Sunday 27 September 2015

I'm SO excited to reveal the cover for Julia Williams new book Make A Christmas Wish

Last Christmas, when Livvy was knocked down in the supermarket car park, she certainly wasn’t ready to actually be dead! For months now she’s floated on the edge of the afterlife, generally making a nuisance of herself.

And she’s not ready to go just yet! She’s furious about the new woman in her husband’s life and she’s worried about her beloved son who doesn’t seem to be adjusting to life without her at all.

This Christmas, Livvy is given one last magical chance to make everything right. Will she take it and give her family the perfect Christmas?


Author bio:

Julia has always made up stories in her head, and until recently she thought everyone else did too. She grew up in London, one of eight children, including a twin sister. She married Dave, a dentist, in 1989, and they have four daughters. After the birth of the second Julia decided to try her hand at writing. Since then she has written 8 hugely popular novels, selling over a quarter of a million copies in the UK alone, and hitting the Sunday Times bestseller list.

Thursday 24 September 2015

A Parcel for Anna Browne by Miranda Dickinson Blog Tour

Today it's my turn to host the Blog Tour for A Parcel for Anna Browne and today is a special day as it's publication day!!

I have chosen to give you an excerpt of the first chapter from this book, as I must confess, I haven't finished it yet! I hope it gives you a taster of Miranda's 7th book and having read all of her others, I hope this one proves to be just as good as the others!

Enjoy Chapter One of A Parcel for Anna Browne...........

The UPS deliveryman waited in line, checking his watch. It had been a long day already and he still had two hours of his shift remaining. Traffic was backed up two miles out of the city on the main arteries and it was only going to get worse as the weekend rush began. He would be late – as he was nearly every Friday evening. His wife would not be happy. Neither would his kid, waiting for Daddy to come home and try out his new football in the back garden. Like he’d promised . . .
Ahead of him a line of three people waited not so patiently to receive security passes. They were red-faced and rude, loudly voicing their annoyance as a young receptionist did her best to remain affable. Too many people in this city were willing to engage their mouths before their brains, the deliveryman concluded. God forbid he should ever have to work in a city building. Trapped inside steel walls, breathing everyone else’s recycled air, office politics as unforgiving as the air con – that wasn’t the life for him. Visiting them on his round was bad enough. The sense of relief he felt climbing back into his delivery van confirmed the rightness of his career choice. At least he could drive away from places like these, even if it was to visit identical buildings somewhere else in the city.
He glanced up at the large atrium, rising six storeys to a domed glass ceiling, the imposing architecture befitting a national newspaper. Marble floors and mahogany fixtures, subtle uplighting and large brushed-steel planters filled with greenery at the feet of a glass lift, which reminded him of a Roald Dahl story he’d read as a boy. It was the kind of building his brother Warren would kill to enter, with his cheap suit and greedy ambition. Not that the dodgy knock-offs his brother peddled were ever likely to get him into this place. Warren could take the mickey out of him all he liked for being a ‘jumped-up postie’, but it meant he could enter fancy city buildings where his brother would never be admitted. That was something. Smiling to himself a little unkindly, the deliveryman stepped forward as the party ahead of him moved on.
The young woman behind the reception desk apologised for his wait. She had a pretty smile, he thought, the kind that transforms a face when it appears.
‘How can I help you today?’
The deliveryman lifted up a package. ‘I have a parcel . . .’ he checked the label, ‘for Anna Browne?’
The woman’s pale-blue eyes widened. ‘Oh. That’s me.’
Her apparent shock made him grin. In a round made up exclusively of business deliveries to corporate offices, it wasn’t often that somebody was surprised to receive a package.
‘You weren’t expecting anything?’
‘No, not at all.’ She leaned forward a little, lowering her voice. ‘I never get parcels – not here or at home,’ she confided, peering at the package.
‘Must be your lucky day, sweetheart,’ the deliveryman smiled, giving her his handheld device and leaning against the desk while she signed. ‘You have a good day.’ He paused while he debated whether or not to say more, and then went ahead. ‘Hope it’s something nice.’

There have been lots of clues about the gifts Anna has been receiving. I came back from a mini break in Suffolk to these charms in the post!

And there have been lots of clues from Miranda herself on Twitter regarding a fabulous Treasure Hunt competition........

This is going to be such an exciting competition with some fab prizes up for grabs! keep your eyes peeled and don't forget to follow Miranda Dickinson on Twitter to find out more!!

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Reviewer in the Spotlight............

The utterly brilliant Brook Cottage Books have very kindly taken me on as a reviewer since starting my blog and have chosen me to be their Reviewer in the Spotlight this week! Why not take a look and you never know, you might find out something interesting about me!!

Monday 21 September 2015

Rings of Smoke by Diane O'Toole Blog Tour

Erin Fallon is the eldest daughter of an Irish immigrant who took his family to a small town on the Lancashire/Cumbria border for what he believed to be a better life. It was what her mother wanted, but once she got it, it wasn't enough. She had to have more. Leonard Fitch is an eminent neurosurgeon. His mother was never satisfied either, and her constant demands led to his father being killed in a motor accident. Leonard loved his father; he was the only person to treat him with kindness and affection. He hated his mother but could never stand up to her. Tormented and ridiculed throughout his childhood, Leonard swore to exact revenge on womankind in general, but mothers in particular. At a secluded lodge in the depths of Bleazedale Forest, for four years he carries out the most abominable atrocities with impunity. He takes girls on their birthday and keeps them holed up for a full twelve months before killing them and sending their mothers a birthday card with a picture of their beloved little girl, dead and with their severed feet placed either side of their head.


From the very first page, to the very last, this book gave me chills! It starts with the main character Leonard Fitch’s school days and the background as to possibly why he became a serial killer, but as the book goes on it reveals that the relationship with his mother also had a huge impact on his mental state.

The next part of the book tells us of the Fallon family. John Fallen gets a promotion at work and after being constantly nagged by his wife to move to a bigger house, they embark on a new life in a “better” area! But their daughter Erin is very unhappy about the move as she doesn’t want to leave her friends behind. All the while, watching her every move is Leonard Fitch…….

Leonard Fitch is a Neurosurgeon at the local hospital and all his colleagues are very wary of him and believes him to be odd, but because of his status they try to ignore him until one day his Secretary Carole tries to see what he is up to. I am a Medical Secretary and couldn’t imagine working for someone as odd as Leonard Fitch! He would scare the living daylights out of me to just look at him!!

After confiding in a colleague about Fitch’s behaviour, little does Carole know that another member of staff, Heather, has been earwigging. She then tells her boyfriend and they go on a hunt to find out what Fitch is really up to.

Although this book was very gruesome in parts, it also tells the story of families ripped apart by Fitch, the Fallon’s especially.

This is a fabulous story of love and hate and the author describes things in great detail. I had palpitations reading this book, it is such a page turner!! And as I said at the beginning of this review it is gripping from the first page to the very last. The last sentence is still haunting me (no peeking to the back of the book now!!) and I had to read the last two pages a couple of times because I just couldn’t believe what happened! A fantastic ending and I think there may be a sequel coming!!

Utterly brilliant and thank you to Diane O’Toole and Crime Book Club for sending me a copy to review.

Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt Blog Tour 

When Lucy Bagshaw’s life in Boston falls apart, thanks to a scathing editorial written by her famous artist mother, she accepts her half sister Juliet’s invitation to stay with her in a charming seaside village in northern England. Lucy is expecting quaint cottages and cream teas, but instead finds that her sister is an aloof host, the weather is wet, windy, and cold, and her new boss, Alex Kincaid, is a disapproving widower who only hired her as a favour to Juliet.

Despite the invitation she offered, Juliet is startled by the way Lucy catapults into her orderly life. As Juliet faces her own struggles with both her distant mother and her desire for a child, her sister’s irrepressible optimism begins to take hold. With the help of quirky villagers, these hesitant rainy day sisters begin to forge a new understanding…and find in each other the love of family that makes all the difference.


Juliet and her “half sister” Lucy have never been what you would call close. Juliet seems very cold and unfeeling towards Lucy, but poor Lucy doesn’t understand why. This book tells you the story of the two sisters and how they build on their relationship from near total strangers to becoming friends.

Lucy leaves Boston after a relationship breakdown and to flee her interfering, embarrassing mother to start a temporary job as a primary school receptionist back in England and her half sister Juliet offers her the chance to live with her in her B&B for four months.

The story is told from both their perspectives and you can understand why both Juliet and Lucy are the way they are. Juliet just feels like she was never loved or wanted and feels very jealous of Lucy, where as Lucy also feels very let down by their mother, who was an embarrassment when she was at school.

A lovely, sometimes moving story of sisters who overcome difficulties in their relationship to find themselves and to open up barriers and let other people into their lives as well and also to find forgiveness.

I loved this book and would love to read other work by this author.

Thank you to Jenny in Neverland for letting me review this book and to be part of the blog tour.

Sunday 20 September 2015

Jackie Collins RIP

Twelve days ago on 8th September 2015 I went along to the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane with some friends to a book launch for The Santangelos with the fabulous Jackie Collins. Little did we know that we would wake up this morning to the news of her sad and untimely death at the age of 77 to Breast Cancer.

I, along with half the female population, read Jackie's books in my early teens and although I hadn't read all of her books, I was looking forward to reading this one soon. Jackie talked about her next book and also about a biography that was in the pipeline. She still had so much to write about, her death was way too soon.

I feel very privileged to have met her, shook her hand and talked to her about reading her books in the early days! She was feisty, funny, clever, but above all, she filled that room on 8th September with positivity. She told us we should fulfil our dreams and that women are strong and can do whatever we want! 

Jackie, you were a legend and will be sorely missed. May you rest in eternal peace. God Bless xx

Saturday 19 September 2015

The Love Shack by Jane Costello

Life's great when you're 29 years old with a gorgeous girlfriend and fulfilling job. Until you have to move back in with your mum . . .

Dan and Gemma have found their dream first home, but the asking price is the stuff of nightmares. The only way they'll ever save enough for the deposit is by moving in, rent-free, with Dan's mum.

It's a desperate solution, but it's only for six months. And Gemma's determined to 
make it work, no matter how bad things get.

But between Dan's mum's kitchen karaoke, her constant innuendos, irrepressible argumentative streak and - worst of all - her ham and pineapple curries, life back at home would test the patience of two saints. Which Dan and Gemma most definitely are not. 

Then, as they're trying to convince themselves it will all be worth it, Gemma's past comes back to haunt her. And suddenly the foundations of their entire relationship are shaken to their core…


It seems every time I go on holiday I have the latest Jane Costello book to read and this year was no exception! I sat and read this on my sun bed in just over a day!

I have told Jane Costello over on Twitter that I have been caught belly laughing on several occasions reading her books and this book was just the same.

Dan and Gemma live together in a rented flat, but want to buy a house together so to save money they move in with Dan's Mum "temporarily" to save on rent so they can save for a deposit.

Now, if you have read any of Jane's previous books, you will know that things never go to plan and so once they move into Dan's Mum's (Belinda) they soon start to wonder if they have made the right decision.

Belinda is not your common and garden Mother in Law. She is a party animal and manages to mortify Dan on a daily basis! Some of the things she said and did made me cringe, but she was a great character!

I love the character of the Estate Agent Rich (who likes to think he is a big cheese in real estate and God's gift to women!!). He had me laughing out loud on many occasions!

Gemma falls in love with Pebble cottage and badgers Rich to get the cottage by hook or by crook, but you just know that things won't run smoothly, especially as Gemma's ex comes on the scene and blows her feelings about the future sky high!

Another great read by Jane Costello. I have read all her books and eagerly await her new ones every year. 

* * * * *

A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor

In 1912, twenty-year-old Tilly Harper leaves the peace and beauty of her native Lake District for London, to become assistant housemother at Mr. Shaw’s Home for Watercress and Flower Girls. For years, the home has cared for London’s flower girls—orphaned and crippled children living on the grimy streets and selling posies of violets and watercress to survive.

Soon after she arrives, Tilly discovers a diary written by an orphan named Florrie—a young Irish flower girl who died of a broken heart after she and her sister, Rosie, were separated. Moved by Florrie’s pain and all she endured in her brief life, Tilly sets out to discover what happened to Rosie. But the search will not be easy. Full of twists and surprises, it leads the caring and determined young woman into unexpected places, including the depths of her own heart.


People say "Don't judge a book by it's cover" - well I disagree! I loved the cover of this book when I very first saw it and Hazel Gaynor very kindly sent me a copy for a review. 

Not only is the cover gorgeous, but the whole book is just beautiful. The text is like no other book I have read, it is set out spaciously with the title of the book on each page and pictures of flowers at the beginning of each chapter. It is definitely a keeper for my bookshelf!

The book is about a young woman called Tilly Harper who heads to London to become an Assistant Housekeeper in a home for girls who have been orphaned or disabled. They make paper flowers as a way of making money to earn their keep, but the homes are sponsored by a Mr Shaw and his family, who take pity on the girls who have had hard lives in poverty stricken London.

Tilly stumbles across a diary written by a girl called Florrie. She becomes so engrossed in the heartbreaking things Florrie writes in the diary about losing her sister Rosie, that she sets out on a quest to find out what happened to the girls.

The author does an amazing job of bringing the story of Tilly, Florie and Rosie together. The book is written in such an exquisite way as the author tells of how the girls are connected, but things don't always turn out the way you want!

I loved this book and cannot wait to read another by this author, in fact I have already bought the next one! If you read one book this year, make it this one!

* * * * *

About the Author

Hazel Gaynor's 2014 debut novel THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME (William Morrow/Harper Collins) was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller and winner of the 2015 RNA Historical Romantic Novel of the Year award. Her second novel A MEMORY OF VIOLETS was selected by WHSmith Travel as a 'Fresh Talent' title and was also a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

Hazel is one of nine contributing authors to the anthology FALL OF POPPIES - Stories of Love and the Great War, which will be published on 1st March, 2016.

The Island by Victoria Hislop

On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother's past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London. When Alexis decides to visit Crete, however, Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend, and promises that through her she will learn more.

Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone's throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga - Greece's former leper colony. Then she finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that Sofia has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion. She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip...

This year is the 10th anniversary since The Island was first published and I think I have had my copy on my bookshelf for about 8 years! I always meant to pick it up and read it, but it wasn't until my good friend Julie, who has read all of Victoria's books, said that I HAD to read it! So when I went to Turkey in August I thought it was the perfect opportunity to give it a go!

The books starts with Alexis Fielding who decides to go on holiday to Crete (where her mother Sophia comes from), and even though she has never mentioned her childhood or relatives, she gives Alexis a letter to give to an old friend.

When Alexis finds Fotini she hands her the letter and she then starts telling Alexis the story of her ancestors, in particular her Great-Grandmother Eleni who was the first in her family to be sent to Spinalonga, which is an island just off of Crete, where lepers were sent as soon as they were diagnosed with Lepresy to live the rest of their lives.

This is an absolutely beautiful read, the author describes not only the Greek people in great detail, but the places, food, customs etc and I could not put this book down, hence I finished it in a couple of days! 

Although this book is sad, the author doesn't always dwell on this, but writes about how the people who live on Spinalonga just got on with their everyday lives whilst still living with leprosy. Saying that, I did cry like a baby several times!

I have already borrowed this book out, but I can honestly say, I would read it again and again. It is one of my top 10 books of all time and I cannot wait to read more from Victoria Hislop! I can only apologise to the author for having left it so long to read it in the first place!

* * * * * 

River of Souls by Kate Rhodes

Jude Shelley, daughter of a prominent cabinet minister, had her whole life ahead of her until she was attacked and left to drown in the Thames. Miraculously, she survived. A year later, her family ask psychologist Alice Quentin to re-examine the case. 
But then an elderly priest is attacked in Battersea, his body washed up at Westminster Pier. An ancient glass bead is tied to his wrist. 
The river has always demanded sacrifices, and now it seems a killer believes it's calling out for more.
Alice is certain that Jude and her family are hiding something, but unless she can persuade them to share what they know, more victims will drown...


This is the fourth book in the Alice Quentin series and I am such a fan of Kate Rhode's books that I eagerly await her next instalment every time! When this book was being published, Kate told me that she had mentioned me in the acknowledgements of River of Souls!! This absolutely made my day and I can honestly say, this has been the highlight of my blogging journey so far. I may not have my name in lights, but it's in a book!!

I love Alice, she is gutsy but also has a soft, vulnerable side to her. She treats everyone she sees with respect, but can also stick up for herself if backed into a corner! 

She is brought in to work with DCI Burns again and straight away the spark is there between them, although Burns is back with his wife "for the sake of the kids"! We all know how that one is going to end!

What I absolutely love about Kate's books is that they are all set in and around London. I know South London very well, having been born there and in every book in the Alice Quentin series Kate mentions places of historic interest that I knew nothing about and have had to Google it and have even visited one or two!! This book is full of interesting facts about the Thames which blend in with the story brilliantly.

If you like psychological thrillers you will love the Alice Quentin books I guarantee it! This book in my opinion is the most gruesome, but that only makes it more appealing! I can honestly say, I held my breath at some points in the book and could hear my heart racing.

This was the first book I chose to read when I went on holiday in August to Turkey and I had read over half of it on the plane!

Thank you so much to Kate Rhodes and Mulholland Books for sending me a copy of this book. I cannot wait for book 5 in this series as in my humble opinion, they are just getting better and better.

Just in case you didn't believe me!

* * * * * 

Tuesday 15 September 2015

The Parent Trap (Book 3) 
Tilly Tennant 
Blog Tour

A shock development turns Phoebe’s world upside-down. But it’s one that Jack has difficulty coming to terms with too, and they seem to be growing further and further apart. Archie continues to stir up trouble between them, until one night his reckless actions almost end in tragedy. And he’s not the only one causing problems in Phoebe’s life, as Midnight adds her own peculiar spanner in the works.

Phoebe buries herself in her job, and it looks as though Hendry’s might actually be on the road to financial recovery. But if she loses Jack and Midnight, what will it all be for?


I am loving this “mini series” about Phoebe and her relationship with Jack and his adorable daughter Maria.

In this book Phoebe is still trying to get to grips with her new job in the toy store and to keep away from the boss’ son (who has a roaming eye!).

Jack’s brother Archie continues to cause upset within the family and there is a brilliant scene in the book when they are having dinner to which Archie was not invited and he turns up – you can imagine how that turns out!! Families eh, who’d have em!!

Jack is very much a Mummy’s Boy and he seems to worry about what his Mum thinks of him and I think this is causing him to have doubts about his relationship with Phoebe, until a spanner is put into the works and their whole relationship is put under pressure!

I am already looking forward to the last instalment of this book and fingers crossed everything will work out for the best!

Thank you to Brook Cottage Books and Tilly Tennant for letting me review this lovely series.

Wednesday 9 September 2015

The day I met Jackie Collins......

Yesterday I went to The Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, London to a book signing for Jackie Collin's new novel called The Santangelos.

We were greeted with champagne and canapes whilst waiting for Jackie to arrive and I found out during the day that Hannah Beckerman (author of The Dead Wife's Handbook) was going to interview her. I can't tell you how excited that made me as I loved her book and can count it as one of my favourite reads!

I must admit, I haven't read a Jackie Collin's book for many a year, but I am definitely adding this one to my TBR pile as it sounds very intruiging!!

Jackie Collins was absolutely lovely! Charming, feisty, very funny and looked divine! She shook my hand and then signed my book and even posed for photos with everyone in the room. I thought she was fab and would love to meet her again some time.

It was lovely to meet up with friends both old and new - you can always count on a book event to meet new friends

Tuesday 1 September 2015

The Curvy Girls BABY Club 
Cover Reveal

Today I would like to reveal to you the new cover for the next part of The Curvy Girls Club. It is The Curvy Girls Baby Club (a novella). I haven't had a chance to read the first book yet, so am hoping to get around to it soon and will then read and review it. Can't wait as I have wanted to read this one for a while! Thank you to Michele Gorman for sending me a copy of the novella.

“A fun, sassy writer.” Carole Matthews

Releasing on 1st September 2015 in both digital format and paperback, The Curvy Girls Baby Club, written by best-selling author Michele Gorman, is the body-positive, uplifting and very funny novella about three curvy friends trying to keep their sense of humour and self-esteem in the face of life, love and a Christmas due date.
Ellie is fresh back from her honeymoon and can’t wait to share her news with her best friends Katie and Jane. To everyone’s surprise, mother-of-two Jane has news of her own… The women are due a day apart, on December 25th and 26th, and Katie can’t wait to be an honorary auntie to the babies. 
But it’s hard to keep your sense of humour, not to mention your self-esteem, in the face of haemorrhoids and elasticated waistbands. Add a clingy mother-in-law, a career in cardiac arrest and a sex life that makes Mother Theresa look lusty, and soon their lives are as out of control as their bodies.
As the co-founders of The Curvy Girls Club, where loving yourself is the only rule, will the friends be able to practice what they preach?

About The Author
Michele Gorman is the USA Today and Sunday Times best-selling author of nine romantic comedies. Born and raised in the US, Michele has lived in London for 17 years. She is very fond of naps, ice cream and Richard Curtis films but objects to spiders and the word “portion”.

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