Saturday 30 September 2017

Book Review - Beneath The Surface by Sibel Hodge

Amazon UK
Title:  Beneath The Surface
Author: Sibel Hodge
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 27th July 2017
Rating: 4 Stars

Dean Hudson didn’t look evil…so what could drive an ordinary boy to kill?

When the teenage son of Holly Gold’s school friend brutally murders his parents before killing himself, her sleepy home town is rocked by the sudden tragedy.

Appalled, Holly investigates. What could have caused the happy-go-lucky boy she remembers to commit such a heinous crime? When another teen commits suicide, she uncovers a horrifying link between the recent deaths and a dark conspiracy to hide the truth.

But someone doesn’t want Holly asking questions and, as she hunts for evidence to prove her theory, she’s dragged into a nightmare that threatens her life and her sanity. Then tragedy strikes again—and this time it’s closer to home…

From a slow start where I was unsure exactly why I was continuing to read, as I wasn't really liking Holly or her brother Miles, it suddenly became really good, and interesting at the same time, to the extent where I needed to know what would happen next. 

The story starts with an awful situation when a teenager kills his parents and then commits suicide, and Holly used to know the family and couldn't believe the son would do such a thing. She promises the surviving family member that she would try and find out why, and from that she uncovers all sorts of information, mostly unpleasant and all rather unsettling. 

At times I found some of the revelations and research into the reasoning of this crime a bit hard to take in, as its not a field I'm fully interested in, but equally I believe the situations outlined in the book could so easily be happening in real life that its eye opening too. 

There are a good amount of characters to keep track of, and you are never completely sure if any of them are telling the truth. Occasionally between chapters there are messages between the villains, with no indication who they are, other than they seem to know a lot about what is going on from all angles. 

At times a rather harrowing book, with a troubled main character, who can be viewed as an unreliable narrator.   Oddly it was only as the complexity ramped up  that I found myself really gripped by Beneath the Surface, and its true you never really know what is going on beneath the surface of anything. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

Guest Post - Five Top Tips For Holiday Packing by Maxine Morrey

Some years ago, I had the chance to do a certain amount of travelling. The trips were all long haul and always involved a silly o’clock pick up time which ruled out any faffing about time prior to the taxi arriving. Consequently, I came up with a few tips I always employed to make the packing go as smoothly as possible. And although I no longer travel that much, I still use these tips – they’re just as handy for a couple of nights away as they are for longer holidays!

  • Make a list of Must Not Forgets
    Passports, medications, favourite toys – put all of the things that you cannot afford to forget on a list, and check each item off only when it is safely packed in your hand luggage.
  • Have a ready packed, duplicate toiletries bag
    Inevitably we need to use items from this at the last minute, and then have to try and stuff it into the case. Having a bag of duplicate items means you can just grab and go with no fuss!
  • Make up outfitsEver come back with piles of stuff you didn’t wear? You really don’t need a dress/shirt for every day, plus a change for dinner. Believe me, you won’t wear it all! Make up outfits using items you can mix and match. If you only wore a shirt for an hour or two at dinner, then barring any spillage incidents, give it a good airing and it will be ready for another evening.
  • Prepare for creasesI’ve read and tried plenty of tips on how not to get creases in your clothes when packing and frankly, none of them work. Some techniques might help lessen them but if you have a fabric prone to creasing, then whatever you do, it’s going to happen. Basically. you have two choices: just accept that you may look a little more rumpled than usual for the duration and roll with it. If you hang stuff up as soon as you can upon arrival, a lot of the worst creases will drop out. If you really can’t then pack a travel iron for the nicer stuff – but remember, you’re on holiday and a few creases in your beach t shirt really doesn’t matter.
  • Most importantly – Books!
    One of the bits I do like about packing is deciding what to take to read, but books can soon add to the weight limit, especially if you’re planning on kicking back and getting a lot read! (Aah, bliss!) This is really when e-readers come into their own. It’s often an idea to load up with any new books you’re after at home because some wifi, especially free, can be very slow and a bit patchy. But don’t forget your charger and any adapter plug you may need for the country you’re visiting! And, of course, don’t forget to download The Christmas Holiday!

Happy travels!

Thank you so much Maxine for this great set of Holiday packing tips. At the time of preparing this post, I was only 10% of the way through The Christmas Holiday, and wow I can tell already I'm in for a big treat. Really looking forward to reading the rest of the book. 

Fall in love this winter on a romantic trip around the world ending in a fairy-tale winter wedding!

As winter comes to London, journalist Mia Walker is desperately hoping for her big break as a travel writer, dreaming of exotic locations and sun-soaked beaches. When she’s invited to write a romantic travel piece that ends in a huge winter wedding in Scotland, she jumps at the chance. The only trouble is, the photographer is renowned adventure-junkie Hunter Scott, who Mia last saw five years ago when she ended their engagement. 

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, and Mia knows she’d be mad to say no – even if it does mean spending weeks traveling round the world with the one man she never wanted to see again! But as the wedding approaches, and the magic of Christmas begins to take hold, Mia can’t help looking out for mistletoe – and wishing she hadn’t cancelled her own engagement after all…

Author bio:
Maxine has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember and wrote her first (very short) book for school when she was ten. Coming in first, she won a handful of book tokens - perfect for a bookworm!

As years went by, she continued to write, but 'normal' work often got in the way. She has written articles on a variety of subjects, aswell as a book on Brighton for a Local History publisher. However, novels are what she loves writing the most. After self publishing her first novel when a contract fell through, thanks to the recession, she continued to look for opportunities.

In August 2015, she won Harper Collins/Carina UK's 'Write Christmas' competition with her romantic comedy, 'Winter's Fairytale'.

Maxine lives on the south coast of England, and when not wrangling with words, can be found tackling her To Be Read pile, sewing, listening to podcasts, and walking.

Twitter            @Scribbler_Maxi
Instagram        @scribbler_maxi
Pinterest          ScribblerMaxi


The Christmas Holiday Weekend Blitz Giveaway

1 winner

Signed copy of The Christmas Project
The Christmas Holiday notebook
Galaxy chocolate bar
Chocolate penguins and snowballs
Elephant keyring

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you like the sound of  Maxine Morrey's The Christmas Holiday, then you are in for a treat as she also has a second Christmas book coming out this year - The Best Little Christmas Shop. 

In order to help her celebrate publication day for that in November, please lend your support to this Daycause campaign, and let's see if we can get Maxine to trend. 

Friday 29 September 2017

Book Review - A Very Vintage Christmas by Tilly Tennant - Blog Tour

Amazon UK
Title: A Very Vintage Christmas
Author: Tilly Tennant
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 28th September 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

The fairy lights are up and shoppers are flooding the snowy seaside promenade. It’s going to be a busy month at Forget-Me-Not Vintage, a magical shop with a warm heart where every item has a story to be told.

With bright red hair and an infectious smile, Dodie is a hopeless romantic and absolutely one of a kind, just like the pieces in her shop. 

When Dodie finds a love letter in the pocket of an old woollen coat, she makes it her mission to deliver it to its rightful owner. Following the address, she manages to persuade the handsome but reluctant new tenant, Edward, to help her with her search.

As the story of the letter unfolds, Dodie is there, as always, to pick up the pieces and make things right. But who will be there for her when her own love story needs a helping hand? 

Is it too much to dream of a happy ending like the ones in the black and white movies she adores? 

What a simply delightful story, which surprised and pleased me in equal measure. It certainly is a book that encompasses the spirit of good will that is generally around in December, without being overtly Christmassy. 

By which I mean, although its set in December, and Christmas does feature, its not the main focus. The focal point of the book is the letter that is found in a woolen coat that Dodie finds, while sorting out a new order of vintage clothes for her little shop.

She can't help but read it and is struck, as I am by just how romantic a story it tells, and Dodie becomes determined to reunite this letter with the family of either of the people involved.  Only a few small things, she knows the address from 1944, only first names and the first letter of the lady's surname. Not an easy task! 

Early in her search she meets Edward who against his better judgement ends up not only helping Dodie, but seems to keep bumping into her about town.  Yet Dodie has a boyfriend, Ryan, although even early on I wasn't too convinced by their relationship. 

There are three other characters of note for various reasons. Dodie's gran - every single time she was featured I was laughing, she is the sort of gran who continually has different classes on, seems to know everyone and yet feels slightly dotty at the same time!  

Isla is Dodie's best friend, and is going through some big things herself. which I won't mention, as I am looking forward to getting to know her properly in Tilly Tennant's second Christmas book for this year. 

Nick is the last character who is definitely worth mentioning, he pops up from time to time, but due to his situation, he gives a bit more of a serious / real tone to the book, reminding you that its not just Christmas decorations and presents at this time of year, but for others Christmas is a whole different ballgame. 

A Very Vintage Wedding is such a wonderful book, that had me smiling, laughing at times, but also almost had me feeling emotional too. It has a great premise, and with Tilly Tennant special kind of writing magic you have a charming book, and I can't wait for A Cosy Candlelit Christmas. 

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

Author Bio:

Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing. She wrote a novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them.

Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn was her debut novel; published in 2014 it was an Amazon bestseller in both the UK and Australia. In 2016 she signed to the hugely successful Bookouture and is currently working on her tenth Tilly Tennant novel. She also writes as Sharon Sant, where she explores the darker side of life, and Poppy Galbraith, where things get a little crazier. Find out more about Tilly and how to join her mailing list for news and exclusives at

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Thursday 28 September 2017

Guest Post - Diamonds and Purls by Poppy Dolan - Blog Tour

I don’t know about you, but I can spend days at a time pouring over sites like Not on the High Street and Etsy. Gorgeous gold rings made by artisan jewellers with your anniversary engraved inside; maps from all the important places in your life cut into heart shapes and framed to hang at home; luxurious leather notebooks with your initials in gold embossing. My heart swells and my bank account empties at the sight of it all. Personalised gifts are the way to go, it’s all about unique, one-off, just-for-you, customised presents. But when you want to give really special things to the special people in your life, shopping for one offs for every birthday, Christmas and Valentines gets pricey. So the answer is - get crafting them yourself!

            ‘Unique’ is definitely the word for some of the things I’ve knitted in the past, and that’s probably being kind. Stuffed toys with one wonky eye, hats that are so tight as to cause headaches and baby cardigans that will probably fit when the child goes to school. But they’ve at least raised smiles along the way! And as I’ve tried my hand at different things, my woolly skills have improved and now I can turn out something genuinely useful and not bad looking. I choose the recipients carefully - they’ve got to have a robust sense of humour and tastes that aren’t too fined; one mate might squeal with joy over a lime green blanket and another might go another shade of green altogether and hide it at the back of their airing cupboard forever.

            But the one thing everyone loves to receive is a soft little hat for their new baby. And these are one of the quickest and simplest things to knit. In fact, I’ve put a beginner’s pattern in the back of the book! Parents get sent flowers (bit useless), onesies (which could come off any old rack) and food (admittedly a great gift when you’ve just had a baby) but if you gift them a totally one-off knitted hat, made with love and patience they will treasure it forever, much more than anything you could have spent your month’s wages on. In fact, a baby hat I’ve made has been used by three children in the same family, which I love to hear, and when clothes that have been outgrown are bundled up and put away or given to the charity shop, it’s always the handmade things that get saved as keepsakes. So a knitted gift might be made out of wool, but it will be more precious than a diamond. Grab yourself some needles and a pattern and make your own one-off gem!

Thank you so much Poppy for this lovely post.

Finding happiness one stitch at a time

When Dee Blackthorn’s brother, JP, breaks both wrists not only is he in need of a helping hand – or two – but the knitting shop he owns can’t function. Sisterly duties take Dee away from her demanding job and she is unceremoniously fired amidst rumours of inappropriate behaviour. Dee is certain that her hot-shot nemesis, Ben, is behind it all but has no proof.

When Dee bumps into an old friend who is new mum to a premature baby she convinces JP to enlist his knitting pals to make lots of tiny woolly hats. Then Ben turns up denying involvement in Dee’s sacking and she ropes him into helping the knitting cause. 

But before long Dee’s good intentions backfire and she risks losing her friends, her family and Ben, who’s turned out to be not so bad after all…

About Poppy

Poppy Dolan is in her mid thirties and lives in Berkshire with her husband. She's a near-obsessive baker and a keen crafter, so on a typical weekend can be found moving between the haberdashery and kitchenware floors of a department store, adding to her birthday wish list. She has written three novels: The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp, There's More to Life than Cupcakes and most recently The Bluebell Bunting Society. The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp made it into the Amazon top 100 bestseller chart, so clearly someone other than her mum must have read it. She's currently working on her fourth novel – it's about friends, siblings and crafty things – and drinking far too much tea.
You can get in touch with Poppy on Twitter @poppydwriter and on Facebook at PoppyDolanBooks. She doesn't bite. Unless you are a dark chocolate digestive. 

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Book Review - The Beachside Christmas by Karen Clarke - Blog Tour

Amazon UK
Title: The Beachside Christmas
Author: Karen Clarke
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 26th September 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

Snow is falling and there’s romance in the air. Curl up for a cosy Christmas by the fire at Seaview Cottage…

When thirty-year-old Lily Ambrose’s latest relationship ends in disaster, she remembers happy childhood holidays in the seaside town of Shipley and decides it’s the perfect place for a fresh start.

But when Lily arrives, the town’s spirits are as low as her own: the local celebrity due to turn on the Christmas lights has gone on a cruise instead. Keen to prove herself, she calls in a favour and secures gorgeous reality star Ollie. 

Lily’s neighbours are initially thrilled, but Ollie is as uncontrollable as he is good-looking. He can’t remember the town’s name, calls the Christmas decorations tacky, and manages to offend everyone. And whilst handsome but stubborn cameraman Craig tries to help, even he can’t stop Ollie’s madcap plans to stage a romance with Lily…

Will Lily be able to keep Ollie under control and bring the Christmas cheer back to Shipley – and find herself a real kiss under the mistletoe?

I don't know about you but I love a good Christmas light display. I know its getting towards Christmas properly when driving about, you see neighbours and strangers houses all lit up for Christmas.  

So when you give me a book that features a Christmas lights competition (and I'm talking outdoor lights and decorations), by an author that I love, set in Shipley, which I have enjoyed from two other books earlier this year, and you have a sure fire winner of a book for me. 

This was a book that had me smiling early on in the book, and had me properly laughing once Ollie had been introduced. He is s shamed reality TV star, who has been persuaded to come to Shipley to judge the lights competition. He brings along Craig the camera man in the hope he can get a new one man show commissioned. 

Lily on the other hand has just moved to Shipley, is trying to make friends with her new neighbours, and attempting to embark on a new career as a novelist. Previously a primary school teacher, her attempts at starting to write a novel, when she hasn't even decided a genre or direction will probably make established authors either cringe or laugh in recognition. 

I loved being back in Shipley and felt right at home with the book and author's writing style from the opening chapters. Yet you don't have to have read the two previous books as this easily works as a standalone novel. 

Ollie's madcap antics were a fabulous tonic, completely believable but at the same time, I was rolling my eyes at him being a smooth talker, while being seduced by his charm! Craig his cameraman is completely different, a lot quieter, but brings a more down to earth quality to the story. He is constantly there and seems to act as Ollie's babysitter at times! 

The Beachside Christmas is a light hearted, fun, easy to read story that will have you giggling, while also wishing your own house has far more Christmas lights! 

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

Author Bio:
Karen Clarke writes romantic comedy novels. THE BEACHSIDE SWEET SHOP and THE BEACHSIDE FLOWER STALL are out now and THE BEACHSIDE CHRISTMAS will be available in September 2017.

Karen has also written three romcoms with a paranormal twist, all available to download

When she's not working on her novels, Karen writes short stories for women's magazines and has had over three hundred published in the UK and abroad. Some of them can be read in her short story collection 'BEHIND CLOSED DOORS...and other Tales with a Twist' 

Karen lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and three grown-up children.

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Wednesday 27 September 2017

Guest Post - Christmas Markets of Salzburg by Kiltie Jackson

As the weather begins to grow colder and the mornings of seeing your breath hanging in the air fast approach, thoughts begin turning towards that ‘Special Time of the Year’. When the Christmas Cards appear in the shops and the supermarkets begin to stock all the Christmas treats and goodies, it is quite hard to avoid it.

For many others, however, it will be a time of great excitement as their annual European trip to an authentic Christmas Market begins to draw closer. Christmas Markets in the UK are a fairly new concept – the first being held in Lincoln in 1982. In Europe however, they date back as far as the late 1200’s. Salzburg’s Christkindlmarkt can be dated back to the late 15th century and I suspect that, while no doubt quite spectacular back then, it was nothing compared to the modern day spectacle which I have had the pleasure of enjoying.

Salzburg is a beautifully stunning city in its own right. The addition of the Christmas Markets simply takes it to another level. The Salzburg tourist information tells you the market is held in Cathedral Square. The truth is there are market stalls, or cabins, everywhere and this adds to the pleasure of visiting this city. As you meander along the beautiful streets, admiring the gorgeous ironwork of the signage hanging outside the pretty shops, the joy of turning a corner and finding yet more stalls sends a thrill all the way to your toes. Your senses are assaulted by the hot spicy scent of Gluwein, the sight of a Nussknacker (carved Nutcrackers) stall, your mouth waters at the piles of stollen and lebkuchen and your ears ring with the sound of the beautiful, traditional, Christmas music being played. If you are hoping for a bit of Slade or Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’ you will be disappointed.

One sight worth seeing is the very large pretzel stall which offers up a vast selection of big, soft, doughy pretzels in an array of flavours from savoury cheese or garlic to cinnamon, apple or custard filled. The apple is my personal favourite.

If you have the time, a visit to the Schloss Hellbrunn is highly recommended. Several modes of transport are available but, if a three-mile walk does not scare you, then do it for you will not be disappointed, especially if you have love for The Sound of Music within you. You will walk along a quiet, tree covered footpath and, as you pass the Schloss Frohnburg on your left, the eagle eyed will recognise it as being the Von Trapp family home in The Sound of Music. 

When you arrive at Schloss Hellbrunn, take a few minutes to visit the gazebo from the same film, situated just a few minutes’ walk from the car park. After that, yet more Christmas cabins will tempt you with their delights as you stroll up the long approach to the schloss. The Hellbrunner Adventzauber lends itself to more artisan stalls which will not be found in the centre of the city so there is an opportunity to find a more unusual or unique gift. A further delight on this visit is seeing the windows of the schloss dressed to resemble the windows of an advent calendar. A window is open each day to mark the days of advent.

Salzburg is very proud of its Christkindlmarkts and with good reason. They bring the joy of the season to all who visit. If you do not have the Christmas spirit within you when you arrive, you most definitely will when you leave. 

Thank you so much Kiltie for that wonderful taste of the Salzburg Christmas markets. I wish I could hop on a plane now to visit them.

Purchase from Amazon UK

Who is Sukie McClaren?

A Christmas-loving Cat lover? A Sound of Music Fanatic? A Fiercely Independent Woman?

She is all of the above. And when she is sent to Salzburg for a business trip three weeks before Christmas, she thinks all her dreams have come true. As she packs her suitcase, the only things on her mind are Christmas markets, lots of snow and finally seeing the Doh-Ray-Me steps. Becoming the new best friend of the world’s hottest rock star doesn’t even get a look in.

Pete Wallace is a reclusive, reluctant, rock-star and the world’s Number One, best-selling, male solo artist. It’s been three years since his last tour and he’s now preparing to go back on the road again. A week in Salzburg, schmoozing with the music press, is one of his worst nightmares. 

He can’t wait for it to be over.

When Pete and Sukie meet, it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Lonely for too long, he begins to remember how it feels to be happy and, for the first time in six years, Christmas feels special again. 

Eduardo di Santo however, whose kid sister suffered life-changing injuries at a Pete Wallace concert, is all set on getting revenge. When Pete’s new tour is announced, he begins to make his plans. Plans that will culminate in Pete's demise.

Will Pete and Sukie’s new friendship die before it has a chance to flourish?

About Kiltie Jackson
Kiltie grew up in Scotland, Glasgow to be precise. 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.

She currently lives in Staffordshire with five cats and one husband. The cats kindly allow her and her husband to share their house on the condition they keeps paying the mortgage!

Her little home is known as Moggy Towers, even though despite having plenty of moggies, there are no towers!

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 first began writing 'A Rock 'n' Roll Lovestyle' over ten years ago. The project was shelved on Chapter Seventeen as she felt the story wasn't flowing as she would like it to.

In her own words "The images in my head would not come out of my fingers!" Fast forward to November 2016 when, having finished reading Lizzie's Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow, she read more about the author and was inspired with how Christie herself came to be a best-selling author.

In that thunderbolt moment, Kiltie knew - with a deep certainty- that she needed to reacquaint herself with 'A Rock 'n' Roll Lovestyle' and begin writing again. She did this in January 2017 and found the words flowed faster than she could type them. Finally, the time was right for her to write her novel.

Her determination to finish what she had started all those years ago was absolute and the first draft was completed on Sunday 16th April 2017.

Since beginning to write again, the ideas have not stopped flowing. She has begun typing up her second book, 'Of All the Unlikely Places', and book three (not yet titled) has been worked out and is waiting in the wings for its turn in the spotlight.

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.

She 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!"
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Book Review - Playing Defense by Aven Ellis

Amazon UK
Title: Playing Defense
Author: Aven Ellis
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing 
Publication Date: 27th September 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

After a string of bad set-ups and boring dates, Reese Brannon is done with men. She’s focused on her job as a fitness model and blogger. Her life in the city is fun. She’s young. There’s no need to look for a man because she doesn’t want one. Especially when relationships usually end in heartbreak.

Jean-Pierre Rochat—known as JP— is done with women. All this Swiss hockey player has ever wanted is to fall in love, but his relationships never end with a happily ever after. Believing he’s always going to be dealt the friend card, JP is over it. If he’s going to be stuck in the friend zone, he’ll keep things casual for his new endgame.

But will one hot Dallas summer night change everything for Reese and JP?

Because when the two meet again when JP returns for hockey season, Reese finds her attraction to him hasn’t waned since their first meeting. Charming and intelligent, JP is different in all the right ways, but Reese realizes letting him in will make her vulnerable, something that terrifies her. JP never forgot Reese from their initial introduction last winter, and the sparks fly for him even more so the second time. But with Reese, his thoughts are anything but casual . . . 

Can JP and Reese let their guards down to take a chance on love? Or will this simply be a game of playing defense?

JP - You had me at Oreos

As I read the book there was a scene reasonably early into the book which was the one that made me fall head over heels in love with JP the romantic lead. It wasn't the biggest of romantic gestures, but it was so entirely sweet and perfect for Reese that I couldn't help myself. 

For yet again Aven Ellis has written a man who has turned into a delightfully sexy book boyfriend, and its what I love about her books, well that the sense of humour, the romance, the recurring characters in the series, and the way I feel as I read her books! 

This may be the 5th book featuring the Dallas Demons ice-hockey team, but it can easily be read as a standalone. Each book contains a fresh romance, but the previous characters are all present, so those following the series can see what happened after each book ends. 

I was utterly exhausted reading about Reese, as she is a fitness model and has to repeat various exercises over and over while being photographed, and she has a fabulous blog too. Due to her parents divorce, she is scared to fall in love and leave her heart vulnerable, at least until she connects properly with JP. 

JP has been present in a few of the previous Dallas Demons books, and I was starting to wonder if we would ever get a book featuring him,  He is Swiss, and besides being a top hockey player, he has so many hidden qualities that I loved discovering all about him. 

There is pure chemistry between Reese and JP, and I loved every single second of their story, and of Playing Defense. 

Thank you to Aven Ellis for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Guest Post - Ideas and Inspiration by Kelly Florentia - Blog Tour

When my cousin read a very brief sex scene from my novel recently, she was mortified, even told me she went red! “Why?” I exclaimed, “It isn’t me! I just wrote it about someone else.”

I think her reaction is quite common when the reader knows the author, especially when you write in the first person, as I do. They automatically place you as the protagonist. But to be honest, apart from expressing myself through my characters at times and writing the odd scenario (mostly funny things that happen to me or someone I know), I’m not a bit fan of the truism when it comes to writing. I’m not sure if this is because my life is just too dull, or simply because I love the escapism of my craft. I thrive on getting lost in a fictional world, making things up, creating characters, scenes, conflicts, using my imagination.

And this brings me on to the most frequent question that I’m asked, ‘So, where do you get your ideas from?’ I wish I could say that I’ve got an ideas guru on speed dial feeding me storylines, or an App that’s updated regularly with decent plots. But the truth is, inspiration comes quite naturally. An idea will just ping into my head, followed in quick succession by ‘Oooh, imagine what would happen if…’ It could manifest from a comment, a conversation, something I hear or read, or even from something I’ve worked on before. Ideas are simply everywhere. No Way Back started as a short story of about a thousand words. When I reached the end, I didn’t seem to want to stop. The questions were flowing and badgering me for answers. I knew it had potential, that there was so much more to be told. So I created new characters, threw in a love-triangle, a heroine with a bit of a shoe obsession, and No Way Back was written.

I like to write about things that readers can resonate with - everyday dilemmas, things that life throw at us either directly or indirectly. No Way Back is a story about love, heartbreak, and friendship. Although I injected some humour into the story, the characters do go through quite a lot of difficulties and upheavals. I won’t give too much away because I don’t want to spoil it for you, but one of the characters has a near death experience and as a result, goes on to have OBEs (out-of-body experiences). I must admit, it was a fascinating subject to research and to write about (I love my job!) and I hope that my readers will find it spellbinding, too!

Thank you so much Kelly for this great post. 


Kelly Florentia was born and bred in north London, where she continues to live with her husband Joe. No Way Back, released 21st September, is her second novel. 

Kelly has always enjoyed writing and was a bit of a poet when she was younger. Before penning her debut The Magic Touch (2016), she wrote short stories for women’s magazines. To Tell a Tale or Two… is a collection of her short tales.

Kelly has a keen interest in health and fitness and has written many articles on this subject. Smooth Operator (published in January 2017) is a collection of twenty of her favourite smoothie recipes.
As well as writing, Kelly enjoys reading, running, yoga, drinking coffee, and scoffing cakes. She is currently working on the sequel to NO WAY BACK.

When two eligible and attractive men are vying for your heart, it should be the perfect dilemma...

Audrey Fox has been dumped by her unreliable fiancé Nick Byrne just days before the wedding. Heartbroken and confused, the last thing she expects when she jumps on a plane to convalesce in Cyprus is romance. But a chance meeting with handsome entrepreneur and father-of-one Daniel Taylor weaves her into a dating game she's not sure she's ready for. Audrey's life is thrown into further turmoil when she discovers on her return to London that Nick has been involved in a serious motorcycle accident that's left him in intensive care. Distraught yet determined to look to the future, Audrey must make a decision - follow her heart or listen to well-meaning advice from family and friends? Because sometimes, no matter what, it's the people that we love who can hurt us the most...

Twitter: @kellyflorentia

Book Review - Christmas at Mistletoe Cove by Holly Martin - Blog Tour

Amazon UK
Title: Christmas at Mistletoe Cove
Author: Holly Martin
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 22nd September 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

Christmas has arrived at Hope Island, promising snowflakes, surprises and plenty of seasonal joy. So snuggle up and fall in love at Mistletoe Cove …

Growing up on Hope Island, Eden Lancaster always believed that if you wished hard enough for something, dreams really could come true. But Eden’s greatest wish is also her biggest secret: she has been completely in love with her childhood friend, the charming and attractive Dougie Harrison, for as long as she can remember. And he has no idea. 

When Dougie leaves his successful life in New York to return home to Hope Island for good, Eden can’t escape her feelings. Her heart is full of hope that her romantic dreams are finally, at long last, going to come true…

This Christmas could change everything. But can a lifelong friendship really turn into the perfect romance? And will Eden get the happily ever after she’s always wished for?

It certainly isn't Christmas unless there is a Holly Martin book, and this has surpassed expectations.  Dougie is one of the most romantic heroes that I have read about, and it was only a few pages in when I fell head over heels in love with him. 

Eden has been in love with Dougie all of her life, and she is half dreading his permanent return to Hope Island as he has never expressed interest in her in that way. Yet within a few days of his return Dougie was like a man on a mission to make Eden fall in love with him. 

There is even plenty of wooing (don't recall the last time I read about some good old romantic wooing!), and some remarkably impressive gestures as Dougie attempts to make all of Eden's wishes and dreams come true. 

This is the sort of book that not only will turn a cynic into a romantic, but also into a believer of fairy dust and magical wishes.  Mistletoe Cover besides having an incredibly Christmassy sounding name is just a fabulous cove that plays a huge part in Eden and Dougie's story. 

The festive feeling is very present in this book, with the week long Christmas festival on the island. I loved the couples snowman building competition, the mince pie flavoured pancakes were inventive and anything with sleigh rides and Christmas gifts is a winner for me! 

This is the third book set on Hope Island, and can easily be read as a standalone. The focus is on Eden and Dougie and fans of the previous two books will be delighted to see the continuation of Bella and Freya's stories too. 

Fully of romance, wishes, beautiful setting, great friendship, and just all around great feelings, this is a wonderful story that was a delight to read.  I'm just worried that future book boyfriends won't measure up to Dougie, in terms of thoughtfulness and all around sex appeal! 

Christmas at Mistletoe Cove is simply wonderful and whether you curl up with some mulled wine, or read it in the middle of summer, it is a story well worth reading and enjoying, if you like loveable characters and a big helping a romance!

Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for this copy which I have read honestly and voluntarily. 

Please follow along with the rest of the blog tour. 

Author Bio:

Holly has been writing for 8 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 18 books

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