Saturday 21 November 2015

Welcome to my stop on the Wish Upon a Christmas Cake by Darcie Boleyn Blog Tour!!


The most wonderful time of the year?

Katie Warham has just one wish this year…to have the best Christmas ever!

If only she could lock herself away in a cloud of flour and sugar at her cosy little tearoom, Crumbtious Cakes, instead of spending the festive season trapped with her judgemental mother, crazy Aunt Gina and loved-up celebrity brother Carl…

But Katie never expected her ex-boyfriend, widower Sam – and his two adorable children – to turn up on her doorstep. She didn’t think that any man could tempt her under the mistletoe this year, but Sam might just prove the exception! And as the snow begins to fall and Katie puts the final touches to her famous Christmas cake, she begins to wonder, could her Christmas wish actually come true?


I have to be honest here and say that thee are many books that have been written lately about cakes, cooking, baking etc and I have not read any of them! So when I was asked if I would read this one I had to give it a go because it had “Christmas” in the title!!

Baking and cakes didn’t feature too much in this story other than the lead character Katie Warham part owns a bakery shop with her friend Ann.

Katie is leaving Ann in charge of the shop to spend Christmas with her parents before they depart on a new life in France and her brother Karl and his partner Angelo. Little does Katie know that Karl has invited her ex Sam and his 2 small children! Poor Katie is mortified to see Sam again as they have painful history together. When she sets eyes on Sam again Katie is drawn back to the past when she lost their baby and the awful memories that entailed.

So when she realises Sam has 2 children in tow, she obviously jumps to conclusions that he is separated and trying to get over another failed relationship, but as we all know, you should never jump to conclusions!

This Christmas is going to be a very painful one for Katie and her family as it is the first Christmas without her beloved Granny, who she adored. She is trying very much to hold things together for the sake of her family, but you just know that with emotions running high and with all the festivities going on, the “spark” that was once there with Sam might relight itself!!

A great festive read from Darcie Boleyn. It had funny as well as quite emotional parts to the book and the characters were all likeable (which is a bonus!)

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and it has definitely put me in the festive mood! I love the cover as well, very Christmassy!!

Many thanks to Jenny in Neverland for sending me a copy of this book to review.

About the Author

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

Friday 20 November 2015

Living in the Shadows
 Judith Barrow
 Blog Tour


Sequel to the acclaimed Changing Patterns and Pattern of Shadows. It's 1969 and Mary Schormann is living quietly in Wales with her ex-POW husband, Peter, and her teenage twins, Richard and Victoria. Her niece, Linda Booth, is a nurse - following in Mary's footsteps - and works in the maternity ward of her local hospital in Lancashire. At the end of a long night shift, a bullying new father visits the maternity ward and brings back Linda's darkest nightmares, her terror of being locked in. Who is this man, and why does he scare her so? There are secrets dating back to the war that still haunt the family, and finding out what lies at their root might be the only way Linda can escape their murderous consequences.


This book is the third part in a trilogy from Judith Barrow, but can be read as a stand alone book. Although to be fair, if I had the time, I would have read the other two first, as their are a lot of characters to get to grips with and it took me a while to remember who was related to who! But once I did I really enjoyed it.

The book is set in the 1960's and gives the reader a great insight into life during the 60's and also how life was different within families then. The book starts with Linda Booth, who is a midwife and whilst caring for one of her patients who has just given birth, comes face to face with the patient's nasty, manipulative husband and the consequences of that meeting brings terrible memories flooding back to Linda and makes you want to carry on reading to find out why she was so afraid every time she saw him.

The book then tells us about twins Victoria and Richard and how differently their lives turn out. Richard is a medical student, who, although deaf, is determined to do well in life. Victoria on the other hand, is jealous of her brother and decides to run away with a man who she thinks at the time loves her. Little does she know that where she runs away to will change her life forever. There are a few harrowing bits in the book, but I felt the author dealt with these tactfully.

I really enjoy reading books about yesteryear and this book was no exception. I would recommend this book and I just wish I had personally read the previous two books, only because I enjoyed the last one but would have liked to have got more of an insight to the characters. Also I love the book cover!

Thank you so much to JB Johnston at Brook Cottage Books for sending me a copy to review.

About the Author

Judith Barrow,originally from Saddleworth, near Oldham,has lived in Pembrokeshire, Wales, for thirty four years. 

She has BA (Hons) in Literature with the Open University, a Diploma in Drama from Swansea University and a MA in Creative Writing with the University of Wales Trinity St David's College, Carmarthen. 

She has had short stories, plays, reviews and articles, published throughout the British Isles and has won several poetry competitions. She has completed three children's books.

She is also a Creative Writing tutor. 

Saturday 14 November 2015

My Book Party for The Chocolate Lovers Christmas by Carole Matthews

I can't tell you how lucky and proud I was to be picked to host a book party for the launch of Carole Matthew's Christmas book. I took delivery of a package with 5 copies of the book, tiaras and a lovely big box of chocolates (all I would need to host a book party!). I felt there was one thing missing, so I supplied a few bottles of bubbly!!

A couple of people who are die hard Carole Matthews fans couldn't make the book party so I will post their books on to them, 

I can't wait to read my copy as I love the Chocolate Lovers books!

Even Lola the dog wanted to wear a tiara!!

Thank you again to Carole Matthews and Little Brown Books for picking me to host a Chocolate Lovers book party. A great time was had by all and we will all be busy over the next few weeks reading our copy of the book! 

Monday 9 November 2015

Make A Christmas Wish by Julia Williams Blog Tour

How utterly gorgeous is this cover!

This was my first Christmas read of the season so far and what a corker it was!

I have read one other book before where the main character is dead (The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman) and I have made no secret in saying it is one of the best books I have ever read! 

So when I read the synopsis of this book and realised the lead character Livvy was also dead, I couldn’t wait to get stuck in!

Livvy is married to Adam and they have a son called Joe. One day before Christmas, Livvy is involved in a terrible accident in a supermarket car park and is seriously injured and taken to hospital. It’s not long after this that Livvy realises that she didn’t make it and is in fact dead. Once the penny drops and she understands that she is in fact in “limbo” and she can look at her family getting on with their lives, she isn’t impressed that she hasn’t passed over and when a black cat called Malachi starts talking to her and tries to get her to see the error of her ways! It’s not an easy mission as Adam is now seeing Emily (who she finds out Adam was having an affair with before she died) and Livvy wants to try and break them up by haunting them! Her son Joe can see and hear Livvy, so when he tells his Dad he obviously doesn’t believe him at first!

It took me until I was half way through the book to realise that Adam and Emily are the names of my children! I wondered why I kept finding it weird reading those two names together!

I know this sounds a really weird and far fetched story, but as well as being quite sad in parts, it was very funny and got me thinking “is this what really happens when we die and can’t pass over”?!

There were a couple of parts in the book that left me in absolute bits and the ending, well, you will just have to read it!!

I absolutely loved the story and this book is one I will read again and again at Christmastime.

Thank you to Helena at Avon Books UK for sending me a copy to review.

Look out for a giveaway of this book coming soon............

Friday 6 November 2015

Every Time a Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington

Guest review by Julie Williams

This emotionally charged story is not your run of the mill Christmas read so please don’t expect fun & laughter all the way. 

It is set in Dublin and inspired by the film It’s A Wonderful Life, which I must admit, I have not seen but it will be in my Christmas TV planner this year.

Every Time A Bell Rings tells the story of Belle, a foster child who finally gets her ‘forever home’ with Tess. Her relationship with Jim, another foster child who comes to stay with Tess, seems unbreakable but when he returns to his Mum they lose contact. Years later Jim returns to look for Belle and the bond they once shared is re kindled.

Belle and Jim are kind hearted characters and open their door to foster children of their own, offering them love, security and kindness.

This book like Carmel’s previous two has real depth and you will find yourself both laughing and crying. Carmel deals with fostering, homelessness. Mental health and the loss of a child in pregnancy with accuracy.

Thank God there are people in the world who open their hearts and doors to fostering. Hats off to you all.

Well done Carmel, all your research paid off. Every Time A Bell Rings is a truly beautiful Christmas read. A definite 5 star rating.

About the Author

Carmel always dreamed of being a writer, but as is often the way, life took her in another direction. That is, until four years ago when she quit her job as a Sales and Marketing Manager and began to write full time. Her first book, 'Beyond Grace's Rainbow' was originally self-published in August 2012. Grace's story quickly became a bestseller - fast forward 12 months and Carmel joined the prestigious HarperCollins publishing house, represented by Trace Literary Agency. Beyond Grace's Rainbow was voted Romantic eBook of 2013 and Kindle Book of Year 2013.

Her second novel 'The Life You Left', was published June 2013, was also an eBook bestseller and earned Carmel the nickname, 'Queen of Emotional Writing'. 

Her third novel, 'Every Time A Bell Rings', inspired by the beloved Christmas movie, It's A Wonderful Life, will be published on 15th October 2015, followed by 'The Road Back Home' in March 2016.

Carmel writes emotional family dramas and they share one common theme - strong characters who find themselves in extraordinary situations. She loves to dig deep and see how they cope, as they grapple with life-changing moments. 

Carmel is a regular on Irish TV as one of the panelists on TV3's Midday Show, as well as being interviewed on RTE1's Today Show, TV3's IrelandAM and TV3's The Morning Show. She has also been interviewed on US TV - Indiana's WNDU. A a regular guest on radio stations, including BBCRadio1 Ulster, RTERadio1, Newstalk, SouthEastRadio, Artyfacts and many more regional stations. A popular freelance writer, she has written features for The Irish Independent, The Daily Mail, The Evening Herald & Woman's Way and USA's acclaimed online blog, Mothering In The Middle. Carmel is also a motivational keynote speaker and has given talks at events in Ireland, UK and US. 

Living with her husband Roger and young children Amelia and Nate in a small coastal village in Wexford, she credits the idyllic setting as a constant source of inspiration.

Follow Carmel on Twitter @HappyMrsH, or become friends with Carmel on Facebook/happymrsh. For more information on Carmel's books see

Thank you so much Julie for reviewing this book - it is definitely on my Christmas to be read pile for this season!!

Tuesday 3 November 2015

What Happens at Christmas by TA Williams Blog Tour
& Competition!
(scroll to bottom of post for competition)


For the perfect Christmas…
When career-girl Holly Brice learns that her estranged father has died, she decides to take a trip down memory lane and find out about the man she never knew. Arriving in the sleepy little Dartmoor village, she’s shocked to discover that she’s inherited the cosy little cottage she remembers so fondly, a whole load of money –and her father’s adorable dog, too!
Head to snow-covered Devon!

And as the first snowflakes begin to fall and Holly bumps into her gorgeous neighbour, Jack Nelson, life gets even more complicated! Men have always been off the cards for high-flying Holly, but there’s something about mysterious writer Jack that has her re-thinking her three-date rule...
A fabulous, feel-good festive read, perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Carole Matthews.


All in all, Holly had a reasonable night’s sleep. The only interruption came at around three o’clock in the morning, when she was woken by a noise. By this time, moonlight was flooding into the room and she got the shock of her life when she saw the bedroom door swing open. She was already backing away to the far side of the bed, looking for a weapon of any description, when the dog’s head appeared.

‘Oh, for Christ’s sake, Stirling…’

The dog must have interpreted her use of his name as an invitation, as he proceeded to climb up onto the bed, where he dropped on top of her with a sigh. She had to struggle for a few moments to push him off her and down onto the floor again. ‘No, Stirling. Bad dog.’ He sat down beside the bed and stared at her. She could see two little moons reflected back at her in his big eyes. ‘Go downstairs, Stirling.’ He didn’t move. ‘Oh, for crying out loud please go back to your bed, would you? I want to go to sleep.’ She closed her eyes and lay back down again, hoping that he would take the hint. She counted silently up to sixty and then risked opening her eyes a fraction. His face was still there, his gaze unblinkingly fixed on her.

‘Oh, God…’ She swung out of bed and reached for a pair of shoes. It was cold in the room, although the thick feather duvet had kept her warm in bed. She retrieved her jumper from the chair and led the dog down the stairs. In the kitchen, it was warmer, but the stove was now cool enough to touch. She went over to the table, lit one of the candles and looked down at the dog, who was still staring at her impassively.

‘Listen Stirling, we are not going out for a w… W, A, L, K. Got it? It’s the middle of the night and we both should be asleep. Go in your basket.’ She had to repeat it a few times and add a few gestures, but finally he got the message and climbed into his bed. He slumped down, but his eyes were looking so mournful that eventually she grabbed a cushion and settled on the cold stone floor beside him. She stroked his head and he stretched out a huge paw and pressed it against her. She caught hold of it in her other hand and they stayed like that for some minutes, as his eyes gradually closed and he settled down.

As she sat there, looking at him, she reflected that only a few months ago, her father might have been here, doing the same thing. Maybe that was what was disturbing Stirling. She looked around the room, but there were few personal objects on display. Her dad’s jacket still hung on the back of the door, a strong pair of walking boots peeked out of the broom cupboard and a cricket bat leant against the window seat. She closed her eyes and conjured up the image of his face from the photo beside his bed. Seeing it had brought back so many memories; from a sandy beach holiday, to a trip to the hospital when they thought she had broken her arm. Her dad’s loving, comforting face had been there with her on those occasions and so many others and then, just like that, he had disappeared from her life, forever.

Author Biography

Firstly, my name isn't T A. It's Trevor. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, "Dirty Minds" one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn't possibly comment. Ask my wife...

I've written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I'm enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.

I‘ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador. 

I've been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she's right.

Book Information
Title: What Happens at Christmas...
Author: T.A. Williams
Release Date: October 22, 2015
Genres: Chick Lit
Publisher: Carina UK

Book Links
Amazon US:
Amazon UK:

Social Networking Links

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Monday 2 November 2015

In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward Blog Tour

I was very lucky to go to The Book Club TBC 1st birthday party last week and when I found out that Sarah Ward was going to be there (In Bitter Chill was the book I was reading at the time!), I just had to take my copy to be signed and also meet up with the author and have a chat about the book!

(Me on the left, Sarah Ward in the middle and my very good friend and Guest Reviewer Julie Williams on the right)

Bampton, Derbyshire, January 1978. Two girls go missing: Rachel Jones returns, Sophie Jenkins is never found. Thirty years later: Sophie Jenkins's mother commits suicide.
Rachel Jones has tried to put the past behind her and move on with her life. But news of the suicide re-opens old wounds and Rachel realises that the only way she can have a future is to finally discover what really happened all those years ago.
This is a story about loss and family secrets, and how often the very darkest secrets are those that are closest to you.

This story starts on 20th January 1978 when two schoolgirls, Rachel Jones and Sophie Jenkins were abducted on their way to school. Rachel manages to return home, but Sophie is never found. 

This story grabs you straight away as it goes from the present day with Rachel still trying to come to terms with what happened back in 1978 and how her job as a genealogist comes back to haunt her own family tree!

As much as she tries, Rachel cannot remember anything that happened after the abduction, until she was picked up on a road at the edge of the woods, but when Sophie's Mum commits suicide years after the abduction, it brings up old wounds and she tries so hard to try and remember any clues as to what happened to her and Sophie.

Meanwhile, Sadler and Connie are detectives who are trying to solve the case of Rachel and Sophie's abduction and trying to find out if there was a connection to Yvonne Jenkin's suicide, until there is another death. Was it suicide or murder.................

This is a great debut novel from Sarah Ward. Lots of twists and turns and a great twist that I must admit, I had to read a couple of times to realise the connection!!

Thank you to Sarah Ward and Sophie at Faber for sending me a couple of copies of this book and thanks Sarah for signing them and one I shall be doing soon for a giveaway!