Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Blog Tour: Extract from Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley

Today I am part of the blog tour for the very fabulous Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley. I have an exclusive extract for you further down this post. I'll also leave the buy links because I know this extract is going to make you want to download this book straight away!

Here's what it's all about...

Christmas has arrived on the Cornish Isles of Scilly, bringing mistletoe, surprises and more than a sprinkle of romance . . . Fans of Poldark and Carole Matthews will love this brand-new festive read from the author of the bestselling Cornish Café series.
For Maisie Samson, this Christmas is going to be different. After years working in a busy Cornish pub, she’s moved back to quiet Gull Island where she grew up, to help her parents run the family inn.

But even though she can’t wait for the festive season to arrive, Maisie cannot shake the memories of what happened to her last Christmas – the day she lost everything. She keeps herself busy, setting up the tree and hanging mistletoe ready for her first proper family Christmas in years.

Until a new arrival to the island walks into her bar and changes everything. Australian backpacker Patrick is looking for a job for the low season. When Maisie takes him on, she doesn’t expect him to last the week, but to her surprise Patrick is the perfect fit. Charming and handsome, could Maisie allow herself to hope that she and Patrick could be more than just colleagues?

As Christmas approaches, Maisie finds herself dreading the spring, when Patrick is due to leave. With the help of a little Christmas magic, can Maisie get the happily ever after she always dreamed of?

Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles is the perfect book to snuggle up with this Christmas.

And here's the extract for you...

Extract Twenty from Chapter Twelve, pp 81-82
Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ was belting out over the speakers so that people had to shout above the noise. Patrick would have turned the sound system down but the music was in Ray’s hands and he didn’t want to interfere. 
There was standing room only in the bar. A corner had been cordoned off to create a makeshift stage with a speaker and a microphone, and was festooned with fake cobwebs with rubber bats hanging from the beams. He knew that this was his debut at the Driftwood, and that he was probably as much a part of the entertainment for the evening as any of the ‘acts’. He’d braced himself for the fact that being a newcomer in this tiny community would make him an object of interest, but he hadn’t quite been prepared for so much attention all in one go.
Ray was dressed as Dracula with Hazel as his bride. Maisie flitted about the bar in a slinky red ‘devil’ outfit and black pointy boots, which Patrick was finding a major distraction. She had a red plastic pitchfork behind the bar that she used to prod people at regular intervals.
In desperation, Patrick had decided on a makeshift Zombie outfit, ripping up an old T-shirt and, with the help of some of Hazel’s make-up and a YouTube video, had managed a passable impression of a rotting corpse. He wasn’t a natural costume-party person but had long become used to joining in themed events at the Fingle. Besides, the outfit gave him a literal and metaphorical mask to hide behind during his baptism of fire behind the bar at the Driftwood.
‘Nice costume,’ said Maisie briskly, when he’d arrived for work. 
‘You too,’ he replied, trying not to make the comment sound pervy in any way, even though she looked edible in the slinky scarlet Lycra. ‘Nice . . . um . . . horns.’
‘Thanks, and may I say, being one of the living dead really suits you,’ she’d fired back in return.
They’d barely had a chance to speak since people had started arriving as soon as the doors opened at seven o’clock. Patrick had been surprised at the amount of people willing to venture out across the seas on an October night. However, he’d soon learned that most of the islanders were skilled boatmen and women, used to navigating their way around the seas of Scilly even in the dark and less than ideal conditions. Really bad conditions did keep some of the smaller vessels in port at times, that was inevitable, but fortunately it was a calm evening and no one was going to miss the Hallowe’en party night – not to mention the added attraction of an exotic new face, even if that face did look like he’d risen fresh from the grave. 
Vampires, werewolves, Frankenstein’s monsters, witches, ghosts and ghouls piled into the bar. The costumes were largely homemade, some more convincing than others. In minutes, the questions and banter flew at him and he tried to give as good as he got, all the while serving drinks under Maisie’s watchful eye. You’re on trial, Patrick, mate, he told himself as she shot a sideways glance at him when she was collecting glasses. You always will be with this woman.

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Friday, 13 October 2017

Review: There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Over a year after her parents sent her away from Hawaii to live with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska, Makani Young is still adjusting to her new life. She's made a small group of close friends and even flirted with romance, but her past in Hawaii is still hard to forget. And then . . . one by one the students of her new high school begin to die in a series of gruesome murders. Makani doesn't know who's next on the list. Between this, and a secret scorching relationship with the school weirdo, this school year may turn out to be one to die for . . . literally. There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins will have you swooning with fear and romance, and is the perfect page-turner for fans of Scream Queens and I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Review: Wow, I loved this book so much more than I thought I was going to! Now that makes it sound like I went into reading it with a negative attitude but I have just never read a book from the horror genre before, YA or adult so I was a little worried but boy was this a fab read. Stephanie Perkins just has this way of engaging you in her worlds and getting you to love her characters that works whether it is in the romance genre or in the horror genre. I really loved that this book was a young adult book but it has definitely encouraged me to read a little more into the horror genre!

This book features Makani and the other teens who attend her high school in rural Nebraska. The setting of this novel was perfect for what takes place at the  plot unfolds and it was really well described so i could picture myself there in the town with all of them. The storyline is generally fast paced. There is a balance of scene setting and then horror action with Makani takin every other chapter or very 2 our of three chapters so that we really get to know her as the main character, as well as what is going on with the murders. 

Makhani was a good choice of the main character because she is easy to like but shed also is a little different from the people in her high school. The fact that she stands out and also that she has some sort of secret to hide made her interesting to read about. I would say that Ollie is the supporting character in this book and I really liked him and reading about him. Him and his brother are not only key players in the novel, but also key players in the town where the novel is set. 

There are some other diverse characters in this novel, which is great to see because we definitely need to be reading about more diverse characters and more diverse books in general obviously, but I just felt at times that these diverse characters were accepted almost too easily by the town, I would have loved to have known the impact that they had on the community and how they managed to live so freely and be so welcomed by the community in this way. 

This book definitely scared me in part and really does compare well to the film suggested in the synopsis. I normally sleep with the window open, but the night that I read this novel, i got up to close the window, not that I was affected or anything! This had some great suspense but also some really storylines about each of the characters that made for a great read. As I said above, this author really knows how to engage an audience, whatever genre she is writing in and i would definitely recommend this book even if, like me, you are not usually a horror reader!

To order your cop now, just click the link: UK or US

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Blog Tour: Q&A with Catherine Ferguson Author of Christmas at Log-Fire Cabin

I am very excited to have an author interview for you today as part of the blog tour for Christmas at Log Fire Cabin. There are some great blogs on this tour so don't forget to visit the others for more excellent content. Catherine Ferguson has been kind enough to stop by the blog today to answer my burning questions but first, here's what her fabulous festive novel is all about...

Curl up by the fire this Christmas with the eBook bestseller Catherine Ferguson. 

When Poppy’s boyfriend Harrison proposes the week before Christmas and gives her twelve days to decide, she doesn’t know what to do. With the festive season in full swing, it’s make or break time for the couple and the clock is ticking… 

Meanwhile, Poppy’s best friend Erin is desperate for the pair of them to fulfil their dream of setting up a dinner party catering company – and when an opportunity arises at a luxury log fire cabin, the girls take their chance to impress. 

But they hadn’t bargained on the owner of the cabin being quite so attractive – or having quite such a sexy voice. As the twelve days tick on, will Poppy realise that Harrison is the one for her? Or will it be love in the lodge when the new year comes? 

Lose yourself this Christmas in the new novel from the brilliant Catherine Ferguson, perfect for cosying up with by the fire.

And here is the interview, all the buy links are below so you can order this festive novel once you've read all of Catherine's answers!

Do you write full time & if so, have you always done this?

I’m not quite at the stage where I can afford to write full-time, although I do devote around thirty hours a week to writing my books. To keep the wolf from the door, I have a little cleaning job a few mornings a week, which serves the dual purpose of keeping me fit and helping me stay in touch with the world beyond my laptop! Plus I can be back at my desk, writing, by 9.30am, which is fab.

Do you have a particular writing style or genre that you prefer?

I love writing romantic comedies.

How do you develop your characters as you write, are any of them based on real people?

To make a character stand out, it’s important they have little quirks to their nature, and I do love dreaming these up. Rather than consciously basing them on actual people, I think mine emerge from the library of characteristics in my head, assembled over a lifetime of being nosy and observing people!

 What was the inspiration behind Christmas at the Log Fire Cabin?

I love spending Christmas at home with the family, but I’ve often wondered what it would be like to hire a cottage in the country and decamp there for the festive period, preferably a place with lots of woods where you could take endless snowy country walks and return to warm up with mulled wine by a roaring log fire. So I suppose Christmas at the Log Fire Cabin is a bit of a fantasy for me. Not that the guests in the book all enjoy the perfect Christmas. Far from it!

What is your writing process-do you plan it out first? Write a bit at a time?

I’ve tried sketching out every chapter at the start but it just doesn’t work for me. The story changes so much throughout, as I slowly get to know my characters, that I find it best just to start with a rough idea of the themes in the book, and how the story will pan out, but allow inspiration to strike as and when. I get my best flashes of inspiration when I’m out walking, so I try to make this part of my working day. It’s always worth it for the gems that emerge. I’m often galloping for home at the end of my walk, terrified I’ll forget my brilliant idea before I can get it down on paper!

How much of you is reflected in your writing?

Probably far more than I’d like, is the answer to that!

What kind of research did you have to do before/during writing Christmas at the Log Fire Cabin?

My heroine, Poppy, is a fantastic cook and particularly loves Italian food – so I was forced to do lots of lovely Italian cookery research. (Very hard work but hey, it had to be done!!)

How much attention do you pay to the reviews that you get?

A lot more than I should. It can sap your energy for the rest of the day, getting a horrible review, but I’ve realised that every writer gets them. Even the most popular. I’m slowly getting better at handling the bad reviews and not forgetting to concentrate on all the good ones, too!
Are friends and family supportive of your writing?
They’re all incredibly supportive, spreading the word about my books wherever they go and being excited for me as another launch day approaches. There are a few friends in particular who urged me to keep going, even when I was getting nothing but rejections and feeling it was all a bit hopeless. They told me I would make it eventually – and they were right! I will always be so grateful to them.
How do you feel leading up to your publication day?

Excited to finally get my book baby out there. But also nervous and apprehensive, wondering what people will think of it.

Which other authors inspire you or are there any you particularly enjoy reading?

Corny, I know, but Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series first inspired me to start writing, and I loved the sharp irony in Jane Austen’s novels when I was growing up. Nowadays, I so admire Marian Keyes and Sophie Kinsella – both masters of their craft!  

Finally...what are you working on right now?

I’m absolutely loving writing my next book, which is due out in March. It’s called Love Among the Treetops and concerns a girl called Twilight Wilson who’s trying to save the family home and opens a café in a treehouse in order to do so! I’ve taken lots of inspiration from the incredibly magical Treehouse Restaurant at Alnwick Garden in Northumberland, close to where I live.

Click the links to order your copy now: UK or US

Thank you so much to Catherine for stopping by!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Guest Review: Coming Home to The Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

Welcome to the cosy Comfort Food Café, where there's kindness in every cup of hot chocolate and the menu is sprinkled with love and happiness…
Moving to the little village of Budbury, Zoe hopes the crisp Dorset sea breeze and gentle pace of life will be a fresh start for her and her goddaughter, Martha.
Luckily for them both, the friendly community at the café provide listening ears, sage advice, shoulders to cry on, and some truly excellent carrot cake. And when Martha's enigmatic, absent father suddenly turns up, confusing not only Martha but Zoe too, the love and support of their new-found friends is the best present they could ask for.
Have Zoe and Martha truly found their home at the Comfort Food Café?

Review: How nice to be returning to the lovely Comfort Food Cafe, and for a Christmas story to boot. I have read and enjoyed all the books in this series, and was delighted at the prospect of revisiting the cafe and all the inhabitants of the Dorset village of Budbury, where this unusual eatery is set high above the sea. For those who haven't read the previous stories, just the amazing cover should be enough to entice them; it absolutely oozes Christmas charm and invites the viewer into the warmth imagined within the cafe. 

The newcomers to the village in this tale are Zoe and her teenage goddaughter, Martha. Zoe is feeling out of her depth trying to look after her rebellious charge and hopes that a move away from their home environment may be the answer. How lucky that she decides to relocate to Budbury, where the healing powers of the Comfort Food Cafe and the somewhat zany villagers could just be their salvation. How lucky as well that Martha's father, Cal, who she has never met, also arrives on the scene. 

As with all the other books in this series, I have really enjoyed the mix of characters and the amazing setting described by the author in this story. The usual Debbie Johnson humour is present, as well as some quite heart-rending moments. So, tissues at the ready for tears of laughter as well as sadness. Although the book can be read as a standalone, I would heartily recommend reading them all in sequence. It has been wonderful watching the characters develop and learning more about them with each consecutive addition to the series. I always find it a real pleasure to return to Budbury and find out how everyone is faring. If only it were a real village; I would be moving there tomorrow. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books With Autumn Themes 10/10/17

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

It's definitely beginning to feel a lot like autumn now. Denver had had its first snow and here in the UK it's nearly October half term! There are definitely some great autumn themed books out there, and some set at the beginning of a new school year (which feels like autumn for me) so here's my list. 

Monday, 9 October 2017

Bookshop Day Haul and Books Are My Bag Giveaway!

So Saturday was Bookshop Day a day all book lovers head to their local bookshops to show them some love and of course buy some books! 

This day is run by the fabulous Books Are My Bag campaign-if you're not already following them on Twitter, you should do! I'm going to show you where I went and what I bought but first I wanted to tell you about the amazing competition that the Books Are My Bag campaign are running this year.

To celebrate selling 1 million Books Are My Bag tote bags, they are offering book lovers the prize bundle of a lifetime - £250 National Book Tokens, a Golden ticket to the Hay Festival, a picture signed by Quentin Blake, West End tickets… This is the most incredibly gift ever!

To enter, bookshop lovers just need to Tweet #OneInAMillion saying what their favourite bookshop is and why. 

People will have until 7th November to enter the competition, with the three lucky winners being revealed on 25th November. You can find the Bookseller Association, who run Books Are My Bag and Bookshop Day, on twitter @BAbooksellers

The #OneInAMillion Prize winner will take home:
·         An exclusive, one-off Orla Kiely leather bag
·         £250 in National Book Tokens
·         A golden ticket to Hay Festival
·         Afternoon Tea for Two at Claridges (Hachette)
·         London Zoo tickets and a copy of Zoo Quest (Hachette)
·         A limited-edition copy of Alan Bennett’s Keeping on Keeping On, RRP £200 (Faber)
·         A limited-edition print from Billy and the Minpins, signed by Quentin Blake (Puffin)
·         A special edition Handmaid’s Tale (Vintage)
·         A set of Vintage Classics Dickens (Vintage)
·         A signed Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World print by Kate Pankhurst (Bloomsbury)
·         A signed first-edition copy of Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst (Pan Macmillan)
·         A set of PanMacmillan70th Anniversary edition books (Pan Macmillan)
·         A pair of tickets to The Christmasaurus Live on Stage at the London Apollo (Penguin Random House) – any date between 20 – 28th December

Two runners up will also be in with the chance of winning the following fantastic prizes:

Second Prize
·         A signed copy of Hurrah for Gin by Katie Kirby, together with a bottle of Sipsmith gin (Hachette)
·         A copy of Nigella Lawson’s new cookbook, At My Table (Vintage)
·         A signed copy of The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein (Bloomsbury)
·         A signed copy of My Name is Victoria by Lucy Worsley (Bloomsbury)
·         A signed copy of Moonrise by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury)
·         Subscription to the New Scientist magazine (Hachette)
·         Haunted House tour and a signed copy of Devil’s Day by Andrew Hurley (Hachette)
·         A mounted Emily Sutton print (Bloomsbury)
Third Prize
·         A copy of Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and a box set of Stephen King DVD’s (Hachette)
·         A signed copy of Down to Earth: Gardening Wisdom by Monty Don (DK)
·         A copy of The Creakers by Tom Fletcher (Puffin)
·         A signed print of Oliver Jeffers’ new book Here We Are (Penguin Random House)
·         Perfectly Norman print by Tom Percival (Bloomsbury)

The competition marks the 1 millionth Books Are My Bag tote bag to be worn by the public, showing their support for bookshops in the UK & Ireland.

Meryl Halls, Head of Membership Services at the Booksellers Association, said: “Reaching our one millionth supporter is a hugely exciting milestone, and we’re delighted to be able to show our thanks to bookshop lovers across the UK & Ireland with this fabulous prize. It is wonderful to see the book industry coming together to support bookshops with the amazing prizes they have donated. We wish everyone the best of luck, and look forward to hearing all about our supporters’ favourite bookshops!”

Bookshop lovers will have until 7th November to enter the competition, with the lucky winners being revealed on 25th November, when bookshops across the country will offer a Saturday Sanctuary as respite from the business of daily life.

Orla Kiely, said: “I am so happy to have collaborated with the Bookseller’s Association. As a great lover of books and bookshops, nothing gives me more pleasure than discovering a new book, whether it’s a beautiful edition on a new favourite photographer, a great novel or a rare out of print edition. There is nothing more relaxing, inspiring or stimulating than reading and losing oneself in another world. We should all take time to read and importantly, to encourage our children to love books.”

Now in its fifth year, the Books Are My Bag campaign highlights and celebrates the vital role of high street and campus bookshops. Over the last four years, a million people have worn a Books Are My Bag canvas bag in support of the campaign.

More details on Books Are My Bag 2017 will be unveiled in the coming weeks; keep an eye on www.booksaremybag.com for updates.

And here is my #OneInAMillion...So I visited Imagined Things Books in Harrogate, and if you haven't already visited, I would definitely recommend popping in, it is such a lovely shop and, as well as amazing books, they have a great range of bookish march and Jewellery to buy too!

I got myself one of the limited edition Orla Kiely tote bags...

As well as this fab Stephen King tote...

And a copy of the Wonder picture book We Are All Wonders by RJ Palacio

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Guest Review: Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan

She'll risk everything for her own Christmas miracle…
Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family. But when dog-walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list – dealing with Madi's temporary dog-sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry.
Ethan thought he was used to chaos, until he met Madi – how can one tiny dog cause such mayhem? To Ethan, the solution is simple – he will pay Harriet to share his New York apartment and provide 24-hour care. But there's nothing simple about how Harriet makes him feel.
Ethan's kisses make Harriet shine brighter than the stars over moonlit Manhattan. But when his dog-sitting duties are over, and Harriet returns to her own home, will she dare to take the biggest challenge of all – letting Ethan know he has her heart for life, not just for Christmas?

Review: This is book 6 in the From Manhattan With Love series written by Sarah Morgan. Although part of a series, it can easily be read as a standalone as any mention of characters or events from previous parts are explained along the way. I have loved every one of these books and find myself looking forward to the next each time I am nearing the end of my current read. This one was no exception. I was hooked right from page one, particularly as the author cleverly introduces us into an interesting situation. 

This book centres around Harriet, who, with her twin sister, Fliss, runs a very successful dog-walking business (The Bark Rangers) in Manhattan. Although very good with dogs, and animals in general, Harriet is shy with humans, and leaves most of the client contact to Fliss. However, we find Harriet on her own now that her sister has moved away, and determined to come out of her shell. In fact, she has challenged herself to do something that she wouldn't normally do every day for the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is why the reader finds Harriet at the start of the book doing something most un-Harriet like and at the same time hilarious. However amusing and ill-advised this escapade, it does lead to her meeting handsome and hunky Dr Ethan Black, one of the best ER doctors in the city. He turns out to be the brother of one of Harriet's clients, and through her client's dog, Madi, Ethan and Harriet are pushed together.  

This is yet another heartwarming and amusing tale from Sarah Morgan. Its setting, a snowy pre-Christmas Manhattan, is brought to life by her skilful descriptive narrative. I particularly enjoyed the banter between the main characters. I really wanted them to come together, but I was never absolutely sure how things were going to pan out. There was also some entertaining interactions between Ethan and his work colleague, Susan. Of course, as always in this series of books, there is a collection of cute dogs and kittens for all us animal lovers. I would heartily recommend this book for curling up with when it's cold outside. It's sure to give a warm glow for lovers of romantic comedy, medical romances, Christmas tales and animal stories alike. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US