Thursday, 28 January 2016

Book tour - A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love by Linn B Halton. Extract and Giveaway!


Genre: Chick Lit
Release Date: 15 January 2016
Publisher:  Choc Lit

A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love

Life isn’t all love and cupcakes …

Katie has had her fair share of bad luck, but when she finally realises her dream of opening a bakery it seems things can only get better.

But the reality of running a business hits Katie hard and whilst her partner, Steve, tries to help she begins to sense that the situation is driving them further apart. Could Katie be set to lose her relationship and her dream job?

Then, one winter’s day, a man walks into her shop – and, in the space of that moment, the course of Katie’s life is changed.

But nobody finds happiness in the blink of an eye. Sometimes it takes two Christmases, three birthdays and a whole lot of cake to get there …

Previously released as Sweet Occasions by the author. Revised and edited by Choc Lit December 2015.



“I’m a hopeless romantic, self-confessed chocaholic, and lover of coffee. For me, life is about family, friends, and writing. Oh, and the occasional glass of White Grenache…”
An Amazon UK Top 100 best-selling author with A Cottage in the Country in November 2015, Linn’s novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award. Linn writes chick lit, women’s contemporary fiction and psychic romance for Choc Lit, Harper Impulse and Endeavour Press.

Contest Open Internationally – No Purchase necessary

1st Prize - £25 Amazon Voucher
2nd Prize – Cupcake themed Swag Bag

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Review: While I Was Waiting - Georgia Hill *GIVEAWAY*

Tired of her life in London, freelance illustrator Rachel buys the beautiful but dilapidated Clematis Cottage and sets about creating the home of her dreams. But tucked away behind the water tank in the attic and left to gather dust for decades, is an old biscuit tin containing letters, postcards and a diary. So much more than old scraps of paper, these are precious memories that tell the story of Henrietta Trenchard-Lewis, a love lost in the Great War and the girl who was left behind.

I love time slip novels, especially set in this time so I was thrilled to be able to review While I was Waiting, then discovered I had it sat on my 'to be read' list on my Kindle all along!

I fell straight into Rachel's story, about to start renovating the wonderful sounding Clematis Cottage, and feeling a little out of sorts in her new village. Moving from the anonymous atmosphere of London into village life was daunting, but she quickly discovered the huge list of perks that made up for it. The beautiful countryside, the wildlife and the sense of community to name but a few.

While renovations were taking place an old biscuit tin was found containing old letters and a journal from the turn of the 20th century. They were the previous owner of Clematis Cottage, Mrs Hetty Trenchard-Lewis, and what a story she had to tell. From being left with her maiden aunts at the huge but crumbling Delamere House, with the cousins Richard and Edward, Hetty tells of her life in the Edwardian era, the trials of growing up without her mother, about love and loss. Her tale is a fascinating one which Rachel begins to become obsessed with, as the tale is unfinished and Rachel feels a huge pull to know what eventually became of Hetty - especially as she still feels her benevolent presence around her home.

She makes friends, some a little closer than others, and slowly realises what was lacking in her life, and how to love again. 

All in all, While I Was Waiting was a really lovely and quite addictive story which I read in three long sittings! I too felt the pull to see how life had turned out for the enchanting Hetty. 

I found Rachel's character infuriating at times, and willed her not to be so stand offish and rude - especially to the lovely (and seemingly easy-on-the-eye, Gabe)! But warmed to her while observing her relationship with Stan, her gardener. An elderly widower who also felt out of place in the world.

I loved 'seeing' the house come back to life and the beautiful descriptions of Rachel's illustrations and the surrounding countryside. Being set around the year 2000 there was also a very poignant storyline about the foot and mouth epidemic that ravaged the countryside which is not easy to forget and highlights the devastating downside to country living.



I used to live in London, where I worked in the theatre. Then I got the bizarre job of teaching road safety to the U.S. navy – in Marble Arch!
A few years ago, I did an ‘Escape to the Country’. I now live in a tiny Herefordshire village, where I scandalise the neighbours by not keeping ‘country hours’ and being unable to make a decent pot of plum jam. Home is a converted Oast house (Old agricultural building used for drying hops), which I share with my two beloved spaniels, husband (also beloved) and a ghost called Zoe.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel widely, though prefer to set my novels closer to home. Perhaps more research is needed? I’ve always wanted to base a book in the Caribbean!
I am addicted to Belgian chocolate, Jane Austen and, most of all, Strictly Come Dancing.



A print copy of the book (Open Internationally)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 18 January 2016

5* Review - Wickham Hall by Cathy Bramley

Holly Swift has just landed the job of her dreams: events co-ordinator at Wickham Hall, the beautiful manor home that sits proudly at the heart of the village where she grew up. Not only does she get to organise for a living and work in stunning surroundings, but it will also put a bit of distance between Holly and her problems at home.

As Holly falls in love with the busy world of Wickham Hall - from family weddings to summer festivals, firework displays and Christmas grottos - she also finds a place in her heart for her friendly (if unusual) colleagues.

But life isn’t as easily organised as an event at Wickham Hall (and even those have their complications…). Can Holly learn to let go and live in the moment? After all, that’s when the magic happens…

The beautiful full length version - all four parts of the wonderful Wickham Hall is finally here! I loved this series from Cathy Bramley and it is a treasure to read it with no interruptions and waiting in between!

Holly Swift gets the job of her dreams as events co-ordinator at her beloved Wickham Hall, many of her happy childhood memories have been made here and it holds much sentiment to her and her mother. Secrets swiftly (no pun intended) begin to weave their way into the story and we realise all in Holly's life is not completely rosy. Her mother has a huge and crippling problem and Holly does not know who her father is, a matter which is smoothed over by her mother who by her own admission, has enough love for two parents, but it is still a nagging question in Holly's mind.

As Holly settles into life at Wickham Hall wonderfully, we get properly acquainted with the rest of the characters as well, and they're an interesting bunch, some more likeable than others. One I particularly liked was that of Benedict Fortescue, reluctant heir to the Wickham estate and Holly's boss. He lives a reasonably carefree lifestyle and running the estate is way down his list of priorities. 

The events held at Wickham Hall are described in glorious detail making you wish and feel as though you are there, I particularly loved the whole Winter Grotto part but they are all equally fab; a spring society wedding, a summer fair to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Fortescues at Wickham Hall and a drama packed firework extravaganza. 

I thoroughly enjoyed how Holly's backstory played out and eventually a happy ending was found (which is a treat in all Cathy's books) with a really poignant scene. I would adore a sequel to Wickham Hall and it would make an absolutely spellbinding series on television, move over Downton Abbey...

Anyone with an interest in the behind the scenes view of events planning and stately homes will adore this, and for those just wanting a gorgeous story to lose yourself in...this will delight, I'm sure.

A fabulous...

Cathy is also the author of the best-selling romantic comedies Ivy Lane, Appleby farm and Conditional Love. She lives in a small Nottinghamshire village with her husband, two teenage daughters and Pearl, the Cockerpoo.
Her recent career as a full-time writer of light-hearted romantic fiction has come as somewhat of a lovely surprise after spending eighteen years running her own marketing agency. However, she has always been an avid reader, hiding her book under the duvet and reading by torchlight. Luckily her husband has now bought her a Kindle with a light, so that’s the end of all that palaver.
You can get in touch with Cathy via her Facebook page or on Twitter.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

5*Review: The Queen's Choice by Anne O'Brien and GIVEAWAY!

Her children or her crown
France, 1399: The Duke of Brittany is dead and his widow, Joanna of Navarre, has inherited control of their land – a testament to her intellect, integrity and political prowess.
Then comes an unprecedented proposal from Henry IV, King of England. The price of becoming his Queen? Abandoning her homeland, leaving her children and sacrificing her independence.
Henry's hold on the crown is unsteady and war is brewing. With the constant threat of rebellion, Henry will trust no-one – not even his new Queen. Crossing the channel is a dangerous prospect. But the union between Joanna and Henry would bring the chance of a vital alliance between two proud states – if they will allow it.
One question. Two paths. A choice that will make history.

It is 1936 and Richard II, King of England's wedding day to the very young Isabella of Valois. John IV, Duke of Brittany and his wife Joanna are there. Whilst mingling with the crowd they happen upon Henry Bolingbroke, Earl of Derby and the current King's cousin with whom there is no love lost. Even though Joanna and John have a pleasant and companionable marriage, like the wedding taking place - she was an extremely young bride and there is a sizeable age difference between the couple, when she meets Henry a part of her awakens and she suddenly has feelings for him that she's never felt for a man before. 
She tries to put him and her feelings out of her mind and does not meet Henry again for another two years when he is accused of treason and bursts into their home in Brittany after being banished from England. The feelings she first developed come flooding back.
Henry later returns to England to launch an attack on Richard II, deposing him of his crown and becoming Henry IV, King of England. The Duke of Brittany has died with Joanna widowed and in control of her own lands. After what he deems a suitable period of time Henry sends a marriage proposal to Joanna who wants to accept but is warned that if she does she will lose everything: her land, her power, her fortune and her children. 
She makes the seemingly impossible decision and chooses the path of love and Henry, yet marriage and true love does not run smoothly and tensions quickly rise. Henry is filled with insecurities, and Joanna is a powerful and independent woman but untrusted as a French princess in the times when the relationship between England and France was not a happy one, a political gamble that they were trusting the unity would ease. It really highlights all the perils of the middle ages, and how different marriage was back then. 
I really enjoyed this offering from O'Brien. I have a keen interest in this period of time and I found the book historically accurate as well as being a beautifully written romance, focusing on the seldom heard of Joanna of Navarre. Living just around the corner from Bolingroke Castle also brought the book home to me.
This really is a must read for fans of historical fiction and a perfect tale to curl up and escape with.

I have a signed copy of The Queen's Choice up for grabs - Just leave a comment below to be entered into the draw! UK only please - winner will be chosen at random at 6pm 21st January 2016...

Many thanks to Sophie at ED PR for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.