Q&A with Kayte Nunn, author of Rose’s Vintage plus book #giveaway!

 

Today I’m very happy to be able to share an interview that I recently did with Kayte Nunn, author of Rose’s Vintage. Today is publication day for Rose’s Vintage so I’d like to wish Kayte a very happy publication day and wish her lots of luck with the book! To celebrate publication day, Kayte’s publisher have very kindly offered three ebook copies of Rose’s Vintage for me to give away so please read to the end of this post and be sure to enter!

Please tell my readers a little bit about yourself.

I’m a forty-something Englishwoman who has lived in Australia for the past 20 years. I’m a wife, mother and writer, not necessarily in that order. Love to bake, hate to clean. 

How did you first come to be a writer?

Without really realising it, I’ve written most of my life – my aunt recently told me that when I was quite little and she was visiting, I was writing short stories. I wrote terrible poetry and angst-ridden diaries when I was a teenager, and then did a degree in English and Publishing because I loved books and writing so much. I ended up working in magazines because I wanted to write features, and have done that for the past 15 or so years, as both a writer and editor. Despite a secret dream to be a novelist I never had the confidence in my ability to do so – I thought it was something other people did, not me.

But, about three years ago, a break between freelance projects and a case of the ‘now or nevers’ saw me knuckle down and try to write fiction. I started with a few short stories and sent them off to a couple of competitions and made the shortlists, and I found that I loved the way writing made me feel. 

What is your book about?

It’s the story of Rose, a young English chef, who takes a job as an au pair in an Australian wine region, also agreeing to spy on her boss for her brother. When she arrives there in the middle of winter, she finds that it’s far from the lush, romantic vineyard setting she’d imagined, her new boss is largely absent and leaves her to her own devices. All she wants to do is find out what she needs to for her brother and then get out of there and go somewhere warmer… of course, she doesn’t leave straight away…  

Where do you get your inspiration from? 

The inspiration for Rose’s Vintage came as I was sitting in a café in Bondi on a grey winter’s day. I began to imagine what it would be like to arrive in Australia and find that it was nothing like you’d imagined. Having worked as editor of Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine for quite a few years I had met so many wonderful winemakers, visited some beautiful wine regions and loved the close-knit communities that exist in there. It seemed obvious to set the book in a fictional wine region that reflected those qualities.

What is your writing routine?

I wish I had one! I’ve two terrifyingly sporty girls and so I spend a lot of time ferrying them around, lugging my laptop with me to sports practice, swim sessions… luckily after years in a busy magazine office, I can write no matter what the noise going on around me. On an ideal day, I drop them at school, go for a walk or a run, then sit down at home and write from about 10.30-3pm before shooting off to pick my youngest daughter up from school. Funnily enough, the hour between 2- and 3pm is my most productive!

What has your journey to publication been like?

It took me about a year to write Rose’s Vintage (I was also working as a freelance non-fiction writer and editor). When I finished, I began querying agents and publishers. Several asked for the complete mss. I got my fair share of rejections, but then my current agent rang me and asked for a month to read it exclusively. At the end of the month, she rang and we had a long chat about what needed to change, I took notes and then went away and spent a couple of months on revisions. I sent it back to her and she was happy with what I’d done and began sending it to publishers who she thought likely to be interested. Several replied saying it appealed to them but that it was too similar to other authors already in their stable. One publisher really liked it but asked for quite substantial revisions, which I did, but then Black Inc, which had also seen a copy of this revised mss. loved it and made an offer for it, and also for a second book with the same setting that I was by this time three-quarters of the way through.

What’s your favourite book that you’ve read this year?

Oh gosh, that’s hard – there are some terrific books out at the moment and I’ve been reading up a storm! Favel Parrett’s Past the Shallows is heart-breaking and beautifully lyrical; The Light Between Oceans by ML Steadman made me sob; Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers was especially memorable.

What are you reading at the moment?

The Observations by Jane Harris. It’s a historical novel set in 1863. I’m now working on a historical novel of my own, part of which is set in the 1880s, so I’m reading other books set at a similar time, both for research and enjoyment.

Is there a question that you wish an interviewer would ask that you’ve never been asked? What’s your answer to that question?

Do you like to read your own work once it’s in book form?

Absolutely not! When I received my author’s copies of Rose’s Vintage I opened one up and felt quite ill – it was all too real and there is so much of me on those pages that my little introverted soul was terrified!

If you were to be stranded on a desert island, which three things would you want to have with you and why?

A copy of Anne of Green Gables – my favourite book and still a comfort read.

A laptop that never ran out of charge so I could write.

Enough food – you can’t write on an empty stomach!

How can people connect with you on social media?

Twitter: @KayteNunn

Facebook: Kayte Nunn

Goodreads: Rose’s Vintage

Website: www.kaytenunn.com


About the Author:

Kayte portrait 1

Kayte Nunn is a freelance book, magazine and web editor and writer with more than 20 years’ publishing experience and is the former editor of Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine. She is also a mother to two girls and when not writing, reading or ferrying her daughters around she can be found in the kitchen, procrasti-baking.

Rose’s Vintage is her first novel.

 


 

About the book:

Rose's Vintage (online)-2

British blow-in, Rose Bennett, is heartbroken, overweight, irritable and a long way from home. She isn’t sure what exactly she’s doing at Kalkari Wines in the Australian Shingle Valley – it’s the middle of winter and far from the lush, romantic vineyard setting she’d been expecting.

Her brother thinks she’s spying for him, her bad-tempered new boss thinks she’s the au pair and the nanny can’t wait for her to clean the place up.

Discovering pagan bonfire ceremonies, bizarre winemaking practices and a valley full of eccentric locals, Rose just wishes she’d ended up somewhere a bit warmer.

But as the weather improves, the valley reveals its beauty, and Rose starts to fall in love: with the valley, the wines, the two children she’s helping to look after, and one of the men there.

When her boss’s estranged wife returns and her brother descends, wanting answers, Rose is torn between staying put or cutting her losses.


 

Giveaway!

Rose's Vintage (online)-2

 

Kayte Nunn’s publisher BlackIncBooks  has very kindly offered me three ebook copies of Rose’s Vintage to give away! So please click on the link below to be taken to the giveaway page for your chance to win one of the three copies:

Rose’s Vintage international giveaway!

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Blog Tour|Review & Excerpt: What Happens at Christmas by T. A. Williams

TAWilliams-Christmas-BTBanner copy

What Happens at Christmas_FINAL

Today I’m thrilled that it’s my stop on the What Happens at Christmas by T. A. Williams blog tour. I have my review of the book to share with you and also an excerpt from the book. There is also a giveaway as part of this tour to win a copy of one of T. A. Williams other books, What Happens in Cornwall!

Review header copy

What Happens at Christmas is a gorgeous, feel-good novel that has some real depth to it. Holly Brice has recently found out that her estranged father has died and that she has inherited his cottage in a quaint little village in Dartmoor. Holly makes a trip to the remote village to clear the cottage out to get it ready for selling and it ends up being a real trip down memory lane for her. Holly also discovers that not only has she inherited her father’s home but also his lovely one-year-old labrador, named Stirling.

Holly ends up on a real journey of discovery as she gets to know some of the locals in the village and also as she begins to clear her dad’s cottage out. She discovers that she may not have known the whole truth about her dad and starts to see him in a different light. I found some of the things Holly finds out about her dad incredibly moving. It was lovely to to see how Stirling was so in tune with Holly’s emotions and was always on hand to offer comfort.

Stirling was the star of this book for me, he was such an affectionate dog and so well-behaved that it’s impossible not to fall in love with him. He was a character in his own right and I really loved how an animal could be written into the story in such a big way.

Holly soon meets the desirable men in the village: Jack the handsome and lovely next-door neighbour, who is a bit mysterious; Justin, who is also a very attractive man but who has issues of his own to work though; and Howard who is lovely and just a little flirtatious in a harmless way.

I love that this book was set in the few days leading up to Christmas, it really did make me feel festive. Often with Christmas novels they are set in the months or year leading up to Christmas but there is something really lovely about a novel where the whole book is set in the immediate run up to Christmas.

This novel has everything you could possibly want in a Christmas story! It’s set at Christmas, it’s in a gorgeous location, it’s heart-breaking but more so it’s heart-warming, it has romance, it has crackly log fires, and it has snow!

I rate this book 8 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a heart-warming Christmas novel.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

What Happens at Christmas is out now and available to buy from Amazon.

Release Date: October 22, 2015

Genres: Chick Lit

Publisher: Carina UK

Excerpt copy

She woke up at seven o’clock next morning with somebody trying to strangle her. A heavy weight was pinning her to the pillow, while a muscular arm pressed down upon her windpipe. She opened her eyes, but it was still pitch dark in the house. As the panic began to build, a long, warm tongue began to lick her cheek.

‘Oh, God, Stirling, stop that, will you. And your breath stinks. Get off this minute. Please, Stirling.’ With difficulty she managed to dislodge the dog from her throat and tip him over the edge of the bed onto the floor. He landed with a thud. Staying under the duvet, she shimmied across to the edge of the bed to check that he hadn’t hurt himself. She peered down into the dark. A large back nose appeared right in front of her and he would have licked her again if she hadn’t retreated. She lay there for another five minutes, conscious of the dog’s staring eyes, before accepting the inevitable. She pushed back the covers and climbed out of bed. Reaching for the matches, she lit the candle and looked down at the dog.

‘You’re a pain in the backside. You know that, don’t you?’ Delighted to hear her talking to him, he jumped to his feet and started wagging his tail. ‘God, it’s bloody cold.’ She pulled her jeans and jumper on over the top of her pyjamas and slipped on her warmest shoes; a gorgeous pair of Jimmy Choo ankle boots she had found in the Harvey Nicks sale last January, at less than half price. She took the candle and followed the now very excited dog downstairs into the kitchen. It was equally cold in there, so she put the candle down on the table and set about lighting the stove.

Once she had got a good fire going, she plucked up the courage to go to the loo. As she feared, the bathroom was freezing cold. She came back downstairs, went across to the window and looked out over the back garden. Dawn wouldn’t be for another hour, but it was not totally dark out there. The moon had disappeared, but there was still enough light from the stars for her to be able to distinguish shapes of bushes and trees in the garden. Closer to her, Greta the Porsche was sparkling with frost, the starlight reflecting in the host of ice crystals that covered all the horizontal surfaces. As Holly looked out, she ran her fingers across the inside of the glass. She wasn’t surprised to see them come away with a thin layer of ice on them. She went back over to the stove and packed another couple of logs into it.

‘I’d give my eye teeth for a cup of tea.’ She gazed wistfully at the electric kettle on the worktop, idly wondering to herself what eye teeth were. Stirling was standing beside his basket, unsure whether he should be gearing up for a walk or whether he would be told to go back to bed. Holly gave a little smile as she saw that he had somehow collected her father’s old jumper and brought it downstairs. A grey sleeve was hanging over the side of the basket. She stared at it for a few seconds before taking a deep breath and deciding she had better take the dog for a walk. He was delighted.


Blurb copy

For the perfect Christmas…

When career-girl Holly Brice learns that her estranged father has died, she decides to take a trip down memory lane and find out about the man she never knew. Arriving in the sleepy little Dartmoor village, she’s shocked to discover that she’s inherited the cosy little cottage she remembers so fondly, a whole load of money –and her father’s adorable dog, too!

Head to snow-covered Devon!

And as the first snowflakes begin to fall and Holly bumps into her gorgeous neighbour, Jack Nelson, life gets even more complicated! Men have always been off the cards for high-flying Holly, but there’s something about mysterious writer Jack that has her re-thinking her three-date rule…

A fabulous, feel-good festive read, perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Carole Matthews.


Author Bio copy

TAWilliams

Firstly, my name isn’t T A. It’s Trevor. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, “Dirty Minds” one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn’t possibly comment. Ask my wife…

I’ve written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I’m enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.

I‘ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador.

I’ve been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she’s right.

Social Networking Links

Website: http://www.tawilliamsbooks.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TAWilliamsBooks

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/GRTAWilliams

Amazon Author: http://www.amazon.com/T-A-Williams/e/B00FDVNVMA/


GIVEAWAY BANNER! copy

what happens in cornwall

As part of this blog tour the organiser Bliss Book Promotions are giving you the chance to win One ebook copy of What Happens in Cornwall by T. A. Williams

Please click the link below to be taken to the competition entry page:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c48fa52743/?

Good luck!

Winner of the Out of the Darkness giveaway…

KATY HOGAN PRIZE GIVEAWAY

For the last week I’ve been running a fabulous giveaway on my blog, very kindly donated by the lovely Katy Hogan.

Here is a link to my review of Out of the Darkness and giveaway

The winner of this gorgeous prize is: Adele (@kraftireader) Congratulations and I hope you enjoy your prize!

Thank you to everyone who entered. To those who didn’t win, I urge you to go buy Out of the Darkness and read it soon. It is the best book I’ve read this year, it’s made it on to my all-time favourites shelf (and not many books receive that honour!) and it deserves to be read by so many more people.

Blog Tour & Giveaway | Review: What Rosie Found Next by Helen J Rolfe

What Rosie Found Next

Today, I am thrilled to be kicking off the blog tour for Helen J Rolfe‘s new book What Rosie Found Next. Please keep reading to the end of my review as there is a fabulous giveaway for you to enter!

Review header copy

What Rosie Found Next is a gorgeous story about Rosie Stevens, a professional house sitter who hasn’t had the easiest life but is trying to move forward. She just wants to settle down and have some stability and security. Adam is Rosie’s long-term boyfriend but he’s very career-driven and, in the short term, this keeps preventing them from having the life that Rosie craves. Owen is the son of the home owners that Rosie is now house-sitting for. Owen is the opposite of Rosie, he leads a nomadic lifestyle with no home of his own and has no intentions of settling down with anyone ever.

I loved the dynamic between Owen and Rosie! From the very beginning, when he arrives unannounced at his parents’ home where Rosie is housesitting, and immediately starts antagonising her it was apparent that there was an underlying chemistry between these two characters. So from the start I was very much looking forward to seeing how things developed between them. As the novel went on, I really did like how these two characters became closer, they  got to be friends and started looking out for each other and forming a much deeper connection. It wasn’t a straightforward boy meets girl novel and I very much enjoyed that it was different.

The mystery element, regarding Owen’s family, that runs through much of this novel was really interesting. I couldn’t work out why Owen was so set on searching his parents’ house but it is apparent that whatever secret is being kept from him, it’s something that has been affecting him for a long time and has perhaps made him the way he is. It works well because Owen goes away to find out the truth about the past and in his time away from Rosie we get to see the development of his character through what he finds out.

I adored Magnolia Creek, what a gorgeous setting; the descriptions of the town are such that you can really picture the place and I’d love to actually go visit! I loved Bella’s cafe, and Bella herself. She is the lynch-pin of the town bringing everyone together and lifting their worries for a little while with tea and freshly-baked scones.

I really enjoyed this novel, it was different to what I had been expecting but I loved that parts of it surprised me. It has a real depth to it and I became so invested in these characters and was really willing them on to find happiness. It’s a really heart-warming read and I can’t wait to read more books by Helen J. Rolfe in the future!

I rate this novel 8 out of 10.

What Rosie Found Next is out now and available from AMAZON UK and AMAZON US

Thank you to Brook Cottage Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb copy

What Rosie Found Next

Genre: Romantic fiction / Women’s fiction

Release Date: 3rd November 2015

A shaky upbringing has left Rosie Stevens craving safety and security. She thinks she knows exactly what she needs to make her life complete – the stable job and perfect house-sit she’s just found in Magnolia Creek. The only thing she wants now is for her long-term boyfriend, Adam, to leave his overseas job and come home for good.

Owen Harrison is notoriously nomadic, and he roars into town on his Ducati for one reason and one reason only – to search his parents’ house while they’re away to find out what they’ve been hiding from him his entire life. When he meets Rosie, who refuses to quit the house-sit in his parents’ home, sparks fly.

Secrets are unearthed, promises are broken, friendships are put to the test and the real risk of bushfires under the hot Australian sun threatens to undo Rosie once and for all.

Will Rosie and Owen find what they want or what they really need?


Author Bio copy

ABOUT HELEN J ROLFE

helen j rolfe

Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women’s fiction. She enjoys weaving stories about family, relationships, friendships, love, and characters who face challenges and fight to overcome them.

Born and raised in the UK, Helen spent fourteen years living in Australia before returning home. She now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and children.

Facebook: http://facebook.com/helenjrolfe

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/hjrolfe

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/helenjrolfe


GIVEAWAY BANNER! copy

As part of the book tour there is a chance to enter a giveaway for a chance to win £10 /$15 Amazon gift card. Please click on the link below to enter. Good luck!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4be03017116/?

WWW Wednesday (4th November)

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now:

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons (Due to be published 6th November 2015) I started reading this book yesterday and it’s so good. It’s one of those books that’s really hard to put down once you’ve started reading!

Blurb:

Two girls go missing. Only one will return.

The couple that offers the highest amount will see their daughter again. The losing couple will not. Make no mistake. One child will die.

When nine-year-old best friends Charlie and Amy disappear, two families are plunged into a living nightmare. A text message confirms the unthinkable; that the girls are the victims of a terrifying kidnapping.

And when a second text message pits the two families against each other for the life of their children, the clock starts ticking for D.I. Kim Stone and the squad.

Seemingly outwitted at every turn, as they uncover a trail of bodies, Stone realises that these ruthless killers might be the most deadly she has ever faced. And that their chances of bringing the girls home alive, are getting smaller by the hour…

Untangling a dark web of secrets from the families’ past might hold the key to solving this case. But can Kim stay alive long enough to do so? Or will someone’s child pay the ultimate price?

What Rosie Found Next

What Rosie Found Next by Helen Rolfe (Out now) I started reading this book yesterday too and am really enjoying it. I’m on the blog tour for this book so my review will be posted as part of that on 9th November.

Blurb:

A shaky upbringing has left Rosie Stevens craving safety and security. She thinks she knows exactly what she needs to make her life complete – the stable job and perfect house-sit she’s just found in Magnolia Creek. The only thing she wants now is for her long-term boyfriend, Adam, to leave his overseas job and come home for good.
Owen Harrison is notoriously nomadic, and he roars into town on his Ducati for one reason and one reason only – to search his parents’ house while they’re away to find out what they’ve been hiding from him his entire life. When he meets Rosie, who refuses to quit the house-sit in his parents’ home, sparks fly.
Secrets are unearthed, promises are broken, friendships are put to the test and the real risk of bushfires under the hot Australian sun threatens to undo Rosie once and for all.
Will Rosie and Owen be able to find what they want or what they really need?

the single feather ruth hunt

The Single Feather by Ruth F. Hunt (Out now) I just picked this book up a little while ago and am really intrigued by it, I’m looking forward to reading more!

Blurb:

Rachel had to escape from where she was living, and that was hard enough, but now the 31 year old, paraplegic has to regain her independence and feel accepted in her new town. The problem is to do that, she feels she has to hide how and why she got injured and her recent experiences with the ‘guards’.
She joins an art group, unaware her fellow members also have secrets. As tension rises and the group splits into factions, with the ever-present possibility of being returned to her former life, Rachel realises to move on means confronting her past.

how to stuff up christmas

How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake (Due to be published 5th November 2015) I started reading this at the weekend and am very much enjoying it. I’m a little slower reading it purely because it’s a paperback rather than a kindle copy so it’s a bit harder for me to hold and read due to my disability. It’s a fab book though, I definitely recommend buying it tomorrow!

Blurb:

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Unless you’ve found an intimate picture of another woman on your fiance’s phone… 
Eve is heartbroken after discovering her fiance is cheating on her. Being surrounded by the joys of Christmas is more than Eve can bear, so she chooses to avoid the festivities by spending Christmas alone on a houseboat in Pangbourne. Eve gets gets an unexpected seasonal surprise when handsome local vet Greg comes to her rescue one day, and continues to visit Eve’s boat on a mission to transform her from Kitchen Disaster Zone to Culinary Queen.
But where does Greg keep disappearing to? What does Eve’s best friend Daisy know that she isn’t telling? And why is there an angry goose stalking Eve’s boat?
A hilarious and heart-warming novel about Christmas, catastrophes and cooking, containing exclusive Christmas recipes, from the talented Rosie Blake.

A Notable Woman

A Notable Woman ed. by Simon Garfield (Due to be published on 5th November 2015) I started reading this book last week and am thoroughly enjoying it. It’s such a beautiful and fascinating read, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a long book and I want to take my time to read it and savour it all.

Blurb:

In April 1925, Jean Lucey Pratt started a journal that she would keep for the rest of her life, producing over a million words in 45 exercise books. For sixty years, no one had an inkling of her diaries’ existence, and they have remained unpublished until now.
Jean wrote about anything that amused, inspired or troubled her, laying bare her life with aching honesty, infectious humour, indelicate gossip and heartrending hopefulness. She recorded her yearnings and disappointments in love. She documented the loss of a tennis match, her unpredictable driving, catty friends, devoted cats and difficult guests. With Jean we live through the tumult of the Second World War and the fears of a nation. We see Britain hurtling through a period of unbridled transformation and the shifting landscape for women in society. A unique slice of living, breathing British history, Jean’s diaries are a revealing chronicle of life in the twentieth century.


What I recently finished reading:

(Click the titles in the list below the pics to read my reviews and more about the books)

out of the darkness   time to die   12080721_10208053670124026_1305089176_n   written in the scars   merry mistletoe

Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan I am currently running a giveaway where you can win one paperback copy of this book plus a gorgeous Yankee candle and a box of chocolates from Hotel Chocolat. Please click on my review to find out how to enter!

Time to Die by Caroline Mitchell

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

Written in the Scars by Mel Sherratt

Merry Mistletoe by Emma Davies


What I plan on reading next:

winter's fairytale

Winter’s Fairytale by Maxine Morrey (Due to be published on 10th November 2015)

Blurb:

A few weeks before Christmas and a sudden blanketing of snow has closed the roads and brought public transport grinding to a halt, stranding Izzy miles from home and in desperate need of rescuing.

That doesn’t mean she’s looking to bump into Rob and spend a cosy weekend holed up in his swanky flat watching London become a winter wonderland! Because Izzy and Rob have history…

Six months ago, they were standing in the vestry of a beautiful country church, while best man Rob delivered the news that every bride dreads on their big day.

But at the time of year when anything is possible, can Rob and Izzy let go of the past and let Christmas work its magic? Or will this be one holiday wish that Izzy lets walk right out of her life…

for the record

For the Record by Charlotte Huang (Due to be published 10th November 2015)

Blurb:

Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like . . . until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything

Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen hearthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.

Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule . . . Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?

what happens at christmas

What Happens at Christmas by T. A. Williams (Out Now) I’m part of the blog tour for this book so my review will be posted as part of that in a couple of weeks time.

Blurb:

For the perfect Christmas…

When career-girl Holly Brice learns that her estranged father has died, she decides to take a trip down memory lane and find out about the man she never knew.

Arriving in the sleepy little Dartmoor village, she’s shocked to discover that she’s inherited the cosy little cottage she remembers so fondly, a whole load of money – and her father’s adorable dog, too!

Head to snow-covered Devon! And as the first snowflakes begin to fall and Holly bumps into her gorgeous neighbour, Jack Nelson, life gets even more complicated! Men have always been off the cards for high-flying Holly, but there’s something about mysterious writer Jack that has her re-thinking her three-date rule…


What are you reading this Wednesday? What are you planning on reading next? Please share your links below if you’ve joined in with this meme on your blog. If you’re not a blogger then please share your answers in the comments below. 

Happy Reading! 

ENDED! Review & Giveaway of Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

out of the darkness

EDIT: The Giveaway associated with this posted has ended!

Out of the Darkness is genuinely one of the best books I’ve read in years and will absolutely be in my top 10 books of this year!

it is an incredibly moving, and very beautiful novel about three women who are each dealing with a loss; it’s a really honest look at the ways people grieve and how it affects everyone around them, but it’s also about the way people heal after loss and the novel is ultimately a very uplifting read that brings real solace with it.

Jessica is heartbroken over the death of her mum, they were best friends and life just doesn’t feel worth anything to her anymore. She sleepwalks through the things she has to do but nothing is enjoyable to her, she just can’t see a way through life without her mum. Then one evening she meets Finn and the two of them just really connect. Finn is the first person to make Jess feel like there might be something to be happy about again and she hopes he will be in touch again after they go their separate ways the following morning.

Hannah attends the same bereavement group as Jess but she is completely closed down about her loss. She is grief-stricken and it’s affecting every aspect of her life, she is consumed with guilt but just can’t bring herself to share what has happened.

Alex has just moved to Brighton, and is now living in the house next to where the bereavement group is held. Soon after moving in strange things begin happening in her home and she starts to think the place is haunted.

One day, after the bereavement group, Jess faints outside and Alex and Hannah rush to help her and make sure she is okay. From this point the three women become friends and offer a much-needed support to each other. Their lives begin to become intwined and the psychic medium they later go and see together plays a huge part in the bond they form.

This novel is an exploration of how people deal with grief. Jess and Hannah both grieve differently for their losses loved ones but ultimately they relate to each other because they have both experienced loss. The three women have such different expectations when they begin to explore mediums and experts in the paranormal. Hannah wants to know her loved one is okay, Alex wants to know if her house is haunted and what she can do to be rid of the ghosts, and Jessica doesn’t really believe in any of it. Yet they all ultimately find comfort from what they learn. I found it fascinating how the idea of ghosts and the spirits that come through for psychic mediums were explored as one and the same thing in this novel. I think most of us think of ghosts as being a spooky or malevolent entity, and yet when we think of the possibly of an afterlife for lost loved ones, it is seen as a comforting concept. Katy Hogan has brought the two together as one thing, considering the idea that perhaps ghosts can be lost loved ones trying to contact or help those left behind. It gave me a lot to ponder over.

This is also a novel that really celebrates how wonderful and strong female friendship can be. Jess and Hannah meet at a bereavement group at the lowest points of their lives, and they meet Alex right after one of these meetings. They begin to let each other in to their respective lives and they form such a close bond very quickly, and the bond is never broken. To see women support each other was really lovely. There was never a moment of jealousy or cattiness between these women, it’s quite a rare thing in a novel. It was refreshing to see how their relationship to each other is bonded by how they support and look out for each other.

I deliberately took my time with this book and I read it slowly over quite a few days as I wanted to savour it and take it all in, I’m so glad I did as it gave me chance to really absorb what I was reading each day. This novel has so much depth to it and works on so many levels, it is such brilliant writing. The friendship between Jess, Alex and Hannah is a wonderful story in itself and gives the novel a grounding in reality that then makes the exploration of mediums and the afterlife much more intense and real. I think the biggest theme in this book though is the exploration of fate and destiny. From the very start of this book it felt like these women were destined to meet, like they were being brought together for a reason. I had no idea why but it just felt that way. Even Jess meeting Finn and him making her feel like she might be able to be happy again just seemed like either fate or like something was pushing them towards each other. This again gave me so much to think about because fate can be considered as just a series of coincidences that when we look back and see how things came together it seems like it was engineered that way, or it can be seen as our lost loved ones finding ways to point us in the direction we need to go in to find happiness again.

This novel can also be read on a very metaphorical and at times allegorical way, I loved the part of the book where Alex goes out on a boat called Guiding Light. It seemed like she was almost out of her own body and seeing the world from a different angle, and at the same time like she was receiving a message about the direction of her own life. I don’t want to post any spoilers for this novel so I’m being careful in what I write but I highly recommend taking your time with this novel so you can fully appreciate how much meaning and depth there is in it.

Out of the Darkness broke my heart in the first few chapters; I could feel Jess’s devastation at the loss of her mum. I wanted to reach through the pages of the book and tell her that in time she would feel better, that she would be able to deal with it once the rawness of her initial grief began to pass. I understood her feelings about visiting The Beacon to see a paranormal expert for the first time with Alex. I’m very like Jessica in that I’ve never really believed in an afterlife but then I still have moments where I can smell my mum’s perfume all of a sudden and it’s like she’s right there in the room, and just for that moment I stop and wonder. Perhaps it’s just a memory popping up but you can’t help but feel comforted when it happens, just like how Jess does.

Katy Hogan explores grief in such a beautiful and gentle way. She has written a book that will more than likely make you cry but it will ultimately leave you feeling healed. I wish I could put into words exactly how this book made me feel when I got to the end but I can’t seem to express it, it’s just the most amazing and brilliant novel and it made me feel better. I read this as an ebook but now so badly wish I had a paper copy so I could just hold it for a little while and then put it down where I can see it. I think I need a physical reminder in my home of all that this book stands for. It doesn’t shy away from death, it doesn’t take an easy road. At times the story turns in a way you don’t expect and it leaves you quite breathless. But ultimately this book makes death feel a lot less scary, and it makes the weight of grief feel that little bit easier to bear.

Out of the Darkness is absolutely going to be my book of the year. It’s both broken my heart and healed it; it was moving and beautiful and perfect. I’d rate it a hundred out of ten if I could, but as I can’t it’s a huge ten out of ten and it’s getting a very rare place on my favourites book shelf.

Out of the Darkness: A Tale of Love, Loss and Life After Death is out now and available from Amazon.

For more information about Katy and Out of the Darkness, check out her website here: http://www.outofthedarknessnovel.com


PLEASE NOTE: The giveaway below has now ended. You can find out who the winner was here.


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KATY HOGAN PRIZE GIVEAWAY

Katy Hogan has very kindly offered me this fabulous prize package so that I can run a giveaway. The giveaway is UK only this time. The prize is for one paperback copy of Out of the Darkness, a gorgeous Yankee Candle and a box of chocolates from Hotel Chocolat. 

To enter, please click HERE to be taken to the Rafflecopter page

Bookouture Christmas Giveaway Winners Announcement!

BC BOOKS BANNER (MINE) copy

I ran an ebook giveaway every day from 22nd – 26th October as part of Bookouture’s Christmas week on twitter.

I’m pleased to announce all of the winners:

bella's christmas bake offBella’s Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson was won by Lindsay Hill

One Wish in ManhattanOne Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot was won by Sarah Hardy

Lilac CottageChristmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin was won by ReadingAwaytheDays

Christmas wishes and mistletoe kissesChristmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale was won by Leigh Newton

snowflakes at silver coveSnowflakes on Silver Cove by Holly Martin was also won by Leigh Newton

Congratulations to you all! Hope you enjoy reading your lovely new ebooks!

Bookouture Christmas Books Giveaway!

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XMAS BC GIVEAWAY copy

From today, until the 27th October, I’m taking part in Bookouture Christmas week. As part of the celebrations they have kindly given me one ebook copy of each of the five books below. Every day I’ll be sharing another giveaway for one of these books as part of my post. To make it easy to find the giveaways, I’ll also add a link each day to this post so you can check back here every day too.

snowflakes at silver cove

26th October – Today is I’m giving you the chance to enter to win an ebook copy of Snowflakes on Silver Cove by Holly Martin courtesy of Bookouture. Click this RAFFLECOPTER LINK and it will take you to the Rafflecopter page where you can enter. Giveaway ending midnight 29 October! My review of the book and a synopsis are here if you want to know more about it.

Christmas wishes and mistletoe kisses

25th October – Today I am giving away an ebook copy of Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale courtesy of Bookouture. Click this RAFFLECOPTER LINK and it will take you to the Rafflecopter page where you can enter. Giveaway ending midnight 29 October! My review of the book and a synopsis are here if you want to know more about it.

Lilac Cottage

24 October – Today’s giveaway is your chance to win an ebook copy of Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin. My review of this book is here so please check it out if you want to know more about it. Click this RAFFLECOPTER LINK and it will take you to the Rafflecopter page where you can enter! Ending midnight 29 October!

One Wish in Manhattan

The giveaway for One Wish in Manhattan has now ended, thank you to everyone who entered. Congratulations to the winner, @Sarahhardy681!

You can still read my review of the fabulous One Wish in Manhattan here

bella's christmas bake off

The giveaway for Bella’s Christmas Bake Off has now ended, thank you to everyone who entered. Congratulations to the winner, @Bookboodle!

You can still read my Guest post from Sue Watson & extract from Bella’s Christmas Bake Off here)!


Over the course of Bookouture Christmas week I’ll be posting reviews, Q&As, guest posts, extracts and giveaways all to do with these fabulous books!

BC BOOKS BANNER (MINE) copy