Book Review: The Book Lovers by Victoria Connelly

Happy Easter to you all. This will be an unusual on for many and on days like today, it is always good to know books are consistent companions for you to escape into.  I am pleased to share with you one of my favourite books of this year,  The Book Lovers by Victoria Connelly.

Book Review: The Book Lovers by Victoria Connelly

The Book Lovers - Victoria Connelly

The Book Lovers by Victoria Connelly

Title: The Book Lovers

Author: Victoria Connelly

Publisher: Notting Hill Press 

Release Date: 27 Aug. 2015

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Purchase: Amazon

Blurb

Author Callie Logan never expected to swap her life in London for one in rural Suffolk but, after the breakdown of her marriage, she decides that a fresh start is just what she needs. Finding Owl Cottage in the tiny village of Newton St Clare, Callie determines to give up on love and throw herself into her work. But fate seems to have other ideas and she soon has two very different men vying for her attention.

First there’s Leo who likes to live on the wild side which usually means taking his dates foraging in the local woods for their supper. Then there’s Sam Nightingale, owner of Nightingale’s bookshop. Sam, recovering from a divorce, has also vowed to embrace the single life. That is, until he meets Callie.

But is Callie willing to risk her heart again and, if she is, will she make the right choice?

The Book Lovers is the first in an exciting new series by the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and A Weekend with Mr Darcy.

My Thoughts

This book is simply wonderful and the perfect escapism for 2020. As you may know, I love books about books and book shops. This one excels itself in the passion for the written word and the physical book.

I was in heaven as I wandered the Nightgale bookshops in Castle Clare. Each one is run by a different member of the Nightgale family; all shops are unique and specialise in a different form of books. The Book Lovers focuses on the rambling second hand shop belonging to Sam Nightgale. The descriptions and small details made me believe I was there. The enthusiasm the characters had for the books they held, sniffed and adored called to me.  The author understands the mind of a book worm well. The settings alone would have kept me reading but the characters had depth, warmth and back stories that kept me captivated. I binge read the whole series in less than a week. 

Callie is an author, recovering from a painful divorce and as a novice writer, I connected with her instantly as she struggled with writer’s block, deadlines and life. The chemistry between her and Sam Nightgale grows as they bond over their love of books . The conversations between the two characters is an ode to literature and I could not help hear the voice over from the Marks and Spencer’s ads declaring in a sultry voice “This is not just a best seller, it’s a Nightingale bestseller” as they delighted over the shop’s stock.

There is a plethora of delightful, memorable characters in the town and the introduction of the extended Nightgale family prepares you for the other books in the series.  

Would I recommend?

Yes! This warm, delightful and comforting novel is pure escapism for a bibliophile.  I did not want to leave. I fell in love with Castle Clare, the shops and Sam Nightgale for his passion for books. I loved the writing and immersive story line so much, I bought the audio version to calm me on sleepless nights. This will be on my forever shelf for me to return to over and over. 

Author Biography:

 

Victoria Connelly Author Photo

Victoria Connelly

Victoria Connelly is the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and The Book Lovers series.

With over one million sales, her books have been translated into a dozen languages. The first, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in Germany. Victoria flew to Berlin to see it being made and even played a cameo role in it.

A Weekend with Mr Darcy, the first in her popular Austen Addicts series about fans of Jane Austen has sold over 100,000 copies. She is also the author of several romantic comedies including The Runaway Actress which was nominated for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Best Romantic Comedy of the Year.

Victoria was brought up in Norfolk, England before moving to Yorkshire where she got married in a medieval castle. After 11 years in London, she moved to rural Suffolk where she lives in a Georgian cottage with her artist husband, a Springer spaniel and her ex-battery hens.

She’s written about her experience of country life in three volumes of autobiography: Escape to Mulberry Cottage, A Year at Mulberry Cottage and Summer at Mulberry Cottage.

You can get a heart-warming novella, A Dog Called Hope, when you sign up for her newsletter at: victoriaconnelly.com

You can find her on Twitter @VictoriaDarcy and at facebook.com/victoriaconnelly

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources  for inviting me to this tour, a copy of the book to give my honest opinion  and introducing me to this wonderful series. 

Follow me or pop in later this week for my reviews for the rest of the series. 

Happy Easter and stay safe at home to read!

Love

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Book Review: The Tower by Anne Marie Ormsby

Reading is a great way to escape during lockdown but like many my focus is all over the place. Long heavy books remain closed on my bookcase and Kindle. For this reason I was excited to be invited on this blog tour for The Tower by Anne Marie Ormsby. The blurb drew me in as I love ghost stories and it was short.

Book Review: The Tower by Anne Marie Ormsby

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The Tower by Anne Marie Ormsby

Title: The Tower

Author: Anne Marie Ormsby

Publisher: Darkstroke

Release date: 10 Jan 2020

Blurb:

Sometimes the dead come back. And sometimes all they want is to hurt you.

When residents on an east London housing estate start dying in gruesome ways, housing manager Ada begins to worry that her past is coming back to haunt her.

Once a powerful medium, able to talk to the dead with amazing ease, she became more comfortable with the afterlife than real life, and with that openness she attracted something dark from the other side. Terrified by the experience she swore she would never communicate with the dead again.

Ten years later at the scene of an apparent suicide, her long closed-down connection to the dead is reopened, and she begins to receive information she shouldn’t know about the victims’ final moments.

Stalked in her dreams and in waking life by an angry male presence, Ada begins to relive the dark days when something from the other side wanted her to end her life.

But as the bodies stack up and the visions intensify, Ada realises that in order to stop more people from dying she has to let the dead back in to find out the truth of what is driving her residents to violent acts – and face up to her own ghosts

My Thoughts

It has been a while since I have read any books classed as horror, but the blurb caught my attention. The book cover sent shivers down my spine so I approached with caution. The action began on the first page and kept going as Ada battled with the reemergence of the ability to see ghosts and the fear that the mounting dead bodies were a sign for her. As a character she is flawed; she has issues, a tendency to drink too much and scared of commitment. These make her an ideal protagonist as you want to discover what made her that way.

The best thing about this book is the setting. Many ghost stories, including recent ones,  are set in old houses with a history, but this is set in inner city London and the condemned tower blocks speak for themselves. The details reminded me of one of the places I lived as a kid and the feeling of vulnerability is spot on.

The hauntings are creepy, and the sense of evil ramps up as the story unfolds. I loved the premise, the twists are clever and the unexpected ending made it a fulfilling ghost story.

Would I recommend?

If you fancy something different with a supernatural and slight horror edge without it being heavy, this is ideal. It was easily read in a day. I enjoyed the style and look forward to reading more from this author.

Author Biography

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Anne Marie Ormsby

On a warm day in July 1978, a mother was admitted to hospital, awaiting the arrival of her new baby. She was reading Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie and the midwives thought it a gruesome choice for an expectant mother. A story of a long forgotten murder and repressed memories. As it turned out her new baby, Anne-Marie would grow up and find herself drawn to all things macabre, and would one day herself turn out a story of murder and memories lost.

Anne Marie grew up on the Essex coast with her parents and six siblings in a house that was full of books and movies and set the scene for her lifelong love of both.

She began writing short stories when she was still at primary school after reading the book The October Country by Ray Bradbury. He was and still is her favourite author and the reason she decided at age 9 that she too would be a writer someday.

In her teens she continued to write short stories and branched out into poetry, publishing a few in her late teens. In her early twenties she began committing herself to writing a novel and wrote one by the age of 20 that she then put away, fearing it was too weird for publication.

She wrote Purgatory Hotel over several years, but again kept it aside after several rejections from publishers. Luckily for her, she found a home for her twisted tale with Crooked Cat Books.

Her favourite authors include Ray Bradbury, Jack Kerouac, Stephen King, Denis Lehane and Douglas Coupland. She also takes great inspiration from music and movies, her favourite artists being Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Johnny Cash, Interpol, David Lynch and David Fincher.

After ten years living in London, Anne-Marie moved to Margate where she lives with her husband and their daughter.

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and introducing me to a new author.

Love

Book Review: Summer in Provence by Lucy Coleman

Book Review: Summer in Provence by Lucy Coleman

 

SummerInProvenceHIRES

Summer in Provence by Lucy Coleman

 

Title: Summer in Provence

Author: Lucy Coleman

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Release date: 2nd April 2020

Blurb:

Is a change as good as a rest?

When married couple Fern and Aiden have a windfall, their reactions could not be more different. While Fern is content to pay off their mortgage and build a nest egg before starting a family, her husband is set on travelling the world.

Fern’s not much of a back-packer so, before she knows it, the idea of a ‘marriage gap year’ takes shape. And, as Aiden heads off to the wilds of Australia, Fern chooses the more restful Provence for her year out.

Set amidst the glorious French scenery, Château de Vernon offers a retreat from the hustle and bustle of normal life, and Fern agrees to help out in return for painting lessons from the owner – renowned, but rather troubled, painter Nico.

As their year unfolds in very different ways, will the time apart transform their marriage, or will it drive Fern and Aiden even further apart…

Let Lucy Coleman whisk you off on a heart-warming, sun-drenched and magical French adventure.


Purchase Link

Amazon: https://smarturl.it/SummerInProvence

My Thoughts

I started reading this the day the UK was put on lock-down, I have never been so relieved to pick up a romance novel to escape into. It did the job perfectly.  The words transported me to Provence, France. My knowledge of the area was limited but the stunning location is now firmly on my wish list places to go.  I related to Fern and her situation so felt her pain and bewilderment at finding herself on a sabbatical to learn to paint. I was eager to continue reading until the end as the tension between the characters grew.   

Would I recommend?

Yes, I have read several Lucy Coleman books  and she does not disappoint with her descriptive pose which transport you to different locations. The characters are realistic and memorable  They are ideal reads in these unprecedented times.

Author Biography

Linn 2

 

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 – including Summer on the Italian Lakes, Snowflakes over Holly Cove, The French Adventure and A Cottage in the Country. She is 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, working in the garden, or practising Tai Chi.

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

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


Social Media Links
 

Website: http://lucycolemanromance.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LucyColemanAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucyColemanauth

 

Giveaway to Win a signed paperback of ‘A Springtime to Remember’ and a Boldwood Tote bag (Open INT)*

Provence Prize

For chance to win, click here.

Thank you Rachel Random Resources and Boldwood Books for an advanced copy so I could give my honest opinion.

Where are you escaping to in these uncertain times?

Take care, stay safe and happy reading !

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

 

My Thoughts

I started reading this the day the UK was put on lockdown, I have never been so relieved to pick up a romance novel to escape into and it did the job perfectly. When I read the words I was transported to France. The setting was beutiful making ne want to experience it in reality. A group of people working together a community. Bring hope people do make a difference, a retreat from reality. 
I related to hurt and bewildered paints under the watchful eye. Tension between increases
A concept I was drawn to and a memorable time I recomnend a read.

Would I recommend?

Yes, I have read several Lucy coleman books now and she does not disapppont with her descriptive pose which transport you to different locations, realistic and memorable characters and increased tension between the main characters. These are ideal to read when most people are indoors or facing unprecedented experiences.

Thank you Rachel and for an advanced copy so I could give my honest opinion.

Where are you escaping to in these uncertain times?

Take care, stay safe and happy reading !

Love

Book Review: On a Falling Tide by Georgia Hill

Book Review: On a Falling Tide by Georgia Hill

On a Falling Tide

On a Falling Tide by Georgia Hill

Blurb:

Two women. Connected by heartbreak, separated in time. Can Charity save the man she loves, or will Lydia’s vengeful spirit prove too strong?

Two haunting love stories and a hundred and fifty-year-old curse …

When the beloved grandfather who brought her up dies, Charity is left struggling to cope. Alone and rootless, she’s drawn to the sleepy fishing village of Beaumouth near Lyme Regis and begins to research her family tree. A chance encounter with attractive boat-builder Matt sparks a chain of mysterious and unsettling events and leads Charity to uncover the story of a young girl who lived in the village over a hundred years before.

In 1863 all Lydia Pavey wants to do is follow in Mary Anning’s footsteps and become a ‘fossilist.’ Instead, she is being forced into marriage to a man she barely knows.

Charity’s obsession with Lydia becomes all-consuming and she risks losing everything. With a longed-for family tantalisingly in reach, will Charity find the happy ever after she’s yearned for and, most importantly, can she save the man she loves?

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B082334S8K (UK)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B082334S8K (US)

https://www.blkdogpublishing.com/on-a-falling-tide

My Thoughts

I was attracted to this book for two reasons- I love ghost stories and it mentioned ammonites. I live on the Yorkshire Jurassic coast and when I could I loved walking along the sea shore in the hope I would find some fossils. I was never lucky but my daughter always had the knack of finding them. We have a collection on our window sill to prove it. Lyme Regis has been on our bucket list of places to visit ever since. This novel gave me the chance to visit without leaving the duvet. The atmospheric description of the landscape of the imposing cliffs and sea brought me into the story and I did not want to stop reading until the end.

Chasity is on a sabbatical from work after the death of her grandfather and meets Matt on a fateful walk along the beach. Both characters easy to like and have depth which comes through as the story progresses. The ghostly elements are on the right side of believable adding tension and suspense as Lydia’s tale is revealed. It highlights the challenges of living in a patriarchal society when you are a head strong, independent female scientist in the making. It is an enjoyable spooky escape from reality reliving the excitement of the Victorian fossil hunters.

Author Biography

author pic (1)

Georgia Hill

Georgia Hill writes best-selling romcoms and historical fiction with romance at the heart. Although she writes in two genres, they have more in common than you might think; she puts serious issues into her romcoms and lots of humour into her historical novels. She lives by the sea in the south west of England with her two beloved dogs – a spaniel and a delinquent cockapoo puppy, her husband (also beloved and not at all delinquent) and a ghost called Zoe. She loves Jane Austen, elephants, Belgian chocolate (all donations gratefully received) and Strictly Come Dancing. Her stories come from everywhere and anything, so be careful what you tell her as you may end up in a book. She also finds inspiration in the folklore and history of the many places in which she’s lived. To put it politely, she’s had a portfolio career having worked in the theatre, for a charity and as a teacher and educational consultant before giving in and finally acknowledging that making up things was what she really wanted to do. She has a nasty addiction to moving house but is trying to overcome this. After one house move too many, she lost all her notebooks and decided to stop talking about writing and actually do some. She’s been happily creating believably flawed heroines, intriguing men and page-turning stories ever since.

Social Media Links 

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/georgiahillauthor?ref=bookmarks

Twitter

https://twitter.com/georgiawrites

Website

www.georgiahill.co.uk

Pinterest

https://www.pinterest.com/georgiawrites/

Giveaway to Win Paperbacks of On a Falling Tide and While I was Waiting. (Open to UK & Ireland)*

Giveaway Prize - ONFTWIWW

Enter here for your chance to win.

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for the chance to read this lovely spooky book to review.

Good luck and happy reading!

Love

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

Book Review: Surviving Me by Jo Johnson

Book Review: Surviving Me by Jo Johnson

 

Surviving Me Cover

Surviving Me by Jo Johnson

Title: Surviving Me

Author: Jo Johnson

Publisher: Unbound Digital

Release date: 14th Nov 2019

Genre: Fiction

Blurb:

Deceit has a certain allure when your life doesn’t match up to the ideal of what it means to be a modern man.

Tom’s lost his job and now he’s been labelled ‘spermless’. He doesn’t exactly feel like a modern man, although his double life helps. Yet when his secret identity threatens to unravel, he starts to lose the plot and comes perilously close to the edge.

All the while Adam has his own duplicity, albeit for very different reasons, reasons which will blow the family’s future out of the water.

If they can’t be honest with themselves, and everyone else, then things are going to get a whole lot more complicated.

This book tackles hard issues such as male depression, dysfunctional families and degenerative diseases in an honest, life-affirming and often humorous way. It focuses particularly on the challenges of being male in today’s world and explores how our silence on these big issues can help push men to the brink.

Purchase Links

https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/48660416-surviving-me

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Surviving-Me-Jo-Johnson/dp/1789650615

https://www.amazon.com/Surviving-Me-Jo-Johnson/dp/1789650615

My Thoughts

I loved this book but it became a difficult book to read. Not because of the writing style or plot but because I connected with Tom so deeply it made me sob and feel his despair. Only a good book can do that. Tom has his flaws but it became easy to understand how one delay in telling the truth could snowball into the nightmare of depression. This often humorous story unfolds slowly  giving you time to know the characters and care for them. The scenes in the cafe are an in-depth study of personalities and interesting to read but even though Adam and others play a role in this novel, this is predominantly Tom’s story.

It discusses many difficult topics such as fertility, depression, suicide and illness in a sensitive manner which makes it emotional and harrowing in places but it is an important read in a time when male suicide is high. It gave me an insight into the mind as it declines into mental illness and a greater understanding. This was helped by reading the male perspective rather than the usual female protagonist I have read in the past.

 Would I recommend?

Yes, it is an insightful, deep and important novel which left me emotionally drained. Tom’s voice and actions will stay with me for a long time. Have tissues with you and mentally prepare yourself for an emotional roller coaster.

Author Biography

Surviving Me - Jo Johnson PHOTO 2

Jo Johnson

I’m very excited that my debut novel ‘Surviving Me’ is due to be published on the 14 November. The novel is about male minds and what pushes a regular man to the edge. The novel combines all the themes I can write about with authenticity.

I qualified as a clinical psychologist in 1992 and initially worked with people with learning disabilities before moving into the field of neurology in 1996. I worked in the NHS until 2008 when i left to write and explore new projects.

I now work as an independent clinical psychologist in West Sussex.

Jo speaks and writes for several national neurology charities including Headway and the MS Trust. Client and family related publications include, “Talking to your kids about MS”, “My mum makes the best cakes” and “Shrinking the Smirch”.

In the last few years Jo has been offering psychological intervention using the acceptance and commitment therapeutic model (ACT) which is the most up to date version of CBT. She is now using THE ACT model in a range of organisations such as the police to help employees protect their minds in order to avoid symptoms of stress and work related burnout.

Social Media Links 

https://en-gb.facebook.com/shrinkingthesmirch/

Giveaway to Win two signed copies of Surviving Me &  five Surviving Me fridge magnets  (Open INT)*

1st Prize – 2 winners each winning a signed copy of Surviving Me

5 Runners Up – each winning a Surviving Me Fridge Magnet

Click here to enter and good luck!

Thank you Rachel Random Resources for bringing this book to my attention and giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy to review.

Stay at home if you can and stay safe.

Happy reading!

Love

Katie signature pink

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

 

 

 

 

Book Review:The Faerie Tree by Jane Cable

Today I am pleased to share with you The Faerie Tree by Jane Cable. As some of you may know, I love folklore and fairies so I was instantly intrigued by this book by the title alone. It was inspired by a real oak tree in Curbridge, Oxfordshire where locals and visitors write to and place for offerings for the faerie folk. The idea grabbed my attention and I was eager to discover more about this book.

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and the copy of The Faerie Tree so I could give my honest, unbiased review.

Book Review:The Faerie Tree by Jane Cable

The Faerie Tree Cover

The Faerie Tree by Jane Cable

Title: The Faerie Tree

Author: Jane Cable

Publisher: Matador

Release date: 16th March 2015

Genre: Fiction

Blurb:

HOW CAN A MEMORY SO VIVID BE WRONG?
In the summer of 1986 Robin and Izzie hold hands under The Faerie Tree and wish for a future together. Within hours tragedy rips their dreams apart.

In the winter of 2006, each carrying their own burden of grief, they stumble back into each other’s lives and try to create a second chance. But why are their memories of 1986 so different? And which one of them is right?

With strong themes of memory, love and grief, The Faerie Tree is a novel as gripping and unputdownable as Jane Cables first book, The Cheesemaker’s House, which won the Suspense & Crime category of The Alan Titchmarsh Shows Peoples Novelist competition. It is a story that will resonate with fans of romance, suspense, and folklore.

Purchase Link

http://viewbook.at/TheFaerieTree

My Thoughts

The fictional Faerie Tree in this novel holds the story together and the mystery surrounding Robin and Izzie first visit kept my attention throughout. I needed to know what happened and the twists in the plot kept me guessing. Robin and Izzie’s lives go in different directions and the dual time line show how their past relationship and experiences affects the one in their present day. The descriptions of the landscapes, especially Cornwall made me long to be there walking along the beach or through the woodland to give my own letter to the tree.

The use of folklore and magic is subtle and cleverly woven into the plot so if you are expecting it to be full of faeries scurrying through the countryside weaving magic then you will be disappointed, but you will not be if you are wanting an emotional read about relationships in all it’s forms – first love, marriage, friends and the bond between mother and daughter. It discusses several difficult topics, such as grief and mental health issues, and false memories in a sensitive, unique way and leaves you questioning your own memories and how they may deviate from the truth.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is a unusual gentle romance with depth and mystery. All the characters and their flaws will stay with me for a long time.

Author Biography

The Faerie Tree - Jane Cable 2019

Jane Cable

Jane Cable writes romantic fiction with the over-riding theme that the past is never dead. She published her first two books independently (the multi award winning The Cheesemaker’s House and The Faerie Tree) and is now signed by Sapere Books. Two years ago she moved to Cornwall to concentrate on her writing full time, but struggles a little in such a beautiful location. Luckily she’s discovered the joys of the plot walk.

Social Media Links

Twitter: @JaneCable
Facebook: Jane Cable, Author (https://www.facebook.com/romanticsuspensenovels/ )

Giveaway to Win PB copies of The Faerie Tree and The Cheesemaker’s House (UK Only)*

I am excited to share with you the chance to win a copy of The Faerie Tree and The Cheesemaker’s House.

Click here to enter.

Good luck!

Happy reading and stay safe.

Love

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

Rare disease day; The Realities of Vasculitis and Dystonia

10 years ago, I was hooked up to a drip having chemo after being diagnosed with cerebral vasculitis. Three years later I added a rare form of dystonia called dopa-responsive dystonia (DRD) to my medical records. Both are rare diseases and both were only diagnosed after years of GP visits and finally finding a consultant who listened and looked outside the box. Both times I felt relief rather than fear as I had an explanation of what was going on rather than being fobbed off with the line “it’s all in your head”. Perversely it was but not in the way that was meant when those hateful words were uttered. Both times I thought treatment would cure me and I would get my old life back; both times I was wrong.

dystonia text box

Cerebral vasculitis affects one in a million people while DRD affects one in two million. With odds like that I would rather have won the lottery. Instead these conditions were like a bomb going off in my life. In one swoop I lost my beloved library career, friendships and my mobility. Gone were the days of long walks in the countryside with my dogs, and browsing in shops alone (I really miss that. The joy of being independent, spontaneous and being ALONE). Instead I see four walls and the duvet far more than I should. Thank goodness for books, the internet which helped find my new friends, and my family.

Rare diseases do not just affect the diagnosed person; it has devastating effects on the whole family and friends. Husbands and children become carers, jobs are lost, education is affected and relationships are destroyed. Support is hard to find but social media becomes a lifeline.

The Charities

Luckily, when I was diagnosed with vasculitis, Susan and John Mills took over the vasculitis charity, Vasculitis UK. They transformed it from a small charity and basic website offering information to a go to place for patients and doctors  worldwide. Not only do they offer individual support they have increased awareness with medics, have conferences and fought for new treatments and research. They are both phenomenal.

The Dystonia Society has supported me on my journey but like many charities in recent years, funding has been cut which has had a big impact on their services. Despite their tireless efforts to raise awareness of dystonia,  DRD remains a page on the screen. Warriors of Dystonia has announced an exciting project to help dystonia awareness and support the dystonia charities. More info can be found here.

The best thing anyone can do is help is to raise awareness of these rare conditions and  charities that support them. Share tweets and posts. This allows people to find them and fund raise. This is why Rare Disease Day is so important because together the small charities are stronger. Awareness helps improve diagnosis, support and research.

Uncertain times ahead

Rare diseases in UK have an uncertain future. With only a small number of patients with each disease ,specialists are hard to find and keep. We rely on the cooperation of other countries and research. Leaving Europe has already impacted on ongoing and future research, grants and medication availability. What will happen next who knows?

There are always positives

It’s not all gloom. My life has changed but I have a new appreciation for the small things, family and friends.  I am grateful for my meds and having the movement they offer. The friends I have are the best- they have seen me at my worst and stuck around. I have time to follow my love for reading and I have rediscovered my old passion – writing. This has brought new friends and new opportunities. Maybe one day it will offer a new career.

Thanks for reading such a long post

Love

P.S Its the last day to enter RNA 60 giveaway to win 60 books. Click here for more info and to enter. Good luck!

Cover Reveal: The Charm Bracelet by Ella Allbright

Cover Reveal: The Charm Bracelet by Ella Allbright

 

The Charm Bracelet

Book Title: The Charm Bracelet

Author: Ella Allbright

Publisher: One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins UK

Release dates:
Ebook:
21 August 2020

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Charm-Bracelet-Ella-Allbright-ebook/dp/B0843NJXJQ
https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Ella_Allbright_The_Charm_Bracelet?id=N3zLDwAAQBAJ

Paperback: 12 November 2020

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Charm-Bracelet-Ella-Allbright/dp/0008386579
https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-charm-bracelet/ella-allbright/9780008386573

Blurb

A moving and heartwarming love story perfect for fans of Me Before You and One Day in December…
Leila’s charm bracelet tells a story of love, a story of loss, a story of hope.
This is the story of her … and the story of Jake.
When Leila Jones loses her precious charm bracelet and a stranger finds it, she has to tell the story of how she got the charms to prove she’s the owner. Each and every one is a precious memory of her life with Jake.
So Leila starts at the beginning, recounting the charms and experiences that have led her to the present. A present she never could have expected when she met Jake nearly twenty years ago…

Author Biography

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Ella Allbright

A self-confessed reading addict, Ella Allbright writes commercial women’s fiction set in her beautiful home county of Dorset. Her first novel in this genre, The Charm Bracelet will be published in August 2020 by One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins, and she’s currently hard at work on her next book. Ella is represented by agent Hattie Grünewald at The Blair Partnership, who represent J.K. Rowling.

Ella also writes as Nikki Moore, the author of the popular #LoveLondon romance series. A number of the novellas featured in the Top 100 short story charts on Kobo and the Top 20 in the Amazon UK bestsellers Holiday chart, and in 2018 the collection was released in Italy. Her first published work was the short story A Night to Remember in the best selling Mills & Boon / RNA anthology Truly, Madly, Deeply. Her debut romance Crazy, Undercover, Love was shortlisted for the RNA Joan Hessayon Award 2015.
When not writing or reading, she can be found working in her HR day job, walking the family’s cute beagle puppy or watching a Netflix series!

 
You can connect with Ella/Nikki on:

Twitter:

@NikkiMoore_Auth

Facebook:

facebook.com/NikkiMooreWrites

Amazon:

amazon.co.uk/Nikki-Moore

WordPress:

nikkimooreauthor.wordpress.com

She also vlogs about how to get published as ‘Author By The Sea’ on her YouTube channel.

I can’t wait to read this.

Happy reading!

Love

Katie signature pink

Spreading the love of Romance: RNA 60th Celebrations and Giveaway

I love all books but those with a romantic thread have a special place in my heart and my forever bookshelf. These are books I can go back to over and over; I visit old friends and come away uplifted despite the trials and tribulations the characters face to reach their happy ending. This is why I am excited to share a new Facebook group with you dedicated to romance fiction which can cover anything from classic bodice ripping novels, emotional family dramas to spooky paranormal stories and nerve wracking thrillers. It is all about the connection between the characters. The Romantic Fiction Book Club aim is to create a warm and cosy place for members to engage with readers, bloggers and authors of romantic fiction.

To celebrate the launch of the group and the 60th anniversary since the Romantic Novelist’s Association was founded they are offering a fantastic giveaway in conjunction with One More Chapter to its members. You could win 60 books – yes 60 romance novels including Four Christmases and A Secret, The Devil’s Bride and the new Milly Johnson’s novel which I am itching to read My One True North.

Have a browse below to see what you could win. The first prize is 60 romantic novels written by RNA authors and there will be 60 runner up prizes of one book. Full details of how to enter are found on the The Romantic Fiction Book Club page.  Click here to join.

More information can also be found in this article written by Jane Cable.

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Click here to enter the competition.

Good luck and maybe I will see you in the book club for some bookish chat.

Love

A belated welcome to 2020 and best books of 2019.

How come it is the middle of February already? It feels as if it should still be October last year. As time is galloping on, I am late sharing with you my favourite reads from 2019. I always enjoy looking back at my Goodreads challenge to see what I read in the past because it gives a warm feeling similar to meeting old friends in the street and likewise, you promise you will catch up with them soon but never have time to.  It was a year for some gems which I would not have discovered if it wasn’t for Rachel’s Random Resources and social media, so thank you Rachel Gilbey, other bloggers and NetGalley for their recommendations. These are the my favourites.

Favourites Reads from 2019

The Woman in the Photograph

By far, for it’s characters, passion and eye opening subject matter my book of the year has to be The Woman in the Photograph by Stephanie Butland. My review can be read here but it blew me away and one book, I recommend to many people. Feminism and its history was a topic I thought I had some knowledge about – I was so wrong.

 

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

The Boy, the Mole and the Fox by Charlie Mackesy was a surprise gift from fellow blogger, Julie Morris from A Little Book Problem blog. Its sweet, honest and full of wisdom reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh. It made me cry and give everyone a big hug.

 

The Lost Ones

 

The Lost Ones by Anita Frank. A delightful Gothic ghost story; it is perfect for a winter’s night.

 

 

Dead & Talking Kindle sleeve FINAL DES

 

Dead and Talking: A Porter and The Gliss Investigation by Des Burkinshaw was an unexpected gem with a thrilling story and characters I enjoyed getting to know. It has the potential to be a series I will eagerly follow. Click here for the review

 

Tell ne your secret

Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson. Her books never fail to impress but this one has a darker edge I didn’t anticipate but wow what a read.

 

 

 

Dyed Souls Cover

Dyed Souls by Gary Santorella was another book that surprised me by its intensity and deep characterisation. It wasn’t the easiest topic to read but Charlie wormed himself in my heart and  I will never forget him or the life he led. The review is here.

 

 

the passage

 

The Passage by Justin Cronin. This was a reread after I watched the TV adaptation on Sky and I constantly kept saying “Well I’m sure that wasn’t in the book”. My enjoyment of the series grew but the epic novel is out of this world. It’s dystopian horrors kept me enthralled and petrified as I could see how a similar scenario could unfold and devastate the world.

 

Closer than you think

 

Closer than You think by Darren O’Sullivan for it’s ability to keep me awake at night with the horror potentially following me into my dreams.

 

 

Songs of UsThe Songs of Us by Emma Cooper was one of the first books I read in 2019 but it still holds a special place in my heart. Music is threaded into the story with a playlist available on Spotify. It is impossible to listen to The Beatles  Can’t Buy Me Love and not think of Melody, the main character in the opening chapters. The audio version of this book is perfect too. Get your tissues ready.

 

An author I discovered last year was Jenni Keer. I fell in love with her books as they have magic threaded through them and her characters have a knack of staying with you  If you haven’t read them yet do as they uplift these grey, winter days. The review for The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker is here.

Also, the lovely Sharon Booth who has a back catalogue I have added to my TBR. With my love of witch books, how can I not fall in love with the witches of Castle Clair.  My Favourite Witch tingled with a delightful magic that made me smile. The last of the series, To Catch A Witch is out in April so watch this space for a review.

Which were your favourite books from last year?

Love