Notting Hill in the Snow by Jules Wake #BookReview #BlogTour (@Juleswake) @0neMoreChapter_ @RaRaResources @NetGalley #RachelsRandomResources #NetGalley #NottingHillInTheSnow

Notting Hill In The Snow

Delighted to be one of the blogs opening up this tour for the new book by one of my favourite authors today, Notting Hill in the Snow by Jules Wake. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting to me on to the tour and to the publisher for my copy of the book, received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

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It’s mayhem in Bethlehem…unless they can work together!

Viola Smith plays the viola in an orchestra (yes really!), but this year she’s been asked to stretch her musical talents to organising Notting Hill’s local nativity.

Nate Williams isn’t looking forward to Christmas but as his small daughter, Grace, has the starring role in the show, he’s forced to stop being a Grinch and volunteer with Viola.

With the sparks between them hotter than the chestnuts roasting in Portobello market, Nate and Viola can’t deny their feelings. And as the snow starts to fall over London, they find themselves trapped together in more ways than one…

Apologies for posting this a little late in the day but a combination of an Irish road trip, a flat iPad battery and unreliable hotel Wi-fi have led to this situation and I hope it is a case of better late than never.

This book is a follow up to Covent Garden in the Snow insofar as it has some of the same characters, but it is a whole new story with the focus on a new set of main characters and is easily read as a standalone book. However, you should definitely use this new book to catch up on the previous one which is a great book and one of my favourite Christmas reads of the past few years.

Did this sequel live up to the previous book? Did it ever, and then some. This is an absolutely perfect Christmas story with a cast of warm and wonderful characters, a gorgeous wintry setting and an enticing story line to hold it all together.

Oddly, following on from yesterday’s review, this book also centres around the staging of a school nativity play. This time we are following the story of Viola, a musician at the London Metropolitan Opera Company who is tasked with helping out a a school as a favour to a patron. Viola could do without the added stress at a busy time of year when she has work and the demands of her own, rather inconsiderate family, to deal with. However, working alongside handsome and charming lawyer Nate takes some of the sting out of it and when you throw in some cute kiddies, Viola finds herself losing her heart in more ways than one.

Jules Wake’s writing is as approachable and engrossing as ever in this book and the story really held my attention all the way through. Jules has created a character in Viola who immediately steals the heart of the reader and draws us to her side and into her story from the first page. The situation she finds herself in with Nate and Grace really moved me, and was such a relevant and contemporary scenario, totally relatable to so many people, I was captivated from start to finish.

This is a rewarding and charming festive story that repaid the time that I invested in reading it. It left me feeling moved and warmed and satisfied. Fans of this author will not be disappointed and anyone new to her books will have the delightful prospect of catching up on her back catalogue. Lucky things.

Notting Hill in the Snow is out as an ebook now and in paperback on 12 December and you can buy a copy here.

Make sure you follow the rest of the tour as detailed below:

Notting Hill in the Snow Full Tour Banner

About the Author

Jules Wake (2)

Jules Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands and not so luxury brands. This proved fabulous training for writing novels as it provided her with the opportunity to hone her writing and creative skills penning copy on a vast range of subjects from pig farming and watches, sunglasses and skincare through to beer and stationery.  

She writes best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for One More Chapter as Jules Wake and under her pen name Julie Caplin, she writes the Romantic Escapes series.  

Between them, the two Js have written twelve novels, Notting Hill in the Snow being the latest. 

Connect with Jules:

Website: http://www.juleswake.co.uk

Facebook: Jules Wake

Twitter: @Juleswake

Instagram: @juleswakeauthor

Friday Night Drinks with…. Florence Keeling @KeelingFlorence @LilyMaeWalters1 @CrimsonCloakPub #FridayNightDrinks #FictionCafeWriters

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Tonight I am delighted to be joined for Friday Night Drinks  by author and fellow Fiction Cafe Writer…..Florence Keeling.

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(Another camera shy guest again this week!)

Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

I have recently discovered Parma violet gin, with lemonade rather than tonic…it has to be lemonade as tonic spoils the taste of the gin. I also found cherry Bakewell vodka last week…delicious.

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If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

There’s nothing like a country pub. I’d take you round the corner to a beautiful little restaurant/bar in the middle of nowhere with a huge open fire.

Oh, you’d love my local! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

The Queen would be top of my list but I suspect it would be afternoon tea rather than a pint down the pub. And I’d love to sit down with Henry 8th, he’d have some fabulous stories to tell.

I suspect the Queen enjoys a cheeky sherry! So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I’m currently working on my children’s stories under the name of Lily Mae Walters before returning to my women’s fiction novels.
There are two series… Josie James is currently on its third of a five- book series and Brittle’s Academy for the Magically Unstable is brand new.
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I’d love for them both to be read worldwide and loved by thousands  of children.

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

My proudest moment so far has happened very recently. I’ve been asked to open a new school library as a children’s author and I’m absolutely thrilled.
My biggest challenge is balancing my writing with my work. I have three jobs and find it hard to sit down and physically write.

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

My greatest ambition is to be able to write full time and to make a living from it. I have so many stories and characters whirling around in my head that I want to share with the world.

What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

I’m currently planning a series of romance books…real feel good love stories…Pedals and Prosecco, Cocktails and Cadillacs are just two of the titles.

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

I’m not fond of flying, in fact I’m absolutely terrified. We’ve flown a few times as a family but I’d have to say that you can’t beat the good old British seaside. If I’m near the sea, I’m happy.
I’d love to visit Venice and the Pyramids one day, they are definitely on the bucket list.

I’ve been to Venice, but I’d love to go back. The Pyramids are definitely on my bucket list too. Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

I share a birthday of April Fools Day with my great grandmother Florence Keeling, this is why I use her name as my pen name. My children’s author name is a mixture of all my grandparents names. Lily for Lilian, Mae for Marjorie and both my grandads had Walter as a first or second name.

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

You have to read The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I love historical fiction especially the Tudor era and she just writes as if she was there at the time and saw the events for herself.

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This chance for us Howards comes once in a century…

1521. Henry VIII rules over a fashionable court alive with pageant and celebration, the lack of a son his only threat. When young Mary Boleyn arrives at court, she becomes his new mistress, an unwitting pawn in the ambitions of the powerful Boleyn and Howard families.

As Henry’s interest begins to wane, the Boleyns scheme to put forward Mary’s sister, Anne. Yet Anne Boleyn, newly returned from the French court, won’t agree to be Henry’s mistress, only his wife.

Pitting the king’s desperation for an heir against the advice of his powerful advisors, Wolsey and Cromwell, what follows will change the course of a country’s history.

Great choice. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

I’m not a big drinker and have only ever been drunk once in my life…but I’ve always been told that you must drink a glass of water before bed and then a fry up in the morning.

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

After our night out, a lovely walk in the country with my two dogs followed by a huge carvery lunch with all the trimmings and jam roly poly for pudding.

Florence, thank you so much for joining me, it has been a wonderful evening.

Florence Keeling is the author of two women’s fiction  novels, Winter’s Gift and Reflected Destinies. 

As Lily Mae Walters, she is the author of Josie James & the Teardrops of Summer and Josie James & the Velvet Knife and the upcoming Brittle’s Academy for the Magically Unstable.

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You can read my review of Josie James and the Teardrops of Summer here.

Florence Keeling/Lily Mae Walters chose her pen name in honour of her beloved grandparents who also star in the Josie James series. She is married with two teenage children, and two huskies that are the inspiration behind Murphy and Asher in the books. Florence lives in Nuneaton, England and finds herself using local  places and even her old school in her stories. Family and friends mean the world to her and many will find themselves popping up throughout the series. Lily Mae also writes for adults under the name of Florence Keeling. You can find Florence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Please join me next week for Friday Night Drinks with blogger Sandra from BookLoverWorm.

One Christmas Star by Mandy Baggot #BookReview #BlogTour (@mandybaggot) @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books @VickyJoss1 @NetGalley #NetGalley #OneChristmasStar #Christmas

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Emily Parker is set to have the worst Christmas ever!

Her flatmate’s moved out, she’s closed her heart to love and she’s been put in charge of the school original Christmas show – with zero musical ability.

Disgraced superstar, Ray Stone is in desperate need of a quick PR turnaround. Waking up from a drunken stupor to a class of ten-year-olds snapping pics and Emily looking at him was not what he had in mind.

Ray needs Emily’s help to delete the photos, and she needs his with the show. As they learn to work together they may just open their hearts to more than a second chance…

Delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour for the new Christmas book by Mandy Baggot, One Christmas Star. My thanks to Vicky Joss at Aria for inviting me to take part, and for my digital copy of the book received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

It’s no secret that I love a book by Mandy Baggot. Her writing is so approachable and comforting that I defy any fan of romantic fiction not to be charmed by her books.

That being said, this one stands out as being something particularly special. Much as I am a huge fan of romance novels and will fight to the (metaphorical) death its many ill-informed detractors, even I sometimes find Christmas romance books a little twee. Not this one. Despite the fact it contained all the usual elements readers expect to find in a book of this genre, this one felt a bit different. It really crept under my skin and into my heart and I was totally enchanted by it.

I have been trying to put my finger on exactly what it was about this book that made it particularly stand out. I thought it might be the central character of Emily, about whom I loved absolutely everything. She was fragile and vulnerable, but also brave and determined, as well as kind and considerate. We meet her as she has been through the mill and is dealing with a good many challenges, but still finds it in her heart to try and help people around her, for no reason other than it if the right thing to do. I think maybe I have made her sound a little sickly sweet, but that’s really not how she comes across in the book, she is not perfect but very down-to-earth and likeable.

Maybe it is the handsome heartthrob, singer Ray Stone, who has all the requisite attractions for a leading romance hero, but is oh so much more. Damaged and deeply vulnerable, he is the perfect foil for Emily and I defy any red-blooded woman not to fall in love with him. However, so far, so standard for a romance novel, so what made this one stand out?

The setting, in a wintry London in the approach to Christmas, is everything you would want and Mandy brings it to life beautifully. Emily’s job as a primary school teacher prepping the Christmas show gives us a cast of cute kiddies who provide comedy and drama and emotion in equal measure (fans of Nativity! will love this book). Emily’s parents are lively characters who create some cringe-worthy moments, and provide the perfect contrast to Ray’s more down-to-earth family. All of these elements add to the book’s appeal.

However, I think what made it extra special were the issues dealt with in the book. They are relevant, current and tricky dilemmas that are often shied away from in this genre of book, but which affect thousands of people on a daily basis and Mandy manages to weave them into the story with sensitivity, understanding and a lightness of touch that perfectly addresses the problems without making the tale too heavy for the genre but not making light of the seriousness of the issues either. It is skilful, truthful and moving and I was really impressed by how she achieves the balance.

Everything about this book comes together to make the perfect Christmas romance for people who want more than a fluffy read for the season, who are looking for a real story that will both move and entertain. I applaud the result wholeheartedly, a really rewarding and satisfying read.

One Christmas Star is out now as an ebook and will be published in paperback on 14 November and you can buy a copy here.

Do check out the rest of the blogs on the tour as detailed below:

About the Author

Mandy Baggot

Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian. Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

Connect with Mandy:

Website: http://mandybaggot.com

Facebook: Mandy Baggot Author

Twitter: @mandybaggot

Instagram: @mandybaggot

Tangled Roots by Denise D. Young #BlogTour #GuestPost (@ddyoungbooks) @RaRaResources #RachelsRandomResources #TangledRoots

Tangled Roots

I am taking my turn on the blog tour today for Tangled Roots by Denise D. Young by featuring a guest post by the author. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for my place on the tour and to the author for the guest post.

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A beautiful witch lost in time. A brooding farm boy with magic in his blood and a chip on his shoulder. Dark secrets and shadowy magic. Paranormal romance with a time slip awaits in the first book of this new series.

Cassie Gearhart casts a spell in the forest in the summer of 1974. The next thing she knows, she wakes up to find the world irrevocably changed.

It’s 2019, for one thing. For another, all of her coven members have vanished, leaving behind only one man who holds the key to their secrets.

Nick Felson has sworn off magic, until a confused Cassie knocks on his door in the middle of the night, somehow missing forty-five years’ worth of time. But Nick knows falling for the captivating witch means letting magic back into his life—and that’s one line he swore he’d never cross.

Can Cassie unravel the mystery that transported her decades into the future? And can Nick resist the powerful magic and heart-pounding passion that swirl in the air whenever he and Cassie are together?

*The Tangled Magic Series is intended for readers 18-plus who enjoy fast-paced reads, wild and witchy magic, swoon-worthy kisses, and small-town charm. The series is best read in order.

Why I Went Indie: My Journey to Being An Indie Author by Denise D. Young

In May of this year, I reached a milestone: I published my debut release, Tangled Roots, part of my Tangled Magic Series. But my writing journey, full of twists and turns, began 11 years ago.

I graduated with my master’s degree in creative writing in 2008. At that time, indie publishing was sort of this wild, newfangled notion—an experiment, really.

My first encounter with indie-authordom was with now RITA award-winning romance author, Kait Nolan. Kait’s smart, confident, no-nonsense yet approachable demeanor combined with her phenomenal writing chops were my first glimpse that indie authors could take the world by storm. That passion and determination inspired me.

But that was 2008, and I wasn’t ready. I had lessons to learn, skills to master, and confidence to gain.

I published a few short stories over the years, but I wasn’t quite ready to hit publish on my longer works. They languished in drawers as I proclaimed them in need of one last polish.

And then, in 2018, I saw indie author Sarra Cannon speak at a local RWA chapter. Her talk rekindled my fire to get my stories out into the world.

In January 2019, I made the decision official: I was going the indie author path. There’s no right or wrong path to being an author. Success can be found on many paths.

So, what led me to choose the indie author path?

First, I have the right blend of personality traits for it.

I’ve long had an entrepreneurial mindset, which I trace back to the first business I ever started: Vampires, Inc., a vampire-slaying business my brother and I co-founded when I was nine and he was eight. (Vampires, Inc. was also my first experience with the importance of market research, as we soon closed for business when unable to find a single customer in need of our services.)

I’m analytical and like to make data-driven decisions, but I also trust my intuition to help me make the final call. I’m fairly tech-savvy and enjoy learning new skills, which come in handy when learning anything from how to purchase ISBNs to Amazon keywords.

Second, I like being able to set my own production schedule and choose my own creative projects.

Like any writer, I do sometimes struggle with shiny-idea syndrome, but now that I’ve published book one of my series, I’m focused on sharing the stories of the Willow Creek Coven with readers. I want Nick, Cassie, Vivienne, Evan, Bailee, and the other characters in the series to triumph, save the day, and live happily ever after. Having Tangled Roots out there makes me that more focused on this series.

The truth is there is a lot of pressure on indie authors to write and publish extremely quickly—but not all indies publish at warp speed. (Kudos to those who do, though! Wow!) Indie authors publish at a variety of speeds, so despite the perception, there’s still plenty of space within the indie publishing world to publish at your own speed. Not, say, as slowly as a redwood grows, but at your own pace.

Third, I like being engaged at all steps of the creative and publishing process.

This might be a holdover from my magazine days, when I served as assistant editor and did everything from write feature articles to copyedit submitted materials to brainstorm cover design. I enjoy working with graphic designers, editors, and others who are part of the production process that takes a story from manuscript to published book.

Fourth, I like getting my stories into readers’ hand as quickly as possible.

There’s merit to the traditional publishing process, and I have friends who have found success beyond many writers’ wildest dreams on this path. For me, the idea of spending years from slush pile to release day felt stifling.

It’s not that I jumped too quickly into the process. Again, I’ve been writing paranormal romance since 2008. I spent over a decade learning the elements of craft, industry, and business I’d need to create a recipe for my indie author business.

I’m still only one book into this, but I know I’ve found the right path for me. People like Kait and Sarra and countless others are the trailblazers who paved the way for those of us who are just now beginning our indie-publishing journeys.

Who knows what magic awaits? As for me, I’m eager to continue sharing my Tangled Magic Series with readers, including Tangled Roots and the next book, Tangled Flames, which is coming soon!

Tangled Roots is out now and you can buy a copy here.

If you would like to read some reviews of the book and discover more fabulous content, make sure you check out the rest of the stops on the tour:

Tangled Roots Full Tour Banner

About the Author

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Equal parts bookworm, flower child, and eclectic witch, Denise D. Young writes fantasy and paranormal romance featuring witches, magic, faeries, and the occasional shifter.

Whatever the flavor of the magic, it’s always served with a brisk cup of tea–and the promise of romance varying from sweet to sensual.

She lives with her husband and their animals in the mountains of Virginia, where small towns and tall trees inspire her stories. She reads tarot cards, collects crystals, gazes at stars, and believes magic is the answer (no matter what the question was).

If you’ve ever hoped to find a book of spells in a dusty attic, if you suspect every misty forest contains a hidden portal to another realm, or if you don’t mind a little darkness before your happily-ever-after, her books might be just the thing you’ve been waiting for.

Connect with Denise:

Website: http://www.denisedyoungbooks.com

Facebook: Denise Young Writer

Twitter: @ddyoungbooks

Instagram: @deniseyoungbooks

Friday Night Drinks with…. Eva from Novel Deelights @noveldeelights @SlaughterKarin @RCArmitage @stu_turton #bookbloggers #bookblogging #amreading #FridayNightDrinks

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Exciting evening ahead which I get to spend having Friday Night Drinks with one of my absolute favourite people in the world of book blogging……Eva from Novel Deelights.

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(We’ve got a camera shy one this week!)

Eva, thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Thanks so much for inviting me, Julie! Normally I would have said Prosecco or white wine but on my latest holiday to Italy, I discovered Bellini and since that has peach juice I’m considering it to be one of my five a day so I’m going with that. Whatever you do, keep me away from limoncello. 😳

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If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

If money were no object, I’d take you to my favourite restaurant in Tuscany where they serve the best tiramisu ever. But since I don’t expect to be winning the lottery any time soon, my local one Michelin star will have to do. There is only the option of a chef’s menu but it changes on a regular basis and I do so enjoy trying new things from time to time.

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Doesn’t that look fabulous, I wish we were there right now. I absolutely love Italian food! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

My first thought for questions like these is always Karin Slaughter but then I thought of Richard Armitage who narrated the audiobook The Taking of Annie Thorne by CJ Tudor so I’d have to go wit those two and talk books. And by talk I mean possibly just listen and stare and try not to make a complete fool of myself.

Interesting choices! So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I have very little going on at the moment, which at first was a conscious decision to take a step back but is now also due to my fur baby’s poor health. I started my blog in March 2017 and it has gone places I never expected it to go. It’s been a whirlwind, a 24/7 full-time job between reading, reviewing and blogging and I needed a breather. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a lot of fun but where I want it to go is back to that place where it was a hobby instead of feeling like a job.

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Awww, gorgeous dog. I completely get where you are coming from with the blogging, sometimes we just need to go back to reading for fun! What has been your proudest moment since you started blogging and what has been your biggest challenge?

Being quoted in books I’ve reviewed is right up there. It’s such a wonderful feeling and it will never grow old. And having fellow bloggers nominate me for blogger awards. That’s also special.

The biggest challenge is most definitely trying to keep up with commitments when life gets in the way and/or you just don’t feel like picking up a book. This past year in particular has been a bit of a struggle as I seem to have gone from one reading slump to the other but I’ve not missed a single commitment or let anyone down and that’s something to be proud of too.

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I’m probably one of the least ambitious people you’ll ever meet. The one big thing I’d most like to achieve is finding a healthy balance. I’ve taken on a lot since I started, at times it’s been incredibly overwhelming and I’ve just been lucky in that I seem to thrive under pressure but I now find I quite like that I don’t have to pick up a book if I don’t want to and I can happily go and do something else without feeling guilty or stressed out.

What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

Does hibernating count? 😄 This is my least favourite time of the year. I’ve already started my countdown to Spring so I’m actually the most excited about not needing to socialise too much, being comfortable on my sofa with a nice cup of tea and a book or a tv series I want to catch up on.

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

My favourite place is Tuscany in Italy. I completely lost my heart there from the very first time we visited and the dream is to move there some day. There are a multitude of other places I’d love to go to some time but I think top of the bucket list is probably New Zealand. Even if the long flight completely puts me off.


Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

From what I’ve gathered over the time I’ve been blogging, the most surprising thing to people seems to be that I’m not English. I’ve been speaking English from a very young age, surprising my parents as neither of them spoke it. That prompted me to be absolutely convinced I was adopted. I asked them numerous times. It didn’t go down so well. I have no idea where it came from or how I picked it up but I’ve even been dreaming in English for as long as I can remember.

Wow, that’s really fascinating! Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

The first book that came to my mind is The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. Or as I like to call it “Agatha Christie on crack”. I’ve never read anything like it, or since, and while I’m not one to read a book twice, I am determined to re-read this one again some day. But also, every single book ever written by Karin Slaughter.

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Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed … Again

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

The only truly failsafe plan I know of, and apologies for the disgusting image, is to just vomit it all out before you fall into bed. Aside from that, water, water and more water. But I wouldn’t necessarily call it failsafe. That’s experience talking right there.

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

That depends on the hangover. If you didn’t follow my advice to keep me away from the limoncello, I will probably spend the day feeling absolutely sorry for myself, vowing to never drink again. If there’s no hangover, a nice lunch and maybe a boardgame. Or cards. Or a nap. 😉

Eva, it has been a joy to spend the evening with you, thank you so much for joining me on the blog.

Make sure you go and check out Eva’s delightful blog over at Novel Deelights. You can also catch up with her on Twitter and Instagram and on Goodreads.
Join me next week when I’ll be having Friday Night Drinks with author, Florence Keeling.

Let It Snow by Sue Moorcroft #BookReview #BlogTour (@SueMoorcroft) @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K @NetGalley #NetGalley #LetItSnow #Christmas

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This Christmas, the villagers of Middledip are off on a very Swiss adventure…

Family means everything to Lily Cortez and her sister Zinnia, and growing up in their non-conventional family unit, they and their two mums couldn’t have been closer.

So it’s a bolt out of the blue when Lily finds her father wasn’t the anonymous one-night stand she’d always believed – and is in fact the result of her mum’s reckless affair with a married man.

Confused, but determined to discover her true roots, Lily sets out to find the family she’s never known; an adventure that takes her from the frosted, thatched cottages of Middledip to the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, via a memorable romantic encounter along the way…

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for this wintery delight, Let It Snow by Sue Moorcroft. My thanks to Sabah Khan from Avon Books for inviting me on to the tour and for my digital copy of the book, received via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This book surprised me from the off by tackling a situation I have never seen addressed in this type of book before so I knew I was in for something a bit different from this novel from the beginning. We are thrown straight in to the extraordinary life of Lily and her start riding the wave of her unusual circumstances along with her.

Once I got past the dramatic prologue and in to the story proper, I was enchanted by the setting of Middledip and the community that centres around The Three Fishes pub. Sue has created a cast of characters that are immediately warm and enchanting people to spend time with, and it was a joy to spend time here, learning about their lives. By this point I was in love with Lily and desperately wanted things to work out for her, and was delighted when the delicious Isaac came into her orbit, but of course the path of true love never runs smooth…

The inclusion of the snowy trip to Switzerland, with carol singing and Christmas markets, gives this book the perfect Christmas flavour and made me want to jump on the first plane to Zurich in a set of sexy thermals. My favourite romance books always include a wishlist travel experience and this book did not disappoint in this respect. I defy any reader not to be yearning after Swiss chocolate and cuckoo clocks by the end of the novel.

Aside from the Christmassy flavour and the lure of armchair travel, the heart of this book is the story of love and family. The family you are born into, the family you create and the family you find in the hearts and company of the people you choose to have around you. The story is warm and enchanting, addressing some difficult and unusual topics in an approachable and sensitive way, and giving the reader that warm, fuzzy, contented feeling we have come to expect from a Sue Moorcroft novel.

The perfect book to curl up with on a cold, autumn evening and escape into for a few hours. Fans of the author and the genre will not be disappointed.

Let It Snow is out now and you can buy a copy here.

If you would like to read some alternative reviews of the book, please visit the rest of the blogs taking part in the tour:

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About the Author

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Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, an international bestselling author and has held the #1 spot in the UK Kindle chart. She writes contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes.

Sue has won a Best Romantic Read Award, received two nominations at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards and is a Katie Fforde Bursary winner. Her short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing ‘how to’ have sold around the world.

An army child, Sue was born in Germany then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a digital prepress. She’s pleased to have now wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.

Connect with Sue:

Website: Sue Moorcroft, Author

Facebook: Sue Moorcroft Author

Twitter: @SueMoorcroft

Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen Translated by David Hackston #BookReview #BlogTour (@antti_tuomainen) @countertenorist @OrendaBooks @annecater #LittleSiberia #nordicnoir #scandinoir #finland #Orentober

Little Siberia Cover

A man with dark thoughts on his mind is racing along the remote snowy roads of Hurmevaara in Finland, when there is flash in the sky and something crashes into the car. That something turns about to be a highly valuable meteorite. With euro signs lighting up the eyes of the locals, the unexpected treasure is temporarily placed in a neighbourhood museum, under the watchful eye of a priest named Joel.

But Joel has a lot more on his mind than simply protecting the riches that have apparently rained down from heaven. His wife has just revealed that she is pregnant. Unfortunately, Joel has strong reason to think the baby isn’t his.

As Joel tries to fend off repeated and bungled attempts to steal the meteorite, he must also come to terms with his own situation, and discover who the father of the baby really is.

I could not be more thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour today for Little Siberia by Antti Tuomianen. Regular readers of the blog will recall that his last book, Palm Beach Finland, was one of my Top Ten Books of 2018. (You can read my review of that book, here.) Huge thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for my coveted spot on the tour and to the author and Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Sometimes when you read a book you have to marvel at the ways people’s minds work. I just know that I could never come up with this story and you can understand why people frequently ask authors that age-old question, ‘where do you get your ideas from?’ I know it is a trite and boring enquiry, but I really would like to know where this author gets his ideas from, because this one is literally out of this world.

The story in question here being, what happens when a meteorite that might be worth a million euros hurtles to earth, lands in a remote Finnish town peopled with dubious characters who all seem to need money for a variety of nefarious reasons and lies in the town museum for four days, guarded only by the town priest, who is atypical in every way? Mayhem, that’s what.

This book is another masterpiece by Antti Tuomainen, and another book that will bear repeated reading to peel backs the layers of nuance that run through it. On the surface, this could be a straight forward thriller, with a variety of baddies battling bloodily for possession of the potentially profitable inter-planetary pebble. There is a lot of slapstick mishaps as different folk try to snatch the meteorite from one another, with varying degrees of success, which has a lot of comedic value for the reader, but beyond that, their stories are revealing about life in a remote, northern backwater where there are endless days of darkness, a claustrophobic community where little changes and everyone knows everyone’s business and we learn the different motives that drive people to commit acts they might not otherwise be able to imagine themselves doing.

The choice of narrator and ‘hero’ of the book is fascinating and a genius move. We have a priest, Joel, who would by nature of his job be at the centre of village life and privy to private information that other would not know. Ideally placed to unveil the story. Beyond this, though, Joel is no ordinary priest. He is not native to the village for a start and, as anyone who has lived in a small community knows, if you weren’t born there, you will always be an ‘incomer’ and treated slightly with suspicion. He is also no ordinary priest. He is a war veteran with the wounds, physical and emotional, to show for it. He also seems to have an unusual approach to his religion, not fervently pushing it in his parishioners, but calmly accepting their questioning of it to a degree that the reader must question how strong his own belief remains. This early line from the book marked him out as different from the early stages, “I spent half an hour reading the Bible, and the rest of the night with James Ellroy.”

So, for me, one of the themes of the book that stood out for me was the question of faith, the testing of faith, whether the committing of obviously illegal acts in the pursuit of justice is morally excusable, and where the line between good and evil really falls. Or maybe I am searching for meaning where there isn’t any and this is simply a thrilling heist story? Having read Antti’s books before, I don’t think so, there are a million ways to read this book. What do you see? Does Joel renew his faith through his trials? You’ll have to read the book and draw your own conclusions.

One of the most compelling things about this author’s writing, is the fantastic sense of place he always manages to imbue his books with, and this is no exception. The dark and bleak landscape are the perfect foil for the lives of these characters, and create the understandable environment for their discontent to blossom. The oppressive nature of being trapped in a tiny town on the edge of the world with  nowhere else to go, nothing new to experience, no-one new to meet, flows from the page to infect the reader and make the character’s behaviours, if not excusable, then at least more understandable, which is quite a feat given how unpleasant some of them are.

The characters themselves are a joy to read, as always. Aside from the Joel himself, we have a drunken discontent in the shape of the local once-famous-now-failed rally driver, two Russian henchmen (one love-lorn to add extra amusement), a femme fatale, local business owners with their own small town troubles, and the ongoing mystery of who might be the father of the infertile priest’s wife’s baby. For a small town, there is certainly a lot going on under the surface and all it took was one tiny space stone to bring it all to the surface, who knew?

This book is a tad darker than Antti’s last one, but still imbued with a vein of black humour, as well as providing a thrilling heist story and additional layers of ideas to unpeel. His books never fail to provide a read that rewards the reader above and beyond expectations.

Little Siberia is out now in e-book format and will be published in paperback on 17 October and you can get a copy here.

The book is taking an extended tour throughout October and there are many other fabulous bloggers on board so do check out their reviews:

Siberia 2019

About the Author

Antti Author Picture

Finnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011, Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. Two years later, in 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh Awards.

Connect with Antti:

Website: http://anttituomainen.com

Facebook: Antti Tuomainen Official

Twitter: @antti_tuomainen

Instagram: @anttituomainen

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