Women’s Fiction

#BookReview
Crazy Over You by Carol Thomas
@carol_thomas2 @rararesources

#BookReview Crazy Over You by Carol Thomas @carol_thomas2 @rararesourcesTitle: Crazy Over You

Author: Carol Thomas

Published by Matador on October 28, 2015

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 250

Format: eBook

Source: Rachel's Random Resources

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Love can drive you crazy… in more ways than one!

When Abby met Simon, it was the start of something special, a love Abby believed would last a lifetime.

A wedding, two daughters and fifteen years later Abby’s world is falling apart. Having discovered Simon has had an affair her normally ordered mind is spiralling out of control. Crushed by the betrayal and shocked by her own reaction, she knows she needs to get herself together; she’s just not sure where to start.

With Simon on a mission to win her back and a close friend hiding a secret that could push her further over the edge, Abby finds strength and support where she least expects it. But as she attempts to gain control of her life and make decisions about her future, it may be more than the limits of Abby’s mind that are put to the test!


Review:

Affecting, absorbing, and delightfully entertaining!

Crazy Over You is an immersive story that delves into the intricate relationship between a husband and wife and highlights just how quickly life can get turned upside down.

The writing is effortless and smooth. The characters are genuine, strong, compassionate, and lovable. And the plot is an engaging, emotional tale that uses a past/present style to give good depth and understanding to the personalities, relationships, and motivations within it.

Crazy Over You is, ultimately, a story about secrets, heartbreak, infidelity, betrayal, friendship, family, love, forgiveness, and self-discovery. It is a well written, pensive novel by Thomas that ended a little differently than I expected but was nevertheless surprisingly satisfying.

 

This book is available now. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                        

 

 

Thank you to Carol Thomas and Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

About Carol Thomas

Carol Thomas lives on the south coast of England with her husband, four children and lively young Labrador. She has been a playgroup supervisor and taught in primary schools for over fifteen years, before dedicating more of her time to writing. Carol is a regular volunteer at her local Cancer Research UK shop. She has a passion for reading, writing and people watching and can often be found loitering in local cafes working on her next book.

#BlogTour & #BookReview
Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
@Kristan_Higgins @HarlequinBooks

#BlogTour & #BookReview Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins @Kristan_Higgins @HarlequinBooksTitle: Now That You Mention It

Author: Kristan Higgins

Published by Harlequin Books on December 26, 2017

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Harlequin Books

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter–a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was–Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.

But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.


Review:

Mesmerizing, heartwarming, and brilliantly crafted!

Now That You Mention It is a touching story that immerses you in a tale about confronting the past, embracing the future, and discovering one’s true self.

The prose is well turned and fluid. The characters are unique, flawed, genuine, and lovable. And the story is an exceptionally absorbing tale about life, love, forgiveness, familial drama, friendship, courage, community, and happiness.  

Now That You Mention It is the perfect mix of hope, heart, grit, and humour and undoubtedly Higgins at her best. It is so much more than expected. It makes you laugh, makes you cry, and leaves you with a smile, and I absolutely loved it!

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                             

 

 

Giveaway:

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thank you to Harlequin Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of more than a dozen novels. Her books have been honored with dozens of awards and accolades, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Library Journal, the New York Journal of Books and Romantic Times.

#BookReview #BlogTour
Ours is the Winter by Laurie Ellingham
@LaurieEllingham @HQDigitalUK @NeverlandBT

#BookReview #BlogTour Ours is the Winter by Laurie Ellingham @LaurieEllingham @HQDigitalUK @NeverlandBT

#BookReview #BlogTour Ours is the Winter by Laurie Ellingham @LaurieEllingham @HQDigitalUK @NeverlandBTTitle: Ours Is the Winter

Author: Laurie Ellingham

Published by HQ Digital on November 17, 2017

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: HQ Digital, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Journeying across the Arctic, their pasts are about to catch up with them.

Erica, Molly and Noah are embarking on the challenge of a lifetime, driving Siberian huskies across the frozen wilderness of the Arctic. Cut off from the world and their loved ones and thrown together under gruelling conditions, it isn’t long before the cracks start to show.

Erica has it all. A loving husband, a successful career and the most adorable baby daughter. But Erica has been living a double life, and as she nears her fortieth birthday her lies threaten to come crashing down.

Molly was on her way to stardom. But when her brother died, so did her dreams of becoming an Olympic champion. Consumed by rage and grief, she has shut out everyone around her, but now she’s about to learn that comfort can come from the most unexpected places.

Noah has a darkness inside him and is hounded by nightmares from his past. Tortured, trapped and struggling to save his fractured relationship, he knows this journey is not going to help, but try telling his girlfriend that.

As their lives and lies become ever more entwined, it becomes clear that in the frozen wilds there is nowhere to hide.


Review:

Riveting, affecting, and atmospheric!

Ours is the Winter is an emotive, absorbing novel that takes us on a journey into the icy, cold, Arctic where friendships will be formed, love will be lost, past tragedies will haunt, and secrets will surface and bind people forever.

There are three main memorable characters in this novel. Erica, a career woman, struggling with the pressures of being a good mother, wife, and sister. Molly, a young woman, crippled with grief over the loss of her brother. And Noah, a man grappling with extreme guilt and a relationship in tatters.

The writing is eloquent and vivid. The plot is well crafted and uses a past/present style to create a little suspense and a lot of emotion as it unravels all the histories, personalities, and relationships within it. And the characterization is well done with a cast of characters that are troubled, scarred, and raw; a group of Huskies that are intelligent, athletic and lovable; and a setting, the arctic wilderness, that is a character itself with its harsh weather, isolation, and physical challenges.

Ours is the Winter is a clever, poignant novel that reminds us that survival of any form takes strength and courage and the greatest gift we can give ourselves and others is forgiveness.

 

This book is available now. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following link.

 

 

Giveaway:

 

Prize: 1 signed paperback of Laurie’s previous book, “One Endless Summer”.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thank you to Laurie Ellingham, HQ Digital, and Neverland Blog Tours for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

About Laurie Ellingham

When I’m not running around after my two children, my husband, our Cockerpoo Rodney, or just plain running, I love nothing more than disappearing into the fictional world of my characters preferably with a large coffee and a Twix (or two) to hand.

When I am in the thick of a character crisis, I can often be seen walking around the village with my jumper on inside out and back to front, chatting (and occasionally laughing) away to myself.

I have a first class honours degree in psychology and a background in Public Relations, both of which help in everything I do.

#BookReview #BlogTour
The Girl I Used To Know by Faith Hogan
@GerHogan @Aria_Fiction

#BookReview #BlogTour The Girl I Used To Know by Faith Hogan @GerHogan @Aria_FictionTitle: The Girl I Used to Know

Author: Faith Hogan

Published by Aria on December 1, 2017

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 298

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Aria, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A beautiful, emotive and spell-binding story of two women who find friendship and second chances when they least expect it. Perfect for the fans of Patricia Scanlan.

Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn’t be more different.

Amanda seems to have it all, absolute perfection. She projects all the accoutrements of a lady who lunches. Sadly, the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.

By comparison, in the basement flat, unwanted tenant Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.

It takes a bossy doctor, a handsome gardener, a pushy teenager and an abandoned cat to show these two women that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.


Review:

Uplifting, absorbing, and delightfully inspiring!

The Girl I Used To Know is a heartwarming story that immerses you in a tale about letting go of the past, embracing the future and discovering one’s true self at any age.

The prose is effortless and fluid. The plot is a wonderful blend of heart, humour, and hope. And the characterization is spot on with a memorable cast of characters, including two strong, determined, resilient women who learn through compassion and friendship how to move on, find true happiness and be unconditionally loved.

The Girl I Used To Know is, ultimately, a story about life, love, loss, dreams, heartache, infidelity, family, and romance. It is a beautifully written, beguiling novel by Hogan that highlights just how meaningful and powerful friendships can truly be.

 

This book is available now. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                    

 

 

Thank you to Faith Hogan and Aria Fiction for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

About Faith Hogan

Faith Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.

She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.

 

#BookReview #GuestPost
Winter at Cedarwood Lodge by Rebecca Raisin
@jaxandwillsmum @HQDigitalUK

#BookReview #GuestPost Winter at Cedarwood Lodge by Rebecca Raisin @jaxandwillsmum @HQDigitalUK

#BookReview #GuestPost Winter at Cedarwood Lodge by Rebecca Raisin @jaxandwillsmum @HQDigitalUKTitle: Winter At Cedarwood Lodge

Author: Rebecca Raisin

Series: At Cedarwood Lodge #4

Published by HQ Digital on December 1, 2017

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 403

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: HQ Digital, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

Synopsis:

This winter it’s time to fall in love at Cedarwood Lodge…

After years of dreaming, Clio Winters is finally fulfilling her childhood dream of renovating the gorgeous old Cedarwood Lodge in Evergreen and turning it into the perfect destination for celebrations, weddings and extravagant birthday parties. The huge property used to be a bustling holiday camp, now Clio wants to bring it back to its halcyon days – which will be a lot of hard work!

Returning back to the small town of her youth she’s glad to have one of her best friends still around to lean on, Micah who is just as solid as he used to be. But with her own secrets pushing her to run from her glamorous life in New York, she’ll have to tread carefully, especially when the far-too-handsome-for-his-own-good contractor, Kai, shows up on her doorstep…

Sure she’s here in Evergreen to change her life, but there is no way she’s falling in love!

Previously published as three novellas; Celebrations & Confetti, Brides & Bouquets, and Midnight & Mistletoe and now Includes bonus material!


Review:

Absorbing, enchanting, and sugary sweet!

In this latest compilation, Winter at Cedarwood Lodge, Raisin sweeps us away to a wintery paradise where the snow is falling, the accommodations are rustic, the food is scrumptious, and love is in the air.

The prose is light, atmospheric, and well turned. The characters are unique, flawed, and multi-layered. And the story is a compelling tale full of tender moments, humorous hijinks, self-discovery, friendship, family, community, happiness, love, a little mystery, and a whole lot of Christmas cheer!

Overall, Winter at Cedarwood Lodge is a charming holiday treat that’s perfect for a chilly afternoon curled up in front of the fire with a steaming mug of hot chocolate!

If you haven’t had a chance to read my review of The Little Antique Shop Under the Eiffel Tower by Rebecca Raisin be sure to check it out here:

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                                      

For more information about the Tour Schedule click Here

 

 

And now Rebecca Raisin with:

Twenty things to do this Christmas

When I wrote Winter at Cedarwood Lodge, the whole premise behind the lodge was that it be a place to go where you switch off phones and computers and go back to a simpler way of living where you’re not always contactable 24/7. The idea appeals to me so much, especially around holiday time when you just need to recharge and forgot about work and schedules for a little while.

But what to do if you’re not scrolling through Facebook…?

  1. Write a letter to a stranger. Make them smile!
  2. Invite that neighbor over for dinner, the one who waves but always seems to be alone.
  3. Bake! Lots of cookies, ice them, dust them, eat them!
  4. Get crafty, upcycle something!
  5. Start the New Year fresh!
  6. Plant a herb garden. Big or small, inside or outside!
  7. Cuddle a cat or dog! Visit your local rescue center and ask about spending some time with those adorable fur babies for an hour or two.
  8. Move your furniture around. A change is as good as a holiday or so the saying goes…
  9. Build a snowman, or a sand castle! You are never too old, I don’t care what age you are!
  10. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time and arrange a coffee date.
  11. Make pasta from scratch.
  12. Write a poem or haiku.
  13. Paint your nails.
  14. Make a face mask from natural items in your pantry.
  15. Put fresh sheets on your bed.
  16. Read a book you’ve given up on before and see if anything has changed.
  17. Send a postcard and say wish you were here.
  18. Jump in a puddle.
  19. Compliment someone you don’t know.
  20. Go for a bike ride or a walk.

What else would you add to the list? I hope you have a fabulous festive season and have time to switch off and do something relaxing that you haven’t done for a while.

All the best,

Bec xx

 

Thank you to Rebecca Raisin for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review and for participating on my blog today. It’s an honour!

 

About Rebecca Raisin

Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been published in various short story anthologies and in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance. Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and most importantly believe in true love.

 

#BookReview
A Pearl for My Mistress by Annabel Fielding
@DearestAnnabel @HQDigitalUK

#BookReview A Pearl for My Mistress by Annabel Fielding @DearestAnnabel @HQDigitalUKTitle: A Pearl for My Mistress

Author: Annabel Fielding

Published by HQ Digital on August 9, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: HQ Digital, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8//10

 

 

Synopsis:

A story of class, scandal and forbidden passions in the shadow of war. Perfect for fans of Iona Grey, Gill Paul and Downtown Abbey.

England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady’s maid in a small aristocratic household.

Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.

Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital… and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets…


Review:

Insightful, exceptionally researched, and richly descriptive!

A Pearl for My Mistress takes us back to the 1930s, the interwar period, and gives an in-depth look into the formation of the British far-right movement and Germany’s influence and infiltration of British politics and high society.

The prose is fervent and captivating. The main characters include the scarred, loyal, enamored Hester and the bold, independent, resourceful Lucy. And the plot unfolds chronologically with a nice mix of historical events, intriguing fiction, social strife, forbidden love, political manipulation, and heartfelt emotion that keeps the story flowing from start to finish.

A Pearl for My Mistress is a well written, fascinating novel that highlights Fielding’s incredible knowledge and enormous passion for a period of time that is often forgotten and overlooked.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                  

 

 

Thank you to Annabel Fielding & HQ Digital for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Annabel Fielding

Annabel Fielding, having graduated from the University of Arts London with an MA in Public Relations, is a PR assistant by day and a novelist by night. Being a self-professed history geek, she dedicates her free time to obscure biographies, solo travel and tea.

#GuestPost
Christmas Secrets in Snowflake Cove
by Emily Harvale @emilyharvale @rararesources

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Christmas is a time for family and friends, miracles and magic, falling snow and roaring fires, fun, laughter and festive feasts. In Snowflake Cove, it’s also a time for secrets to be revealed…

Evie Starr is hoping for more than a sprinkling of magic this Christmas. The family-run Snowflake Inn is virtually empty and the Starr’s financial future isn’t looking bright. But Evie’s gran, Jessie has a secret that might help.

Enigmatic, Zachary Thorn is every woman’s dream. He’s also ex-SAS, so his secrets are classified. The Christmas Special of his feel-good, TV show is set in Michaelmas Bay – until a phone call means he’s spending Christmas in nearby Snowflake Cove.

Evie’s best friend, Juniper thinks boyfriend Darren has a secret. Evie knows he does. And Evie’s niece, Raven is hiding feelings for Juniper’s brother – who has a secret crush of his own.

But the biggest secret in Snowflake Cove is the identity of Raven’s dad.

With snow falling thick and fast and secrets being revealed one after another, will everyone be snuggling up by the fire on Christmas Eve, or are some secrets best kept hidden…?


Extract No. 1

Here’s an extract from Christmas Secrets in Snowflake Cove. To give you an idea of what’s going on, this is Evie Starr, the heroine of the book, dealing with a guest she really doesn’t like, who is part of a group staying at the family-run inn. I can’t say too much without giving away some of the story, but Evie has a bit of a sarcastic streak. Enjoy the extract.

The menu was limited – as the harpy with two names was quick to point out – but Snowflake Inn was an inn, not a restaurant or posh hotel. Evie politely suggested that there were several good restaurants in Michaelmas Bay if Felicia would like to try them, but meals at the inn were included in the price during the festive season – whether eaten or not.

Felicia gasped when she saw the wine list. ‘This is a wine list?’

Evie smiled. ‘Yes. I’m sure you’ll be able to find at least one wine to your liking.’

‘If I were looking for wine vinegar, perhaps. Is there really no champagne?’

Evie maintained her smile in spite of the considerable effort required. ‘No. We do have a rather pleasant English sparkling wine from a local vineyard. I can highly recommend that.’

Felicia looked her up and down. ‘I’ll have a G&T. A large one. And so will Peter. He’ll be here shortly. And water. Bottled water. You do have bottled water, don’t you?’

‘Yes. I’ll go and fill a bottle for you right now.’

Zachary, who had come into the dining room with his family a few seconds before, gave a burst of laughter. ‘Evie’s teasing you, Felicia. There’s no need to look so horrified.’ He smiled at Evie.

‘I think there’s every need,’ Felicia replied. ‘Have you seen this list?’ She waved the wine list in the air.

‘No. But I’m looking forward to trying the local sparkling wine.’

Evie could almost feel the daggers in her back as she walked away from Felicia’s table, but Zachary continued:

‘There’ll be champagne for you tomorrow. John has very kindly put in an order with a local wine merchant who can deliver it in the morning, along with some other of our favourite wines. We’ve even managed to get a few bottles of Pop’s favourite, so everyone’s happy. There’ll be plenty to last for the duration of our stay.’

The Thorn party may be happy but Evie wasn’t.

                  

About the Author:

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happy endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.

Thank you to Emily Harvale for being a guest on my blog today! It was truly an honour!

 

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

 

For more information on Emily Harvale follow her on the following:

Facebook: EmilyHarvaleWriter

Twitteremilyharvale

Instagram: emilyharvale

 

#GuestPost
A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson
@KiltieJackson @rararesources

 

Synopsis:

So who exactly is Sukie McClaren?

A Christmas-loving Cat lover? A Sound of Music Fanatic? A Fiercely Independent Woman?

She is all of the above. And when she is sent to Salzburg for a business trip a few weeks before Christmas, she thinks all her dreams have come true. As she packs her suitcase, the only things on her mind are Christmas markets, lots of snow and finally seeing the Doh-Ray-Me steps. Becoming the new best friend of the world’s hottest rock-star doesn’t even get a look in.

Pete Wallace is a reclusive, reluctant, rock-star and the world’s Number One, best-selling, male solo artist. It’s been three years since his last tour and he’s now preparing to go back on the road again. A week in Salzburg, schmoozing with the music press, is one of his worst nightmares. 

He can’t wait for it to be over.

When Pete and Sukie meet, it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Lonely for too long, he begins to remember how it feels to be happy and, for the first time in six years, Christmas feels special again. 

Eduardo di Santo however, whose kid sister suffered life-changing injuries at a Pete Wallace concert, is all set on getting revenge. When Pete’s new tour is announced, he begins to make his plans. Plans that will culminate in Pete’s demise.

Will Pete and Sukie’s new friendship die before it has a chance to flourish?

A Christmas tale full of love, laughter, friendship and revenge.


And Now Kiltie Jackson with:

I’m Feline Good!

In my novel, ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’, one of the main characters – Sukie McClaren – has two black rescue cats called Tony and Adam. They are not really central to the overall storyline but, being a huge cat lover myself, I didn’t feel I could write a book without some cats being in there somewhere.

How I came to be a cat lover, and a cat slave, is quite interesting. I didn’t grow up with cats. My mum had been badly scratched by one when she was a child and so held a deep fear of them. When on holiday once, a cat from a neighbouring cottage jumped in through the open window near to where my mum was standing ironing. That was the first time I actually saw someone freeze in total fear. It was also the first time I saw my mother display her amazing ventriloquist skills as she managed to scream at me to get it out without moving her lips, head or any other part of her body!

When I left home and moved into my first flat, I had absolutely no intentions of getting myself a pet – be that a cat, dog or even a hamster! The Masters of the Feline World however, had other ideas on that one as I soon found out.

I was dating a young chap and had been invited to his parents for dinner. Upon our arrival, we discovered that his dad had rescued some kittens from a farmer who was planning to dispose of them. I quickly dumped my handbag and scooped up about three kittens for cuddles. One in particular seemed to take a shine to me and promptly fell asleep in my arms. She stayed there until dinner was ready. When I placed her on the floor, she curled up on my feet and didn’t move until I had finished eating and picked her back up again.

When the time came for me to go home, this little lady was left locked in the lounge to ensure she didn’t escape out of the house. My boyfriend’s kid sister didn’t realise this however and, upon hearing scratching at the lounge door, opened it and released a certain tiny ball of tabby fur to come haring down the hallway at full pelt before skidding to a halt at my feet. She looked up at me with expectation, almost as though she was saying “I go where you go. I’m keeping you.”

My boyfriend’s mother laughed and said “I think you’ve just gotten yourself a kitten!” Ten minutes later I was walking to the bus-stop with kitten in a box, a bag of cat food and litter and absolutely no idea on how one took care of a cat!

Well, I must have done something right because she lived to the ripe old age of seventeen. And her name? She was called Sukie.

Since then, I have had a number of cats. Sadly, they don’t live as long as we do and it is always heart-breaking when they leave and move on. I try to be pragmatic and think that their departure allows me to give a home to a new cat that may not, otherwise, be so fortunate to be loved and cared for. The majority of my cats have been directly from rescues or via someone who has contacted a rescue due to having strays in their gardens.

At this time, Moggy Towers is owned by five cats. Four came from rescues, and one was re-homed. I will confess that keeping only five is very difficult as I have a good friend who runs a home rescue. She has so many poor, unfortunate, creatures come in to her almost daily and I want to give them all a home. Mr Mogs has had to be the voice of reason on more than one occasion.

Our eldest is Princess Moo Moo and she is eleven. She was re-homed with us approximately five years ago and she came with the name! Sadly, she doesn’t get on very well with other cats and so she has taken over the upstairs area of Moggy Towers. She is very beautiful, very regal and very feisty! Truly deserving of her HRH title. Moo Moo is also my little helper when I am writing. My study is upstairs and she will come in with me when I’m working. Her idea of ‘helping’, I should add, is walking across my desk, standing on the keyboard and swiping her big fluffy tail in my face!

Next in line is Abby and McGee. These are my two black rescue babies. They’re not in any way related although, they are so identical to look at, you would be forgiven for thinking they were. They are both seven years old. We had Abby first and decided to get her a chum to play with. We went back to the rescue we’d gotten her from and said “We’ll have the youngest cat you have that has been here the longest.” We were not surprised to find ourselves with another black cat as sadly, they are always overlooked when people take in rescue animals. I really don’t understand why as they are the most loving and affectionate creatures. Both of ours crave cuddles and affection and really are adorable.

           

The two Moggy babies are Donald, three years old, and Tony, two years old. Both of these came from my friend Sally who runs the home rescue. Donald was recused from a school playground when he was five weeks old. Tony’s mummy arrived at the rescue heavily pregnant and gave birth a few days later.

                        
        

While they all have their own personalities, the boys seem to have cornered the market for being little characters. McGee gives high-fives and fist bumps, Donald will sit and hold a conversation with you while Tony likes to lie across my shoulders as I walk around the house.

For me, my home would feel very empty without my little feline companions. They’re loving, affectionate, funny and entertaining. I cannot ever see a day when I don’t have a cat in my life. They are truly awesome creatures and, for that reason, there will always be at least one cat in all of my books.

                  

About the Author:

Kiltie grew up in Scotland, Glasgow to be precise. A very unique city with a very unique way of looking at life. When she was old enough to do so, she moved to London and then, after several years of obtaining interesting experiences – which are finding their way into her writing – she moved up to the Midlands.

She currently lives in Staffordshire with five cats and one husband. The cats kindly allow her and her husband to share their house on the condition they keeps paying the mortgage!

Her little home is known as Moggy Towers, even though despite having plenty of moggies, there are no towers!

She loves reading, watching movies, and visiting old castles. She really dislikes going to the gym!

Her biggest desire is that one day she can give up the day job and write her stories for a living.

Kiltie first began writing ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’ over ten years ago. The project was shelved on Chapter Seventeen as she felt the story wasn’t flowing as she would like it to.

In her own words “The images in my head would not come out of my fingers!” Fast forward to November 2016 when, having finished reading Lizzie’s Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow, she read more about the author and was inspired with how Christie herself came to be a best-selling author.

In that thunderbolt moment, Kiltie knew – with a deep certainty – that she needed to reacquaint herself with ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’ and begin writing again. She did this in January 2017 and found the words flowed faster than she could type them. Finally, the time was right for her to write her novel.

Her determination to finish what she had started all those years ago was absolute and the first draft was completed on Sunday 16th April 2017.

Since beginning to write again, the ideas have not stopped flowing. She has begun typing up her second book, ‘Of All the Unlikely Places’, and book three (not yet titled) has been worked out and is waiting in the wings for its turn in the spotlight.

She currently has a further ten plots and ideas stored in her file (it’s costing a fortune in USB drives as each story has its own memory stick!) and the ideas still keep on coming.

She now lives her life around the following three quotes:

“I love having weird dreams, they’re great fodder for book plots!”
“Why wait for your ship to come in when you can swim out to meet it?”
“Old enough to know better, young enough not to care!”

 

Giveaway – Win a £40 / $40 Amazon Voucher

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Thank you to Kiltie Jackson for being a guest on my blog today! It was truly an honour!

Preorder a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

For more information on Kiltie Jackson visit her website at: kiltiejackson.com

or follow her on Twitter at:@KiltieJackson

 

#GuestPost
Ours is the Winter by Laurie Ellingham
@LaurieEllingham @rararesources

 

Synopsis:

Journeying across the Arctic, their pasts are about to catch up with them.

Erica, Molly and Noah are embarking on the challenge of a lifetime, driving Siberian huskies across the frozen wilderness of the Arctic. Cut off from the world and their loved ones and thrown together under gruelling conditions, it isn’t long before the cracks start to show.

Erica has it all. A loving husband, a successful career and the most adorable baby daughter. But Erica has been living a double life, and as she nears her fortieth birthday her lies threaten to come crashing down.

Molly was on her way to stardom. But when her brother died, so did her dreams of becoming an Olympic champion.  Consumed by rage and grief, she has shut out everyone around her, but now she’s about to learn that comfort can come from the most unexpected places.

Noah has a darkness inside him and is hounded by nightmares from his past. Tortured, trapped and struggling to save his fractured relationship, he knows this journey is not going to help, but try telling his girlfriend that.

As their lives and lies become ever more entwined, it becomes clear that in the frozen wilds there is nowhere to hide.

 

Check out the Trailer for Ours is Winter Here:

 

 

About the Author:

Laurie Ellingham lives on the Suffolk/Essex border with her two children, husband, and cockerpoo Rodney. She has a First Class honours degree in Psychology and a background in Public relations, but her main love is writing and disappearing into the fictional world of her characters, preferably with a large coffee and a Twix (or two) to hand.

 

Thank you to Laurie Ellingham for being a guest on my blog today! It was truly an honour!

Preorder a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from the following link!

For more information on Laurie Ellingham visit her on Facebook at: LaurieEllinghamAuthor

or follow her on Twitter at@LaurieEllingham

#BookReview #Q&A
The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan
@KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks

#BookReview #Q&A The Christmas Secret by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooksTitle: The Christmas Secret

Author: Karen Swan

Published by Pan Macmillan on November 4, 2017

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 478

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

They say that behind every great man, there’s a great woman, and behind London’s most powerful leaders, there stands only one — Alex Hyde, Business Coach par excellence. She’s the woman they turn to for advice and strategy when the pressure gets too much.

So when she gets a call from an esteemed whisky company in Scotland asking for her services it’s business as usual. Only, she’s never met anyone like Lochlan Burr before. CEO of Kentallen Distilleries, he’s also the son and heir of the company’s founder. He’s a maverick, an enigma, a renegade, and Alex needs to get inside his head before he brings the company to its knees. But as she tasks herself with finding a way in, she finds she’s the one being maneuvered; for once, she isn’t in control. And when she stumbles across a chance discovery that changes everything, she’s suddenly not so sure she should be.


Review:

Absorbing, enthralling, and positively addictive!

In this latest novel by Swan she sweeps us away to Isle of Islay where the people are the salt of the earth, the terrain is rugged, the peat is unique, and the whisky is smoky, smooth, and plentiful!

The prose is remarkably well turned and fluid. The characters are unique, flawed, eccentric, and lovable. And the story is an exceptionally compelling tale about life, loss, grief, war, familial dynamics, friendship, forgiveness, courage, community, happiness, love, and good Scotch.  

Alternating between the past and the present, The Christmas Secret has it all. It’s humorous and lighthearted, emotional and heartbreaking, mysterious and sweet. It grabs you from the very first page and with its wonderfully blended storyline of historical facts, snappy fiction, and delightful romance it’s truly the perfect holiday treat! 

If you haven’t had a chance to read my reviews for some of Karen Swan’s previous titles be sure to check them out here:

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

 

And now a little Q&A with Karen Swan:

The Christmas Secret is set mainly in Islay, Scotland. Prior to writing the novel did this locale have any personal significance for you?

Yes, my father is Scottish so I have spent much of my life in the Highlands and I love it: I was married there, my first born was christened there; it’s very much a part of me and I identify strongly as being of Scottish blood; ‘Swan’ is actually a shortening of my maiden name MacSwan MacLeod. Also, my father knows the Robertson family, whose grandfather, Sergeant Malcolm MacNeill, had the grim task of identifying the bodies of the soldiers washed ashore after the American troopship Tuscania sank. It was a devastating incident for such a tiny, rural community to have the war literally wash up on their sands like that, and tragically it was compounded just a few months later when another American troop carrier, the Otranto, sank in a collision with its own convoy just off Islay’s shores. The Tuscania tragedy was the single largest loss of American lives in one day since the Civil War and was met with national dismay back home. The centenary anniversary is coming up for both events so it felt like an opportunity to remember those who perished.

In the Christmas Secret, as well as some of your other novels, you interweave a historical event, in this case the tragic sinking of the SS Tuscania, with contemporary fiction. Do you find this harder or easier to write than your novels that are purely fictional?

I’m increasingly interested in incorporating a historical element in my stories, for it adds weight but also pathos too. It does make it more complicated though, in this case ridiculously so, as I chose to reveal the backstory through a variety of different sources and characters all of which involved different research and tones of voice. Partly I did this because I wanted the impact of what happened to be spelled out in three-hundred and sixty degrees; it also fractured the telling of the event for the reader, giving a haunting, dream-like quality to the story. I asked myself several times over the course of writing it, whether it was strictly necessary to devote some much time and energy to this thread and those characters, but I think the closing sentences of the epilogue rather sum up why it had to be done. They brought me to tears.

The Christmas Secret is a beautiful story about small-island life, love, forgiveness, community, and whisky, but Is there any sub-plot or chapter that you had to edit out because of the flow that you really wish you could have kept in?

Funnily enough, it wasn’t a matter of cutting anything out but rather, having to refrain from putting too much in. I would have liked to go in closer with some of the characters in the back-story but I had to write very lightly, taking care not to make anything too obvious or heavy-handed. The historical story could easily have overshadowed the present day story if I wasn’t careful and I had to constantly remind myself that it was there to underpin and explain the main action, not overwhelm it.

In The Christmas Secret and all your previous novels you have a strong, independent female protagonist that is often fashion savvy. Do you do this consciously or unconsciously based on your own success as a fashion editor?

Yes, I think I do really. Although I’ve moved on from that world, I still believe that fashion and how we present ourselves is an incredibly – and increasingly – important tool in how we navigate our lives. I tend to use a good sense of style as evidence of an ordered, urban, sophisticated life.

In The Christmas Secret and your previous novels you always have incredible, memorable secondary characters, such as Callum and Louise. Would you ever consider writing a novel featuring one of these characters in the lead?

I would love to, not least because sometimes – not always – I even prefer them to the main characters. There’s a little more freedom that comes with the support cast – they don’t need to be as well-behaved, or even as likeable. I think if I were to do that, it would be with Kitty in The Perfect Present. I took her very much to my heart.

In the past you have written one sequel that I know of, Summer at Tiffany’s which was the sequel to Christmas at Tiffany’s. Do you think we might see more sequels in the future or do you prefer to create new characters and fresh storylines?

It was an interesting exercise writing a sequel to Christmas At Tiffanys, not least because those characters really became very beloved to my readers and it was lovely to revisit them again. The tricky thing for my genre, however, is that the core of my stories is not the actual plot mystery but the romantic element between the characters; I really care about whether their love story feels genuine and authentic and that’s the rub: for a reader to want to turn the pages, a story must be compelling, which means creating tension and conflict; no-one wants to spend 300 pages reading about other peoples’ perfect happiness. But in order to create that necessary tension, I would have to dismantle the very relationship I had spent the previous book building up, and to me, that risks falling into ‘soap opera’ territory. If my books could be based around my characters’ jobs, rather than their love lives, it would be an enticing prospect, not least because I find most of their jobs fascinating: Flora Sykes, the fine art agent for example? She could be my equivalent to Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon! Why not? I can see it!

 

As many of you already know I am a huge fan of Karen Swan and it’s an enormous honour to have her participate in a Q&A for this blog. I also must thank PGC for their continued support and for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest outside Sussex, England, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs.

An internationally bestselling author, her numerous books include The Rome Affair, The Paris Secret, Christmas Under the Stars, and The Christmas Secret. 

Photograph by Alexander James

 

And if you live in the GTA don’t miss your opportunity to attend a “Night with Karen Swan” hosted by Publishers Group Canada.

 

© Alexander James

OAKVILLE, ON
Tuesday, November 14 • 7:00 PM
An Evening with Karen Swan • Oakville Public Library
Central Branch • Tickets on sale now

KITCHENER, ON
Wednesday, November 15 • 7:00 PM
An Evening with Karen Swan • Kitchener Public Library
85 Queen Branch • Registration required

WHITBY, ON
Thursday, November 16 • 7:00 PM
An Evening with Karen Swan • Whitby Public Library
Central Branch • Registration required

 

For more information on a “Night with Karen Swan” check out the events newsletter HERE

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: