Duvet Dwellers Books Name Change and Other News.

For those who have followed this blog for a while you may have noticed a change. With the arrival of Flamingo Paperie cards I have decided to evolve; same blog with the main focus being on my love of books but I will add a smattering of posts about life with dystonia and of course, my love of cards. It is now called From Under the Duvet – Books, Cards and a Wobbly Life. The web address will also change when I figure out how to transfer my domain without spending a fortune and will be fromundertheduvet.co.uk

Dystonia is the main reason I spend more time dwelling under the duvet reading than I should so without it this blog would never have started. Dystonia is a common neurological disorder yet it is hardly spoken about leading to under diagnosis, misdiagnosis and loneliness for those with the condition. Awareness is key to funding support and research so I want to do my bit to help. I was diagnosed with my rare form of dystonia – DRD dopa responsive dystonia – after I stumbled on a blog showing a video of a man with the same symptoms as me. Blogs can make a difference and if this helps one person, I will be happy.

Cards for Christmas

It is getting closer to Christmas so those wishing to buy any cards, gift wrap or accessories from Cards From Under the Duvet the last date for delivery before Christmas is 17th December. Delivery is free until 31st December and a donation from all sales will be made to The Dystonia Society.

Giveaway Winner

The winner of The Christmas Lights by Karen Swan is Lil_Mixie on Instragram.

Congratulations!

I hope you will continue to follow me on my new venture and make 2019 a good one.

Happy Reading!

Love

Book Review: No one cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley

It may only be October but it is never too early for a festive romance and the first one of the season is No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley.

Book Review for No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley

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No One Cancels Christmas Book Cover

Title: No One Cancels Christmas

Author: Zara Stoneley

Genre: Romance, Festive

Publisher: Harper Impulse

Release Date: 19th October 2018

Blurb:

It’s the most magical time of the year, and for travel agent Sarah it’s also the busiest! But this year one man threatens to ruin Christmas for Sarah’s customers – Mr Grinch, Will Armstrong.
The Shooting Star Mountain resort is a magical place, and Sarah has fond memories of Christmas here as a little girl – visits to Father Christmas, husky rides in the snow and hot chocolate by a roaring fire. But as the resorts new owner, Will refuses to play snowball or to deck the halls with anything remotely resembling tinsel!
With customers complaining their Christmas is ruined, Sarah decides it’s up to her to convince Scroogey Will just how magical Christmas can be….
But getting Will into the Christmas spirit is hopeless – he is Bah Humbug personified! But as Sarah gets to know him better, she realises that underneath all the gloom is a man struggling with a pain of his own.
With the big day approaching, Sarah realises that the magic and sparkle can wait. This year, she’s going to spend Christmas day with someone special her very own Mr Scrooge…

Purchase Link

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-One-Cancels-Christmas-romantic-ebook/dp/B07CWTVJGD
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/no-one-cancels-christmas-romantic-ebook/dp/B07CWTVJGD

My Thoughts

Zara Stoneley is a new author to me but within a couple of chapters, I was hooked by her writing style and the prospective trip to Shooting Star Mountain Resort. The festive feel forced me to consume my first mince pie though I resisted the urge to play Christmas music.

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With the backdrop of mountains, snow and log cabins the setting alone is ideal for a festive romance. When travel agent, Sarah was younger the Shooting Star Mountain Resort flourished providing perfect Christmas holidays so she highly recommended it to her customers. With news of complaints and run ins with Will Armstrong she decides the tackle the problem head on. She is not prepared to let the business responsible for many memories fail without a fight. Sarah’s unique feisty personality complements moody Scrooge-like Will Armstrong who I connected with immediately. With a bundle of fun characters including flirtatious Ed and beautiful husky Rosie it is a joy to read. This is a story of how a person’s history affects their present, brewing secrets, romance and the magic of Christmas. The unexpected elements made this story its own; it will not be lost in the mass of festive reads available.

Do I recommend?

Yes, it is a humorous, romantic festive read to snuggle down under the duvet and perfect for this time of year.

Author Biography

ZaraStoneley authorpic

Zara Stoneley

Born in a small village in Staffordshire, I wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when I grew up. After many years, and many different jobs, my dream of writing a bestseller came true.

I write about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hope that my tales make you cry a little, laugh a lot, and occasionally say ‘ahhh’.

I now live in a Cheshire village with my family, a lively cockapoo called Harry, and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat called Saffron.

Where you can find her

Website: http://www.zarastoneley.com
Twitter: @ZaraStoneley
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZaraStoneley
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zarastoneley/

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for an advanced copy and inviting to this tour.

Happy reading!

No One Cancels Christmas Full Tour Banner

Introducing Flamingos, October Books and Cards

October is here. The evenings are drawing in and the nights are getting cooler which is perfect for snuggling up with a good book and a warm drink. I love this time of the year and I have woken up full of expectation of the things to come – Halloween, Bonfire night and of course, Christmas. With this new season, I am pleased to announce Duvet Dwellers Books have joined Flamingo Paperie to offer quality greeting cards and stationery to spread smiles to those around you.

Why cards from under the duvet?

Being a duvet dweller* and living life from under a duvet you watch the world go by without you and it is easy to feel isolated. We are lucky to live in the age of technology because this allows us to connect with people at the touch of a button but sometimes you need more. For me, there is nothing like the clunk of the letter box and a handwritten card waiting on the doormat. Letters and cards can make the recipient smile and loved more than an electronic ping on your phone. Letters can change someone’s life as shown in a book I love One Million Lovely Letters by Jodi Ann Bickley which I must add a review for.

Jodi Ann Bickley book

One Million Lovely Letters by Jodi Ann Bickley

 

So why not have a browse here and see what you think?

You can’t sell Flamingo Paperie products without there being flamingos

 

Photo of a greeting card with red squirrels on it

Cards for Autumn days

 

Photo of greeting card of bees and daisies

Sunny days

 

Photo of card with a rainbow and girl.

Rainy days

 

Photo of Christmas Stable Pop up card

Christmas

Flamingo Paperie Customer Club

If you love cards as much as we do, why not join the newly released Flamingo Paperie Customer Club to keep up to date with new cards,  special offers, surprise gifts and more. Information can be found here.

Fundraising possibilities

We have some charities close to our hearts so we plan periodically to use these to raise awareness and funds. Let us know below if there is a charity important to you and like us to consider.

Follow us on for news and offers for Cards from under the Duvet:

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/duvetdwellersbooks/

https://www.instagram.com/cardsfromundertheduvet/

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

Books for October

There are always good books being released at this time of year so what are you reading?

Watch this space for reviews for Jodi Picoult’s new release A Spark of Light and next instalment of The Seven Sisters’s series The Moon Sister by Lucinda Riley.

Happy reading!

*Duvet Dweller – someone who spends too much time under the duvet because of chronic illness and fatigue also known as a spoonie

Book Review: The Brighton Mermaid by Dorothy Koomson

I have been a fan of Dorothy Koomson ever since I read My Best Friend’s Girl so I was excited to receive an ARC from NetGalley and in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

The Brighton Mermaid book cover

The Brighton Mermaid

 

Title: The Brighton Mermaid

Author: Dorothy Koomson

Release Date: 17th May 2018

Publisher: Random House UK

 

Blurb

Brighton Beach, 1993

Teenagers Nell and Jude find the body of a young woman and when no one comes to claim her, she becomes known as the Brighton Mermaid. Nell is still struggling to move on when, three weeks later, Jude disappears.

Twenty-five years on, Nell is forced to quit her job to find out who the Brighton Mermaid really was – and what happened to her best friend that summer.

But as Nell edges closer to the truth, dangerous things start to happen. Someone seems to be watching her every move, and soon she starts to wonder who in her life she can actually trust…

Fast-paced and thrilling, The Brighton Mermaid explores the deadly secrets of those closest to you.

My Thoughts

Dorothy Koomson’s books have become darker, deeper and more emotional books than her earlier ones The Chocolate Run and Best Friend’s Girl.  I love her style, ability to weave a story and her capability of making you feel the character’s emotions. With the location of Brighton, her books have always guaranteed a good read. The Brighton’s Mermaid does not disappoint.

I have only read one book that has touched me as deeply as this one. It is a story of secrets, fear and the complex relationships between sisters. The unexpected conclusion slammed my emotions and left me sobbing.

Would I recommend?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Throughout it was a strong 5-star rating but the depth of emotion and drama as it raced to the end will leave me reeling for days.

A physical copy will definitely be on my bookshelf to revisit.

 

Happy Reading!

Book Review: The Coven by Lissy

For those who know me and read my other blog, it is no surprise I was excited to receive this in my NetGalley shelf. I love books about witches and the blurb for this first installment sounded ideal.

 

The Coven book cover

The Coven book cover

 

Title: The Coven

Author: Chrissy Lessey

Publisher: BooksGoSocial

Release date: 27th June 2017

Blurb

The future queen awakens…

Newly single mother Stevie Lewis divides her time between raising Charlie, running a store with her best friend, and avoiding the meetings of her mother’s Beaufort Historic Society. Although her life has its challenges, it’s altogether average. Just the way she likes it.

When Vanessa, a ruthless dark witch, launches an attack against young Charlie, Stevie’s simple life derails, and her long-dormant powers awaken. A 300-year-old secret is exposed, revealing her destiny to one day rule the clandestine community of witches who hide in plain sight.

Now she must master her own magical powers before it’s too late. Because Vanessa’s on the warpath, and only Stevie can stop her.

My Thoughts

This was an enjoyable, easy read which delivered a sprinkle of magic on a dreary day. I love the illustration on the cover which would attract me instantly if I saw it on a shelf.

The town of Beaufort is full of magical secrets, known only to a select few.  When a stranger arrives Stevie’s life is turned upside down. She is a likable protagonist and I instantly felt a connection as she struggled to bring up son with autism. The book is littered with quirky characters with imaginative gifts that I loved.  It is part of a trilogy but it could easily become a bigger series by delving into the other older members of the coven. They must all have their own tales to tell. I am looking forward to reading the second installment of The Crystal Coast Series.

Would I recommend?

Yes. it is perfect for light, magical escapism.

 

Happy reading!

Book and First Chapter Cover Reveal: The Things We Need to Say

This is the first time I have taken part in a book cover reveal and I am excited that Rachel Burton’s  The Things We Need to Say is the first one. It is atmospheric and fits so well with the blurb. There is also the first chapter to read to tempt you and anticipate its release in May.  It is already on my TBR pile.

6 The Things We Need to Say_Final Cover

Blurb

Sometimes the things we never say are the most important.
Fran loves Will with all her heart. They had a whirlwind romance, a perfect marriage and a wonderful life. Until everything changed. Now Fran needs to find her way again and teaching a yoga retreat in Spain offers her just that. Leaving behind a broken marriage she has some very important decisions to make.
Will needs his wife, he needs her to open up to him if they’re to ever return to the ways things once were. But he may have damaged any possibility he had of mending their relationship and now Fran is in Spain and Will is alone.
As both Fran and Will begin to let go of a life that could have been, fate may just find a way of bringing them back together.

 Perfect for fans of Katie Marsh, Amanda Prowse and Sheila O’Flanagan

 

 

First Chapter of The Things We Need to Say

DECEMBER 2004

 

It started at the party. His hands on my hips, my forehead against his shoulder. He asked me to dance but he didn’t know how. We stood together at the edge of the dance floor shaking with laughter at his two left feet. I don’t know how long we stood there. I don’t know if anybody noticed.

He’d waited for me, sitting with my friends, not sure if I’d turn up or not. I wasn’t in the habit of going to work Christmas parties; I only went in the end because he said he would be there, because he said he would wait for me. I arrived just as the main course was being served. I slipped into the seat next to him. His hand brushed against my thigh as I sat down. He held my gaze for longer than he should have done.

I fell in love with him that night as we stood on the dance floor laughing, my hands on his waist, feeling the muscles of his back, the warmth of his body, through his dress shirt, the press of him against my hip.

That was where it began. I sometimes wonder if that should have been where it ended.

But later that evening, as I got out of his car, and I said those words I should have kept to myself, we both knew there was no going back.

 

JULY 2016

Fran

 

She wakes up in the same position in which she fell asleep, her husband’s arms around her, their hands entwined on her stomach. Neither of them have slept that deeply for months. Fran remembers something: a hotel room on a Greek island, a feeling of hope, of new beginnings. She doesn’t allow the memory to linger. This is what they have now. They can be happy again if they allow themselves to be.

The hot, humid weather has broken in the night and she listens to the sound of summer rain on the roof. Will moves gently against her, pulling her closer. She feels his breath against her neck and the sensation of hot liquid in her stomach, a combination of desire and need. This is their second chance – she can’t let it pass her by.

‘I love you,’ Will says sleepily.

‘I love you too,’ she replies. It feels good to be saying it to each other again. She’s never stopped loving him; she just forgot how to tell him for a while.

‘Do you want me to go and make coffee?’ Will asks, nuzzling her neck.

‘Not just yet,’ she replies, turning around to look at him. His brown eyes are dark, impenetrable pools. His hair is pushed back off his face. Sometimes she forgets how much all of this has affected him too. Sometimes she forgets everything except her own pain. She feels his warmth against her, his strength. She feels as though the gulf that had been threatening to open up between them for the last year is slowly closing. She realises they have so much life ahead of them. So much time to learn to be happy again.

‘I thought I’d lost you,’ Will says quietly, reaching up to stroke her face. ‘I thought you’d gone, but recently I feel as though you’ve come back to me.’

She smiles softly. ‘I thought I’d lost you too,’ she says. ‘This last year has been …’ She doesn’t finish. She can’t finish.

She watches as a shadow of anguish crosses his face, as his brow furrows, as his jaw tightens. She recognises that look, recognises the pain he is trying to hide. She hears the shudder of his breath. His eyes flick away for a moment; he pauses for a fraction too long.

‘No,’ he says. ‘You never lost me. I’ll always be here.’

She kisses him gently then, and feels his hand drift down the bones of her spine.

Later, showered and dressed, they finally appear in the kitchen; Will’s younger brother, Jamie, is already sitting at the table drinking coffee. Will and Fran are hardly able to stop touching each other.

Jamie smiles at them, raising an eyebrow. ‘You’re up late,’ he says. Fran feels herself blushing, her stomach flipping over, and turns away towards the toaster.

‘Thanks for last night,’ Jamie goes on. ‘I needed that.’ Recently separated from his wife, living apart from his children, Jamie is lonely. Last night wasn’t the first Saturday night he’d spent with them. Fran knows Will has been throwing himself into cheering his brother up. She doesn’t mind. Jamie makes Will smile and it’s good to see him smile again.

As Will and Jamie start talking about the cricket, she feels her husband’s hand on her thigh, the warm, solid sensation of him right there next to her. They have been given a second chance, and they have grabbed it with both hands. She isn’t naive enough to think everything is going to go back to the way it used to be, but she knows that they can move on; they can talk and heal together. They can take another chance on living, find a new kind of normal.

Will stretches, draining his coffee cup. ‘This weather isn’t going to let up is it?’ he says looking out of the window where the rain is rattling against the frames like beads in a jar. ‘I’m going to have to cancel the cricket.’ As captain of the village team it is up to him to reschedule this afternoon’s match. Fran is quietly delighted that the weather means she doesn’t have to spend her last afternoon with her husband before she goes away watching him play cricket. Will gets up and walks into his study, shutting the door behind him.

‘How are you feeling about tomorrow?’ Jamie asks.

‘Nervous,’ Fran replies. ‘It’s the first time I’ve been on a plane on my own, which is pathetic at my age, I know.’

‘It’s OK to be nervous.’

‘It’s the first time Will and I have been apart since …’ She trails off. Jamie knows what she’s talking about. ‘I’m worried about him too.’

Jamie smiles. ‘I’ll look after him,’ he says.

After a moment Jamie gets up and follows Will into his study. He doesn’t knock; he just opens the door and walks in. As Fran starts to clear the breakfast dishes she hears raised voices but can’t quite make out what they are saying. She rolls her eyes to herself. As an only child she has long since given up on understanding Will and Jamie’s relationship: best friends one minute, bickering the next. She just hopes Jamie doesn’t stay too long – she wants her husband to herself for the day.

 

Will

 

It rains all day, the sky grey and waterlogged and heavy with cloud. After Jamie leaves, Will pulls Fran towards him, his hands at the back of her head where her skull meets her neck, where her hair is cut so short.

‘No cricket,’ he says. ‘I’m all yours.’

She smiles, standing on tiptoe to kiss him.

‘Can we just watch a film or something?’ she says. ‘I’m tired and I have to pack for Spain later.’ His stomach drops at the thought of her going away. He wishes he’d never encouraged her to do it.

‘I’d forgotten about Spain,’ he says.

‘No you hadn’t. It’s the only thing we’ve talked about for ages.’

Will had watched Fran spend the last few weeks flipping back and forth between excitement and terror at the thought of going to Spain on her own. He knew she was strong enough to do it; he knew she was stronger than anyone realised. But he also knew that she wondered if she was ready. When she first mentioned Spain to him he had seen it as a perfect opportunity to help her begin to put herself back together again after what had been the worst year of both their lives. He tried to believe that everything life threw at him was an opportunity.

Fran had been teaching at a studio in central Cambridge for six years and had been asked to teach for a week on a retreat in Spain. Will had always supported her teaching, always tried to put her career on a level par with his own and had done everything he could to help her find the strength to go back to work in January. None of it had felt as though it was enough. None of it would make up for the last year, the things he had said, the things he had done. Suddenly he is terrified about being on his own. Neither of them have been alone for months.

‘What do you want to watch?’ he asks, squatting down in front of the TV.

‘Can we watch Some Like it Hot?’ Fran replies.

Will rolls his eyes. He must have seen it a hundred times, but puts it in the DVD player anyway and goes to settle himself on the sofa. ‘Come here,’ he says, and she sits with him, leaning back against his chest.

‘Are you OK about Spain?’ he asks quietly.

‘I think so,’ she says. ‘I’m nervous, but I’m excited as well.’

‘Elizabeth will be there with you, won’t she?’

‘Yes, and Constance. In fact, I already know most of the other people who are going. I’ll be fine.’ She pauses. ‘Are you going to be OK?’ she asks quietly.

‘I’m going to miss you,’ he says, lying back on the sofa, wrapping his arms around her. He doesn’t know how to answer the question. He wants to tell her everything but knows that now is not the right time.

‘I’m going to miss you too,’ she replies.

He kisses the top of her head as she presses ‘play’ on the remote control. He watches her as she watches her favourite film, her lips moving along with the characters – she still knows every word by heart. They used to spend rainy Sundays like this when they were younger, when life seemed easier.

Halfway through the film he realises that Fran is crying – fat, salty tears running down her cheeks.

‘Fran?’ he asks quietly, pressing pause on the remote.

Fran doesn’t reply, she just turns around and he takes her in his arms. He feels her body against his. She clings to him as though her life depends on it and he holds her close as she cries and cries. He can’t remember the last time he saw her cry like this. They had both done their grieving in private over the last year but to Will it feels as though Fran has been holding all this in for months, shutting herself down. He’s relieved that she finally seems ready to let go.

‘I want my old life back,’ she sobs. ‘I want to be happy again.’

‘So do I,’ Will whispers. ‘And we will, in time. I promise.’

‘I wish we’d never bought this house – we had so much hope.’

‘Shhh …’ Will says softly, stroking her hair as she weeps against him.

 

Pre-order on Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2kLqSYL
Publication Day – 11th May 2018

 

Author’s Bio

Things We Need to Say author Rachel Burton

Rachel Burton Author

Rachel Burton has been making up stories since she first learned to talk. After many false starts, she finally made one up that was worth writing down.

After graduating with a degree in Classics and another in English, she didn’t really know what to do when she grew up. She has worked as a waitress, a paralegal and a yoga teacher.

She has spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Leeds with her boyfriend and three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.

Her debut, The Many Colours of Us, was an Amazon Kindle bestseller. Her second novel, The Things We Need to Say, is released on 11 May 2018. She is currently working on her third novel in which the heroine follows the love of her life to live in a city in northern England. It has no autobiographical elements at all…..maybe.

Find her on Twitter & Instagram as @bookish_yogi or search Facebook for Rachel Burton Author. She is always happy to talk books, writing, music, cats and how the weather in Yorkshire is rubbish. She is mostly dreaming of her next holiday…
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rachelburtonauthor/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/bookish_yogi
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/bookish_yogi/ 

 

Happy reading!

 

 

Forget Her Name by Jane Holland

Book Review: Forget Her Name by Jane Holland

I am pleased to be involved in Rachel Gibley’s blog tour for Forget Her Name by Jane Holland. I received an advanced copy of an honest review. Thank you for the opportunity.

 

Forget Her Name book cover

Forget Her Name by Jane Holland

Blurb

Rachel’s dead and she’s never coming back. Or is she?

As she prepares for her wedding to Dominic, Catherine has never been happier or more excited about her future. But when she receives an anonymous package—a familiar snow globe with a very grisly addition—that happiness is abruptly threatened by secrets from her past.

Her older sister, Rachel, died on a skiing holiday as a child. But Rachel was no angel: she was vicious and highly disturbed, and she made Catherine’s life a misery. Catherine has spent years trying to forget her dead sister’s cruel tricks. Now someone has sent her Rachel’s snow globe—the first in a series of ominous messages…

While Catherine struggles to focus on her new life with Dominic, someone out there seems intent on tormenting her. But who? And why now? She doesn’t have the answers – and in one final question lies her greatest fear.

Is Rachel still alive?

My Thoughts

This complex psychological thriller kept me on my toes with its twists and turns throughout with suspense building as this disturbing story progressed. I felt on edge and in a state of confusion just like Catharine/Cat as she unraveled the mystery surrounding her sister’s Rachel death.  Jane Holland has created a group of characters that all have depth and back stories which made it hard to know who to trust, and who was a friend or foe.  There were so many directions the plot could go to I found it impossible to second guess what was going to happen next nor the conclusion. This made it a joy to read.

Would I recommend?

I would recommend for those who love a good psychological thriller.

Available at:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forget-Her-Name-Jane-Holland-ebook/dp/B073TTLYQV
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Forget-Her-Name-Jane-Holland-ebook/dp/B073TTLYQV

About the Author

 

Forget Her Name - Author Pic
Jane Holland

 

Jane Holland is a Gregory Award-winning poet and novelist who also writes commercial fiction under the pseudonyms Victoria Lamb, Elizabeth Moss, Beth Good and Hannah Coates. Her debut thriller, Girl Number One, hit #1 in the UK Kindle Store in December 2015. Jane lives with her husband and young family near the North Cornwall/Devon border. A homeschooler, her hobbies include photography and growing her own vegetables.

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media Links –
https://twitter.com/janeholland1
https://www.facebook.com/jane.holland.1253
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JaneHollandAuthor/

 

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts below.

Happy reading!

Meet the Author: Jennifer Gilmour

 

Jennifer Gilmour is a force to be reckoned with; not only is she an author of two books, she works tirelessly to raise awareness of domestic abuse and change things at a National level to improve the support abuse survivors are given. Her debut book, Isolation Junction was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign and is a fictional account of Rose living in an abusive relationship and her fight to break free. This is FREE on Kindle between 8th-12th Jan 2018. Jennifer’s second book, Clipped Wings is a compilation of survivor’s experiences. It is a pleasure to meet her on the blog today.

“Ice cold rain splattered her face; her toes and fingers were numb and yet she sat there huddled up and gently rocking herself. It was a black night with no stars, like someone had just switched off the sky. The only light shining on her face was the orange glow of a single street light. Rose couldn’t cope anymore, she was crying into her hands so hard it hurt her heart; it was a deep spike of a pain rushing through her body and this wasn’t the first time she had felt it.”

 Extract from Isolation Junction

 

Jen G reading

Jennifer Gilmour – Author

 

What was your original inspiration to start to write?

I was on an awareness course about Domestic Abuse. Alongside me were about 8 other women who had been in abusive relationships. As the day progressed, I found that I simply couldn’t believe that some of what the other women were saying was exactly what I had gone through but just in a different format. Domestic Abuse tends to go in a cycle (see photo below) and whichever way it begins, the behaviour spirals again and again. At first it could be months between incidents but for me, as time went on there were many instances within one day. It is quite normal to try to prevent the cycle from starting again by changing your behaviour as much as possible. By the end of the course I had come to understand that we were all subjected to the same behaviour and that no one knew before that this could even happen to someone i.e. that a relationship can be so unhealthy and soul destroying. I realised that others simply needed to know more about this unacceptable behaviour; they needed to see the warning signs before the relationship goes further or the behaviour gets even more serious. On the other hand I needed others to see the behaviour for what it is. If people are in a relationship and the behaviour within it is not acceptable and is not their fault, it can’t simply be changed by changing yourself.

cycle_of_abuse

I knew I had a story to tell and with my previous unfinished written work I realised my first novel had to be more than a book but a message – a way for others to be able to pass a book on to help victims and to get the penny to drop and bring about realisation of what is happening sooner. This means that when the relationship ends victims and survivors realise they are not the only ones out there and its ok to talk about the abuse.

How do you focus and not let your work with domestic abuse affect you emotionally?

Originally I didn’t look after myself and worked on Isolation Junction, blog posts and research even if I wasn’t in a good place. I couldn’t switch off to what I felt needed to be exposed and couldn’t understand why something so common was hidden so well. It did take its toll on me and I am happy to admit and address this. The solution was simple and that was to train myself to channel my thoughts and focus on my current happenings and not letting my mind wander. It can be still a challenge but I feel like I manage myself better and take a healthier approach.

How do you direct people who may need support after reading your books?

At the end of my books there is a message from me which include the UK 24-hour free-phone National Domestic Violence helpline, which is 0808 2000 247. There is also a support page on my website; http://jennifergilmour.com/support/

I do receive a lot of messages and I have personally referred to local centres, once I directed someone in Africa to her local support service. I have been a listening ear to many as well, the first step is telling someone about what’s happened to you and so I urge anyone to speak to a ‘safe’ person or service. ‘safe’ meaning someone who isn’t involved with the perpetrator or who you most certainly can be trusted and will help you.

What do you do aside from writing?

I am a mum of three which keeps me pretty busy when I am not writing; I have a 5, 7 and almost 2 year old. As a family we enjoy the hobby Geocaching which gets us out and about, learning about the local area as well as having some fun. It can get rather competitive, if you haven’t heard of it Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
I am also a Jamberry Nail Wraps Consultant which brings in most of my income to support my work in the domestic abuse sector including my writing. You can find out more about that on my other website: https://jennifergilmour.jamberry.com/uk/en/

What is your favourite book?

My favourite book is the Harry Potter series, it took me to a different world away from my reality growing up as a child, teen and adulthood. It started my imagination going as I have been writing from a young age and it was all fantasy writing and poetry.

What is your favourite drink?

That’s hard because I have a cup of tea (breakfast tea) four times a day and I can’t go without my tea. But I have a Dolce Gusto machine and I absolutely love caramel latte.

Where is your favourite place to write?

Favourite place to write has to be a lovely local café that does amazing coffee (to keep me going) and scrumptious cake. Although, we have a lovely big bay window that we plan to add a couple of individual chairs and a little coffee table, I imagine using this a lot and can see myself writing with the sun beaming through the glass

Jennifer Gilmour

About the Author

From an early age, Jennifer has had a passion for writing and started gathering ideas and plot lines from her teenage years. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, she has drawn on her personal experiences to write her first novel Isolation Junction. It details the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again.

Since the publication of her debut novel, Jennifer has continued to be an advocate for those in abusive relationships through her blog posts, radio interviews and Twitter feed. Jennifer also gained a qualification in facilitating a recover programme for those who have been in abusive relationships.

Jennifer continues to publicly support those who are isolated and struggle to have a voice. Jennifer hopes that Clipped Wings give’s a voice to survivor’s experiences and raise’s awareness further of the types of unacceptable behaviour which fall into the category of domestic abuse.

Links:

Website; www.jennifergilmour.com

Facebook; www.facebook.com/isolationjunctionbook

Twitter; www.twitter.com/JenLGilmour

Clipped Wings on Amazon UK; https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076KNZJZQ

Clipped Wings on Amazon USA; https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076KNZJZQ

Isolation Junction; UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LX4HLT0

US link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LX4HLT0

Goodreads author profile; https://www.goodreads.com/JenniferGilmour

Clipped Wings on Goodreads; https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36449221-clipped-wings

Huffington post blogger profile; http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/author/jennifer-gilmour

My Best Reads of 2017

New Goals

It is time to say goodbye to 2017 and welcome 2018. Reading challenges are over and new ones are beginning. I exceeded my goal of 42 books in the Goodread’s challenge by reading 63. The goal for 2018 is 52 starting with The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. There have been many good books published last year and I discovered lots of new authors thanks to online book clubs especially The Fiction Café Book Club.  My TBR list has grown exponentially with books I would never have found without this positive, active book community.  I tried to choose my top 10 but this proved impossible.

My top 15 books read in 2017

 

 

These are in no particular order.


The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley
This is the third book of one of my favourite series, The Seven Sisters. It is set in a  rambling bookshop, the countryside made famous by Beatrix Potter and has a main character I would love to talk to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caraval by Stephanie Garber
This was recommended to me by a friend but I kept putting it further down my TBR but this was a decision I regret because it is a unique book, full of action and vivid imagery. My full review can be read here

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Path Keeper by N.J Simmonds

This is an original plot with a fiesty main character. A full review can be read here

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor

A full review can be read here

 

 

 

 


Regan: Snatcher of Souls by R. McDowall

It is dark, well written love story. I am looking forward to the next installment.

Meet the Author post with Rebecca McDowall can be found here

 

 


Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland

Set in my favourite places –  York, Whitby and a bookshop this had to be included in my top reads. I loved the characters and it made me accept that maybe, poetry is accessible and can be enjoyable.

 

 

 


A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

I was impressed by the film so immediately read the book. A review will be posted soon but it is a must read.

 

 

 


A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson

An uplifting funny read that is deeper than your average romance. A full review can be read here

 

 

 

 


Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

I can not believe it has taken me this long to read any Alice Hoffman’s books. It is magical, well written with characters that remain with you long after you close the book.

 

 

 

 


Sleepers Castle by Barbara Erskine

Barbara Erskine is one of my favourite authors and this is has become one of my favourites with the Welsh setting, plot and characters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gift/The Surrogate by Louise Jensen

I could not choose between these two psychological thrillers. Louise Jensen is an author to follow if you enjoy a good twist. Reviews can be found here and here.

 


Strangehollow by Emily Hare

I purchased a copy through Emily Hare’s Kickstarter campaign this year. It is a stunning collection of illustrations of the creatures and tales from Strangehollow.

 


Soulweaver by Heidi Catharine

Technically, this should be in next year’s list because it is not released until later this month but I received an ARC. A review will be posted shortly but it is a thought-provoking, magical read.

 

 

 

Dead Woman Walking

 

Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton

Another one of my favourite authors. She excels in original plots, twists and suspense. I am looking forward to her new book this year The Craftsman.

 

 

 

 What books have you enjoyed in 2017?

Happy reading and may 2018 be full of good books and happiness.

 

 

More book reviews for Christmas

It is Christmas Eve! How did that arrive so quickly?  There is just enough time to squeeze in  a quick collection of reviews of other books I have read this Christmas.

Romance

Christmas stockingTitle The Christmas stocking and other stories

Author Katie Fforde

This is a gentle, delightful collection of stories for the festive period by a popular author.  They are perfect length to read with a cup of tea when you can snatch a few moments.
I enjoyed them especially A Dream Christmas but prefer the author’s longer work where you can connect to the characters more.

 

Mistletoe coveTitle Christmas at Mistletoe Cove

Author Holly Martin

Holly Martin has written a festive romance that made me make wish wishes did come true. The characters are relatable and I had my fingers crossed throughout that life would be perfect and nothing bad would happen to the fun loving pair. It has the funniest smouldering sex scene I have ever read. It is worth reading purely for that.

 

Christmas WishTitle   A Christmas Wish

Author  Erin Green

A Christmas Wish is a treat to curl up with on a cold day, in your snuggly socks and drinking hot chocolate.
On Christmas Eve Flora finds herself staring at the steps of a house where she was abandoned as a baby in 1984. Unsettled in her life she decides she needs to discover her history and her links to the village. With the help of policeman, Joel who literally crashes into her life, she delves into the secrets and rumours of Pooley.
The festive air, charming characters and possibility of romance along with the mystery of her parentage makes you read just one more chapter.
I look forward to reading more books by Erin Green.

 

Non-fiction Books

HarkTitle Hark! The Biography of Christmas

Author Paul Kerensa

This a well presented and written non-fiction book about the history of Christmas throughout the ages. It is easy to read and it’s gentle humour makes it a joy.

It is ideal for Christmas fanatics like me to have in their stocking.

 

 

 

Chistmas flandersTitle Christmas: a biography

Author Judith Flanders

As a lover of Christmas, I thought I knew what this time of year was about and the origins of our traditions but this book opened my eyes to how little I really knew. This is an in-depth exploration of Christmas and takes you through the evolution of Christmas including religion, festivities, books, gifts and decorations.  It is a perfect read for those who get excited at the first sign of decorations in the shop or are always on the look out for more knowledge to impress friends and family especially over the Christmas dinner.

It is a book, I long to have a physical copy of on my bookcase to dip into every year.

 

What festive books have you been reading?

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and many books arrive in your stockings.

Merry Christmas and happy reading!