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Top Ten Tuesday – 30.04.19

For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, we are looking at inspirational or thought-provoking quotes from books. Thanks as always to That Artsy Reader Girl for the subject.

I think my choice of quotes will be a very clear indicator of my favourite genre to read, and I’m afraid I have cheated a little bit and included a couple of my absolute favourite authors more than once, because I just love their work so much. So, here goes (in no particular order):-

  1. “One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”
    ― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel
  2. “It’s important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse.”
    ― Yann Martel, Life of Pi
  3. “If you never saw the stars, candles were enough.”
    ― Maggie Stiefvater, The Dream Thieves
  4. “He made her feel like more than the sum of her parts.”
    ― Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park
  5. “When she came to write her story, she would wonder when the books and the words started to mean not just something, but everything.”
    ― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
  6. “It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them.”
    ― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince
  7. “His feelings for Adam were an oil spill; he’d let them overflow and now there wasn’t a damn place in the ocean that wouldn’t catch fire if he dropped a match.”
    ― Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven King
  8. “Many boys will bring you flowers. But someday you’ll meet a boy who will learn your favorite flower, your favorite song, your favorite sweet. And even if he is too poor to give you any of them, it won’t matter because he will have taken the time to know you as no one else does. Only that boy earns your heart.”
    ― Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows
  9. “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
    ― Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan
  10. “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
    ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

What are your favourite inspirational or thought provoking quotes from books?

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Book Review

A Little Hotel in Cornwall – Laura Briggs

Back in February, I was lucky enough to be able to take part in the cover reveal for A Little Hotel in Cornwall. Fast forward to today and it is publication day for Laura Briggs. I am delighted to be able to share my thoughts of the book with you, and would like to thank Laura, and Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part in the publication day activities, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Struggling American waitress and aspiring novelist Maisie Clark dreams of becoming a full-time writer — even though in real life she’s just lost her chance at an exclusive writer’s mentorship program that would give her novel its big break. Desperate, she decides to take a chance and ask her favourite writer, a celebrated but reclusive English novelist, to help her find a second chance. 

When she receives the author’s reply in an envelope with a Cornish postmark, Maisie decides not to take the writer’s half-hearted ‘no’ for an answer. With nothing to lose, she takes off for the author’s last known location, a beautiful hotel on Cornwall’s western coast. But when the hotel mistakes her for the latest applicant for a maid’s position, Maisie finds herself given an opportunity too good to lose … and a chance for a summer adventure far bigger than she ever imagined.

Surrounded by breathtaking Cornwall and working in an elegant hotel, Maisie’s world becomes one of secret identities, quirky friends, and unintentional mishaps — and despite reminders of past relationship disasters, a certain handsome, charming local resident Sidney Daniels has her conflicted about her heart’s desires, too. 

Will Maisie find the chance she’s been waiting for — and a possible new romance — in her perfect Cornish summer?

You can order your copy of A Little Hotel in Cornwall here.

Cover Reveal-A Little Hotel in Cornwall

REVIEW:

A Little Hotel in Cornwall is a lovely little book, and at just 130 pages it is the perfect read for an afternoon sitting in the sunshine (although as I am typing this, it is absolutely bucketing down! Welcome to the English summer!). I loved the warm conversational style of writing, which made it feel as though Maisie was sat opposite me telling me her story face to face over a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.

Cornwall is one of my favourite places in the world, and Laura really brought it’s beauty to life in her writing, and made me yearn to be back there, exploring the stunning coastline.

I adored Sidney, and would love another book so that I could get to know him and his pack of dogs better.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Briggs Author Pic

Laura Briggs is the author of several chick lit and romance stories, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, and trying new restaurants.

 

 

 

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Summer on the Italian Lakes – Lucy Coleman

I’ve got a great special offer for you all today. Summer on the Italian Lakes, by Lucy Coleman, which I reviewed earlier this year (you can read the review here) is currently on sale for just 99p.

Make sure you read all the way to the bottom for a lovely message and fab giveaway from Lucy.

BLURB:

Bestselling Brianna Middleton has won the hearts of millions of readers with her sweeping – and steamy – love stories. But the girl behind the typewriter is struggling… Not only does she have writer’s block, but she’s a world-famous romance author with zero romance in her own life.

So the opportunity to spend the summer teaching at a writer’s retreat in an idyllic villa on the shores of Lake Garda – owned by superstar author Arran Jamieson – could this be just the thing to fire up Brie’s writing – and romantic – mojo?

Brie’s sun-drenched Italian summer could be the beginning of this writer’s very own happy-ever-after…

Summer on the Italian Lakes yellow

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Summer on the Italian Lakes Author Photo

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

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GIVEAWAY:

Summer on the Italian Lakes 99p Prize

The fun part about being an author is that you get to spend your days in some wonderful locations, even if it’s virtually! But the only way to be able to sit down and really share with the readers what the experience is like, is to visit in person.

Lake Garda is a place I have visited several times over the years, and it will always be one of my all-time favourite holiday destinations. Whether you fly direct or are planning a grand European tour by road – it is a dream destination.

The villa featured in Summer on the Italian Lakes is fictitious but based on a composite of two properties in which I have stayed. But the descriptions of being up in the hills and the trips taken are real-life experiences.

Italy is an overload of stimuli – everywhere you look, every breath you take in, and everything you touch, fills your heart with love for the vibrancy and warmth of this beautiful country. It’s full of passionate people – for love and life. Fiery temperaments, fabulous food and wonderful wines; flavours that literally grab you with their freshness and taste. Wonderful music and art; scenery that will make your jaw drop; beautiful architecture around which to saunter and so many hidden gems to discover.

But up in the hills where it’s quieter, it’s the perfect place to reconnect with the inner you. For me a holiday has to combine everything – lots of exciting things to experience, but also some time to relax and chill.

So, it was the perfect setting for this book and the only sadness for me, was that I didn’t get to do a research trip! I didn’t need to as all of those memories are locked inside my head, and my heart – but, oh, Italy is calling me loud and clear! If you haven’t been, please do add it to your list of must-sees and Lake Garda is the perfect place to begin.

Do you love a competition?

Hello lovely readers and bloggers!

To celebrate the price drop to 99p I will be running a competition on Twitter for one lucky person to win some goodies –  an Aria tote bag, two beautiful hand-made Italian soaps and a limited edition mug!

No purchase is necessary to join in – just RT one of my lovely blogger’s Tweets for the 99p promo including @LucyColemanAuth and #SummerOnTheItalianLakes, to take part.

If you have already read/reviewed Summer on the Italian Lakes and take a photo of it on your reading device and/or send a link to your review in your Tweet – IF YOUR NAME is the ONE drawn by the third party, I will add two signed paperbacks from my backlist to the prize!

Don’t forget to include @LucyColemanAuth and #SummerOnTheItalianLakes so we can include your Tweet in the competition. Thank you so much for dropping by and good luck!

Terms: Competition closes noon GMT 29 April 2019; international; anyone can enter; prize to be provided by the author; prize winner will be announced on Twitter by @LucyColemanAuth and on Lucy and Linn’s website (competition page) at noon on 30 April 2019 after being selected at random by a third party.

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Top Ten Tuesday – 23.04.19

It’s time for another top ten Tuesday, and today’s topic, courtesy of That Artsy Reader Girl is a look back at the first ten books that I reviewed. Now, I did review a few books here and there before I set up my little blog, but it was all a bit haphazard to be honest, so I thought I would make my top ten the first ten books that I reviewed here. Obviously I am a little bit biased, but I think this is a great list, and it actually contains some of my absolute favourite books that I have ever read, so it is great to be revisiting them. In order, from my first ever review up, here they are:-

  1. Blackbird – N D Gomes
  2. Isolation Junction – Jennifer Gilmour
  3. The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back – Sariah Wilson
  4. A Dangerous Game – Madeline Dyer
  5. The Toymakers – Robert Dinsdale
  6. The Cocktail Bar – Isabella May
  7. The Smoke Thieves – Sally Green
  8. The Songs of Us – Emma Cooper
  9. Legendary – Stephanie Garber
  10. Mary Rosie’s War – Catherine M Byrne

What was the first book that you reviewed? Can you remember your first ten?

Book Review

Eternal Seas – Lexi Rees (Audiobook)

It’s another first for me today because I am taking part in my first blog blitz for an audiobook. Thank you to Lexi and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for enabling me to take part and for providing me with my copy of the audio book.

BLURB:

Such a small parcel shouldn’t cause experienced smugglers much trouble. But, as Finn and Aria discover, this is the most dangerous delivery of their lives. Battered by storms and chased across the globe by an evil warlord, they enlist the help of a strange witch-doctor. Together, they struggle to solve the mystery while the fate of an ancient civilisation depends on them, and time is running out …

Eternal Seas is a thrilling adventure for children aged seven to twelve.

If you think that sounds interesting, why not have a look at the trailer.

Eternal Sea Audio Cover

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Audible

REVIEW:

Hopefully some of you will remember that back in October last year, I reviewed Eternal Seas, and that I was a big fan. If you need a reminder, you can read my full review of the book here. When I saw that the audiobook was having a blog blitz, I jumped at the chance to get involved.

I tend to listen to audiobooks at night when I am trying to go to sleep – if I listen during the day, I get distracted and forget to pay attention! The downside to listening at night is when you get a good one, it makes it hard to fall asleep. I always set a sleep timer so that when I do drop off, it isn’t too difficult to find my place the next night. The trouble with this book was that when the sleep timer kicked in, I was still wide awake and ended up just setting another timer so I could keep listening. The audiobook was as hard to turn off as the book was to put down when I read it.

The one thing I sometimes struggle with when listening to audiobooks is the narrator, but in this case Chris Dickins was the perfect choice – he is certainly talented when it comes to different voices. He really injected the full sense of adventure into the story, and I just felt swept along with it.

Although this is a technically a book for pre-teens, I think it would be the perfect audiobook to keep the whole family entertained on a long journey. It is action packed and full of adventure. The enthusiasm and lust for life of the main characters, Finn and Aria, really shines through and brings the book to life in a way that just grabs at your imagination.

If you are headed on a journey this summer, I whole-heartedly recommend this book for your travel entertainment – especially if you are headed off on a boat anywhere!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eteranal Seas - Lorraine-16

Lexi Rees grew up in the north of Scotland but now splits her time between London and West Sussex. She still goes back to Scotland regularly though.

Usually seen clutching a mug of coffee, she spends as much time as possible sailing and horse riding, both of which she does enthusiastically but badly.

Her first book, Eternal Seas was written on a boat; the storm described in it was frighteningly real.

If you want to find out more about Lexi, why not have a read of my interview with her, or check out her guest post where she talks about her own adventures at sea.

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Guest Posts

How I Write, My Method – Joseph Lewis

I am delighted to be hosting Joseph Lewis today, as part of the blog blitz for his book, Caught in a Web. This is one for all you writers out there as Joseph kindly stopped by to tell me all about his own writing method.

Caught in a Web 3D Facebook Image

I think every interview I’ve ever done, the question comes up, “How do you write? What is your method?” Sometimes there is a variation, “When do you find the time to write?” I’m going to tackle this topic as best I can.

First of all, for me it isn’t a matter of finding time to write. Writing is my stress release. My wife runs each morning (probably something I should do as well) and goes to Cross Fit each afternoon. Yes, she is a warrior. Me, not so much. But a long time ago, she stated to me that running is her morning cup of coffee. She said that if she didn’t run, she would be tired and sluggish all day.

 I feel the same way about writing. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing, even in my day job. I do quite a bit of “prewriting” in my head: what is this character going to say or do, how would he/she react if I place him or her in this situation.

 Then each evening after supper, I take out my trusty laptop and sit either at the kitchen table or on the sofa in the family room. The TV is on. My wife and daughter are talking, reading or watching TV. You see, I cannot write in isolation or in quiet. I need to have noise swirling around me. I can actually concentrate better. Besides, if I come to a passage that I’m not sure how I want it, I can bounce it off Kim or Hannah and see what they might say. Usually, my youngest, Emily, (senior year in college, an avid reader and a great writer in her own right) is my first set of eyes.

I always begin with what I had written the night before. It serves two purposes: 1. I can self-edit, clean up, change, add or delete what I don’t like; 2. It puts me in character and setting for what I’m about to write that night. Mostly each night, same routine. I write for at least an hour, sometimes two, and I have to say that the time flies by.

Like Kim with her running, my writing is important to me. So much so, I feel cheated when I can’t pull out the laptop to give it a go. Even now as I write this post, I’m thinking of a scene.

Stylistically, I write what I call Patterson Chapters. James Patterson uses short chapters and seldom does he end them cleanly at an “end.” Each individual chapter seems to lead directly into the next and pulls the reader along. Truly, page-turners. My writing is similar.

Two examples come to mind. I had several readers tell me that they cannot read me at night. Not so much because I scare them, though there are elements of suspense, especially in Caught in a Web (drugs, death and gangs) and the more recent, Spiral Into Darkness (serial killer with a list, but no one understands the “why” behind the list). It is because of the Patterson Chapters that keep the reader going and unable to close the book. One reviewer wrote, “If you like James Patterson, you’ll love Joseph Lewis.” That is not only flattering, but humbling at the same time.

It takes me anywhere from start to finish approximately nine months to a year to finish a book, have it edited and shopped to a publisher. Spiral Into Darkness came out this past January, but I am already three-fourths complete with the first draft of a follow-up titled, Betrayed. And, I’m using the same methods as I outlined above. It might not work for everyone, but it seems to work just fine for me.

Keep reading for the all important details about Caught in a Web.

Caught in A Web Large Cover

BLURB:

The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson.  But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.

Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives come to realize that the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon.com

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Caught in a Web J Lewis BRW Picture 10-16-17

Joseph Lewis has written five books: Caught in a Web; Taking Lives; Stolen Lives; Shattered Lives, and Splintered Lives. His sixth, Spiral into Darkness, debuts January 17, 2019 from Black Rose Writing. Lewis has been in education for 42 years and counting as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator. He is currently a high school principal and resides in Virginia with his wife, Kim, along with his daughters, Hannah and Emily. His son, Wil, is deceased.

Lewis uses his psychology and counseling background to craft his characters which helps to bring them to life. His books are topical and fresh and appeal to anyone who enjoys crime thriller fiction with grit and realism and a touch of young adult thrown in.

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Don’t forget to check out the other blogs taking part in this mini blog blitz.

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Book Review

One Last Summer – Victoria Connelly

I am taking part in the blog tour for the lovely One Last Summer by Victoria Connelly today. Many thanks to Victoria and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

They have the whole summer ahead of them. Is it enough to rekindle the friendship they once shared?

Harriet Greenleaf dreams of spending the summer in a beautiful ancient priory on the Somerset coast with her two best friends—but her dream is bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s a chance to reconnect three lives that have drifted apart; on the other, she has a devastating secret to share that will change everything between them forever.

First to arrive is Audrey—the workaholic who’s heading for a heart attack unless she slows down and makes time for herself. Then Lisa, the happy-go-lucky flirt who’s always struggled to commit to anyone—or anything. Ever the optimist, can Harriet remind them of the joy in their lives and the importance of celebrating good friendship before it’s gone?

Through the highs and lows of a long, glorious summer, these three women will rediscover what it means to be there for each other—before they face the hardest of goodbyes.

One Last Summer High Res

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

One Last Summer is a bittersweet novel in the truest sense of the word. On the one hand, spending the entire summer holidays in a beautiful house with my two best friends sounds like heaven. On the other, when you find out why this holiday is so important, then it becomes absolutely heartbreaking.

The priory where the friends stay sounds absolutely breathtaking, and the perfect escape from the stresses and strains of everyday life. To be honest, the idea of spending the summer there to just relax and read sounds like total heaven.

I fell in love with taciturn Samson and straight-talking Mrs Ryder. They say that sometimes people come in to our lives for a reason, and that certainly seemed to be the case for these two quirky characters and Harrie.

The reason behind the holiday is not an easy subject to write about, and at times the rollercoaster of emotions that the characters experience brought tears to my eyes. That said, although obviously the situation that triggered the holiday is always there in the background, this book was about more than that. It was about friendship, those true friends who it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you saw them or even spoke to them, and it doesn’t matter how different your lives and personalities have become. All that matters is that you know that if you needed them, they would come, and that is a beautiful thing.

You might want to keep the tissues and the chocolates on hand for this one as you will be laughing and crying along with the friends.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

One Last Summer - Victoria Connelly

Victoria Connelly studied English literature at Worcester University, got married in a medieval castle in the Yorkshire Dales and now lives in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a young springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens.

She is the author of two bestselling series, Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in 2008 by Ziegler Films in Germany. The Runaway Actress was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Comedy Novel award.

Ms Connelly loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden, with either a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.

Her website is http://www.victoriaconnelly.com, and readers can follow her on Twitter @VictoriaDarcy and on Instagram @VictoriaConnellyAuthor.

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