Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Secrets of Villa Rosso by Linn B. Halton #Extract #BlogTour @LinnBHalton @BrookCottagebks #Giveaway

I am delighted to be sharing an extract today on the blog tour for The Secrets of Villa Rosso by Linn B. Halton. There is also a fab giveaway to enter but first of all let's take a look at the description for the book...


Genre: Cosy mystery/romance
Release Date:21 July 2017
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Escape to Italy for a summer romance to remember

When Ellie Maddison is sent on a business trip to Southern Italy, she's reminded why she loves her job – set amongst rolling vineyards and rich olive groves, the beautiful Villa Rosso is the perfect escape from her life back home. But what Ellie isn't prepared for is the instant connection she feels to the estate's director Max Johnson, or the secrets they share that are as intertwined as the rambling vines that cover Villa Rosso.

It's not long before Ellie finds herself entangled in the history of the place, trying to understand the undeniable effect Max is having on her. As their relationship grows, what will Ellie discover about this idyllic villa and those who have walked through its doors?

What started as a simple work trip will change Ellie's life forever.



It isn’t just the sunshine and the electric blue sky, but the musical calls of the countryside that reach out to me. A chorus of low-level sounds play like a soft melody in the background. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and I feel like I’m watching a re-run of a favourite film. I could stand here for a long time simply taking in the detail and with each sweep of my eyes noticing something new.

Spinning around I look back at the villa, taking in the rustic beauty of the stonework and the pale orange-red hue of the sun-bleached roof tiles. This is, quite simply, unreal. It’s a little piece of heaven and, so far removed from my daily life that it’s hard to believe this is on the same planet. The sheer scale of the landscape literally steals your breath away. I’m a mere speck, small and insignificant in the grand scheme nature is presenting to me. But rather bizarrely, it doesn’t feel alien in anyway at all. The vastness isn’t overwhelming, but strangely comforting.

I walk back to a cluster of wooden tables surrounding a small fountain and take a seat. As I dive into my bag to extract some sunglasses, I hear a polite cough and look up at the face staring down at me.
‘Mrs Maddison? I’m Max, Max Johnson. Welcome to Villa Rosso.’

I stand, automatically plastering a pleasant smile on my surprised face as recognition kicks in. I know this man, I mean, I’ve met him before. At least I think I have, but there’s nothing similar reflected back at me, only a warm smile. The sort of smile that radiates out from mysteriously deep, hazel eyes. We shake hands. He’s younger than I expected, probably in his early forties and tall. Six foot something that’s for sure, because I feel he’s towering over me.

‘I’m sorry to disturb you. I just wanted you to know that I’m here at your disposal whenever you are ready to begin. Would you like me to fetch you a coffee so you can sit for a while and enjoy the view?’

Although I knew he was British, his tan and elegant demeanour lend an air of cosmopolitan sophistication. I would not have been at all surprised if he had been Italian. He’s hovering politely and I still haven’t answered him…

Bristol-born Linn B Halton lives in the Forest of Dean, in the UK.

"I'm a hopeless romantic, self-confessed chocaholic, and lover of strong coffee. For me, life is about family, friends, writing ... and house renovation! Oh, and the occasional glass of White Grenache..."

An Amazon UK Top 100 best-selling author with A Cottage in the Country in November 2015, Under the Stars and A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love also became best-sellers in 2016 & 2017. Linn's novels have been short-listed in the UK's Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.

Linn writes chick lit, women's contemporary fiction and psychic romance for Harper Impulse, Choc Lit and Endeavour Press.

Goodreads Author Page: http://ow.ly/mk3H30atV5h

COMPETITION (no purchase necessary)
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Monday, 24 July 2017

Other People's Business by H. J. Moat @HjMoat #Review

Some cupid kills with arrows, some with traps...

Bee and Ben haven't always hated each other, but they certainly hate each other now. They hate each other so much that it threatens to derail the wedding of their best friends, Imogen and Will.

But then something unthinkable happens and turns everything on its head. Within the wedding party, some hearts swell and others are broken, but will anyone work out that relationships are rarely quite what they seem?

This modern retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing explores the idea of whether we're ever really in control of our own romantic destiny and if true love really can conquer all.

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There is drama galore with this set of characters which makes it such an entertaining story of love, lies, secrets and pretty much everything in between. Bee and Ben are such complex characters who were so much fun to get to know. They both have flaws which again makes them perfect for each other, but will they get their happy ever after?

I was completely drawn into the story with it's witty and also quirky characters and I loved the alternating chapters told from both Bee and Ben's perspective it made it so easy to become attached to the characters. As the reader you got to know their inner thoughts and some of them were pretty funny. If I had to pick a favourite character it would have to be Ben I loved how vain he was and I couldn't help but smile hearing what he thought about certain situations. 

With meddling from everyone causing confusion and hurt I was left wondering if things could be put right in the end. There is some good villains of the story who I couldn't help but hate. I loved the romance that runs through this story from Bee to Ben and also Imogen and Will. 

Other People's Business really held a special charm for me with a brilliant story full of romance, wit and drama!

Five stars!

With thanks to H. J. Moat for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Jungle Jam and Jungle Jam in Brazil by Louise and Noam Lederman

 I am delighted to be sharing my reviews today for the fab Jungle Jam and Jungle Jam in Brazil by Louise and Noam Lederman. As ever I have had help from my two children Dex & Missy. So what did we think...

Follow Mikey the Monkey on his journey as he hears some incredible new sounds and meets some friendly musical animals along the way who invite him to sing and play with them.

"How are you making that beautiful sound? What is this music you have found"?

Mikey is a singing monkey who embarks on a musical adventure to find global fame but discovers along the way that he must work with others to make his dream come true.
On his journey, Mikey the Monkey meets Larry the Lion, Ella the Elephant, Ziggy the Zebra and Gina the Giraffe, each of whom play a musical instrument they teach him about, and then invite him to sing with them. Each time he declines and continues on his journey to find fame. Finally he hears an incredible sound and sees all of the animals playing their instruments together and realises that when people work together, dreams can come true.

This sweet, captivating rhyming book is designed for young children from 0-5 as an introduction to musical instruments and sounds. It even has an activity page to show you how to make your own instruments at the end and also shows children how working together as part a team is always best!

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Jungle Jam

So I have to tell you first of all how excited my two children were when we received Jungle Jam in the post. I immediately had demands to read it straight away so what did we think...

Let's start with the illustrations as they are eye catching, fun and fit in with the story brilliantly. All of the animals are drawn in a way that their personalities show from a lion who plays piano to a giraffe that plays a saxophone. I would have to say that both my little ones loved the zebra who plays guitar, I think it was the cool sunglasses he wore!

I love to travel so the premise of going on an adventure is a hit with me and I loved how Mikey met the animals along the way. The different words used in this story are varied and also range from basic words right through to words that are longer and that my four year old son may not have come across regularly which I loved. My son has verbal dyspraxia so his speech is delayed and finding books that help to create the sounds he struggles with can sometimes be a little difficult. However because of such a broad range of words and sounds used I found it perfect for him and my son was repeating a lot of the words back to me. Which was pretty amazing as when we just do his speech therapy he can get bored easily where as Jungle Jam helped to keep his attention all the way through.

My children are always singing songs and the music theme really made the story all the more entertaining for them. The whole story flows perfectly with a wonderful rhyming style that made reading so easy and actually a lovely story to read. I love how the idea of teamwork has been incorporated into the story which is a great lesson for children.

The activity pages at the back of the book are a lovely touch and I'm sure now the summer holidays are here we will be attempting them very soon. Jungle Jam is a perfect length and is a favourite book with not only my children but also me! 

A delight to read and share with my children!

With thanks to Louise and Noam Lederman for our copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

The band is getting ready for their biggest show yet. They are going to Brazil in a jumbo jet." Gina the Giraffe loves being part of the Jungle Jam band but she is nervous about leaving her home and trying new things. Follow Gina on her courageous journey and learn about the fabulous music and culture of Brazil. This sweet, captivating rhyming book is designed for young children as an introduction to new sounds, cultures and musical instruments. Jungle Jam in Brazil shows children that they can do anything they want if they simply try their best and be 'brave and strong'.

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Jungle Jam in Brazil

Of course once we had all read Jungle Jam I had two very excited children who wanted to continue the story and find out what happens next in Mikey and his friends exciting journey. I loved that on the very first page we are shown the band and also given their names so we could all say their names and what animals they are before we started the story. Again there was the lovely rhyming style that makes the story flow smoothly and ever so easily. I would almost say that I liked the theme a little more in this story as we are introduced to Gina the Giraffe who is a little scared and unsure during her visit to Brazil. With my little boy starting school in September I thought it may help reinforce the idea of new experiences being a positive thing and even though you feel scared you can try to be brave and try new things. The delightful friendships that were made in Jungle Jam continue here as they all support Gina in her fears and help to build her confidence.

Just like in the first book there is a brilliant variety of words that is perfect for extending a child's vocabulary. The illustrations are as ever fun and bright, my little girl was constantly pointing at the pictures and talking about what she saw. I loved the level of engagement that my children seemed to take from both books, so big thumbs up from me!

The activity page in this story is a little different as there are ten musical instruments hidden and you have to find them in the picture. Both my children loved this activity and every time we read this book we also have to look for the instruments.

A sweet and engaging story!

With thanks to Louise and Noam Lederman for our copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Husband and wife team Noam and Louise Lederman from North London had an idea for a children’s book series six years ago when their first child was born. They dreamt of writing a children’s book series combining their passion for music and education. Both Louise and Noam believe that music can have a huge impact on early development for children and found this was an area that was not fully available to them for their children. So they took the plunge and decided to do it themselves!

It has been scientifically proven that young children are more than capable of learning music and that it can help them in many other areas of physical and emotional development, giving them confidence and creating a positive influence for their future.

Jungle Jam has been a labour of love for both Noam and Louise and they have spent a great deal of time creating and developing their book ideas whilst building their family. Jungle Jam is dedicated to their children, Rafa and Mimi.

Noam Lederman is a musician, educator and author and has built a successful music career combining performance and writing. He has written more than 100 music publications that have sold over a million copies worldwide. In 2014 Noam founded the company Jungle Jam Publishing. In April 2015 Noam was appointed as the Principal of The Academy of Rock – an award-winning franchise of music schools in Asia. To find out more about Noam please visit his website.
Louise Lederman spent many years working in Marketing, PR and Events predominantly for charities and education companies. She worked for numerous disability charities including the National Autistic Society, Sense and Langdon, and feels she has a deep understanding of disability and SEN (Special Educational Needs). Louise always had a passion for writing and becoming a mother inspired her to fulfil her dream.


Friday, 21 July 2017

I Have Never by Camilla Isley @camillaisley #BlogTour #Review @HelloChickLit

I am delighted to be one of the stops on the blog tour for I Have Never by Camilla Isley. Today I will be sharing my review but first of all let's take a look at the description for the book...

Title: I Have Never 
Author: Camilla Isley 
Release Date: July 13th, 2017 
Genre: Chick Lit Twenty-nine-year-old

Blair Walker is a girl with a plan, or more a girl with a list. A list of dos and don’ts to live the perfect life, land a dream career, and marry Mr. Right. When Blair loses her job and gets dumped by her boyfriend all in one day, she starts to wonder if she’s had it all wrong. And what better way to find out than experience everything the list forbade? 

With hilarious consequences, Blair will discover some items are trickier to tick off than she’d thought… A laugh out loud romantic comedy perfect for fans of Lindsey Kelk, Sophie Kinsella, and Mhairi McFarlane. First Comes Love is a series of interconnected romantic novels. However, each book in the series can be read as a standalone novel. 

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I loved how easily I became immersed in the story and also Blair's life it only took a couple of chapters until it felt like Blair could be my best friend. I almost felt like Blair's very own cheerleader as I was pretty much shouting words of encouragement at her. It was great to see the list get turned inside out and for Blair to find her world out of sync but to see positive changes too. There are lots of fun moments and to be able to smile and giggle at a story is fantastic especially if it is a constant thing all the way through. Some of the consequences of going against the list are laugh out loud and to see Blair try and make the best out of each situation with her feisty nature is brilliant.

I think I maybe fell for Richard a bit too, it was so funny to see Blair seemingly unable to keep whatever she was thinking come out of her mouth whenever she was near him. If you are in need of a smile, laugh or giggle than look no further I Have Never is a wonderfully light hearted and ever so funny story that will hook you in from the start. I also loved the message of taking a chance, letting go and seeing where it leads you.

Flirty, fun & fantastic!

With thanks to Aimee at HCL Author Services & Camilla Isley for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Camilla is an engineer turned writer after she quit her job to follow her husband in an adventure abroad. She’s a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveler, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.

Author Links

Tour Schedule

July 13th
Rachel Brimble Romance - Author Q&A
A Beautiful Book Blog - Book Review
Writing Pearls - Book Review
With Love For Books - Book Review
July 14th
Kristin's Novel Cafe - Book Excerpt
JenaBooks - Book Review
He Said Books or Me - Author Guest Post
Books and Photographs - Book Review
July 15th
I Heart Fictional People - Book Review
Chrissi Reads - Book Review
Rebecca Book Review - Book Excerpt
Monique McDonell-Author  - Book Excerpt
July 16th
One Book At A Time - Spotlight Post
CosyCuteKnits - Book Review
The Writing Garnet - Book Review
July 17th
The Belgian Reviewer - Book Excerpt
Girl vs Books - Book Review
kraftireader - Book Review

July 18th
Reading Is My SuperPower - Book Review
July 19th
Simona's Corner of Dreams - Author Guest Post
Bookish - Book Review
July 20th
TheBlossomTwins - Book Review
Grass Monster - Book Review
Chick Lit Central - Author Q&A
Living Life with Joy - Author Guest Post
July 21st
Rae Reads - Book Review
Novelgossip  - Book Review
Whispering Stories - Book Review
Ali - The Dragon Slayer - Book Review
Steamy Book Momma - Book Excerpt
July 22nd

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Cinderella and the Duke by Janice Preston #Review @JaniceGPreston @MillsandBoon

Falling for a duke in disguise! 

Never welcomed into society circles, Rosalind Allen gave up her marriage prospects long ago--life has taught her she'll only get hurt. So she's shocked when an encounter with a mysterious stranger makes her long to reconsider...

Little does Rosalind know that her mystery man is Leo Beauchamp, Duke of Cheriton, traveling in disguise to evade the ladies of the ton! Impoverished Rosalind is the first woman to captivate Leo--but can he persuade this wary Cinderella to trust him with her heart?

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I loved the connection that Leo and Rosalind share it managed to be both sizzling and romantic which was the perfect combination for me. I found myself smiling whenever they were together they were flirty, fun and feisty interactions. It really was so easy to fall for this charming story and all of the characters too. It was great to see a slightly older pairing than I am used to seeing in historical romance and I really enjoyed this difference. Rosalind is a strong character and once she sets her mind on something she is also very determined. I can definitely understand the attraction with Leo especially his strong family values which match perfectly with Rosalind's own sense of commitment to her family's happiness.

The threat lurking in the background kept me interested and made me invested in Rosalind's story and hopefully achieving her happy ending. There are trust issues on both sides and it was great to see the characters develop but can they slowly regain the trust that they have lost. They both have tragic pasts that make them such a great pairing. Sweet at times but with some darker characters lurking in the shadows to mix things up a bit.

A great combination of sweet, romantic and sizzling!

With thanks to Mills & Boon and Netgalley for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

The Shield by C.J. Bentley @CJBentleyAuthor #BlogTour #GuestPost @AuthorightUKPR

Thank you for joining me today I have a great guest post where C.J. Bentley talks about her book The Shield. 

First of all though let's take a look at the description for the book... 

People lose their belongings. That is a fact of life. It can happen by accident, but sometimes it can happen when you put them in a very safe place and forget where that safe place is. Not many people are good at finding them again.

A young, gutsy girl with a kind heart, who’s searching for her own identity growing up in the 1960s, just happens to be very good at finding things. Can she be the one to help return whatever is lost – anywhere and at any time - to its original owner? 

With the help of a beautiful yet mysterious wise woman and a chivalrous knight she does just that. She finds and returns his shield, lost in battle, which unbeknown to her holds a secret that is important to his King, the safety of the Kingdom and the life of the daughter of his best friend. 
The Shield is the first story in The Finder Series, taking our heroine on extraordinary journeys back in time. Her first adventure takes place in Medieval England in 1340 where she meets King Edward III, his wife Philippa and their son, who will later become the Black Prince.

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The Finder Series – Book 1 ‘The Shield’

Basically each book in the ‘Finder Series’ follows the same format.  An item is lost, when and where it is lost and by whom is all revealed in the Prologue. 

In the first book,’ The Shield’, a shield is lost in battle by a knight, Sir Kay, during the reign of King Edward the third in Medieval England in 1340AD, a little historical information about this time is given at the back of the book.  The majority of the book is set in York, again information at the back for those who have never been lucky enough to visit York, a very beautiful and historical city in North Yorkshire.

The main protagonist in each book starts in the first book as a ten year old girl growing up and trying to find her own identity during the nineteen sixties.  She is a gutsy girl with a kind heart and a quick mind, she doesn’t hesitate to help people, it’s the way she has been raised by her parents who don’t mind that she changes her name almost weekly to suit which book she is reading, or which television programme is her favourite.   They love her and support her unusual habit of name changing, they treat it as something she needs to do and respect her for it, (apart from the older sister in her family who just thinks it is weird).

She is told by another main character, the beautiful and mysterious wise woman she has a destiny to fulfil.  As a ten year old girl she is not altogether sure what a destiny is, and is not convinced she wants one to fulfil, but she does like to help people and therefore finds herself in situations during different times of history with people she is there to help.  The wise woman features in all of the books in the ‘Finder Series’.  She is responsible for the girl’s travelling back through time and openly admits they will meet many times, (not sure how many books it will take to fulfil the girl’s destiny, I am currently writing book four, ‘The Ring’ where she finds a ring belonging to an Arabian princess and where she is taken back to the Middle East and travels with Ibn Batutta, who was a lesser known adventurer and intellect who travelled even more extensively than his better known adversary Marco Polo).

With the backdrop of the swinging sixties, with experiences of school, favourite subjects, teachers, music and important issues of that time, the main character is evolving as a person along with her friends in ‘the gang’.  Their characters are all very different but they do share the same loyal values.  The freedom they have as children growing up in a time when they could take a picnic and play out of doors all day, having to be back in time for supper with the family, something unavailable for some children growing up in cities, in this relatively new century.  They bike ride, swim, build dens, tree swings and even make fires, all outside from dawn until bedtime, usually nine thirty during the long summer holidays.  As they grow throughout each book they support each other in different ways and their changing characters are explored as they mature.  The main protagonist ‘finds’ life skills during each time she visits.  In ‘The Shield’ she discovers she can speak French, the English court at that time spoke French as the King owned lands in France and a lot of his time was spent there.  She also finds an ability to ride horses, something she couldn’t do in the sixties.  Her interest in History grows as she does, her aspiration to become an Archaeologist is something which remains with her as she attends school each year and I hope she attains her dream. (It is something I will have to wait to find out as I progress with writing each book).

Certain historical facts researched form the background for this story and certain facts just fell into place.  Edward the third and Queen Philippa were married at York Minster in 1328 and their son Prince Edward was born at the English Court in Woodstock, (now the site of Blenheim Palace) in 1330, making him the same age as the girl. The Battle of Sluys where the English Navy were victorious against the French did take place, (it is recorded as being in June of 1340, I slightly bent the time to fit my story to July).

The inspiration for this story came from my finding, whilst fishing in the local stream with a friend, a shield in the silt at the bottom of the beck.  Because of the weight and there being only two of us we chose to put it back.  That experience has remained with me until living in Doha, I had time to spare to write about what might have happened if we had withdrawn it fully from the silt and carried it home.  Later this year having discovered from my sister that the fields from my childhood remain, my family and I are going on a shield hunt!  It would be pretty awesome if we could locate and discover what had inspired me to write this story.  

Watch this space!

Originally heralding from the North of England, C.J Bentley has travelled extensively and enjoyed living in a variety of countries across the world from Dubai to Doha, Qatar and now the countryside in the South of France. A background in teaching and childcare she has always enjoyed creating adventure short stories. However, it was when she became a grandma and with her grandchildren growing up  that she discovered that books seemed to contain only stories of vampires, zombies and farts that she decided seriously to take matters into her own hands and put pen to paper which today she calls The Finder Series.

Author Links