Meet the Author

S.L. Grigg

To celebrate the six month anniversary of the release of Coffee Break Companion S.L.Grigg is hosting a blog tour, and you can pick up a copy of Coffee Break Companion for just 99p for the week of 28th August to 3rd September 2018. Here is the all important blurb.

6 month offer


Grab that cup of coffee (or tea if you prefer), maybe add a splash of something stronger, settle down and enjoy your break with this gripping collection of flash fiction and poetry that will send shivers down your spine. With an added bonus of a longer story at the end that will fill your lunch break. What are you waiting for? Dive in! Everything from a discovery in an Ice Cavern, to a tornado. Mermaids, and Dragons. Mystery and Horror. This collection of flash fiction and poetry has something to capture anyone’s imagination, with a final chilling thriller that will leave you gasping for air.

You can order your copy of Coffee Break Companion here.


Sharon kindly took some time out to answer some questions about how films have influenced her writing.

Let’s start with a bit about you? Where you’re from? And what you do?

Hi I’m S.L.Grigg, from Bromsgrove, England. I’m an author who self-published my first book in February 2018 – Coffee Break Companion, a dark collection of short stories and poems. When I’m not writing I work full time in the NHS and enjoy spending time with my family. I have two children. I also enjoy reading, crochet and Pilates amongst many other interests.

Do you remember the first film you saw in the cinema? Does it bring back memories I’d love to know?

The first film I remember seeing in the cinema was The Black Cauldron, I went for a friend’s birthday it was so exciting going to the cinema for the first time. I’ve not watched the film since, but I don’t think we ever forget our first trip to the cinema!

In your books do your main characters have favourite films? If not, what is your favourite film?

None of the characters in Coffee Break Companion have a favourite film, but I expect in my novels in progress there may be an opportunity to include this for a character or two. My own favourite film is The Lost Boys, it’s been my favourite since I first watched it as a pre-teen and fell in love with Corey Haim.

What about a favourite book turned film? Or a book that has been made into a film that wasn’t so good?

My favourite book turned into a film would probably be the ‘The Hunger Games’, especially the first one, although they made some changes to the story it was still well done, and I really enjoyed it, Jennifer Lawrence made a good Katniss. I also love Ready, Player One, but I feel that they made a lot more changes to the film for that one, but both were still excellent in their own rights. The worst I have seen would have to be The Snowman based on the book by Jo Nesbo, they absolutely ruined the story from the opening scene, they made the characters dull and uninteresting and it was a total waste of two hours watching, hoping it might get better – the book though was brilliant!

Do you prefer to watch the film first or read the book?

If possible, I prefer to read the book first, but sometimes I have watched a movie not knowing it was based on a book then bought the book to read after. If I had seen The Snowman before reading the book I probably wouldn’t have read it.

Who is your favourite actor/actress and why?

Favourite actress, probably Reece Witherspoon, she’s just so sweet, funny, down-to-earth but also sassy, someone you would want as a best friend, and of course she loves to read! Favourite actor, I think it would be Kiefer Sutherland, he’s played so many great roles from David in the Lost Boys, to Jack Bauer in 24, he’s in many of my favourite films.

Which movie star would you like to see playing the main character in your book?

As there are many different lead characters having so many stories in Coffee Break Companion it would be hard to chose someone for each of them, but Jess from the longer story at the end ‘Hide and Seek’ I think would be well suited to Chloë Grace Moretz (Hit-Girl in KickAss amongst other films), she has quite the knack for playing a strong, heroic lead, and Jess is definitely a kick-ass character.

How do you write? Do you plan or take it as it comes? Have a favourite place or time for writing?

Mostly I’m a pantser, I just write as it comes to me, but I am planning and outlining with my current work in progress. I write anywhere and everywhere, often inspiration will strike whilst I am out and about, so I carry a notebook everywhere, so no favourite place or time, but I do most of my writing in the lounge, curled up on the sofa with my laptop – dreaming I was somewhere else! Haha.

What are you currently working on?

As always, I have a number of pieces on the go, I’m working on the first book in a trilogy of a romance centred around cruise ship holidays. I also want to get Coffee Break Companion 2 finished.

When did you decide to write your first novel? Tell me a bit about the inspiration, process and of course the book.

I had always wanted to write a book. I started writing as a child. By the time I got around to writing Coffee Break Companion I only had two of the stories I had written when I was young left, so I had to include them in the collection. For me writing a book was never about approaching publishers, I just wanted to be able to hold a copy and say, “I wrote this”. Of course, when you do it then you want others to read it as well. The process wasn’t like most books, as I had written most of the poems and short stories already. I just decided I was going to pull them together and publish them.



This is the first published book by S.L. Grigg having previously written a popular blog on mental health, and having articles published by Mind, the mental health charity, and NHS England. Working for NHS England from a home in Bromsgrove, England, S.L Grigg lives with a partner and two adult children. S.L Grigg has studied everything from Science and Law, to Journalism and Pilates but writing has always been the greatest passion in S.L.Grigg’s life.

Sharon Grigg, who writes under the pen name S.L Grigg, made it her new year’s resolution to publish her book ‘Coffee Break Companion’ during 2018. After bouncing back from mental health problems (BPD), following the death of her husband from a brain tumour in 2009, Sharon was struck down with kidney and other health problems, believed to be linked to having the Essure sterilisation device she had implanted back in 2008. In September 2017 she underwent major surgery to have a non-functioning hydronephrotic kidney removed at the same time as a full hysterectomy to remove the essure device.

Just two months after setting her goal Sharon launched the collection of dark, short stories and poetry on Amazon. Many of the stories were written during Sharon’s battle with mental health.
41-year-old mother of two, Sharon says “For me publishing was never about, money or fame. I just wanted to be able to hold a copy of my book and say, ‘I wrote this’ and now I can.”




Make sure you stop by the other blogs taking part in the tour for more information on the Coffee Break Companion and S.L.Grigg

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Book Review

The Things We Leave Unsaid – Megan Mayfair

Today I am bringing you the touching The Things We Leave Unsaid by Megan Mayfair.


Is it the things we don’t say that haunt us the most?

Clare is anxious to start a family with adoring husband, Pete. When she takes on the seemingly simple task of obtaining her late mother’s birth certificate, she finds herself in a family history search that will challenge everything she thought she knew about her life. 

Scarred by her parents’ ill-fated marriage, Tessa lives by three rules – dating unavailable men, building her café into a food empire, and avoiding her father. However, when her carefully planned life is thrown into chaos, Tessa is forced to decide which of these rules she’s willing to break. 

As Clare and Tessa’s paths cross and their friendship grows, can they both finally unlock their family secrets in order to realise their futures?



Told from the interchanging points of view of Clare and Tessa, The Things We Leave Unsaid is a tale of three of my favourite things, good coffee, great cake, and even better friends. Although strikingly different at first glance, Clare and Tessa have a great deal in common under the surface and as they each deal with their very personal struggles in their own ways, their friendship grows.

Megan Mayfair has a warm, inviting style of writing, which brings a sensitivity to the way she tackles an array of delicate issues in this book. I have laughed and cried with her beautifully developed characters, and found myself willing each of them on to find their own definition of a happy ending.

The timing of the arrival of this book in my life was somewhat serendipitous, coming as it did at the exact time that I was witnessing the rapid decline into dementia of my beloved grandmother, to the point that when I was about three quarters of the way through the book, we were called in to the nursing home to say our goodbyes. Fortunately, this turned out to be somewhat premature. Picking this book up I did wonder if it was the right time for me to be reading it, with Tessa’s struggles with her mother being somewhat similar. However, rather than finding it difficult to read, I actually found this book to be reassuring. It made me feel a little less lost, and I will always be grateful for that.

You can buy The Things We Leave Unsaid from Amazon, here.


Megan Mayfiar

Megan Mayfair is a Melbourne-based writer who draws inspiration from her beautiful hometown and regional Victoria to create contemporary women’s fiction, containing a big dash of romance and a spoonful of family intrigue.

With a background in public relations, copywriting and higher education, Megan is passionate about words and loves to bring them to life on the page. Megan holds a Master of Arts in professional communication and is a member of Romance Writers of Australia and Writers Victoria.

Megan is married with three children, loves a good cup of coffee and believes you can never have too many scarves.






Many thanks to Megan and Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in this tour and for providing me with my copy of the book.

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Book Review

The Benevolent Dictator – Tom Trott

Having said just the other day that I don’t tend to go for books with political leanings, I am making a liar of myself today with a review for another political book, The Benevolent Dictator by Tom Trott.


Ben longs to be prime minister one day. But with no political connections, he is about to crash out of a Masters degree with no future ahead. So when by chance he becomes fast friends with a young Arab prince, and is offered a job in his government, he jumps at the chance to get on the political ladder.

Amal dreads the throne. And with Ben’s help he wants to reform his country, steering it onto a path towards democracy. But with the king’s health failing, revolutionaries in the streets, and terrorism threatening everyone, the country is ready to tear itself apart.

Alone in a hostile land, Ben must help Amal weigh what is best against what is right, making decisions that will risk his country, his family, and his life.



The Benevolent Dictator is a book that makes you question what you thought you knew about emirate states and absolute monarchies, and raises important questions around the trustworthiness of the news sources available to us in today’s world. We hear a lot about fake news appearing in the press, but never question how much of this is propaganda handed out by the ruling parties. Reading The Benevolent Dictator certainly gave me pause regarding this.

Aside from the important messages that Tom Trott includes in his book, he also creates a wonderful friendship between two men who really could not be more different from each other in so many ways, but with the same underlying ordeals. As Ben enters into Amal’s world, their cultural differences become even more apparent, but throughout this their friendship remains firm. To me this presented another vital message regarding friendship and seeing people for who they are, not where they came from.

This is a fast-paced book, with plenty of action which escalates to a dramatic conclusion, and is easy to read in one sitting. For me though, thinking about the world we live in today, it is so much more than this.


Author Website

Amazon UK


TBD - MePromoCollege5

Tom Trott was born in Brighton. He first started writing at Junior School, where he and a group of friends devised and performed comedy plays for school assemblies, much to the amusement of their fellow pupils. Since leaving school and growing up to be a big boy, he has written a short comedy play that was performed at the Theatre Royal Brighton in May 2014 as part of the Brighton Festival; he has written Daye’s Work, a television pilot for the local Brighton channel, and he has won the Empire Award (thriller category) in the 2015 New York Screenplay Contest. He is the proverbial Brighton rock, and currently lives in the city with his wife.





Many thanks to Tom and to Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on the tour, and for providing my copy of the book. Full details of the blog tour can be found below.

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Book Review

The Glass Diplomat – S.R. Wilsher

Today I am excited to be helping to kick off the blog tour for The Glass Diplomat by S.R. Wilsher. To be totally upfront, this isn’t the type of book that I would normally choose, but something in the blurb drew me in. Let’s see what you all think.


In 1973 Chile, as General Augusto Pinochet seizes power, thirteen-year-old English schoolboy Charlie Norton watches his father walk into the night and never return. Taken in by diplomat, Tomas Abrego, his life becomes intricately linked to the family.

Despite his love for the Abrego sisters, he’s unable to prevent Maria falling under the spell of a left-wing revolutionary, or Sophia from marrying the right-wing Minister of Justice.

His connection to the family is complicated by the growing impression that Tomas Abrego was somehow involved in his father’s disappearance.

As the conflict of a family divided by politics comes to a head on the night of the 1989 student riots, Charlie has to act to save the sisters from an enemy they cannot see.

The Glass Diplomat - E book Cover Final


As I said at the beginning, this is not my normal type of book at all, but something sparked my interest, and I am so glad that I read it. Spanning 45 years this is the story of one boy’s attempts to unravel the mysteries of his father’s disappearance, and of his inextricable link to the Abrego family.

I am ashamed to admit that prior to reading this book, I had little to no knowledge of Chile and it’s complicated history, but Wilsher’s writing brought the city of Santiago to life, and left me wanting to find out more for myself.

Whilst this book provides an insight to Chile under the Pinochet regime, and hints at the corruption and lies that were a part of this, it goes much deeper than this. A sense of intrigue runs through the book as Charlie struggles to come to terms with the loss of his father and to discover the extent to which, if any, Tomas Abrego was involved. At the same time, he has to deal with conflicting and confusing emotions about each of the very different Abrego women.

The characters in this book are so well-developed that you are left with no choice but to feel invested in their futures, whether wishing them well, or hoping that they get their comeuppance, celebrating their successes or their downfalls. There are areas of the book that are not easy to read, especially when you remember that there is an element of truth in them, but it feels important that these actions are not forgotten.

This book was certainly an eye-opener for me, and has cultivated an interest in an area of history that I had honestly never considered before. I know that I will be going on to read further into the Pinochet regime, the tactics used to deal with those who fought against it, and the UK’s reaction to what was happening in Chile.


Amazon UK

Amazon US

I am absolutely thrilled that I have been allowed to share an extract of this book with you all, especially as this particular extracts takes place shortly after one of my favourite parts of the book.

Charlie is 13 when his father disappears. It’s a tough age to lose a father, and his relationship with Carla Abrego is central to the narrative. Not only is he infatuated with her at that impressionable age, he grows to suspect that she and his father were having an affair before he disappeared. That it might have been a factor in the events of that night.

When they’d met at the reception a few days ago she’d appeared much older. Today, she was how he always pictured, with long hair hanging loose, and bright orange dress compensating for the gloomy house.

She beckoned him with a small wave, clutching his forearms to half pull him down and raise up to kiss him on each cheek.

“You have a bruise, Charlie?”

“Rugby,” he lied. It could easily have been an instant stand-in for a troubling tale about Raoul Encarro and Maria. Instead it had been to hide the shame. He didn’t want her to see him as a rough street brawler.

“Come and sit with me in the dining room, Charlie. The girls can have you back in a while, I want to catch up with all you’ve been up to.”

She took him through the double doors the girls had disappeared into and led him through a single door into an equally large room with a trio of sofas arranged before a French window to the rear. Evident on the walls of the surrounding buildings, the sun didn’t quite reach into the room.

“This is a lovely house, although I do miss having a proper garden.” She peered from the large room into the tiny garden, that inverse ratio of space non-city people never understand.

“Thank you for spending time with the girls. It’s important to me they have a friend in London.”

“I enjoyed it.”

“See, I told you friendships are worth working at.” He didn’t get time to agree. “How much do you remember about your father?”

“I don’t remember much of what he said. Or, I think I’ve confused and misremembered much of what he did say. I recall images more than substance. I recall the factory, and large parts of the house. I see him in the car, and in his office. Although it’s like I’m looking through a window at him.”

More than any window, he recalled peering through the car’s windscreen. He played and replayed the image of his father walking into the dark constantly, afraid one day the tape of his memory would degrade with its overplaying, and always waiting for the horizontal interference of its loss to begin the destruction. He didn’t ruin her pleasantness with the image. Nor did he describe the emptiness of a house with only one parent to speak to, or meet in the kitchen, or watch TV with. How every day he didn’t arrive home it got worse, had grown worse in a way he’d failed to imagine it could. How, at each and every unexpected knock on the door, for the briefest flash of a moment, he believed it was him.

“What do you remember of him?” he asked instead.

“All of it.” The soft intonation and the sigh heavy with regret suggested much more than the long past loss of an old friend.

“Did you love him?” Every thought of them from then until now crystalized in the simple question. The inappropriate one he would never have asked if he hadn’t heard the heartbreak in her three words telling a story in themselves.

She nodded before she spoke. She retreated to the centre sofa, and indicated for him to follow. She didn’t speak again until he sat.

“Much of what happens to us does so in small steps. He made me smile, and then he made me laugh, and then he made me interested. Before I knew it, his next visit became all I cared about.” She turned to see if anyone else had come into the room. “And he visited more than he needed to.”

“Were you lovers?”

“We provided solace, a warm blanket in a cold world. It didn’t mean we loved our children less. But we all need the warmth to sustain us, and we did that for each other.

“I used to go to the house, before you arrived from England. I loved it there. I remember every visit. I’ve never been happier than that time. We called it our ‘impossible dream’ knew it would end one day, even though we each hoped the universe would find a way for it not to.” She placed a hand on his, a balm for the damage she might be doing.

“Jack loved you and your mother, and he would never have given the two of you up. And Tomas would never have suffered the humiliation if it had become public.

“It’s why I stayed in touch with your mother, to retain a connection to him. It’s why I asked you to stay in touch with the girls. If you were in our lives, I hoped I might occasionally catch a glimpse of him, in you. Stupid, I know. Pathetic even.” She smiled at the self-denigration. But she wasn’t ashamed by the admission. She was liberated.

Charlie avoided travelling down the path of how wrong it felt to him. He’d yet to love in such a way.

“Do you think Senor Abrego suspected?”

“He might.” She considered it. “I don’t think so.”

“But he might? Do you think it’s the reason my father disappeared?”

“Tomas never let me believe he knew. If he did find out, he kept it to himself. He would be capable of that. If the world had discovered us, he would have acted, and I’ve no doubt he would have had him killed. It’s what I’ve always feared.”

She’d told him the truth without ever saying yes to an affair, the self-preservation of keeping one step back from the brink.


The Glass Diplomat - Author Pic

It didn’t occur to me to write until I was twenty-two, prompted by reading a disappointing book by an author I’d previously liked. I wrote thirty pages of a story I abandoned because it didn’t work on any level. I moved on to a thriller about lost treasure in Central America; which I finished, but never showed to anyone. Two more went the way of the first, and I forgave the author.

After that I became more interested in people-centric stories. I also decided I needed to get some help with my writing, and studied for a degree with the OU. I chose Psychology partly because it was an easier sell to my family than Creative Writing. But mainly because it suited the changing tastes of my writing. When I look back, so many of my choices have been about my writing.

I’ve been writing all my adult life, but nine years ago I had a kidney transplant which interrupted my career, to everyone’s relief. It did mean my output increased, and I developed a work plan that sees me with two projects on the go at any one time. Although that has taken a hit in recent months as I’m currently renovating a house and getting to know my very new granddaughter.

I write for no other reason than I enjoy it deeply. I like the challenge of making a story work. I get a thrill from tinkering with the structure, of creating characters that I care about, and of manipulating a plot that unravels unpredictably, yet logically. I like to write myself into a corner and then see how I can escape. To me, writing is a puzzle I like to spend my time trying to solve.


Twitter: @srwilsher


I would like to say a massive thank you to S.R Wilsher and to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting my to take part in this book tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book. If you want yo check out the other blogs taking part in the tour, all the details are below.

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Book Review

The Gathering – Bernadette Giacomazzo

Today I am thrilled to be taking part in the Blog Blitz for Bernadette Giacomazzo’s dystopian novel, The Gathering, the first book in The Uprising Series. Thank you so much to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resource for inviting me, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

The Gatherig - 3D on cityscape


The Uprising Series tells the story of three freedom fighters and their friends in high — and low — places that come together to overthrow a vainglorious Emperor and his militaristic Cabal to restore the city, and the way of life, they once knew and loved. In The Gathering, Jamie Ryan has defected from the Cabal and has joined his former brothers-in-arms — Basile Perrinault and Kanoa Shinomura — to form a collective known as The Uprising. When an explosion leads to him crossing paths with Evanora Cunningham — a product of Jamie’s past — he discovers that The Uprising is bigger, and more important, than he thought.


What starts as one young man’s tale of drugs and debauchery as he travels around America with his rock band gets very dark very quickly. As the story jumps between “old” New York and “new” New York, you realise that the nights of wild parties in the Bowery have been replaced by martial law and severe punishment of anyone of a creative nature. US democracy has been replaced by an empirical dictatorship and harsh treatment of anyone who doesn’t fit the ideal mould.

Told from multiple points of view, you gain an insight of how people from very different walks of life react to the new world order, and uncover hints that the Emperor’s rule is perhaps not as secure as he thinks.

I have read dystopian fiction before, but this book actually felt scarily real, and it did not seem out of the way that this world could be ours before very long. There are clear comparisons between the Emperor and another current head of state who shall remain nameless, and I think this added to feeling of unease that this book gave me. If any book is designed to make you think about how we treat our fellow man, and what we are prepared to turn a blind eye to, then this is it. A very thought-provoking read indeed.

If you are tempted to try it out for yourself, here are the all important purchase links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK



The Gathering Author

With an impressive list of credentials earned over the course of two decades, Bernadette R. Giacomazzo is a multi-hyphenate in the truest sense of the word: an editor, writer, photographer, publicist, and digital marketing specialist who has demonstrated an uncanny ability to thrive in each industry with equal aplomb. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and many, many more. She served as the news editor of Go! NYC Magazine for nearly a decade, the executive editor of LatinTRENDS Magazine for five years, the eye candy editor of XXL Magazine for two years, and the editor-at-large at iOne/Zona de Sabor for two years. As a publicist, she has worked with the likes of Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his G-Unit record label, rapper Kool G. Rap, and various photographers, artists, and models. As a digital marketing specialist, Bernadette is Google Adwords certified, has an advanced knowledge of SEO, PPC, link-building, and other digital marketing techniques, and has worked for a variety of clients in the legal, medical, and real estate industries.

Based in New York City, Bernadette is the co-author of Swimming with Sharks: A Real World, How-To Guide to Success (and Failure) in the Business of Music (for the 21st Century), and the author of the forthcoming dystopian fiction series, The Uprising. She also contributed a story to the upcoming Beyonce Knowles tribute anthology, The King Bey Bible, which will be available in bookstores nationwide in the summer of 2018.







Win a paperback copy of The Gathering (Open Internationally)

The Gathering Ebook

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Winner will be asked if they prefer a paperback or a digital copy.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.



Cover Reveal: Eternal Seas by Lexi Rees

I am so excited today to be able to reveal to you the stunning cover for Eternal Seas by Lexi Rees. I am thrilled to also tell you that the author herself will be staging something of a blog takeover later on in the year.  Anyway, enough chat, let’s get back to the reason we are all here. Here comes the blurb:


Such a small parcel shouldn’t cause experienced smugglers much trouble, but this parcel is far from normal. Lost and scared after a violent storm, Finn and his sister, Aria, take shelter on a remote island. They discover the parcel contains a relic belonging to a long forgotten people. Locked inside are powers which will change their lives, and the world, forever. As Finn realises his connection to the relic, a vision strikes him – but what does it mean? Who should they trust? And if they decide to follow their hearts rather than their orders, will they manage to deliver the relic in one piece? Chased across the seas as they try to solve the mysteries within the parcel, the fate of this ancient people depends on them. Finn and Aria must choose between what is right and what is easy – and time is running out … With brave protagonists and life lessons of courage and honour, Eternal Seas speaks from a `flawed’ character perspective that everyone can relate to. Young readers who enjoy daring plots and exciting adventures will delight in this original story of different races and tough choices.

Eternal Seas is released on 28th September, but you can pre-order your copy right here. Before you join the stampede though, have a little look at the cover. I think we can all agree that this is one book worth judging by it’s cover.

Eternal Seas cover


Lorraine-16 Lexi Rees spends as much time as possible sailing and horse riding, both of which she does spectacularly badly. Attempts at writing whilst horse riding have been disastrous, so Eternal Seas was written on a boat; the storm described in the book was frighteningly real.




Eternal Seas

Book Review

Wunderkids (Part One: Wildwood Academy – Jacqueline Silvester

I have another great book for you today. If you like YA, with a little bit of mystery and intrigue thrown in, you can’t go too far wrong with Wunderkids (Part One: Wildwood Academy) by Jacqueline Silvester.



15-year-old Nikka is invited to attend Wildwood Academy, a prestigious but secret boarding school for talented youth located deep in the Californian mountains. Once there, Nikka quickly falls in love with her bizarre classes, the jaw-dropping scenery and… two very different boys.

However, Wildwood Academy has a dark and twisted secret, one that could cost Nikka the one thing she had never imagined she could lose, the one thing that money can’t buy. It is this very thing that Wildwood Academy was created to steal.

Nikka can stay and lose everything, or she can risk death and run.


As a Harry Potter fan, any book featuring a mysterious boarding school hidden away from prying eyes is a must read for me. When you add welcome snacks of elderflower lemonade and mint macaroons to the equation, I am packing my bags and enrolling myself!

Although all the standard YA components are present in Wunderkids, the clueless young girl entering a world she knows next to nothing about, the potential love triangle, the bitchy rival student, Jacqueline Silvester’s writing is such that there is no feeling of triteness in the story. The characters, whether students, teachers or townies, are all so well developed that you are drawn deep into their world with no choice but to tag along for the ride.

Jacqueline weaves a delicate web of secrets and lies, and in a place where even the school nurse has something to hide, it becomes impossible to know who is a friend or an enemy, or even what is real or fake.

Keep an eye out for the Halloween party – discos were never like that where I went to school!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and can’t wait for the next part to be released. Without wishing to give anything away, this first instalment ends in the perfect way to keep you hanging with baited breath for the sequel.



Jacqueline has had a colourful and dual life thus far; she’s lived in a refugee camp in Sweden, a castle in France, a village in Germany, and spent her formative years in between Los Angeles, London and New York. As a result, she speaks four languages. Jacqueline has a Bachelors in English Literature from the University Of Massachusetts, and a Masters in Screenwriting from Royal Holloway, University Of London. After graduating she wrote her first novel and began writing cartoon screenplays. The two years she spent in an arts boarding school in the woods have inspired the particular world described in her debut novel Wunderkids. She lives in London with her husband, her excessive YA collection and a hyper husky named Laika.

Wunderkids has been translated into a number of languages and featured in Vogue magazine!

Book Review

The Promise – Michelle Vernal

I am reviewing the charming novel The Promise by Michelle Vernal today. As always, before I share my thoughts, here is the all important blurb.


The Promise Cover

Two women from different generations brought together by another’s wrongdoing.

When British backpacker, Isabel Stark happens across a car accident on a lonely stretch of road in the South Island of New Zealand her life changes forever. The sole passenger, Ginny Havelock asks her to make a promise before she passes away—to find Constance and to say she’s sorry.

Isabel’s a lost soul who’s been drifting through life unsure of where she fits, and the promise she made in New Zealand haunts her upon her return to the United Kingdom. Her only clue as to finding Constance lies within a conversation held at Ginny’s funeral. It takes her to the Isle of Wight.

In the 1940’s sixteen-year-old Constance’s life on her island is sheltered until the death of her brother; Ted brings the reality of war crashing down around her. He leaves behind his pregnant young widow Ginny. When Constance meets a handsome Canadian Airforce man, she’s eager to escape her grief and be swept up by first love. It’s a love which has ramifications she could never envisage.  

When Isabel and Constance’s paths finally cross will Ginny’s last words be enough for Constance to make peace with her past? And in fulfilling her promise will Isabel find a place she can call home?


I was initially drawn to this book by the fact that is located largely on the Isle of Wight. It was lovely to read something set in a place where I spent many happy holidays myself. Michelle Vernal’s writing really brought the island to life and brought back many childhood memories. It has made me really want to go back over to the island, and if you haven’t already been, believe me, you will want to after reading this.

The Promise begins in New Zealand with Isabel approaching the end of a period spent travelling, and follows her as she struggles to adjust and find her place in the world when she returns to the UK. I found Isabel to be a really relatable character – although I have never died my hair green, I found myself empathising with someone who took a while to find their calling.

Part two of the book takes you back in time to World War Two, and shows an island ravaged by the effects of war. I am ashamed to say that it had never occurred to me just how badly affected the Isle of Wight was by the war, but it makes sense when you think about it with its proximity to Portsmouth with its huge Naval presence. Reading about Constance as a young woman was my favourite part of the book, seeing her grow up faster than she should, and setting the scene for the devastating secret that Ginny had kept all her life, and which had taken her away from Constance and the island.

The final part of the book brings Isabel’s and Constance’s stories together, and shows how peace and happiness can be found in the most unusual friendships. I loved how the small Ryde community gathered together to become a family for two lost souls.

The inclusion of the natural remedies taken from Constance’s recipe book that divided the parts of the novel was a really nice touch and tied the book together beautifully.

The Promise is a sweet story, which is both heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measure.

If The Promise takes your fancy, you can purchase it from Amazon here:

Amazon UK



Michelle Vernal is a Harper Collins author who loves a happy ending. She lives with her husband, their two boys and a needy three-legged black cat in Christchurch, New Zealand. She’s partial to a glass of wine, loves a cheese scone and has recently taken up yoga—a sight to behold indeed. She is a freelance writer for a Canterbury lifestyle magazine who is currently working on her seventh novel. Michelle’s a firm believer in happy endings, and all of her stories are written with humour and warmth.





Thanks to Michelle and to Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the blog tour, and for providing me with my copy of the book. You can find details of all the other blogs taking part below.

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Book Review

Oh Crumbs – Kathryn Freeman

Today is my stop on the Oh Crumbs blog tour. Before I let you know my thoughts on this book, here is the blurb. Keep reading all the way down for a fab giveaway at the bottom.

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Sometimes life just takes the biscuit …
Abby Spencer knows she can come across as an airhead – she talks too much and is a bit of a klutz – but there’s more to her than that. Though she sacrificed her career to help raise her sisters, a job interview at biscuit company Crumbs could finally be her chance to shine. That’s until she hurries in late wearing a shirt covered in rusk crumbs, courtesy of her baby nephew, and trips over her handbag. 

Managing director Douglas Faulkner isn’t sure what to make of Abby Spencer with her Bambi eyes, tousled hair and ability to say more in the half-hour interview than he manages in a day. All he knows is she’s a breath of fresh air and could bring a new lease of life to the stale corporate world of Crumbs. To his life too, if he’d let her. 

But Doug’s harbouring a secret. He’s not the man she thinks he is. 


This is book is a lovely, light read, just perfect for these long, hot summer evenings we are having at the moment.

After the death of their mother, Abby Spencer is forced to grow up quickly in order to look after her four very different younger sisters. Despite this, Abby never loses her spirit, and although she has to make a number of sacrifices whilst the girls grow up, she remains warm, and cheerful, and open. This is in stark contrast to Doug, who is reserved, closed off, and desperately unhappy. I don’t think it is too spoilery to say that when these conflicting personalities meet, sparks fly instantly. However, as this book goes to show, nothing in life is ever simple.

Abby’s chaotic, noisy, welcoming family, with single mum Mandy, sensible, organised Sally, sweet, caring Holly, and precocious Ellie (and not forgetting Pat the Dog) couldn’t be more different to Doug’s cold, unfeeling parents, with both families proving that money doesn’t equal happiness.

When reading this book, it was impossible not to fall in love with each and every one of the Spencer girls (although speaking as an only child, I suspect I would struggle to live in their manic household). My heart went out to Doug, with his life controlled by secrets and fear of letting anybody get too close.

If you are looking for a book to enjoy on your summer holiday, I would definitely recommend giving this one a try.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK



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.

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Win a paperback copy of Too Damn Nice by Kathryn Freeman (Open Internationally)

Giveaway Prize - Too Damn Nice

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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I would like to say a massive thank you to Kathryn Freeman, and to Rachel’s Random Resources for enabling me to take part in this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book. Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour.


Cover Reveal: Dating Down by Diane Louise

Today is the big reveal of the cover for Dating Down, the new romantic comedy from Diane Louise. Here is what it is all about, before  show you the cover itself.

Dating Down Teaser - Three Choices


Suddenly single and unexpectedly poor, it’s definitely safe to say that Alexis Harland is not living the life of her dreams.

Although she’s determined that nothing, not one little thing, will stop her return from poverty. Well, almost nothing. Her pride might get in the way a little. And possibly her family. And maybe the fact that she hasn’t got a clue where to start.

Many years ago, Alexis was swept away from life on a caravan park and introduced to a world of riches and glamour. All thanks to a wealthy man who married her, reinvented her… and then dumped her for a younger model at the first sign of cellulite.

Now Alexis is stranded, struggling to keep her head above water and her history a secret from her highbrow friends.

As if that isn’t enough for a woman to deal with, one night she comes home to find a sexy man has landed, quite literally, on her doorstep. A man hell-bent on testing everything Alexis thinks she knows about true happiness.

Caught between the life she knows and her blossoming love, can Alexis afford to let go of her unwavering pride, kiss her social status goodbye and accept that stepping back to square one is sometimes a huge leap forward?

So, that is the blurb, which can only mean one thing. Here comes the cover…

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Dating Down will be published on 30th August, but if you can’t wait until then and want to know when Dating Down is available for pre-order / purchase you can find out here.

Dating Down Teaser - Heavy Vibrations


Diane Louise is a dairy farmer’s wife from the UK who doesn’t know a Holstein from a Hereford.

But what she does know is how to write a funny story. Three years ago she tried to write steamy romance and sucked at it. Honestly, her stiff upper lip made her heroes more wet blankets than wet dreams. With a steely determination to avoid milking the cows, she turned her hand to Romantic Comedy and a star was born. Well, in her mind at least.

Fancy getting to know the woman behind the words?

She hangs around Facebook daily, desperately avoiding housework, and loves nothing more than chatting to fellow lovers of Romantic Comedy over at Di’s Romantic Comedy Club. Or, if you don’t do Facebook, that’s cool, because she also sends a monthly email to her readers, making sure they never miss a new release and sharing behind the scene info about her books. You can join The Monthly Club here.

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Dating Down Teaser - Box Wine