Blog Tour: The Little Pink Taxi by Marie Laval

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The Little Pink Taxi by Marie Laval

Publisher: Choc Lit
Published: February 2018
Format: Ebook
ASIN: B078KCQ5G3
Source: I’d actually purchased this before being invited on the blog tour. Thanks to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources and Marie Laval though for letting me take part in the tour!!

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Kobo

Description

Take a ride with Love Taxis, the cab company with a Heart …
Rosalie Heart is a well-known face in Irlwick – well, if you drive a bright pink taxi and your signature style is a pink anorak, you’re going to draw a bit of attention! But Rosalie’s company Love Taxis is more than just a gimmick – for many people in the remote Scottish village, it’s a lifeline.

Which is something that Marc Petersen will never understand. Marc’s ruthless approach to business doesn’t extend to pink taxi companies running at a loss. When he arrives in Irlwick to see to a new acquisition – Raventhorn, a rundown castle – it’s apparent he poses a threat to Rosalie’s entire existence; not just her business, but her childhood home too.

On the face of it Marc and Rosalie should loathe each other, but what they didn’t count on was somebody playing cupid …


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About The Author

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire with her family. She works full-time as a modern languages teacher, and in her spare times loves writing romance and dreaming about romantic heroes. She writes both historical and contemporary romance, and her historical romance The Lion’s Embrace won the Gold Medal at the Global eBook Awards 2015 (category Historical Romance). She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her native France, as well as her passion for history and research, very much influences her writing, and all her novels have what she likes to call ‘a French twist’!

Social Media Links –

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MarieLaval1
Blog: http://marielaval.blogspot.co.uk/


My Review

I loved this book. It was fun, gripping, entertaining, everything you need in a book. There was suspense and action, along with touching, heart racing loving moments and that glorious touch of mystery. There was also some laugh out loud moments, with myself having to control any random outbursts. I liked the writing style and the switch between Rosalie’s point of view and Marc’s.

I liked Rosalie and Marc. Their chemistry worked really well, and their moments were more than frustrating yet romantic enough for me to want to shout at them to sort it out!! I liked Rosalie’s character in general, she was caring and considerate. She had her funny moments and her sad moments. She the news of Marc’s arrival on the chin and was determined to get to the bottom of it all sensibly. It was nice to see a women do something out of the whole baking thing as well, I loved the fact she was doing something that is generally classed as man’s job. I also love the fact that it’s a pink taxi!!

Marc was a good character as well. He started off as this unemotional man, who didn’t really want anything. A cold hearted man. He turned into this… Emotional, loving, sensual man. He done what was right in the end and that’s what counts really. I would say his development was the biggest, and the best.

With the mystery side of things, I couldn’t decide who I wanted to be behind it all, or if I wanted to hazard a guess. One minute I wanted it to be one person, the next I wasn’t too sure on my choice. It was a different sort of twist and I’m glad it worked out the way that it did.

Overall, I really loved this book. I’m really excited to be given it a fabulous, bright and wonderfully pink 5/5


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Blog Tour: The Lucky Dress by Aimee Brown

39791951 The Lucky Dress by Aimee Brown
note: Previously published as The Little Gray Dress

Publisher: Aria
Published: August 2018
Format: Ebook
ASIN: B07BM9NNGM
Source: NetGalley and Aria, thank you lovely people for my copy in exchange for my review

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Kobo

Follow Aria

Website: www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

Description

We all have our lucky dress… an irresistibly hilarious rom-com: perfect for fans of Anna Bell, Jo Watson and Sophie Kinsella.

Emi Harrison hasn’t been feeling particularly lucky lately. Ever since her ex-fiancée, Jack Cabot, successfully shattered her heart into a million pieces. She’s managed to avoid him for a whole year, but all that’s about to change at her brother Evan’s wedding…

She will have to face Jack, Jack’s sister, Jack’s parents, and Jack’s new girlfriend: a mean girl that just won’t quit. What could possibly go wrong?

But with her lucky dress on, she might just find new love, life, and maybe even happiness at last!


My Review

I’m excited to be on the starting day of the blog tour for this fun book.

I liked this story. Emi was a likeable person and I connected with her immediately. I understood perfectly where she was coming from when it came to Jack. Her fears were very relatable. I liked her chemistry with her brother Evan and his fiancée Hannah, although that didn’t feel as forced as what it’s made out to be. The chemistry between Emi and Jack was also questionable but I felt for them more the more I learnt about the important moments in their past relationship.

One character I wasn’t so keen on was Lily. She was extremely judgemental when it came to things Emi done, like the wine scenario at the airport. That was a little OTT and after that she just didn’t sit right with me.

I liked Jack and felt sort of sorry for him. Emi didn’y really even give him the time to try and explain, just leaving without any contact. The twist involving Jack was a little expected but it was still quite shocking. I didn’t really like the character to begin with, and then we learn why Emi didn’t like her either.

I love the fact that we got backstory from Emi and Jack’s relationship. Those moments were what made me root for them even more. They were a sweet couple, and as a character said, their romance was very much a Hollywood romance.

The writing style really flowed well, with hilarious moments involved, including drunken moments. Honestly, I didn’t get the lucky dress thing. I didn’t see any evidence of this so I’m a bit sceptical about it. I don’t think it really made the story or anything. It felt like a very convenient storyline to flow with.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and liked the characters. I’ve given this book 4/5.


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Aimee Brown is a writer of romantic comedies set in Portland, Oregon, and an avid reader. She spends much of her time writing, raising three teenagers, binge-watching shows on Netflix and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house. She’s fluent in sarcasm and has been known to utter profanities like she’s competing for a medal.

Aimee grew up in Oregon, but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three teenage children, and far too many pets. She is a lot older than she looks and yes, that is a tattoo across her chest.

Aimee is very active on social media. Stop by and say hello!

Follow

Twitter: @AimeeBWrites

Facebook: @AuthorAimeeBrown

Instagram: @authoraimeeb


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Blog Tour Extract: The Cheesemaker’s House by Jane Cable

thumbnail_The Cheesemaker's House front cover.jpg The Cheesemaker’s House by Jane Cable

Publisher: Matador
Published: August 2013

Purchase Links

Amazon universal link: viewBook.at/CheesemakersHouse
Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-cheesemakers-house/jane-cable/9781783061242
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-cheesemaker-s-house
iBook: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-cheesemakers-house/id930925191

Description

Just think, Alice, right now Owen could be putting a hex on you!

When Alice Hart’s husband runs off with his secretary, she runs off with his dog to lick her wounds in a North Yorkshire village. Battling with loneliness but trying to make the best of her new start, she soon meets her neighbours, including the drop-dead gorgeous builder Richard Wainwright and the kindly yet reticent cafe´ owner, Owen Maltby.

As Alice employs Richard to start renovating the barn next to her house, all is not what it seems. Why does she start seeing Owen when he clearly isn’t there? Where – or when – does the strange crying come from? And if Owen is the village charmer, what exactly does that mean?

**The Cheesemaker’s House is a gripping read, inspired by a framed will found in the dining room of the author’s dream Yorkshire house. The previous owners explained that the house had been built at the request of the village cheesemaker in 1726 – and that the cheesemaker was a woman. And so the historical aspect of the story was born.

Jane Cable’s novel won the Suspense & Crime category of The Alan Titchmarsh Show People’s Novelist competition, reaching the last four out of over a thousand entries. The Cheesemaker’s House can be enjoyed by anyone who has become bored of today’s predictable boy-meets-girl romance novels.**

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Although brought up in Cardiff, Jane Cable left Wales to study at the age of eighteen and has lived in England ever since. Her father was Anglo-Welsh poet Mercer Simpson so growing up in a house full of books Jane always read – and wrote. In 2011 she started to take her hobby seriously when The Cheesemaker’s House, which became her debut novel, reached the final of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition. She writes romance with a twist of mystery which has been published independently and through the UK ebook giant, Endeavour Press. Jane is an active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a director of Chindi Authors.

In 2017 Jane moved to Cornwall and this year will become a full time author. She’s passionate about her new home, cricket, travelling and her husband of 22 years – although not necessarily in that order.

Social Media Links – Website: http://www.janecable.com
Twitter: @JaneCable
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/romanticsuspensenovels/

Extract

**Alice Hart moved to rural Yorkshire after her marriage broke down and is trying to make friends. After a night in the local pub with local builder Richard, Alice decides to walk home alone.**

First, it’s colder than I expected and second, I’m drunker than I thought I was. I tug my pashmina from the bottom of my handbag and wrap it around me before setting off down the road.

I am fine within the street-lit security of Kirkby Fleetham but once I walk past the national speed limit sign I find myself in almost total darkness. Across the fields I can see lights coming from the farm buildings at the other end of the village green to my house and I focus on them. It’s only a mile or so and it won’t take me very long.

The road dips away towards the beck and all of a sudden I lose sight of the lights. It is very dark and I start to think of Matt’s ghosties and ghoulies – and then of deranged axe-men hiding in the hedge and every tiny movement in the undergrowth makes me jump. It certainly isn’t the same as walking home between the pools of yellow streetlight in Reading; it’s not only the darkness, it’s the silence too – or rather every sinister rustle and squawk that breaks it.

Finally I hear the comforting throb of an engine and as I approach Great Fencote a car rushes past and I press myself into the hedge. Something catches my pashmina and it rips a little as I tug it away. The sweat feels clammy under my top and my mouth is instantly dry but I convince myself it’s only a bramble or a piece of barbed wire. I wrap the pashmina back around me but then worry a spider might have attached itself to the fabric, so I give it a shake and stuff it into my bag.

At last the village green is ahead of me, the lights from the farm re-appearing to my right. From the opposite direction a tractor lumbers along, and as I reach New Cottage its headlamps illuminate a figure sitting under one of the trees on the green. With a start I realise it is Owen. I turn to look again, but that part of the green is in darkness for a moment or two until the lights from a second tractor swing round. There is no-one there.

My hand is frozen to the metal of the latch on the gate. If Owen had been sitting under the tree then he couldn’t possibly have jumped up and hidden so quickly. The tractors rumble on to the farmyard and there isn’t enough light to see anything on the green now, however hard I peer.

I stand motionless for an age, watching for a movement among the shadows. In the distance the tractor engine cuts out and I hear voices, and a metallic sound as a barn door grates open. My hand is stiff from clinging to the latch and on the village green all is quiet and still. I open my gate and crunch up the drive.

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Blog Tour Extract: Smile of The Wolf by Tim Leach

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Leach_SMILE OF THE WOLF_preview.jpeg Smile of the Wolf by Tim Leach

Publisher: Head of Zeus
Published: 12th July 2018
ISBN13: 9781788544108

Goodreads

Description

Eleventh-century Iceland. One night in the darkness of winter, two friends set out on an adventure but end up killing a man. Kjaran, a traveling poet who trades songs for food and shelter, and Gunnar, a feared warrior, must make a choice: conceal the deed or confess to the crime and pay the blood price to the family. But their decision leads to a brutal feud: one man is outlawed, free to be killed by anyone without consequence; the other remorselessly hunted by the dead man’s kin. Set in a world of ice and snow, this is an epic story of exile and revenge, of duels and betrayals, and two friends struggling to survive in a desolate landscape, where honor is the only code that men abide by.


Tim Leach is a graduate of the Warwick Writing Programme, where he now teaches as an Assistant Professor. His first novel, The Last King of Lydia, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize.


This book really intrigues me, I very rarely read historical fiction but when I do I usually end up loving them. This book though is a whole new thing for me. This sort of book seem to be extremely popular at the moment, so this book is perfect for fans. This extract has me extremely interested and it’s been put on the TBR. The writing style is brilliant, it flows like a song and is wonderful. I’m intrigued by the characters, the setting and how the story actually started. I hope you like it, be prepared though, it is a long one!!


Extract

3

In the long winter, even the wealthiest of Icelanders curses the day that their ancestors came to this land. They forget the dream of the people, that dream of a world without kings, and know only that they live in a dark, lonesome place. But when the sun begins to ride higher in the sky and the snow begins to quicken and thaw, it is an easy land to love. The dream grows strong once more, for we are a stubborn people.
Men and women emerge from their homes like bears from their winter caves, the sunlight feeling as sharp on the eye as a blade against the skin. They break the ice from the rivers, begin the first sowing of the crops, free their herds to wander to the high mountain pastures, go to trade for supplies and visit distant friends. And as they travel the stories travel with them.
There had been no more sightings of the ghost of Hrapp. Rumour spread that it was Olaf who had killed the ghost, since he was the last to have seen and fought with it. He denied it, honourable man that he was, but they mistook his honesty for modesty, and so the story spread.
As for Erik, there were stories of him, too. Some thought he had fallen through the ice in a river, others claimed he had gone in search of lost sheep and wandered, lost himself, until the cold murdered him. There were many who said that the winter madness had taken him as it takes so many, that he had cast himself from a cliff or gone to lie down in the snow and waited to die. They had seen him lonely, as I had, and knew it was a hard thing for a man to make it through the winter alone. I waited to see if any would make the connection between the two stories, between Erik and the ghost. But no man did. It takes a woman to think in that way.

*

A pile of blunt weapons beside me and the whetstone at my feet – that is what the first day of spring means to me. For soon we would be hunting again, and so whilst Gunnar tended the herd I took the weapons of the house to the sharpening stone.
I was working on my weapon of choice, my spear, and enjoying the feel of the sun on my face, when I heard the door of the longhouse swing open. I listened; would it be the whispering footfalls of Freydis, Gunnar’s daughter? The stamping tread of Kari, the boy who wished to be thought of as a man, and who mimicked the heavy steps of his elders, though he did not have their weight? The children liked to play with me, fascinated by my red hair, convinced it was some trick or illusion. When the day’s chores were done I would lumber around on all fours chasing them through the house, or tell them the stories my father told me – the old Irish stories of the Red Branch and the Fianna – whilst Gunnar watched and grinned and shook his head, and told me I had missed my vocation as a nursemaid. Perhaps they had come to bother me early.
It was not the children who stepped out. It was the strong tread of Dalla, Gunnar’s wife, and I saw her lean around the edge of the turf wall and look upon me.
She could have been a rare beauty, black haired and pale skinned, were it not for her warrior’s nose, broken and reset long ago, so that it was almost flat against her face – a parting gift from her father, or so Gunnar told me. In truth her shattered nose suited her, for she was a hard woman, well suited to these lands. Without a word she dipped a horn cup into the pail of milk she carried and offered it to me.
‘My thanks,’ I said as I drank it down, still warm and thick.
‘Hard work,’ she said.
‘It is. Harder to sharpen a spear than to use it, easier to kill a beast than to skin it…’ I trailed off. There was an ending to that proverb that I did not wish to speak.
‘Easier to kill a man than to bury him,’ she said, finishing the saying.
The night we came back from hunting the ghost we had found her awake, for it was in the early hours of the dawn when we returned, stumbling with exhaustion and covered in the filth of battle and burial. Her hard eyes asked the question and perhaps words would have followed. But Gunnar had reached out and taken her by the hands. He closed his eyes, and I thought for a moment that he would shame himself with weeping. But when he opened his eyes again, they were clear. He kissed her on the forehead and said: ‘Please, do not ask me. All is well. But do not ask.’
She had looked at the bite on his hand, the blunted edge of his sword, the marks on his shield. She read a story in our eyes, the eyes of men exhausted with killing, and it seemed as though she did not wish the story to be spoken. She let us go to sleep, rolled up in furs upon the floor, and when we woke she asked no questions. From the way she acted, we could pretend we had dreamed it all: a nightmare of blood and snow and an ill­struck pact.
I looked down and tested the edge of the spear against my thumb. Sharp enough. I took the next blade from the pile and said: ‘I am glad to see the end of winter.’
‘As am I. But I suppose you will be leaving us soon.’
‘I shall,’ I said. For soon it would be the Day of Movement, when a wanderer such as I would have to find a new place to call my home. She put down the pail and sat upon the ground, her back against the house.
‘I wish that you would not go,’ she said.
I smiled at her and sang her an old quatrain:

One must go on,
and not stay a guest
Forever in one place:
A loved one is loathed if he lingers too long
In another man’s hall.

Then I said: ‘It is ill luck to winter twice in one place. One winter makes a man a guest, two makes him a thief. I have never seen it go well.’
She did not answer. Instead she looked down on the weapons at my feet, at one in particular at the top of the pile. Gunnar’s sword, a blade of Ulfberht steel worth more than his farm, its edge still hacked and blunted from winter. I lifted it, and I began to sharpen it against the stone, as carefully as I would have tuned a rare harp.
‘Why would you want me to stay?’ I said.
Her eyes were on the edge of the sword. ‘I am afraid.’
‘There is nothing to be afraid of.’
‘Truly?’
‘Truly.’
She nodded slowly. ‘I shall hold you to those words,’ she said, and there was a hardness to her voice – the kind you hear in the words of a chieftain or the captain of a warband. For that longhouse was her domain: the key to the stores hung around her waist, not Gunnar’s. She would not have me in her home if she did not will it, no matter what Gunnar might say.
‘Your husband has done nothing to bring shame to you,’ I said.
‘He is an honourable man.’
‘As are you.’
I shook my head. ‘No. Honour is a luxury for the wealthy, the brave. I am neither of those things. I cannot afford it. I settle for cunning and loyalty. But Gunnar is an honourable man.’
And as if my words had summoned him, I saw him crest the rise of the hill, bearing a trussed sheep beneath his arm, the stray he had gone in search of. Even at a distance I could see the smile on his face as he waved to us, and I waved back to him and took up a brace of spears from the ground. Once again, it was time for us to hunt.

*

‘Why were you speaking with my wife?’
A dangerous question that Gunnar asked me, as we walked towards the sea. Many have answered it poorly and paid for it with their lives. But Gunnar asked it with a smile on his lips, and so I answered him in kind.
‘The business of love, of course. It is a difficult thing to conduct a love affair in winter. This spring season suits me better.’ I levelled a finger at him, and sang:

For when a husband shepherds sheep
Even a wolf may woo his wife.

He roared then, but there was laughter in it, and in a moment we were wrestling on the ground, laughing and cursing each other in turn, fighting for the lock of the head or trap of an arm that would end the contest. I could not have stood against him with a blade for more than a moment, but there in the grapple his tall and rangy swordsman’s build worked against him and we were evenly matched. Perhaps I could even have beaten him if I had truly been trying, but after a time I was careful to offer him a left arm that he could easily put into a lock. We might have been friends, but it would not do to show up one’s host.
When we rose from the ground, brushing the dirt from our clothes, he handed me the spear I had cast down when we fell and clapped me on the back.
‘We should find you a wife,’ he said. ‘That might stop you from chasing after mine.’
‘A man of no property does not hope for such a thing. Nor does a wanderer want it.’ ‘There is a time when you will grow tired of moving on, Kjaran.’
‘I doubt it.’
‘Where will you go to this time? To Olaf’s house?’
‘The Peacock? Perhaps. I have never much liked a chieftain’s home. Too many people.’
He chewed on the corner of his moustache, his habit when thinking of what to say. I saw it often, for he was not much a man with words. ‘I would like you to stay.’
‘One must go on and not stay a guest—’
‘Yes,’ he said, ‘I know that song. You have sung it often enough. But I wish that it was not so.’ As he said those words we reached the top of a hillock and what I heard struck me into silence. For the first time in many months, I could hear the sound of the sea.
We are a people that came from the sea. We have given it up now, broken our ships for timber, set aside the life of the Viking for that of the farmer, chosen peace. And yet it still calls to us, fills us with that longing to wander upon it, to listen to it speak. It is a great prophet, is the sea: one need only sit upon the shore for a time to know that the answers to all mysteries are contained within the chanting of the waves. But we have lived apart from the sea for so long that we no longer speak its language. And so we look upon it like deafened men towards a singer, trying to understand what has been lost to us.
We come to hunt upon its shore, for any man may claim what falls upon the common ground of the coast. Driftwood from distant lands, whole trees washed white from their long journey, invaluable in a land where the tall trees grow no more. Seals, lost and sick, who come to the shore to die. Wood and meat; with a little luck, a man may earn a
fortune in both from the leavings of the waves.
The drift ice had barely cleared and there would be little offered up by the god of the sea. We were out more to enjoy our freedom than in any hope of finding such a bounty. To walk on grass and not snow, to feel a fragile heat from the sun on our backs and to listen to the sea once more – this was all that we had expected.
Then, a turning of the coast, a cove unseen. There before us, a great black shape so large and so strange that at first I could not name it, sprawled upon the sand and unmoving in the tide so great was its weight. Only the stink of rot – dis tant, but still sharp in the air – gave me understanding. A whale, washed ashore. Long dead and partly rotted, but still a farmer’s fortune in oil and meat and skin.
Yet no sooner had I seen it than I saw something else beyond: three black dots in the distance, hurrying forward. Some rival party of hunters on the common land, and they too had seen the whale. And then the wind was battering against my ears and the shingle crackling beneath my boots as Gunnar and I began to run.
It was a race, for the coast was land that no man laid claim to except by the oldest right of all: by being there first. Gunnar outpaced me and ran ahead, casting aside his sack as he ran but keeping hold of his hunting spear, for to get to the whale empty­handed would mean nothing: dead as it was, we could only claim it by placing the first mark upon it.
Our chase was a lost cause. The other party was closer than we to begin with, and they had a fast runner with them, a shorter man who ran ahead of his companions. We would not come second by much, but I saw no way that we would make up the ground. Still, we ran as hard as we could, for what else was there? To do anything less would be shameful. Something changed in the way Gunnar ran. I thought at first he had stumbled or hurt his foot, for he ran side­face, leading with his left foot for a couple of steps. Then I saw his body arc and twist and heard a great shout as he let the spear fly.
I stopped still and watched it go, the point twisting lazily through the air. I heard a cry from the other party, saw their leading man throw his spear in imitation, but though he was a strong runner his arm was weak and his weapon fell well short. A smack of iron into flesh echoed out across the beach; Gunnar’s spear found its mark.
A cry of victory, and Gunnar and I were walking then, grinning like children who have won a race in the fields. We would offer that other party some portion of the whale as tribute to their efforts, for I had seen feuds start over such things before. Honour would be served and each of us would go home with a prize.
But when we reached the whale and looked upon the other men, I saw the smile fall away from Gunnar’s face. The three who came towards us – I could not name them, yet it seemed that I knew some aspects of them all too well. The hooked shape of the nose of one man, the hard edge of the jaw of another, the coarse black hair that crept over the knuckles of the third – all were familiar to me, as though one man that I knew had been split amongst these three that I did not.
The knowledge came to me then and I knew why Gunnar did not smile.
‘A fine throw,’ said Snorri, the small quick man who had almost beaten us to the carcass. Gunnar licked his dry lips.‘Thank you.’
‘Your skald should compose a song for it.’ This from Hakon, the eldest.
‘The Saga of the Rotting Whale.’ They laughed. We did not. The largest man – I remembered his name as Björn – noted our silence, and his great black brows came together in a frown.
Snorri, Björn and Hakon. The sons of Harold the Serpenttongue. Brothers of the man we had killed.
I had heard that they had spent the winter travelling from one man’s house to another, searching for news of their brother. They had never come to Gunnar’s farmstead, for we were too far from Erik’s farm to fall under suspicion. But they had questioned many others in the first month that their brother went missing, leaving only an empty house behind. There had been no feud, no man who stood to gain from his death, no one who could give them any clue as to what had befallen Erik. They were left only with that unknowing, that hollow in the mind when a loss cannot be answered for.
‘I am sorry to hear of your brother,’ Gunnar said.
‘What do you know of it?’ asked Hakon.
‘Only what all men know.’ Björn spoke.
‘They seem to know nothing at all,’ he said.
‘Perhaps it was an outlaw that killed him.’
‘Why would you say that?’
‘It seems the most likely thing.’
‘It is not our place to guess, Gunnar,’ I said. I looked to Hakon. ‘If I hear anything more than rumour, I will tell it to you.’
‘I thank you, Kjaran.’ He clapped me on the shoulder. ‘It is good to talk with you once more. It would be even better to hear you sing again. My wife still speaks of your last visit; you must come to us soon. Gunnar cannot keep you to himself for two winters now, can he? Perhaps you will winter with my family this year?’
‘Perhaps I will. I would like that.’
‘You are always welcome in my home.’ He slapped the flank of the whale and its flesh rippled at his touch. ‘A rich prize. What will you do with it?’
Gunnar said nothing. The brothers looked to one another. Then Björn spoke, a blunt demand: ‘What portion of the whale will you give us?’
‘Björn,’ Snorri said, a warning in his voice. He turned back to us and smiled. ‘But I am sure that so honourable a man as Gunnar will not begrudge us some share of the prize. We did sight it first, after all.’
Still Gunnar did not speak – his face blank, his eyes unseeing, like a seer in a trance. I saw the brothers grow restless, shifting halfway into fighters’ stances, their hands twitching towards their weapons.
‘Gunnar,’ I said, hoping that my voice might shake him from his silence. And at last he did speak – the worst words he could have said.
‘Take it all.’
Björn recoiled as if struck.
‘You insult us,’ said Björn.
‘I will not be in your debt. You think us beggars?’
‘You won it fairly,’ Hakon said. ‘I will not take your prize from you. Come, gift us a tenth, a third if you feel so generous. There is no need for this.’
But Gunnar stood there, staring at the ground and shaking his head, mouthing no over and over again, and he would say no more.
‘Give our share to the gods,’ I said. ‘That is what Gunnar means.’
‘I did not think you both such pious men,’ Hakon said. ‘This bounty is a gift from Ægir,’ I replied. ‘We need his favour more than we need the meat. Take what you will from it and burn the rest for the god.’ And with that I put my hand on Gunnar’s back and led him away as if he were an exhausted child. As we walked down the beach I heard Björn muttering something, and I quickened my step to outpace the words. If we heard the insult, we would have to fight them.

*

‘I did not think the shame would be so much. How do you lie so easily?’
We were far from the beach when he spoke to me. Far from the beach and far from home, sitting beside the shore of the river, trying to find the words that would make sense of it all.
I washed my face in the water, feeling the sharpness of the cold against my eyes. ‘Because I have to,’ I said. ‘There is no breaking from it now. We must fight for this lie as if it were our king. It keeps us safe.’
‘I will not fight for a king. Or for a lie. I fight for my family. I fight for you.’
‘Then lie for us.’
‘I cannot.’
I said nothing more and I let the silence come.
It should not be so difficult a thing, to keep a secret in a country like ours. It is a lonely life where one’s family is one’s world, where months can pass before a man spoke to one who was not his wife or child. The farmsteads as scattered as the stars in the sky, distinct and separate. An Icelander with a secret has no priest pleading for his soul or king threatening his body, and yet still he feels the longing to confess. As we walked back towards the farm, Gunnar moved slowly, weighted with his secret. I thought on the coming summer, when I would leave him and his family behind, to move on and find a new home for the winter. Once I had told myself that I lived as a wanderer because I had to, that a slave’s son had no hope of becoming a landed man. Then for many years I had thought of it as a blessing, to wander the land free and unshackled. And now I wondered if it was the coward’s longing: to stay moving, one step ahead of the feuds that come as inevitably as the winter ice. ‘Home,’ Gunnar said, as we came in sight of the farm once again, a quiet relief in his voice. To return to the dark, like a beast returning to its caves and tunnels. I suppose it is an easier thing to be a murderer in the darkness than to try and stand as one in the light of day.
Gunnar patted the figurehead that hung above his door, the carved dragon’s head that had once been part of his ship, and I touched it too, for I was in need of a little luck. We must both have felt some premonition to have acted so, for when we went inside, we could see an unfamiliar shadow in the darkness. I saw the two small shapes of Gunnar’s children, the flat­nosed profile of Dalla, and one other whom I did not recognise at first. Yet it took only a moment to know who it was, for as the months had passed I had seen that silhouette many times in my memories, and in my dreams.
It was Vigdis, the wife of the ghost.

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Blog Tour Extract: The Story After Us by Fiona Perrin

3vSVjt7A.jpeg The Story After Us by Fiona Perrin

Publisher: Aria
Published: 14th July 2018
ISBN13: 9781788547338

Buy now links: 

Amazon: mybook.to/StoryAfterUs | Kobo: http://bit.ly/2JTLSHq | iBooks: https://apple.co/2MsSMlE | Google play: http://bit.ly/2JJ3PVP

Description

Perfect for fans of Marin Keyes and Motherland – and for all women who have found their happy-ever-after turned out to be no fairy tale. Grown-up , sparkling, funny, poignant and ultimately uplifting.

If she tries very hard, Ami can remember when she used to have a dynamic and exciting career and a husband who she loved more than life itself, and who was equally smitten with her… Now she has two children, a terrifyingly large mortgage, and no idea who she has become – or why she and her husband can’t even be in the same room anymore.

With life as she knew it in tatters around her, Ami is heartbroken, and in no way pulling off ‘consciously uncoupling’ like a celeb. But she’s starting to wonder if she just might come out the other side and be….happier?

As funny as Helen Fielding, as poignantly touching as Marian Keyes, Fiona Perrin’s dazzling debut is a story that is as much about finding out who you really are again, as it’s about the exhausting balancing act of motherhood. Unmissable for women everywhere.

Author Bio

S9EaysgQ.jpegFiona Perrin was a journalist and copywriter before building a career as a sales and marketing director in industry. Having always written, she completed the Curtis Brown Creative Writing course before writing The Story After Us. Fiona grew up in Cornwall, hung out for a long time in London and then Hertfordshire, and now writes as often as possible from her study overlooking the sea at the end of The Lizard peninsula.

Follow Fiona and Follow Aria

Website: https://fionaperrin.com/ | Twitter: @fionaperrin
Facebook:@fionajperrinauthor | Instagram: @fionaperrin

Website:www.ariafiction.com | Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction | Instagram: @ariafiction

Extract

2017

Lars left me late on a Sunday afternoon in January. He threw a couple of bags into his car and drove off with a puff of smoke that could have been drawn by Walt Disney.

I stood at the top of the steps of our north London house as he disappeared around the corner of the road. I felt as if I were looking down at a sobbing thirty-seven-year-old brunette rather than that I actually was her. There was an overwhelming sense that, after ten years, it was Just Me Again.

But, of course, it wasn’t – now I had the kids. I rushed inside and threw cold water over my face at the kitchen sink, drying myself with a tea towel before I opened the door of the playroom. Four-year-old Finn and six-year-old Tessa were sitting on the sofa, frightened by the rowing and confused by the fact that they were allowed to watch a DVD when the rule was only an hour of screen time a day and that was when I needed to moan and drink wine.

‘Is everything OK, Mummy?’ Finn asked, walking over to kiss me. ‘Jemima’s coming to my party on Saturday. She’s my girlfriend and so is Tallulah. I’m going to marry both of them.’

‘You can only marry one person,’ scoffed his sister. ‘Can’t you, Mummy?’

‘Well,’ I said.

‘Except for Henry VIII,’ said Tess, whose special topic at school this term was the fat, monastery-burning Tudor. ‘When he went off his wives he chopped off their heads. You could chop off Jemima’s head and then marry Tallulah.’

‘But Jemima’s got lovely yellow hair,’ said Finn, clutching me.

‘You’d still have her hair if she was dead. You could keep her head in a corner.’

‘That’s enough, Tess.’ My daughter’s current favourite game was burying dolls in graves in the back garden and topping them with twigs. She also spent quite a lot of time on the floor pretending to be a corpse.

‘Daddy might not be back in time for your party,’ I said in a mock-cheerful voice. ‘He’s got to go away for work again.’ In fact, Lars missing his son’s birthday party had been the reason we’d had the enormous row that afternoon when he’d said he was leaving me and our marriage for good.

‘Oh dear,’ said Finn, who was very used to his father being away for his web business.

‘Can we watch another DVD?’ said Tess, who could spot a weak chink in adult armour a mile off.

I put my head into Finn’s neck so that they couldn’t see my face. ‘Yes,’ I said. How would they cope if we really were getting divorced? I worried so much about the impact all our recent rows were having on them; Tess was already really macabre and splitting with her father for good could only make that worse.

I wanted to crawl under my duvet and stay there in the foetal position, but it was approaching Sunday evening. I needed to do what every other family was doing: find PE kits, pack lunches, move miserably towards Monday while still mourning Saturday.

I rang Liv. ‘It’s the worst row we’ve ever had,’ I said, ‘and he says he’s divorcing me.’ She immediately said she’d come round. Then, like a robot, I made fish fingers, gave Tess and Finn a bath, packed their school bags, put them to bed and read them The Cat in the Hat, making an extra effort with my snarky Cat voice.

‘It’s you,’ I said. ‘Thing One and Thing Two,’ and they giggled. After that I poured myself a giant glass of red wine and waited for Liv on the sitting-room sofa, rocking back and forwards, as I relived the last few hours.

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Blog Tour Extract: Confessions of a First Time Mum by Poppy Dolan

512fjtTsQQL._SY346_Confessions of a First Time Mum by Poppy Dolan

Publisher: Canelo  Published: 25th June 2018

Description

Stevie’s life has changed beyond recognition since having her first baby.

Stevie loves being a mum, but between the isolation and being vomited on five times a day, she really wishes she had someone to talk to.

With husband Ted working hard to keep the family afloat, Stevie really doesn’t want to burden him with her feelings. Turning to the internet, Stevie starts the anonymous First-Time Mum blog and blasts the rose-tinted glasses of parenthood right off her readers.

In the real world, Stevie meets the formidable Nelle and gorgeous Will, along with their own little treasures, and starts to realise that being a ‘perfect mum’ isn’t everything. But when the secret blog goes viral, Stevie must make some tough choices about who she wants to be, and whether she’s ready for the world to know the truth…

A perfect laugh-out-loud read for fans of The Unmumsy Mum, Gill Sims and Emma Robinson.

Amazon UK | Kobo UK | Google Books UK | Apple Books UK


Extract

Chapter 8

Ted had been really receptive to the idea of some quality family time when he got back, smelling of peaty whisky and taxi air fresheners. He’d bought a really lovely plush panda for Cherry, which she took to her heart straight away, trying to gouge out and eat its eyes. His business exec blanket from the flight was for me, because I’m ‘always cold’. I decided to let that slide and focus on the fact he’d thought of our girl first and foremost. Some brownie points there.

‘OK, well, I’ll leave it all in your hands, then,’ I’d enunciated slowly. ‘Where we go. When. What stuff we need in the change bag. Yeah?’ I’d been so casual about it, so cool. Not at all the trap-laying wife.

‘Hmm? Absolutely,’ he’d replied, bunging his suitcase contents into the washing machine – darks, whites, woollens. Ted has a severe case of laundry blindness and I’ve given up trying to lead him through it.

And so, are we sauntering by the River Thames, hand in hand, sharing a honeycomb ice cream? Are we at the Roald Dahl museum, teaching Cherry her first revolting rhymes as a harmonised family unit? Are we just at the local park with a picnic already prepared, simply enjoying the lovely area we live in?

Are we fuck.

We’re at Twist and Bounce. A place so wholly demonic that they took the hell that is an airless, windowless soft play centre and added trampolines and random bursts of Euro synth dance music, which upon hearing you’re supposed to drop everything and run into the central play area and join in a crazed ‘flash mob’ Macarena. I don’t come here on a Tuesday, let alone a weekend. But this was Ted’s best idea. Some might say, rightly, his only idea.

The noise pummels my ears as screams and screeches ping off the hard painted walls and right down my ear canals. The coffee is – frankly – shit: watery and thin. I’d rather have my usual stone-cold instant at home. At least I’d know the cup had been properly cleaned. And it wouldn’t have cost £3.50.

This place is not at all relaxing for me and it’s way too much stimulation for Cherry as a six month old. Large toddlers whoosh and wheel around her, dangerously close to treading on a precious fat finger. Her head whips this way and that as she tries to take them all in and I can read her little squint: Hey, how can I stare at you if you run so fast! Come here and let me chew an item of your clothing until we’re friends! And as she licks one red ball from the pit, and then a green one, and then another red – as if tasting whether the colour has any effect on flavour – I shudder to think what human substances have been left behind on those balls and in

which decade they were last cleaned. Judging by the smell of urine hanging around, barely covered by air freshener, I’m not altogether confident.

But I won’t go in and rescue her from this berserk place. No. She’s not in any real danger and Ted has made his choice, so he’s in charge. Even when he picks up Cherry and looks over to where I’m sitting and pulls a wonky grin, as if to say, ‘Am I doing this right? Do I look weird?’ I choose to pretend I can’t catch the drift and I just send a jaunty thumbs up back. No, this isn’t right. Yes, you look weird, your lanky frame awkwardly squeezed into a ball pit meant for the under-5s. But on your head be it.

I’m going to sit here, upgrade myself to a can of Diet Coke and do nothing and try not to even think anything. Not – is she hungry for lunch yet? Shall I start warming the pouch in some hot water? Not – is she having a bad reflux day? Are the wipes close by? That is all on Ted today, whether he’s appreciated it or not.

When I come back to my little table with my nicely chilled can, I take a long, slow breath. Mindfulness. Calm. First World Problems.

Yes, OK, this isn’t a pottering-about session in Marlow with a cream tea, but I’m here, we’re all well and we’re lucky to have the disposable income to do family trips like this. Even if they are to a mostly abandoned industrial estate just outside town. I have a cold fizzy drink to sip alone and that is a very fine thing in itself.

I take a quick snap of the can on the table, just to remind myself to stop moaning and start enjoying the details. Just then, something flashes up in my First-Time Mum Messenger inbox.

Hi First-Time Mum! I’m a junior features ed at the Metro. Wondering if you’d write a short piece for us about parenting in the blogging age, or another angle if you’ve been thinking of one, thanks. We can provide a standard fee. Let me know. X

My mouth goes dry and I knock back some of my drink, the bubbles threatening to burst out of my nose. Metro? Short piece? FEE?!

I take a screenshot and ping it to my WhatsApp group.

Stevie: OMG, GUYS, WHAAAAAAT DO I DO?

After ten twitchy minutes I get a reply.

Will: WHAH! Amazing!!! You do it, of course. Money and fame – what’s not to love? You’re High Wycombe’s answer to Belle du Jour!

Nelle: Hang on, I’m doling out fish fingers for lunch. Belle Whosit? And yes, DO IT, STEWART.

Will: Belle du Jour was a secret blogging call girl who made a mint from her ‘sexploits’ (ugh). I think our Stevie could be quids in here. First stop Metro, next stop: Glamour! Psychologies! Red!

Nelle: Will she have to do sexploits?! I didn’t think we’d forgiven Ted that quickly… 😉

Despite the hand clamped over my mouth, I am giggling hysterically through my fingers.

‘What’s so funny?’ Ted almost makes me leap out of my plastic seat.

‘Oh, um, nothing. Just… Will saying I’m a call girl. Everything OK?’ I blunder on speedily.


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Blog Tour: An Artisan Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson

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An Artisan Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson

Published: 28th June 2018
Publisher: Wicked Kilt Publishing
Format: Ebook
ASIN: B07D23TM38
Source: Rachel over at Rachel’s Random Resources and the author Kiltie Jackson, thank you for my copy in exchange for my honest review! Thank you for letting me take part on the blog tour as well!!!

Goodreads | Amazon UK

Description

Are you ‘living’ your life or just living your life?
Elsa Clairmont was widowed barely five years after marrying her childhood sweetheart. She has struggled to come to terms with the loss and, six years later, has almost ceased to live herself. She does just enough to get by.
Danny Delaney is the ultimate ‘Mr Nice Guy’. He’s kind, caring and sweet. A talented artist in his teens, his abusive mother ruined his career in art and he turned his back on his exceptional gift. Now, he does just enough to get by.
On New Year’s Eve, both Danny and Elsa die in unrelated accidents.
Thanks to some poker playing shenanigans, Elsa’s husband Harry, and Danny’s old Art teacher, William, manage to orchestrate a deal with Death that allows Danny and Elsa to live for one more year on the condition they both agree to complete three tasks.
They have until the last chime of Big Ben on the 31st December to fulfil their quests.
If they succeed, they stay in the world of the living.
If they should fail however…
‘An Artisan Lovestyle’ is a story of personal growth and self-discovery as two people find themselves forced to make overdue changes in their lives, changes in other people’s lives, and all with the added challenge of finding true love before their time runs out.

Will they do it?

Can they do it?

After all, it’s a matter of Life or Death…


My Review

I really didn’t know where this book was going to go. Honestly, I didn’t think it could match up to the first in the series but… It worked. A lot. It matched up to Rock-‘n’-roll Lovestyle and then some.

The writing style was a bit odd though, it felt like it would go off on a tandem and then eventually get back to where it was going. It worked for the story though, and it worked for the characters. I loved the little side scenes with Death, Harry and William. Death was hilariou, he would have been the life of the party!! I loved the whole near misses, the little moments that we were so close to having. I also loved that we got to catch up with Sukie, Pete, Beth and Jordie along the way as well.

I liked Elsa, and I’m glad she wasn’t living in pain throughout the whole book. I liked to see how to grew into herself again and found who she was again.

Danny was a likeable character as well. It was a nice change from some of the men you can get in books like this. He was caring, and quite humble. I did not like his girlfriend, Sandra. She made me so angry, and I would have happily given her a slap. Sukie’s descriptions of her in certain scenes are definitely an excellent description of her.

I’m very glad we got the ending that we got, it was pure excellence. I really, really want there to be a follow up for Sukie and Pete, and other characters that we get to meet in this book. I need to know what happens to them all.


thumbnail_An Artisan Lovestyle Head Shot Piccie.jpgAuthor Bio

Kiltie grew up in Glasgow in Scotland, This is a very unique city with a very unique way of looking at life.

When she was old enough to do so, she moved to London and then, after several years of obtaining interesting experiences -which are finding their way into her writing – she moved up to the Midlands. Kiltie currently lives in Staffordshire with five cats and one grumpy husband. Her little home is known as Moggy Towers, even though despite having plenty of moggies, there are no towers!

The cats kindly allow her and Mr Mogs to share their house on the condition they keep paying the mortgage! She loves reading, watching movies, and visiting old castles. She really dislikes going to the gym! Her biggest desire is that one day she can give up the day job and write her stories for a living.

Kiltie’s debut novel, ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’, was released in September 2017 and won

a “Chill With A Book – Reader Award” in December 2017.

She first began writing her debut novel eleven years before it was released but shelved it as she didn’t think it was very good. In November 2016 when, having read more on a best-selling author who had begun her own career as a self-published author, she was inspired to revisit the unfinished

manuscript and finally finish what she had started. Since beginning to write again, the ideas have not stopped flowing. ‘An Artisan Lovestyle’ is the second book in the Lovestyle Series.

Work is due to begin on book three (not yet titled but also part of the Lovestyle Series) in the Summer of 2018. She currently has a further ten plots and ideas stored in her file (it’s costing a fortune in USB drives as each story has its own memory stick!) and the ideas still keep on coming. Kiltie now lives her life around the following three quotes: “I love having weird dreams, they’re great fodder for book plots!” “Why wait for your ship to come in when you can swim out to meet it?” “Old enough to know better, young enough not to care!”

Website http://www.kiltiejackson.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kiltiejackson
Twitter – https://twitter.com/KiltieJackson


Giveaway – Win a £40 / $40 Amazon Voucher (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Rafflecopter Entry


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Blog Tour Q&A with Louise Lee

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A Whole Lotta Love: Florence Love 3

Published: 28Th June 2018
Publisher: Headline
ISBN13: 9781472224613

Goodreads | Amazon UK

Description
Florence Love became a Private Investigator for all the right reasons. She’s extraordinarily nosy, it sounds cool on paper and she needed to find her missing mum.

Now she knows Bambi Love is hiding out in Italy – in a cloud of secrets and Chanel No. 5.

Every family has its skeletons, but Flo’s lot are a particularly special case. And how is she supposed to get over her heart-stealing ex, who holds all the answers but refuses point-blank to ever see her again?

It’s going to take a whole lot of love, sweat and tears to uncover the astonishing truth.


Today I’m bringing you a Q&A with Louise Lee, the author of the Florence Love series. I’m excited to be bringing you this Q&A as part of the A Whole Lotta Love blog tour. The newest book in the series has just been published, with reviews looking fab for it!!

So down to business:

1: How do you normally celebrate publication day?

Usually in front of the TV with a bottle of prosecco and a curry. This year, however, the book launch for A Whole Lotta Love falls on publication day, so I shall be joined by family and friends at my local Waterstones to celebrate. It’s also my birthday, so festivities will, no doubt, continue in the pub after!

2: What books are currently on your TBR?

That list is VERY long, but I’m especially looking forward to reading Friend Request by Laura Marshall, The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana and Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday.

3: Where did you get the inspiration for this series?

Before becoming a writer, I was a private investigator. That gave me quite an insight. Not just into investigative techniques, but the human stories behind the cases too. Narcissists, pathological liars and functioning sociopaths are worryingly common. Their stories, along with the people they leave in their wake, provide a lot of my material.

4: What character have you enjoyed writing the most?

Obviously, Florence Love was a joy to write – she’s eloquent, funny, feisty yet vulnerable. I do, however, have a walloping soft spot for her brother and sidekick, Michael. He has Asperger’s, a beautiful soul and, unwittingly, keeps Flo level (-ish). The banter between them are my favourite comedy moments in the books.

5: Are there any characters you’ve struggled with in this book or previous ones?

Florence’s mother, Bambi Love. Her disappearance had huge repercussions for Florence and Michael. I wondered: What type of mother pretends she’s dead? The only answer I got was: A really mean one. Yet for Flo to get her happy ending, we need to empathise with Bambi and like her a little. If we don’t, Flo won’t. The reader has invested in their heroine prevailing and moving on. When, however, it was time to write her mum’s story, it flowed. In fact, I found it cathartic and unexpectedly emotional because, finally, I got to meet Bambi Love, and I had a lot of questions for her. I’ll tell you this, she was not what I’d expected at all.

6: What sort of things do you do in your down time whilst not writing?

I have a five-year-old, so much of my time is spent entertaining her. I love watching documentaries and biopics, and researching ancient astronaut theories – I’m not mad, honest, just addicted to intrigue. I also like to draw (badly) and go to places I’ve never been to before. Not just abroad. Last week, I went to the Asda Southgate Circus. It’s massive; who knew?

7: Have you always wanted to be an author?

Yes. I wrote a book(let) when I was at primary school. The Magpie Mysteries got me shortlisted in a Roald Dahl creative writing competition. Academia, however, took me in a different direction. And so, by day, I was a geography teacher and by night, a wannabe writer. The dream of becoming a real one simply wouldn’t go away.

8: What is the best piece of writing advice you have even been given?

It’s not a beauty contest.

9: Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you give any details?

The TV and film rights to the Florence Love books have been sold, so, when everything’s not crossed on that front, I plan to write a murder mystery set in Sri Lanka.

10: Lastly, is there any advice you would give to someone thinking about writing a book?

Ask yourself how patient you are. I was 42 when I got published. I’d already written three books with no success whatsoever. I almost gave up. In retrospect, I was learning my craft and that takes an especially long time in writing – you’re more exposed than other visual medium. People are literally seeing inside your brain. Every word and sentence must be so perfect, the reader doesn’t notice them. Never mind learning the art of pace, plot and character arcs. The answer? Join a writer’s workshop. They’re inspiring places. You get to meet a lot of weird and utterly wonderful people. They’ll give you feedback as you develop your novel, teach you tons, and become your friends.

And when, finally, you have a complete draft, never ever send it to a literary agent. Don’t send your second or third drafts either. Unless you have a perfectly preened and finished product, you’ll end up in the shredder. So polish and hone it amongst your own kind, first, whilst enjoying the journey, of course. It could be a long one!


Thank You to Louise for answering my questions. If you want to read the first 2 books in the Florence Love series here are the Goodreads Links:

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Book 1: Goodreads

Note: Also published as A Girl Called Love

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Book 2: Goodreads

Blog Tour: A Winter Retreat at the Paris Cheese Shop by Victoria Brownlee

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cheeseA Winter Retreat at the Paris Cheese Shop by Victoria Brownlee

Published: 3rd May 2018
Publisher: Quercus
Format: Ebook
ISBN13:
ASIN: B07BF9415H

Goodreads | Amazon UK

Description

Who needs love when you can eat cheese?

Heartbroken and on the cusp of turning 30, Ella decides to pack her bags and move to Paris, somewhere she had visited when she was a different, more adventurous person.

It’s on the streets of beautiful, romantic City of Light that she finds her heart’s true desire: cheese. For Ella, her local fromagerie becomes a safe haven and she finds herself being drawn back there day after day.

But in a strange city, being friendless and not able to speak the language, has she bitten off more than she can chew?


I’m so excited to be closing this blog tour today. This book is the first part in a 4 part series, with the second part being published Tomorrow! I love the cover for this book, it’s setting the tone perfectly for this book. So, here’s my review for the first part!!


While only a short story, it was an enjoyable read. I’m interested to see where Ella’s Paris adventure takes her, and to see how it all works out for her eventually. I’m also really interested in where it’s going with the cheese theme, it’s a different subject (and in my opinion better than the normal baking route) for a life changing journey.

The writing style was quick and easy to get in to and didn’t leave you guessing anything. This was a very nice, quick read and sort of helped me get my reading mojo back.

Ella is going to be a fabulous character I reckon. I didn’t feel I got enough information about her but what we do get is great. Her development alone in this little story was great. She realised pretty much immediately that she was better off, and that she was as far from who she was in the past as she could possibly get. I’m intrigued by the cheese man, we don’t get to see him enough and I hope he features a lot more in the rest of the series.

I’ve given this book a 4 out of 5, purely because I found it a little too short for me. Other than that, it was a great book and I will definitely be reading the following parts. I want to know where Ella’s story goes.

Blog Tour: The Wedding Date by Zara Stoneley

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The Wedding Date by Zara Stonely

Published: 20th April 2018
Publisher: HarperImpulse
Format: Ebook
ISBN13: 9780008301026
Source: Rachel over at Rachel’s Random Resources and the author, Thank you lovely people!!

Goodreads | Amazon UK

Description:

One ex. One wedding. One little white lie.

When Samantha Jenkins is asked to be the maid of honour at her best friend’s wedding, she couldn’t be happier. There are just three problems…

1) Sam’s ex-boyfriend, Liam, will be the best man.
2) His new girlfriend is pregnant.
3) Sam might have told people she has a new man when she doesn’t (see points 1 and 2 above)

So, Sam does the only sensible thing available to her… and hires a professional to do the job.

Actor Jake Porter is perfect for the role: single, gorgeous and cheap! Sam is certain it’s the perfect solution: no strings, no heartbreak and hopefully no chance of being found out.

But spending a week in the Scottish Highlands with Jake is harder than she imagined. He is the perfect boyfriend, charming, sexy and the hottest thing in a kilt since Outlander! And his dog Harry is quite possibly the cutest things Sam has ever seen!

As the wedding draws closer, Jake plays his part to perfection and everyone believes he is madly in love with Sam. The problem is, Sam’s not sure if Jake is acting anymore…


My Review

I flew through this book. It was hilarious! It grabbed me instantly, and kept me company for a few hours with smiles, laughter, sadness, but most of all full of love.

Jake is a major hit with me. He was sexy, funny, sensible when he needed to be, and just a cheeky chap. I do love a cheeky chap. Sam’s development in the book was the best I’ve seen in a long time. She’s come from this dark place, to the full on confident sexy woman she fully deserves to be.

The spark between Sam and Jake just gets brighter and brighter throughout the book and it explodes into this sensual thing. I say thing as I don’t want to give anything away. But, I feel for both of them and the ending of the book is just beautiful.

Another character I feel I should mention is Harry. I want Harry. I think he would fit perfectly into my chaotic, messy life. But then again, Sam and Jake would fit perfectly as well. There are always laughs, jokes and an endless stream of conversation.

The writing style was easy to get on with, and the constant lists that Sam kept making were quite funny. It gave us a better insight to how she was feeling, and what she did and didn’t want.

I’m really struggling to find the words for this book. So here’s what I want to say in very brief terms: hilarious, funny, loving, incredible, great characters.

I happily give this book 4 stars, and on the look out for more of the authors books!


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Author Bio

Born in a small village in Staffordshire, Zara Stoneley

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wanted to be James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up. Writing novels means she can imagine she is all these things, and more!

Zara’s bestselling novels include ‘The Holiday Swap’, ‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’, ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ and the popular Tippermere series – ‘Stable Mates’, ‘Country Affairs’ and ‘Country Rivals’. She lives in a Cheshire village with her family, a naughty cockapoo, and a very bossy cat, and loves spending time in sunny Spain.

Where you can find her-

Website: http://www.zarastoneley.com
Twitter: @ZaraStoneley
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZaraStoneley
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zarastoneley/