Sunday, 25 September 2016

Book Review - The Paris Secret by Karen Swan

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


Not every door should be opened . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 24 September 2016

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back Catalogue Books - Q&A with Colette Kebell



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3) Which book are you most proud of writing?

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

4) Which book was your favourite to write?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Bio

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

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

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

You could also look at her website and see what news is on there at http://www.ColetteKebell.com 
or follow her on either twitter
https://www.twitter.com/ColetteKebell  
or Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/ColetteKebellAuthor 

Purchase links:-

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

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

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


Friday, 23 September 2016

Book Review - Take a Chance on Me by Carol Wyer

Amazon UK
Title: Take A Chance on Me
Author: Carol Wyer
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 23rd September 2016
Rating: 5 Stars



A hilarious heart-warming read about friendship, taking chances and finding love, second time round. 

When Charlie’s husband leaves after ten years of marriage, her spirits hit an all-time low. She just isn’t sure how to pick herself up again. So, best friend Mercedes makes it her mission to put a spring back in Charlie’s step with the perfect bucket list. 

As Charlie bungee jumps and belly dances her way through an array of adventures, her love life also begins to look up and she’s soon enjoying a few dates as a newly single woman. She begins to realise that finding romance, might not be so hard, especially when you’ve got someone like journalist Jake who has an adorable little boy and is very easy on the eye. 

But is Jake too good to be true? As Charlie’s challenges on the bucket list get bigger, so do her questions about Jake. Should she continue to hold out for the fairy-tale? Or is it only in rom coms that dreams can come true? 

Fun with surprises along the way, is probably the best way to describe Take a Chance on Me. Really early into reading this book I realised that I was laughing, smiling and generally all around loving this story, and that if I had to review at that point, it would have been described as a fun book. Of course I then read the rest of it, and my opinion didn't change, it has fun at its heart, but it's also inspirational and there are a couple of surprising turns that the story takes. 

Two friends on News Years Eve drunkenly agree to a challenge - the have both written Carpe Diem lists (similar to bucket lists) but its been decided they will work through each others lists. Charlie can't remember what she put on hers, and Mercedes who is in charge is also in a wheelchair, so is using Charlie to live through vicariously for some of these challenges. 

For Charlie its a chance for her to face some of her biggest fears, and for her to get some of her old joie de vivre back, and being the kind hearted soul that she is, she also managed to turn it into a fund raiser for the hospital radio station she works on, by setting up Challenge Charlie! 

The challenges Charlie faces are quite varied, are thankfully feel quite different to other books featuring bucket lists. However she also has challenges in her personal life, her daughter would have been 18 this year, and her romantic life is non existent at the start, but does develop in some interesting ways. 

One my my highlights of the book were any time Charlie went over to her next door neighbour Peggy and Bert. Bert is easily one of the most entertaining and charismatic characters, he is a fantastic mimic, hates angry men, and is fabulous at sports, oh and he isn't human either! I challenge you to read scenes featuring Bert and not fail to either laugh or  if a bit more cynical, at the very least roll your eyes at what he gets up to! 

Charlie's best friend Mercedes is an inspiration, she has been through a tough time over the past few years, but she is still smiling and has a real zest for life. They are fantastic friends, and with quite contrasting personalities, that mesh well together, and she puts her all into doing the things on Charlie's original list, even if they are a bit tamer than she would have liked. 

The other venue I really need to praise is the Art Cafe, where Charlie bakes cakes and is a waitress for her day job. There are some detailed descriptions about what the Art Cafe is, what the various rooms are and it's a place that I would love to visit in real life, it sounded like a great business idea - or at least a couple of existing businesses melded together into this Art Cafe!

I could probably continue to go on and on about various aspects of this wonderful book, but I would much rather urge you to take the time to read it for yourself and make up your own minds. I really did enjoy every last second of Take a Chance on Me, and I am so excited to have discovered just how talented author Carol Wyer is for romantic comedies. She is definitely one to keep an eye on in the future. 

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

Funday Friday - Truth or Lie? Tracey Sinclair - Month 5 Week 4


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

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

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

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

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

Closing date for the fifth month is 11pm on 29th September 2016. 

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

Good morning Tracey Sinclair, please can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a freelance writer, editor and author, born in Newcastle but based in Brighton. My books include the romcom The Bridesmaid Blues and the Dark Dates/Cassandra Bick series, the latest of which is Angel Falls.
Please to meet you Tracey, who is back for another interview, after kicking off my Back Catalogue Books interview series back in July. 

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

1) What book do you wish you had written?

That changes pretty much every time I read something good, but off the top of my head: The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, Geek Love by Katherine Dunn or The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

2) Tell me about any really memorable dream or nightmare you have had

I often have vivid, narrative dreams that are like watching a film. A few years ago, when there was all that furore about the movie Natural Born Killers, I dreamt an entire version of it that scared me so much that to this day I haven’t been able to sit through the entire film!

3) What was your most memorable holiday ever?

A childhood holiday to Wales – it rained constantly but I didn’t care as I had a massive crush on one of the locals who worked at the campsite, so spent the entire time either ‘accidentally’ trying to be wherever he was, or writing bad poetry about him in my notebook! 

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

A cat – they seem to have life pretty figured out!

5) What superpower would you love to have?

If I could have a combination of teleportation and invulnerability, that would be great. 

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

Perhaps annoying is the wrong word, but my first novel was a book about a woman who tracks down and has an affair with her estranged father. So it was always slightly off-putting when people asked, ‘is that based on you?’ Um, no!

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

It isn’t any more, but as a teen I wanted to be a TV presenter and did an audition tape that I cringe to think of even now. It was the eighties so I recall my outfit being neon bright and terrifyingly heavy on the shoulder pads…

8) If you could only read one author for the rest of your life (and I’m aware that’s a very scary world), who would you choose and why?

Terry Pratchett – he’s written a lot of books, and he’s my favourite ‘go-to’ reread. 

9) Did you have an invisible friend as a child? If so, please tell me about them. 

Not invisible as such, but I did have a life size doll called Athena who was about 3 feet tall, that I used to pretend was a real friend and used to hold long, detailed conversations with. Maybe as an only child I wanted a sibling. My mum got so freaked out though that she gave it away!

10) What would your ideal pet be?

In an alternate universe where I lived in a big house with lots of space, I’d love a big, friendly dog like a collie or a husky or a lab.

11) What is your guilty pleasure when it comes to music? 

Oh, my music tastes are all cheesy and I’m not guilty about any of them! I love a good pop song and am not embarrassed about dancing round the living room to Taylor Swift or Britney Spears!

12) If you could only look at one view for the rest of eternity, what or where would you like to be to see this view?

I’d like it to be a balcony view over the ocean, ideally somewhere warm. Maybe Hawaii. 

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

I once accidentally dyed my entire body a glittery shade of blue (long story).

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

Travel. Maybe check out the view from a balcony in Hawaii…

Thank you so much Tracey, I urge you to put your audition tape onto youtube, as I bet your fans would love to see it, and while your there please also share with us all how exactly you managed to die your body glittery blue! 

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

About Tracey Sinclair

Tracey Sinclair is an author and freelance editor and writer. Her books include the romcom The Bridesmaid Blues and the Dark Dates/Cassandra Bick series. Her latest book, Angel Falls, is out now.

www.darkdates.org
@thriftygal
www.facebook.com/darkdates



The Bridesmaid Blues:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bridesmaid-Blues-Tracey-Sinclair-ebook/dp/B00M83Y3VO/


Angel Falls:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Angel-Falls-Cassandra-Bick-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B01AMOGRBY/

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Cover Reveal - April Showers and Wedding Flowers by Lindsey Paley

I am delighted to be able to reveal the new cover in Lindsey Paley's Camille Carter series, April Showers and Wedding Flowers.

This is a series I am really looking forward to reading in the future, I have the first book, and hopefully you will be seeing a lot more of the author on Rachel's Random Reads.

But without further ado, here is the beautiful cover.....



The wedding cake is baked, the champagne is on ice and the bridesmaid dress is a perfect fit. Everything is ready for Hannah and Archie's wedding at the picture-perfect church in the sleepy village of Aisford in the Lake District.

But if Camille Carter, 'Queen of Culinary Chaos', thought everything would go according to plan for a change, then she was wrong. When tragedy strikes at the Stag Party weekend there's a risk the wedding will have to be called off. 

Will Millie team up once again with irritating-but-hunky Fergus McKenzie to untangle the mystery and ensure the wedding of the year goes ahead without a hitch? Or should she leave well alone and return to her little Parisian patisserie to concentrate on her fledgling Afternoon Tea business?

April Showers and Wedding Flowers is sure to delight fans of the Camille Carter series.

April Showers and Wedding Flowers is out now and available for purchase from Amazon UK

Author bio:
Lindsey Paley is the author of contemporary romance novels and a cosy murder/mystery series set in the English Lake District. When not scribbling away in her peppermint and cream writer's retreat (shed) she loves baking cakes and indulging in a spot of Afternoon Tea with her friends where a glass of pink fizz is often the highlight. She loves walking in the countryside and is also a keen archer!

Author links:

Guest Post - Letter from Jenna Kroon to readers by Hannah Warren

A letter from main character Jenna Kroon de Coligny to the readers of “The Cottage on The Border” and “The Farm on Nieuw Land Road”

Dear reader,

Most people would call me a troubled waif, some have even gone as far as labelling me a narcissist. 

Perhaps I AM both but that’s not how I feel it myself. I’ve just had more trouble in the 22 years since I was born than I’d care to remember. My mum committed suicide when I was three years old, and I was taken in by a nice but simple and straightforward foster family. My biological dad, whom I’d never known, turned out to be one of Interpol’s a highly sought neo nazi criminals.

As my posh name may suggest I come from one of the oldest aristocratic families in Holland from my mother’s side and …well… they’re usually not the healthiest lot in the bunch: mental disorders and health issues aplenty. But they left me with at least one thing I never have to worry about: money.

The saving of me is that I have a passion: I dance. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a modern dancer and I succeeded at that. At eighteen I became the star dancer with a modern dance group in Holland. But I wanted more and am now training to become a prima ballerina in New York. Dance is all I know, all I understand and all I will ever want to do. 

The freaking thing is – however – that I have problems with eating and I get too thin and my health fails. That has happened to me on two important occasions so far and I really need to stay 110 pounds to be able to do the tough regime of training six to seven hours a day and perform in the evenings. I’m not anorectic and I have a hard time explaining that too everyone all the time. I’m really fed up with the whole eating business!

I prefer leaving the labelling to professionals like my foster brother Vincent, the psychiatrist. I don’t want therapy. Dance is my therapy. I also know I’m a bit of a loner and I should socialise more. I really like Denise, the farmer at Nieuw Land Farm and her friendship is important to me. It’s the first time in my life that I actually feel close to another human being. I long to talk to her and be with her. 
And then there’s Boras Mardin, that shithead hip-hop dancer from Turkey has wriggled his way under my skin as well. I don’t know what it is we have, maybe just hormones. But I sure fancy him…in a way.

But as I started off saying: my life is never trouble-free. I’m a half sort of psychic at times and scare the hell out of myself at times. And now there’s that Michael Blithe bothering me. The old man is dead and his arrival in my life could well be a bad omen.

Whatever happens to me in book 3 “The House on Broadway”, I assure you I will be dancing. I will be dancing till the day I die.

Take care & don’t forget me,

Jenna

About Hannah Warren


Hannah Warren (Paris, Fr. 1956) is a suspense writer based in The Netherlands. When she’s not writing or thinking about writing, you can find her at the paid job at the local university translating stuff and recruiting international students, experimenting with organic food in her kitchen, stretching the old bones in Yoga or exchanging WhatsApp messages with her grown-up kids.

She loves creating complex characters (mostly women), who are faced with impossible choices in life and still they crack it, whether they perish or not. Warren writes both contemporary and historical fiction and her style can be described as old school: descriptive & character-driven.


Hannah recently joined the writer’s collective 13th Sign Publishing. Apart from publishing books, they bring out a quarterly free eZine on topics they 13 authors love: healthy living, healthy eating and great reading.


Get in touch with Hannah —


Amazon Author page - http://amzn.to/2daIzx3


Jenna's earliest memory is of her mother's feet dangling in dust motes, as a three year old left orphaned while her mother's corpse hung from a beam. Her mother committed suicide, that's how she escaped and freed herself. When her own life falls apart Jenna's earliest memory becomes her anchor, she too wants to be free. 

Vincent Van Son is Jenna's adopted brother, her psychiatrist, perhaps her only friend. He takes her to the Cottage for recovery, determined to rescue his sister from herself after her failed suicide attempt. The cottage on the border is at Oud Land, and is the location of many dark secrets. 

Jenna's close call with death leaves her open to the psychic world, and in this cottage in the onset of a misty winter, Jenna hears them, the voices of the past, memories of what happened on the border. It becomes a journey to herself. She has to listen, to witness, she has no choice. Their stories are her story, and it is a long heritage of murder, deceit, ethnic discourse and betrayal. 

Perspective returns to the introspective prima ballerina, she has learned the truth of her family, of this cottage of psychic confessions. She alone emerges from the rubble of six decades of troubled family history, a lone phoenix. 

The Cottage on The Border is a tale of murder, mystery, intrigue, familial despair, heartbreak, and spiritual resurrection. 

The Cottage on the Border is available for Free until Saturday on Amazon

Pre-order book 2 of the Jenna Kroon series The Farm on Nieuw Land Road



Jenna’s greatest passion is dance. Nothing else matters, not even her health. No one else matters, except her dog Mauritius. And yet, erratic as Jenna is, she leaves him behind in Holland to pursue a Broadway career in New York. All alone in the Big Apple, she tries to survive. 

Boras is her dance partner, but she doesn’t allow him in, and yet when she collapses, Boras is the only one close enough to save her. Jenna becomes too ill to dance and must make new choices. She must find herself, for knowing herself is the key to restoring her health, to restoring her dance career. 

On the brink of eternal despair, she returns home to the cottage on the Belgian border, a place filled with terrible memories. Also there she is alone. Not even Mauritius is there to greet her, tail wagging. 

Up the road is Nieuw Land Farm and the owner becomes Jenna’s saviour. Denise was a nurse and now breeds horses and she takes Jenna into her care, but Denise too has a past she seeks to escape. Her past will find her, in the form of her husband Carlos. 

The two women connect to lean on each other and the stories they unveil weave together to form a tale of friendship, of family, of hope and of finding strength, of new choices and ultimately of seeking a new future. 

Book Review - Green Tea Latte To Go by Aven Ellis

Amazon UK
Title: Green Tea Latte To Go
Author: Aven Ellis
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied review copy
Publisher: RJM Publishing
Publication Date: 13th September 2016
Rating: 4.5 Stars


Perfect Drink: Green tea latte with coconut milk and raw honey.

Perfect Fashion Icon: The Duchess of Cambridge. Always on point with her fashion, dressing appropriately for every occasion and not afraid to recycle things from her wardrobe, I truly admire her class and style.

Perfect Place: Seattle.

Perfect Activity for Relaxation: Yoga. I’m terrible at it, but I’m determined to perfect downward dog. Someday.

For Seattle blogger Payton James, life is all about trying to achieve perfection. Payton is determined to be her best self in all areas, and she refuses to rest until she achieves it.

However, an imperfect moment in a coffee shop completely changes Payton’s life. When her drink order gets switched by mistake, Payton finds herself face-to-face with a gorgeous British man named Brooks. Payton is instantly attracted to the witty stranger who is quick with his words—and has a beautiful smile.

Brooks is an exotic veterinarian with a huge passion for animals. Heartache in his past has led him to focusing on his career out of fear of getting hurt again. But there’s something about Payton that makes this vet want to know more about the bubbly blogger he has met via fate—and has him reconsidering his stance on love.

But will Brooks ever be free of his fears to truly open his heart? And will Payton’s drive for perfection cost her the one thing she loves most? Or will she learn to embrace imperfections?

And maybe perfect is the one thing Payton doesn’t want after all . . . 

I'm always excited when its time to read a new Aven Ellis, as she is fast becoming one of my must read instantly authors, and having just devoured Green Tea Latte To Go I was completely correct to be excited. It is what Aven does best a gorgeous story, with fantastic characters that is a joy to read. 

It took a while this time but I do at the end of this story have another new book boyfriend, this time its exotic vet Brooks. When you put a handsome man together with various cute animals, my heart can't help but melt at the imagery. He is of course for  a vet an animal lover, and his pig Angus is a a real character, but it was the lionhead rabbit that had me googling to see what unusual breed it is. 

Angus however isn't the only pig in this story, Mr Not Bacon is a star too, and what a great name for a pet pig! He belongs to Courtney who becomes Payton's exclusive concierge customer, which is what she does in addition to her blogging. Mr Not Bacon has a mind of his own, and a predilection for breakfast cereal! 

Payton strives for perfection in her life, each chapter opens with her latest aim for self improvement, however she soons learn that maybe imperfection could be better. 

However Payton's parents are not keen on her current career, and are continually finding fault in everything she does. They are the only characters I wasn't keen on, but I don't think they were meant to be that likeable! 

There are so many moments in this book where you will either find yourself saying "aww how cute" or possibly "that is one amazing man" at various moments. I also laughed out loud a various points too, as some of the antics both human and animal are just that hilarious. 

An incredibly enjoyable story, which shows very closely the slight differences between UK and USA culture and language, as well as having a delectable main man who is utterly brilliant! 

Thank you so much to Aven Ellis for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Book Review - The Lovers' Guide to Rome by Mark Lamprell

Amazon UK
Title: The Lover's Guide to Rome
Author: Mark Lamprell
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Publisher supplied review copy
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication Date: 4th August 2016
Rating: 4 Stars


This gorgeous novel set around the beautiful sights of Rome tells the story of three couples and their adventures with love in the eternal city.

Young artist Alice has come to Rome for adventure and inspiration before settling down. Is there such a thing as love at first sight and how will she know if it's happening to her?

Middle-aged Meg and Alec have come to Rome to rekindle their love affair, which has faded over the years. 
Constance and Lizzie are here to scatter the ashes of Constance's beloved husband, Lizzie's brother Henry.

Rome will play a part in the lives of all these characters to make sure they find the happiness they deserve.

I was pleasantly surprised by by book, first when it appeared through my letter box without any prior warning, and secondly when I started to read it, and found I was enjoying it. The mention of Rome in the title was enough to interest me, as I love books set in a good location, and this one doesn't disappoint. 

The location details are brilliant, it really does feel a bit like a whistle stop travel guide to Rome, as you pass various large monuments. But the brilliance is in the little details, the smaller off the beaten track side to Rome, that you won't see in a travel brochure but shows how the city can present itself to all manner of people. 

It's a story featuring three main focal storylines, and as the novel progresses you can see how the stories could so easily converge through coincidence if nothing else, but through circumstance, they continue on as they are. 

The is a God like narrator to this book, which initially I thought would be off putting, but i soon grew to enjoy the voice that it gives to the book, and certainly gives the writer a distinctive style. This narrator is almost like a fate, and it seems to control the lives of people in Rome, in mysterious ways. 

Keep track of all little details that are revealed during the book, as pretty much anything insignificant could turn out to be very important, especially with hindsight! 

It is a book of three love stories, showing the different stages of a love affair through them, you have the first rush of love, when you are a bit uncertain, Alice's story, you have married life where you know each other perhaps a bit too well, Meg and Alec's story, and then there is the love that continues to prosper even after your partner has passed away, which is Constance's story. 

The Lovers' Guide to Rome is a book that works on many levels, on the surface it could be regarded as travel fiction, and yet the more you think about the book, the more larger questions will come to the surface about life, which is pretty impressive. 

I really enjoyed The Lovers' Guide to Rome with its amusing incidents as well as the more dangerous incidents that occurred, and am really glad that I had this opportunity to read this book. 

I would like to thank the all seeing power that narrates the book, for clearly being the one in charge of sending me The Lover's Guide to Rome, I would also like to thank the publisher for the review copy and assure you that this is my honest opinion. 
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