The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French / #BlogTour

Hi guys, and happy Sunday! I am so, so thrilled and excited today to be a part of Kat French’s blog tour for her newest release “The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach”. I loved this book SO much and I really couldn’t wait to share my review of this sunny, summery story with you. The novel is already put as an ebook and out on 13th July in paperback, and I can guarantee that you are going to LOVE it! AND – I have an extract for you as well!

The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French



34016826Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 13th July 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 336

Genre:  Literature/Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 13.07.2017)

 

Synopsis:

A gorgeous summer read to escape with this summer!

A Greek island solves all life’s problems…doesn’t it?

Winnie, Stella and Frankie have been best friends forever.
When their lives unexpectedly unravel, they spontaneously decide to buy a gorgeous B on a remote Greek island.
Drenched in hot sun, Villa Valentina is the perfect escape
from reality. But when Winnie meets Jesse, their brooding
neighbour, she finds that Greece is full of its own complications – not least how attractive he is…

Meanwhile, Frankie and Stella are discovering that Villa Valentina has its own secrets – starting with the large supply of gin in the cellar and the arrival of a famous rock band. A band with one very good-looking member who just might distract Frankie from thoughts of her husband…

Smart, sassy and sexy, this summer sizzler is perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jane Costello.

Rating: five-stars

Ah, guys, there is nothing better than a Kat French book, really. Yes, I somehow missed her last release but as soon as I’ve spotted The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach and then read the synopsis, there was nothing stopping me from reading this book. Literally nothing. And truly, one look at this gorgeous colourful cover made me fall in love with it, it just screams “summer, here we come”, don’t you think? And then the story itself, laugh – out – loud fun, relax and brilliant romance – absolutely brilliant.
So yes, guys, this book. I had a feeling that I can fall in love with it (as you have probably guessed) but I haven’t expected how much! It was such a lovely, light – hearted and uplifting read with this gorgeous feel – good vibe and the overwhelming summery feeling, and I really can’t stop thinking about me needing to immediately go on holidays or at least drinking G&T, or two. Already the cover is shouting holidays, here I come, but what is hidden between the covers is even better.
It was so easy to immediately fall in love with this gorgeous – unfortunately fictional – island of Skelidos and all of its specific inhabitants. Just imagine – not spoiled by the tourists, peaceful, with a donkey or two – a perfect place to spend your holidays, no? Or maybe to spend the rest of your life, even? Which happens to Winnie, Stella and Frankie who travel there to stay for a weekend only and end as the owners of the pink Villa Valentina.

I liked the book and the characters from the very beginning, and I also found myself liking it even more with every page turned! There was something magical in all of them, and in the writing, and I just didn’t want to put the book down. Heck, I didn’t want it to end! I could really read about the three friends and their adventures much, much longer. And they were really true friends, the three girls. You could see they like and respect each other, that they feel so good in their own company and it was lovely to see how they support each other. They weren’t afraid to say uncomfortable truths as well, they did it, they were not afraid to laugh at each other, but this is just what a real friendship is, right, and this one here felt so genuine and not at all forced. Winnie was running away from her abruptly ended marriage. Stella was a career woman, devoted to her job, but she was made redundant. Frankie was having the empty nest syndrome and when her twins left home, her marriage also came to an end – so they all really have their own reasons to risk everything, leave their old lives behind and try their luck on Skelidos. However, as you are absolutely right, things never run smooth and there are some troubles in paradise waiting for our lovely, likeable and believable girls, and it doesn’t only mean a stubborn donkey, underground gin distillery and not speaking a single word in Greek. And then there are of course all those hot men: hunky Australian Jesse, the Greek God Angelo and the member of a very popular band, Seth, but let’s not forget the husband Gav as well! And villagers worshipping a bush that grows only in the Villa’s garden – a recipe for disasters, no?

Kat French of course doesn’t forget about male characters, oh no, she doesn’t! And what great characters they were, guys! Jesse was so direct and outright that after my first jaw dropping moment I couldn’t stop to laugh at Winnie’s amusement, but I also wanted to cheer her on, high – five her and yell, you go girl, show him. I loved how he started to show her how to leave her comfort zones, how to appreciate herself – it was a gorgeous, beautiful subplot.

There were enough twists and turns to keep me glued to the pages, and I loved how the author surprised me every now and then. The unexpected visits, the way the story took its turn – it was all so surprising, and even for me not predictable, as the villa itself had also hidden treasures to discover! It was absolutely great and inspiring to see the three friends coming back to Skelidos to make the best of the villa, to just see how their lives are going to turn out, to just grab the life by the horns.

The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French has really had it ALL. Incredibly gorgeous setting, enough G&T to keep you happy, all – knowing neighbours, villagers that adored their own traditions, brilliant, bouncy and quirky characters, romance in the air and some stumbling blocks as well, and I simply adored it. It was easy to read, light and full of sun and humour and poignant moments – a perfect escapism. Brilliant story about new beginnings, second chances and leaving your comfort zones, being courageous. It is filled with friendship and hilarious moments and it is a must have accessory for your summer bag – really, guys, you don’t have to thank me for the recommendation. I am sure you are going to fell in love with all elements and Villa Valentina.


EXTRACT:

[Extract 3 from Prologue pp. 11-13]

Ajax placed a tray of three tall, fine-stemmed fishbowl glasses on the beach-bar table in front of them an hour or so later.

‘You’ve built our expectations sky-high now, you know that, right?’ Frankie said, lifting her eyebrows at him. ‘If these cocktails don’t make us feel a million dollars we’re going to want our money back.’

‘Your first drink is always on the house anyways,’ Ajax said grandly. ‘Villa Valentina house secret mix, guaranteed to make you happy.’

‘Free drinks always make me happy,’ Stella sighed. ‘People used to give me free drinks all over town. Stella! Come in, have a glass of champagne! And another!’

‘Ah, get over yourself, superstar. This one’s still free and looks amazing.’ Frankie reached for one of the glasses and handed it to Stella.

‘What is it?’ Winnie lifted her sunnies and squinted up at Ajax hovering close by for their verdict.

He shrugged. ‘Gin and tonic.’

It wasn’t like any gin and tonic Winnie had ever seen before. Peering into the glass as she slid it towards her, she could see rich shades of honeyed nectarine red sparkling with ice and slices of rose-pink grapefruit.

‘Is this rosemary?’ Frankie asked, plucking a herb from her glass and sniffing it.

Ajax preened. ‘I grow it myself in the garden at the back of the villa.’

Frankie dunked it back into her cocktail, using it to swirl the ice cubes. All three women looked up as the guy they’d spotted earlier with Ajax wandered over and placed a platter of glistening halved figs scattered with walnuts down on their table.

‘Oh. My. God.’ Winnie groaned. ‘How good does that look? They’re the fattest figs I’ve ever seen in my life.’

‘Best in the world. I grow them myself in the garden behind the villa.’

‘I’m sensing a theme,’ Stella murmured, then took a sip of her drink and gasped. ‘Bloody hell! That’s amazing. You have to tell me how to make this before I leave.’

Ajax ignored the request, choosing instead to make introductions.

‘Ladies, this is my husband, Nikolas.’

Nikolas stuck out his hand. ‘Nik, please.’

‘Well, thank you, Nik, for this. It looks wonderful,’ Winnie said, nodding towards the plate. ‘I’m Winnie.’

The others jumped up in turn and shook his hand, and he just nodded politely and excused himself.

‘He likes actions, not words,’ Ajax sighed, watching his lover wistfully until he’d disappeared back into the villa.

‘My kind of man,’ Stella laughed, making Ajax scowl theatrically.

‘What is it that you English like to say?’ he said. ‘Not on your nelly.’

He winked and blew them a kiss before threading his way through the tables in the direction of his husband.

‘Happy couples make me want to vom right now,’ Winnie said, taking a good gulp of her drink and then almost choking on the rosemary stem.

Stella grabbed for the glass. ‘Christ, Winnie, it’s too good to splutter all over the floor!’

Frankie lifted her drink so that the sunlight shone through the liquid, bouncing pink crystal shimmers all around them.

‘Everything about this place is special,’ she said. ‘The villa, Ajax, the cocktails, that view . . . it’s all blissful.’

Winnie had recovered sufficiently to raise her glass and toast the others.

‘To forty-eight hours of secret recipe cocktails and unin­terrupted bliss.’

Stella clinked her glass against Winnie’s. ‘I’ll drink to that. And to friendship.’

Frankie nodded solemnly and touched her glass to the others. ‘To us.’

Ajax watched the three women carefully from an upstairs window of the villa, observing the way they laughed together, how they toasted each other, that they were relaxed in each other’s company.

Maybe.

With enough of his secret cocktails and a fractured kalei­doscope of sun-gilded images laid out to seduce them, just maybe.


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Confetti at the Cornish Cafe by Phillipa Ashley / Blog Tour + Extract

Hi guys, hope you all have a pleasant and relaxing Sunday and that the weather is spoiling you, just like it’s spoiling us here. Today I have something that will help you to enjoy your weekend even more – as a part of Phillipa Ashley’s blog tour celebrating the third part in the Cornish Cafe series, “Confetti at the Cornish Cafe”, I have a little extract from the novel. Put your feet high and enjoy!

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Yes, I know Demelza’s is my cafe but even after six months, I always think walking inside is like stepping into a cosy, delicious haven. We’ve pulled out the stops to make it welcoming this cold spring morning, arranging early narcissi in stone jars on the window ledges to add a pop of yellow sunshine. Confetti-coloured freesias have been placed on every table and we’ve laid the two tables closest to the window with the vintage china I found at Kilhallon House last summer. Lily and Ben should be able to enjoy the view over the sea from there. The coffee machine is already burbling and the room is filled with the smell of freshly baked pastries. In the background, Cornish folk songs are playing softly. Mentally, I cross my fingers and hope they like the fresh and welcoming atmosphere we’ve tried to create.

Ben plonks himself down at a table and picks up a teacup as if he’s never seen one before. Lily lingers in the middle of the room. She pulls off her hood and a mane of glossy red hair falls down her back. Although she wears very little make-up, and is swamped by the shiny coat, she’s still stunning. Not like a real human, but a fairy in a children’s storybook. She turns around slowly, and lifts her arms, as if the cafe might revolve around her if she so wills.

I hold my breath. She could quite easily turn round this second and head out of Kilhallon and that would be that. Because we’re not glamorous, though we’ll bust a gut to be our very best. At the end of the day, we’re only a cosy little place in a wild and beautiful corner of Cornwall.

Lily sighs deeply as if she’s just finished a particularly hard yoga session. My heart thumps madly. I avoid a strong urge to wipe my palms on my jeans, waiting for this big star’s verdict on my little Cornish cafe.

Lily stares straight at me, a sad but sweet smile on her face.

‘This place is very … soothing. Like being wrapped in a big squishy duvet. It’s very authentic. Yes, I like it. I like it a lot.’

It’s hard not to let out a huge sigh of relief, even if part of me already wishes that Lily, Ben and Harry would get straight back into their ‘actor mobile’ and drive out of Kilhallon. Yes, it’s exciting to have them here and it would be amazing publicity for the park and cafe but I already can’t stand the tension of trying to live up to their expectations. Calm down, Cal would say, just be yourself.

But he’s not here, is he?

Lily perches on one of our old oak settles next to Ben. She picks up one of the vintage tapestry cushions I ‘recycled’ from the farmhouse and hugs it. Ben is on his phone. Harry is sitting at a nearby table with his arms folded. He makes the chair look an infant’s school chair.

‘What can we get you all, then, before we discuss menus and food? I thought we’d warm up in here before we take a tour of the rest of the park and the wedding …’

‘Handfasting,’ Ben mutters without glancing up from his phone. ‘We’re going to do the legal bit at the register office near our house a few weeks later. No one will be looking for that once we’ve had the ceremony here.’

‘Isla said you want a simple ceremony in a natural setting?’ I say.

‘Oh yes, we don’t want a fuss, do we, Ben? I can’t stand all those weddings with zillions of people where the bride and groom sit on thrones and everyone arrives by helicopter.’

‘Is there a helipad?’ Ben chimes in.

‘Sorry, no. There’s a field behind us that the emergency services could use at a push but no helipad.’

‘Oh.’ He goes back to his phone.

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Just for the Holidays by Sue Moorcroft / Blog Tour

Hi guys! I am so thrilled as today it is my stop on Sue Moorcroft’s blog tour – she has just gone and written the ultimate summer book! “Just for the Holidays” has this all what I am looking for in a novel, it is funny and poignant, full of emotions and hilarious moments. If you haven’t had a chance to read this book yet – please do it immediately, you won’t regret it!

Just for the Holidays by Sue Moorcroft

34862126Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 18th May 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

The #1 bestselling author returns for summer! Grab your sun hat, a cool glass of wine, and the only book you need on holiday…

In theory, nothing could be better than a summer spent basking in the French sun. That is, until you add in three teenagers, two love interests, one divorcing couple, and a very unexpected pregnancy.

Admittedly, this isn’t exactly the relaxing holiday Leah Beaumont was hoping for – but it’s the one she’s got. With her sister Michele’s family falling apart at the seams, it’s up to Leah to pick up the pieces and try to hold them all together.

But with a handsome helicopter pilot staying next door, Leah can’t help but think she might have a few distractions of her own to deal with…

A glorious summer read, for you to devour in one sitting – perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

Rating: five-stars

I’ve only read a few of Sue Moorcroft’s books but all of them were absolutely gorgeous stories, and “Just for the Holidays” was incredibly feel – good, brilliantly balanced novel about family dynamics and dramas but written in a very good – humoured way. It actually had it all: wonderful setting, a normal family with issues and problems, great characters, some delicious food and was full of twists and turns.

The two of the main characters have probably one of the coolest jobs in the world – chocolatier – YUMMY! I mean, how great must it be to land such a job ( I am a chocoholic. I can’t live a single day without a piece of chocolate. Or two. Or much, much more. I was salivating at the descriptions of the lovely things Leah was producing with the children, all of them including chocolate), and helicopter pilot. Mmmm. And if we are with the characters – I immediately warmed to all of them, with all their problems and dramas. They were so well written, even the children, especially Natasha with her never – ending questions asked without a break, with their realistic banter and calling themselves names. Our main character Leah not only tastes chocolate for a living but she loves her Porsche and Formula 1. I loved how she went into her role of Deputy Mum, she was terrified but she never lost her coolness and she did really great. I totally fell for her, to be honest. The switch from “Cool Auntie” to “Deputy Mum” was a shock for her – a confirmed singleton, loving her independence, it was surely not what she has expected from the holidays. But she has done so well, and with the help of her cooking skills and being compassionate she has saved the day more than once. She was strong and independent and she knew what she wanted from life.

Ronan spends his holidays in a house next to the gîte, together with his teenage son Curtis. He’s recuperating after an accident at work involving helicopter and emergency landing (and guys. Sue Moorcroft has really overdone herself in the name of research – namely at the end of the story she describes the real helicopter flight in which she went for a pretended crash – how cool is that, no?) Ronan was great, not only sexy as hell but also funny and clever and had tons of problems, and the way he dealt with them was brilliant. He was rather gorgeous, guys. Really, the characters were loveable at the first sight or unlikeable at the first sight, but all of them were believable. Sue Moorcroft has also portrayed all the teenagers in this book so very convincingly – their antics will make you wince at its familiarity. The family dynamic are brilliantly written and the story flies effortlessly from situation to situation. And there are quite a few situations in this novel, mostly unfortunate ones, that turn the dreamed – of  holidays in a beautiful place to holiday from hell – especially for Leah, but actually also for all involved.

My only problem was that somewhere around the middle the book went a little downhill for me. It slowed significantly down and started to drag on, even though there was still a lot happening! Not sure how it’s possible but it was like this. I had a feeling that we start to go in circles and even though it was entertaining and I kept my fingers crossed for Leah and Ronan to find a little alone time, I couldn’t help but sigh impatiently at the next interruption. But other than that the story was brilliant. Sue Moorcroft perfectly well knows when to drop the next bombshell and really, some of the surprise appearances were so, so unexpected – I more than once held my breath thinking oh no! Not this! Poor Leah.

“Just for the Holidays” was a lovely, full of feelings and understanding story about broken relationship and how they may affect all people involved, especially children – but don’t expect it to be a drama that is going to make you cry! If so, then with laughter. It is written in such a playful, humorous way and the author perfectly well knows how to break the tension with a joke or two. It is about love, forgiveness and friendship, about facing the consequences and being open to changes. There were so many emotions running through this story, from all of the characters. And even though it is humorous, it is not as fluffy as you could think. There is really a lot of depth to it, it makes you wonder and question, it has moments when it is truly thought – provoking and I just loved this mix. It touches upon many issues, such as late pregnancy, infidelity, exploiting and manipulating the others. It sounds serious, I know, but believe me, the author brilliantly lightened the story with her humour and with adding great romance. A perfect summer read, you should make sure that you have it with you, and not only just for the holidays! Highly recommended!

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The Woman Who Met Her Match by Fiona Gibson

The Woman Who Met Her Match by Fiona Gibson

 

33229356Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 20th April  2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

What if your first love came back on the scene . . . 30 years later?

After yet another disaster, Lorrie is calling time on online dating. She might be single in her forties, but she’s got a good job, wonderful children and she’s happy. This, Lorrie decides, is going to have to be enough.

That is, until she receives a very unexpected request from France. Antoine Rousseau, who had once turned a lonely French exchange trip into a summer of romance, wants to see her – after thirty years.

But Lorrie is a responsible woman. She can’t exactly run off to Nice with the man who broke her teenage heart . . . can she?

A wonderfully funny novel, perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Joanna Bolouri and Milly Johnson.

Rating: 4/5

What a great book “The Woman Who Met Her Match” was! After the last two books by Fiona Gibson that were enjoyable but not as much as I’d loved them to be, the author is back with a great story like “Take Mum Out” or “Mum on the Run” and it makes me incredibly happy because I was already worried what’s happening and when am I going to get the brilliant Fiona Gibson again? No worries guys, here she is, with “The Woman Who Met Her Match”!

I felt immediately at home with this story. It was so warm and welcoming, full of dry humour – just what I like best – the things happening in the story were so down – to – earth and I am sure so many of us can relate to Lorrie. I liked her from the very beginning, as a young girl and then as a mature woman with two teenagers – great kids, BTW! She works hard as a manager at a cosmetic counter in a department store and she loves her job – her passion was palpable through the pages, she was the right person on the right place, guys. She had a big heart, was full of understanding, loved her family and altogether, was happy with her life and those were her children that signed her up on the dating website. My only regret is that there were only few of the dates – you know how much I love reading about disastrous dates and I would SO love to read more about Lorrie meeting those guys because those few that we got were hilarious!

Fiona Gibson has written her characters in the best possible way, they were more than realistic, they just felt like real people with real problems, because – of course! – there were some troubles heading Lorrie’s way, just like Antoine, her teenage crush getting in touch out of the blue, or a big company buying the beauty brand Lorrie was working for and going all young on her – and the author has just brought all the things so easily and effortlessly to life. There were many subplots in this story, but they were all done in a perfect way, and no matter what I was reading about, if it was Lorrie’s job or her mother’s upcoming wedding (oh my word. Lorrie’s mum was frustrating. Frustrating. I’ve no idea how she could bear up with her), I did enjoy them all, and because of this diversity this book was even more brilliant. Lorrie had a lot on her plate but all she did and said just rang true and I just couldn’t help but kept everything crossed for her and her family.

I am only not sure who Lorrie’s match was but oh well, I can live with this. I’m guessing it must be Stu and let’s stop for a moment here. Stu is Lorrie’s best friend and a lodger who’s running one of the best business you can imagine, namely his company Parsley Force delivers things for people who have forgotten to buy them! Or are too lazy to go out and buy them, whatever, but the idea is brilliant, just imagine – it’s snowing or raining, and you fancy a bag of crisps, you call and they bring them to you! Clever, no? However, I don’t know, I don’t want to spoil the reading for you so I’m not going to elaborate about this, but the end to this story and to Lorrie and Stu’s thread was so sudden and well, yes, I did expect it, it was just my gut feeling telling me that it’s going to end this way as there was really nothing indicating that there could be more between those characters. Especially Lorrie, she has treated Stu as best friend and those sudden confessions of love at the end made me roll my eyes to be honest. And I also am not sure what was it about Lorrie’s son and what’s it all for? A nice touch, yes, but only few lines and nothing more, so why?

“The Woman who Met Her Match” is a lovely read touching about many issues, such like grief, marriage, friendship, bringing your children up alone, family bonds and dynamics, showing that there is always time for love and that it can come in a very unexpected way. A story about second chances, illusions, about memories, and this all hidden between gorgeous cover – don’t you think it’s beautiful? It was a very easy and very enjoyable read and I am really glad to have the good Fiona Gibson back. She writes about the truth with honesty, she creates down – to – earth and normal situations but she gives “normal” a face – lifting and altogether, I can only highly recommend this lovely, comfortable read.

The Secrets of Ivy Garden by Catherine Ferguson / Blog Tour + Extract

Hi guys, and happy Monday! And guess what? Yes! I have a new blog tour for you today! I am incredibly thrilled to have an extract from Catherine Ferguson’s brand new shiny novel “The Secrets of Ivy Garden” to share with you – the title of this book is just perfect for this lovely spring day, don’t you think? So put your feet high, make yourself latte and enjoy!

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‘Go,’ she hisses, handing me a ramekin of strawberry jam. ‘Your job’s here whenever you decide you want to come back, okay? Whether that’s in a month or even in six months’ time.’

Her kindness is too much. I have to get away before I break down and make a complete fool of myself.

‘Thank you,’ I mouth. Then I rush over to Betty with the jam, collect my coat and bag from the cloakroom and step outside into the blustery spring day. It’s a wrench leaving the cosy warmth of the café behind, and as the bell on the door jangles behind me and a cool breeze lifts my hair, I wonder with a pang how long it will be before I cross the threshold again. With her daily dose of light chit-chat and practical good sense, Patty has almost single-handedly kept me sane.

Ivy died on 14th December from a massive heart attack.

My memory of the run-up to Christmas and beyond is a bit of a blur, but I do remember refusing to leave my flat, despite offers from my best friends, Beth and Vicki – and also Patty – to spend Christmas with them. After the funeral in early January, I went straight back to work, even though Patty told me I needed more time to grieve. I convinced her that work was good therapy. And so for the past few months, I’ve slipped into a safe routine: keeping busy all day at the café, going home to eat and mindlessly watch TV, then sitting in the darkened kitchen, with just the pool of light from an Anglepoise lamp, to do my sketching, hour after hour, often until well after midnight when my eyes are stinging. I know if I go to bed too early, I’ll only end up lying there, staring into the darkness, fretting about the future.

I’ve always loved painting and sketching, and now it’s proving to be an absolute life-line. Ivy’s big dream for me was to study art at college when I left school. She used to say being an artist was my ‘calling’ because my paintings made people think about life and gave them pleasure. But however much I might have wanted to pursue my art as a career, I knew it was never going to be a practical option because we didn’t have the money. When Patty offered to promote me from Saturday girl to full-time staff when I was sixteen, I jumped at the chance, and I’m still there.

I still sketch, though, especially now. When I’m focused on drawing the perfect foxglove, it’s easier to keep the dark thoughts at bay.

I’ve always been the sort of practical, clear-headed person people can count on in a crisis. But since Ivy died, I’ve felt vulnerable and far less sure of myself. My insides shift queasily every time I think of making that long train journey south, leaving behind everything that’s familiar. Even telling myself it’s just for a few weeks, and then I’ll be safely back home, doesn’t seem to make any difference.

How can I bear to stay in Moonbeam Cottage if Ivy’s not there?

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If Ever I Fall by S.D. Robertson

Hi guys, it’s Friday! FINALLY. It was such a long week, and having an awful cold didn’t help at all. Today I am very thrilled to be a part of S.D. Robertson’s blog tour for his new release “If Ever I Fall” and to share a guest post from the author on writing from different point of views. Enjoy, and have a great weekend, you lovely folks!

Writing from different points of view

by S.D. Robertson

I write from different points of view in my latest novel, If Ever I Fall. There are three distinct sections running through the book and each has its own voice.

First there’s Jack, who wakes up on a deserted clifftop with no memory of who he is or how if-i-ever-fallhe got there.

Next we have Maria, who is drowning in grief. She spends her time writing letters that will never be answered, while fighting to escape the pain of terrible memories.

And then there’s Dan, whose life has fallen apart at the seams. He’s lost his house, his job is on the line and now he fears losing his family too.

Taking on different voices was a new experience for me, since my first novel, Time to Say Goodbye, was written from just one perspective. Initially, it felt a bit daunting: particularly writing as a woman, which wasn’t something I’d ever attempted before.

So how did I approach it? Well, the first thing I did was to frame each of the voices differently. So the Maria sections are all written through the medium of personal letters, giving them a very confessional feel. Meanwhile, the Dan sections are written in third person past tense, while the Jack sections are first person present tense.

Doing this really helped me to keep on top of which character I was channelling at each stage of writing the book. I think it also helps readers in the same way.

Other than that, I suppose it was a bit like being an actor and trying to get under the skin of each of them, imagining what they, rather than me, would say and do in each particular situation. It’s not actually as tricky as it sounds, because as an author there’s a part of you – sometimes big, sometimes small – in every character you create. So it’s really just a case of tuning into that and building it up from there.

Before I wrote a word of the manuscript, I created character profiles for everyone in the story; those of Jack, Maria and Dan were particularly detailed. I referred back to them constantly at the start, adding bits and pieces along the way, but as the book progressed and each of them took firm shape in my mind, this became less necessary.

It’s like when you have family or friends that you’ve known for a long time. You know their mannerisms and habits. You have a good idea of what they love and what they hate. You get so you can predict fairly accurately how they will react in different scenarios. You know the sort of thing they are likely to say.

There were, of course, moments when I wasn’t sure about certain things, particularly when it came to writing from a woman’s perspective as Maria. It was at these times that I turned to my female family members and friends for advice.

That’s how it works when you write fiction. Your own experience is enough for certain things, and for others you do research, preferably by speaking to those with first-hand knowledge of whatever it is you need to know.

I must say that I really enjoyed writing from more than one perspective in If Ever I Fall. I think it’s a great tool to use as an author, which allows you to take your readers deeper into the world you’ve created. It’s certainly a technique I intend to employ again in future novels.

*Former journalist S.D. Robertson quit his job as a local newspaper editor to pursue a xsdrobertson_jpg_pagespeed_ic_vytby7lz48lifelong ambition of becoming an author and to spend more time with his wife and daughter. If Ever I Fall (Avon HarperCollins, £7.99) is his second novel. A heart-rending story of family tragedy, it is published on 9 February 2017.

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Christmas Cheer by Bella Osborne

Christmas Cheer by Bella Osborne

 

29750481Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 20th October 2016

Series: Willow Cottage #2 (read my review of #1 here)

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 111

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

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…

Rating: 4/5

“Christmas Cheer” is the second instalment in Bella Osborne’s Willow Cottage’s series, and it rather should be read as a part of the series, as it starts exactly where we left in the first novella and continues on the characters’ adventures without all over again going into details about who is who and why. It is already some time since I’ve read “Sunshine and Secrets” and I was worried that I forgot most of the things and characters but by the end of the first chapter I already felt at home and remembered everything.

It was nice to be back in the village, with all its villagers, some more weird than the others, and to see that Beth and her son Leo are getting settled in and finding not only friends but also jobs. One of the jobs involves Beth taking care about Jack’s dog Daisy, and oh my word, can this dog create a havoc! But she’s a lovely dog, Daisy is, really, and at least it is cleared up why she’s getting crazy every time she sees one of the villagers and her trolley.

I know that after reading the first part I had some problems with the story following also Beth’s best friend Carly and her boyfriend and somehow it just didn’t sit with me, as it seemed as if there were two different stories in one book. However, this time, I took it stoically – the sudden switches between Beth and Carly’s stories, maybe it just should be like this, and moreover, the stories start to intertwine in my opinion, and Carly is more at Beth’s, and it works now.

Bella Osborne’s writing is getting better and better. It’s easy to follow, it’s light, with a right dose of humour – there are some really hilarious scenes in this novella! – and seriousness. The characters are developing, and the cottage is taking shape, and I loved to read about all the ideas Beth had and how the villagers were willing to help her. The writing is really vivid and down to earth and I could easily imagine all the things really happening.

So it was really great to see Beth and Leo starting to fit in and it is a real pain to see that there are for sure troubles coming in! Of course, this part ended with a cliff – hanger as well, and I think there will be some unexpected visits in the third part, but I am also dead sure that a big, huge understatement happened at the end of “Christmas Cheer” and that it’s also going to create chaos and there will be a lot of jumping to conclusions, and it already annoys me because I want to see Beth happy, and I know, deep in my heart, that she and Jack just belong together! I am certain that problems are expecting us in the third instalment, “A Spring Affair” – and I can’t wait to read it! “Christmas Cheer” was a funny, poignant and also romantic and festive short story – I recommend it!