#BlogTour! #Extract – Only One Woman by @Jane_Risdon & Christina Jones (@bucolicsfrolics)

Apologies for my post being late in the day, however, I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for ‘Only One Woman’ by Jane Risdon and Catherine Jones. For my post today I have an extract to share with you.

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Two women, one love story.

June 1968. Renza falls head over heels for heartthrob guitarist Scott. But after a romantic summer together they are torn apart when Renza’s family moves away.

December 1968. On the night she believes to be her last, Stella meets Scott at a local dance. He’s the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and if this one night is all they have, she’ll take it.

As the final colourful year of the sixties dawns, the question is: can there be only one woman for Scott?

Pre-order now from Amazon UK

Extract.

Renza’s Diary
May 24 th 1968 – late

What a flipping nightmare of an evening. I really thought I’d never get home in one piece.

Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Someone up there hates me I’m sure.
If only Selina hadn’t lost her handbag at the Top Rank, I’d have caught the last bus back
from Reading and I would’ve been home on time. Instead I’d gone back with the others to look for it – thankfully it had been handed in at the cloakroom and nothing was missing.
Luckily I had just enough money for the train, which I’d had to run for. Selina’s dad took the others home in his brand new car as arranged, and there wasn’t room for me as well. I reckon he could’ve taken me but Yvette refused to let me sit on her lap in the front, in case I ripped her Mary Quant stockings. Sometimes I really want to do her a mischief.
They’ve got to do something about our local station, it’s just too creepy for words. Steam
from the train almost suffocated me as I crossed the bridge to the exit on the opposite
platform; all very ‘Brief Encounter’ I remember thinking, in an effort to stop my mind
wandering off into ‘Hitchcock-land.’ Talk about cough myself silly, and my eyes stung
something rotten as I tried to find my way in the pitch black; the two over-head lamps didn’t help much, they should do something about those flipping lights, I could’ve broken my neck, or even worse, tripped over in my new pink kitten heels and broken one of them.

I slowly took the steps down to the lane beside the station, glancing around me all the
while – I admit it, I was a little freaked out. It’s always deserted, and you can never be too
careful. Not long ago a dangerous prisoner escaped from the nearby asylum and hid in the waiting room for days before being recaptured. Hardly anyone uses the station since the cut- backs by that old idiot, Beeching, and the trains are a bit hit and miss since they messed with the timetable, so the convict was able to wait for his twisted ankle to mend without much danger of discovery. For all I knew, another Jack the Ripper could’ve be lurking in there waiting for me to pass, that’d just be my flaming luck.
I was in so much trouble. Forty minutes later than agreed. She’d never believe me about
the bag, but no other excuse came to mind as I walked down the lane. I was going to be so dead.

Oh God!

I had such a fright. Something or someone, made a noise behind me, so I stopped and
listened, but I really felt like running. Some sort of night creature, silly girl, I decided as I
walked on. But there it was again. Was someone behind me?
I turned and peered into the pitch dark – I’m still shaking as I write this. I told myself it
sounded like a hedgehog – had to be. Don’t panic, no-one comes down here at night I
reminded myself. Oh cripes, that lane, I hate it. Anyone could jump out to get you, seriously, I’ve often wondered, who’d hear you yell? No-one that’s who. There aren’t any lights or houses down there.
I must remember – next time the girls ask me to the Top Rank – to leave early and get the
bus on time. Next time, who am I kidding?
I’m going nuts – I hope no-one ever reads this, I’d die, but I started singing quietly to myself – I do that sometimes when I’m feeling a bit nervous – well seriously spooked actually. I turned on to the main road relieved no-one had grabbed me, and headed for our house.
That’s when I heard him…
‘What time do you think this is?’
Well, I nearly died of fright. I actually jumped. I couldn’t work out where the voice was
coming from. It seemed to echo all around me in the dimly lit street. Someone had followed me, that’s what I kept thinking. I hurried past the bus stop when I heard him again. What to do? Should I run? If I screamed, bringing Mum and half the village outside, Mrs Digby would just love that and if I got murdered, well, it didn’t bear thinking about. All this went through my brain at a rate of knots as I tried to work out where the voice was coming from. Would I make it to the gate? Bloody Selina and her stupid bag. I was going to die all because of her stupid bag.

Pre-order now from Amazon UK

The blog tour has only just begun so make sure you follow the blogs listed on the graphic below, if you wish to keep up to date with the tour.

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#Review – Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage – Zara Stoneley (@ZaraStoneley) @HarperImpulse

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Return to the charming little village of Langtry Meadows and cosy up by the fire with this gorgeous romance that will warm your heart…

As the lazy days of summer ebb away and the hedgerows fill with rich, plump blackberries, Lucy Jacobs couldn’t be happier. She’s feeling more and more at home in the small village of Langtry Meadows and has fallen in love with idyllic Jasmine cottage – not to mention gorgeous vet Charlie.

But just as Lucy is thinking about putting down roots like the blackberries that grow in her garden, Charlie’s ex returns and threatens to put a thorn in their perfect life…

What does TWG think?

So excited to be back in Langtry Meadows courtesy of Zara Stoneley! ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ is the second book in ‘The Little Village on the Green’ series and, despite having read the first book back in May, I was able to slot back into the storyline with no issues what so ever. This book can be read as a standalone to a point, however I would recommend that you read the first book in the series, ‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’, so that you can fully appreciate the storyline and the characters of the second book. Plus, the first book is, in my opinion, Zara Stoneley’s best book yet. Win win don’t you think?

In the last book we left Lucy and Charlie with a huge question mark over their heads – would the authors newest book see the pair get a happy ending? Or will they have to endure yet another rocky road?

Above I said that the first book in the series was Zara Stoneley’s best book yet. I’m afraid I have to take that back. Why? Because folks, ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ has now taken that accolade! I, hand on heart, cannot fault this book at all. My heart went out to little Maisie on multiple occasions! What a difficult situation for such a little person to be in! I really do think that Charlie handled the situation with such grace and dignity, despite the threats which followed from Maisie’s mother (not that she can really say a lot given what she went and done!). Whilst Charlie and Maisie’s situation made itself known within the storyline, it didn’t overpower the other characters in the book at all. In actual fact, it helped the other situations stand out.

I absolutely loved reading this book to find out what path Lucy’s life took, especially as she started her new job and we got to follow her daily life in the local school. Yes, I laughed out loud at several of the children’s one liners. Out the mouths of babes springs to mind!

The entire vibe of ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ felt relaxing, calming and extremely cosy. Most of the time I didn’t feel as though I was reading a fictional novel, instead I felt like I was merely catching up with a bunch of good friends after a while of no contact. Honestly, how can anyone complain at that?

Despite laughing and having aching cheeks from smiling so much, there was a part of the book which made a lump form in my throat. I had a word with myself about not crying, but seconds later it all became clear that I didn’t even listen to myself as the tears started to flow. I wasn’t emotional because of sadness – I was emotional because my heart felt so much love towards certain characters and the situation that they had to face, and were facing after so many years. You really have got to be made of stone to not find that emotional. Trust me on that!

I say this every single time, but Zara Stoneley really does write magic with her fingertips. I have never read books from the same author which make me feel as though I’m getting a hug every single time. I have never read a book which makes me feel multiple emotions all at once, whilst still feeling hugged.

Full of laughter, drama and heart-warming moments you’ll never tire of, ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ is one of the most huggable, loveable, and enchanting book I have read this year. If I could bottle up the feelings I get whilst reading a Zara Stoneley novel, purely to save for later when I’m needing a pick me up, I would.

Zara Stoneley, once again, has written a book from her very own heart, straight to ours. Such a beautifully written, powerful and majestic read – perfect to read over, and over, and over again.

Thanks Harper Impulse.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#Tour! #Review – Christmas at Bay Tree Cottage by @LinnBHalton @HarperImpulse @Brookcottagebks

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Every time I’m on a tour for Linn.B.Halton I get SO excited! I love being able to share my thoughts on such Linn’s wonderful books, and this one is no exception. Here is my review of Linn.B.Halton’s festive treat – Christmas at Bay Tree Cottage.

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The countdown to Christmas is usually a magical time, but Elana James is fed up with living on a building site! The renovations on her beautiful cottage – like her heart – have been frozen in limbo ever since she was unexpectedly widowed.

Elana calls in a professional, Luke Stevenson, to help finish the cottage, so her little girl can send letters to Santa up the newly-repaired chimney. Luke’s kind, capable and sexy – but he’s also ten years younger than Elana. So why has her heart decided it’s finally time for a thaw?

What does TWG think?

SNIFF. SNIFF. SNIFF.

For those of you with children, you’ll understand how magical Christmas with young children can be, especially with those who believe in Santa. I’m sure a lot of parents can find the whole thing quite emotional when they see their children’s happy faces on Christmas morning, realising their ‘biggest wish of their life’ has come true by Santa bringing them ‘Pie Face’. Now, if you add a child who has lost one of her parents into the mix, the emotion within the storyline gets put on a totally new level. Coming from a person who has ‘Ice Queen’ as their nickname, even I melted at the contents of this novel. Seriously, you’ll have to be a person with no soul if you’re not at least a little bit moved by this book. Trust me.

Elana James’ life got turned upside down in the blink of an eye. In the aftermath of such unfortunate circumstances, Elana is left to bring up her little girl single-handedly, keep a roof over their heads (literally) with her career, as well as try to find the time to turn a DIY SOS disaster into a finally finished home. What Elana wasn’t prepared for was her new-found builder to be exceptionally easy on the eye and brilliant with her daughter. Surely it’s time to move on, right?

Elana’s situation caught me right in the feels. Although to be honest, if there wasn’t a child involved, I don’t think I would have been quite so emotional (I realise that makes me sound heartless but you’ll see what I mean when you read the book). I just couldn’t even begin to imagine what the James’ went through, especially now that Elana’s daughter is of an age where she wants answers. You can’t really blame her either. The whole debacle with the chimney left a golf ball sized lump in my throat for several hours after finishing this book. I mean….wow. Heart-wrenching yet totally relatable.

There were a couple of situations within Linn.B.Halton’s novel which shocked me at the time yet I couldn’t seem to work out why they were there. Don’t get me wrong, they didn’t seem to stick out like a sore thumb, but I thought that the neighbourly situation was a little bit….random whilst also coming to an abrupt stop. It didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the novel at all, I just wondered why, that was all.

I loved the warmth of the storyline with the mixture of loveable characters. I loved how the Christmas spirit was laid bare to begin with, yet built each bauble at a time throughout the novel. As for Elana’s life – I loved how relatable, realistic and genuine her story was as it made me connect to the main character a lot quicker. She didn’t seem to hide her emotions or pretend to be something that she’s not. Instead, Elana was determined to make the best of a bad situation whilst also trying to do the right thing by her little girl, even though she thought every decision she made was the wrong one.

Linn.B.Halton has, once again, taken a heart-wrenching, real-life situation and turned it into a thought-provoking, touching and emotional read. I really have no idea how this author manages to produce such truly wonderful books, but she does. This authors writing skills and story telling abilities are second to none, which makes every single book I read of hers an absolutely treasure to read. Linn.B.Halton most definitely has a fan for life in TWG for as long as she continues to produce such enchanting novels such as this one, and her entire back catalogue.

‘Christmas at Bay Tree Cottage’ is such a cosy and touching novel, which is probably going to play havoc with your emotions until the very last page.

Turn off your phone, grab the box of Kleenex and curl up in bed with this absolutely beautiful read – you’ll be a fool not to.

Magical.

Thanks HarperImpulse/BrookCottageBooks.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

Extract.

‘Mum, can we light the log fire tonight?’ Maya looks up at me with eager eyes.
‘I think we should wait until the weekend, darling. There isn’t really time to appreciate
it on a school night, is there? Besides, I’m not even sure whether there are any logs
left in the store. I promise to get it sorted as soon as I can.’
It was Niall’s job, sorting the fire. He would have booked the chimney sweep in early
autumn and had the logs all ready and waiting, stacked neatly against the back wall
of the garage. Ironically, last year I was much more organised. I suppose it was one
of my coping mechanisms during those raw, early weeks and months. Keep going;
keep doing something – anything, so I didn’t have to listen to what was in my head.
But I feel bad. Maya will remember that this time last year we spent every evening
huddled together on the sofa in front of the fire, reading. Hour upon hour we escaped
into alternative worlds inspired by some wonderful authors. Roald Dahl’s Matilda, E.
B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, and Maya’s favourite, Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch, a
story of tenderness and triumph.
It was the very worst of times, but I focused on getting us through it one day at a
time. My gut instinct, immediately after the accident, had been to sell the cottage just
to escape that prevailing sense that something was missing. Niall was no longer
here and it would never, ever be the same again. But soon realisation dawned that
Maya needed a sense of continuity; the memories trapped within these walls were a
lifeline for her, although a cruelly painful reminder for me. In a way she feels her dad
is still here and I can’t take that away from her.

About the author.

Bristol-born Linn lives in the Forest of Dean, in the UK. She resides there with her
lovely husband and cat, Ziggy. She has been writing novels since 2009 and has
written short stories for a number of magazines. She is also known for her series of
‘Home by Design’ articles wearing her former interior designer hat.
“I’m a hopeless romantic, self-confessed chocaholic, and lover of coffee. For me, life
is about family, friends, and writing. Oh, and the occasional glass of White Grenache”
An Amazon UK Top 100 best-selling author with A Cottage in the Country in
November 2015, Under The Stars also became a best-selling novel in November
2016. Linn’s novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the
eFestival of Words Book Awards. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance:
Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.
Linn writes chick lit, romantic comedy, women’s contemporary fiction and psychic
romance. Publishers include Harper Impulse, Choc Lit and Endeavour Press.

Facebook //Twitter // Goodreads Author Page //Website

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#Review – Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Carla Burgess (@MsBear123) @HQDigitalUK

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A fabulously festive romantic read, perfect to curl up with by the fire this Christmas!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the little flower shop…

Florist Rachel Jones might spend every day making beautiful bridal bouquets at her little flower shop, but her own love life is wilting as quickly as a bunch of dead roses.

Luckily, the arrival of handsome detective Anthony Bascombe, the new tenant upstairs is the perfect distraction! Although there’s a catch, Anthony isn’t looking for love – he’s looking for her ex-fiancé, Patrick…

But as the snow begins to fall and her little shop fills with mistletoe ready for Christmas, will Rachel manage to melt Anthony’s heart?

What does TWG think?

After falling in love with Carla Burgess’ debut novel, ‘Marry Me Tomorrow’, and quite ironically at that, I couldn’t help but be super excited to dive into her latest novel. So, after boiling the kettle for my nightly cup of tea, grabbing my Mickey Mouse blanket and curling up on the sofa, I ignored everyone by letting ‘Meet Me Under the Mistletoe’ envelope me good and proper.

The thing about Carla Burgess’ novels is that she writes with such tenderness, it’s as though she’s writing a letter to an old friend. You can’t help but fall under the authors spell based on that alone.

Rachel Jones has taken over her parents florist. Well, by ‘taken over’ I mean more or less buying the premises and owning it sort of thing. For as long as she can remember, creating bouquets and floral delights have been as much part of her daily routine as cleaning her teeth. Although, for someone who lives and breathes the smell of roses day in day out, her own love life isn’t as fragrant.

I’m sorry to say that I thought the arrival of an eye-catching gentleman was incredibly predictable. However, what I didn’t expect was his true reason for arriving in the florist to begin with. Underhanded? A teeny bit, but he was only doing his job. I could see why Rachel was a bit miffed though considering the history with her ex. Let’s just say that the whole ‘Rachel and ex’ situation makes for popcorn worthy reading. Ignoring people as soon as I started reading this book was SUCH a good call!

I’m not going to lie – I absolutely loved this book! Yes it was a ‘boy meets girl’ scenario, but it had an edge to it that caught me off guard and made me think ‘ooooo, this could get interesting’. I am not the romantic type, yet I will quite happily read about fictional characters making eyes at each other over a bunch of begonia’s. Not being the romantic type myself, I have to then be convinced by a characters love, flirting, relationship effort and so on, for the entire duration of the novel. I have to believe it. If it’s not believable then to me, it’s not done it’s job. A Carla Burgess novel however, well, seeing as the author can transport me into the storyline itself, I have to then kick myself to remember that I am not Rachel Jones, I don’t have an ex called Patrick, and I am currently not flirting with a detective.

I am being completely honest when I tell you that in a minimum of a few pages, Carla Burgess can make me feel as though I am living her characters lives and feeling their emotions. In my eyes, you cannot get more believable than that. Although, I do wish I had kept the floristry craft after doing my stint as Rachel Jones, I mean come on! Parting gift?

I savoured every word, every expression, every emotion – the lot, whilst my head was buried in the beautiful realm of Carla Burgess’ storytelling. So much so, that when the book had ended, I went straight onto social media and asked the author whether there was going to be a sequel! Er helloooo, need my fix!

For a storyline to capture my ice-cold heart, it has to be something special. ‘Meet Me Under the Mistletoe’ is something special and more. I felt as though the author was giving me a hug through her words whenever I turned the page, no joke. The story was cosy, heartfelt, magical and for me, it just oozed everything I needed to be able to fall in love with every single page.

Some people take baths to feel cosy, I pick up a Carla Burgess novel.

Beautiful, enchanting and highly addictive. I cannot WAIT until the next book, eeee!!!!

Thanks HQDigitalUK.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogBlitz #Review – A Cosy Candlelit Christmas by Tilly Tennant (@TillyTenWriter) @Bookouture

A Cosy Candlelit Christmas - Blog Blitz
So excited to be taking part in yet another blog blitz for one of my most favourite authors of all time, Tilly Tennant! Big thank you to Bookouture for inviting me on the tour as well as an ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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All singleton Isla wants for Christmas is to be left in peace, but a surprise trip to the Alps means there’s a chance for romance in every snowflake that falls…

It’s the week before Christmas and Isla McCoy has just received an unexpected gift: a letter announcing she is due a life-changing inheritance, but only if she’s willing to make amends with the father who abandoned her.

She has absolutely no intention of forgiving him, but who could resist an all-expenses-paid trip to the French resort of St Martin-de-Belleville?

There she meets smooth-talking Justin and nerdy glaciologist Sebastian; two very different men, with two very different agendas. Torn between her head and her heart, Isla finds herself utterly lost in a winter wonderland of her own feelings.

Surrounded by twinkling candles and roaring log-fires, Isla’s resolve finally begins to melt. But will she learn how to reconnect, not only with a whole new family, but with herself and her heart?

A gorgeously heart-warming festive read to help spark a little romance in those long winter nights. Perfect for fans of Jane Linfoot, Debbie Johnson and Jenny Colgan.

What does TWG think?

You know what would be easier? Me copying and pasting* all the compliments I write for Tilly Tennant in each review, into this one! It’s as though I am a worn out record by saying the same sort of stuff!
(*Please note that I would never do that. It would be easier, but I wouldn’t. Just to clarify!)

I had the pleasure of ignoring everybody by indulging in yet another Tilly Tennant novel. A Tilly Tennant novel to me is like chocolate chip cookies to Cookie Monster, although I wouldn’t say no to several of those whilst reading Tilly’s novel, that’s for sure!

I’m just going to come straight out and say it. I feel I owe it to the author to be open and honest…

OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHH I LOVEEEEEEED IT! I have absolutely NO idea how this author does it, but she knocks it out of the park every.single.time! Just when I thought she had done good with a previous novel, the author then brings out a book which lands itself in the ‘Tilly Tennant’s Best Book Yet’ section. Seriously. It’s not even the odd book…it’s EVERY SINGLE BOOK which the author reduces me to a gabbling, stalkerish type reviewer who pining after the authors words once again!

Most of Isla’s life has been with her mother, that really is all she has even known. Until the day her estranged father makes contact that is. Personally, I thought Isla was incredibly brave for doing what she did despite knowing full well what the repercussions could have been not only for her, but everyone else involved. Just like Isla, my father abandoned us at a young age and I spent many years angry with someone who I hadn’t heard their side of the story from. A mother, just like Glory, who had their own version of events and refused to let anything else become an option. If I had the chance would I do what Isla did? Yes, I would. Unfortunately I won’t ever get that chance, but I am so glad that Isla listened with her own heart for once, instead of going along with what her mother wanted.

The way Isla comes across in a lot of the storyline is guarded and emotionally broken. Whether she would openly admit to that is a whole other ball game. Of course she is going to be guarded, so for that I appreciated how realistic the author made her character’s feelings come across throughout the storyline. I felt as though I wasn’t reading about a fictional character – I felt as though I was reading a book about a real life person and their true story. Hats off to Tilly Tennant for being able to dissect such a raw and emotional topic, in such a heart-felt and poignant manner. Fantastic.

As for Justin. Well. If I ever were to find myself in a snowball fight with him, I would ensure my snowball contained a surprise. What a pleb! As soon as he came on the scene I disliked him straight away. People say I am judgemental. I say that I am a good judge of character!

I fell in love with every single thing within ‘A Cosy Candlelit Christmas’ from the setting to the main characters, to the humour to the hotel, to the romance to the thought-provoking message. Everything. Because I could relate to Isla a lot, this novel did make me feel quite emotional and hit me in a completely different way to any of Tilly Tennant’s other novels. Daft eh? Don’t worry though, despite my emotional undertone, I did laugh a heck of a lot. That is another thing I love about this authors writing; she never fails to make me feel.

In my eyes, ‘A Cosy Candlelit Christmas’ is Tilly Tennant’s best book to date. She really has outdone herself with her character building, setting descriptions and overall plot. Once again I was able to let myself fall into Tilly’s ingenious and magical words (a bit like when Joey from Friends steps into the map…ish), knowing that I will forever be cushioned by such an enchanting and heart-warming novel. Hand on heart, I could read a Tilly Tennant novel every single day and not get bored with the magic which lies under every cover.

Spell-binding, beautifully written and 100% memorable – Tilly Tennant has blown me away. If I were given the chance to disappear into a fictional life for a day, I would pick one of Tilly Tennant’s novels, that’s for sure.

A hug in a book from start to finish, I could not recommend ‘A Cosy Candlelit Christmas’ more if I tried.

Thanks Bookouture.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

Author Bio:

Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing. She wrote a novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them.

Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn was her debut novel; published in 2014 it was an Amazon bestseller in both the UK and Australia. In 2016 she signed to the hugely successful Bookouture and is currently working on her tenth Tilly Tennant novel. She also writes as Sharon Sant, where she explores the darker side of life, and Poppy Galbraith, where things get a little crazier. Find out more about Tilly and how to join her mailing list for news and exclusives at www.tillytennant.com

 Author Social Media Links:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TillyTenWriter

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tillytennant6000/

Website: www.tillytennant.com

 

#BlogTour! #Review – The Holiday Cruise by Victoria Cooke (@VictoriaCooke10) @HQDigitalUK

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Huge thanks to the team at HQDigitalUK for the ARC of Victoria Cooke’s novel, ‘The Holiday Cruise’. Also, thank you to Anna for asking me to take part in the blog tour. I am excited to be able to share my thoughts with you all. Here is my review:

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The high seas are calling!

As if it weren’t enough to be cheated on by her husband of ten years, Yorkshire lass Hannah Davis is losing her beauty salon business too. Luckily, her big sister is there to pick up the pieces, but Hannah is desperate to find some independence.

Impulsively, Hannah applies for a spa job…on a cruise ship! Christmas in the Caribbean, springtime in the Mediterranean, what’s not to like? But, despite being in her thirties, Hannah has never done anything on her own before, and she’s terrified.

As the ship sets sail, Hannah has never been further from home…or closer to discovering who she is and who she wants to be.

What does TWG think?

Take me back to this cruise ship!! Have you ever been so caught up in a storyline and its characters that when the story does come to and end, it’s as though you have lost one of your arms, whilst also wanting to run back to the book with your arms wide open screaming; ‘I’m sorry I left youuuuuuu. I’m sorry I had to finish youuuuu’? For those of you who have read Victoria Cooke’s novel, I am sure you’ll be nodding your heads in agreement right now. For those who haven’t read Victoria Cooke’s novel, your answer to my question will also be a yes once you pick up this book and read it!

I’m not even joking. Finishing ‘The Holiday Cruise’ was like having to leave my mum at the school gates when I was little! All I wanted to do was run back! I wholeheartedly agree with reviewer Rachel Gilbey – there has to be a sequel for this! Even though the main situation in this book reached its natural conclusion, there is oodles amounts of ways for old characters to reappear and new ones to make their presence known when it comes to a follow on book. I would be utterly devastated if we didn’t go back to visit some of these characters, I really would.

It’s clear from the onset that Hannah is pretty much sitting with her whole life broken around her. Not only has her husband decided to cheat on her, she’s also losing her business to a rival company after her so-called friend decided to be a loofah. Charming eh! With the list of people she can trust safely on the back of a stamp, Hannah decides to jump ship (literally) by working on a cruise ship. Lucky beggar…

I wanted to squish Hannah almost straight away! So much rubbish for one person, how can those people live with themselves after such betrayal? I loved how a person who loved routine, decided to do something completely against her usual values, and went to work in a spa on a cruise ship. I mean, there’s grabbing life by the starboard, and then there’s grabbing life for the starboard! I think…(yes, THINK), I may have maybe (ahem) yelped out loud ‘YOU GO GIRL!!!!’ whilst reading this book. Take away the ‘think’ and the ‘maybe’ and there is a definite chance that I did just that. Luckily my daughter was in bed at the time so I didn’t have to face the Spanish Inquisition from a four-year old. Those things are brutal!!

I have never, ever been on a cruise ship before but I can tell you now, after reading ‘The Holiday Cruise’ I would book a cruise holiday in a jiffy if I had the money. I never realised just how much there was on a cruise ship, as well as being able to stop in certain countries along the way for a bit of sightseeing. To be honest, it felt like the author was on a cruise whilst writing the novel as everything came across so realistic, pristine and pretty amazing.

I also loved how, despite Hannah’s earlier personality reservations, as soon as she found her feet on the ship, she got stuck in like a woman on a mission. To see such a broken character come out of their shell in such a short space of time was pretty emotional. It was as though Hannah was being given a second chance in life to find happiness, yet it was the first chance to do something for herself. Certainly makes you think eh?

Obviously I’m not going to go into detail about everything I loved about the book as I will end up giving spoilers, and I like to pride myself in not ruining an authors work by giving spoilers! However, I’m just going to say…..

I LOVED THIS BOOK
I LOVED THIS BOOK
I LOVED THIS BOOK
I LOVED THIS BOOK
VICTORIA COOKE COME READ ME A BED TIME STORY!

I fell in love with ‘The Holiday Cruise’ the moment Hannah stepped onto the ship. Everything about this book blew me away whilst also making me feel emotional at the same time. Throughout the book I witnessed a character find herself, new-found friends finding the courage to come out of their shells and start afresh, as well as taking notice of the underlying message the storyline contained; there are good and bad times in life, but through the bad times you must always do what is right for YOU and nobody else. Life your life YOUR way and not the way someone else wishes you would live your life. Find the courage to do things you wouldn’t usually do. Take the time out to just be, without feeling guilty. Most of all, just live…

Victoria Cooke has written such a stunning, thought-provoking and loveable read. I genuinely wish that I could read ‘The Holiday Cruise’ for the first time, every time. It’s clear that I found parts of the storyline quite emotional, but I also managed to laugh out loud multiple times. ‘The Holiday Cruise’ truly is one of the best books I have read so far this year, with author Victoria Cooke, cruising her way into my all time favourite authors list.

A majestic, inspiring, heart-warming and confidence boosting storyline – which is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, tears in your eyes, fire in your belly and love in your heart. Absolutely fantastic. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Victoria Cooke for writing a book I didn’t know I needed to read, but for also being one I know that I could never be without.

Thanks HQDigitalUK.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review – The Little Village Christmas by @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK

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I am so thrilled to be today’s stop on Sue Moorcroft’s blog tour for her new release – ‘The Little Village Christmas’. Apologies for my late in the day posting. Big thanks to Avon for the ARC of Sue’s book. Here is my review:

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The #1 bestseller returns with an irresistibly festive tale that you won’t be able to put down!

Alexia Kennedy – interior decorator extraordinaire – has been tasked with giving the little village of Middledip the community café it’s always dreamed of.

After months of fundraising, the villagers can’t wait to see work get started – but disaster strikes when every last penny is stolen. With Middledip up in arms at how this could have happened, Alexia feels ready to admit defeat.

But help comes in an unlikely form when woodsman, Ben Hardaker and his rescue owl Barney, arrive on the scene. Another lost soul who’s hit rock bottom, Ben and Alexia make an unlikely partnership.

However, they soon realise that a little sprinkling of Christmas magic might just help to bring this village – and their lives – together again…

Settle down with a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine as you devour this irresistibly festive Christmas tale. The perfect read for fans of Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

What does TWG think?

I’m just going to get straight to the point. There really isn’t any reason to beat around the bush where opinions are concerned, is there?

‘The Little Village Christmas’ is, in my opinion, Sue Moorcroft’s best book yet! I have never fallen into a storyline as quickly as I did this one. There really was something magical about the entire novel. So much so, I had to prise the book from my hands once finished. I didn’t want it to end!!

In this book we have two main characters; Alexia and Ben. Alexia is an interior decorator, whilst Ben is an owl daddy with a habit of giving trees a haircut. Two completely different people entwined in one unforgettable story.

We enter Middledip in the middle of a renovation for the local community. Fire places are being ripped out and stored for future use, rubbish is being tipped with all villagers getting stuck in to help Alexia and Gabe. With a community project like this one, you would have thought every single person would be buzzing about what the future may hold. Unfortunately for the community cafe, excitement has just been pushed to the back of the line when someone decides to fleece the villages for everything they have worked hard for. Cue a lot of upset, anger and an unlimited amount of frustration…

Even though I could see where something in particular was heading regarding certain characters, I loved how sarcastic the characters were during the to-ing and fro-ing. It was so refreshing to read a story like that which didn’t involve 100% predictability. To be honest, I don’t think predictable is even in Alexia’s vocabulary. She certainly doesn’t strike me as the sort what with her feisty and bubble personality!

I did happen to fall in love with a certain character. A certain character who enjoyed meat for his food, and who hopped about everywhere screeching for his life. No, I don’t mean Ben. I mean Barney the owl! My dog is called Barney too so the owl reminded me of my pup and his cheeky personality.

There was so much wonderful storyline to sink my teeth into and just get lost in, I became incredibly invested in each character life and the community within Middledip. It was really hard not to! I thought the pace of the novel was absolutely spot on. The storyline had the right amount of intense moments entwined with romance, hilarity, and community spirit which meant that I didn’t have to spend a lot of time trying to work out what certain characters secrets were. I literally could just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

‘The Little Village Christmas’ is perfection from start to finish. There is absolutely nothing about the book that I didn’t like. I adored the characters and how much they grew throughout the storyline. I loved how the community came together to support Alexia and Gabe during their tough situation, without pushing them away and telling them to just deal with it like I’m sure a lot of other people would have done. Every thing was just….enchanting.

Sue Moorcroft has outdone herself with her latest book. I wish I could do the book justice with my opinion but I just can’t seem to fathom the right words to explain my feelings about this book. My heart feels warmer for reading it. Fact. My smile seems larger for reading it. Fact. My soul feels as though it’s been fed thanks to this book. Fact.

An enchanting, majestic, beautiful read from one of my all time favourite authors; Sue Moorcroft. With hilarious anecdotes to keep you giggling, alongside heart-breaking situations to make your heart-break; Sue Moorcroft has written everything you could ever want in this storyline.

Phenomenal. Definitely Sue Moorcroft’s best book yet, without a doubt.

Thanks Avon.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review – How Not To Be A Bride by @PortiaMacIntosh @HQDigitalUK

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I am delighted to be on Portia MacIntosh’s blog tour today! Huge thanks to LRR and Portia for inviting me to take part in the tour. Also, big thanks to HQDigitalUK for the ARC of ‘How Not To Be A Bride’. Here is my review:

How Not to be a Bride Cover
Definitely, maybe…yes?

Mia Valentina gave up her high-flying life in LA to move back to Kent over four years ago. But it turns out that life in the slow lane isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

So when her boyfriend Leo proposes, she says yes, hoping it will bring some much needed sparkle back into her life. The trouble is, Mia never wanted a big white wedding, just the happy ever after…

The laugh-out-loud, uplifting new book from Portia MacIntosh, author of It’s Not You, It’s Them. Perfect for fans of Rosie Blake and Sophie Kinsella.

What does TWG think?

-raises hands up to the sky in the hallelujah pose-. YAS!!!!

I am a huge fan of Portia MacIntosh’s work. Her laugh out loud approach to real life situations is not only refreshing, it’s also weirdly heart-warming. MacIntosh takes situations (which some of us hide behind closed doors at, crying our eyes out with no idea  of where to go from here) dissects them until they’re unrecognisable, and then coaches her characters to get through the emotional times – bit by bit. It’s pretty much like therapy. Except it’s a smudge of the cost and makes you laugh instead of crying out; ‘I DON’T KNOW WHY I’M HEREEEEEE’.

I have to be honest; I was slightly apprehensive about reading Portia MacIntosh’s latest novel as whilst I did enjoy the authors previous offerings, it didn’t feel like the author I had come to know and love. I had everything crossed that MacIntosh’s trademark, snort-worthy one liners were even more present in this book. Literally, everything crossed….probably why I didn’t know I needed the loo thinking about it now! Anyway…

So, the burning question – did I enjoy ‘How Not To Be A Bride’? Oh hell yeah I did! Guess who’s back, back again -shimmies-. The author’s iconic writing style had returned in her latest offering, and what a belter of a book for it to return in! If you’re thinking that every woman in the world has been planning their wedding since they were an embryo; think again. If you’re thinking that every engaged woman wants the big, white wedding with added meringue (the dress, not the dessert), then you’ve obviously not been watching enough ‘Say Yes To The Dress’! Mia is the voice of every woman out there who just wants to get married simply. No fuss. No fluff. No having to say yes to things she doesn’t want but is railroaded into agreeing with. I guess some readers might find Mia’s approach to her wedding a little unorthodox. I however, found it to be extremely refreshing, whilst also finding out that I should be a bobbly head/nodding dog in my next life – due to all the agreeing I was doing.

The main relationship in this novel is brilliant as it shows the two characters being just like every other couple out there! Couples who don’t communicate! I shouldn’t laugh, but I made my sides hurt from laughing when Mia decided to ‘go and feel young again’. Brilliant.

I love, love, LOVED this book. The whole storyline was written brilliantly and I managed to finish it in one sitting (obvs) it was that addictive! I loved how the characters lifestyles pulled me in from the very first page, keeping me hostage until the very last page. Now, seeing as the calibre of this novel is 100% Portia MacIntosh and FABULOUS, I didn’t really mind being kept hostage to be honest! Not a sentence I thought I would say, but oh well!

‘How Not To Be A Bride’ is a laugh out loud, warm, refreshing novel which is guaranteed to make you curl up on the sofa with, whilst also feeling like you’re gaining a 2D BFF in your PJs. Win-win! It’s modern, it’s relatable and it’s absolutely brilliant. Another fantastic novel from such a brilliant author.

Thanks HQ!

Book Links:  Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Author Info:

Portia MacIntosh has been ‘making stuff up’ for as long as she can remember – or so she says. Whether it was blaming her siblings for that broken vase when she was growing up, blagging her way backstage during her rock chick phase or, most recently, whatever justification she can fabricate to explain away those lunchtime cocktails, Portia just loves telling tales. After years working as a music journalist, Portia decided it was time to use her powers for good and started writing novels. Taking inspiration from her experiences on tour with bands, the real struggle of dating in your twenties and just trying to survive as an adult human female generally, Portia writes about what it’s really like for women who don’t find this life stuff as easy as it seems.

 Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Tour Link:

http://tours.readingromance.com/2017/10/how-not-to-be-bride-by-portia-macintosh.html

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Snowflakes, Iced Cakes & Second Chances by @SueWatsonWriter @Bookouture

Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances - Blog Tour
I am SO excited to be reviewing Sue Watson’s novel; ‘Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances’, for Bookouture as part of the blog blitz. Sue Watson is one of my all-time favourite authors, so I am absolutely thrilled to be involved in this blog blitz. Here is my review:

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Escape to the cosy little village of Appledore for hot chocolate with extra marshmallows and a second chance at love. Will this Christmas prove that miracles really can happen?

A year after she separated from her husband, Gianni, on Christmas day, Chloe’s heart is finally on the mend as she unpacks the decorations for her first ever festive holiday alone. That is, until the phone rings…

It’s the manager of Gianni’s new seaside restaurant in Appledore, begging for Chloe’s help. Equally famous for his gold-leaf Christmas puddings and his explosive temper, Gianni has been really stirring up a sensation with the locals – and not in a good way! It’s the last thing she wants to do, but Chloe knows she is the only one that can help.

As pans fly and the temperature in the kitchen rises, Chloe’s calming influence and magic touch might just get critics back on side in time to save the restaurant from sinking like a sad soufflé. 

But as Chloe’s eyes meet Gianni’s as they tussle over a plate of turkey tartlets, could there also be a chance for new romance on the menu? 

A laugh-out-loud festive treat that will give you the tingle of freshly hung tinsel. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Abby Clements and Debbie Johnson.

What does TWG think?

We are back in Appledore, ready to meet some new faces! As a lover of Christmas, Chloe has always spent the festive season morphing into a Christmas tree decoration, or becoming Mariah Carey’s unofficial backing singer when the Christmas tunes come on. This year however, Chloe has a higher chance of putting on her Bridget Jones underwear, caking her face in a coal face mask whilst singing Elvis’, ‘It’ll Be Lonely This Christmas’, than relishing in the Christmas spirit like previous years.

Until the storyline chooses to divulge its secrets, us readers are none the wiser as to why Chloe’s festive plans have changed. All we know is that there was a man and now there isn’t. I don’t mean to knock a person when they’re down, but it’s pretty clear from the onset that Chloe is in a terrible state. It’s as though she’s missing her je ne sais quoi. Although to be fair, if I was in Chloe’s shoes I’d be making my way to the nearest Gregg’s and stocking up on mince pies! Priorities, obviously!

As the storyline progresses, the author allows us an insight into Chloe’s past and how she met the man who is no longer in reaching distance. Whilst some parts are obviously sad if you’re the romantic sort, other parts are highly hilarious. I mean, that Chloe is proper feisty when it comes to moving her puddings!! There were multiple occasions whilst I was reading this book, where I found myself proper belly laughing and laughing out loud. Needless to say, my four year old gave me MY look in response. Spoilsport. Did it stop me snorting? Did it heck. Fast forward several pages and I’m doing it again. Sue Watson just tickles me every single time. I love it!

I reckon some readers may find Gianni to be a bit of a turkey. I however, found him to be a bit of a Christmas pudding; palatable and intense, with room for growth. I couldn’t stomach Gianni Christmas pudding in huge doses, I’ll admit, but there was just something about that man who made me think ‘hmmmmm, let me pull your cracker’. Mind out of the gutter….I think.

It’s safe to say that I loved every single part of Sue Watson’s latest treat. From start to finish my attention was piqued, my taste buds were teased – ready to lose myself in Sue Watson’s delectable words. What I loved most about this book was how I was able to watch Chloe grow. At the start of the book she seemed quite low, yet the more I read, the more I saw her blossom into such a fantastic character. Chloe ended her story a completely different person to the one I met at the beginning. Personally, the way that Sue Watson was able to make a character grow and blossom before my very eyes – takes extreme talent and dedication to her characters. It’s very clear that Sue Watson wrote this novel from the heart, whilst also spending time carefully crafting her main character to appear realistic, relatable, but more importantly; loveable.

For me, the author has ticked every single box and then some. Hell, she even ticked some I didn’t even know existed! Yes this book had me in hysterics, but the storyline also made me stop and think about the choices we make in life. Just like Chloe we often find ourselves in a predicament with no light at the end of the tunnel, where choices made during this time are ones we are more likely to regret. Sometimes there is only one solution for a situation at that given time. And yes, sometimes you have to take that solution even though it might end up being the wrong one for you long-term. The message that resonated with me the most was the one about taking chances even through the fear. Fear makes us second guess everything, yet fear also makes us strive for that certain thing even more – even if we are unaware of it at the time. I have gone away and thought long and hard about several things within this storyline. Let’s just say that inspiration can come from the most unlikeliest of places.

Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances is a laugh out loud, mouth-watering and highly addictive read from the exceptional, Sue Watson. Full of giggles, food to tickle your taste buds, and situation to keep your mind busy; Sue Watson’s latest novel is one of my most favourite books this author has written. I realise I say this every.single.time, BUT, I really have no idea how Sue Watson manages to knock the holly off the ivy with every new book she writes.

Outstanding, magical and one of the cosiest books I’ve read this year; Sue Watson has done it once again. Absolutely brilliant. If I could give this book more than 5 stars I would, it’s worthy of millions more.

Huge thanks to Bookouture.

Buy now from Amazon UK  

Buy now from Amazon US

Author Bio:

 Sue Watson was a journalist then a TV Producer at the BBC until she realised that instead of working, she could stay at home, make stuff up and sell it! 

So far Sue’s written ten books, and some have been translated into Italian and Portuguese (she’s big in Brazil!) Originally from Manchester, she now lives with her husband and teenage daughter in Worcestershire where her days are spent baking (and eating) lots of cake, while making big life decisions about whether to have Caramel Chew Chew or Salted Caramel ice cream while watching ‘The Biggest Loser USA,’ on TV. 

 Author Social Media Links:

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

Twitter: @suewatsonwriter

Instagram: suewatsonbooks

Website: http://www.suewatsonbooks.com/

 

 

#BlogTour! #Review – Christmas at the Gin Shack-Catherine Miller @katylittlelady @HQDigitalUK

Wahey!! I am super excited to be kicking off Catherine Miller’s blog tour for her gin fuelled, festive read; ‘Christmas at the Gin Shack’, which will be published by HQDigitalUK on the 13th October! I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Catherine Miller’s novel, so huge thanks to HQ for that! Here is my review:

Christmas at the Gin Shack Cover
Welcome in the festive season with love, laughter and the perfect G&T
in Christmas at the Gin Shack – the most uplifting holiday read of 2017!
Gingle bells, gingle bells, gingle all the way…

Olive Turner might have lived through eighty-four Christmases, but she’ll never get bored of her favourite time of year. And this one’s set to be extra-special. It’s the Gin Shack’s first Christmas – and there’s a gin- themed weekend and a cocktail competition on the cards!

But, beneath the dazzle of fairy lights and the delicious scent of mince-pies, Olive smells a rat. From trespassers in her beloved beach hut to a very unfunny joke played on her friends, it seems that someone is missing a dose of good cheer.

Olive knows she’s getting on a bit – but is she really imagining that someone in the little seaside town is out to steal Christmas? More importantly, can she create the perfect gin cocktail before Christmas Eve – in time to save the day?

What does TWG think?

The GIN SHACK is a little old place where we can get together
GIN SHACK, baby (a-GIN SHACK, baby)
GIN SHACK, baby, GIN SHACK 
GIN SHACK, (GIN, baby, that’s where it’s at) baby, GIN SHACK

Please say that I’m not the only one who changed the lyrics of B-52’s song? I think I did it in my last review of the first book in the series as well, thinking about it! Speaking of which, whilst I believe that ‘Christmas at the Gin Shack’ can be read as a standalone, I would recommend you read the first book ‘The Gin Shack on the Beach’ beforehand, just so that you’re clued up on the history behind certain friendships and banter. There is nothing worse than reading a book with humour in, only to find out that you haven’t a clue what they’re on about because the information is in the first book of the series. Plus, the first book in the series is a fab read, so either way you’re going to be gaining!

We are back with Olive and the gang at the Gin Shack and unfortunately, things aren’t as plain sailing as they would have liked. Whilst the Gin Shack has made itself known and routines are in place, a devastating even occurs and all the locals are quite shaken due to the what if’s surrounding it. Not only that, Olive and the gang feel as though someone is out to bring the Gin Shack down and, to be honest, whoever they are, are quite brave for going up against Olive. Rather them than me!

Oh how I love Olive, how can anyone not?! She is such a sprightly, fiery and loveable character who is able to stick in your mind a long while after you have finished reading the book. & yes, I am speaking from experience. By the way, it’s pretty clear that Catherine Miller’s new novel is based on gin. Don’t start thinking that you need to be a gin connoisseur to enjoy this storyline, because you don’t. You may find that you become one by the end of the book, but you don’t have to be one to begin with. Hell, you don’t even need to like gin! Sorry Olive….I didn’t mean to swear…

I’ll admit, I’m not a massive fan of gin, but seeing as I have only had it with tonic, I’ll be more than willing to try some of the flavours Olive and her gang concoct. Well, and the one I saw online – Bakewell tart gin anyone?

There is more to this storyline that meets the eye, I’ve got to say. Yes, it is fuelled by gin. And yes, it is also fuelled by the gin shack. BUT, there are quite a few serious topics going on around the gin which is highly likely to make you stop and think. I loved how the author was able to go from describing Olive’s latest purchase and having me in hysterics at her antics, to taking the storyline down an emotional path more than once. Obviously I’m not going to go into detail, but the transition from hilarity to heart-warming was absolutely spot on. It was flawless, unexpected and gave the storyline a whole new dimension. Fantastic writing.

The only irk I have with the storyline is how I struggled to agree with all of the characters having a place in the book. I have to be honest, there was a character from the first book who had come back in this one and, whilst they had a place in the first book, I couldn’t quite understand why they had come back in this one. Without being rude, I personally didn’t see the point and I feel that the story would still have worked if they haven’t been in it.

Aside from that, Catherine Miller has down Olive and the gang proud. I loved seeing how much each character had grown up since the previous book, especially her son Richard. My opinion of him changed greatly in ‘Christmas at the Gin Shack’ – he wasn’t the numpty I thought he was. Far from it if I’m honest!

I hope we see more of Olive and the gang, I really don’t want to have to say goodbye to some truly memorable, heart-warming and fantastic characters, because it would be such a travesty if so.

Full of giggles, smiles, unbelievable friendship and gin; ‘Christmas at the Gin Shack’ had me smiling until the very end. Definitely the perfect escapism, as well as the perfect book to snuggle up with.

Thanks HQ.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US
Buy now from Kobo.

Author Bio

When Catherine Miller became a mum to twins, she decided her hands weren’t full enough so wrote a novel with every spare moment she managed to find. By the time the twins were two, Catherine had a two-book deal with HQDigital UK. There is a possibility she has aged remarkably in that time.
Her debut novel, Waiting For You, came out in March 2016. She is now the author of four books and hopes there will be many more now her twins have started school. Either that, or she’ll conduct more gin research on Olive’s behalf.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/katylittlelady.author/
https://twitter.com/katylittlelady
https://www.instagram.com/katylittlelady/

To follow Olive and Catherine Miller as they go on tour with the Gin Shack, all the blogger details are on the graphic below:

Christmas at the Gin Shack Full Tour Banner