, who is on her own mission of discovery. 

The two are connected not only by a set of archaic remains but by a sense of destiny – and their desire to shape it. Both are pioneers, women of passion, grit and determination, although their day to day lives could not be more different. One lives moment by moment, drawing on every scrap of courage and ingenuity to keep herself and her infant daughter alive, while the other is absorbed by work, imagination and regret. Each is isolated and facing her own mortal dangers and heart-rending decisions, but each is inspired by the power of the life force and driven by love. 

Bone Lines stands alone as a novel but also marks the beginning of the intended ‘Children of Sarah’ series.

Buy now!

Guest post.

A life in the day of a character

 

How do fictional characters come to life? Readers may wonder whether they are pure invention or drawn from ‘biography’ (whether the writer’s own, or from observation, or research). I can speak only from my own perspective, but sometimes there are varying levels of both and sometimes it’s all imagination. My debut novel, Bone Lines, is a dual timeline featuring two very different – yet connected – women: a prehistoric ancestor and a modern-day doctor of genetics. 

 

One is young, vital, active, in danger, but with particular skills and gifts. She is a mother, hunter, shaman, survivor. The other is middle-aged, dedicated and ambitious, wrapped up in thoughts and memories, working through contemporary challenges. She is a scientist, thinker, lover, seeker. Both are independent and isolated but driven by a sense of purpose.

 

Mirror, mirror?

I am often asked how much my character, Dr Eloise Kluft,and I might have in common (and friends often try to identify any real events or people in her world) and while there are many crucial differences and inventions, there are certainparallels when it comes to age, location, passions and concerns. In order to make contemporary characters feel authentic or relatable a writer will often draw on the familiar. However, what intrigues me most is that no one asks whether the prehistoric character (‘Sarah’ – as her bones have been named) is based on me, when both women have emerged from the same source.

 

While Eloise has a few traits that are quite close to home (and her overthinking is certainly a shared flaw) in a strange way, I feel that Sarah may be drawn from an even deeper self – or perhaps a best self – as she arrived almost fully formed and began writing herself, and while I had to wonder what I might do in her situation, she also very much told me what she wanted to do – and how. Some aspects or actions are inspired by research, but only a few details, here and there. (There is also some ‘essence of Holly’ here too, my amazing Aussie niece, who is a park ranger in NSW – and the kind of kick-ass, earth-connected sister who could definitely be one of the ‘Children of Sarah.’) One quality Sarah has that I aspire to (and which many of us may yearn for today?) is her freedom and ability to live in the moment, deeply in tune with the natural landscape.

 

If you imagine it, they will come

It was after watching a documentary about the Toba supervolano in Indonesia 74,000 years ago that the seed was planted for the book. An image came into my mind of a young woman with a child walking away from the fallout of a natural disaster. Then it was the idea of finding a set of ancient remains in the present day – and what we might learn from them – that brought the contemporary narrative into focus. It may have been said by many other writers, but for me, once characters begin to form they have a powerfultendency to make to their own way.

 

Sometimes it can be a battle to channel them back towards your original concepts for the plot, and sometimes they change the plot as they develop. For example, certain lessons Eloise learns during her story had a significant effect on how she would react in a couple of crucial scenes toward the end. Research is also instrumental to the character/plot axis,however, and can help to rein in the self-determination of your creations with a sharp reality check. But also, this can inform particular details or idiosyncrasies in a character. One of the most vital tools in the writer’s workshop, however, is observation. We are such terrible gazers and eavesdroppers! But it’s all those little gestures, nuances, tones and phrases that can make even a minor character recognisable or memorable.

 

And the award for best supporting role…

Protagonists are one thing, but then there’s all the supporting characters, and while the primary purpose of some may be to move the plot along or to demonstrate a key theme, it helps ifthey’re not merely ciphers, but have some intriguing ‘dimensions’ to them, even if only glimpsed. I recently came across a great tip that said all supporting characters should be written as though they think the book is all about them. I like that. However, for the sake of narrative efficiency sometimes you have to combine characters, places and jobs in a way that might not reflect the real world.

 

While accessing a real-life point of view can give you important information and options, whether it changes your fictional characters fundamentally or not depends on your overall objectives for the book – and intended audience. A writer can never hope to please all those involved in a certain profession or activity, especially where dramatic licence may be needed. In every job, vocation or cultural tribe, there are unique individuals. My father was a policeman and while he would enjoy a good story for the story’s sake (as long as there was reasonable plausibility) there were very few fictional police characters that he felt he could relate to personally, apart from Morse.

 

Flaws in Focus

On the subject of real-life research, I had a fascinatingmeeting recently with the lablit society at the Royal Institution, who did me the great honour of choosing Bone Lines for their bookclub. The group included several practising scientists and one or two (very gently) let me know what they might have done differently with Eloise. The book club also kindly offered to act as a focus group for the next book in terms of making sure not only the science is right (which to my great relief seems to be the case with Bones Lines) but also the finer actualities of the life scientific.’ The most heart-warming reaction, however, was to hear how brave they thought it was to choose subjects and characters – so far (and yet so near?) from my own experience – and to bring them to life through something they recognised as ‘a book of ideas’ as much as a story about two curious, courageous – and flawed – women.

 

And that, perhaps, is one of the most important things with which a writer can grace a character – the kind of flaws we might find in ourselves and others – but which we (and others) can hopefully learn to forgive? There’s nothing like the possibility of redemption to give hope to our human story.

 

About the author

Who do you think you are? A daunting question for the debut author… but also one to inspire a genre-fluid novel based on the writer’s fascination for what makes humanity tick. Born in Hong Kong to expats from Liverpool (and something of a nomad ever since) Stephanie is now based in London, but manages her sanity by escaping to any kind of coast

Before returning to her first love of creative writing, Stephanie spent much of her youth pursuing alternative forms of storytelling, from stage to screen and media to marketing. For the past fifteen years Stephanie has run her own communications and copywriting company specialised in design, architecture and building. In the meantime an enduring love affair with words and the world of fiction has led her down many a wormhole on the written page, even if the day job confined such adventures to the weekends.

Drawn to what connects rather than separates, Stephanie is intrigued by the spaces between absolutes and opposites, between science and spirituality, nature and culture. This lifelong curiosity has been channelled most recently into her debut novel, Bone Lines. When not bothering Siri with note-taking for her next books and short stories, Stephanie can be found pottering about with poetry, or working out what worries/amuses her most in an opinion piece or an unwise social media post. Although, if she had more sense or opportunity she would be beachcombing, sailing, meditating or making a well-disguised cameo in the screen version of one of her stories. (Wishful thinking sometimes has its rewards?)

 

Website: http://www.stephaniebretherton.com/

Twitter : @BrethertonWords

Instagram: @brethertonwords2

 

 

#giveaway · arc · aria fiction · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · christmas · contemporary fiction · lifestyle · Rararesources

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Moonlight on the Thames by Lauren Westwood (@lwestwoodwriter) @aria_fiction @rararesources

I am delighted to be taking part in the one day blog blitz for Lauren Westwood and ‘Moonlight on the Thames’. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blitz invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

Christmas is a joyous time, but not everyone is merry and bright. 

Nicola is a rising star at the top of the corporate ladder, but her personal life is a disaster. Her office affair has lost its allure, and the last thing she wants to think about is Christmas. A night of cancelled trains and festive Christmas carols at Waterloo Station is just about the last straw… 

Dmitri loves conducting his pop-up choir during the festive season, meeting people, and spreading joy and cheer around London. But he carries deep secrets from his past that robbed him of his dream to become a concert pianist. 

Can their hearts and souls be unlocked by music and moonlight and will they discover the healing power of love?

What does TWG think?

If there was such a thing as a ‘mic drop’ for books, then this would warrant it ten times over. What a powerful, powerful read this is.

If you are as career minded as Nicola, it wouldn’t be too difficult to find yourself wrapped up in clients as opposed to being wrapped up in, erm, presents. Once upon a tome, Nicola loved Christmas but then life happened and an unfortunate incident left her wishing the festive season away before it had even begun. Can you blame her? No you can’t, not once it becomes clear why she dislikes Christmas, however her outlook to begin with was incredibly narrow minded. I was going to say that her reactions were borderline offensive, but she genuinely didn’t realise that people’s lives weren’t as rosy as hers because, well, she was too involved in her own self made issues.

Dmitri is a flawed and highly complex man whose journey was a touching one to watch flourish. Just like Nicola, he has his own demons to fight and the scars to go with them and, whether it’s right or wrong, he had become bitter and uncertain.

Watching Nicola’s and Dmitri’s journeys come to life was both heartwarming and quite emotional. Lauren Westwood has created characters with such beautiful souls, I couldn’t help but fall head over heels in love with their story and everything it stood for. Westwood is such a stunning and magnetic storyteller, her words do more than just jump off the page, they ensure that the reader is looking at every inch of the bigger picture to highlight the importance of thinking of others. Especially at Christmas.

Yes, this book is festive, has glistening lights and carols by the bucket load, but ‘Moonlight on the Thames’ is more than the joys of Christmas; it’s about the sadness of Christmas, the festive reflections, the ability to trust again, seeing life through somebody else’s eyes. Making the moment count. You know? It’s about the things which cannot be bought, just taught and learnt.

‘Moonlight on the Thames’ blew me away and left my soul cosy by the fire. Lauren Westwood is a phenomenal author and this book definitely showcases her beautiful way with words – I adored it.

Buy now!

About the author.

 Lauren Westwood writes romantic women’s fiction, and is also an award-winning children’s writer. Originally from California, she now lives in England in a pernickety old house built in 1602, with her partner and three daughters. facebook: @Lwestwoodbooks; twitter: @lwestwoodwriter; web: http://www.laurenwestwoodwriter.com; instagram: @lwestwoodwriter; Goodreads: Lauren Westwood

Giveaway!

 Win 2 x Signed copies of Moonlight On The Thames (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK 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 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.

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arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · Rararesources

#BlogTour! #Review – Christmas at the Chocolate Pot Cafe by Jessica Redland (@jessicaredland) @Rararesources

Apologies for the late post, but many thanks to RaRaResources for inviting me to take part in Jessica Redland’s blog tour and for the ARC. I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour with a review.

A few minutes of courage might change your life…

Emotionally, Tara Porter finds the festive period a challenge. Christmas Day is a reminder of the family she lost, and New Year’s Eve holds bitter memories of the biggest mistake of her life: marrying Garth Tewkesbury. Shunning invitations to celebrate, she seeks refuge in her flat with only her giant house bunny, Hercules, for company.

Professionally, though, it’s the best time of year. Tara’sthriving café, The Chocolate Pot, is always packed. With the café hosting a wedding and engagement party, it’s shaping up to be the café’s best Christmas ever.

When former nemesis, Jed Ferguson, threatens the future of The Chocolate Pot, Tara prepares for a fight. The café is everything to her and she’s not going to let anyone or anything jeopardise that. 

Tara badly misjudged ex-husband Garth and, since then, has refused to let anyone in. After all, if you don’t let them in, they can’t hurt you. But has she misjudged Jed too? Is it possible that he’s not the arrogant, deceitful man from whom she bought the café 14 years earlier? Can she find the courage to find out for sure?

What does TWG think?

Can I just start by saying how divine this cover is?! I can just see myself walking down that street, looking in all of shop windows and being lured into the Chocolate Pot Cafe. Stunning cover. Kudos to the designer!

Tara hasn’t had it easy – Jessica Redland tells her characters emotive journey in a way which hit me right in the feels. I couldn’t help but be swept up in Tara’s life and the way tried to do right by her little café, regardless of how much stress it put her under.

I would suggest not reading this book when you’re hungry, as the story is full of tantalising descriptions of such yummy-ness. I actually wish the Chocolate Pot Cafe was a real place!!

Whilst I loved Jessica Redland’s beautiful story telling and delicate way of including minor details into the little but important moments, I couldn’t help but feel as though something was missing. Don’t get me wrong, I did really enjoy reading the book and Hercules the rabbit was just brilliant, I just felt that the overall storyline needed a bit more bite.

If you’re after a full blown Christmas story, then this book isn’t for you as Christmas isn’t the main theme in the book. However, if you’re after a book which ignites deep emotions within, has you feeling as snug as a bug in a rug whilst also wishing you had a pet rabbit named Hercules, this book has your name all over it.

An insightful, emotive, and tender story which will sweep your off your feet faster than Cinderella losing her shoe. An absolute pleasure to read.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

Jessica had never considered writing as a career until a former manager kept telling her that her business reports read more like stories and she should write a book. She loved writing but had no plot ideas. Then something happened to her that prompted the premise for her debut novel, Searching for Steven. She put fingers to keyboard and soon realised she had a trilogy and a novella.

She lives on the stunning North Yorkshire Coast — the inspiration for the settings in her books — with her husband, daughter, cat, Sprocker Spaniel, and an ever-growing collection of collectible teddy bears. Although if the dog has her way, the collection will be reduced to a pile of stuffing and chewed limbs!

Her passion for North Yorkshire is shared by fellow-writer and great friend, Sharon Booth and, together, they are the Yorkshire Rose Writers.

Jessica tries to balance her time — often unsuccessfully — between being an HR tutor, trying to re-learn how to play the piano, studying towards a Masters in Creative Writing, and writing itself. Who needs sleep?

Social Media Links – 

Twitter:@JessicaRedland

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

Website and blog:www.jessicaredland.com

#giveaway · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · christmas · contemporary fiction · On location · Rararesources

#BlogTour! #Review – I’m Glad I Found You This Christmas by C.P.Ward (@imgladifoundyo1) @rararesources

Another Christmas book for you all this evening, as I kick off the blog tour for it! I am so excited to be sharing my review of C.P.Ward’s ‘I’m Glad I Found You This Christmas’. Huge thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:



Maggie Coates is frustrated. Her longterm boyfriend, Dirk, recently moved to London to take a job she fears puts him out of her league. Despite the assurances of her best friend Renee, Maggie is convinced Dirk is slowly drifting away. All Maggie wants is to get married and settle down, but maybe Dirk has other ideas.

Convinced by Renee to make one last throw of the dice, Maggie books a romantic holiday for two in the quaint Scottish village of Hollydell. But will Dirk show up?

And if he doesn’t, what if there is a perfect man waiting for her among the Christmas magic of Hollydell’s snow-laden streets? What if Henry, the humble reindeer farmer with the kind smile, turns out to be the man of Maggie’s dreams?

What does TWG think?

If this doesn’t get you singing Christmas songs at the top of your voice, then I don’t know what will!! Why oh why is this C.P.Ward’s first and only Christmas book?!?! I am literally BEGGING for another one next year. Seriously.

Maggie’s boyfriend is an absolute CACTUS! As far as she is concerned, they’re still in a relationship, even though he always seems to find an excuse to not pick up the phone or make an effort to meet her. After multiple heart to hearts with her best friend, Renee, Maggie decides to whisk Mr Cactus away to Hollydell. I say ‘whisk’…he said he would follow her up there. But the thought was there nonetheless.

I did feel for Maggie as she clearly wanted to keep her relationship going despite the bright warning signs overhead – the poor thing couldn’t help but worry as she didn’t want to be let down. Who can blame her?

Wow….Hollydell. The only way I can describe it is – you know the Christmas movies on TV? You know the ones which are shown on a dedicated Christmas channel on Sky? Well, Hollydell reminded me of one of those movies where the magic was rife, the romance was beautifully done yet addictively cheesy, and the Christmas spirit was so over the top that you would have been a fool not to join in. I’m sure you know the ones I’m on about as they’re shown every single year, and every single year we all cosy up watching them, losing ourselves in the magic that is Christmas.

I felt like a big kid reading this book. There’s reindeer, snow, Christmas songs, festive feasts, snowmen, Christmas lights. Everything! I couldn’t get over how much detail the author put into his storyline, making the characters and Hollydell come alive in the blink of an eye. I adored how everyone came together whether they knew each other or not, helping them when things were tough or they had had a few too many mulled wines. You know, usual stuff.

I lost myself in this book and I would lose myself in it again in a heartbeat. Why C.P.Ward hasn’t written a Christmas book before now, I don’t know, but I really do hope that he continues to do them for adults….and maybe even children.

Never mind ‘I’m Glad I Found You This Christmas’, I’m Glad I Found this book this christmas!!! Such a beautiful, majestic, enchanting read which made me want to Rock Around the Christmas Tree on a not so Silent Night, singing Jingle Bells at the top of my voice. Hell, if Christmas was just like it was in this book, I would even go as far to say that ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday. I adored this book!!

Purchase Links 

Buy from Amazon US

UK – Buy from Amazon UK

Author Bio

CP Ward is a writer from the UK who currently lives and works in Japan. This is his first Christmas book.

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Giveaway – Win 10 x e-copies for I’m Glad I Found You This Christmas (Open Internationally)

 

*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 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.

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#psychological · #suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · Crime/thriller · netgalley

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Last Lullaby by Carol Wyer (@carolewyer) @Bookouture

Third and final day of Carol Wyer’s blog blitz is upon us, and I am delighted to be one of the three bloggers closing the blitz. Huge thanks to Bookouture for the blitz invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

Charlotte’s baby is safe. But is she?

When the body of mother Charlotte Brannon is discovered by her husband Adam, in their bedroom, Detective Natalie Ward is first on the scene. The killer has left a chilling calling card: The word ‘Why?’ written on the wall in blood. 

As Natalie begins to delve deeper into the couple’s lives, she discovers that Adam has a dark past he’s been hiding and she’s sure that the Brannon’s teenage babysitter Inge has secrets of her own.

Then another mother is murdered on her doorstep in front of her young son, the word ‘why’ scrawled on the wall next to her. 

All the key suspects have alibis and with her own marriage hanging by a thread, Natalie is struggling to stay focused on cracking her toughest case yet.

When a young woman and her baby disappear, a member of Natalie’s own team is put in terrible danger. Can Natalie stop this twisted serial killer and save one of her own before more families are torn apart forever?

What does TWG think?

Oh my -insert expletive beginning with F here- goodness!!!!!! What a book! OMG! I finished reading Carol Wyer’s latest literary brilliance in the early hours of the morning, and can I just say that I am extremely glad that I do not read blurbs! I only read the blurb after I had read the book and the things which had my jaw dropping, were written in it. Not all of them mind. So, if you trust my judgement on books, read this novel without reading the blurb.

Anyway, that’s my insight on that and is in no way a reflection of my opinion on the book at all.

I do say this a lot where Wyer’s books are concerned, but ‘The Last Lullaby’ is by far her best book yet. The intensity of the storyline was impeccable, along with the calculated brilliance of each individual character. If I know that there is a possibility of children being part of a thriller storyline, I am always filled with dread until I know that they’re not in the firing line so to speak – ‘The Last Lullaby’ was no different. My heart was in mouth from the onset. That sounds like I didn’t care about the victims in the book even though I did, but it’s children….you know?

I couldn’t get over how cleverly written the storyline was from start to finish – it was as though the book kept on giving shocking moments with every new chapter. Just like most police procedurals/thrillers, there is usually a few characters with fingers being pointed at them from the start, and the same happened here. I tried to look at the bigger picture but I couldn’t help but lean towards one character already in the firing line. Everything just seemed….convincing, if you catch my drift. They certainly didn’t help themselves against Natalie award though, that’s for sure!

I won’t say who I thought was ‘the one’ due to spoilers, but let’s just say that Wyer had me utterly convinced I was bang on the money…..until the moment I wasn’t. Geeeeez – did I see that coming? Did I fudge!!!! There was a point in the book where my heart rate quickened and my mouth became dry. Would they reach the bastard in time? Time wasn’t on Natalie Ward and her teams side and my legs were wiggling, urging them to move their backsides! It’s easy for me to say that, obviously, I’m not a police officer who has to follow procedure!

‘The Last Lullaby’ was absolutely brilliant – an ice cold, cut throat, highly intense read which made me lose my own capability of thinking clearly. The characters were chilling yet perfectly crafted and, whilst it feels weird to say this, even the ‘whodunnit dude’ was outstanding! Their actions weren’t, obviously, but the way Wyer created their mindset and thought process was incredible. I can’t even begin to imagine the extent of the research that went into creating that character and the situation they found themselves in.

What an absolute belter of a read this is – could someone point me in the direction of Carol Wyer Anonymous please as I’m addicted!!

Buy now!

About the author.

Carol E. Wyer, who also writes as Carol Wyer, is an award-winning author and stand up comedian who writes feel-good comedies and gripping thrillers.
Her book, Grumpy Old Menopause won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction 2015.

The DI Robyn Carter series has earned her acclaim as a crime writer and the first book in the series, Little Girl Lost, shot to the #2 best-selling spot on Kindle #9 best-selling audiobook on Audible, and was also a USA Today top 150 best-seller.

Carol has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing ”Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’ and on BBC Breakfast television. She has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’ featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and the Huffington Post.

arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · christmas · contemporary fiction · lifestyle · Rararesources · RNA · romance · womens fiction

#BlogTour! #Review – Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin by Helen Rolfe (@helenjrolfe) @rararesources

Apologies for how late in the day this is, because of internet issues the most of November, I’ve only just been able to read this book and have literally just finished it. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

Do you believe in Christmas Miracles?

Holly is looking for a change and even though not everyone agrees with her career choices, she’s determined there’s more to this life than the long hours she works as an editor in New York City. What she doesn’t expect is to meet Mitch, a recluse who’s hiding more than she realises. 

Mitch does all he can to avoid human contact, spending his days in the little log cabin out in the woods behind Inglenook Falls where he owns a Christmas tree farm, so when Holly falls into his life, he’s not sure how to react. All he knows is that something needs to change if he ever wants to get his life back on track. 

Along with friends Cleo and Darcy, Holly is determined to bring joy back to Mitch’s life, but will he appreciate their interference? And when a business proposition throws everything up in the air, will it do more harm than good and ruin lives forever? 

Both Holly and Mitch must learn that on the surface people aren’t always what they seem…but if you dig a little deeper, they can take you by surprise.

What does TWG think?

My namesake is baaacckkk!! Not even joking – there’s a character called ‘Kaisha’ in this book and I LOVE it! This character appeared for the first time in a previous book in the series, so my excitement certainly piqued when I saw her make a comeback in this one.

I adore Helen Rolfe’s novels as they’re always so tenderly written and full of such warmth; ‘Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin’ was no different, although I will have to admit that I did struggle with elements of the book.

Whilst the storyline was very poignant regarding first impressions, assumptions, and looking further than a persons exterior, for me there was a lot of information given without many decisions of where it should go. I enjoyed reading about Holly’s journey, especially where Mitch was concerned, but I did feel as though it was missing a bit of magic that usually comes along with this author’s style.

Don’t get me wrong at all, I thought that the message within the storyline itself, is one that a lot of people should take heed of sooner rather than later, and I loved seeing different characters popping up from previous books in the series. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy the book because I did – I cannot fault Helen Rolfe on her huggable writing style and the way she brings communities together with minimal effort.

For me personally, I needed that extra spark that was all. However, ‘Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin’ still is such a powerful and tender novel which highlights the true meaning of Christmas absolutely beautifully. It was such a joy to be wrapped up in Helen Rolfe’s magnetic words once again.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

 Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community. Characters often face challenges and must fight to overcome them, but above all, Helen’s stories always have a happy ending. 

Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries around the world. So far, locations have included Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Connecticut, Bath and the Cotswolds.

Social Media Links – 

https://www.facebook.com/helenjrolfewriter

https://twitter.com/HJRolfe

www.helenjrolfe.com

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/helen-j-rolfe

#suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Crime/thriller · RandomThingsTours

#BlogTour! #Review – Into the Night by Sarah Bailey (@sarahbailey1982) @corvusbooks @annecater

Today is the final day on the #IntoTheNight blog tour, and I am delighted to be able to close the tour alongside my blogging pal, @noveldeelights! Many thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and many thanks to Corvus for the ARC. Here is my review:

Senior Detective Gemma Woodstock is a small-town policewoman working on the biggest homicide cases in Melbourne. When an up-and-coming movie star is stabbed to death while the cameras are rolling on his new blockbuster, Gemma, eager to prove herself, is assigned to the case.

 With the whole thing caught from multiple angles, how hard can it be to catch the crazed culprit? And who would want to hurt Australia’s adored boy-next-door? As Gemma uncovers the deadly underside of fame, her investigation turns into a dangerous game against those with money, power and everything to lose…

 

What does TWG think?

‘Into the Night’ is the second book in the series which follows senior detective, Gemma Woodstock. I haven’t yet read the first book, The Dark Lake, but I felt quite able to read this instalment on its own to an extent. I would recommend reading the first book so that events and timelines are a lot clearer. I wish I had done that, I must admit! My error though.

As a huge fan of Australia, the setting of this book definitely got me all excited! I haven’t even been to the country before either! Gemma Woodstock is a very interesting character to follow because she seems to hold her cards very close to her chest, which often meant I was second guessing her views and train of thought. Not a negative thing by any means. The fact she was interesting and unique, piqued my interest as well as heightening my paranoia ready for the events that would follow later on.

Sarah Bailey is a very atmospheric writer and, whilst the storyline didn’t blow me off my feet per se, I did enjoy the questionable circumstances and the way the author had me on edge due to the every growing intensity.

A new author for me, but one I will definitely be reading more of.

Buy now!

arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · RandomThingsTours

#BlogTour! #Review – #NicisChristmasTale by Jean Gill (@writerjeangill) @AnneCater

Third and final post for the day is my review of ‘Nici’s Christmas Tale’ by Jean Gill. Many thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite and review copy.

A stand-alone short story in the multi-award-winning Troubadours Quartet series


1157: Aquitaine. The wolves are coming! At midnight on Christmas Eve, while the blizzard blasts snow through every crack in the castle walls, Nici the Shepherd’s Dog stands guard in the sheepfold.


   Beside him as usual are his pack and the flock they protect but this night is not usual at all. A small boy braves the snowy night, seeking the protection of his great friend while he is banned from his parents’ quarters in the castle.


   Nici recalls other times and other dangers, his trials and failures, the reasons why he ran away with a young girl, now the little boy’s mother. He would still give his life in a heartbeat for Lady Estela. And yet, on this snowy night, he cannot help her. So, while he waits and comforts Estela’s son, he tells his own puppies the story of a dog’s life.

What does TWG think?

I am rather ashamed to say that, until now, I had never picked up a Jean Gill book. How have I only managed to hear about the ‘Troubadours series’ at book number 5?! Don’t panic though, this story can be read as a stand-alone so you don’t need to have read the previous books first.

‘Nici’s Christmas Tale’ is only the second book I have read where the main character was an animal. Having read a lot more books with humans as the main character, trying to change my mindset and remember that if the storyline speaks about urination, it’s the norm for it to be outside!

Nici is such a strong and powerful character, his story telling swept me up in an instance. I was captivated by the way he described his life before the puppies, yet my heart went out to him due to the way he was treated, or should I say ‘mistreated’. No-one should ever be treated like that, especially an animal who wouldn’t be able to defend themself against a human.

Bear in mind that this is a short story with an estimated 58 pages, yet it certainly packed a punch in its own special way.

Jean Gill writes with such authority and poise, I must start this series from the beginning! A unique and captivating story – I really enjoyed it.

Buy now!

About the author.

Jean Gill is a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with two scruffy dogs, a beehive named ‘Endeavour’, a Nikon D750 and a man. For many years, she taught English and was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Wales. She is mother or stepmother to five children so life was hectic.
Publications are varied, including prize-winning poetry and novels, military history, translated books on dog training, and a cookery book on goat cheese. With Scottish parents, an English birthplace and French residence, she can usually support the winning team on most sporting occasions.
Sign up to Jean special readers’ group at http://www.jeangill.com/for exclusive news, offers and a free book. 

Twitter @writerjeangill

blog tour · book blogger · guest spotlight · Rararesources

#BlogTour! Interview with author of ‘Facing a Twisted Judgement, K.J.McGillick (@kjmcgillickauth) @rararesources

What happens when tunnel vision clouds a police investigation? Is it true that once you are labeled a person of interest you really are the prime suspect? Can you trust the legal system?  Probably not.

 

After a bitterly contested legal battle over inherited property, the hard-won art collection and its owner Samantha Bennington disappear. Both have vanished without a trace. 

 

When blood spatter is discovered under the freshly painted wall of the room in which two of the paintings were hung, the theft becomes the opening act in a twisted tale of jealousy, revenge, and murder leading to a final judgment for all involved. 

 

As the list of suspects narrows, the focus lands squarely on the husband. Some labeled Samantha’s husband a corrupt attorney, others an opportunist. Either way, he’s in the crosshairs of law enforcement and they are calling him a murderer. But is he the only viable suspect? What about the missing woman’s drug-addicted sister and her convicted felon brother? Both were furious over their loss at court and have more than enough reason to hate Samantha.  

 

Guilty until proven innocent leaves Alexander Clarke facing a twisted judgment.

 

Purchase Links 

Buy now from Amazon US

Buy now from Amazon UK

I am delighted to welcome the author of ‘Facing a Twisted Judgement’, K.J.McGillick, to TWG today for an interview. Enjoy!

Where did/do you get your ideas from?

 

The ideas from my books come from my varied and usual background in the law and medicine. I find that most people have a keen interest in how the law works and most especially how people escape justice due to technicalities of the law. I try to think of a crime that would hold my readers interest and then delve into the mechanics of it. If I can throw in how medicine enhances or interferes’ with the crime all the better. I like to use my books as a teaching experience.

 

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?

 

My last book’s main character was loosely based on a girl that disappeared under suspicious circumstances in the ‘90’s and never found. Although it was not someone I knew personally it was someone who a friend had come in contact with and I found the story intriguing. None of my other books are based on people I have come in contact with although I find a lot of myself in Aunt Mary.

 

How do you pick your characters names?

 

Some just come to me and others I try to pick based upon theethnicity after doing some research. 

 

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

 

With some books I start with a seven point plot wheel to outline the plot on one piece of paper. Then I jot down some information about the characters and flesh them out. Once I have the plot and characters in place I then spend about 2 hours in the morning writing a chapter and an hour in the evening editing it. However some books I have no outline or plot wheel and start with my first sentence and see where the story leads me. Often I’m surprised as the reader with the how the book ends when I use this method and I seem to enjoy the unexpected outcome.

 

Who are your top favourite authors?

 

Melinda Leigh, Kendra Elliot, Dan Silva, Kristen Ashley, J. A. Huss, Lee Child 

 

If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?

 

J.A. Huss who is an indie author. How do you write 8 books a year and do everything yourself in house and not hire anyone to help you.

 

Were you a big reader as a child?

 

Yes and my favourite series was Nancy Drew.

 

When did you start to write?

 

As an attorney I have to write briefs and legal papers all the time. However, my first stab at creative writing was when I returned from a concentration camp in Germany in 2005 and started a book on the Nazi pillage of art. I didn’t have the writing tools availablethen that I do now and the manuscript sat dormant not to be resuscitated. I became enthused about writing again last year and took a writing class and researched the craft of writing until I was ready to start writing. After I returned last year from a visit to London and Paris I was ready to write.

 

If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?

 

Gone With the Wind. Scarlett and Rhett would have a happily ever after.

 

 Is there a book you wish you had written?

 

The DaVinci Code

 

If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?

 

The Struggle Was Worth It

 

If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?

 

Gabriel Allon from Dan Silva’s novels and it would be a coffee house in my area.

 

What are you working on right now?

 

The continuation of Facing A Twisted Judgement . Facing A Twisted Judgment can be read as a standalone with a conclusion to it. But early readers felt they wanted more, an expansion of the conclusion and that is what I’m working to give them. 

 

Do you have a new release due?

 

Facing A Twisted JudgmentDecember. The next one February

 

What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?

 

Have a special lunch with a friend

 

How can readers keep in touch with you?

 

www.kjmcgillick.com and kjmcgillick@gmail.com

 

Is there anything else you would like us to know?

 

Every bit of my personal history has brought me to the place I am now where I use it all in my books. I like to think that when my readers finish my books thy are more educated about art, medicine and the law and find my endings satisfactory.

 

 

arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · ChocLitUK · christmas · contemporary fiction · On location · RNA · romance

#BlogTour! #Review – Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat by Angela Britnell (@angelabritnell) @choclituk @rararesources

First up on the blog this evening is my review for Angela Britnell’s ‘Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat’. Huge thanks, as always, to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and the publisher for the ARC. Here is my review:

What if you had nowhere to call home for Christmas? 
When Fee Winter books a winter break at the remote Black Cherry Retreat in the small town of Pine Ridge, Tennessee, it’s with the idea that the peace and quiet will help her recuperate from her hectic life as a photographer.

But what she didn’t bank on was meeting Tom Chambers and his huge, interfering yet lovable family. With them, could Fee finally experience the warmth and support that’s been missing from her own life – and maybe even find a place to call home in time for Christmas?

What does TWG think?

What a lovely little book this is! I actually found it quite comforting which, even after reading parts of the storyline that were highly emotive, I felt quite comforted by the characters and their lives.

Fee Winter is needing a bit of respite. Her life has been travelling down the fast lane for goodness knows how long, and her health is suffering as a result of that. One thing I loved most about Fee was her feisty naivety. She wasn’t a person who had spent a lot of time taking part in family traditions or being looked after daily by loved ones, so watching her in that situation showed how inexperienced she was which was a shame, yet also endearing.

I could tell a mile off what was going to pan out for Fee in the romantic sense, but watching it unfold was something different altogether. Some might say that it was a perfect match!

I will admit that Tom Chambers charm worked wonders from a reader point of view, even though there were times when I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and tell him to stop being such an arrogant doofus. That said, Tom didn’t exactly have a plain sailing past behind him and it was very powerful to watch his heart flourish.

Can I just say….oh Mee Maw – what a woman!!! My family had our own version of her! Heck, don’t most families? She had to be my most favourite character alongside little LuLu – Angela Britnell certainly puts her heart and soul into her characters, that’s for sure!!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat’ and, even though the title shows hints of festivities, the storyline isn’t a glitter dump of baubles and everything else. It’s subtly done which is ideal as that means this book can be read all throughout the year.

A lovely, comforting, uplifting novel – an absolute pleasure to read.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

Angela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee. A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels. After more than three decades of marriage to her American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after. Over the last twelve years she’s been multi-published and sold over 25 novels. She also writes short stories for women’s magazines. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers.

 

Social Media Links – 

www.facebook.com/angelabritnell

www.twitter.com/angelabritnell

www.angelabritnellromance.com

https://www.instagram.com/angelagolleybritnell/