Sunday, 31 December 2017

I'm Back! Did you miss me?

Well I've had a lovely two weeks in Fuerteventura, I'll admit it wasn't my best ever holiday but it did get me a nice tan and I'm certainly a lot more relaxed.

I did very little for two weeks as was the plan, so unfortunately don't have too much I can share with you.

Christmas Day was fabulous though, Father Christmas arrived on the beach via a pedalo and I even got to sit on his lap and there were chocolate gifts left in all the rooms during the day! Then watched the entertainment team debut their new show The Lion King, which is easily the best show they put on all holiday. Topped off with a small win in the casino!

Unfortunately a week into the holiday I picked up a bug so have been coughing, having headaches, temperature issues and a partial cold for the whole of the second week, plus the weather wasn't as great as it could have been - only 8-9 days of proper sun, and a lot of wind and cloud cover the rest of the time.

I spent my days where possible outside, relaxing, and the nights out in restaurants and watching shows. Chatted to loads of people around the pool, and if I had a pound for everyone that tells me I'm brave to go away by myself I would have made a small fortune!  Even took part in darts, french boules and archery over the course of the holiday.

I did find it amusing that my room was on the side of the hotel that led me to continually walk past the book swap shelf and not the casino, so I may have looked multiple times a day to see what was on the shelf, mainly books that didn't interest me or in foreign languages but still amused me!

On the plus side I did get to read a lot of books, but not all the paperbacks I took purely as once I started feeling ill, I know I'm better reading on my kindle as technology always makes me feel better!

Whereas at this point I normally give you mini reviews of the books I read, due to my new bluetooth kindle, I have full length reviews written than just need prepping and will appear over the coming months - as I am worried about how much blog content I will be producing once I start working again on Tuesday-  my plan is to run 2 of these holiday reviews each week, until I run out, making sure I definitely can take the pressure of myself a bit for a few months.

There are 30 books that I read, all really great ones, and I look forward to sharing them all with you over the next 3-4 months! Think I will leave the full list as a surprise, but  I will make them clear they were holiday reads in the post title.

All that is left to say is Happy New Year to you all, and that I hope 2018 brings you all some magnificent books. I can't wait to get stuck into them myself.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Guest Post - Why thinking ‘it doesn’t feel like Christmas’ is the true Christmas spirit by Marie Gameson - Blog Tour @annecater on @gilbster1000

It was relatively recently that I solved one little mystery about myself. There have been so many times over the last ten years that I have been in Boots and walked past face creams, nail scissors, emery boards, thinking “I need those”, but then walked out with a completely different purchase such as expensive Glucosamine Sulphate tablets. Each time I was puzzled: why was I so reluctant to buy the little things I needed? The answer, (I realise now), is that from my early teens through to my early forties, I never had to buy those things – because face creams, nail scissors, and emery boards were standard ‘Mum’ items in my Christmas stocking. Sadly, those days have gone. 

As you know, when you type something into most search engines, they will try and predict what you’re asking. In Google, all you have to type is “why doesn’t it fe…” and it will offer you “why doesn’t it feel like Christmas?” So that’s a clue to how many of us are a little angst-ridden about the subject. Christmas Stress Syndrome was formally identified in 1993 (what took them so long?), but hopefully most of us will survive into January without getting divorced or murdering a family member; we lucky ones just suffer from the less severe ‘it doesn’t feel like Christmas’ syndrome.

One of the reasons cited by many for ‘IDFLC’ is that Christmas is too commercial now, but sometimes you have to go somewhere that isn’t commercial to really appreciate the truth of that. A few years ago, in early December, a couple of friends rang to invite us to an Italian restaurant the following week. My partner and I said Yes, and it was only later in the conversation that we realized they actually meant a restaurant in Italy. So, shortly before Christmas we spent a few days in Ravenna. The air was crisp, the town gently lit, the shop window displays muted, and – in keeping with Italian tradition – it seemed that every church had its own unique take on the nativity scene. Despite none of us being Believers - we went on a crib crawl. We admired the nativity scenes made from paper, carved in wood, cork, every material it seemed. Though none beat the nativity scene composed entirely of potatoes – in which little Jesus was a baby spud. It did feel like Christmas. Contrast this with the experience of a friend in the UK who spent last Christmas with her sister’s family. Shortly after present-opening, my friend’s teenage niece brought her lap-top into the front room, and - very overtly - placed her unwanted gifts on eBay, and bid for the things that her non-telepathic parents should have bought her. Nice.

Going to the other extreme, if your family is lucky enough to have no money worries, there is also the burden of too many presents, as demonstrated by a lovely beagle puppy our family had. As it was her first Christmas, we’d all bought her presents. The first present that was opened for her (a chewy thing) was greeted with a huge amount of tail-wagging. The second present (a chewy thing) was also greeted with furious wagging, followed by a furrowed brow – the sign of a beagle thinking – and then she gently took the present in her mouth to the door and grunted to be let out into the garden. She quickly buried it and came back in time for her third present (a chewy thing), which she just grabbed without wagging and took straight to the door. We attended to some of our own presents whilst clods of earth were being kicked up above the flower beds. I don’t know if her fourth present was a chewy thing, as she snatched it and buried it before we had a chance to unwrap it, but I do remember that by the time we gave her the fifth present, the poor animal looked utterly haunted. None of the presents were ever exhumed, and may still lie in that Essex garden.

The trouble is that we (as adults) don’t have the same concept of time as children. Assuming they are in a stable family environment, for children, Christmas exists in a sort of circular time. If most adults are asked what they loved about Christmas when young, it is the annual family rituals that are recalled with fondness, the Christmas stockings rather than individual presents, trying to get one particular string of 1950s Christmas lights to work year after year, the set meals. (In my family’s case it was my father’s West Indian rum punch that was served after the morning’s present opening, so that we were all pretty blotto by lunchtime). For many, it is the only time of year that the house has a real heart, as the dressed tree usurps the TV to become the equivalent of the old fireplace. 

As we grow older we lose that sense of circular time – it becomes more spiral, as we remember Christmases past, and elderly relatives remind us that Christmases in the future will be weighted with loss. The family dynamics may change as newly widowed aunts or uncles are invited to join in, and have to get to grips with unfamiliar little rituals, such as who can gargle rum punch the longest without drowning. (OK – maybe that last one isn’t a feature of everyone’s Christmas). The sphere of our concern now expands beyond the immediate family setting, as we’re worried about an elderly neighbor who is on her own, and the fact that Great Aunt Dotty is sitting stony-faced through an Inspector Clouseau movie muttering that “everything’s so violent nowadays” when the rest of us are cackling over Cato’s “SAAAAAAAA!” as he leaps out of a cupboard to attack Clouseau.  In other words, the biggest change is that we now feel responsible for other people’s happiness.

So if it no longer feels like Christmas, it is probably a sign of being truly human – and rather grown-up. And we’re all in this together.

Marie Gameson

Marie is half of the mother and daughter writing team who published The Turtle Run as 'Marie Evelyn'. Her latest book, The Giddy Career of Mr Gadd (deceased) was published by Salt this summer and is available on Amazon. You can find out more about her and her books at her website,

The Giddy Career of Mr Gadd (deceased) explores the painful themes of having to grieve for someone who is not yet dead, and trying to find one’s identity through an absent father.

Winifred Rigby follows a Zen‑like path of serenity and detachment, whilst leaving havoc in her wake. When Fred, a stranger haunted by poltergeist activity, contacts Winnie, he insists that stories she wrote as a teenager hold the key to his supernatural problems, and she is forced to renew acquaintance with her younger self.

Where will it all lead?

Follow along with the rest of this blog tour. 

Friday, 15 December 2017

It's that time of year again..I'm going on holiday and a #giveaway

Tomorrow, fingers crossed I will be getting on a plane to spend a very relaxed fortnight on the island of Fuerteventura, in the Canary Islands. Those of you who have been following for a while may be rightly thinking that I spend Christmas there the other year, and you are right - turns out its a destination I can actually afford over Christmas, although I will be in a different hotel in the same resort this time. 

I am looking forward to doing nothing for two weeks, so those of you following on social media wanting the same level of photos that I do while I'm on a cruise, I'm sorry in advance for disappointing. 

My intention is to read and sleep in the sun during the day,  head into town in the evenings, read while eating dinner and then find some entertainment to watch, to prove I can do more than just read! 

My current intention is to not provide a bunch of my normal mini reviews once I'm back this time, purely as I have bought a bluetooth keyboard and need to make a dent in my review stack. 

For the first time since I started the blog, I don't have a couple of weeks of posts nicely scheduled already for when I'm back, as time of writing this I have one review and one for a tour a few weeks later. 

Unfortunately I am finding I just don't have as much time to read, so expect less content from me in the new year once I'm back, as I try to find a new rhythm that works for me.  This is all due to the launch of my new business, that I am thoroughly enjoying - Rachel's Random Resources, and I am putting everything into it to make sure it will be a success. 

So what am I intending to read while away? Well I am reasonably sure  will take this selection of paperbacks

A rather varied selection I feel.  Now I may be cutting down on blogging next year but one thing that will be remaining is my vote post, and for those suffering from withdrawal while I'm away, well you may like this! 

Below you will see my entire review TBR of 2016 and 2017 releases (keeping the 2018 titles hidden!).  What I want to know is which of these books you think I should read while I'm on holiday, which you would most like to see reviews of.

If you leave me a comment - I will be picking those up on emails away, and if I can't make a decision on a next book to read  then I will take a look at the list, although when the reviews will appear  can't say! I believe there are 43 titles on that - although knowing me who knows what I may read! 

And there's more...if you comment as part of the giveaway you will be entered to win one of the 4 Christmas books that I feel like giving away! 

Here's the giveaway and if you have read down this far then I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Book filled New Year. 

Giveaway - 4 Winners will each win one of these books (Open to Europe only)

1st  Name drawn out - A Winter's Tale by Carrie Elks 
2nd Name - The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft 
3rd Name - Orphan in the Snow by Molly Green 
4th Name - Coming Home to the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

Giveaway open to Europe, all options are voluntary, but please do what they ask, as I will be verifying the winner. Giveaway closes 23:59 02/01/2018. Winner will be announced on twitter, and they will need to reply within 7 days, or forfeit the prize, and I will re-draw for a new winner.  Good luck everyone.

Interview between K.S. Hunter and his cover designer Sam Sheridan

Who are you and how long have you been doing what you are doing?

My name is Sam Sheridan. I am a visual communicator. I graduated from the Arts University Bournemouth this summer and have always had a passion for art, but I have been designing and creating since I was 16.
What’s your process when designing something for somebody else?

A typical process would be to dissect the brief – research existing designs – draw up suitable concepts – then develop the strongest concepts until we have a final response.
What’s your process when designing a book cover? How do you get from concept to the final product?

I approach this the same as any other project. Book covers enable huge creative freedom because they are (in my eyes) essentially posters, and posters are some of the most fantastic and fun ways of communicating anything (ask any designer, I bet they love making posters).
You can see the Pinterest board that I used to share the progression and ideas for Just One Time here:
How do you feel during the process and when you get to the end of the process?

The beginning of the process is always the most exciting for me – brainstorming ideas and concepts. The development is also enjoyable, but as with any project there comes a point when you start to get tired and bored. So there is always some degree of relief at the end of a project but also a great sense of accomplishment.
Here’s what I told you when I first asked you to create a cover for Just One Time: ‘I'm looking for something that is somewhat in keeping with the industry trends you can see [I shared some recent popular covers for novels in the erotic fiction and thriller fiction markets] but a bit edgier. In all these books, the lead characters are female but my main character is male, so I'd like to incorporate more 'thriller' elements into the cover and less of the sparkly jewel-type art work that tends to be used in much of the erotic covers of today - it's definitely not that kind of book.’ How did you get from this to your idea about the woman with her face being torn through the front cover?

The inspiration for the cover of Just One Time came from existing designs – particularly the Fatal Attraction poster and the The Immortalist (by Andre Gide) cover. I wanted the Just One Time cover to show the woman and her underlying personality. She needed to be seductive and dangerous. The tears were used to reveal areas of her neck and lips (the erotic elements) and to also point to her dangerous side.

Why did you make certain colour and font choices with Just One Time?

Red was the obvious choice in colour. However, I didn’t think the cover needed to be entirely red. The cover for Just One Time is mostly light grey with tears that display the red underneath as a nod to the thriller aspect of the book. The typeface was also chosen to reflect the thrilling nature of the book – with sharp serifs, it suggests danger and accompanies the tears well.
What are the main things that authors and designers should think about when creating a book cover?

As with any creative project, you have to think about the audience and the story that you want them to imagine. Everything needs to be tailored to what the story is about and how you want the audience to feel when they see or read the book.
What are the main challenges you find in the whole process?

Trying to maintain a minimalist look throughout my work is the hardest aspect. I think overworking a design is an easy thing to do.
Let’s think about all the books you’ve designed. What have you learnt along the way?

Working with the author to ensure the cover represents their story is the most important
part of the cover. Without a good understanding of the story, the cover is compromised. The author knows the story best!

No pressure here, but do you read the books you design after they are released?

I love to read the books before and after the design process if I can. I want to know more about the story the more time I spend on designing the cover.
Would it be helpful if you could read a book before you designed its cover? I’m intensely private about my writing, so it would pain me to share it before it’s ready, but other authors might feel differently.

Absolutely, the more of the story I can understand, the more intricate and appropriate I can make my response. I understand the pains of sharing work before it is complete, so the blurb can be equally useful in determining the cover. The blurb is what the audience sees coupled with the cover and so it should be enough to convey the story. This is why I try to keep the author completely up to date throughout the design process – because if they feel the cover is not representative of the story, then they can say so and adjustments can be made.

If you could do anything else for a career, what would it be?

I can’t imagine ever doing anything else. However, I have always had an interest in music, so I suppose I’d be pursuing my 10-year-old dreams of being a musician.

Thank you so much Sam and KS Hunter for that interesting interview. 

To see more from Sam Sheridan -

The first novel by K.S. Hunter, the alter ego of an international bestselling author, whose identity will remain a secret.

Desire can have dire consequences

Two years ago, David Madden made a mistake that almost cost him his marriage. His wife, Alison, gave him another chance, but she has not forgotten, nor has she forgiven.

She is irresistible

Then David meets the alluring Nina at a theatre in London. When he loses his phone in the dark, she helps him find it, and by giving her his number he unwittingly invites her into his life.

What David initially views as an innocent flirt turns into a dangerous game of deception. His increasingly suspicious wife thinks something is up, and each lie he tells pushes them further apart.

She is insatiable

Nina pursues David relentlessly, following him to New York where she gives him an ultimatum: sleep with her, just one time, and then she’ll get out of his life forever; or she’ll ruin everything he holds dear.

She is unstoppable

Of course, once won’t be enough for Nina, and what David hoped would be the end is merely the beginning.

A modern-day Fatal Attraction, Just One Time is a steamy psychological thriller that will have you hooked from the first page and holding your breath until its shocking conclusion. 

Purchase from Amazon UK

Author Bio – K.S. Hunter is the pseudonym of an international bestselling author. The identity of the author, who lives in the United Kingdom, will remain a mystery.

Social Media Links –

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Book Review - Girl At Christmas by Rhoda Baxter

Amazon UK
Title: Girl At Christmas
Author: Rhoda Baxter
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 30th October 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

Tammy is normally at her happiest at Christmas when she has the flat to decorate and those perfect days between Christmas and New Year to relax. But when her long term partner dumps her, with no real explanation, her Christmas looks very bleak.

Lawrence usually spends Christmas watching DVDs and catching up on his paperwork. At thirty one, he’s already stuck in a rut.

When Lawrence has a sudden heart attack, it is Tammy who comes to his rescue. It turns out a happy Christmas can be made from the most unexpected ingredients.

Girl At Christmas is a novella in the award nominated Smart Girls series. If you like authors like Lindsey Kelk, Sarah Morgan or Milly Johnson, it's perfect for you.  Grab a copy and get into the Christmas spirit today.

What a fabulous little novella this is. Having read Girl in Trouble, I was delighted to get to meet Lawrence fully in this story. 

It is a complete standalone, as the previous characters are only present in a really minor role.  This is a really quick but enjoyable story, and touches on a health issue of Lawrence, as well as a rather sweet romance. 

I loved the way this story developed, it was well paced, and was just really enjoyable. I don't want to say too much but its definitely one that fans of Rhoda Baxter will love, and those who have never read anything by her, gives you a good insight into her writing style and ability. 

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Book Review - Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber

Amazon UK
Title: Twelve Days of Christmas
Author: Debbie Macomber
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Arrow Books
Publication Date: 3rd November 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

Julia is infuriated by her grumpy neighbour, Cain, who can’t even be pleasant when they bump into each other.

So on the suggestion of her best friend, Cammie, Julia concocts a plan. She starts a blog in order to clinch her perfect job, and now she has a subject. Over the next twelve days, she is going to kill Cain with kindness – and Christmas cheer – and document it for all to read about.

But as the experiment goes on, Julia realises she underestimated the effect it would have on Cain, and on their relationship, and things take an unexpected turn…

Filled with Debbie Macomber's trademark warmth, its a one beautiful book, well the contents are, still not convinced about the cover. 

At the heart of this story is whether being kind to someone can have any affect on a persons life. Julia has an infuriating neighbour and after she reaches the last straw from him, her best friend suggests killing him...

...with kindness that is for the twelve days in the lead up to Christmas. She also suggests blogging about it as Julia needs a blog with a huge readership to get her dream job.  

Over the course of the book we learn a lot about both Cain and Julia, and can see just how being kind can affect both the giver and receiver. 

It is the perfect sort of book for this time of year, with the season of goodwill clearly in stepping up a gear. This was a very quick book to read, had read over half in an hour and probably didn't take much longer to read the second half - and loved how each chapter ended with that days blog post. 

I loved getting to know not just Cain and Julia but also Cain's grandfather. It has a cast of lovely characters and really just hits the spot for a story that will bring a smile to your face. 

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Book Review - Girl In Trouble by Rhoda Baxter

Amazon UK
Title: Girl In Trouble
Author: Rhoda Baxter
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 7th October 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

Olivia doesn't want kids. Walter does. Is this an argument Olivia can afford to lose? 

Grown up tomboy Olivia doesn't need a man to complete her. Judging by her absent father, men aren't that reliable anyway. She's got a successful career, good friends and can evict spiders from the bath herself, so she doesn't need to settle down, thanks.

Walter's ex is moving his daughter to America and Walter feels like he's losing his family. When his friend-with-benefits, Olivia, discovers she's pregnant by her douchebag ex, Walter sees the perfect chance to be part of a family with a woman he loves. Can Walter persuade the most independent woman he's ever met to accept his help, let alone his heart?

Girl In Trouble is the third book in the award nominated Smart Girls series by Rhoda Baxter. If you like character driven romance, alpha heroines and sparkling dialogue, you'll love this series. Ideal for fans of Sarah Morgan, Lindsey Kelk or Meg Cabot's Boy books. Buy now and meet your new favourite heroine today.

What started off as a book that was light hearted and fun, turned into something that was simply marvellous, and with the level of attachment I had to the characters, I had a lump in my throat for a large amount of the last fifth or so, and practically in tears for some of that. 

It's just that the characters really got under my skin, I really cared about what happened to them, which is the sign of a great author, and fantastic writing. I wanted continually to know what would happen next,  and actually a fair amount of this book I wouldn't have predicted at the start which is also good. 

I absolutely loved getting to know both Olivia, and her tomboyish ways and also Walter who seems like a good guy and clearly loves his daughter even though he can't see her that often. 

During the book they both go through some rather large and life changing events, as well as getting to know each other a lot better.  From the rather hilarious entrance that Walter makes, to his text conversations with best friend Lawrence, and the way he is with Emily, I was building up the picture of a rather great guy, with just a slight (ok rather large) phobia. 

Olivia though is best man at her best friends wedding and we first meet her at the stag do, in some classic scenes, with great banter, and the whole time you get the feeling she loves being one of the lads, and she has distinct opinions on what she wants from life. But whether its time for those opinions to change, well you will need to read for yourself to find out! 

I absolutely loved every second of Girl In Trouble, its witty in places and utterly emotional at other times, and it deals with some deeper issues too, which gives it added depth that may be unexpected from the gorgeousness of the cover. 

I've read a few books by this author now and I can say without a doubt that the books are getting better and better, and that I really can't wait to read Lawrence's story in Girl at Christmas. 

Thank you to Rhoda Baxter for this copy which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Monday, 11 December 2017

Book Review - The Deaths of December by Susi Holliday - Rachel Reads Randomly Book #81

Amazon UK
Title: The Deaths of December
Author: Susi Holliday
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: 16th November 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

It looks like a regular advent calendar. 

Until DC Becky Greene starts opening doors...and discovers a crime scene behind almost every one.

The police hope it's a prank. Because if it isn't, a murderer has just surfaced - someone who's been killing for twenty years.

But why now? And why has he sent it to this police station?

As the country relaxes into festive cheer, Greene and DS Eddie Carmine must race against time to catch the killer. Because there are four doors left, and four murders will fill them...

It's shaping up to be a deadly little Christmas.

Well I do love a good Christmas book, and this was certainly a great Christmas book - but one without the festivities, good will and light heartedness of the season. That is because there is clearly a murderer on the loose. A rather sick minded person who has slipped by for years without being caught. 

But this year, the murderer has upped the ante and rather wants to be caught if the police are smart enough.  

20 cold cases, each represented by a photo behind a door of an advent calendar that is sent to the police.  However is it a prank, or is there really a serial killer on the loose. 

Told from many perspectives including the photographer,  DC Becky Greene, DS Eddie Carmine and Carly we are slowly able to piece together the story, get insights into the mind of a mass murderer and also discover more about the personal lives of the detectives. 

I do love a police procedural and was fascinated in how Becky and Eddie were able to start analysing the data and look for clues. This was rather more involved though just due to the sheer enormity of what they are looking into and the distinct lack of anything obvious to work from. 

This is  a brilliant story that once it captured my attention, I was seemingly oblivious to my surroundings, until I could think of was the book. Carly is a potter, and travels to various craft markets selling her wares, so we did get some festive cheer with the descriptions of Christmas craft markets, but apart from that the book felt like the anti-Christmas with its goings on. 

Watch out for the epilogue, it caught me slightly unawares! 

Thank you to everyone that voted for this fabulous book, really do appreciate it, and always love reading your comments.  Rachel Reads Randomly will be back in January! Just in case I forget to write something a bit later this week have a very merry Christmas! 

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Book Review - Snowballs: Winter Fun on the Slopes by Fliss Chester

Amazon UK
Title: Snowballs: Fun on the Slopes
Author: Fliss Chester
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Orion
Publication Date: 30th November 2017
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Escape to the glamorous resort of Val d'Argent for a wintry week of fun, fondue and frivolity. It's going to be an unforgettable Christmas!

Join old university friends Jenna, Max, Angus, Bertie, Hugo and Sally as they jet off to the French Alps for a week of festive fun.

On the agenda: flirting, drinking, dancing - and a bit of skiing along the way.

But once they arrive they are soon waylaid by secret passions, chairlift shenanigans, sexy ski-instructors and the sort of social climbing that requires more effort and planning than a solo ascent of Mont Blanc!

Will it all snowball into disaster or will there be someone waiting under the mistletoe this Christmas?

Clip on your skis, dig out your salopettes, and get ready for some fun on the slopes..

From the looks of the cover and the blurb I thought perfect this is easily my sort of book, I will love it and it should be a nice quick read for me.   So you may be wondering why only 3.5 stars from me? 

I think it was just the wrong book for my frame of mind at the time of reading it.  Unfortunately my main bug bear with it was purely that I didn't like most of the characters and from their behaviours I felt like I was 10-15 years too old to read this book - I would reckon teenagers would potentially enjoy this, or uni aged people but it just didn't quite strike the right chord with me. 

That being said, wow there was a lot of sex in this book and some of those scenes were hot and highly enjoyable. Some of it could be classed as more risque or sordid which did add to the fun of the book, and there seemed to be a lot of partner swapping. 

The action on the ski slopes too caught my attention and I loved the both the action on and off the piste, especially the hunky French ski instructor who was incredibly flirty! 

There is plenty to enjoy and I reckon another day, I would have been raving about the book. I am though curious to see what the next book is going to be like, although having read the blurb of that before finishing this one, I did know who one of the characters ended up with already. 

6 friends, 6 perspectives, a whole lot of fun and action packed into a one week ski holiday, plus some adventure and adrenalin pumping scenes.  Good debut and be curious to see how this author progresses. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Orion for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Book Review - The Present by Charlotte Phillips

Amazon UK
Title: The Present
Author: Charlotte Phillips
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 1st December 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

12 magical gifts, one love that lasts a lifetime…
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me … one romantic Christmas you won’t forget.

When helping to clear out her beloved grandmother’s home, Lucy Jackson discovers twelve beautiful Christmas decorations hidden in the loft. As she discovers their heartbreaking story, a touching romance develops with the handsome gardener next door.

The Present is a release that almost escaped my notice completely, and if this is the first you've heard of the book then I urge you to read on, as this is a little gem of a book. 

This is the story of a set of 12 Christmas decorations that are found in the loft of Lucy's grandmother's house, as she was clearing it, while her gran Olive was in hospital.  Now despite Lucy being rather accident prone in her way to find the box these decorations were stored in, once she was safely in the rest of the house, these gifts are uncovered and spark a huge interest in Lucy. 

She is determined to find out the story behind them, and to hopefully return some good memories to Olive, to aid her recovery.  Just one small thing Lucy isn't someone who tends to be spontaneous and her boyfriend Rod isn't exactly a flexible person either, and Lucy has a million and one other things on her to-do list for Rod and to get Christmas ready for his family. 

She does find an unlikely ally though in Joe, Olive's handyman/gardener and between them they slowly unravel the story.  Joe is the complete opposite to Rod, and is pretty much biding time with work until he can go on holiday again. 

As we learn about both of their pasts, we can see and understand just what made these characters behave how they do, and also a lot more about Olive's past. Despite Olive not being the main character she is present without being present as such in most scenes,  as the story revolves around her. 

I loved discovering all the stands of this story and seeing how it would all come together. I recall enjoying some novellas by the author a few years ago, so we really curious to see what a full length book from her would be like. 

Well the answer is incredibly good, fabulous infact, I was hooked on the story the whole way through and very interested in the outcomes. It is one of very few books that I have concentrated on enough to shut out the world and ready relatively quickly recently for which I can applaud it!  

Thank you so much to Netgalley and HarperCollins for this copy which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily.  

Friday, 8 December 2017

Book Review - Meet Me Under The Mistletoe by Carla Burgess

Amazon UK
Title: Meet Me Under The Mistletoe
Author: Carla Burgess
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ Digital 
Publication Date: 27th October 2017
Rating: 4 Stars

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the little flower shop…
Florist Rachel Jones might spend every day making beautiful bridal bouquets at her little flower shop, but her own love life is wilting as quickly as a bunch of dead roses.

Luckily, the arrival of handsome detective Anthony Bascombe, the new tenant upstairs is the perfect distraction! Although there’s a catch, Anthony isn’t looking for love – he’s looking for her ex-fiancĂ©, Patrick…

But as the snow begins to fall and her little shop fills with mistletoe ready for Christmas, will Rachel manage to melt Anthony’s heart?

Absolutely loved the interactions between Rachel and Anthony in what felt like a book with two halves. For the first part of the book Anthony despite any blatant attraction can't get involved with Rachel due to a conflict of interest in his job. 

However it was Rachel's assistant Bobbi's story that really caught my attention, and with what she is going through helped to illustrate the true meaning of Christmas being about family and friends, instead of material possessions. 

This wa a quick and easy to read book that was certainly enjoyable,  and certainly felt festive in Rachel's flower shop. Also really enjoyed meeting both families and seeing whether Anthony would ever agree to a relationship, or give in to Christmas given he has reasons to not like this time of year. 

Thank you to Netgalley and HQ Digital for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Q&A - Interview between Sue Moorcroft and M.W. Arnold - #BlogTour @rararesources @gilbster1000

Today I have the always wonderful Sue Moorcroft guest interviewing M.W. Arnold, a debut author and member of #TeamMoorcroft on The Season For Love blog tour. Over to you....

How does it feel to be joining the ranks of the traditionally published authors? How long have you wanted this?

For a 'supposed' author, I'm actually lost for words and until it's actually released, I guess you could say that I'm still waiting for it to all fall through. I can't tell you how many of my writing friends have told me not to be so silly when I say that. Actually, it's really not something I thought would happen so soon. I only joined the Romantic Novelists Association, New Writer's Scheme in 2013 after starting to write semi-seriously the previous year, so I've only thought about getting published since around that time.

Tell us something about The Season for Love.

'The Season for Love' is actually the second book I've finished and, so far, the only one where the last paragraph was the first thing I'd written. That's as far as the planning or it went, I'm not a 'Planster' I'm afraid to say. I've tried it since, and for this one too, but it only goes as far as jotting notes on the bottom of the page I'm writing as they come to me, though only about say, 40% of the time do they actually make the story. I expect I could get a sequel out of the notes I have stored away for this book.

What made you choose to write romantic fiction?

I'm a huge fan of the late and very great Terry Pratchett, but my Lady Wife read 'The Xmas Factor' by Annie Sanders and she insisted I read it, now. So, and more to humour her I have to admit, I one sitting. Then read again. The morning after that second reading, I felt the need to write. I had no idea what I was going to write, just that I had to write. I was finally pulled from my old laptop late the same evening and I'd the start of what would be my first book. That's unpubished, and I now know why, though I would like to come back to it as the story is good, but by gum, the writing needs improvement. That was in this genre because of that book I'd read, and since then, this has been my genre of choice. It helps that I really am an old-fashioned romantic. I like to think I've found my calling.

Where can readers buy your book?

I've been lucky and 'The Season for Love' is being released on both sides of the Atlantic on the same day, December 16th. It's available on Amazon, Kobo, Nook, Smashwords, Bookstrand and the Passion in Print (the publishing house I'm signed with for this book) website. And seeing as you were so kind to ask, here are the links:

Amazon US -

Amazon UK -

Barnes & Noble -

Bookstrand -

Smashwords -

What jobs have you had apart from 'author'?

For the first fifteen years of my working life, I worked for Her Majesty, Queen Elisabeth II. That sounds very impressive, doesn't it? It's not quite so much when I elaborate. I was actually in the Royal Air Force, so it counts. Nothing so fancy as a pilot, I was office staff, but I did serve on flying squadrons and saw quite a lot of the world, which was kind of the point as I wanted to travel.

Do you have a day job now?

After leaving the RAF, I started working with computers and that's what I do now. It pays the bills, so far, though I'd be fibbing if I didn't say I'd love to be able to earn my livng writing.

Have you told your day job colleagues about The Season for Love?

Yep. They all know and after getting their heads around the genre I've chosen to write in, have all been very supportive. One of them was actually a beta reader for this book and says it's encouraged them to write (not that they have yet), so that's good.

Do you have much time for reading? What do you read?

I don't have as much time for reading now as I did before I started writing, though I do try to read at least during my lunch break, it helps to clear the mind for an afternoons work. When I do read, it's very much in the Romance genre. It won't come as a surprise to those of you reading this that I'm a big fan of Sue's books and consider her very much a benchmark I'd like to aspire to attaining. Whenever I feel the need for a break from romance though, I always go back to Mr Pratchett, with a sideways trip into the Harry Potters too.

Is there another M. W. Arnold book coming along any time soon?

Currently, I'm finishing off 'Knicker Shopper Glory', which I expect to start sending out in the hope of getting a publishing deal for that in the New Year. So, yes, if anyone's out there, read's 'The Season for Love' you know where to find me. Whatever happens, I am determined to get that second deal as soon as possible.

Thank you so much Sue and M.W. Arnold for this enlightening interview. I am very much hoping that "Knicker Shopper Glory" really is the your next title as it keeps making me smile! 

Believing she was responsible for the death of her husband, Chrissie Stewart retreats from all those who love her. A chance meeting with mysterious stranger, single-parent Josh Morgan and his bewitching young daughter Lizzy, breathe new life into her and gradually, she feels able to start to let go of the memory of her lost love. Unexpected links are revealed between the two families that strengthen the growing bonds she feels to this man and with the encouragement of her best friend Annie, herself hiding a hidden conflict from Chrissie, she battles with her demons to believe in her ability to trust and love again. Everything comes to a head on Christmas Day; which all goes to show that this is truly The Season for Love.

Author Bio – Mick is a hopeless romantic who was born in England, and spent fifteen years roaming around the world in the pay of HM Queen Elisabeth II in the Royal Air Force, before putting down roots, and realising how much he missed the travel. This, he’s replaced somewhat with his writing, including reviewing books and writing a regular post at the blog site.

He’s the proud keeper of a cat bent on world domination, is mad on the music of the Beach Boys and enjoys the theatre and humouring his Manchester United supporting wife. Finally, and most importantly, Mick’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, with the forthcoming publication of his debut novel The Season for Love.

About Sue Moorcroft - Award-winning author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. She’s won a Readers’ Best Romantic Read Award and been nominated for others, including a ‘RoNA’ (Romantic Novel Award). Sue’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, a past vice chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and editor of its two anthologies.

She also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a creative writing tutor.
The daughter of two soldiers, Sue was born in Germany and went on to spend much of her childhood in Malta and Cyprus. She likes reading, Zumba, FitStep, yoga, and watching Formula 1.

Follow Sue Moorcroft on Twitter | Website

Take a look at the rest of the blog tour being organised by my alter ego Rachel's Random Resources

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