Tuesday, 17 October 2017

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


I'm delighted to be taking part in a fab cover reveal today for Christmas Secrets in Snowflake Cove by Emily Harvale. So what are we waiting for let's take a look and then you can read on to find out more about the book...





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

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

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

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

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

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

Expected Publication Date – early November 2017

Pre-order on Amazon UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076G4DVZH




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

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

Social Media Links



A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt #Review #BlogTour #Giveaway @BrookCottagebks


I'm delighted to be one of the stops on the blog tour for A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt. Today you can catch my review along with the chance to enter a lovely giveaway. First of all let's take a look at the description for the book...


 Series: The Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite Bk 1
Genre: Women’s fiction/romance
Release Date: October 18, 2017
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Welcome to Thornthwaite, a quaint village tucked up in England’s beautiful but rainy Lake District… where homecomings happen and surprises are in store for the four Holley sisters…
Anna Holley, the third of four sisters, has always felt a little bit forgotten. A family tragedy when she was a child had her retreating deep into shyness, and social anxiety kept her on the fringes of the cozy, chaotic bustle of the busy vicarage.
When she finished school Anna left for Manchester and tried to avoid coming back home and the well-meaning nosiness being a Holley sister in a small village like Thornthwaite meant… but when her father says he has an important announcement to make, she’s drawn back home for the happy chaos of a vicarage Christmas.
Avoiding her sisters’ bossy questions, Anna heads out to the local pub one night, and meets a handsome stranger nursing a pint. Somehow, unburdened by expectations, Simon seems like the perfect person to spill all her secrets to—including a hopeless, long-held crush on her sister’s boyfriend. Confident she’ll never see him again, Anna returns home… only to discover the next day that Simon is actually her father’s new curate!
Anna is beyond mortified, but Simon won’t let her retreat into her usual shyness—and for once Anna is forced to confront the past, and all the fears and feelings she’d tried so long to hide. But with his own heartache that needs to heal, can Simon help Anna to make this the most magical Christmas either of them have known?
BUY LINKS


A Vicarage Christmas is book one in a new series by Kate Hewitt. The reader gets a lovely introduction to the Holley family and this story begins with Anna. My heart went out to Anna, I could totally understand how uncomfortable she was especially having to cope with her anxiety and shyness in certain situations. There is also a sadness to Anna that definitely pulled at my heart strings. Throughout the story you can see her finding herself with a more comfortable and assured personality emerging. This is in part down to her friendship with Simon, they begin to form a lovely friendship that helps both of them come to terms with their pasts.

Even though it's a short story you get a good feel for the characters and their situations. These characters have a lovely depth that just added to the overall story. A Vicarage Christmas moves pretty quickly mainly because of the length but it doesn't have that rushed feeling to it. The setting is lovely along with the village of Thornthwaite and Kate Hewitt has brought a beautiful place to life. I really enjoyed getting to know Anna and her sisters, I will be looking forward to reading their stories too!

Sweet and heart warming, a lovely Christmas treat!
Four stars from me!

With thanks to Brook Cottage Books for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.





Kate Hewitt is the author of over 60 novels of women’s fiction and romance. Whatever the genre, she enjoys telling an emotionally compelling story. An American ex-pat, she now lives in a small market town in Wales with her husband and five children.


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GIVEAWAY
First Prize: Amazon gift card
Second Prize: Copy of A Cotswold Christmas (ecopy)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Winter's Child by Cassandra Parkin #BlogTour #Review @cassandrajaneuk @Legend_Press



Thank you for joining me today for my stop on the blog tour for The Winter's Child by Cassandra Parkin. I'm delighted to be opening the tour with my review but first of all let's take a look at the description for the book...





Five years ago, Susannah Harper's son Joel went missing without trace. Bereft of her son and then of her husband, Susannah tries to accept that she may never know for certain what has happened to her lost loved ones. She has rebuilt her life around a simple selfless mission: to help others who, like her, must learn to live without hope.
But then, on the last night of Hull Fair, a fortune-teller makes an eerie prediction. She tells her that this Christmas Eve, Joel will finally come back to her.
As her carefully-constructed life begins to unravel, Susannah is drawn into a world of psychics and charlatans, half-truths and hauntings, friendships and betrayals, forcing her to confront the buried truths of her family's past, where nothing and no one are quite as they seem.
A ghostly winter read with a modern gothic flavour. A tale of twisted love, family secrets and hauntings.

Buy Link





There is an almost tense atmosphere that runs throughout the book especially as we are introduced to Susannah and discover that her son has been missing for five years. It really is a parents worst nightmare for their child to go missing no matter their age and especially the terrible ordeal of not knowing what happened. The way Cassandra Parkin has written this story brings this fear to the surface and also shows the effects of such an event. After only a couple of chapters I felt pretty involved in Susannah's life and her story especially after hearing the fortune-tellers predictions. The main question I was asking myself was is it fake or will there be any truth in the reading and of course what really happened to Joel. The reader is easily swept away with Susannah and her journey to discover the truth. 

The Winter's Child is written in a descriptive way that easily draws you in and I couldn't help but keep on reading due to the immersive story. There are some great flashbacks that show details from the families past especially showing Susannah and John's relationship. I thought these worked so well within the story slowly building a picture of their family life. Susannah is well written and you can feel her pain of not knowing what happened to her son. At times this story felt so emotionally intense as if I was experiencing every moment with Susannah.


I really do enjoy a mystery and everything unfolds at a steady pace giving the reader just enough details to keep you fully involved but intrigued too. There is a darkness to this story that felt appealing and left me feeling suspicious of everyone. I highly recommend The Winter's Child with it's dark and atmospheric story. If you're like me it will leave you thinking about the events and characters long after reading the last page.


With thanks to Imogen at Legend Press for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.



Cassandra Parkin grew up in Hull, and now lives in East Yorkshire. Her short story collection, New World Fairy Tales (Salt Publishing, 2011), won the 2011 Scott Prize for Short Stories. Her work has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. 

The Summer We All Ran Away (Legend Press, 2013) was Cassandra's debut novel and nominated for the Amazon Rising Stars 2014.

The Beach Hut (Legend Press, 2015) is her second novel.

Visit Cassandra at cassandraparkin.wordpress.com or on Twitter @cassandrajaneuk

Sunday, 15 October 2017

The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland @ShaliniBoland #Extract @bookouture




I'm delighted to be one of the blogs sharing an extract from The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland this eveining.

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





Tessa Markham comes home to find a child in her kitchen calling her ‘mummy’. But Tessa doesn’t have any children.

Not anymore.

She doesn’t know who the little boy is or how he got there.

After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the child. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself…

A chilling, unputdownable thriller with a dark twist that will take your breath away and make you wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Sister.












What readers are saying about Shalini Boland:

'Read in one sitting from 9pm last night until 2:15 amI literally could not put it down!!!! The story line and the twists and the way it's written just draws you in completely and you have to know where it's going I couldn't read fast enough… absolutely addictive and brilliant and an end I didn't see coming. This is one book you have to read and it gets 5 huge stars from me!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘What can I say? Just wow. I'm usually never surprised by an ending, but this one blew me away. I am totally in shock and think I'll have a hangover from this book for a while. A great read that keeps you on your toes until the very last word.’ Stacey Harrell, Goodreads 

‘If anyone can have me reading until 2am and finishing a book in less than 48hrs in the school holidays it’s this author… massive five stars from me.’ Sarah Mackins, UK Crime Book Club, 5 stars

‘The ending of this book blew me out of the water, you won’t be able to put this down.’ For the Love of Books, 5 stars

‘The plot is gripping and once you've started reading, you have to keep on reading, you need to know how the story will end.’ Bits About Books, 5 Stars

... one of the most chilling reads of the year for me.’Ajoobacats Blog, 5 Stars

‘This book should come with a warning… make sure you have enough time to read it in one-sitting because as soon as you’ll pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down!’ Bookishly Ever After, 5 stars

‘This is a brilliant psychological thriller. In fact, it's one of the best I've read. It is full of suspense and has more twists and turns than a fairground ride.’ Jackie Roche, UK Crime Book Club, 5 Stars

‘I thought I knew the direction this story was going go. Then the jaw dropping moment happened!... unputdownable!’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 Stars

‘Once again, Boland has managed to blow my mind with all the twists and turns… an outstanding explosive read!’ Mello and June, 5 Stars

'Great book. I read it in less than 24 hours. I was unable to put it down. The story was fast paced and intriguing.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

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Extract



THE SECRET MOTHER
By
Shalini Boland

Chapter One
The street lamps flicker, illuminating the grey pavement mottled with patches of dirty snow and slick black ice. Slushy puddles hug the kerb, cringing away from the hissing, splashing car tyres. It takes all my concentration to keep my balance. My hands would be warmer if I jammed them into my coat pockets, but I need them free to steady myself on walls, fences, tree trunks, lamp posts. I don’t want to fall. And yet would it really be so terrible if I slipped on the ice? Wet jeans, a bruised bum. Not the end of the world. There are worse things. Far worse things.
It’s Sunday: the last exhale of the week. That uncomfortable pause before Monday, when it all starts up again – this lonely pretence at life. Sunday has become a black dot on the horizon for me, growing larger each day. I’m relieved now it’s almost over and yet I’m already anticipating the next one. The day when I visit the cemetery and stand above their graves, staring at the grass and stone, talking to them both, wondering if they hear my inane chatter or if I’m simply talking into the empty wind. In burning sunlight, pouring rain, sub-zero temperatures or thick fog I stand there. Every week. I’ve never missed a Sunday yet.
Sleet spatters my face. Icy needles that make me blink and gasp. Finally, I turn off the high street into my narrow road, where it’s more sheltered and the wind less violent. A rainbow assortment of overflowing bins lines my route, waiting for collection tomorrow at some ungodly pre-dawn hour. I turn my face away from the windows where Christmas tree lights wink and blink, reminding me of happier Christmases. Before.
Almost home.
My little north London terraced house sits halfway along the road. Pushing open the rusted gate, I turn my face away from the neglected front garden with its discarded sweet wrappers and crisp packets blown in from the street, now wedged among long tussocks of grass and overgrown bushes. I thrust my frozen fingers into my bag until they finally close around a jagged set of keys. I’m glad to be home, to get out of the cold, and yet my body sags when I open the door and step into the dark silence of the hall, feeling the hollow of their absence.
At least it’s warm in here. I shrug off my coat, kick off my boots, dump my bag on the hall table and switch on the light, avoiding my sad reflection in the hall mirror. A glass of wine would be welcome about now. I glance at my watch – only 5.20. No. I’ll be good and make a hot chocolate instead.
Strangely, the door to the kitchen is closed. This strikes me as odd, as I always leave it open. Perhaps a gust of wind slammed it shut when I came in. I trudge to the end of the hall and stop. Through a gap in the bottom of the door I see that the light is on. Someone’s in there. I catch my breath, feel the world slow down for a moment before it speeds back up. Could I have a burglar in my house?
I cock my ear. A sound filters through. Humming. A child is humming a tune in my kitchen. But I don’t have a child. Not any more.
Slowly I pull down the handle and push the door, my body tensing. I hardly dare breathe.
Here before me sits a little boy with dark hair, wearing pale blue jeans and a green cable-knit jumper. A little boy aged about five or six, perched on a chair at my kitchen counter, humming a familiar tune. Head down, he is intent on his drawing, colouring pencils spread out around an A4 sheet of paper. A navy raincoat hangs neatly over the back of the chair.
He looks up as I enter the room, his chocolate-brown eyes wide. We stare at one another for a moment.
‘Are you my mummy?’ the little boy asks.
I bite my bottom lip, feel the ground shift. I grasp the counter top to steady myself. ‘Hello,’ I say, my heart suddenly swelling. ‘Hello. And who might you be?’
‘You know. I’m Harry,’ he replies. ‘Do you like my picture?’ He holds the sheet out in front of him, showing me his drawing of a little boy and a woman standing next to a train. ‘It’s not finished. I haven’t had time to colour it in properly,’ he explains.
‘It’s lovely, Harry. Is that you standing next to the train?’
‘Yes.’ He nods. ‘It’s you and me. I drew it for you because you’re my mummy.’
Am I hallucinating? Have I finally gone crazy? This beautiful little boy is calling me his mummy. And yet I don’t know him. I’ve never seen him before in my life. I close my eyes tight and then open them again. He’s still there, looking less confident now. His hopeful smile has faltered, slipping into a frown. His eyes are now a little too bright. I know that look – it’s the one that precedes tears.
‘Hey, Harry,’ I say with false jollity. ‘So you like trains, huh?’
His smile returns. ‘Steam trains are the best. Better than diesels.’ He scrunches up his face in disgust and blinks.
‘Did you come here on the train? To my house?’
‘No. We came on the bus. I wish we did come on the train, the bus was really slow. And it made me feel a bit sick.’ He lays the sheet of paper back on the counter.
‘And who did you come with?’ I ask.
‘The angel.’
I think I must have misheard him. ‘Who?’
‘The angel brought me here. She told me that you’re my mummy.’
‘The angel?’
He nods.
I glance around, suddenly aware that Harry might not be the only stranger in my house. ‘Is she here now?’ I ask in a whisper. ‘Is there someone else here with you?’
‘No, she’s gone. She told me to do some drawing and you’d be here soon.’
I relax my shoulders, relieved that there’s no one else in my home. But it still doesn’t help me solve the problem of who this little boy is. ‘How did you get into the house?’ I ask, nervously wondering if I might find a smashed window somewhere.
‘Through the front door, silly,’ he replies with a smile, rolling his eyes.
Through the front door? Did I leave it open somehow? I’m sure I would never have done that. What’s going on here? I should call someone. The authorities. The police. Somebody will be looking for this child. They will be frantic with worry. ‘Would you like a hot chocolate, Harry?’ I ask, keeping my voice as calm as possible. ‘I was going to make one for myself, so—’
‘Do you make it with milk?’ he interrupts. ‘Or with hot water? It’s definitely nicer with milk.’
I suppress a smile. ‘I agree, Harry. I always make it with milk.’
‘Okay. Yes, please,’ he replies. ‘Hot chocolate would be lovely.’
My heart squeezes at his politeness.
‘Shall I carry on colouring in my picture,’ he says, ‘or shall I help you? Because I’m really good at stirring in the chocolate.’
‘Well, that’s lucky,’ I reply, ‘because I’m terrible at stirring in the chocolate, so it’s a good thing you’re here to help me.’
He grins and slides off the stool.
What am I doing? I need to call the police right now. This child is missing from somewhere. But, oh God, just give me ten minutes with this sweet little boy who believes I’m his mother. Just a few moments of make-believe and then I’ll do the right thing. I reach out to touch his head and immediately snatch my hand back. What am I thinking? This boy has to go back to his real mother; she must be paralysed with worry.
He smiles up at me again and my chest constricts.
‘Okay,’ I say, taking a breath and blinking back any threat of tears. ‘We’ll do the chocolate in a minute. I’m just going to make a quick phone call in the hall, okay?’
‘Oh, okay.’
‘Carry on with your drawing for a little while. I won’t be long.’
He climbs back up onto the stool and selects a dark green pencil before resuming his colouring with a look of serious concentration. I turn away and pad out to the hall, where I retrieve my phone from my bag. But instead of dialling the police, I call another number. It rings twice.
‘Tess.’ The voice at the other end of the line is clipped, wary.
‘Hi, Scott. I need you to come over.’
‘What? Now?’
‘Yes. Please, it’s important.’
‘Tessa, I’m knackered, and it’s hideous out there. I’ve just sat down with a cup of tea. Can’t it wait till tomorrow?’
‘No.’ Standing by the hall table, I glimpse Harry through the doorway, the curls of his fringe flopping over one eye. Am I dreaming him?
‘What’s the matter?’ Scott says this the way he always says it. What he really means is, What’s the matter now? Because there’s always something the matter. I’m his damaged wife, who’s always having some new drama or make-believe crisis. Only this time he’ll see it’s something real, it’s something not of my making.
‘I can’t tell you over the phone, it’s too weird. You have to come over, see for yourself.’
His sigh comes long and hard down the phone. ‘Give me twenty minutes, okay?’
‘Okay. Thanks, Scott. Get here as soon as you can.’
My heart pounds, trying to make sense of what’s happening. That little boy in there says an angel brought him. He says I’m his mummy. But he’s not mine. So where on earth did he come from?
I take a breath and go back into the kitchen. The air is warm, welcoming, cosy. Nothing like the usual sterile atmosphere in here.
‘Can we make hot chocolate now?’ Harry looks up with shining eyes.
‘Of course. I’ll get the mugs and the chocolate. You open that drawer over there and pass me the smallest pan you can find.’
He eagerly does as I ask.
‘Harry,’ I say. ‘Where are your parents, your mummy and daddy?’
He stares at the pans in the drawer.
‘Harry?’ I prompt.
‘They’re not here,’ he replies. ‘Is this one small enough?’ He lifts out a stainless-steel milk pan and waves it in my direction.
‘Perfect.’ I nod and take it from him. ‘Can you tell me where you live?’
No reply.
‘Did you run away from home? Are you lost?’
‘No.’
‘But where’s your house or flat? The place you live? Is it here in Friern Barnet? In London? Close to my house?’
He scowls and looks down at the flagstone floor.
‘Do you have a last name?’ I ask as gently as I can.
He looks up at me, his chin jutting out. ‘No.’
I try again, crouching down so I’m on his level. ‘Harry, darling, what’s your mummy’s name?’
‘You’re my new mummy. I have to stay here now.’ His bottom lip quivers.
‘Okay, sweetie. Don’t worry. Let’s just make our drinks, shall we?’
He nods vigorously and sniffs.
I give his hand a squeeze and straighten up. I wish I hadn’t had to call Scott. And yet I need him to be here when I ring the police. I can’t deal with them on my own, not after what happened before. I’m dreading their arrival – the questions, the sideways glances, the implication that I might have done something wrong. I haven’t done anything wrong, though. Have I?
And Harry… he’ll be taken away. What if his parents have been abusive? What if he has to go into foster care? A thousand thoughts run through my mind, each worse than the one before. But it’s not my place to decide what happens to him. There’s nothing I can do about any of it, because he’s not mine.
I don’t have a child. Not any more.




A Seaside Escape by Lisa Hobman @LisaJHobmanAuth #BlogTour #Review @Aria_Fiction




Thank you for joining me today for my stop on the blog tour for A Seaside Escape by Lisa Hobman. Before you catch my review let's take a look at the description for the book...



All work and no love can make for a dull life. But cupid's arrow has a habit of striking when you least expect it... A heartwarming, feel-good romance to curl up with this winter. Perfect for the fans of Marian Keyes and Veronica Henry.


Mallory Westerman is the successful proprietor of Le Petit Cadeau, a gift shop extraordinaire in thriving Leeds. 


Concentrating solely on her business, she has almost given up on finding someone to love. That is until she literally falls into the arms of a handsome, intriguing stranger who becomes her Knight in shining armour. 


The whirlwind romance that ensues changes her life-path irrevocably. However, the road to true love is never smooth and things don't always turn out how you expect...



*Shortlisted for the RNA Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year 2014*



This book was previously published as A Bridge Over The Atlantic.


Available on NetGalley: http://bit.ly/2xzTo3V

Buy links:
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2wLsnpS

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Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction



I don't want to go too much into the plot as I really don't want to ruin it for anyone so I will try to be as vague as possible. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters and how they both dealt with the sudden change of direction in their lives.

I also have to say that I love Mallory as a name and it was even one that we considered for our daughter. I actually loved that we got the added bonus of seeing Mallory's life with Sam I think it gave me a deeper connection to Mallory and understanding of her character. Greg left me smiling every time he was on the scene. At first you think oh he's just plain grumpy but the more you get to know him the more layers to his personality are revealed. Showing a different character to the one we are first introduced to with a depth that is so appealing.

My heart broke for both of them and their tragic pasts but they both have determined personalities. I loved the use of songs throughout the book, songs can evoke memories and so many emotions so this tied in perfectly with the story. There is also a lovely humour within the story that left me smiling and on quite a few occasions it was when Greg kept putting his foot in it when talking to Mallory.


There is sadness, love and hope too that made this story all the more engaging. A seaside Escape moves at a lovely pace and one of the things I enjoyed the most was the friendship that slowly builds between Greg and Mallory.

A delightfully heart warming story!
Four stars from me!


With thanks to Melanie at Aria Fiction for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.




Lisa’s debut novel was shortlisted in the 2014 RNA. Her stories centre around believable, yet down to earth characters and the places in Scotland she has visited and fallen in love with. She is a happily married mum of one with two energetic dogs.

Follow Lisa

Twitter: @LisaJHobmanAuth