Friday 30 September 2016

Book Review - A Cornish Christmas by Lily Graham

Amazon UK
Title: A Cornish Christmas
Author: Lily Graham
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 30th September 2016
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Nestled in the Cornish village of Cloudsea, sits Sea Cottage – the perfect place for some Christmas magic … 

At last Ivy is looking forward to Christmas. She and her husband Stuart have moved to their perfect little cottage by the sea - a haven alongside the rugged cliffs that look out to the Atlantic Ocean. She’s pregnant with their much-longed for first baby and for the first time, since the death of her beloved mother, Ivy feels like things are going to be alright. 

But there is trouble ahead. It soon emerges that Stuart has been keeping secrets from Ivy, and suddenly she misses her mum more than ever. 
When Ivy stumbles across a letter from her mother hidden in an old writing desk, secrets from the past come hurtling into the present. But could her mother’s words help Ivy in her time of need? Ivy is about to discover that the future is full of unexpected surprises and Christmas at Sea Cottage promises to be one to remember. 

This Christmas warm your heart and escape to the Cornish coast for an uplifting story of love, secrets and new beginnings that you will remember for many Christmases to come. 

A Cornish Christmas is a pleasantly surprising book. First let me state this is an extended version of a previously published book called The Postcard, which to my eyes is a far more apt title, as there is a postcard that is central to the story. 

For the majority of the book I found myself frustrated that the story just didn't feel Christmassy, and felt like it had far more serious undertones, as well as magical ones, and it was really getting to me. But as I persevered I realised that despite the book not being really what I was expecting, a far better story was emerging, one that at any other time I would have been enthusing about right from the start. 

As it was it took until I had almost finished reading this to truly appreciate, what Lily Graham has written, its a story about not giving up hope, its about miracles that can occur not just at Christmas. It features a small Cornish village that as you would expect has a great community spirit, even in the face of adversity. 

I loved Stuart's cottage industry, his small holding and all of his wacky ideas for jams, jellies, and other preserves. He is clearly the cook and gardener in the family, and is loving this quieter pace of life, in their cottage. Wife Ivy, is a children's book illustrator, and both the books she is working on sound like they would make great real life series, and the pictures sounded so pretty. 

What sets this book apart though from the average story, is the Postcard. With this postcard which Ivy finds when she is going through her mum's desk, she starts to get ethereal messages at 3am. I don't really believe in this sort of thing, in fact I'm opening sceptical and did when I encountered this to start with, wonder whether I really wanted to continue reading, as I wasn't sure if it was going to turn into a ghost, or get any more weird. Luckily the level of magical presence was kept fairly minimal if regular.

However that being said there were moments that I had goosebumps reading this, as various pieces of information came to light, and I can tell the postcard was clearly a source of comfort almost for Ivy, over the Christmas period. 

The story is predominately set in December, covering the Christmas period, but I would not call it a Christmas book. I think its a fantastic story, a great piece of chick lit with a serious side to it, a reasonable level of romance for a married couple, but overall a story of love, friendship, relationships, hope and will ultimately leave you smiling (if not in tears). 

I am very glad that I had the opportunity to read this book, and think its a great piece of writing from an emerging author.

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Bookouture for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Funday Friday - Truth or Lie? - Sue Featherstone - Month 6 Week 1

Welcome to the latest edition of Truth of Lie. My name is Rachel and I will be your host, for this exciting new game show. Each Friday, I will have one contestant, and they will be answering at least 14 questions. There is of course one small twist...

For three of the answers, they have to lie. It is your task as the viewer to guess which three answers are lies. You are allowed 3 guesses and I want them posted into the comments field. 

Every 4 weeks, I will close the guessing, count up how many correct answers each of you has, and create a leaderboard. Anyone who is top of the leaderboard, will go into a draw for a paperback of the winners choice (open internationally). 

Please do include a way for me to contact you (email or twitter or similar), so that I can let you know if you have won. 

The weekend after a 4 week period closes, not only will I produce a leaderboard, and announce a winner, I will also let you know into the true answers, and which were the lies.  

Closing date for the sixth month is 11pm on 27th October 2016. 

So without further ado, let's meet today's contestant. 

Good morning contestant, please can you tell me your name and a little bit about yourself?

I’m Sue Featherstone, a former journalist and PR professional, now teaching journalism at Sheffield Hallam University. I’ve co-written two journalism text books with my writing partner Susan Pape –  Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction, both published by Sage. Our first novel A Falling Friend was published by Lakewater Press in April, 2016. One reviewer described it as chick lit with attitude, which I rather like. I currently blog at pinkbicylebooks but am in the process of transferring everything to The Booklist, a joint blog with Susan.
Please to meet you Sue, I hope everyone enjoys your interview

Now onto the show, and remember everyone, Sue hasn't been entirely truthful with three of these answers, so it is up to you to guess which ones they are (only 3 guesses per person though). 

1) Who is your favourite author?  

Has to be a toss up between Georgette Heyer and Agatha Christie. I discovered both in my teens and I’m loyal to authors I like.  Christie is probably the better writer but I like the humour of Heyer’s romances. 

2) What book do you wish you had written?  

Dear Daddy by Phillipe Dupasquier. It’s a picture book about a little girl Sophie, who is writing letters to her dad, who is away at sea. ‘Dear Daddy, The piano has been mended. Mummy is very pleased.’ Absolutely magic and my daughters both loved it when they were little. 

3) What was your most memorable holiday ever?  

Our first holiday together as a married couple (honeymoon in Paris excepted): a caravan in Skegness. Doesn’t sound very exciting but just the two of us. What could have been better?

4) If you could be an animal what would you be and why? 

A horse: sensitive, beautiful, intelligent and high spirited. And a good runner too. Just like me. 

5) What superpower would you love to have? 

I’d like to be able to fly. Preferably like Superman, because a pair of wings would spoil the cut of my clothes.

6) What is the most annoying interview question you have ever been asked? 

If you could be an animal what would it be? Because I wouldn’t ever want to be any kind of animal. Ever. I don’t like animals. I just don’t get their appeal. 

7) What is your dream job, and have you tried to achieve it? 

Like every good Catholic girl I fantasised about becoming a nun and saving the world through prayer and good deeds. Then I grew up and discovered I wasn’t cut out for praying or saving the world.

8) Can you describe for me what your perfect day would involve? 

One that allowed time to do some writing without feeling as if I’ve got to squeeze it in as an afterthought around all the other things I have to do. That’s why I love Fridays – I now work just four days a week and Fridays are my writing day. 

9) If you could choose anybody famous to star in the story of your life, who would it be? 

Sean Bean, from the Sharpe era. He doesn’t look remotely like my husband, but I could happily pretend to be married to him. 

10) Who is your ideal Disney character? 

Belle from Beauty and the Beast. She’s clever, independent, feisty, pretty, brave, loving...all the things I’d like to be. And with gorgeous, long, thick hair. 

11) Who is the most important person in the world to you? 

My husband and daughters, of course. They might read this: wouldn’t dare say anything else!

12) Can you let us in on an embarrassing secret? 

Good lord! No!  My embarrassing secrets are staying secret.

13) If you won the lottery, how would you spend the money? 

 I’d have as much fun as possible spending it on high living, exotic holidays and expensive cocktails. I’d also treat my husband to a fast car.

14) What are you most scared of?

Same thing as every mother: something awful happening to my daughters. Lie: My husband finding out how much the new pair of shoes in my wardrobe really cost.

Thank you so much for agreeing to take part Sue, I agree you need to say your family just incase, and Superman's powers would be brilliant. 

I hope you have enjoyed this edition of Truth or Lie? I will be back next week with another episode, and in the mean time...
Don't forget to guess the lies, to be in with a chance of a prize! 

And check out previous week's Truth or Lie's that you may have missed here

Whatever Teri says, whatever she does, it's all leading her toward disaster. But she's not one to heed a warning. What more can best mate Lee do? Besides, Lee's got her own life to sort out. 
A Falling Friend is the tale of two friends - one who always seems to make the wrong choices, and the other who's always there to catch her.

After spending her twenties sailing the globe, making love on fine white sand, and thinking only of today, Teri Meyer returns to Yorkshire—and to studying. That's when she discovers John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester, and poet of all things depraved. What she doesn't realise is even beyond his grave, his influence over her is extraordinary. To hell with the consequences.
Having gone out on a limb to get old friend Teri a job at the university at which she teaches, it doesn't take long for Lee Harper to recognise a pattern. Wherever Teri goes, whatever she does, every selfish choice she makes, it's all setting her up for a nasty fall. But Teri's not the sort to heed a warning, so Lee has no choice but to stand by and watch. And besides, she has her own life to straighten out.

A clever, raw and hilarious character-driven masterpiece that follows the lives of two friends with the same ambitions, but who have vastly different ways of achieving them.

About the Authors

Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape are both former newspaper journalists who between them have extensive experience of working in national and regional papers and magazines, and public relations.

More recently they have worked in higher education, teaching journalism to undergraduate and postgraduate students – Sue at Sheffield Hallam and Susan at Leeds Trinity.
The pair, who have been friends for 25 years, have already written two successful journalism text books together - Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction; and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction.

Sue, who is married with two grown-up daughters, loves reading, writing and exploring the cycle paths near her Yorkshire home. She blogs about books at Book Lovers, Book List Susan is married and spends her spare time walking and cycling in the Yorkshire Dales and on the east coast, and playing the ukulele.

Thursday 29 September 2016

Book Review - Destination Chile by Katy Colins

Amazon UK
Title: Destination Chile
Author: Katy Colins
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Midas PR
Publisher: Carina
Publication Date: 22nd September 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

Georgia Green’s extraordinary year has seen her travel the world – from mending her broken heart in Thailand, to jetting off to India, Spain, Greece and Morocco for her new travel and tour agency ‘The Lonely Hearts Travel Club’. Next on Georgia’s bucket list is Chile, but this time she’s not going alone…

Once in a while a series will come along that just gets under your skin, hits all the marks you are subconsciously looking for in a book, and they are books you become very excited to see the next one is finally ready for publication. For me The Lonely Hearts Travel Club is a series like that, I love the travel elements, I love the relationship elements, and I really do enjoy reading Georgia' s story. 

Having never read anything set in Chile, nor having ever really given the country much thought, I have no idea how factually correct the elements of this book are, but I did get a real feel for just what a country of contrasts it is, from the Atacama to Patagonia, with Santiago adding the city feel. 

The reasons the Georgia is in Chile and this time with Ben, is certainly a different departure from her last two adventures, this time there is a television show involved, and the holiday is expenses paid, but they four couples on it, all have to do various challenges around Chile, in order to compete to win some prize money. 

This holiday is a real test for Ben and Georgia as things just don't go too smoothly, and even what is probably one of most people's top holiday nightmares is dealt with, with the correct amount of despair and humour. 

As such a huge fan of the series, it is hard to make a judgment on whether this works as a standalone, but I feel it should do as all the key relationship and friendship points are mentioned in just enough detail so that you get an idea of what has gone on before. 

There is just a quality to Katy Colins writing that means once I picked up Destination Chile I had a hard job putting it down, and I was almost resentful of a theatre show I had booked which interrupted my reading of this book! 

Destination Chile is a worthy addition to the Lonely Hearts Travel Club series, it moves all the key storylines along, and we keep updated with Georgia's best friends too, even if they aren't given huge amounts of "air time". As always when finishing a book in this series, I am already eagerly anticipating the next installment, and can't wait to go down under next with Georgia! 

Thank you to Midas PR for this review copy of Destination Chile. This was my honest opinion. 

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Book Review - The Ex Factor by Eva Woods

Amazon UK
Title: The Ex Factor
Author: Eva Woods
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: 8th September 2016
Rating: 4 Stars

Is it possible to freecycle love?

Modern dating is hard, especially when all you meet are liars, oddballs, men who wear Superman pants and men who live with their mums.

So why not date someone who already comes pre-approved? Just because your friend’s ex wasn’t right for her doesn’t mean that he won’t be right for you. That’s Marnie’s new plan for herself and her three best friends, perennially single Helen, recently divorced Rosa and cynical lawyer Ani.

Through bad dates and good, the four friends begin to realise that there are advantages to dating pre-screened men…but there can be some serious pitfalls to falling for your friend's ex

What a different take on a dating fiction, I think this is the first time I've ever seen a group of friends encourage each other to date their exes, possibly due to all the issues that such a possibly radical idea would bring up. 

The Ex Factor, focuses on a set of four friends, who are all approaching the dating scene from very different angles, there is Rosa who is just in the process of being divorced and barely dated before meeting her husband, Ani who is a lawyer, who is sick of internet dating, but has very strict rules and criteria, Helen who works from home on a controversial dating site and hasn't so much as looked at a man for over to years, and then there is Marnie. 

Marnie has been awol for two years and now she is back, this exes dating each other plan  is her idea, and in the past she has been an indiscriminate serial dater. However will she really fit back into her friendship group after upping and leaving without so much as a word for two years. 

The Ex Factor is as much about female friendships as it is about dating, and yes there are some hilariously bad dates in the mix of the book. At times I found the story a bit confusing, just as soon as you are introduced to the four ladies, you are then being not only introduced and given back story on how they met the ex they are setting a friend up with, but you also have to keep track of who is currently dating who. 

Once that is sorted in your mind, it becomes a pleasure to read. It is a wonderfully light hearted story, great for when you don't want anything too deep and meaningful. Of the various men there is one that I found myself most attracted too, and he wasn't the most obvious of them, not the best looking, just the one that talks to my inner geek! 

Personally I wouldn't want to set a friend up with an ex, let alone still be in contact with one, but as I think it was Charlotte in Sex and the City says - "one girl's trash is another girl's treasure!" so its clearly an idea that could work. I also loved reading about the various jobs the girls dd, from the tricky boss Rosa has, to the gorgeous man working in law with Ani. 

If you want to read some chick lit that has a clear dating and friendship angle, and don't mind jumping straight in with a lot of characters you need to be able to follow, then this is a great book to read. 

Thank you so much to Netgalley and MIRA for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Book Review - Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin - Blog Tour

Amazon UK
Title: Christmas Under A Cranberry Sky
Author: Holly Martin
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 22nd September 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

This year spend a wonderful Christmas on Juniper Island, where love can melt even the iciest of hearts… 

Piper Chesterfield lives a glamorous life travelling the world and reviewing the finest hotels. She calls nowhere home, she works alone and that’s how she likes it. For long ago Piper decided that to protect her heart she should lock it away. 

So when Piper’s next assignment brings her to the newly opened Stardust Lake Hotel for the festive season, the last person she expects to face is Gabe Whitaker, the man who broke her heart so completely she could never love again. 

But Piper isn’t the only one who has been frozen in time by heartbreak. Gabe hasn’t forgotten the golden-eyed girl who disappeared from his world without a trace. 

Now fate has reunited them on Juniper island, can the magic of Christmas heal old wounds? And can this enchanting town be the one place Piper can finally call home? 

Curl up with this gorgeously romantic tale and let the glistening snow and the roaring fires of Stardust Lake Hotel get you in the festive spirit this Christmas. 

Having just finished and been astounded by Christmas Under A Cranberry Sky, I think I am fairly safe in declaring Holly Martin a queen of the Christmas book, so with that in mind I am delighted that there is a second book in this series out soon. 

But let's talk about this one first, from the simply gorgeous cover, to the simply stunning setting, I really didn't want this book to end, everything about it is pure enjoyment, designed to get you in the festive spirit. I can't believe its September and I am currently really feeling quite Christmassy after reading this book. 

Juniper Island is a one town island near the Shetlands, and Piper is a mystery guest who has been travelling around the world for 10 years reviewing hotels. who comes to Juniper Island for Christmas to review The Stardust Lake Hotel that is just opening. 

She has a personal connection to the island as she last visited with her best friend and love of her life back when she was a child, so is keen to see what the new owner of the hotel has done to the place. Little does she expect to come face to face with Gabe who she hasn't seen for many years. 

As Piper is guided around the resort, it becomes apparent just how much thought the author has put into creating this magical and wintery sounding place, from the magnificent ice palace, complete with ice carvings courtesy of a previous character of Holly's, to the glass igloos where if you are lucky you may be able to see the Northern lights. 

I actually melted when Piper is shown the Christmas market that is going to be a permanent fixture of the town called Christmas. As you go into each shop it is clear how much care has been put into every little details, from the arrangement of the snow globes in the snow globe shop, to the six (I think it was) different flavours of chocolate fountains, in the chocolate shop. Each shop and villager is specialising in a different wintery or Christmas craft or food, so all the shops can live in harmony with each other.  It was at this point where I was on social media begging people to let me fly to Juniper Island then and there!

There is some wonderful wildlife on the island too, from the group of shetland ponies that terrorise everyone, and could ultimately cause the tourists problems, to the adorable puppies and not to mention what every Christmas themed resort needs, real life reindeer, all 8 plus Rudolph. There is one very funny and memorable scene involving the reindeer that is brilliant. 

Wren is Gabe's 4 year old daughter, and she takes an instant liking to Piper, asking her all sorts of tricky questions that only someone with a childlike innoncence would.At times she sounds wiser than her 4 years, and then the rest of the time is she your typical child, who loves her new home, and has a huge love of all things Frozen. 

With an adorable child, adding to Gabe's overall appeal its little wonder there is a strong romance element brewing in this story, and although there are some will they won't they moments, I hope I'm not spoiling the book too much from saying that if you are a fan of the author you know she loves a HEA, and with it being Christmas, I was hoping and praying for the only outcome that I would have found acceptable! 

Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky has easily moved into my top three Holly Martin books, and I am eagerly awaiting, like a kid at Christmas, for the second book in the A Town Called Christmas series. 

Thank you so much to Bookouture and Holly Martin for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Monday 26 September 2016

Book Review - Girl Having A Ball by Rhoda Baxter

Title: Girl Having A Ball
Author: Rhoda Baxter
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Choc Lit
Publication Date: 27th September 2016
Rating: 4 Stars

What if you had to learn to stand on your own feet?
Although Stevie lost her parents when she was very young, she’s always been able to rely on her brother, Marsh. But now Marsh is married and Stevie feels like she is losing him too. Determined to prove her independence, Stevie sets about transforming her life, giving up her dead-end job and following her passion for events management.

Her first assignment takes her to a stunning manor house in Oxford where she is tasked with organising a charity ball on a shoestring. Between canapĂ© worries, celebrity guests and trying to keep the hyper-critical Lady Beryl happy, Stevie’s teenage crush, Tom, resurfaces to confuse things even further.

But ‘poor needy little Stevie’ is now ‘Stevie the strong woman’ and she won’t let a man get in the way of her dreams – will she?

Girl Having  A Ball is a highly enjoyable story, that is a lot of fun. The romantic element was slightly predictable, but its the journey that is always the most entertaining, and it certainly had me smiling as the story progressed. 

Stevie initially comes across as a bit flighty and I initially had large concerns over whether she would be able to organise the charity ball, as the kickstarter for her new career. In fact I was foreseeing disasters that didn't even occur, although that's not to say anything at all ran smoothly. 

I left the book feeling very impressed with Stevie, she experiences a great deal of personal growth over the month or so the story progresses for, as she learns to deal with all manner of  challenges. 

Stevie had a crush on Tom, when she was only 13 and now he is a high powered workaholic businessman, but that may have on re-meeting Stevie, twigged she is now quite a bit over 18, and a woman! The main insights we have into Tom are from his communications with his best friend Og mainly over email, which shows how confused he is about his work currently, as well as his feeling for various females. 

My overall feeling of Girl Having A Ball was that is was a lot of fun. There are smiles and giggles to be had, as well as information about a great charity that the ball is for. I loved some of the solutions to the problems, and really liked the big manor house setting in Oxford.  It was a lovely story to read, and as my second book by this author, I will definitely be curious to see future releases. 

Thank you to Choc Lit and Netgalley for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Sunday 25 September 2016

Book Review - The Paris Secret by Karen Swan

Amazon UK
Title: The Paris Secret
Author: Karen Swan 
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Pan McMillan
Publication Date: 14th July 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

Not every door should be opened . . .

With stunning locations and page-turning tension, The Paris Secret is an intense and gripping tale from bestselling author Karen Swan.

Somewhere along the cobbled streets of Paris, an apartment lies thick with dust and secrets: full of priceless artworks hidden away for decades.

High-flying fine art agent Flora from London, more comfortable with the tension of a million-pound auction than a cosy candlelit dinner for two, is called in to assess these suddenly discovered treasures. As an expert in her field, she must trace the history of each painting and discover who has concealed them for so long.

Thrown in amongst the glamorous Vermeil family as they move between Paris and Antibes, Flora begins to discover that things aren't all that they seem, while back at home her own family is recoiling from a seismic shock. The terse and brooding Xavier Vermeil seems intent on forcing Flora out of his family's affairs - but just what is he hiding?

It took the whole of the first couple of chapters for me to realise that Karen Swan had yet another truly fantastic book on her hands (well, so  long as it continued for the whole book, which it did). There are early on the mentions of what are clearly a couple of big and intriguing mysteries, one related to Flora's work and the other with her family. 

Many pages into The Paris Secret you only start to get a glimpse as to how big the secrets are, and even then I couldn't foresee how they would turn out. Around half way through, I actually had to stop to gasp out loud at a revelation. 

Yet despite being a huge fan of Karen Swan's books, I had let The Paris Secret sit on my kindle for months because I fell into the age old trap of judging a book by its cover. Due to this cover not really being the same style as any of her previous books, I was worried about the content of the book, and whether I would really like it. The moral of this is I really do need to with authors that I love, to just sit and read them regardless of cover and potentially blurb. 

The backdrop to this mega story is Paris, and more specifically the art world. A known family in Paris suddenly discover they own an apartment that they didn't know existed. They call in the art experts, Flora, and she makes a whole range of startling discoveries, starting initially with just the sheer volume of treasures there are in this apartment. 

As she is tracing the provenance of some of the works of art, she is drawn back in time to the Second World War, and hits some big question marks, which make her even more determined to come up with the goods. Normally I try to avoid history, but in this case, it was a huge part of the story, but without being set in the past, so I was able to cope with it. 

The writing drew me in, and I was hooked on the whole book, especially the last quarter or so, where I lost all track of time, or where I was, as I knew I had to find out what happened next. It is a thoroughly enjoyable story, and I'm just sorry I didn't start it the second I got hold of a copy. 

Thank you so much to Pan and Netgalley for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Saturday 24 September 2016

Book Review - Single All The Way by Elaine Spires - Back Catalogue Books

Back Catalogue Books is my new regular Saturday feature, focusing on books that are not the latest releases. There is going to be a mix of Q&As and also reviews, depending on what I have the space for. 

If you are an author wanting to take part in Back Catalogue Books then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you. 

I hope everyone enjoys this weekly look back at some of the slightly older books that are about but still great, and that I eventually make a dent in my TBRs as a result of it! 

So today I have a review of Single All The Way, the 3rd book in the wonderful Singles Trilogy.

Amazon UK
Title: Single All The Way
Author: Elaine Spires
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Author supplied review copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 9th October 2014
Rating: 5 Stars

Travel Together Tour Manager Eve Mitchell is planning a quiet Christmas at home to rest and relax before a special New Year. But she soon, very unexpectedly, finds herself in the depths of the Essex countryside looking after a singles' group which contains some old, familiar faces and some pleasant - and not so pleasant - new ones. With its country walks, quizzes, disco and black-tie ball, the Christmas and Twixmas Break passes quickly, but just as they think it's all over the plot takes a twist and we learn some dark secrets...

Although it has been a few months since I read the previous books in the Singles Trilogy, within the first two  chapters it felt as though I had never left. That being said it can easily be read as a standalone, its just some of the characters recur, as well as Eve who is the main character for the whole trilogy. 

This time instead of an exotic location, its a short Christmas break with Travel Together, which Eve is called to on Christmas Day after some both with the previous guide. The break is the other side of Essex to her, so not exactly a glamorous location, but that is good, as it gave the whole book quite a different feel to it. 

In fact Single All The Way is quite cosy, in its small hotel setting, and on paper it looks like Eve is supposed to have a reasonably easy few days, make sure people turn up for a couple of organised walks, host a pre-prepared quiz or two, and then the black-tie ball to round off the trip. But when do things ever run smoothly, in fact when Eve says "How much trouble can three days be?" I just had to laugh out loud, as when anything ever gone to plan in fiction, after a statement like that! 

There was a good variety of guests, some which Eve already knew from previous trips, and those are ones that readers of the whole trilogy will recognise and be pleased to see again. There is also a group of friends called The Three Sues, a group of four rugby club friends, a rather obnoxious woman, an older gentleman who is struggling with Christmas and that is just some of the group. When you also take into account a certain young waiter with an eye for the ladies, and you know there will be sorts of antics to occur. 

However the book although the bulk of it is this holiday in Essex, it really is building continually to a big occasion in Eve's life, which I won't mention as it could spoil enjoyment of previous books in the series. As a fan though of the series, it was wonderful to see, and I loved the overall conclusion to the trilogy. 

I'm not quite sure how but I managed to read the whole book pretty much in one sitting over the course of an evening, admittedly finishing it in the early hours of the next day! I found myself so caught up in the stories of all the guests. There are so many different things simmering just under the surface, and as they are uncovered, there was a mix of all sorts of emotions and even some gasp worthy moments, in addition to lots of laughs. 

Single All The Way is a wonderful way to end what has been a superb trilogy, I have heard there may be another book in progress, which if that is true, then I will be looking forward to reading that too, as I  am a huge fan of Eve, and of the Travel Together holidays. 

Thank you so much to Elaine Spires for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Back Catalogue Books - Q&A with Colette Kebell

Back Catalogue Books is my new regular Saturday feature, focusing on books that are not the latest releases. There is going to be a mix of Q&As and also reviews, depending on what I have the space for. 

If you are an author wanting to take part in Back Catalogue Books then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you. 

I hope everyone enjoys this weekly look back at some of the slightly older books that are about but still great, and that I eventually make a dent in my TBRs as a result of it! 

This week we have Colete Kebell talking about her previous welcome.

Hello there, my name is Colette Kebell and I am an author of Chicklit/Romcom. I’ve only been writing a couple of years but am loving every minute of my new vocation.  I was lucky enough to meet Rachel last year, whilst attending Jill Mansell’s book launch for You and Me, Always at which we were both a little star struck by the faces we recognised of some of those who attended to support Jill.  I am very grateful to her for this opportunity to be interviewed.

1) Please tell me about your first book, and what started you writing in the first place

My first book has never seen the light of day, if I am honest.  It still sits in a cupboard collecting dust…My first self-published book is Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen! (Or so Mother Says).  The story came about following being made redundant and teaching myself to build a website for my father-in-law.  After that I still had this huge creative urge but little actual money to, for example, take up painting or some such as that requires the purchase of materials and taking classes.  Writing on the other hand, to put it bluntly, just takes a large amount of time and research.   I have quite a creative streak by nature and this was a way that I could live vicariously through my characters and achieve things that I would otherwise have just brushed aside, becoming more and more frustrated, whilst job hunting.  Writing it was my outlet for all my frustrations but not only that, as it turned out, it brought myself and my husband closer, despite it being a solitary vocation, as I involved my husband each step of the way, whilst writing he would read, make suggestions and laugh along with me.

2) How many books have you written and what are they?

So far I have self-published two books but have three more on the go, if you will.  My first book is Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen! (Or so Mother Says) which was followed quite swiftly by The Retail Therapist.  After writing Blue and Green I felt that I had more of GiGi’s story to tell and so, despite this being the wrong way round to most people, I wrote a prequel.   One of my WIP’s is the sequel to these two and the other two are still Chicklit/Romcom but they are a little different.

3) Which book are you most proud of writing?

That, at this point at least, has to be Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen! (Or so Mother Says).  I loved writing it from beginning to end and it brought such laughter to our household that our neighbours wondered just what had my husband and I so amused so frequently.

4) Which book was your favourite to write?

I think this question comes under the same umbrella as the one above as for the same reasons, so far at least, it would have to be Blue and Green.

5) Who are your favourite characters from your books and why?

Oh, despite having fallen in love with my main character, GiGi and Ritchie of course, my absolute favs are Jasper Barnes and Lady Whilsham.  They are such a dastardly couple and were great fun to write.  But then there is Timothy with his shoe fetish and oh I could go on and on.  I think you get the point though…

6) If you could go back and change anything from any of your books, what would it be, and why?

I think that as far as Blue and Green is concerned I would leave it just as it is.  As far as my novella The Retail Therapist is concerned, I would have liked to have made it a little longer.  I had far more to say about this part of GiGi’s life but considered that if I did it would lose some of it’s momentum.  There is, afterall, only so much one can say about what brought someone to the point of changing their career so drastically….

7) Which of your covers if your favourite and why?

I love both my covers equally though I guess, as this was the first time I had dealt with my cover designer, it would have to be Blue and Green as from what was a relatively small brief, she just got me and what I wanted on my cover.  She did a fabulous job and has received a large amount of praise from not only myself but also my peers.

8) Have you ever thought about changing genres, if so what else would you like to write?

To me, I have already changed genre.  That book I mentioned previously which is gathering dust was a fantasy novel.  I may return to it sometime in the future but having said that I have so much fun writing Chicklit that I think I will probably stick to that.  I may at some point in future decide to write something with a little more grit and drama to it, but that is a long way off currently.

9) Looking forward can you let us know what you are working on next?

Next is the sequel to Blue and Green, though whether I publish another one or two in the meantime remains to be seen, as I currently have three WIPs.  Life hasn’t allowed me as much time to write in the past year or so as I would have liked, due to house sale, move etc and so I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things this Autumn, hopefully, and then it will be a matter of which one flows the best at the time.

10) I dare not ask for a favourite author, but is there any author’s back catalogue you admire and why?

I grew up reading the likes of Jilly Cooper and the late great Jackie Collins amongst others.  I was also a huge fan of Stephen King and James Herbert in my youth though have long since stopped reading all the horror books.  Having said all that, if I didn’t mention the lady who inspired me to write Chicklit, namely Sophie Kinsella or by her other name Madeleine Wickham, then I would be failing not only myself but your blog readers.  
11) Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your back catalogue of books?

At this point in time my back catalogue only consists of one book and I am, therefore, incredibly humbled and grateful to you for accepting me as an interviewee.  As far as Blue and Green is concerned I hope that your followers take the time to have a look at the book, read the reviews, and hopefully end up buying it.  I don’t want to quote a particular review verbatim, but having said that, one thing that has been said about it is that the excitement and laughter that occurred in my household at the time it was written has translated to the pages in my book.  I feel very proud of my achievement, especially as my husband has now translated it into Italian and the sales are fantastic for a new author to the Italian market. 

Thank you so much Colette for this fabulous interview, I am so happy for your that you have got an Italian translation, and I must say I am also a huge fan of the whole Sophie Kinsella / Madeleine Wickham back catalogue. It was a pleasure to meet you too earlier in the year, and starstruck is definitely the correct word for that launch party. 

Author Bio

After being a Legal Secretary for about 10 years, Colette was on the hunt to find something else that she would find just as interesting. She found that in writing and she hopes you like what you read. She loves fashion with a passion (pardon the pun) and therefore it is not surprising that her debut novel was going to follow that theme. 

Her debut novel was “Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen!” which was followed by “The Retail Therapist”, both of these being romantic comedies/Chick Lit, a genre she adores. 

When she’s not in writing mode she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, a task that usually produces good results; as her husband would say, as opposed to “his” experiments which often end in a culinary disaster.  She lives in Coastal Kent, UK with two adorable dogs. Oh yes, and hubby too. 

You could also look at her website and see what news is on there at 
or follow her on either twitter  
or Facebook 

Purchase links:-

Blue and Green
The Retail Therapist
Senza Tacchi non mi Concentro!

Both my books are available to buy in all e-reader formats and the ones in English are also available from bookshops and libraries, by request, worldwide.

And these are my covers in the order that they should be read ideally 

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