Sorry, sorry, sorry!! (Reading, writing and reviewing update)

I had intended on getting this blog up to scratch, whacking it out of the court with Nanowrimo (or as I call it ‘be a lunatic and try to get close to one draft of your novel in one month), and to read the books that I know I should have read. I had hoped to get my picks of the year at a stage where I’ve read all the books I’ve seen reviews for and CRAVED over the year and so can definitely say that there’s a chance I’m being representative. Instead I’ve found myself restless, unable to commit, and, in the last week with an earache that had me up most mornings leaning my head against anything I’d heated up on the cover, against radiators, that sort of thing (turned out it wasn’t an earache but a toothache and I had a root canal that was bliss because I knew the pain was ending-the dentist thought I was weird!)

Anyhoo, I now have a ‘tbr’ list. No, not to be read, but actually ‘to be reviewed.’ I’m way behind on my reviews (9 and rising) and my reading (11 books on Netgalley, four outside of that and then all my ‘I need to read by the end of December ones.’ (Let’s just forget that theer’s a KIndle full of ‘others,’ shall we?;)

On the writing front. So you might know I have one book out: It Started With a Snub. I have a second book written, the first of the Abbeyglen series called Pushing Her luck, about a lottery winner who tries to ‘fix’ her village, not really  taking into account the people actually living in it!  Now as I said it’s finished, but there is a lottttt to be done with it, I feel I need to get it sparklier, more lively and nobody in the outside world will see it until I know it’s something I’d covet myself.

I am 30,000 words into new book (book 2 of The Abbeyglen series) where one of the characters that was MIA in the first of this series, is taking over and making life hell for all around her, including a very spritely Bex from book 1 (my favourite character, if I’m honest). Here I’m writing as if I am reading, being surprised as I go along by some of the characters going in different directions to those I’d planned for them to go in and am much happier with it than the first book (so will be going  back to the drawing board). In this book I’ve only 10K from Nano, but I’ll get back to that tonight!)

So, just to let you know where I am book wise- First off I’m reading this

trustme

I have to admit this is totally different to what I expected. I’m not far in, only about 8%, but already it seems to be a mixture of very light and that I expected it to be, somewhere on the dark spectrum. It started out with a good old fashioned thunderstorm as the protagonist drives home, and pretty much had me from there, although the arrival of a very chick kitty character has thrown me, but in a  good way, methinks!

and this

noone

This is sooo good. As you can see, it says ‘the most hilarious comedy you’ll read this Christmas’ and actually, I think they might be right! It’s the side characters that are making it for me, inappropriate without being crude with mix ups and muddling that remind you of something along the lines of ‘This Years Love’ meets ‘Love Actually.’ Brilliant!

and have just finished this:

reachforthestars

(Now out as I’m Still Standing!) I’m afraid I saw Bookouture, and Irish comedy and the cover and jumped a bit too fast for this one. I love that it’s set in Dublin, with excellent settings, but with a cover like that I think I thought it might be a bit sharper and braver than it is, it’s more of a really nice descriptive romantic comedy. It’s somewhat telling for me that with only ten percent to go I switched over to something else, but did go back after a while, and I do enjoy the author’s writing and I think most will love it.

and then after that I’ll get to this

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Next up pretty much has to be Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite , basically I’ve been holding onto it for so long, as I’d read amazing reviews, but ones that had told me it would make me cry again (review for The darkest lies is here), and I’ve been tired lately and wasn’t ready for it. But now I am! (I hope!)

 

Sorry that this is so rough and ready but is just I read so many epic blogs and hate that I’m letting people down trying to be blogger AND writer (and of course Mammy, which is my day, night and 24 hour job (and I do adore it!)). Hope you’re all doing well, if you’d like you can talk about anything, anything at all in the comments! x

 

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Cover reveal: Trouble Rides a Horse by Debra Holt

Today I’m very pleased to bring you the cover for ‘Trouble Rides a Horse’ by Debra Holt!

What they say:

 Erin McKenzie knew what she wanted. To write and publish her novel. First, she had to take an assignment from her editor…write an expose’ of an online dating service and its clients…RopeARancher.com. How hard could it be to find a lonely rancher tired of just talking to his cows all day?  That changes when she finds herself rescued by a tall, sexy, cowboy…a true man of few words. 

 

The rancher has no time for city females, much less those who end up on his doorstep claiming she had met him online and was there to see if they were ‘compatible.’  It wasn’t too hard to figure out his matchmaking sister had been the one to go online and find him a candidate for a wife.  He should send the redhead spitfire packing but something made him come up with another plan.  He would teach her a lesson first.  He would show her how hard it would be to be a real rancher’s wife and send her running away on the first day. 

 

Erin didn’t run.  Travis didn’t back down. They faced off in their own showdown of wills and undeniable attraction. But what would happen if Travis found out the truth of why she was really on his doorstep? What happens when Erin realizes that she doesn’t yearn for the big city lights any longer but unending vistas beside a cowboy who can’t abide liars? The story she was sent to write might not have a happy ending after all. 

And now for the cover. Just going to unwrap this …

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 thumbnail_DebraHolt-TroubleRidesaHorse-CRNewsfeedPeekOkay, got it!! (Oh that horse … )

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Please note that by clicking on the cover image you can ADD TO GOODREADS!

Meet Debra Holt 

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Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers. Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most. She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and planning high-end weddings (ah, romance!). 

 When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure. She read her first romance…Janet Dailey’s Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary romances, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles…and sighs…to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s. 

Connect with Debra

Publisher: Burnett Young Books 

Website: www.debraholtbooks.com 

Goodreads 

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon Author page

 

Brought to you by Karan & Co author solutions

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Book Trailer Reveal: Follow the Snowflakes by Angelina Kerner

Following on from the cover reveal for Follow The Snowflakes by Angelina Kerner (see cover below), today I’m so pleased to be part of the reveal for the lovely book trailer for the same book.

Follow the Snowflakes front cover

Author Name: Angelina Kerner

Book Title: Follow the Snowflakes: A Christmas Novella

Date Published: December 15, 2017

Genre: Chick-lit, contemporary romance

What they say:

At 28, it’s bad to be single. After four years of relationship struggles, Cat is ready to try anything. 

That’s when her friend tells her about her class’ Dear Santa letters. One little boy asked for a new mommy, and she suggests Cat meets the kid’s dad, just to see where things go. Cat figures it can’t hurt…until she meets a stranger in the midst of a car accident. The man is handsome with a sad look in his eyes. He still wears a wedding band and she’s not sure his heart’s available, even if he makes her heart race. But, maybe he’s a widower? Cat wonders if she should resign herself to being an old maid, or whether she could possibly be the answer to a little boy’s Christmas wish, unless there’s a third option – a future with the stranger.  

Add to Goodreads

Pre-order Links:

Amazon

Kobo 

And now for the Book Trailer (it’s very lovely!!) View it here

About the author

thumbnail_Angelina Kerner

Angelina Kerner’s writing career started at a young age when she discovered that her creativity could be channeled through a bit of ink and paper.

She moved around during her younger years from Novosibirsk and Kaluga Russia to finally settle in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. This startling contrast between the fierce snow of Siberia and the bright sun of the American West is a crucial source of inspiration and humility: the forces of people is to be found not only in their spirits, but in their land too.

Angelina’s curiosity in the human condition led her to pursue courses in psychology and blossomed into a master’s degree in Topographical science. It was with a burning fire that she rejected the status quo offered to her generation, and after many meaningless jobs, she decided that writing could be the canvas in which she could express this dichotomy. While working full time behind counters and registers, she persisted in supporting her family, her full-time coursework, and her creative dreams.

She dared to believe in her talents, and most importantly, in her ability to make a real mark on this world.

Like any creative soul, there was time for doubts, self-loathing, and loneliness, but never fear. She worked on countless experimental narratives, universes, genres, until her voice crystallized into her first published narrative. She is now the author of Deity’s Soulmate and Seven Hours: Challenge Accepted. Her next project involves a competition for a beautiful phoenix. Angelina currently divides her time between her family, work, writing, lots of cats, and two celestial dragons.

Author Links:

Website  (http://www.kernerangelina.com/)

Facebook

Twitter  (@KernerAngelina)

Blog  https://kernerangelina.live/

Pinterest

Goodreads

Brought to you via

Shanannigans 
(Owner/ Blogger/ Book Promotor Extraordinaire)

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Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

midnightLength: 319 pages

Please note that the book cover leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: When a bookshop patron commits suicide, it’s his favorite store clerk who must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel.

Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has inherited his meagre worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?

As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long-buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left. Bedazzling, addictive, and wildly clever, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a heart-pounding mystery that perfectly captures the intellect and eccentricity of the bookstore milieu.

The review: So I actually found this book via Claire Heuston over at Art and Soul (an epic book and baking blog, see review here  and, having read the blurb, was keen to get over to Netgalley to request (Thanks so much to Cornerstone and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review!)

Now Claire’s review basically told me that it was a beautiful book, with a fabulous bookstore in it that didn’t feature quite enough, with the story moving away from this fantastic setting to investigate a murder that had happened in the protagonist, Lydia’s life. She found this to be a slight disappointment and I was slightly disappointed when she said this, but decided that maybe this element would be different for me. Unfortunately not, although it didn’t always take away from the book.

It is a book of two paths, the first, the story of Joey, who sadly committed suicide at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. His suicide fully took hold of me, his climb to his death, with the sound of fluttering pages and falling books echoing around a bookstore that oozed character adding to the intrigue as to what was going on. Joey is a Bookfrog, one of many characters that enter the bookstore solely for somewhere to be, and my heart went out to him and wished for him to be stronger, and less beaten down by life.

We meet Lydia, one of the only people in Joey’s life, without being his actual person, and we soon realise she has some monstrous skeletons in her closet. Lydia starts looking into Joey’s death, and it brings her back to her own past, as we find out the horror she had to face as a child int he presence of ‘Hammerman’. There’s a number of characters about, some lovely, some tougher. I found Lydia to be overdramatic at times, even given her circumstances, and so I sometimes struggled.

We come to know her estranged childhood friend and father, who have also been affected by the goings on of times past. Her past itself, when revealed, is tough going, not by any means the toughest I’ve read by a longshot, but you’re so immersed in it and so filled with the sensation of the darkness and being enshrouded by snow, that it was one of the more headachy reads I’ve read recently, causing me to blink a few times on finishing, as if I’d just woken up, or stepped into the light myself. The way everything was put together in the end slightly perplexed me at times, and there was some overdramaticness on Lydia’s part in relation to her father especially.

It’s a tough book to review, because I was incredulous at some things that happened in terms of coincidences, and yet was so taken by some of the storytelling, settings and beauty of it all that it made me want to make people read just so they could experience it too, in particular the opening.

Rating: 4/5

 

 

EXCERPT, COVER REVEAL and GIVEAWAY: DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES by Holly Seddon

I am beyond delighted to share a brilliant, bite size excerpt for the paperback edition of Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon, which is available on the 4th January 2018, and also to reveal its brilliant cover AND to let you be in with a chance to win a signed copy!!!! COVER IMAGE LEADS TO A UNIVERSAL AMAZON BUY LINK FOR THE PAPERBACK.

First though, What They Say:

Robin and Sarah weren’t the closest of twins. They weren’t even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another. 

Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches – watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn’t…

And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted – the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she’s just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can’t be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.

But Sarah isn’t the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship…

 

The Excerpt: Present day ROBIN

Robin drags in the stuffy air with thin breaths, puffs it out quickly. Dust dances in the foot of a sunbeam. Robin tries not to imagine those tiny specks filling her lungs, weighing her down.

Outside, the Manchester pavement is grey and wet but the air has a freshness, a flirtation with spring. Robin won’t feel this. She won’t let the damp tingle her skin. It won’t slowly sink into the cotton of her faded black T-shirt.

A bus rushes past the window, spraying the front of her house and its nearest neighbours with a burst of puddle water temporarily turned into surf. But Robin doesn’t see this. She only hears the gush and the disappointment of the woman whose jeans got ‘fucking soaked‘.

Robin did not go out yesterday and she will not leave her house today. Bar fire or flood, she’ll still be inside tomorrow. Just as she has been inside for these last years. Until a few weeks ago, everything in Robin’s world had been fine and safe. A cosy shell. She spends her days clocking up the recommended ten thousand steps a day on her pedometer, watching television, lifting a metal graveyard of weights and aimlessly searching the internet.

Robin is careful and controlled. She only answers her door by prior appointment. Online groceries arriving outside of designated slots get lumped back to the depot by irritated drivers. Unexpected parcels are unclaimed. There is an election soon, but Robin is not interested in discussing politics with earnest enthusiasts in bad suits shuffling on her doorstep.

Someone is knocking on her door right now. They were polite at first but now they’re building to a crescendo of frustration. Robin stares forward at the television in grim determination, jaw jutting ahead. The screen is filled with bright colours and mild voices. Television for toddlers. The minutes are filled with stories of triumph in simple tasks, of helping friends or learning a cheerful new skill. There is no baddie, there is no guilt or fear. Everyone is happy.

As the knocks grow a little more frantic, Robin deliberately takes a deep breath. She focuses on her chest filling and expanding and the slow seeping of air back out between her teeth. Still she stares doggedly at the screen.

 

And now for the cover (remember it leads to an Amazon buy link for the paperback of the book out 4th January 2018!)!!

DCYE PB cover high res

Isn’t it great? Now, if you can’t wait for the paperback release, you can buy the Kindle edition here!

TO WIN A SIGNED COPY JUST ENTER THE GIVEAWAY  here

Best of Luck!!

About the author

Holly Seddon bw

Holly Seddon is a full time writer, living slap bang in the middle of Amsterdam with her husband James and a house full of children and pets. Holly has written for newspapers, websites and magazines since her early 20s after growing up in the English countryside, obsessed with music and books. 

Her first novel TRY NOT TO BREATHE was published worldwide in 2016 and became a national and international bestseller. 

Her second novel DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES was published in July 2017. 

Holly’s website

Holly on Facebook

Holly on Goodreads

 

Blog Tour #Bookreview Stuck With You by Anna Premoli @ariafiction

Today I’m so happy to be part of The Stuck with You blog tour!

Stuck with you3

Length: 356 pages

As always the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link

Buy links 

Amazon 

Kobo

iBooks

Google Play

Anna’s previous books, LOVE TO HATE YOU, YOU DRIVE ME CRAZY and UNTIL LOVE DO US PART are out now! Buy them here  

What they say: A smart, romantic comedy about how finding The One doesn’t always have to be love at first sight…  

Lavinia Ferrari is in her fifth year at Bocconi University where she studies Economics when she is introduced to a new project that will guarantee her extra credits. She’s intrigued… but it means the class must team up with students from the Computer Engineering course. Lavinia has absolutely no interest in the project, and to top things off, she’s paired with Seb Marconi who is less than enthusiastic. 

When the work begins, her friends seem to be making great progress with their partners, but Lavinia isn’t having the same luck… Seb is making it quite clear that he’s not interested in the project, or Lavinia, fuelling her frustration. 

She has no choice – they’re stuck in this, and besides, she won’t receive her extra credits unless they work together. Lavinia must come up with a way to convince the guy who drives her crazy to put the work in… but how? 

From the author of LOVE TO HATE YOU, YOU DRIVE ME CRAZY and UNTIL LOVE DO US PART. 

The Review: I have to start by making you scroll back up to look at that gorgeous cover.  I knew from the second I saw both the cover and the blurb that I was going to enjoy this.

Lavinia Ferrari is a yes woman. She’s out to please, to keep the peace, in particular in relation to her parents, two ambitious individuals who are taking the fact that her sister has decided not to take it any more out on her. I have to say I loved her family, who were about as pushy as pushy could be, but in a definite ‘not taking no for an answer’ way. As a result Lavina, our protagonist, is thrown into Economics, which she navigates with her two friends, Giada and Alessandra.

I suppose this is the part I should really talk about Lavinia. It took me some time to warm to her, as I found her to be a tad ‘me’ inclined, and constantly reminding us just how much she was always out to please others. I find when you’re constantly told how great a character is, how selfless etc, you start to find yourself edging in another direction. I also found her to be a tad over dramatic on many things, but that could most definitely be me. Saying that I found she grew on me as the book went on, possibly thanks to the amazing Seb, the partner she’s paired with for a project that is regularly sold as being more of a social experiment than a business endevour.

Being married to a computer scientist, and, to be honest being a bit of a nerd myself, I enjoyed their interactions, given that Seb has issues with everyday social norms, and I loved his quotes and tee-short slogans (I’d worked a fair few of them out too!). I adored his family when we met them and smiled and nodded along on many occasions at their excitement at Lavinia’s appearance. For me the second half of the book was where it came into its own and I suddenly warmed to and really enjoyed Lavinia, as warm (or icy in some cases!), witty banter was exchanged between the two (in particular their text messaging was excellent!)

The romance in the book, the heat, was perfection and I read the whole thing in one night which says it all really! It’s not a fast paced book, and is dialogue heavy, but then that’s generally what I go for. All in all a very enjoyable read. Thanks so much to Aria for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

 

Author bio 

 Anna Premoli(1)

Anna Premoli is a bestselling author in Italy. She began writing to relieve stress while working as a financial consultant for a private bank. Her previous novel, Love to Hate You won the Bancarella prize in 2013. 

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 Website: www.ariafiction.com 

Facebook: @ariafiction 

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From Manhattan with love 3: Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

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Length: 352 pages

As always the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

Hopeless romantic Eva Jordan loves everything about Christmas. Even if she is spending it alone housesitting a spectacular Fifth Avenue apartment. What she didn’t expect was to find the penthouse still occupied by its gorgeous–and mysterious–owner.

Bestselling crime writer Lucas Blade is having the nightmare before Christmas. With a deadline and the anniversary of his wife’s death looming, he’s isolated himself in his penthouse with only his grief for company. But when the blizzard of the century leaves Eva snowbound in his apartment, Lucas starts to open up to the magic she brings…This Christmas, is Lucas finally ready to trust that happily-ever-afters do exist?
The review: At the end of the last book I read by Sarah Morgan I have to admit I was a little bit worried. I was afraid I was getting too old, or perhaps too cynical or something for Sarah Morgan’s gorgeous books, and by that reasoning all of chick lit (I know, drama queen!). This made me hold off on reading this for some time, which was a pity! I am thrilled to say this book brought me back to the magic and sparkle that have always surrounded me as I swallowed her work, book by book (maybe I was coming down with something last time?!)

Anyhoo the book begins with a lovely foreword by Ms. Morgan, that readied me for the off and made me smile and get comfy. Miracle on 5th Avenue follows the same format as before (if it ain’t broke, etc, etc!), with ingenious quotes from each of the characters starting us out. I remembered the characters straight away and listened as Paige and Eva discussed a Christmas proposal as part of their business Urban Genie. Their business and everything surrounding the business was so interesting and I loved their dedication and excitement (it was more professional than I remembered last time too). What was even better, though, was the comedy and the great atmosphere that came when the friends were together, with Eva, Paige and Frankie constantly making me smile.

Eva was working on decorating a writer’s (yes!) apartment for Christmas while he was away. The only thing is, he’s not away, he’s hiding out from his family, who are worried about him, as he struggles with writer’s block for a book that he hasn’t begun which is due imminently. I loved everything about Lucas’ story. I loved that he was a horror writer, which gave an unexpected layer of darkness that fit well into a warm, sparkling book such as this. I could picture him straight away, and warmed quickly to his indifferent, sometimes seemingly cold (I knew that wasn’t really him!) interior, that spilled out when he just wanted to get writing (we’ve all been there!) Their meeting was perfection although I did wonder how it was going to spin out into the length of a book. Enter a storm and a number of issues that meant that everything had to happen as I hoped it would (most entrancing romance and hottest chemistry I’ve read in some time) !

So to recap: Excellent characters, realistic scenarios that forced events to unfold (yes they could happen!), Lucas’ dark writing and romantic past, Ms. Morgan’s trademark descriptions that invoked both magic and wonder, comedy that was bang on the mark, gorgeous romance and sizzling, phenomenal chemistry made for one unputdownable, satisfying book.

Thanks (a million!) to Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review. By the way I read this in one night and it was in February, sitting by the fire as it was frosty outside. Apologies for not posting before now-it may be a Christmas read but Christmas doesn’t take over the full book, most is within Lucas’ apartment. Saying that I’d definitely read as a Christmas one as I can, just because, you know, it’s Sarah Morgan! Also can totally be read as a standalone. And sorry for the gushing but this book was like coming home for me.
Rating:5/5