A New #BookHaul – Stacking the Shelves (16 Feb 2019)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

 

Due to illness I didn’t manage to share my small book haul last Saturday so today I’m sharing a fortnight’s worth of new books!

 

Books I Bought This week

Minimalism by Joshua Fields

My love of decluttering has led me to be interested in minimalism so this book caught my eye in a recent Kindle sale!

Brainstorm: Detective Stories from the World of Neurology by Suzanne O’Sullivan

I read and loved It’s All In Your Head by this author a few years ago and found it fascinating so I’ve been wanting to get hold of her newest book for a while. I finally treated myself last week and can’t wait to read it!

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

I haven’t read anything by this author before (I do have Eileen on my TBR but hadn’t read it yet) but this book really appeals to me so I treated myself.

Maybe This Time by Jill Mansell

I love Jill Mansell’s novels so was delighted when a fellow book blogger let me have her copy of this. I’m really looking forward to escaping into this book.

 

Books I Borrowed

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Manhunt by Colin Sutton

I watched the recent ITV drama based on this book and wanted to know more. I was really pleased to spot this on my audio book subscription service to I downloaded it yesterday and am already half-way through it!

 

Books I Received for Review

The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath

I was delighted to get approved for this on NetGalley as I enjoyed Mel’s previous novel and this one sounds even better!

Past Life by Dominic Nolan

I’m super excited to have a copy of this as it sounds like my kind of book. I really hope to pick it up in the next couple of weeks as it’s already calling to me from my TBR!

Are You The F**king Doctor? by Dr Liam Farrell

I’m on the blog tour for this book and am really enjoying a lot of non-fiction at the moment so I’m expecting to pick this up in the next few days.

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

This book was a total surprise when it arrived this week but I’m so happy to have a copy as I’ve never read it. It sounds like a book I will really enjoy so I’m keen to get to it soon.

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Sleep by C. L. Taylor

I was thrilled to receive a print copy of this book as I love C. L. Taylor’s writing. I’m really looking forward to reading this and am saving it for a day when I can just sit and read it with minimal disruptions. I love that it was sent with a sachet of coffee to keep me awake and also night time teabag to help me sleep!

 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.

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Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

Today is publication day for Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom and I wanted to take the time to tell you about this wonderful book. I’m currently reading it and am very much enjoying it, my review will be up once I’ve finished it. In the meantime, please read on to find out more about Wonder Cruise.


About the book:

Wonder Cruise by Ursula Bloom

A witty, heartwarming read with great romantic and comic characters. This warm, feel-good tale will make you smile, and you’ll be rooting for Ann to find lasting love and happiness. A moving portrait of an unforgettable 1930’s woman; Ann Clements will stay with you long after the last page.

Ann Clements is thirty-five and single, and believes nothing exciting will ever happen to her. Then, she wins a large sum of money in a sweepstake and suddenly can dare to dream of a more adventurous life. She buys a ticket for a Mediterranean cruise, against the wishes of her stern brother, the Rev. Cuthbert, who has other ideas about how she should spend her windfall. Ann steps out of the shadows of her mundane life into the heat of the Mediterranean sun. Travelling to Gibraltar, Marseilles, Naples, Malta and Venice, Ann’s eyes are opened to people and experiences far removed from her sheltered existence in the offices at Henrietta Street, and Mrs. Puddock’s lodging house. As Ann blossoms, discovering love and passion for the very first time, the biggest question is, can there be any going back?


About the Author:

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Ursula Bloom was one of the most popular bestselling authors of the twentieth century. She wrote over 560 books, a feat which earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for many years, as the world’s most prolific female writer. She also wrote short stories, radio and stage plays, and worked as a Fleet Street journalist.

During her long career, as well as writing books under her own name, Ursula used the pen names Sheila Burns, Rachel Harvey, Lozania Prole, Mary Essex and Deborah Mann.

Ursula Bloom died, aged 91, on 29th October, 1984, in Winton Nursing Home, Nether Wallop, Hampshire.

You can find out more about Ursula Bloom here.


More of Ursula Bloom’s works are to be re-issued by Corazon Books, you can find out more about them here.

Wonder Cruise is out today and available to buy from Amazon on the following links:

Buy Wonder Cruise on Amazon UK

Buy Wonder Cruise on Amazon.com

Buy Wonder Cruise on Amazon AUS

Cover Reveal: The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs

I’m very excited to be able to share the gorgeous cover for The Joyce Girl, the debut novel by Annabel Abbs!

Final front cover

Isn’t it a beauty? 

I’m thrilled to have been invited to be on the blog tour for The Joyce Girl later this year and can’t wait to read it.

About the book:

1928
Avant-garde Paris is buzzing with the latest ideas in art, music, literature and dance. Lucia, the talented and ambitious daughter of James Joyce, is making her name as a dancer, training with some of the world’s most gi ed performers. When a young Samuel Beckett comes to work for her father, she’s captivated by his quiet intensity and falls passionately in love. Persuaded she has clairvoyant powers, Lucia believes
her destiny is to marry Beckett. But when her beloved brother is enticed away, the hidden threads of the Joyce’s lives begin to unravel, destroying Lucia’s dreams and foiling her attempts to escape the shadow of her genius father.

1934
Her life in tatters, Lucia is sent by her father to pioneering psychoanalyst, Doctor Jung. For years she has kept quiet. But now she decides to speak.

Based on the true story of Lucia, The Joyce Girl is a beautiful story of thwarted ambition and the nurtur- ing but ultimately destructive love of a father.

A mesmerising and original debut, The Joyce Girl will be published in the UK and Ireland in paperback and eBook in June 2016.

Profits from first year royalties go to YoungMinds in memory of Lucia Joyce, who spent most of her life interred in an asylum.

 

The Joyce Girl won the Impress Prize for New Writers in September 2015. The shortlist was judged by a panel of experts in the publishing industry. The novel was also longlisted for the Bath Novel Award and the Caledonia Novel Award.

About the author:

Annabel Abbs grew up in Bristol, Wales and Sussex, before stud- ying English Literature at the University of East Anglia. Her
debut novel, e Joyce Girl, won the 2015 Impress Prize and was longlisted for the 2015 Bath Novel Award and the 2015 Caledonia Novel Award. Her short stories have been long and shortlisted for various awards. She is now completing her second novel, based on the life of Frieda von Richthofen, wife and muse to D.H. Lawrence.

Before she began writing she spent 15 years running a marketing consultancy where her clients included Reuters, Sony and the FT. She lives in London and Sussex with her husband and four children.

@annabelabbs
@The_JoyceGirl

http://www.facebook.com/annabel.abbs

 

Author Interview with Lynda Renham

I was very lucky to have the opportunity to interview the lovely Lynda Renham recently. Lynda has got a new Christmas novella out, A Christmas Romance, written under the pseudonym Amy Perfect. So, I took the opportunity to ask about her writing routine but also what Christmas is like for her.

 

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Lynda Renham and I write romantic comedies. I recently released a Christmas novella titled ‘A Christmas Romance under the name of Amy Perfect. It’s full of romance and festive spirit. I loved writing it so much.

What is your writing routine?

Oh dear! Truthfully? I have my own writing room known as ‘The Beach Hut’ At 9 in the morning Bendy and I wander in. Bendy is my cat and constant companion during the day. It’s really quite disgraceful how we faff about. Bendy will spend a bit of time playing with the rug while I while away the time on Facebook. I may then move onto Twitter and Bendy will move onto the wicker trunk and have a good scratch. By now it is 11 and we are both in need of distraction. So he has treats and I have a mince pie with a mug of coffee. Then we go back and attempt some serious stuff. Bendy usually go to sleep and I attempt to write. Although, this is interspersed with trips to the fridge as I find food really helps with the writing process.  I’m a terrible procrastinator that I am amazed I’ve written nine books in less than five years.

What inspired you to write a Christmas book?

Oh, I have wanted to write a Christmas book for years. Every August I say I’m going to write one but I never seem to find the time. This year, however, I developed writer’s block while trying to write my new comedy romance. I stopped and had a go at a Christmas novella. This became ‘A Christmas Romance’ which I adored writing. It’s full of romance and Christmas spirit.

How do you get in the Christmas spirit early in order to write a festive book

We don’t put our Christmas tree up until Christmas Eve so I think I can safely say I’m not one of those people who gets into the spirit of Christmas early, aside of course, from eating mince pies and I start very early with those and  continue way past Christmas. But as I wanted to write a book full of Christmas spirit and merriment I had to play lots of Christmas songs which very quickly put me in the mood. In fact so much so that now it feels like Christmas has been and gone

What’s your favourite thing about Christmas?

I live in a small village so there are a lot of Christmas parties. I also love the feel of Christmas in the village. The lighting of the tree on the village green and the Christmas fete. My Christmas novel is very much based on my village. Christmas in a village is a very warm, cosy affair. I enjoy buying and giving presents. Although I tend to avoid the shops and do most of my shopping online, which is easier. I also love mince pies, have I told you that already, chestnuts and Christmas cards.

What is a Christmas like at your house? 

Busy, although this year my husband and I are spending Christmas Day together but the weeks before that I have my family coming. On Boxing Day my stepchildren come with their children and a few days after Boxing Day I have my husband’s family visit. There will be nine of us that day. I will cook and I enjoy it. Family gatherings are lovely and of course there will be no shortage of mince pies.

Do you have Christmas traditions?

Aside from eating mince pies? No, Not really. We take each year as it comes. Although the village has traditions like the tree lighting, carol services, and so on.

What are your favourite Christmas films, books and songs?

My favourite Carol is ‘Silent Night’ and I played it a lot while writing the Christmas novella. I love Michael Bublé’s Christmas songs. They really cheer me up and get me in the mood for Christmas.  I love ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Dickins. I don’t really have a favourite film.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading ‘Fools Gold’ By Zana Bell. I haven’t got very far but I’m enjoying it.

How can people connect with you on social media?

I have a Facebook author page and am on Twitter. Also I can be reached through my blog www.renham.co.uk

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1X4Er1p

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lyndarenham

Thank you very much, Lynda for answering my questions.

I will be reading and reviewing A Christmas Romance on my blog in a couple of weeks time so look out for that.

A Christmas Romance is out now and is available from Amazon.

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Lynda Renham is also the author of Fifty Shades of Roxie Brown

RoxieBrown

Promo Post & Giveaway: The Lost Girl by Liz Harris

 

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Today on my blog I have a promo post showcasing Liz Harris‘s new novel The Lost Girl. Please keep reading to the end as the tour hosts, Brook Cottage Books, are running a wonderful giveaway.

Blurb

What if you were trapped between two cultures?

Life is tough in 1870s Wyoming. But it’s tougher still when you’re a girl who looks Chinese but speaks like an American.

Orphaned as a baby and taken in by an American family, Charity Walker knows this only too well.  The mounting tensions between the new Chinese immigrants and the locals in the mining town of Carter see her shunned by both communities.

When Charity’s one friend, Joe, leaves town, she finds herself isolated. However, in his absence, a new friendship with the only other Chinese girl in Carter makes her feel like she finally belongs somewhere.

But, for a lost girl like Charity, finding a place to call home was never going to be that easy …

Genre: Historical Romantic Fiction

Release Date: 16th October, 2015

Publisher: Choc Lit

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

 

 

About the Author

ABOUT LIZ HARRIS

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Liz Harris lives south of Oxford. Her debut novel was THE ROAD BACK (US Coffee Time & Romance Book of 2012), followed by A BARGAIN STRUCK (shortlisted for the RoNA Historical 2013), EVIE UNDERCOVER, THE ART OF DECEPTION and A WESTERN HEART. All of her novels, which are published by Choc Lit, have been shortlisted in their categories in the Festival of Romantic Fiction. In addition, Liz has had several short stories published in anthologies. Her interests are theatre, travelling, reading, cinema and cryptic crosswords.

You can find Liz at the following links:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

WEBSITE

GOODREADS

 

Giveaway Time!

 

Brooke Cottage Books are offering a wonderful giveaway where you have the chance to win an e-copy of this very book. Please click on the link below to enter!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4be03017118/?

The Lost Girl Tour Banner

 

Cover reveal: The Revenge by Holly Martin

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Here is the gorgeous cover for The Revenge, the new book by Holly Martin. This is the third book in The Sentinel Series and here’s the blurb so you can see what happens next for Eve and her friends.

He was created to be her back up and now he’s out to take her place
After the Oraculum orders Eve’s execution, she has to flee her home in the fort as those that have been guarding over her are forced to turn against her. Amongst the chaos, a new Sentinel is named. Adam, Eve’s half-brother.

Adam has spent his life incarcerated by the Oraculum while Eve was allowed to grow up with a family and friends. Now he is hell bent on revenge. He rules over his Guardians and his new kingdom with arrogance and a cold heart, but his one ambition is to make Eve’s life a living hell. Nowhere is safe from him, not even her dreams.

With the threat from the Putarians moving closer, her own Guardians betraying her, the survival of the world hinges in the balance.

Above all else, Adam must be stopped. But when Eve has a prophecy of her and Adam saving the world together, she quickly realizes she needs to work with him not against him.

But can Eve get through to Adam before it’s too late? Or will Adam’s evil heart result in the destruction of all?

Praise for The Sentinel (Book 1 in The Sentinel Series)

It’s a book you HAVE to read, because it’s incredible. An outstanding book that has left me bereft its finished. I wished I’d savoured it for longer. This book was one of those that once you started it was impossible to come away from. It was fast paced, exciting, full of suspense and action that had me gasping in shock at twists I never imagined could happen. It’s a story of courage and adventure. And no matter how dark it gets, there’s always love and hope. – Victoria Loves Books Blog

It’s really hard to find the words to describe how amazing this book is.
This is definitely the best debut I’ve read this year! I just love this book, I want you all to read this book, in fact you all need to read this book! – Love of a Good Book Blog

If you want to pre-order this book so it pops straight onto your kindle on December 1st then pop over here. Its only 99p/99c

UK http://amzn.to/1GQcNOt

US http://amzn.to/1S7aAOX

And if you haven’t read the first two books in the series yet, then pop over here and get your copy, all three books are 99p/99c at the moment

The Sentinel

UK http://amzn.to/1giKNVp

US http://amzn.to/IKSOUk

The Prophecies

UK http://amzn.to/1DZ8ECN

US http://amzn.to/1khpDuY

Promo Post & Competition from Linn B Halton

FCL smlAuthor Linn B Halton is celebrating with a competition running from 5th November –  5 December, 2015!

In the UK, Falling: Angels AmongWHSmith Us The complete series (published by Harper Impulse) will be on the shelves in some of the WHSmith stores for a four-week promotion. The star of Falling, Ceri, is sprinkling a little  ‘festive’ love …

Launching the Rafflecopter #FallingComp

1st prizeone lucky winner can choose a gift of their choice, valued at £100/$150* (International)
2nd prize two lucky winners will each receive one signed paperback of A Cottage in the Country – released 23 Sept 2015 (UK only; non-UK ecopy)
3rd prize six lucky winners will each receive an ebook of their choice from any of Linn’s titles (International)

*(gift to be chosen from across the Amazon stores, or full cash prize via Paypal if you prefer to shop locally)

Take part below – there are lots of different ways to join in the fun and get your chance to be a winner!

What would YOU choose?

A special something just for YOU?

Or use the CASH to pamper yourself – or  even to help out with those holiday expenses!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Ceri thinks she sees angels … everywhere. She struggles to keep separate what feels like two very different sides to her life. As a manager in an advertising company she’s been working with the gorgeous Alex for two years. The have a friendship based upon the image she portrays whilst she’s at work and it helps to keep her sane. One mad, crazy night spent sharing their secrets and a lot of wine result in them ending up in bed together, and their relationship changes. When Alex explains that the reason he doesn’t date is because someone broke his heart, how can Ceri admit that she feels a deep connection to him?

Ceri knows she’s different. What she doesn’t fully appreciate, is that her task in life is to correct a series of incidents that affect some of the people’s lives with whom she comes into contact. She’s simply putting right little errors that could ripple outwards and change the course of their destiny. When she finds herself getting pulled into things that happen around her, how can she prove that she really has made a difference? Is it all in her head?

She’s alone for a reason; she’s not meant to fall in love in her earthly life. Alex is supposed to cross paths with her and help Ceri, during a phase where she begins to question the signs she’s being given. It’s meant to be a turning point for them both—but in opposite directions. They are destined to travel very different paths … but Ceri doesn’t know that and neither does Alex …

FallingComp Nov

RGB-HarperImpulse-3Linn author pic revSomeone has to win and it could be YOU!

Falling: Angels Among Us the series
is published by Harper Impulse.

Author website: http://linnbhalton.co.uk/
Linn’s books: 
http://smarturl.it/LinnBHaltonbooks

Entrants must be over 18 years of age. A gift (or gifts) to the value of £100/$150 may be chosen by the designated winner from Amazon, OR funds to that value will be transferred into the winner’s PayPal account upon receipt of details.

Proof of entry requirements must be met before the prizes are awarded.
Winner(s) will be contacted by email within 5 workings after the giveaway ends.

Author Interview with Emily Benet about #PleaseRetweet

PleaseRetweet BookCover

Emily Benet‘s fabulous book #PleaseRetweet is published in paperback today for the first time! I read it a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it, you can read my review here. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to interview Emily recently and couldn’t resist asking her about all things Social Media!

When did you first join twitter? What made you join?

February 2009. I had to check that. I don’t want you thinking I celebrate my Twitter anniversary or anything! I had already been blogging for a year and saw Twitter as another way of reaching potential readers.

How quickly did it feel quite normal for you to share things about your life with your followers, and how long was it before you were checking twitter every chance you got?

I was very open from the start. My blog, which was turned into the book, Shop Girl Diaries, tells my whole journey to publication with all the highs and lows. It’s very personal really with a dollop of romance in there too. No real names, though! The dark, handsome hero is referred to as ‘The Date’!

Whereas blogging felt natural, I didn’t get Twitter at first. I felt like I was in the middle of a busy airport and everyone was just shouting at each other. I got into it about three years ago.

Have you ever tweeted while drunk/half asleep or attempted to send a DM and instead accidentally shared the tweet publicly on your timeline? Is it something you can share?

I’m more likely to drunk text, than drunk tweet. I have tweeted drunkenly but never anything of consequence, just silly comments about Eurovision. I once tweeted that my husband had just lopped his own hair off with a scissors.  His sister texted him about that and he asked me, how does she know about my hair? He doesn’t like me tweeting about him so it was a bit awkward! Sometimes you need to ask yourself, Why am I sharing this with the whole world?

Do you go on twitter whenever you have a spare minute or do you allow yourself regular times throughout the day?

There is no structure to my Twitter life. I check whenever I get a notification and tweet completely randomly, but always daily.

Have you ever felt that you were addicted to twitter, or going on it too often? How did you deal with it?

I know I’m going on it too much when my daily word count suffers. I hate the feeling of wasting time. Tweeting isn’t half as fulfilling as writing a novel, and it can leave me feeling a little empty if my attention has been spent more on social media than writing.

I recently had a social media detox and was offline for a week. I deleted the Twitter and Facebook apps from my phone. It was really liberating. At the same time it was alarming how my brain kept composing tweets!

What inspired you to start writing PleaseRetweet? 

It was a mixture of wanting to laugh at social media and make sense of it. It’s something that has had such a positive influence in my life with regards to my writing career and can be an amazing tool for creativity and community. But it can also get in the way of you living life and enjoying the moment. I hate it when people meet up and spend more time on their phones than actually talking to each other. I also hate people taking selfies all the time. It’s so boring. It’s basically the same photo over and over and over…. I suppose I wanted to get all that down on paper!

Is life better now we have social media or was it better before?

What social media has done for freedom of speech and enabling the broadcast of important issues is incredible. With social media we can get different perspectives that aren’t offered in mainstream news. It has motivated people to help lots of great causes. On the other hand, being bombarded by so much information and so many opinions, not to mention the trolls and haters, can be difficult to process and can cause anxiety. There are plenty of pros and cons. How long have you got?

Do you believe it’s possible for people to form true friendships and relationships on twitter? Have you made any?

Yes! I have two very good friends on Twitter. We are completely different ages and we all first met at a book launch after months of tweeting. As for romantic relationships, I have heard of bloggers meeting after tweeting and hooking up. The internet has been the catalyst of a lot of romance!

Did you use your own experiences of twitter in PleaseRetweet? Or did anything you read on twitter inspire aspects of the story?

I couldn’t have written the book if I hadn’t been very active on social media myself. The first thing I did when I decided to write #PleaseRetweet was to follow all those people I’d originally unfollowed on Facebook. Some people have no filter at all and post some really wonderfully, cringe worthy status updates! There are lots of observations of myself too; the constant checking and scrolling and the feeling of inadequacy when no one responds to a tweet. I enjoyed taking the mick out of myself!

What do you do to relax away from social media?

Reading- surprise surprise! I’m a huge fan of hilarious John O’Farrell and the brilliant Liane Moriarty. It’s the perfect escapism. I also love watching Downton abbey, even if the plot is a bit rubbish. I’m happiest outside though. I love the sea, mountains… and anything cooked on a barbeque.

Thank you so much for your time, Emily. I wish you all the best with the paperback release of #PleaseRetweet.


Emily is on the following social media sites:

Social Media Links:

www.emilybenet.com
www.twitter.com/EmilyBenet
www.facebook.com/EmilyBenetAuthor

Optional You Tube video: https://youtu.be/n6TjNUy_iQM

Amazon link:  http://hyperurl.co/v47754


ProfPicWeb
Biog:
Emily Benet is a half Welsh – half Spanish Londoner, currently living on the beautiful island of Mallorca. Wherever she’s lived her passion for writing has followed.

Her debut book Shop Girl Diaries began as a blog about working in her Mum’s eccentric chandelier shop. It won the CompletelyNovel Author Blog Awards at the London Book Fair.

Her second book, a romantic comedy called The Temp, also began its life online, as a serialised novel on Wattpad and racked up two million hits under its original title Spray Painted Bananas. It led to her signing with MBA agency and a two book deal with Harper Collins imprint Harper Impulse. #PleaseRetweet is her latest book.


Review & Extract: Written in the Scars by Mel Sherratt

It’s publication day for Written in the Scars by Mel Sherratt! I was very lucky to be sent an advance copy of this book so I’ve already read it and I absolutely loved it. I have my review to share with you today, and also an extract from the book.

written in the scars

My review

Written in the Scars is the fourth book in The Estate series, and although it can absolutely be read as a standalone I highly recommend reading the whole series purely because it’s brilliant and you don’t want to be missing out!

Donna Harvey is a hard-working mum to two grown up children, Sam and Keera, and still spends most of her time running around after them. She also frequently checks in on her elderly mother, Mary who has dementia and is living in a care home. Her life is hard and she feels very down-trodden so when she meets Owen and he lets her know he’s interested in her she is flattered and can’t wait for life to be more exciting and fun.

Lewis Prophett has been out of the army for two years but is still suffering with anger issues and flashbacks due to undiagnosed PTSD. As a result of his unpredictable behaviour he’s had to move out of the home he shared with his wife, Amy and their son, Daniel and is now back living with his mother. I commend Mel for how she portrayed this character, she absolutely got the presentation of PTSD right and really gives readers an insight into this terrible condition. I have personal experience of PTSD and it’s not often that it gets portrayed as well as it has been in this book.

Megan is a hard-working young woman who juggles her caring and her cleaning jobs along with caring for her mum, who is suffering from Osteoarthritis. She’s a lovely girl, and very pretty; she’s always pleasant and chatty with the people she looks after. Megan is hiding her own scars though. She has hidden herself away from the life she could be living as her scar has led to a real loss of confidence and she finds it hard to make friends.

Thank goodness that Josie Mellor still works on the Mitchell Estate, I was so pleased to see her in this novel. Josie has featured in all of the Estate books so far, and I love how her recurring appearances help tie the books together. It’s like catching up with an old friend, I actually do now feel like i know her! I love how she really cares about the people on the estate, she’s always fair and gives people a chance where she can but she doesn’t suffer fools and can be tough when it’s absolutely necessary.

I think this is my favourite of the Estate books, even though I’ve loved them all. The title is brilliant and absolutely sums up the theme of the book; the scars that all of these characters have tell the story of what they have been through, or are going through still. It’s great that scars were represented in so many different ways throughout this novel and after finishing reading it I was pondering on how actually every single character in this book, even the more minor ones have been damaged in their lives yet not all these characters openly seemed damaged. It shocked me to realise this and it really does give you something to think about.

The Estate series as a whole is so good, it’s gritty but with real heart and compassion. I hope there will be many more books to come!

I’m rating Written in the Scars 10 out of 10, it’s brilliant!

Written in the Scars is published today and available from Amazon.


First scene of Written in the Scars

With a minute to spare before her shift was due to start, Donna Adams rushed into Shop&Save. She ran into the staff room at the back of the building and slipped her green overall over the top of her summer dress. Already she could feel sweat forming, although the glorious hot spell they were enjoying was supposed to break later.

‘Made it by the skin of my teeth,’ she sighed, joining her work colleague and supervisor, Sarah Hartnoll, behind the counter. ‘Bloody hell, it’s as hot in here as it is outside.’ She glanced at the clock. ‘Sorry, I would have been here earlier but I’ve had trouble with Mum not wanting me to leave. She was holding onto my arm for dear life, convinced that someone is trying to kill her again.’

Donna’s mum, Mary, had been living in a self-contained flat for a few years since Donna’s dad had died. More recently, she’d been diagnosed with dementia. After wandering off in the night, setting off the alarm to the front door, and being brought home by the police on three separate occasions, Donna had made the heart-breaking decision to move her into sheltered accommodation, where there would be someone to keep an eye on her all the time.

Sarah shook her head in sympathy. ‘Never a dull moment in your life, is there?’

‘Never.’ Donna logged into the till and then looked up at the television monitor that was split into quarter views of the area in front of them. There were a few customers but thankfully no one was after their attention, and if she wasn’t mistaken, Darren, their youngest member of staff, was stacking shelves in the far right corner.

The shop had four aisles, all covered by cameras, but it was well known amongst a certain group of people for being easy to steal from. Many a time she and Sarah had left someone to it rather than risk either a tongue-lashing or a hand raised to them. They had both learned the hard way over the years not to interfere with some customers.

‘I still feel guilty every time I go and see Mum,’ Donna added. ‘But even if I had the time, I just don’t have the energy to give her what she needs.’

‘You should get Keera to do more.’

Donna stared at Sarah, before smiling at the elderly man who was walking towards them. ‘Chance would be a fine thing with my lot,’ she replied, helping him to fill his shopping bag before handing it back.

Donna had two children. A son, Sam, who was twenty-two and nineteen-year-old Keera, who had recently returned from a short time working in Ibiza.

Sarah held up a hand. ‘I’d much prefer to hear all about the hen party on Saturday. Did you enjoy yourself or did you feel like the oldest swinger in town?’

Donna rang the money through the till. ‘You might be laughing on the other side of your face when I tell you what happened.’ She paused for dramatic effect once the customer had gone on his way. ‘I met someone.’

‘No!’

‘Yes! His name is Owen, his eyes are so sexy – and his body is mmm-mmm.’

Donna smiled even more as she thought back to Saturday night. The hen party Sarah was referring to had been for a woman that Donna used to go to school with. About a month ago, Susan Parker had popped into Shop&Save by chance as she’d been driving through the estate. They’d been really good friends at school but had lost touch when Susan had moved out of the area. Once they’d recognised each other, they had got chatting and Donna had found herself invited to the night out. She’d declined at first as she wasn’t sure she would know anyone else who was going, but Susan had mentioned a few names of women she knew, and said it would be great to catch up again.

In the week before the hen do, Donna had still had doubts about whether to go or not, but Keera persuaded her that she might have a bit of fun. And how glad she was of that now.

‘How I got his attention is beyond me,’ she continued. ‘There must have been lots of women his age that he could—’

‘Wait!’ Sarah held up a hand. ‘How old is he?’

‘Thirty-five.’ Donna dropped her eyes momentarily. ‘He’s too young.’

‘No, he isn’t.’

‘I’m forty-two.’

‘Don’t say it like it’s a disease!’ Sarah scoffed. ‘Besides, aren’t we supposed to be as young as we feel? And at least you look after yourself. Half the women on this estate walk around in their pyjamas and slippers.’

‘I suppose.’ Donna sighed loudly. ‘I’m not seeing him again, though.’

‘Oh! He didn’t want a second date?’

‘Technically that wasn’t a first, but yes, he did ask if he could take me out tomorrow night.’

‘And you said no?’ Sarah’s tone was one of incredulity.

Donna shook her head. ‘You know I don’t have time – what with looking in on Mum and getting to work and then there’s Sam, who couldn’t look after a flea without—’

‘The world won’t fall apart if Donna Adams doesn’t come to its rescue.’ Sarah folded her arms. ‘You should let that family of yours fend for themselves once in a while.’

‘Leave everyone to their own devices?’ Donna shuddered at the thought. ‘It would be carnage!’

A young woman with the brightest of red hair came towards the till, and while Sarah served her, Donna stood staring into space. If truth be told, she hadn’t thought of much else apart from Owen since Saturday evening. She could still recall the taste of him on her lips as he’d dipped his head to give her a long, lingering, goodnight kiss. A delicious shiver pulsed through her body.

‘Earth to Donna, hello!’ Sarah waved a hand in front of her face.

Donna giggled. ‘Honestly, though. It’s been such a long time since anyone’s been interested in me, I just keep thinking that maybe it was too good to be true.’

‘Will you listen to yourself? You haven’t had a good seeing to in months – just get in there and bang him one if you get the chance.’ Sarah picked up two mugs from beneath the counter. ‘I’ll make us a brew. And then I want to hear everything.’ She glared at Donna. ‘And I mean everything.’

Donna kept one eye on two teenage boys who had just walked in whilst Sarah went off to the staff room to make the tea. Sarah was just a few months older than her. Her hair fell to her shoulders, and she showed off pretty blue eyes below a blonde fringe. She wasn’t particularly overweight for her height of five foot four but she did have a tendency to wear tight clothes that emphasised, rather than complimented, her shape.

Donna wished she had curves like Sarah’s, but she was thin to the point of being scrawny. Most of the time she put it down to all the stress that came with her life, but a lot of it was to do with her erratic eating patterns and the fact that she was always on the go. Add that to the long-limbed build of a marathon runner and sadly she was never going to be as voluptuous as Sarah, no matter how much she would like to be. And, being a woman in her early forties, things had begun to sag that were beyond Donna’s control.

Still, she could dream. Owen had made her night a lot more fun than she had thought possible.

Moments later, Sarah passed a mug of tea to her.

‘I wish I’d been invited too,’ she said, wistfully. ‘You seem like you had a great time.’

Donna glanced up at the CCTV monitor again. The teens had been and gone with a couple of chocolate bars and a can of pop. There were only two customers in the shop at the moment, and they were in the middle of an argument. She turned to Sarah.

‘It was one of those perfect nights where you don’t expect anything to happen and then—’ She was interrupted by the ring of her phone, rolling her eyes when she saw who it was. ‘What’s up, Sam? Oh – but you have his phone?’ Donna looked confused as she spoke to the person on the other end. ‘Yes, I’m his mother, his next-of-kin.’ She gasped. ‘What do you mean— is he okay? He what? Oh, no. I’m on my way.’

‘What’s wrong?’ Sarah was already at Donna’s side. She touched her lightly on the arm.

Donna took a few deep breaths, trying to keep her panic at bay. ‘Sam’s had an accident involving a chainsaw.’ Her eyes glistened with tears. ‘He’s been rushed to A&E.’


The Estate by Mel Sherratt

If you want to catch up on the previous three books in The Estate series, they’re currently on offer in an Amazon Kindle boxset for £4.99. 

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

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It’s publication day today for Rebecca Raisin’s fabulous new book The Little Bookshop on the Seine and I’m so lucky to have an excerpt from the book to share with you today! I’m part of the blog tour for The Little Bookshop on the Seine so my review will be up on my blog on Monday 2nd November. I can tell you that I’ve already started reading this book and it is completely and utterly wonderful!

The Little Bookshop on the Seine

La Vie En Rose

Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris…for Christmas?

Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!

Imagining days wandering around Shakespeare & Co, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and watching the snow fall on the Champs-Élysées Sarah boards the plane.

But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream of a Christmas fairytale in the city of love isn’t quite as rosy in reality…

A deliciously feel-good Christmas romance perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Julia Williams


EXCERPT

My email pinged and I dashed over to see who it was from. That’s how exciting my life was sans Ridge, an email was enough to make me almost run, and that was saying a lot. I only ran if chocolate was involved, and even then it was more a fast walk.

Sales@littlebookshop.fr

Sophie, a dear Parisian friend. She owned Once Upon a Time, a famous bookshop by the bank of the Seine. We’d become confidantes since connecting on my book blog a while back, and shared our joys and sorrows about bookshop life. She was charming and sweet, and adored books as much as me, believing them to be portable magic, and a balm for souls.

I clicked open the email and read.

Ma Chérie,

I cannot stay one more day in Paris. You see, Manu has not so much broken my heart, rather pulled it out of my chest and stomped on it. The days are interminable and I can’t catch my breath. He walks past the bookshop, as though nothing is amiss. I have a proposal for you. Please call me as soon as you can.

Love,

Sophie

Poor Sophie. I’d heard all about her grand love affair with a dashing twenty-something man, who frequented her bookshop, and quoted famous poets. It’d been a whirlwind romance, but she often worried he cast an appraising eye over other women. Even when she clutched his hand, and walked along the cobbled streets of Paris, he’d dart an admiring glance at any woman swishing past.

I shot off a quick reply, telling her to Skype me now, if she was able. Within seconds my computer flashed with an incoming call.

Her face appeared on the screen, her chestnut-colored hair in an elegant chignon, her lips dusted rosy pink. If she was in the throes of heartache, you’d never know it by looking at her. The French had a way of always looking poised and together, no matter what was happening in their complex lives.

“Darling,” she said, giving me a nod. “He’s a lothario, a Casanova, a…” She grappled for another moniker as her voice broke. “He’s dating the girl who owns the shop next door!” Her eyes smoldered, but her face remained stoic.

I gasped, “Which girl? The one from the florist?”

Sophie shook her head. “The other side, the girl from the fromagerie.” She grimaced. I’d heard so much about the people in or around Sophie’s life that it was easy to call her neighbors to mind. “Giselle?” I said, incredulous. “Wasn’t she engaged – I thought the wedding was any day now?”

Sophie’s eyes widened. “She’s broken off her engagement, and has announced it to the world that my Manu has proposed and now they are about to set up house and to try immediately for children –”

My hand flew to my mouth. “Children! He wouldn’t do that, surely!” Sophie was late-forties, and had gently broached the subject of having a baby with Manu, but he’d said simply: absolutely not, he didn’t want children.

The doorbell of her shop pinged, Sophie’s face pinched and she leaned closer to the screen, lowering her voice. “A customer…” She forced a bright smile, turned her head and spoke in rapid-fire French to whoever stood just off-screen. “So,” she continued quietly. “The entire neighborhood are whispering behind their hands about the love triangle, and unfortunately for me, I’m the laughing stock. The older woman, who was deceived by a younger man.”

I wished I could lean through the monitor and hug her. While she was an expert at keeping her features neutral, she couldn’t stop the glassiness of her eyes when tears threatened. My heart broke that Manu would treat her so callously. She’d trusted him, and loved him unreservedly. “No one is laughing at you, I promise,” I said. “They’ll be talking about Manu, if anyone, and saying how he’s made a huge mistake.”

“No, no.” A bitter laugh escaped her. “I look like a fool. I simply cannot handle when he cavorts through the streets with her, darting glances in my bookshop, like they hope I’ll see them. It’s too cruel.” Sophie held up a hand, and turned to a voice. She said au revoir to the customer and spun to face me, but within a second or two, the bell sounded again. “I have a proposal for you, and I want you to really consider it.” She raised her eyebrows. “Or at least hear me out before you say no.” Her gaze burned into mine as I racked my brain with what it could be, and came up short. Sophie waved to customers, and pivoted her screen further away.

“Well?” I said with a nervous giggle. “What exactly are you proposing?”

She blew out a breath, and then smiled. “A bookshop exchange. You come and run Once Upon a Time, and I’ll take over the Bookshop on the Corner.”

I gasped, my jaw dropping.

Sophie continued, her calm belied by the slight quake in her hand as she gesticulated. “You’ve always said how much you yearned to visit the city of love – here’s your chance, my dear friend. After our language lessons, you’re more than capable of speaking enough French to get by.” Sophie’s words spilled out in a desperate rush, her earlier calm vanishing. “You’d save me so much heartache. I want to be in a place where no one knows me, and there’s no chance for love, ever again.”

I tried to hide my smile at that remark. I’d told Sophie in the past how bereft of single men Ashford was, and how my love life had been almost non-existent until Ridge strolled into town.

“Sophie, I want to help you, but I’m barely hanging on to the bookshop as is…” I stalled for time, running a hand through my hair, my bangs too long, shielding the tops of my eyebrows. How could it work? How would we run each other’s businesses, the financial side, the logistics? I also had an online shop, and I sourced hard-to-find books – how would Sophie continue that?

My mind boggled with the details, not to mention the fact that leaving my books would be akin to leaving a child behind. I loved my bookshop as if it were a living thing, an unconditional best friend, who was always there for me. Besides, I’d never ventured too far from Ashford let alone boarded a plane – it just couldn’t happen.

Please,” Sophie said, a real heartache in her tone. “Think about it. We can work out the finer details and I’ll make it worth your while. Besides, you know I’m good with numbers, I can whip your sales into shape.” Her eyes clouded with tears. “I have to leave, Sarah. You’re my only chance. Christmas in Paris is on your bucket list…”

My bucket list. A hastily compiled scrappy piece of paper filled with things I thought I’d never do. Christmas in Paris – snow dusting the bare trees on the Left Bank, the sparkling fairy lights along the Boulevard Saint-Germain. Santa’s village in the Latin Quarter. The many Christmas markets to stroll through, rugged up with thick scarves and gloves, Ridge by my side, as I hunted out treasures. I’d spent many a day curled up in my own shop, flicking through memoirs, or travel guides about Paris, dreaming about the impossible…one day.

Sophie continued: “If you knew how I suffered here, my darling. It’s not only Manu, it’s everything. All of a sudden, I can’t do it all any more. It’s like someone has pulled the plug, and I’m empty.” Her eyes scrunched closed as she fought tears.

While Sophie’s predicament was different to mine, she was in a funk, just like me. Perhaps a new outlook, a new place would mend both our lives. Her idea of whipping my sales into shape was laughable though, she had no real clue how tiny Ashford was.

“Exchange bookshops…” I said, the idea taking shape. Could I just up and leave? What about my friends, my life, my book babies? My fear of change? And Ridge, what would he have to say about it? But my life…it was missing something. Could this be the answer?

Paris. The city of love. Full of rich literary history.

A little bookshop on the bank of the Seine. Could there be anything sweeter?

With a thud, a book fell to the floor beside me, dust motes dancing above it like glitter. I craned my neck to see what it was.

Paris: A Literary Guide.

Was that a sign? Did my books want me to go?

“Yes,” I said, without any more thought. “I’ll do it.”


The Little Paris Collection:

The Little Bookshop on the Seine

The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower

The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Élysées

Also by Rebecca Raisin

The Gingerbread Café trilogy:
Christmas at the Gingerbread Café
Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café
Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café

The Bookshop on the Corner
Secrets at the Maple Syrup Farm

Amazon  UK http://amzn.to/1LfJJzO

Amazon US http://amzn.to/1KR2Wck

iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/little-bookshop-on-seine-little/id1022785186?mt=11

Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-little-bookshop-on-the-seine-rebecca-raisin/1121263193?ean=9781474030786

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-little-bookshop-on-the-seine-the-little-paris-collection-book-1-1

Sainsbury’s

https://www.sainsburysentertainment.co.uk/ebooks/The-Little-Bookshop-On-The-Seine-The-Little-Paris-Collection-Book-1-/Rebecca-Raisin/9781474030786


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Rebecca Raisin

is a bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in various short-story anthologies, and in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance. The only downfall about writing about gorgeous men who have brains as well as brawn is falling in love with them – just as well they’re fictional. Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and, most importantly, believe in true, once-in-a-lifetime love.

Follow her on twitter @jaxandwillsmum

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaRaisinAuthor

Website rebeccaraisin.com

Cover Reveal: The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

I am super excited to be able to reveal the absolutely stunning cover for Rebecca Raisin’s upcoming book The Little Bookshop on the Seine!

The Little Bookshop on the Seine

Here’s the blurb and the links to pre-order:

Le Vie En Rose

Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris…for Christmas?

Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!

Imagining days wandering around Shakespeare & Co, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and watching the snow fall on the Champs-Élysées Sarah boards the plane.

But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream of a Christmas fairytale in the city of love isn’t quite as rosy in reality…

A deliciously feel-good Christmas romance perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Julia Williams

The Little Paris Collection:

The Little Bookshop on the Seine

The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower

The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Élysées

Also by Rebecca Raisin

The Gingerbread Café trilogy:
Christmas at the Gingerbread Café
Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café
Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café

The Bookshop on the Corner
Secrets at the Maple Syrup Farm

Amazon  UK http://amzn.to/1LfJJzO

Amazon US http://amzn.to/1KR2Wck

iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/little-bookshop-on-seine-little/id1022785186?mt=11

Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-little-bookshop-on-the-seine-rebecca-raisin/1121263193?ean=9781474030786

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-little-bookshop-on-the-seine-the-little-paris-collection-book-1-1

Sainsbury’s

https://www.sainsburysentertainment.co.uk/ebooks/The-Little-Bookshop-On-The-Seine-The-Little-Paris-Collection-Book-1-/Rebecca-Raisin/9781474030786

Rebecca Raisin

is a bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in various short-story anthologies, and in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance. The only downfall about writing about gorgeous men who have brains as well as brawn is falling in love with them – just as well they’re fictional. Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and, most importantly, believe in true, once-in-a-lifetime love.

Follow her on twitter @jaxandwillsmum

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaRaisinAuthor

Website rebeccaraisin.com