Challenge Participant


Monday, 21 August 2017

Blog Tour - The Big Dreams Beach Hotel by

Today I am excited to welcome to my blog, to celebrate the publication of her novel, The Big Dreams Beach Hotel.

A heartwarming, cosy romance from Sunday Times bestselling author Michele Gorman, now writing as Lilly Bartlett Wriggle your toes in the sand and feel the warm breeze on your face when you check into the hotel that's full of dreams... Three years after ditching her career in New York City, Rosie never thought she'd still be managing the quaint faded Victorian hotel in her seaside hometown. What's worse, the hotel's new owners are turning it into a copy of their Florida properties. Flamingos and all. Cultures are clashing and the hotel's residents stand in the way of the developers' plans. The hotel is both their home and their family. That's going to make Rory's job difficult when he arrives to enforce the changes. And Rosie isn't exactly on his side, even though it's the chance to finally restart her career. Rory might be charming, but he's still there to evict her friends. How can she follow her dreams if it means ending everyone else's?
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers 
ISBN: 9780008226626 

I have been given the first page of this novel to share with my blog readers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have ...................................

New York is where I fell head over heels for a bloke named Chuck. I know: Chuck. But don’t judge him just because he sounds like he should be sipping ice-cream floats at the drive-in or starring in the homecoming football game. Rah rah, sis boom bah, yay, Chuck!

Believe me, I didn’t plan for a Chuck in my life. But that’s how it happens, isn’t it? One minute you’ve got plans for your career and a future that doesn’t involve the inconvenience of being in love, and the next you’re floating around in full dozy-mare mode.

I won’t lie to you. When Chuck walked into our hotel reception one afternoon in late October, it wasn’t love at first sight. It was lust.

Be still, my fluttering nethers.

Talk about unprofessional. I could hardly focus on what he was saying. Something about organising Christmas parties.

‘To be honest, I don’t really know what I’m doing,’ he confided as he leaned against the reception desk. His face was uncomfortably close to mine, but by then I’d lived in New York for eighteen months. I was used to American space invaders. They’re not being rude, just friendly. And Chuck was definitely friendly.

‘I only started my job about a month ago,’ he told me. ‘It’s my first big assignment, so I really can’t fuck it up. Sorry, I mean mess it up.’ His blue (so dark blue) eyes bore into mine. ‘I’m hoping someone here can help me.’

It took all my willpower not to spring over the desk to his aid. Not that I’m at all athletic. I’d probably have torn my dress, climbed awkwardly over and landed face-first at his feet.

Keep him talking, I thought, so that I could keep staring. He looked quintessentially American, with his square jawline and big straight teeth and air of confidence, even though he’d just confessed to being hopeless at his new job. His brown hair wasn’t too long but also wasn’t too short, wavy and artfully messed up with gel, and his neatly trimmed stubble made me think of lazy Sunday mornings in bed.

See what I mean? Lust.

‘I noticed you on my way back from Starbucks,’ he said.

At first, I thought he meant he’d noticed me. That made me glance in the big mirror on the pillar behind him, where I could just see my reflection from where I was standing. At five-foot four, I was boob-height behind the desk in the gunmetal-grey fitted dress uniform all the front-desk staff had to wear. My wavy dark-red hair was as neat as it ever got. I flashed myself a reflected smile just to check my teeth. Of course, I couldn’t see any detail from where I stood. Only my big horsy mouth. Mum says giant teeth make my face interesting. I think I look a bit like one of the Muppets.

‘Do you have the space for a big party?’ he said. ‘For around four hundred people?’

He didn’t mean he’d noticed me; only the hotel. ‘We’ve got the Grand Ballroom and the whole top floor, which used to be the restaurant and bar. I think it’s even prettier than the ballroom, but it depends on your style and your budget and what you want to do with it.’

Based on his smile, you’d have thought I’d just told him we’d found a donor kidney for his operation. ‘I’ve been looking online, but there are too many choices,’ he said. ‘Plus, my company expects the world.’ He grimaced. ‘They didn’t like the hotel they used last year, or the year before that. I’m in over my head, to be honest. I think I need a guiding hand.’

Thank you to Lily Barnett and Harper Impulse for sharing this extract with me and inviting me to take part in this blog tour. 

Monday, 14 August 2017

Blog Tour - Escape to Willow Cottage by Bella Osborne

Today I am pleased to welcome Bella Osborne to my blog to celebrate the publication of her latest novel 'Escape to Willow Cottage'. 

Escape to Willow Cottage - Willow Cottage Series (Paperback)The Escape to Willow Cottage was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package. A cosy and heartwarming seasonal romance, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley. Beth is running away. With her young son Leo to protect, Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Overlooking the village green in a beautiful Cotswolds idyll, Beth sees a warm, caring and safe place for little Leo. When she finally uncovers the cottage from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree, Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for and the locals are more than a little eccentric! A chance encounter with gruff Jack, who appears to be the only male in the village under thirty, leaves the two of them at odds but it's not long before Beth realises that Jack has hidden talents that could help her repair more than just Willow Cottage. Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose... Escape to Willow Cottage was originally digitally published as a four-part serial under the title Willow Cottage. This is the complete story.
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers 
ISBN: 9780008181024 

I have really enjoyed 'Escape to Willow Cottage'. It it is great read for enjoying on a sun lounger this summer. I live near the Cotswolds and so it was great to read a book set in an area where I could picture the scene. The story is a really enjoyable to read and although on the surface it may appear to be a nice gentle read, there is a darker story underneath which I am sure some readers will identify with. There is a great cast of characters. Beth is a strong women who has faced a knock to her confidence and arrives at Willow Cottage having bought it unseen and as she renovates the cottage, her life also begins to regrow. Carly is also a great character, along with her partner, Fergus who is deaf. I can imagine him as a really cheeky chap who brings life to any occasion. 

The publishers have provided me with an extract from the novel. Carly is Beth's friend who is still living in London. She lives with Fergus and wants to take their relationship to the next stage and get married by Fergus does not appear to be on the same page ...........

Carly loved Fergus, there was no question about it, but some of the things she loved about him were also the things that drove her slightly crackers. As she opened the front door she could hear him chattering excitedly in his playroom. That was what she called their spare room; he grandly referred to their converted second bedroom as his office but, seeing as all he did was play computer games all day, she thought her label was far more appropriate. She pushed on the door so it opened a fraction. It went quiet inside and he popped his head round the door in greeting.

Hiya, C. Good day?’ he asked, his game controller clutched between his thighs and his uncombed dark hair falling across his face.

Youve not got dressed. Carly puffed out her cheeks.

Fergus looked down at his Minecraft lounge trousers and grinned. ‘I have, I was wearing Batman ones this morning. The door shut behind him. Every day was a pyjama day to Fergus – how he managed to pay his share of the bills into the joint account each month Carly had no idea. He had tried to explain how it worked a couple of times but, whilst she did use the Internet occasionally, she didnt really get it and it still baffled her how he got paid for playing childrens games.

She pouted at the shut door and listened to him gabbling on to himself like a total loon. His own grandmothers phrase popped into her head, recited in her broad Irish accent, Thick as manure but only half as useful.

Carly started chopping vegetables for a stir-fry and found the action quite therapeutic, although the more she chopped and sliced the more disgruntled she became. It was Wednesday night and she always saw Beth on a Wednesday night; it was takeaway and natter night, a chance to have a night off from signing and give her aching wrists a rest. That had all changed now that Beth had gone.

The flats door entry buzzer interrupted her thoughts. She put down the knife and went to see who it was. There was a hunched figure on the screen.
Carly pressed the button to speak. Yeah?’ Carly, its Nick. Can I come up?’

Carly felt her heart start to race. No, you bloody well cant. Sod off. She leaned across the hallway and opened the playroom door. Fergus looked irritated at first until she pointed at the screen to show Nicks face peering at them in black and white.
Come on, Carly. Elizabeth has blown this all out of proportion. I want to fix things but I cant if she wont take my calls.

Carly felt the need to shout, Out of proportion! You shit, you hit her!’
Carly, this is between me and Elizabeth. Tell me where she is. I just want to know shes all right.

I dont know where she is, she lied, but she is fine now shes away from you.

Whats he saying?’ asked Fergus and Carly relayed the conversation. Tell him to feck off, said Fergus.

‘Ive tried that. You go down and see him.

‘Dressed like this?’

Carly shrugged; perhaps he would now see the benefits of getting dressed on a daily basis. She turned her attention back to Nick.

Nick, you can stand there till Christmas for all I care. Youre not coming in and I’ll never tell you where she is even if I knew. She put down the entryphone. Nick stood and stared at the screen for a bit. She watched as he tried the door a couple of times and pressed the button again. Carly ignored it. Nick leaned on the button.

Carly swore and then answered. ‘I’ll call the police.

‘I need to speak to her. Nicks voice had a harsh tone to it now.

Never going to happen.

‘I will find her. I guarantee it,’ warned Nick as he stared into the monitor. Carly watched him, her heart racing. He gave the door one last try and then walked away.

Fergus hugged Carly. You okay?’

No, not really. Beth said hed come looking for her. I think

Im starting to understand why shes run so far away.

Thank you to the publishers, Avon, and Bella Osborne for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for sending me an exclusive extract of this fantastic novel.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Blog Tour - The House by Simon Lelic

The House: The brilliantly tense and terrifying thriller with a shocking twist - whose story do you believe? (Paperback)THE PERFECT COUPLE. THE PERFECT HOUSE. THE PERFECT CRIME.The heart-stopping thriller about a husband and wife who are hiding something from each other, and from you...This book won't let you go until you've found out the truth. Perfect for fans of Erin Kelly, Gillian Flynn and Fiona Barton. Whose story do YOU believe?Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it. So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.Because someone has just been murdered outside their back door. And now the police are watching them.THIS STORY IS THEIR CHANCE... TO PROVE THEY'RE INNOCENT. OR TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd 
ISBN: 9780241296547 

Once or twice a year a novel is released which stays with the reader for a long time. There is a book which has a great storyline, the characters from within who get under the reader's skin and can not be forgotten and this is one of those books for 2017.
It has a hard hitting storyline, one which includes child abuse but it should not be shied away from because of this. The author, SImon Lelic, is renowned for writing books with controversial and thought provoking story lines and his books are high in charts, with readers enjoying his style of writing and content.
I really liked that there are two narrators of the story and that much of the story is told through memories by Sydney and Jack, who are writing their stories for each other. I really found the beginning of the book addictive and felt the scene was set for the rest of the book. There was an increasing spookiness and this continued throughout the book.  The suspense was a great aspect of the book and although I don't usually like spooky storylines this one captured my attention to the very end.

Thank you to the publishers, Penguin,  for sending me the book to review and inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.