Thursday, 25 February 2016

Kitty's Countryside Dream - Christie Barlow

About the book...

New home. New life. New beginning. It’s time for Kitty Lewis to start living again . . .  

When Kitty inherits Bluebell Lodge from her grandmother, a farm in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside, it’s time for fresh air and a fresh start. Up to her elbows in chickens and ponies, Kitty soon realises there’s an awful lot to learn about farming. Still, at least the locals seem friendly, not least her handsome neighbour Tom… 



But just as Kitty is beginning to find her feet, the discovery of a long-hidden diary,at the farm, by a mysterious character called Violet changes everything. Who is Violet and what is her message for Kitty? As Kitty fills in the lost pieces of her family jigsaw and discovers some shocking revelations, will her countryside dream fall to pieces? When it comes to life in the country, nothing is ever quite as it seems … 



A heart warming, moving and funny tale, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley and Cathy Bramley. 

About the author...

Christie Barlow the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother decided to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. She is just a Mum who wrote a book to prove to her children whatever you want to do in life go for it. The book she wrote to prove a point is now an Amazon #1 bestseller in the UK and USA. 

Christie can be contacted through her webpage: www.christiebarlow.com 
or via her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ChristieJBarlow

My thoughts...
I was offered an advance copy of Kitty's Countryside Dream by Kim at Bookouture in exchange for an honest review which I'm more than happy to do.

I cannot imagine for one minute that anybody will be able to resist picking up this book, the cover is amazing, I love it - especially as it's so dark, dingy and miserable outside at the moment.  It just shouts, hope, spring, happiness and makes me smile every time I look at it.

Kitty's Countryside Dream is Christie's third novel and as much as I loved the previous two, this one is just leaps and bounds better, it's got a tighter plot and the storyline digs deeper than in the 'Playground Mother' books.  It has a definite story to it, that It will have you laughing and smiling one minute and then you'll feel it pulling at your heart strings.

We start the book as Kitty receives an unexpected inheritance.  A inheritance from a  grandmother she had never known, a person whom she thought had been dead for many years. She finds herself the owner of a ground floor flat and Bluebell Lodge, a farm that turns out to be a working chicken farm.  Her inheritance coming at a time in her life when she needs a different direction, a new focus and a fresh beginning.

Christie has given us characters that I immediately took to heart just as Kitty did too.  Kitty finding immediate friendships in Jeannie who is working on the farm, Lucinda who owns the local bakery, Tom who is currently managing the farm and Robin Jeannie's brother. Sometimes in life we meet people and instant bonds are made.  From the very beginning of Kitty's Countryside Dream the friendship and support of what turns out to be a tight circle of friends is evident.  

At first this book delivered exactly what I expected a light hearted, humorous read that would have me smiling and laughing out loud, something I could pick up and put down as time dictated.  Then it all changed with the discovery of a diary written in 1960 by somebody called Violet.  There was already a few strange occurrences that had Kitty questioning what she had previously taken at face value and reading the diary has shocking consequences.

This really turned out to be a beautiful book, that focused on relationships between family and friends.  It answered questions that Kitty didn't realise needed answering.  Life as she knew it was turned on its head and the love, friendship and support of her new friends is what gives her the strength to face what went before and what lay ahead.  The love of our parents is something we take for granted but we don't always know the price they've paid in fulfilling that role.  Turning the pages and unravelling the story was very thought provoking. 

I highly recommend this book.  I was just as absorbed by the diary entries from 1960 as I was with the present day happenings at Bluebell Lodge.  1960 doesn't seem that long ago in time but the expectations and values of a different generation really are quite different to today.  One thing doesn't change though, loyalty, trust, friends and support are the most important thing in all our lives.  You can pick your friends, not your family and friendship is two way. It's equally important to be a good friend as it is to acceptance the hand of friendship.

I highly recommend this book and urge you all to head to Amazon and pre-order it now - you won't be disappointed, except that is when the book ends!  I can't wait for the next offering by the truly gorgeous Christie Barlow.


Monday, 22 February 2016

Between Friends - Jenny Harper

BETWEEN FRIENDS
 BY JENNY HARPER

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Release Date: 11 February 2016
Publisher:  Accent Press
About the book...
They thought he belonged safely in the past. His return threatens everything. 
Marta, Carrie and Jane have been friends since they were at school in Edinburgh. Now one is bringing up her family, another is desperately trying for children of her own, and the third is focused on her career – and each takes the support of the others as a given.
But when generous Marta offers out-of-luck actor Tom temporary shelter, her act of kindness sets in motion a tsunami of destruction. Marta’s marriage comes under threat. Timid Jane is haunted by the secret she has been hiding since she last saw Tom. And ambitious Carrie finds herself at the mercy of a man who can ruin her career.
Only by pulling together can the friends rid themselves of this menace. But is Tom too clever at sowing mistrust?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
BUY LINKS
About the author...
Jenny Harper lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, though she was born in India and grew up in England. She has been a non-fiction editor, a journalist and a businesswoman and has written a children’s novel and several books about Scotland, as well as four full length novels and a novella in The Heartlands series (set in Hailesbank), and two short stories that have appeared in anthologies. Between Friends is her fifth full length novel.
Jenny writes contemporary women’s fiction with bite – complex characters facing serious issues. 
What they say:
‘An engaging and delightful read. Jenny Harper is a most gifted storyteller.’  Alexander McCall Smith
‘Page turning and thoroughly entertaining. I loved it!’ Katie Fforde
‘The most beautiful love story that I have read in a long while. Amazon review of People We Love
‘This was a fun, heart-warming but also emotional story that had me thinking about the characters long after I’d finished it.’ Amazon review of Maximum Exposure
‘Ms. Harper has created a fully populated, very human and recognisable world.’ Amazon review of Face the Wind and Fly
‘There is everything I like about a novel in her writing: family, relationships, current affairs ... things the author seems well versed in. I loved the Scottish settings, and could visualise many of the locations in the book ...’ Amazon review of Loving Susie
Author contact details:-
Twitter               https://twitter.com/harper_jenny

My thoughts...
I was given a copy of Between Friends in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour organised by Brook Cottage Books, something which I am more than happy to do.

I always find reading a book that is set somewhere I know altogether more special. Between Friends is a novel set in the city of Edinburgh, a place I have visited many times  during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  I keep promising myself I'll visit when it isn't on but haven't quite managed it yet - one day!

Between Friends centres around three friends, Marta, Carrie and Jane.  They have been friends for forever and share a type of friendship that I'm sure many of us readers are part of.  Friends since school, they know each other well, their lives are interwoven - each takes the others and their friendship for granted.  They elude to a closeness yet, it seems they all have secrets they aren't sharing. This is a story that when the cracks start appearing each of them questions the friendship they had previously took for granted. When the chips really are down their almost animalistic instinct comes to the fore as their friendship, relationships and everything they hold dear is challenged.

Tom an aspiring actor, a person who unbeknown to them all has a connection with each of the girls and is the catalyst in this story - because of him secrets held, secrets shared threaten to  crush, not just their friendships but every aspect of their lives. 

This was an easy read that moved forward at a reasonably, steady pace, a story that held a few surprises - not just to the plot but in the way each of the characters reacted and developed throughout the story. Relationships both platonic and romantic are explored, leaving characters exposed and vulnerable.  Yet, by the end of the book they each emerge stronger than before with a friendship that is solid, less superficial built on loyalty, trust and understanding.

Jenny Harper has the ability to create characters that evoke a reaction, not always a positive one either.  That to me is good - I like to get under the skin of a character, finding out what makes them tick.  Each and every one of us needs the support of our family and friends and the characters in Between Friends were no different. 

This is a book about the intricacies of love, loyalty, trust and friendship and the difficult journey patching the  fragile pieces to make them stronger along the way. Thank you Jenny for once again allowing me to escape reality and lose myself in someone else's world!
GIVEAWAY
Brooch and paperback (1st prize)
2x ebooks (2nd PRIZE)

Saturday, 6 February 2016

The Rest of My Life - Sheryl Browne

About the book...

Genre: Contemporary Romance : Release Date: 1st July 2015 
Publisher: Choc Lit @ChocLituk 
  • Recommended by the WH Smith Travel Fiction Buyer 
  • Shortlisted for the LoveStories Awards 2015 
  • A Being Anne’s Book of the Year 2015 

The Rest of My Life - When is it time to stop running? 

“You can’t run away from commitment forever … “ 

Adam Hamilton-Shaw has more reason than most to avoid commitment. Living on a houseboat in the Severn Valley, his dream is to sail into the sunset – preferably with a woman waiting in every port. But lately, his life looks more like a road to destruction than an idyllic boat ride… Would-be screenplay writer Sienna Meadows realises that everything about Adam spells trouble – but she can’t ignore the feeling that there is more to him than just his bad reputation. Nor can she ignore the intense physical attraction that exists between them. And it just so happens that Adam sees Sienna as the kind of woman he could commit to. But can he change his damaging behaviour – or is the road to destruction a one-way street? 




BUY LINKS:-

My thoughts...
I was fortunate enough to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review which I'm more than happy to give. With grateful thanks to Sheryl and Netgalley for the opportunity.

The Rest of My Life was for me an addictive read, once I started I literally couldn't put it down.  Sheryl Browne certainly knows what buttons to press when putting pen to paper - I just love her writing style.  I literally fell headlong into this book just as I have with her others.  She had me hook, line and sinker absorbed and fully engaged with the characters from almost the first page.

Sienna and Adam, the two main characters in this book at first seem polar opposites.  First impressions of Sienna is of a quiet, wear your heart on your sleeve, simply lovely girl, who later reveals a feisty side.  Whereas Adam gives off mixed signals from the off. That of a hunky, heart palpitating, heart throb to that of a grumpy, miserable excuse of a man with a bad temper to go with it.  Although, it wouldn't be giving the game away to say my opinions on characters changed many times as the story unfolded.  Sometimes, as in real life we display a persona, wearing it like a suit of armour to protect us and get us through certain times in our lives. Altering it as we think fitting to the scenario and people around us.  

Sienna is renting a house overlooking the moorings where Adams boat is berthed.  She and her gorgeous dog Tobias encounter Adam where he tries to rescue him from the water and when he eventually makes it back on dry land sparks really start to fly.  He has formed an opinion of her and she of him.  Neither of them very good!

This is a beautiful story that can't fail to touch your heart.  With each chapter read a little bit of both Adam and Sienna's characters is chipped away, revealing a vulnerability in both that is well hidden from the outside world.

Despite the many fiery encounters there is something there that keeps drawing them back to each other time and time again, each swearing that it won't happen again.  Advice from friends and family falls completely on deaf ears and situations arise that challenge both of them.  Making them look deep within their characters, challenging them - can they step up to the bar and lay their hearts on the line for each other?

Ultimately this is a love story but, it isn't just a glossy, hearts and flowers read.  It has a heart breaking story at it's centre that will make you think and will definitely pull at your heart strings.  That being said I think I went through every emotion reading this.  I smiled and laughed.  I cussed and cursed, oohed and ached and was even close to tears - left with a feeling of utter desolation - the pain and anguish lifted off the page as I devoured the pages. Sheryl's characters and stories are so vivid they could be real - who knows? Perhaps they are!

I highly recommend this book to all Sheryl Browne fans but in particular to those that haven't discovered this amazing author yet.  A woman with multi faceted literary talent who can switch between genre's with such ease I'm convinced she has a twin.  

Please read on to the end of this blogpost for your chance to win one of Sheryl's books.

About the author... 
Heartache, humour, love, loss & betrayal, Sheryl Browne brings you edgy, sexy, poignant fiction. A member of the Crime Writers’ Association, Romantic Novelists’ Association and shortlisted for the Best Romantic e-book Love Stories Award 2015, Sheryl has seven books published and two short stories in Birmingham City University anthologies Sheryl’s new contemporary romance novel was recommended to the publisher by the WH Smith Travel fiction buyer. 
THE REST OF MY LIFE comes to you from award winning Choc Lit.




Monday, 1 February 2016

Cover Reveal for After The Lie by Kerry Fisher

It gives me immense pleasure to be part of the cover reveal for Bookouture's new author Kerry Fisher.  Having the great fortune to have met Kerry I was beyond ecstatic to be asked to part of this cover reveal and literally cannot wait to read and review After the Lie.
After the Lie by Kerry Fisher

About the book....

An addictive and gripping read about love, life and living a lie …
One little lie can make one big difference …

Lydia has the ‘right’ kind of friends, her children are at the ‘right’ kind of school and she’s married to the ‘right’ sort of man – kind, steady, reliable Mark. Her wedding business is flourishing and even though she is at loggerheads with her mother, she couldn’t ask for anything more from life.

But the truth is that Lydia has been lucky. She has been living a lie for years and Mark has no idea who he is really married to. But nothing lasts forever and the past has a funny way of catching up with the present. When the person who knows all of Lydia’s dark little secrets turns up at the school gates, his presence threatens to blow Lydia’s life apart.

What is Lydia’s terrible truth? Once the secret is out, you can’t put it back … 

Publication date: 29th April 2016.

Available to pre-order now:- 

About the author...

Born in Peterborough, Kerry Fisher studied French and Italian at Bath University, followed by several years working as an English teacher in Corsica and Spain before topping the dizzying heights of holiday rep and grape picker in Tuscany. She eventually succumbed to 'getting a proper job' and returned to England to study Periodical Journalism at City University. After two years working in the features department at Essentials magazine in London, love carried her off to the wilds of the West Pennine moors near Bolton. She now lives in Surrey with her husband (of whisking off to Bolton fame), two teenagers and a very naughty lab/schnauzer called Poppy. Kerry can often be seen trailing across the Surrey Hills whistling and waving pieces of chicken while the dog practises her 'talk to the tail'.

Kerry has spent half her life talking about writing a novel, then several years at Candis magazine reviewing other people's but it wasn't until she took some online courses with the UCLA (University of California) that the dream started to morph into reality, culminating in the publishing of The Class Ceiling. The Avon imprint of HarperCollins picked it up and retitled it The School Gate Survival Guide, published summer 2014. Her second book, The Island Escape, came out in May 2015. It won first prize at the York Festival of Writing for the opening line: 'I was wearing the wrong bra for sitting in a police cell'.

Best advice ever received: 'This is fiction, we can skip the boring bits.' Lynn Hightower, UCLA Writers' Program.

Contact details:-
Website: www.kerryfisherauthor.com 
Follow her on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/kerryfswayne
Like her page on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/kerryfisherauthor