2019, Blog Tour, Cover Reveal, Uncategorized

Cover Reveal: The Vagabond Mother By Tracey Scott – Townsend

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a cover reveal. When Kelly @ Love Books Group email pinged through my interest was piqued. Not only is she a fab blogger she’s one of the best blog tour organisers so if I can help I will.

I love a cover reveal so they are always welcome here at Hayley Reviews. So without further ado.

It’s an interesting cover and if that isn’t enough for you here is the blurb…

Not every Vagabond is a Castaway…

Maya Galen’s oldest son, Jamie, left home eight years ago after a massive row with his parents and now Joe, her youngest child and apple of her eye, has cut off all contact with them too.

Called to Australia to identify the body of a young man, Maya is given her son’s journal. After a sleepless night she decides that the only thing she can do is follow in Joe’s footsteps and try to discover her most basic human self. Eschewing a monetary lifestyle, from now on she must rely on her physical and emotional strength to survive.

Following Joe’s hand-drawn maps and journal entries, she travels from Australia to Denmark and beyond, meeting many other travellers along the way and learning valuable lessons.

Eventually a crisis forces her to return home and confront the end of her marriage, but also a new understanding of what family, in the widest sense, really means.

Exploring the big questions at the heart of human existence, The Vagabond Mother shares territory with books and films such as Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, The Way, starring Martin Sheen, Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Buy The Vagabond Mother

Thank you Kelly for including me in this cover reveal.

 

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2019, audible, Blog Tour, Review, Uncategorized

Audio Review: The Apartment By K.L.Slater

Blurb: The Apartment tells the story of a newly widowed young mother who moves into a smart London apartment building that feels too good to be true. When strange things start to occur, Freya suspects that someone is trying to control her behaviour. Things escalate from there, and Freya and her daughter narrowly get out alive. Loosely based on the Little Albert experiment from the 1920s, The Apartment is brilliant at developing a slow sense of unease, which lends itself all the more beautifully to audio.

Review: Firstly, I would like to thank Anna at Midas PR for inviting me onto this audio blog tour. This is my first K.L.Slater read but it will not be my last. I would also like to say I’m sorry this wasn’t up first thing this morning but better late than never eh?

I love audiobooks and this was perfect to finish my holiday time before heading back to work. Now I need to mention Tuppence Middleton – what a fabulous narrator, the narration makes such a difference to me and I’ve listened to some questionable narrators on Thrillers.

Now I don’t dislike Freya but for a recently widowed young mother she’s extremely naive and I found myself increasingly frustrated with her. From the off I wanted to shake her as she took so much at face value from the minute she spoke to the doctor in the Starbucks on High St Kensington- I loved this reference though as I used to work down the road from said Starbucks it was my local for a good six months.

This is a slow burner that will have you constantly thinking what is the deal with this house/ this apartment. The Marsden’s are extremely controlling and their actions will have you as a reader thinking what the hell are you still doing there. Freya thinks things are weird but she’s made to feel like she’s imagining things until a chat with a gardener has her itching to find out more…this is when the story really takes a turn and Freya comes across stronger and more confident.

As Freya finds out more about where she’s living the story takes on a crescendo that had me gasping out loud realising there’s much more to the Apartment. Oh Freya you really are naive….

wow wow wow!!! There’s so much I want to say but I cannot spoil the outcomes although I was somewhat sceptical on a few people and aspects but I must say I did not see it coming…it’s always the quiet ones as they say.

K LSlater is an extremely clever writer, her writing in the apartment is slow and steady but she keeps you hooked from start to finish. As the story took on a chilling turn it had me completely freaked out yet in awe of this writer. I’m definitely a fan and I cannot wait to devour her back catalogue. She’s created a story loosely based on the chilling Albert experiment.

So for anyone who has already read a K L Slater novel what should I reach for next??

Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour for this chilling tale.

2019, Blog Tour, Book Snippet, extract, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Last Orders at the Star and Sixpence By Holly Hepburn

It is the greatest pleasure of mine to be on this blog tour for a book that well and truly got inside my heart. I will be sharing an extract and later you will also find out my thoughts on this beauty. Without further ado I’m going to hand over to my good friends Nessie and Sam at the Star and Sixpence although the menu invitation does not copy well…

Chapter One
A Taste of Autumn
at the
Star and Sixpence
The leaves are turning gold and there’s a chill in the air, so why not join our new chef, Gabe Santiago,
for an evening of smoky flavours and zinging cocktails as he introduces his new brand-new menu.
Booking essential. Thursday 25th October

It was a crisp mid-September morning, the kind that began with dewy grass but promised warmth as the sun rose higher in the sky. Nessie Chapman leaned back against the wrought- iron bench in the garden of Snowdrop Cottage and let her eyes drift shut. Soon, she’d have to walk over to the neighbouring Star and Sixpence and help her sister, Sam, welcome their new chef on his first day. But not right this second. She could steal a moment or two to appreciate the chirp of birdsong and gentle buzz of a nearby bee; Sam wouldn’t begrudge her that. In fact, knowing Sam, she might even prefer to be alone to greet the undeniably gorgeous Gabriel Santiago, although she’d insisted after they’d agreed he was the right person for the job that she was only interested in his prowess in the kitchen.
The truth was, Sam didn’t begrudge Nessie much. She’d cheered to the rafters when Nessie had finally got together with Owen Rhys, the blacksmith who lived next door to the Star and Sixpence, and she’d continued to cheer even when her own love affair with cellarman Joss ended in another tumultuous break-up. And she hadn’t objected a few months later when Nessie tentatively mentioned that Owen had asked her to move in with him, even though it meant Sam would be living in the pub on her own. She’d simply beamed in delight and declared that she couldn’t wait to have the place to herself.
There was a faint creak behind Nessie, alerting her that the back door of the cottage had opened.
‘A penny for your thoughts,’ a deep, Welsh-accented voice said.

Nessie smiled and opened her eyes. ‘If I had a penny for every time you’ve said that . . .’
Owen smiled back, his dark eyes crinkling beneath his coal-black brows and unruly curls. ‘You’d have around twenty pence, I expect. I should up my rates.’
He dipped his head to brush her lips with his and she felt the same familiar rush of delight mixed with incredulity that she still got every time Owen kissed her. Would it ever get old? she wondered, gazing up at him. It was hard to imagine at the moment, when every kiss still felt like their first.
‘So,’ he said, raising an eyebrow. ‘Do I have to guess what you were daydreaming about?’
Nessie laughed. ‘You won’t be surprised to hear I was thinking about the pub. Sam wants to make sure everything is gleaming for the new chef’s arrival.’
‘Ah, yes,’ Owen said wryly. ‘The much-anticipated Señor Santiago. I popped into the bakery yesterday and Martha was like a cat on hot bricks. I hope he’s ready to become Little Monkham’s new heart-throb.’
Nessie pictured the brooding Spanish chef and pulled a wry face. ‘Something tells me he’s already used to that kind of attention.’
‘I can imagine,’ Owen replied. ‘How does Sam feel about him?’
The question was innocent enough, but Nessie felt her- self bristle slightly at the implication behind the words; Sam had been at the centre of village gossip on more than one occasion in the past. Or at least her love life had. Then Nessie reminded herself that this was Owen, who didn’t have a gos- sipy bone in his body, and she forced herself to relax. ‘She’s looking forward to it, I think,’ she said cautiously. ‘We both are. He’ll be a breath of fresh air.’
Owen smiled. ‘He’ll certainly cause a lot of sighing, if his photo is anything to go by. Luke is hoping you’ll be able to sneak some puddings home.’
An image of Owen’s nine-year-old son popped into Nessie’s head; blond-haired and blue-eyed, he was the oppo- site of Owen’s dark Welsh looks, but they shared the same appetite. In fact, Luke didn’t so much eat food as inhale it and Nessie could just imagine him licking his lips at the thought of the kind of desserts that might be going begging at the end of the night in the Star and Sixpence kitchen. ‘I’ll see what I can do,’ she promised.
‘And now I suppose we’d both better get to work,’ Owen said, casting a rueful glance towards the pub. ‘You know where I am if your wonder chef decides to whip up an impos- sibly fancy lunch, although a decent steak sandwich would be just as welcome.’
Nessie laughed. ‘We’ll let him unpack before we start demanding meals, shall we?’
Owen accepted the teasing rebuke with a cheerful nod. ‘I suppose you’ve got a point. See you later, then.’
Dropping another kiss onto her forehead, he crossed the yard and disappeared into the forge.
Nessie sat for a moment longer, then roused herself with an inward sigh; Owen was right, she’d better get moving. Sam might not begrudge her sister’s happiness, but she definitely wouldn’t appreciate cleaning the pub on her own.
Nessie wasn’t sure she’d ever seen Sam as anxious as she was right before Gabriel Santiago was due to arrive. She paced the floor in front of the gleaming bar, casting fret- ful glances back towards the door that led to the newly fitted kitchens.
‘You did steam-clean the floor, didn’t you?’ she asked Nessie, running a hand through her usually sleek blonde bob. ‘After you’d done the oven and swept up the dust?’
Nessie summoned up her most soothing voice. ‘You were there when I did it, Sam. And I’ve double-checked the spare room, before you ask – everything is ready. All we need is the man himself.’
Sam checked the time. ‘He said he’d get here around ten o’clock, depending on traffic.’ She took a deep breath and glanced towards the spotlit bottles that lined the back of the bar. ‘God, this is stressful. Is it too early for gin?’
‘Relax, Sam,’ Nessie said, frowning a little. ‘Would it help to think of him as just another new employee?’
Now it was Sam’s turn to frown. ‘An employee who just happens to be an internationally respected Michelin- starred chef – one we’ve been boasting about for weeks. There’s a lot riding on making sure he settles in fast and sticks around.’
‘He’s also a professional,’ Nessie reminded her. ‘And he’s already inspected the kitchen, before he agreed to work with us. A speck or two of dust won’t scare him off.’
For a moment, Nessie thought her sister would argue, but then she sighed. ‘You’re right. I don’t know why I’m so worried.’
Nessie thought she knew: Sam had been different since her relationship with Joss had fallen apart. It had been a dif- ficult break-up – neither had wanted to accept that the bad times had begun to far outweigh the good – and Nessie sus- pected her sister had been considerably more hurt than she’d ever admit when Joss had made the decision to leave Little Monkham ‘for both their sakes’. He’d been Sam’s first serious love affair and the ensuing fallout had dampened her usual optimism, making her more wary of everything. Including, it seemed, their new business venture.
‘I thought I was supposed to be the worrier,’ Nessie said, her tone gently teasing. ‘Connor and Tilly will be here soon – they’ll get everything ready for opening. Why don’t we go upstairs and grab a cuppa?’
Connor was the burly ex-fireman who looked after the pub’s cellars, and Tilly was their nineteen-year-old barmaid; both were stalwart members of the Star and Sixpence team. And Nessie wouldn’t be surprised if Tilly’s mother, Martha, abandoned the village bakery to catch an early glimpse of the pub’s new chef – he’d been all she had talked about for weeks.
Sam puffed out a long breath. ‘Okay, deal.’
The first-floor rooms were a far cry from the gloom and woodchip wallpaper that had dominated when Nessie and Sam had first moved into the Star and Sixpence. The bedrooms hadn’t needed much; a lick of paint on the wood-beamed ceilings and plush new carpets to take some of the chill out of the early winter mornings. The kitchen had been another story – Sam hadn’t wasted any time in stripping out the boxy wall units and replacing them with something sleek and tasteful. The outdated appliances had gone too, including a fridge that was so vintage it had almost come back into style. In the living room, there were now two matching teal sofas that went beautifully with the oak coffee table and bookshelf, plus a flat-screen TV that Sam and Nessie had rarely found the time to watch. The rooms were still recognisably part of an old building but updated and modernised, in the same way that the pub downstairs was a fresher, more inviting version of the sixteenth-century inn it had been.
‘It’ll be weird having a flatmate again,’ Sam said, as they sat around the small table in the kitchen, sipping tea. ‘And even weirder that it won’t be you.’
‘I’m sure it will just be a temporary arrangement,’ Nessie said. ‘I imagine Gabe will want his own space too, once he’s settled in a bit.’
Sam gazed at her over the top of her mug, her expression pensive. ‘We are doing the right thing, aren’t we, Ness? Expanding the business, I mean.’
Once again, Nessie was struck by the reversal in their roles. Sam had always been impetuous and confident, while Nessie was more thoughtful and reticent. But those differences had grown less marked over the last year and not all of it was due to Sam’s broken heart; Nessie felt more settled in her role as the official landlady of the pub, in her place among the Little Monkham community too. Being with Owen had helped – his placid strength gave her something to lean on and the future no longer looked dark and unknowable. She could see the years stretching ahead, comfortable and safe, and the thought gave her more peace than she’d ever known.
‘Of course we are,’ she told Sam, with a smile of encouragement. We need to keep growing if we’re going to bring home that National Pub of the Year award.’
Sam nodded slowly. ‘I know. But are we being too ambi- tious? We could have gone for a lower-profile chef.’
‘We could,’ Nessie agreed. ‘But when have we ever taken the easy path? More importantly, when have you?’
Sam said nothing.
‘We chose Gabe because he’s a rising star – fresh and exciting and not afraid to take a few risks,’ Nessie went on. ‘Anyone can do good pub grub. We want more than that.’
‘Go hard or go home,’ Sam said, a wry smile tugging at her mouth. ‘Okay, you’ve convinced me all over again.’
The thud of feet on the stairs made them both glance towards the kitchen door. ‘Good,’ Nessie said. ‘Because it sounds like he might be here.’
Tilly appeared in the doorway, her cheeks unusually pink. ‘There’s a man at the door asking for you,’ she said, sounding flustered. ‘It’s . . . He’s . . .’

Nessie took pity on her. ‘Gabe Santiago, I presume?’ The barmaid nodded.
‘Thanks, Tilly, we’ll be right down,’ Nessie said. She
glanced at Sam. ‘Ready?’
Her sister lowered her cup and squared her shoulders. ‘As
ready as I’ll ever be.’
   

Be sure to pop in for a drink with the rest of the gorgeous tour. I will be posting my review later.

2019, Author Love, Blog Tour, ebook, Review, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: A Year At Castle Court By Holly Hepburn – win a copy of this beauty.

Blurb: Sadie is a single mum, nursing a broken heart. Her best friend from childhood, Cat, is burned out from working long hours as a chef in Paris. In need of a change, they decide to invest in their dream – running their own handmade biscuit shop in gorgeous Castle Court, a three-storey food court tucked away behind Chester’s bustling streets.
 
They soon discover that Castle Court has its own community – a little haven of delight against the stresses of the outside world. But not everyone welcomes the new business; the patisserie owner is less than pleased by what she sees as direct competition and Greg, who runs the fancy bistro that dominates one end of the courtyard, doesn’t think Sadie and Cat have the talent or business acumen to succeed. Luckily, there’s support in the form of the delectable Jaren, who owns the Dutch waffle house opposite Smart Cookies, and Swiss chocolate-shop owner, Elin. And if all else fails, the friends can drown their sorrows in Seb‘s cocktail bar on the third floor!

Review: Ever since I discovered Holly Hepburn I’ve been mesmerised by her writing. What I love about devouring one of Holly’s novels is that I’ve instantly escaped whatever mundane worries I have for a short time at least. Her novels feature kick ass women and men to die for as well as those we love to hate. I must admit her latest set of instalments I’m a tad behind on as I’ve been studying but I’m in the midst of getting my studies, reading and my life in general more organised.

Anyway today I’m pleased to be a part of the gorgeous blog tour for A Year At Castle Court. I’m one of these people who originally took forever to get to e books but then it seemed like the best of both worlds. I read this beauty when it was originally released in four parts and as with any Holly book I was eagerly left wanting more after each instalment, so much so I had pre-ordered each part and had kind of forgotten until they pinged though.

From the off I was taken with Sadie and Cat very different women but simultaneously very good friends. Their friendship and partnership was a joy to read. These girls sure did go on an emotional rollercoaster ride but what was always paramount was their bond – even when they didn’t really agree or like what the other was doing.

As I said I read this beauty in stages and I was hooked from the get go my thoughts are all here.

https://hayleyreviews10.wordpress.com/2017/12/20/book-review-snowy-nights-at-castle-court-by-holly-hepburn/

https://hayleyreviews10.wordpress.com/2018/01/17/book-review-frosty-mornings-at-castle-court-by-holly-hepburn/

https://hayleyreviews10.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/book-review-part-three-stormy-weather-at-castle-court-by-holly-hepburn/

https://hayleyreviews10.wordpress.com/2018/05/02/book-review-starry-skies-at-castle-court-by-holly-hepburn/

Be sure to check out all the other stops on this truly fabulous tour. I’m also giving one lucky UK person the chance of winning this treat.

Tell me why you would love to delve into Holly’s Castle Court? And what your hopes are for 2019.

2018, Author Love, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: A Little Christmas Charm By Kathryn Freeman

Now before I talk of anything to do with this blog tour I need to mention how fabulous Kathryn Freeman is. She’s been so supportive of me as a blogger especially of late when I’ve felt extremely belittled. As soon as this book was announced I knew I had to make sure it was in my festive reading. I’ve loved Kathryn’s brooding males although Owen is a totally different breed but I will get to that later.

I’m ashamed to say I still have a number of her books in my ever expanding TBR.

Blurb: Would you swap sea and sunshine for tinsel and turkey?
Gabby Sanderson is used to being let down – even at Christmas. Which is why she’s happy to skip the festive season completely in favour of a plane ticket and sunnier climes.

But this Christmas could be different, because this time she might not be spending it alone. Can Owen Cooper charm Gabby into loving Christmas in the same way he’s charmed his way into her life, or is he just another person who’ll end up disappointing her?

Review: Now I’m not sure how I can truly do this festive treat justice? I will also do my utmost to not ruin the story.

From the off I warmed to both Gabby and Owen the banter and camaraderie along the way had me smiling and laughing out loud a lot. I loved seeing these two blossom and the many hurdles that they had to overcome but did they? I hear you say. You will have to read it to find out. I adore Christmas especially as an auntie to five but I love how Kathryn has encompassed how Christmas should be with traditions etc etc and how that is not always the case for all families.

I cannot begin to understand Gabby’s childhood but I know it happens. The other aspect that Kathryn has done amazingly well is that of grief. We lost my Nan to Cancer which is partly my reasoning for working for Cancer Research.

Christmas is a time of reflection I always have Boxing Day as another family day as that was when we visited Nan & Grandad I miss them terribly especially then but just like Owen & Sidney life goes on and we would be doing a disservice to their memories.

Kathryn manages to write a love story amongst a Christmas tale that will have you swooning for your very own dreamboat. Owen is completely different to the men I have read of hers before and not only making Gabby laugh he had me on tender hooks. There were so many character duos that I loved in this book.

Kathryn please please take us back to these again.

A Little Christmas Charm is everything you want in a festive read and more so much so I went straight into Costa and got a Gingerbread latte….this has really got me in the mood for the festive season even though I’m as stressed as the next person in regards to spending – as ever we probably all spend too much but I love making people’s day.

Do make sure you check out the rest of this truly fabulous tour for one of my most favourite authors.

Purchase Link 

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Christmas-Charm-Choc-Lit-ebook/dp/B07GNL7VN8

Author Bio – 

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero. 

With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

Social Media Links – 

Website:  http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KathrynFreeman1

For your chance to win a paperback copy of A Little Christmas Faith which was Kathryn’s offering last year click the link below and GOOD LUCK!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494161/?

Massive thanks to Rachel for organising this festive tour of one of my favourites and what a gorgeous story it was.

2018, Blog Tour, Cover Reveal

Cover Reveal: What Are You Like By Shelley Day

Happy Monday I’m back to work, have my headphones in listening to my main man on Magic as I walk into work. It’s been an enlightening and crazy week away studying – don’t get me wrong I Have coursework to be doing this week and practice so it’s to be another crazy one. Plus I also have to factor in payday madness to get organised for Christmas as well as those boring bills.

Enough about me today I am pleased to share a cover reveal thanks to the lovely Kelly at Love Books Group. Kelly is one of those bloggers who manages to empower others so when I can help her out I’m pleased to be on service.

Without further ado here is the cover.

For me this cover is simple and effective it would definitely make me reach to read the blurb so here it is.

Blurb: These stories ask us: what are you like? Watch the characters grapple with what life throws at them, never quite sinking under the weight of it all. Shelley Day’s stories explore what we can’t quite grasp. They celebrate the uncertainties of language. The settings here are exquisitely imagined no-man’s-lands- at once strange yet oddly familiar. Here are worlds where the improbable becomes possible: a mother finds herself living on a library shelf, a diner finds words sliding from his menu into nothingness, a psychiatrist cracks up in front of his patient, and there’s a stain on the wall that won’t stop spreading. These extraordinary stories take us to the psychological hinterlands that make us who we are. What are you like? Do you know the answer?

Bio: Shelley Day is an award-winning writer, a European totally opposed to Brexit, a Geordie lass, a lapsed lawyer and academic psychologist. She was named as an Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature ‘emerging writer’ in 2013 and has since appeared at numerous literary festivals. Her debut novel The Confession of Stella Moon (Saraband, 2016) won the Andrea Badenoch Prize and was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize. In 2015 she won a Northern Writer’s Award to support this debut short story collection. Represented by Jenny Brown.

Kelly thank you for including me in this cover reveal this sounds like a truly fantastic book.

 

2018, Author Love, Blog Tour

Guest Post: Finding Jess Blog Tour By Julia Ibbotson

Today I’m pleased to share with you a truly gorgeous guest post by Julia Ibbotson….so without further ado…..

Location Ghana, West Africa

My latest novel, published this summer, Finding Jess, http://mybook.to/FindingJess the third of the Drumbeats trilogy, is set in Ghana (West Africa) and starts with: “Outside, the sun is beating down pitilessly, that sweet-sour stink of rotten meat and putrefying vegetables in the open drains at the side of the road. Yes, she knows that intense heat, that smell, the sound of the kpanlogo djembe and the donde, those kente-clad mammies, from all those years before …”

Jess is haunted by her experiences in Ghana when she was an 18 year old on a gap year, the basis of the first of the trilogy, Drumbeats, http://myBook.to/Drumbeatstrilogy where she is fascinated as a girl in 1965, by the whole idea of Africa: she looks around her in wonderment: “The streets were incredibly noisy, smelly, and bustling with people calling out to each other across the streets, jostling Jess. Swarms of little boys were again surrounding her, pushing at her for attention. The hot thick air stank of rotting vegetables, spices, melting tarmac. Jess pressed herself against the safety of the wall as plump women swathed in bright Ghanaian cloth swept haughtily past her. Their babies swaddled on their backs blinked passively at her with glassy eyes and long black eyelashes. Shallow platters piled high with tomatoes and mangoes were balanced on turban-bound heads, as the women made their way gracefully up and down the dusty streets, taking no notice of the foul open drains and the begging children around their feet.”

Ever since I spent time working in Ghana, I’ve been driven by the desire to write about this fascinating country. As a writer, I like to create stories set in a particular time and location, as those are the books I love to read myself, such as Dinah Jefferies’s far eastern novels and Kate Mosse’s Languedoc series. Wonderfully evocative!

I try to use all the senses to make the reader feel as though they are actually there, to make it as vivid as possible. I was therefore thrilled to have reviews that said: “beautifully written, conjuring up the colour and culture of the country”, and “feel the searing heat of Ghana burning off the pages.” How lovely! Then I had: “It’s a brilliantly crafted book where sights, sounds and even smells of the Ghanaian way of life are conjured up quite vividly… details … woven so well into the fabric of the story it becomes an essential part of the read” and even “Julia Ibbotson’s descriptions of Ghana instantly transport the reader there… It is very clear that the author has spent some time in Ghana as her knowledge of the country and its political strife is extensive. I love the symbolism of the drums throughout the book, making it so atmospheric.”

Many thanks to those readers, whoever they are! If my readers can feel the location too, I’ve done my job OK.

Drumbeats: http://myBook.to/Drumbeatstrilogy

Walking in the Rain: http://myBook.to/WalkingintheRainDrumbeatstrilogy

Finding Jess: http://mybook.to/FindingJess

All my books are available on Amazon, in ebook and paperback editions:

http://Author.to/JuliaIbbotsonauthor

But do check out my other sites:

Author website: https://juliaibbotsonauthor.com/

Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/JuliaIbbotsonauthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JuliaIbbotson

Pinterest page: includes boards with pics and images that inspired each book

http://pinterest.com/juliai1/

Goodreads author page:  https://www.goodreads.com/juliaibbotson

Thank you Kelly, what a gorgeous guest post that I’ve been able to read alongside my Beanies coffee.

2018, Blog Tour

Blog Tour: Blood White and Blue By James Silvester

I’m so sorry I had two content slots and a review that should have been posted up yesterday and this one was sadly forgotten so without further ado here is the extract that I’m hosting. Though she had only intended to be out for an hour, several more had passed before she had put the key in her lock and begun the unfairly tortuous climb up the stairs to her flat. She had left Della still in top form, throwing back shots and chatting up waiters and waitresses alike, but while her new friend appeared able to weather the storms of excessive alcohol consumption, Lucie knew her body well enough to know she needed at least some sleep if she were to make it to the airport with the clear head she always needed to travel.

She awoke with the entirely expected but always unwelcome dry mouth and unsettled stomach, thanking The Lord in her morning prayers for at least sparing her the chore of packing, having not yet emptied her bag from her unexpected move. Eschewing her typical shower and barely rubbing her toothbrush against her teeth, lest it trigger another round of the pounding in her head which had failed to endear itself to her moments before, Lucie settled for a quick basin wash and a good dose of deodorant. Likewise, she reasoned that a change of underwear was not yet essential and certainly not worth the nausea inducing neuralgia it would provoke. Keeping her neck as immobile as possible she dressed herself in jeans and patterned shirt, texted for a cab and made her way slowly downstairs.

After having directed the cabbie through the drive thru window of the nearest fast food venue and having swiftly consumed something vaguely egg flavoured atop something else the talking box into which she had placed her order insisted to be sausage, Lucie began to re-join humanity. The cab driver was friendly enough and sufficiently worldly-wise to understand Lucie’s delicate state and so kept his cheery banter to a minimum, rightly expecting that the size of his tip would correlate significantly with the brevity of his conversation.

The car eventually swept into Heathrow and after suitably rewarding the driver for his understanding, she made her way into the terminal and through to the Departure lounge. Lucie took her time, still not wanting to aggravate the debilitating ache across her eyes with excessive movement, all too reluctant this morning to bear the punishment of a body whose warnings she had ignored the night before.

Walking too slowly to politely avoid the grim faced and despondent newspaper vendor, she took the proffered free copy and slipped it into her bag while she searched the terminal for the increased rarity of a coffee large and strong enough to satiate her, but which would not require a mortgage application and three forms of ID to procure. Finally locating something on the more modest side of overpriced, Lucie squeezed between the bickering couples and drunken groups to perch herself on a wooden stool beside the border rail, from where she could view the departure boards and observe the multitudes as they dashed from here to

there, desperate to embark on what, depending what provision the far from secure ‘Brexit Deal’ made for airspace agreements, could be their last foreign trips for some time. Taking a sip from the scalding coffee, she pulled out the freebie paper and grimaced, immediately regretting her decision.

There they were, lined up between the pages, pontificating on the economic downturn that was beginning to bite and leaving readers in no doubt which people – or groups of people – were to blame. Quotes were fired like inflammatory bullets, as though those speaking them were engaged in some hateful competition, the winner of which would be crowned undisputed champion and defender of the ‘Will of the People’, whatever that was interpreted to be that month, with all who defied them forever condemned as traitors and enemies to be vilified and loathed.

Lucie scanned their comments, which variously within the same article condemned immigrants for laziness and benefit dependency, while taking jobs away from the indigenous population and pressurising emergency services, despite the NHS relying on them to function. One particularly fatuous remark sought to blame certain communities for wasting police time by insisting on reporting hate crimes against them. The ignorance did little to ease Lucie’s hangover and she was about to toss the paper to one side when she turned the page and her eyes were drawn to a picture of the man she was flying to meet, Sir Geoffrey Hartnell MP.

The picture took up a good portion of the page’s top half and was accompanied by a ‘humorous’ feature line reading ‘A Grave Affair’ and a few reams of text, short on minutiae but knowledgeable enough to sketch an outline of the bizarre scenario. The infamous Alexander Huxley – a man thought to be dead – had threatened Hartnell’s life and with the popular MP about to fly to Prague on a personal mission of goodwill, was the government right to be treating this lightly?

Thank you Kelly for this slot and I’m so sorry for the delay…

2018, Author Love, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland By Heidi Swain

Better late than never I’ve been sooo excited by this gorgeous book and my oh my it did not disappoint. So without further ado.

Blurb: After calling off her engagement, Hayley, the Wynthorpe Hall housekeeper, wants nothing more than to return to her no-strings fun-loving self, avoiding any chance of future heartbreak. Little does she know, Wynbridge’s latest arrival is about to throw her plan entirely off course . . .

Moving into Wynthorpe Hall to escape the town’s gossip, Hayley finds herself immersed in the eccentric Connelly family’s festive activities as they plan to host their first ever Winter Wonderland. But Hayley isn’t the only new resident at the hall. Gabe, a friend of the Connelly’s son Jamie, has also taken up residence, moving into Gatekeeper’s Cottage, and he quickly makes an impression on Wynbridge’s reformed good-girl.

As preparations commence for the biggest event of the season, the pair find themselves drawn ever closer to one another, but unbeknownst to Hayley, Gabe, too, has a reason for turning his back on love, one that seems intent on keeping them apart.

Under the starry winter skies, will Gabe convince Hayley to open her heart again once more? And in doing so, will he convince himself? ~*~

Review: Long before I’d read a single word of any of Heidi’s books I was a fan of the lady herself. Heidi is a people person who instantly puts you at ease in her presence. Not only does she put you at ease she makes you feel like you’ve known her forever. So when her festive feel good treat came up I jumped at the chance of being on the tour. I had hoped to have read this with many a Cinnamon swirl but that didn’t happen. Just like her previous novel I ended up listening to it even though I have a paperback too which looks truly gorgeous on my shelf. It’s the second time I’ve listened to Karen Cass and I must admit I really am a fan of hers also, if you’ve read my blog before I have listened to some really good and really bad audiobooks but this sure was a hit. When a woman can have a variation of voices well that’s a win in my book.

So Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland takes readers back to Wynbridge I had hoped to have devoured last years festive treat before diving into this but in Hayley style that didn’t happen.

I am looking forward to going back to it as I was pretty taken with my namesake – Hayley is a loveable character who I was rooting for from the off. Without spoiling any finer details her life changes quite quickly and dramatically early on into this novel. I just loved how she picked herself up and realised a lot more about herself. Which is something I’ve done in my life this year also.

What I truly love about Heidi Swain’s writing is how she creates a community you wish you were a part of. The characters from Wynthorpe Hall are an eclectic mix who feel like family.

In this gorgeous Christmas tale she has also touched on loss – the festivities often have us thinking of our loved ones who are no longer with us, and Gabes story really hit home for me. It’s hard to carry on and to smile when you’re grief stricken for a loved one and I totally understand that not in the same way he did though.

A sparkling tale that will leave you reminiscing of times gone by, looking forward to the future and reaching for a pastry. Heidi Swain has it all drama, blossoming romance, villains, you name it she’s got it.

This is the second story that I’ve read of late with a Hayley she’s also not really like me but she did make me smile from head to toe. If you’re looking for a book to get lost in this Christmas look no further.

2018, Blog Tour

Blog Tour: Picking Up the Pieces By Jo Worgan

I have a number of posts that will come up today. Please bare with me but first up is Picking up the Pieces. I’m lucky to share with you an extract from Picking up the Pieces.

The book on Kate’s lap remained unread, a Nordic noir thriller that no longer held her interest. She was restless. Shadows flickered on the walls from the glare cast by the small round lamp that was nestled among the yellowing paperbacks on the bookshelf. She should really be writing up her articles, but she couldn’t concentrate. All she could think about was the phone call, and if she was being truly honest, those piercing blue eyes belonging to the new next-door neighbour.

The phone call had unnerved her, shaken her. It had taken her back to all those years ago, when she had been a different person, a completely different person to the woman she was now. She did not want to be that woman again. She had checked her phone, once Sam was safely tucked up in bed, to see if there was a number logged, but it had been blocked. That’s what really bothered her. The fact that whoever it was didn’t want her to know their identity. It had to be Jake; she couldn’t think of anyone else who it could be. But how did he get hold of her number?

Kate pulled the crocheted blanket, a mess of woollen blues, yellows and reds, that scratched her skin, further around her shoulders. She was far too tired to think straight but although exhausted, she knew that sleep would not come.

Jake, her ex-partner, the man who had made her life a living hell. It could very well be him. She thought that she had got away with it. How stupid was she? Nothing was ever that simple. After six years, she had grown complacent. She was less careful; she should never have let her guard down. Paranoia was beginning to set in. Kate had made sure that all of the windows were locked when she came home with Sam; she had checked twice. Now, she could feel the fear overcoming her once more, and she could not let it, not again. He would never again have that power over her.

No, it wasn’t Jake. It wasn’t him. Kate kept repeating this mantra to herself, in the hope that she would believe it.

It was nearly 11:00 p.m., but Kate decided to make herself a cup of tea to take up to bed with her. Tea always had the power to soothe. She was not sure why that was so. Perhaps it was the ritual of making it? Or the fact that she could drink it from a sturdy brown mug, with two teaspoons of sugar. She switched the kettle on and hunted out the teapot. Staring out of the kitchen window, she saw the trampoline bathed in shadow; it looked so forlorn in the darkness. She shook her head; she would need to fix the fence tomorrow, meaning that she would have to go to the large industrial park at the edge of town and pick up some large wood screws, or whatever they were called. It was her responsibility, the fence; it was on her side of the garden. Perhaps she could ask Matt to help? But no, Kate thought, that wouldn’t be fair. If she asked him then he would probably feel obliged to do the work, so no, she would fix it herself.

Kate heard Sam shuffling about above her in his room – he’d not yet settled. She had left him to settle himself. She would check on him in a little bit. Sometimes she found him asleep in his sensory den, lying on all the soft cushions, toys draped over his sleeping body. It was always a military operation trying to gently lift him back into bed without waking him.

The kettle beeped. Kate picked it up and poured the boiling water into her bright yellow teapot. It was one of the very first items that she had bought when she moved into the house all those years ago. She loved the colour – it was bright, cheerful, carefree. It was how she wanted to be, how she wanted to feel.

She waited for the tea to steep, the water slowly turning brown.

She thought of Matt. His eyes, his eyes were so blue. She had never seen eyes quite so blue before and they stirred something deep within her, within her soul, something that had long been buried. It would, however, take her a long time to trust another man, and anyway, she had Sam. He was her priority. He was her life now.

She picked up the teapot and sloshed the brewing tea about a bit before pouring the scalding liquid into her favourite brown tea cup. She spooned in two heaped teaspoons of sugar and then taking the cup, went up the creaky stairs to the safety and warmth of her bed. She believed that there was something quite magical about lying in a warm bed, nestled under the covers. Nobody could get you there; the outside world was miles away. Maybe these thoughts stemmed from childhood? Hiding under the bedcovers so that the bogey man couldn’t get you. Many emotions, thoughts and feelings came from those hidden recesses in the mind, locked away from childhood days gone by. Kate knew that they made us who we are.

Her thoughts then drifted to her gran, and of how she would tell Kate bedtime stories about the times when she was a little girl, growing up in the war. Kate smiled at the memory. She missed her gran.

Kate switched on the bedside light and picked up her tea. Everything was now quiet from Sam’s room. She sipped her tea,

enjoying the sweet bitter taste. She briefly closed her eyes and an image of Matt appeared. She hated to admit it, but there was an instant invisible attraction between them. But she had been so flustered, so preoccupied with finding Sam and making sure that he was safe that she knew that she had come across as rude and almost aloof. What must he have thought of her? Did he see a worried mother, or a woman who appeared cold and uncaring? Kate had no idea, she just hoped that he didn’t think that she didn’t trust him. Could he have thought that? Kate held her head in her hands, suddenly weary with it all. She felt awful now; she didn’t even thank him properly. She was just so frazzled, with the phone call and then not seeing Sam. If she hadn’t received that phone call, then things would have played out very differently. He may even have liked her.

Thank you Kelly for including me once again…