Saturday, 25 June 2016

My Monthly Book Review...

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

Oh, lordy! Where do I start?? In a nutshell, I absolutely LOVED this book - I read so much and, as a writer, the reading for pleasure only often disintegrates to either, "I wouldn't have written this scene like that" or "what is that character talking about/doing? Makes zero sense!" OR I humbly shut a book, believing I will never, ever be that good.

The Monogram Murders was SO good, that I actually forgot I write altogether and became completely immersed in the writing and this brand new Poirot mystery. Bravo, Sophie Hannah, for bringing back my reading for pleasure. I am so happy another Poirot book will be released later this year!

I think I read my first Agatha Christie (Miss Marple) around the age of 12 or 13 and went on to devour many more. Poirot is such a complex character, so full of depth and nuances, that I cannot imagine the task of having to bring him back to life with the verve in which Christie wrote him.

Sophie Hannah has managed this with seemingly effortless skill...although I am sure the task was far from effortless. For any Christie fan, I urge you to buy and read this book. You will not be disappointed. It receives a big, fat 5 stars from me!

Happy Reading!

Rachel x

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Welcome fabulous romance author, Cathy Bramley...

 Hi Cathy! I am absolutely thrilled to welcome you to my blog - I SO enjoyed Ivy Lane and can't wait to read your latest release, The Plumberry School of Comfort Food! Let's start with my questions...

1.                 1.                   What was your first job? Did you like or dislike it? Why?

My first job was a Saturday girl in a shop at the top of our road. It was attached a car repair garage and sold parts for cars. It was like a grimier version of the shop in ‘Open All Hours’! Every surface was covered in a film of engine oil and I had no idea what anything was. Men would come in and ask for tricky things like a rotor arm for a Ford Capri and I’d have to look it up in a huge catalogue to find the right one. Whatever I needed was invariably on the highest shelf so then I’d have to shin up a ladder to find it. But despite all of this, I did quite like the job. It gave me my first taste of financial independence, even if it was only a few pounds a week!

2.                   Do you have a pet peeve? If so what is it?

I could probably write a book on my pet peeves, but I’ll try and narrow it down!
1.       Owners not picking up their own dog poo.
2.       Family members putting empty cartons back in the fridge or stacking their washing up NEXT to the dishwasher!
3.       The mentality of some who think nothing of spending over £3 for a takeaway coffee, but complain about the price of books.

3.                   Would you describe your style as shabby chic, timeless elegance, eclectic, country or ___­­­_?

I think I’m probably a bit of all of those except shabby chic. I live in a modern house in the countryside. Although we have lived here over four years, we’re still making in the process of making it homely with more pictures and soft furnishings, it still feels a bit bare to me. Perhaps I need to answer this in another year’s time!
4.                   Tell me about your book THE PLUMBERRY SCHOOL OF COMFORT FOOD and where you got your inspiration for it?
The novel follows the story of Verity Bloom who, after her boyfriend does the dirty on her, reluctantly volunteers to help her best friend’s mum open a cookery school in the village of Plumberry. Verity has steered away from cooking for two years since her best friend died and this move forces her to face up to things she has been avoiding for too long. It’s a story about food, friendship, love and loss and how sometimes, it’s OK to do something which makes ourselves happy for a change. My friend runs the most wonderful cookery school in The Lakes called Lucy Cooks and this provided me with much of the inspiration for the book. It’s a truly magical place and although I've set Plumberry in Yorkshire, the building is very much based on Lucy Cooks.

5.                   Who is your role model? Why?

My role model is my mum. She taught me to be independent, work hard and never give up. My other role model is Lucy Nicholson, who owns the cookery school. She is a brilliant business woman, tenacious and brimming with enthusiasm for life. I love them both to pieces.

6.                   How much of your book is realistic?

My fiction is stylised of course, but I’d say pretty much all of it is realistic. I’m not really a fan of fantasy.

7.                   What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Wickham Hall made number sixteen in the UK best sellers list in February, I’d dearly like to make the Sunday Times Top Ten one day.

8.                   Share one fact about yourself that would surprise people.

I used to get Christmas cards every year from Timmy Mallett, much to the amusement of my husband!

 Blurb for The Plumberry School of Comfort Food:

Verity Bloom hasn't been interested in cooking anything more complicated than the perfect fish finger sandwich, ever since she lost her best friend and baking companion two years ago.

But an opportunity to help a friend lands her right back in the heart of the kitchen. The Plumberry School of Comfort Food is due to open in a few weeks' time and needs the kind of great ideas that only Verity could cook up. And with new friendships bubbling and a sprinkling of romance in the mix, Verity finally begins to feel like she's home.

But when tragedy strikes at the very heart of the cookery school, can Verity find the magic ingredient for Plumberry while still writing her own recipe for happiness?

Cathy Bramley Bio:

Cathy Bramley is the author of the best-selling romantic comedies Ivy Lane, Appleby Farm, Wickham Hall, Conditional Love and The Plumberry School of Comfort Food. She lives in a Nottinghamshire village with her family and a dog.

Her recent career as a full-time writer of light-hearted, romantic fiction has come as somewhat of a lovely surprise after spending eighteen years running her own marketing agency. However, she has been always an avid reader, never without a book on the go and now thinks she may have found her dream job!

Cathy loves to hear from her readers. You can get in touch via her website Facebook page or on Twitter

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Introducing Hanging by a Thread by Jenna Sutton....

Enter to Win a $50.00 Amazon eGift Card


Riley O'Brien & Co. #3

Jenna Sutton

Releasing June 7th, 2016

Berkley Sensation

Thirty-year-old Bebe Banerjee is
desperate to get rid of two things: her fiancé and her virginity. Escaping her
arranged marriage might be impossible, but she refuses to give her firsts to an
entitled jerk who lives on another continent. Instead, she devises a plan that
guarantees another man will get her momentous firsts. But she never imagined
that man would be Cal O’Brien, the gorgeous heir to the Riley O’Brien & Co.
denim empire…

Although Cal has always been
fascinated by Bebe’s brilliant mind and beautiful eyes, he’s never pursued her.
She can’t stand the sight of him, and every time they’re in the same room, they
end up trading insults. Yet when he finds out about Bebe’s bold plan, he makes
his move, unaware of her upcoming nuptials. He promises to make her firsts unforgettable,
but he doesn’t know how hard it will be to forget her when their arrangement


Amazon | B
& N
 |GoogleiTunes | Kobo

Jenna Sutton is a former
award-winning journalist who traded fact for fiction when she began writing
novels. Surprisingly, the research she conducted for her articles provided a
lot of inspiration for her books.

Jenna is
the author of the Riley O’Brien & Co. romances including All the Right Places and Coming Apart at the Seams. She has a
Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Texas Christian University and a Master’s
degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University.

Jenna and
her husband live in a 103-year-old house in Texas affectionately known as “The
Money Pit”. You can find out more about her and her books by visiting

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Best and Worst Writing Advice I ever received…

Best – “Give yourself permission to write a ‘crappy’ first draft.”

This simple piece of advice changed my entire prospective and output as a novelist.

It’s a huge achievement for anyone to finish a full-length novel…but for some writers this can take years. If you want to give up the day job, pursue your life’s calling or write for the rest of your life, the fact is you have to write as quickly as you possibly can for that to happen and be able to eat and pay your rent/mortgage.

When you’ve beaten the writer’s odds and become a household name, there’s every chance your publisher will be more than happy for you to turn in a 100,000 word novel every year, maybe even every two years. Why? Because the chances are your name alone will give them the return they are looking for.

However, between now and then, you have to work well and hard.

For me, that possibility came with this advice – once I understood and took it onboard, I sat down and planned as much of my novel as I felt I needed in order to write the entire first draft without looking back. The result? My average daily output jumped from 500 words a day to 2,000. Admittedly, I am lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mum and able to write around my children, BUT if your WEEKLY output is 500 words and becomes 2,000, isn’t that a huge difference too?

Of course, there is more work to come when you have to beat your words into shape, but won’t it be easier to alter, delete and improve a page full of words than battling with a first chapter over and over again?

Worst advice – “Give up now…you’ll never be published.” Anonymous contest judge circa 2005

Hmm, I could let this one go by without comment but I will say a few words.

Most importantly, this advice had the exact opposite affect on me than the judge most probably intended.

For some people, this might mean they never pick up a pen or put their fingers to a keyboard again. For me, it made me more determined than ever to prove him/her wrong. It angered me, made me more passionate about my dreams and gave me the boost to carry on.

In 2007 my first novel was published…today, I have sixteen full-length novels published, another due for release in November 2016, another being shopped out by my agent and quarter way through novel number twenty.

I write romantic suspense and mainstream romance for Harlequin Superromance and Victorian romance for eKensington, two of the biggest romance publishers in the US.

Bad advice? Yes. A great motivator? Absolutely!

Write on!

Rachel x

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Introducing That Girl by Rachel Strong...

Clarissa Jean (1)

Young Mums
  Becoming a mum is hard at the best of times, all that worrying about such insignificant things, the lack of sleep, fear of dropping the baby, constantly asking yourself, ‘am I doing it right?’ It’s the most magical of times, you’ve created a person and you can’t take your eyes off that precious bundle, but at the same time it’s terrifying!
  For a teenage mum it’s even harder, you’re desperate to prove that you can do it and that you’re not a waste of space, like a lot of people think young mums are. I used to be paranoid that old ladies were looking at me, pushing my baby in his pram, thinking, ‘look at her with that baby, he’ll end up mugging old ladies!’ Madness I know, but I felt everyone was judging me because of my age.
  Almost twelve years ago, at just nineteen years old, I gave birth to a little boy, Oliver, and I’ll never forget the terrifying moment when hubs and I brought him home from hospital, put him down on the floor in his car seat and looked at each other and said, ‘well, what do we do now?’ We honestly didn’t have a clue, we were both so young and inexperienced and I still can’t believe the midwives let us take this tiny creature home with us!
  The second time round, two years later, was so different, we just got on with it and two years after baby number two, when we were mad enough to do it a third time, we had this parenting lark down to a fine art.
  Those first few days at home with Oliver were a scary haze of desperately trying to breast feed this baby that kept falling asleep, dirty nappies and no sleep for either of us. The breast feeding with Oliver was a complete disaster, but because I was a ‘teenage mum’ I was determined to do everything right, which meant feeding him myself - I was adamant it was the best thing for him!
  I think I managed a week before the lack of sleep and exhaustion took its toll on me and my family talked me into giving him a bottle. The difference that bottle made on my son was amazing, for the first time, since he entered the world, he was content, daddy was happy because it meant he could do something other than change dirty nappies and it meant I could catch up on some much needed sleep. But, the guilt started nagging away at me, I felt like a failure, I had one job to do and that was to give my baby the best start I could and I gave up at the first hurdle and proving to be what the general consensus of the world considered a ‘teenage mum’
  When I look back now, I realise how ridiculous I was. I don’t think there is any perfect age to become a mum, mum’s in their thirty’s and forty’s get it wrong too, parenting is hard at the best of times, no matter how old you are, but when I look at Oliver now, at almost twelve, I know we got it right with him, despite the fact I was so young when he was born. He’s healthy, polite, caring and considerate. He’s bright, doing extremely well at school and is popular. Every day I look at him and feel proud that I have managed to keep him alive for nearly twelve years - how, I don’t know? It’s actually quite amazing, especially when I think back to how neither of us had a clue - but we did it, and I’m quite proud of him - and us!
  If I could go back in time and not become a mum so young, I wouldn’t! Becoming a mum was the best thing that happened to me, just like Katie, in That Girl, my new book. She became a mum at just fifteen years old, but she describes having her daughter, Hollie, as the best thing that ever happened to her and that she couldn’t be without her, and that is exactly how I feel about Oliver, I had to give up going out with my friends, girlie holidays and even training to be a nurse, which is what I’d always wanted to do, but I’ve loved every second I’ve had with my three children and there is not one moment I would change!
  As long as your child is happy, healthy and loved, it doesn’t matter what age you are!

That Girl
By author: Rachel Strong


After serving half of a three-year prison sentence, James is out and ready to try and get his life back on track, which means forgetting about the girl who sent him to prison in the first place - despite the fact he’s still in love with her!
Katie knows that she can’t see James, but that doesn’t make it any easier. If she does it could send him straight back to prison, but, she still loves him and is desperate to make things right and tell him how sorry she is for ruining his life.
After accidently bumping into each other, James and Katie can’t stay away from one another and so begin to see each other in secret. After a slight wobble on James’s part, when he decides he can’t take the risk of going back to prison, Katie decides enough is enough and it really is time to move on and put James behind her.
Heartbroken, James decides to try and get his life in order. But due to his conviction it’s not as straightforward as he would like, leaving him miserable and despairing at what his life has become.
When a job opportunity comes up hundreds of miles away he doesn’t hesitate to head south and put his troubles behind him.
Can James and Katie forget each other and move on with their lives without one another?

Buy the Book:

About the Author:

Rachel Strong


Rachel Strong is a romance author and lives in Lancashire, England, with her husband, three children and little dog Daisy. Rachel works part time as a Health Care Assistant at her local hospital, but her real passion is writing.

Ever since she can remember, Rachel has been writing stories but didn’t really take it seriously until summer 2012 when her husband discovered one of her stories, read it and convinced her that it was good. She loves writing and creating characters, sometimes a whole day can pass her by, just sitting at her laptop, typing away.
When she’s not writing, Rachel loves to read slushy romance novels, chick-lit and a good thriller. When she finds a spare moment she will be found curled up on the sofa with her nose in a book.

Rachel’s debut novel ‘Complicated Love’ is out now with her second novel ‘That Girl’ is due to be released this coming June.

Find her here:

Visit All the Stops on the Tour:

June 13th

The Bookworm Lodge - - Book Excerpt/Promo Post
Little Shop of Readers - - Book Promo Post
T&L Book Reviews - - Book Excerpt/Promo Post
One Book At A Time  - - Book Promo Post
The Writing Garnet - HTTPS:// - Book Review

June 14th

Grass monster - Amazon/GoodReads - Book Review
Vikbat - - Book Review/Promo Post
The Bookdragon - - Book Review
Boundless Minds - - Author Guest Post
ItsShelbyMariee - - Book Review

June 15th

JustaBooklovinJunkie - http://jabooklovinjunkie.blogspot/ - Book Review/Excerpt/Promo Post
Liz Ellyn - - Book Review
Fervently Curious - - Book Review/Excerpt
Love Sex and Other Dirty Words - - Book Promo Post
Little Novelist - - Book Excerpt
Hello...Chick Lit - - Book Promo Post

June 16th

Rachel Brimble Romance - - Author Guest Post
Have books, Will read - - Book Excerpt/Promo Post
Bookmyopia - - Book Excerpt
Book Lover in Florida - - Book Excerpt/Promo Post
Ali - The Dragon Slayer - - Book Review
The Book Basics - - Book Review/Promo Post

June 17th

Steamy Book Momma - - Book Review
Book Groupies - - Book Promo Post
Brittany's Book Blog - - Book Review
Sparkles at Midnight - - Book Review
MsWanderlust - - Book Review/Excerpt

Book Tour Arranged by:
now booking tours for July/August/September

HCL Book Tours Logo (2)

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Welcome contemporary romance author, Alice Ross...

Hi Alice! So great to have you here and to be a part of your ongoing tour - wishing you much sales and success with your latest release, A SUMMER OF SECRETS! Let's kick off with my questions...

1.      What did you want to be when you grew up?
A ballet dancer. Or an astronaut. Or a ballet-dancing astronaut. 
2.      Coffee, tea or hot chocolate?
Water! Boring, I know. 
3.      What genre do you typically read? Why?
History books. Anything about dead monarchs, or second-cousins-thrice-removed from dead monarchs.
4.      Share a favourite childhood memory
Walking through our local, bluebell strewn woods with my granddad.
5.      Do you have any shameless addictions? ie. Tea, Books, Shoes, Clothes?
My violin. I love it. And exercise – bit of a junkie.
6.      What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a new book?
For me it’s the first 20,000 words. Because I’m a rubbish planner, I always end up hurtling down a couple of blocked avenues at the start, before having that euphoric moment of “cracking it”.
7.      Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?
A good day is 3,000+ words.
8.      What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
A Summer of Secrets is the second book in my Countryside Dreams series, and I’m now writing the winter instalment. It’s the first time I’ve written a series and I am absolutely loving bringing in characters who have featured in the previous books and intertwining them with new characters.

Summer of Secrets by Alice Ross 

Blurb: A perfect, feel-good summer read about love, life and family.
One long hot summer. Secrets never stay buried for long…

Portia is determined to restore Buttersley Manor, her family’s crumbling ancestral home, to its former glory. Yet she has a feeling that there are a few forgotten skeletons in the dust-covered cupboards.

Jenny has put her life on hold for far too long. It’s time to finally start living and to dig up those hopes and dreams she’s kept hidden all these years – but is she brave enough?

Rich is happily married with a beautiful wife and lovely daughter. In fact, his world is perfect until a very unexpected consequence of his past walks through the door…

Joe would like nothing more than to travel back in time to when he and Gina were happy. But is it too late to rescue what they once had?

One thing’s for sure, nothing’s ever quite what it seems when it comes to life in the country!

About Alice Ross

lice Ross used to work in the financial services industry where she wrote riveting, enthralling brochures about pensions and ISAs that everyone read avidly and no one ever put straight into the bin.

One day, when nobody was looking, she managed to escape. Dragging her personal chef (aka her husband) along with her, she headed to Spain, where she began writing witty, sexy, romps designed to amuse slightly more than pension brochures.

Missing Blighty (including the weather - but don't tell anyone), she returned five years later and now works part-time in the tourism industry.

When not writing, she can be found scratching out a tune on her violin, walking her dog in wellies two sizes too big (don't ask!), or standing on her head in a yoga pose.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Introducing When He Fell by Kate Hewitt...

Unlikeable Characters? By Kate Hewitt

As a writer I have been accused of creating characters that are too unlikeable. In fact, my editor is often asking me to ‘tone down’ my heroines in particular, as readers need to identify and root with them more. I absolutely agree with this, but I also believe that characters need to be flawed to be relatable. Have you ever been annoyed by the cute-as-a-button heroine of a novel whose only flaws are freckles on her nose or a tendency to care too much?

I enjoy the challenge of writing about deeply flawed and human people. People who struggle and fear and hate, but also who are ultimately redeemed. It has been interesting reading some of the reviews of When He Fell, because many readers seem to dislike one of the main characters, Maggie and Joanna. Some people like Joanna and hate Maggie, and some people hate Maggie and like Joanna! I’m actually pleased about that, because it shows that readers can relate to at least one of them.

My editor has said that many female readers judge heroines far more harshly than they do heroes, something I’ve found to be true as a writer—and in real life. Women tend to judge other women more than they judge men, which is another reason why I like to write about flawed characters, and flawed women in particular. I want to challenge readers to think about why they’re reacting to a character the way they are, why they are condemning their actions rather than empathizing with them. We all make grievous mistakes. We all struggle with negative emotions. As a reader I am willing to follow a character down a dark path as long as he or she learns from their mistakes and is redeemed, at least in part, by the end. I believe the characters are redeemed at the end of When He Fell, although their redemption comes at a high price. What about you? Do you enjoy reading about flawed characters? Is there a particular character trait or action that will turn you off a book completely?

The powerfully gripping new book from USA Today bestselling author Kate Hewitt.
Josh and Ben are nine years old and best friends, until a single, careless act in the school playground destroys the lives of both families – and wrenches their small Manhattan school apart.
As both mothers Maddie and Joanna try to find out what really happened between the boys, they discover the truth is far more complicated and painful than either of them could have ever realised... with lasting repercussions for both families.
And when tragedy strikes again in the most unexpected of ways, the lives of these two women will be changed once more, and this time forever.
When He Fell explores the issues of parental responsibility and guilt, and whether there are some acts that human nature just cannot forgive...
Kate Hewitt is the author of over 40 novels of women’s fiction and romance. She loves telling an emotional story in a variety of genres, and has been nominated for the Romance Writers of America RITA Award twice. An American ex-pat, she lives in the Cotswolds of England with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever. You can follow her adventures in village life on her blog,

Giveaway: (A paperback copy of This Fragile Life – Kate's other book)