I’m delighted to be taking part on this the opening day for the blog tour of this lyrical and unique novel.

Synopsis

A novel about food, whanau (= family, essentially), and mental illness.
Valerie reads George Eliot to get to sleep – just to take her mind off worries over her patients, her children, their father and the next family dinner. Elena is so obsessed with health, traditional food, her pregnancy and her blog she doesn’t notice that her partner, Malcolm the ethicist, is getting himself into a moral dilemma of his own making. Evie wants to save the world one chicken at a time. Meanwhile her boyfriend, Michael is on a quest to reconnect with his M?ori heritage and discover his own identity. Rosa is eight years old and lost in her own fantasy world, but she’s the only one who can tell something’s not right. Crisis has the power to bring this family together, but will it be too late?

My review
The story is set in New Zealand and centres on a family. It’s helpful, I think, to quickly run through the relationships and say a little about the main characters. There’s Valerie, the mother, who was married to a Maori man. There’s Elena, the elder daughter, who’s pregnant. She’s a food blogger and we see some of her posts in the book. She’s married to the philandering Malcolm.
Michael is Valerie’s son. He’s at university and lives the life of a carefree twenty-year-old, chilling with friends and enjoying himself. He’s very interested in Maori culture, which he learns about from his grandmother, Gayle.
There’s also youngest child, Rosa, a very precocious eight-year-old, and from whose mouth come some very astute observations, and also there’s close family friend and activist Evie.

These are the main characters who act as narrators in turn. Each voice is distinct, and not just from the point of view it conveys but also in the language and imagery. Each person faces some sort of crisis, some more major than others. But none of it is over the top since we see the family cope, the way that close families do, with whatever life throws at them. The serious issue of mental health that crops up is particularly sensitively handled.
Another thing to know about is the reference to Maui in the book’s title. In Maori mythology he is a clever trickster. One of his accomplishments was to catch a giant fish using his grandmother’s jawbone as a hook. He attempted to make humankind immortal by tricking the Goddess of the Night, but he failed and died. When you read the book you will see how this title is so apt for this story.
It’s a lyrical and moving story, beautifully written, slow and steady to begin with but the pace and tension build as problems begin to emerge. Not all are completely solved but the family show strength and courage as they deal with them. Each of them moves from being rather self-absorbed at the start of the story to developing a wider awareness of their loved ones and their own role in the pattern of their family. Personal and cultural clashes are faced and dealt with.
This is a very thought-provoking, compassionate, enlightening and absorbing novel. Most enjoyable.

Purchase Links
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Fishing-Maui-Isa-Pearl-Ritchie-ebook/dp/B07DZBXSCN/
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fishing-Maui-Isa-Pearl-Ritchie-ebook/dp/B07DZBXSCN/
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/826608

Author bio
Isa Ritchie is a Wellington-based writer. She grew up as a P?keh? child in a bicultural family and M?ori was her first written language. She has completed a PhD on food sovereignty in Aotearoa. She is passionate about food, wellbeing and social justice.

Social Media Links
https://www.facebook.com/isapearlritchie/
https://twitter.com/IsaPearlRitchie
https://www.instagram.com/isapearlritchie/

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The Promise of Tomorrow

Charlotte Brookes flees her lecherous guardian, McBride, taking her younger sister with her. After a year on the road, they stumble into a Yorkshire village. There, they are taken in by the Wheelers, owners of the village shop. This new life is strange for Charlotte, but preferable to living with McBride or surviving on the roads.
Harry Belmont is an important man in the village, but he’s missing something in his life. His budding friendship with Charlotte gives him hope she will feel more for him one day, and he will have the woman he needs.
However, when McBride finds out where Charlotte lives, his threats begin, and Harry takes it upon himself to keep Charlotte safe. Only, World War I erupts and Harry enlists.
Left to face a world of new responsibilities, and Harry’s difficult sister, Charlotte must run the gauntlet of family disputes, McBride’s constant harassment and the possibility of the man she loves being killed.

Can Charlotte find the happiness that always seems under threat, and will Harry return home to her?

 

My review

The Promise of Tomorrow is a touching and powerful historical romance set just prior to and during the First World War. It grabs the reader’s attention from the very start when we meet the conniving McBride, who is planning to ‘lose’ his ghastly wife and marry his wealthy ward instead.

Those plans evidently go wrong because in the next chapter we meet Charlotte and her little sister, Hannah, who are living on the streets. Charlotte realised in time that something bad was going on and chose to life rough with her sister, supporting them both by working then stay where she was, in a life of luxury but menace. Charlotte is our heroine, and we see straight away that she’s a remarkable and strong woman. This strength remains throughout the novel as further challenges come her way.

So does romance. Harry is the perfect foil for her. He too is strong and loyal, and these two good souls are well suited. But he enlists, putting his own life in danger with all the other brave young soldiers, but also Charlotte’s since McBride is hot on her trail. Tension builds as the book progresses with these added dangers to Charlotte’s happiness. She has a lot to deal with, but her love for Harry and her family keep her motivated.

The story is moving at times, terrifying at others. Our characters ran the gamut of emotions from despair to elation, and are all interesting to meet. The plot is clever and the writing absorbing. All in all this is a polished and pleasing work of historical fiction.

Purchase Links:

Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GHCXQ8Y/

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GHCXQ8Y/

 

Author bio

Australian-born AnneMarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances and sometimes the odd short story, too. Her passions, apart from writing, are travelling, reading, researching historical eras and looking for inspiration for her next book.

Social Media Links

http://www.annemariebrear.com
http://annemariebrear.blogspot.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/annemariebrear
Twitter @annemariebrear

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Synopsis

Katherine Ross, a struggling artist-turned-successful-businesswoman, has a life many would envy. At only thirty-one years old, Katherine runs one of the top luxury real-estate firms in Manhattan, and she lives in a fabulous loft with her dreamy husband. That is, of course, until her marriage comes to a screeching halt, forcing Katherine to face the truths she’s been burying deep within her heart. She hasn’t been happy for a long time. And her life, while glamorous, is not the life she ever wanted.

Fighting through the fog of her confusion and pain, Katherine makes the daring, or possibly insane, choice to start over somewhere new. She leaves her business, her friends, and the city behind, while she ventures alone to the mountains in hopes of rediscovering her artistic roots in a place surrounded by beauty, peace, and quiet.

But life in Bluewater isn’t as simple as it may seem, and when her art career suddenly begins to take off in this unlikely setting, Katherine finds herself torn between two worlds. Does she pursue her lifelong dream and become the world-famous artist she always wanted to be? Or does she open her heart to the possibility of new dreams and a life she never imagined?

 

My review

I think the key sentence in this book is: First she needed to find herself. Katherine has been too busy being someone else, because she thought that was what she had to be. She’s lost touch with her soul. But she knows where to find it and so leaves her affluent city life behind to return to Bluewater. Here she begins to paint again, and as well as starting to find herself she finds rich talent she’d forgotten she had. And eventually she also finds herself facing decisions, and maybe even losing herself again.

She also finds Will. And Will is a complicating factor. He’s attractive, yet standoffish, a mystery. But like her he has his reasons for being in Bluewater. Gradually they get to know each other but there are misunderstandings and unintentional hurts. The course of true love never did run smooth, as we all know, but is this love or just another difficult choice for Katherine to make.

In some ways this book is a paintings in words, or rather a series of landscapes and portraits. The author creates exquisite landscapes – hustle and luxury in the city; wild nature in Bluewater. Each of her characters is a detailed portrait, rather than a rough sketch. We get to see them with their blemishes – no touching up.

It’s interesting to get a glimpse in this novel of how the fine art world operates. It’s a lot more cut-throat and business-like than one might imagine from such talented creativity. That adds a unique quality to this book and makes it not only an enchanting read, but a fascinating one too.

This is a super and extremely enjoyable novel. And isn’t that such a soothing and beautiful cover?

 

 Purchase Links

Amazon US:

https://smile.amazon.com/Painting-Blue-Water-Leigh-Fossan/dp/1732267200/

Amazon UK

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Painting-Blue-Water-Leigh-Fossan/dp/1732267200/

Barnes & Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/painting-blue-water-leigh-fossan/1128842830?ean=9781732267206

 

Author bio
Painting Blue Water is the debut novel for Leigh Fossan. A creative soul at heart, Leigh grew up with a paintbrush in her hand, and went on to study the arts in Florence, Italy. While abroad, Leigh was one of the few recipients of the Coluccio Salutati Award for Creative Writing. Today, Leigh is a professional artist and her paintings are collected around the world. She lives in Colorado with her artist husband, and their young daughter, who wants to be a scientist.

?You can see Leigh’s paintings at www.lavfineart.com

 

Social Media Links –

WEBSITE: https://www.leighfossanauthor.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/leighfossanauthor/

INSTAGRAM: @leighfossanauthor

TWITTER: @LeighFossan

 

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I’m thrilled to be helping get this blog tour off to a start today. And you’re in for a treat!

Synopsis

No one wants to be single at the holidays.

Even Little Miss Grinch, Nikki, a successful and independent woman, must face her bachelorette status at the most horrible time of the year.

December is her personal version of holly-jolly hell: a merry torture made of couples kissing at every corner, forced vacation days, and an inescapable family reunion.

And when her baby sister announces she’s engaged—to Paul, the man Nikki is secretly in love with—and that he’s spending the holidays with them, Christmas starts looking bluer than ever.

Nikki can’t possibly survive an entire week trapped home as the family’s spinster. But she has no time to meet men or to try the newest dating app, she’s too busy working as a video producer for an advertising agency.

So what’s a girl to do?

Nikki has the perfect solution: to hire a fake boyfriend.

Luckily, her job gives her access to an endless catalogue of gorgeous actors to choose from.

But Nikki will soon discover that keeping business and pleasure from mixing isn’t so easy, and that she might not be immune to a little mistletoe magic. Especially not when she picked out the perfect man as her Christmas date…

A fun, festive romantic comedy with lots of bad behaviour and Christmas spirit. Like a creamy hot chocolate with marshmallows, you won’t want to put this deliciously hilarious novel down. Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Sally Thorne, and Jo Watson.

First Comes Love is a series of interconnected romantic novels. However, each book in the series can be read as a standalone.

 

My review

I adored this book, and for so many reasons. It’s fun, it’s clever, it’s Christmassy, it’s peopled by lively, interesting characters and there’s just the right amount of mutual attraction and misunderstandings, and not forgetting furry animal, to make it the perfect Christmas romcom.

Nikki is a very efficient and organised sort of person, at least in her work life. She’s quite driven, and could come over as rather intimidating if it weren’t for  her down-to-earthness and her sense of humour.  She’s a wonderful friend to Blair too. Part of her quest to always be striving to do better has come from her parents, who we meet over Christmas. Actually Dad is fine, but Mum is rather pushy and always expecting a bit too much from her daughters.

Nikki is a loving big sister to Julia, but in a non-hands-on way. She’s there for her, but doesn’t make much of an effort too keep in touch. Their relationship is both strained in this book, when Juila announces she’s engaged to Paul, who Nikki was extremely fond of, but also strengthened when the sisters finally come clean with each other. In the way that siblings often do, they’ve both harboured silly grudges and unjustified jealousies.

Diego O’Donnell is our male love interest. What a wonderful name! No mistaking that he’s of Spanish and Irish heritage. He’s gorgeous, bright, personable and, as the story proceeds, reveals hidden depths and proves to be far more than just eye candy. He and Nikki make for a well-matched couple – or at least, we hope they will, but they’re both so darn stubborn at times…

Excellent entertainment and thoroughly enjoyable.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GBXB5PK

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07GBXB5PK

Amazon Geo-linked http://hyperurl.co/s3dxdc

iBooks https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-christmas-date/id1424973663

Barnes & Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-christmas-date-camilla-isley/1129274291?ean=2940155770961

Kobo http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=9788887269253

Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Camilla_Isley_A_Christmas_Date?id=p4ZoDwAAQBAJ

 

Author bio 

Camilla is an engineer turned writer after she quit her job to follow her husband on an adventure abroad.

She’s a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveller, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.

Social Media Links –

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

Twitter https://twitter.com/camillaisley

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14135080.Camilla_Isley

Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/camilla-isley

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/camillaisley/

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/camillaisley/

 

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I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for ‘Steel and Shadows’ by Stuart Field, published by Crime Scene books. If you enjoy breathless, gritty thrillers that are well thought out, then this is most definitely the book for you.

Synopsis

No-nonsense NYPD detective Sam McCall is investigating one of the deadliest and most complex cases of her career when the mysterious, yet infuriatingly intriguing, John Steel insinuates himself into the department. What appears at ?rst to be the work of a serial killer soon encompasses a cast including violent Russian gangsters, creepy psychiatric doctors, the homeless community and ghosts from the past for both McCall and Steel. This fast-paced thriller combines grit and glamour, the well-drawn characters engage the reader from the outset and the Big Apple is beautifully captured in all its majestic, romantic, seedy, grimy colour. This debut novel keeps the reader gripped from start to ?nish with a breathtaking joyride through a wild series of unexpected twists and turns, inevitably falling into the pitfalls of thinking you’ve solved the mystery, only to ?nd yourself wrong-footed on the next page.

 

My review

This is a high-octane, fast-paced thriller, with a complex plot that’s both clever and cleverly delivered. This author is very good at not giving too much away. He enjoys keeping us on tenterhooks all the way through the book. You can’t help trying to guess what’s going to happen next, or attempting to piece the clues together, but the author’s always one step ahead, laying a misleading trail of breadcrumbs! This makes the book all the more exciting: all you know for sure is that you don’t know what’s going to happen next       

It’s very much action driven although there are slower moments where we see characters and relationships develop. There is a lot of violence, but it’s not glorified and yet neither is it diminished.  It’s shown to be cruel and largely fruitless, although revenge can validate it to an extent. The book is merely brining an element of life we prefer to ignore to the forefront: there are evil bastards are out there doing despicable things. But it’s not intended to be depressing. Fighting in the good corner are the likes of the mysterious, elusive John Steel and the in-your-face Sam McCall.

These are both excellent characters. There’s a hint of 007 about Steel, given his well-to-do background, his calmness, his desire to get a job done efficiently, but he’s facing rather more down-to-earth adversaries. They don’t want to take over the world, merely make more money. McCall is altogether more instinctive and impetuous than Steel, but that only makes her an even better cop although a more vulnerable human being.

The book gains in pace and excitement as it proceeds, and I sensed the author grew in confidence too. He really gets into his stride in this first novel of a series, and I’m  looking forward to seeing how both he and his characters will blossom in future ones. More books in the series are due out in 2019, which is really good news!

I must comment on the excellent cover too – it’s really eyecatching and classy, hints at the story and I think reflects how committed Stuart Field is to delivering top quality work to his audience.  

About the author

Stuart Field was born in the UK, in the West Midlands. He spent his early years in the army, seeing service in all the known (and some unknown) hotspots around the world. He now lives in Germany with his wife Ani. When not engaged in highly con?dential security work, he writes thrillers which perhaps mimic his life-experience more than the reader would like to believe.

 

Books Are Cool is getting into a festive mood. Today Snowflakes Over Holly Cove by Lucy Coleman is in the twinkling spotlight.

Synopsis

As the snowflakes start to fall, Holly Cove welcomes a new tenant to the beautiful old cottage on the beach…

For lifestyle magazine journalist Tia Armstrong, relationships, as well as Christmas, have lost all their magic. Yet Tia is up against a Christmas deadline for her latest article ‘Love is, actually, all around…’

So, Tia heads to Holly Cove where the restorative sea air and rugged stranger, Nic, slowly but surely start mending her broken heart.

Tia didn’t expect a white Christmas, and she certainly never dared dream that all her Christmas wishes might just come true…

Set in Caswell Bay on the stunningly beautiful Gower Coast, the cottage nestles amid the limestone cliffs and the woodlands, where the emotions run as turbulently as the wind-swept sea.

As cosy as a marshmallow-topped mug of cocoa, fall in love with a heart-warming festive story from the bestselling author of The French Adventure.

 

Review

I’m a big fan of this author and so I was really looking forward to reading her new novel. And what a delightful and festive treat it is! It has all the ingredients you want from a romcom, and especially a Christmassy one – love, a touch of sadness, new beginnings, misunderstandings, reconciliations and a cast of colourful, good-hearted (on the whole) characters.

Tia is still reeling from her mother’s death. She had a close relationship with her, and it’s lovely to see that strong bond between them in the book. After all, a mother-daughter relationship is such a special thing. Tia has the sense to take time to bounce back, and to realise it’s more a case of readjusting than recovering. You never stop missing a loved one who’s died, but you do learn to carry on without them. This is what Tia does. It also encourages her to deal with the fractures in her other family relationships. What better time for this than Christmas?

The wild and beautiful Holly Cove is the perfect place for Tia to get her priorities back in order, and her life back on track. It’s not an easy process but we know that our likeable, stong heroine will be successful eventually, despite the odd setback, and when the handsome Nic crosses her path, well, we all start hoping that will turn out for the best too.

There is a lot of richness to the story in the well thought-out plot, the interesting people we meet, the complexities of the relationships that come under scrutiny and the portrayal of life as it is, with its pleasures and pains, its highs and its lows. We see Tia develop and blossom, and a splintered family mends – Christmas magic in an everyday setting. Really lovely.

 

Purchase Linkhttp://smarturl.it/SnowflkOverHollyCove

Author Bio –

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

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

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

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/LinnBHaltonAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucyColemanAuth   https://twitter.com/LinnBHalton

 

Giveaway . Win a signed paperback of A Cottage in the Country and a rustic wooden heart decoration (Open Internationally)

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

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494148/?

What a treat to be taking part in the blog tour for the wonderful Aphrodite’s Closet by Suzy Turner.

Synopsis

Agatha Trout didn’t even know she had a Great Aunt Petunia, so imagine her surprise when she finds Petunia left her a corner shop in her will. But it’s not just any old corner shop—it’s a corner shop that needs something unique, something the town of Frambleberry has never seen before.

Influenced by her confident best friend, Coco, Agatha is soon convinced that there’s only one way to go: an adults-only sex shop.

While some of the townspeople are clutching their pearls in horror, others are open to the new experiences this shop offers. But not everyone in Frambleberry is convinced. Will the women soldier on in the face of violent threats or will their fears get the best of them—and their new venture—before it even gets off the ground?

 

My review

This is a really enjoyable novel. We have fabulous lead characters in the strait-laced Aggie, a self-confessed prude if ever there was one, and her exuberant best friend Coco. They make for a solid partnership, balancing each other out. Coco can get a bit carried away without Aggie’s calming influence, and she in turn needs her friend to forcibly drag her out of the shadows she’s happy to lurk in. The setting of the story, Frambleberry, is Aggie’s equivalent so it’s not just our heroine who is getting shaken up by this sex shop venture!

The story is bubbly and original, although not without menace and violence, and there’s an intriguing touch of ghostliness too. We also see good and bad relationships, tolerance, hatred, hypocrisy, betrayal and courage so there’s a lot of substance to this book. It’s not just frill and frivolity, like some of the knickers Aggie sells!

There’s a strong thread of family love, support and loyalty throughout the book. Aggie’s parent, Trixie and Ted, play a crucial role in events. Dad offers unwavering support from the start whereas as the slightly dramatic Trixie has to come round to the idea in her own time. However, she’s they lynchpin to the story in many ways. Aggie’s sister Chrissie becomes involved in the adventure too, and Coco’s brother Kyle, who has a slightly chequered history, is always in the wings. And of course it’s Great Aunt Petunia who has provided the shop in the first place.

Aggie becomes stronger and more confident as the story progresses, overcoming many challenges on the way. She’s a fabulous heroine who deserves a happy ending, but will she still keep getting in her own way? Well, you’ll have to read this joyful novel to find out!


Purchase Link

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071DZ7K24

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071DZ7K24

Author Bio

Born in England and raised in Portugal, Suzy lives with her childhood sweetheart Michael, their two crazy dogs and three cats.

Shortly after completing her studies, Suzy worked as a trainee journalist for a local newspaper. Her love of writing developed and a few years later she took the job of assistant editor for the region’s largest English language publisher before becoming editor of a monthly lifestyle magazine. Early in 2010 however, Suzy became a full time author. She has since written several books: Raven, December Moon, The Lost Soul (The Raven Saga), Daisy Madigan’s Paradise, The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw, The Temporal Stone, Looking for Lucy Jo, We Stand Against Evil (The Morgan Sisters), Forever FredlessAnd Then There Was You, Stormy Summer and her latest, Aphrodite’s Closet.

In 2015 she launched her popular 40+ lifestyle blog which continues to go from strength to strength, while just over a year later, she trained to become a yoga instructor. Suzy continues to write, blog and teach yoga in one of Portugal’s loveliest settings – the Algarve.

 

Social Media Links

 

Lifestyle Blog: www.suzyturner.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/suzyturner

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/suzyturner

Facebook: www.facebook.com/suzyturnerbooks

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/suzy_turner

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/suzyturnerbooks

 

Do support Suzy and follow the tour:

Today I’m delighted to be a host in the blog tour for ‘Pictures in the Sky’ by Amanda Paull.

She gave up on romance years ago. He’s going through the motions. Their lives change forever when he makes contact out of the blue. 

With her daughter leaving the nest, Michelle Cameron would rather spend her time with good friends, a glass of fizzy and a box set, than with another idiot bloke chipping away at her self-esteem. But when childhood friend Daniel Helmsley gets back in touch, the years roll away on a tide of laughter and friendship, which soon gives way to another roller coaster of love, excitement and panic. Can Michelle let herself trust again? What if Dan is just another idiot bloke, disillusioned with the present and nostalgic for the past?

If you like cosy romance that makes you laugh as well as cry, then you’ll love this feel-good tale of past disappointment, renewed friendship and finding true love.
Download Amanda Paull’s Pictures in the Sky today to discover if Michelle dares to love again.

‘Your lively style and humour are exactly right for this genre.’ Susan Davis.

 

My review

Any romcom that has more mature characters at his heart is going to have an extra layer to it. They’ve had time to accumulate emotional baggage as well as scars from the knocks that life has given them. They’re at an age when health concerns can begin to niggle and, if things haven’t quite gone to plan, disillusionment can set in.

Thus ‘Pictures in the Sky’ with divorced, middle-aged Michelle is a romcom with added grit. There’s lots of lovely humour for us to enjoy, but also an edge. Michelle has been happy enough in the shell she’s built around herself over the years to keep the male world at bay, so when Dan suddenly smashes it with a hammer, she runs for cover.

The story moves at a steady pace, a bit like Michelle jogging uphill, but is equally determined. There’s lots of action with tension and drama, and whilst it tends to be of an everyday nature that doesn’t mean it’s mundane. The author extracts the excitement that can suddenly loom out of the blue and make the ordinary extraordinary.

Amanda Paull really gets into her characters’ shoes and thus portrays a cast of very different people, all courageous, all doing their best, all just human.

The settings are at home and abroad and there’s vibrancy a sense of movement to them.

I especially liked how the book came full circle with an airport scene at beginning and end, but we see a very different Michelle as this book closes.

This is a clever, engaging and well thought-out novel.

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pictures-Sky-Amanda-Paull-ebook/dp/B07FZKK42H/

books2read.com/u/3kr6eO

Author Bio –

Amanda Paull is a writer of humorous romantic fiction. She lives in the North East of England with her husband and works in the public sector. The inspiration for her stories comes from real life, which she tries to show the funnier side of by embellishing to the hilt.

Amanda’s Website: http://www.amandapaull.co.uk

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Apaullfiction

 

Time to get Christmassy here at Books Are Cool. And not a moment too soon!

I’m thrilled to be joining in the publication day celebrations for this super novel. I have to say I adore the cover.

Synopsis

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…


My review

This is a lovely, lively, funny and very enjoyable Christmassy novel.

Sarah is in a bit of a rut. She has her job in her aunt’s travel agency business with co-worker and friend Sam, but it’s becoming more stressful with ever more complaints and mutterings about legal action. She has a vague sort-of boyfriend in Callum, and she’s rather trapped by routine. So when Aunt Lynn announces she’s going to Australia rather than spending the usual Christmas with Sarah, she’s thrown. However, this proves to be the slap in the face that she needed and it makes her pull herself together.

She’d been toying with going to Canada to visit the disastrous Shooting Star Mountain Resort herself and tell the miserable Will Armstrong a few home truths. So off she goes and finds that things are every bit as bad as people have been making out. So she sets out to bring the Christmas sparkle back to Shooting Star Mountain Resort, but it’s not going to be as straightforward as she thought. Will has a few issues to straighten out.

Added to that, the skeletons in Sarah’s closet are rattling louder and louder. She hasn’t spoken to her father in years because of an incident one Christmas…

The quiet yet resolute Aunt Lynn, who brought Sarah up, proves to be the catalyst in this wonderful story. Through her kind actions she brings about a transformation in our heroine and helps everything work out the way we want them to.

The author has a delightful and light style. She creates an array of distinctive characters and vivid settings. Whether we’re alongside our heroine in a cramped economy seat in a plane or the wilderness of Canada we can see, hear and smell everything she can.

The perfect book to read curled up by the fire with a mug of hot chocolate (with marshmallows, of course!) and a Christmas music CD on in the background, whatever time of  year it actually is!

 

Purchase Link

Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/No-One-Cancels-Christmas-romantic-ebook/dp/B07CWTVJGD

Amazon UShttps://www.amazon.com/no-one-cancels-christmas-romantic-ebook/dp/B07CWTVJGD

Author bio 

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/

Keep following the tour!

 

 

 

I’m beyond thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Dave Hill of Slade’s autobiography. I grew up in the glam rock era and loved every minute of it!


Synopsis

Slade’s music and style dominated and defined the 1970s. With six consecutive number one singles they were the UK’s number one group and sold millions of records all over the world. At their peak, Slade enjoyed success and adulation not seen since The Beatles. Now, for the first time, the man whose outlandish costumes, glittering make-up and unmistakable hairstyle made Slade the definitive act of Glam Rock tells his story.

Growing up in a council house in 1950s Wolverhampton, Dave always knew he wanted to be a musician and in the mid-sixties, with Don Powell, founded the band that in 1970 would settle on the name Slade. Their powerful guitar-driven anthems formed the soundtrack for a whole generation, and their Top of the Pops performances, led by their flamboyant, ever-smiling lead guitarist, became legendary.

But So Here It Is reveals that there’s much more to Dave’s life than Top of the Pops and good times. Packed with previously unseen personal photos, the book uncovers surprising family secrets, tells the inside story of the original band’s painful break-up, explores Dave’s battles with depression, his decision to reform Slade and go back on the road and his recovery from the stroke that threatened to cut short his career.

My review

I was nine when Slade (consisting of Dave Hill, Noddy Holder, Jim Lea and Don Powell) shot to fame in 1971 with their first of six number one chart-toppers: Coz I Luv You. I had a brother and sister who were a good bit older than me and so I guess I was a bit precocious pop-music wise as I could listen (not always with their permission) to the singles albums they bought. These included Slade’s. I quicky fell in love with glam rock. Like every other young person in Britain at the time, I’d watched Top of the Pops every week, hoping Slade would be on, and if so, what on earth would Dave Hill be wearing this week!

So it’s been absolutely fascinating to read his autobiography. For all that Dave was the glitzy showman of he band (he used to say “You write it, I’ll sell it!”) with his outlandish, flamboyant outfits, he’s basically a grounded, positive, family man. He had a supporting and loving upbringing, although it wasn’t always an easy one as his mother suffered from mental health issues, something that Dave has been blighted with too. He grew up on a council estate in Wolverhampton, where he continued to live for a while even after he made the big time. He made his own success and worked hard to achieve his lasting fame but sporadic wealth.

The book takes us through Dave’s career, from his early short-lived bands to forming Slade and its enduring legacy. He gives the ups and downs of life as a rock star, and it seems that the downs are the more common: constantly striving to get the next hit, to break into a new market, to keep momentum up. Even if a member is out of action for only a relatively short time because of an accident or illness, something that happened to Slade a few times, that can knock the band off its feet for ages. Slade always managed to bounce back, but it took effort.

Dave recounts how and why the original band split up and reformed with Dave and Don at the helm, but the foreword by Noddy Holder shows that there are no ill feelings. It was the nature of the beast, with all the stresses resulting from such a pressured and exposed career, for bands to reach exploding point. Slade continues to this day, even though Dave had a stroke on stage a few years ago. It speaks volumes about this man’s courage, commitment and strong personality that he’s overcome that and still performs.

The book is absorbing. It’s well written and very lively. Slade rubbed shoulders with all the big names of pop of that era, but there’s no name dropping. If, for example, Elton John wandered into a dressing room where Dave’s sister Carol was waiting for her brother, then that’s included as a fun but relevant snippet, rather than an exercise in showing-off. Carol supplies a few short passages of this book, and that’s a nice touch.

Through this thoroughly entertaining account of the fascinating life that he’s still leading, the author’s down-to-earthness and values of family love and loyalty shine through even more brightly than some of his metallic outfits! Wonderful book by one of pop’s legends. An Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without listening to Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ at least twenty times!

About the author

Dave Hill was born in a castle in Devon and moved with his parents to Wolverhampton when he was a year old. As a teenager he taught himself to play guitar and in 1966 formed the band Slade. After the break-up of the original band, Dave eventually re-formed Slade, and twenty-five years later, they are still regularly touring the world, playing to hundreds of thousands of fans. Dave married his wife Jan in 1973, and they have three children and six grandchildren. They still live in Wolverhampton.