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The School of Starting Over by Lisa Swift: rich with comedy and optimism

Nell’s going back to school… but now she’s learning lessons of the heart

Reception class teacher Nell Shackleton has a plan. At least, she had until she arrived at her new home of Humblebee Farm, a dilapidated farmhouse on the Yorkshire moors. But so what if the roof’s full of holes, the back door’s hanging off and there’s a sheep in the front room? Because sometimes a new beginning means starting at the bottom… right?

Xander Scott is one of the youngest headteachers Leyholme Primary School has ever had. But managing over-zealous parents and their semi-feral kids proves a tricky task for shy Xander – as does keeping his mind on the job when his feelings for the new Reception teacher become more than strictly professional…

At 43, Nell’s new friend Stevie Madeleine has given up on love. After losing her wife, Stevie’s decided that her four-year-old daughter Milly and cocker spaniel Red are the only girls she needs in her life. That is, until larger-than-life dog-walker Deb arrives on the scene. But will the secrets of Stevie’s past stop her new romance dead in its tracks?

Meeting Xander and Stevie brings joy back into Nell’s life – but when old secrets start to surface, there may be some hard lessons to learn for them all…

A gorgeously uplifting and hilarious romantic comedy that will delight fans of Milly Johnson, Holly Martin and Heidi Swain.

 

My review

This book is a lot of fun, rich with comedy, community spirit and optimism. It’s not without a sprinkling of darker issues, such as bullying, office – or rather school board – politics and relationship failures. These are well handled and add to the overall enjoyment of the book in that it keeps its feet in reality.

We meet a host of interesting characters, human, canine and ovine alike, and they’re all fascinating in their own way and have a part to play.

The author has a warm, absorbing style that makes the book gallop along. She can make you laugh and sigh, feel gooey one moment and annoyed the next as you follow the main characters’ ups and down and meet their challenges along with them.

It’s an uplifting read, a reminder that there is a lot that’s right with the world alongside the many things that are wrong, and makes for a wonderful, energising escape from the latter.

 

Purchase Links

AMZ: https://amzn.to/39nNxOJ
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2uwXzhC

Author Bio

 

Lisa Swift is a romance author from West Yorkshire in the UK. She is represented by Laura Longrigg at MBA Literary Agents.

As Mary Jayne Baker, Lisa also writes romantic comedies for Aria Fiction.

Lisa is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Social Media Links

https://twitter.com/LisaSwiftAuthor

http://www.lisaswiftauthor.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/LisaSwiftWrites

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A New Life for Ariana Byrne by Liz Hurley: deft and delightful

What happens after all your dreams come true?

Ariana Byrne knows how to survive. After becoming guardian to her four little sisters after their parents died when she was only eighteen, she had to grow up quickly. Now she’s in her twenties, stuck in a loveless marriage to Greg, trying to make ends meet for her young twins, William and Leo.

So when Ari is told that she’s actually the Right Honourable Lady de Foix, Countess of Hiverton, owner of a sprawling estate in the village of Saxburgh in Norfolk, her first instinct is laughter. Surely the girl who has to choose between food and keeping the lights on isn’t really rich beyond her wildest dreams?

She knows how to take care of her sisters and her children, but how on earth can Ari take care of an entire village? Can she fight off the circling land developers from Saxburgh, and stop her in-laws from grabbing all the money for themselves?

And while she’s struggling to settle in and settle down, she’s making new friends and new mistakes. Trusting her gorgeous neighbour, Sebastian Flint-Hyssop, may be the biggest one of all…

She’s swapped sink estate for country estate…but can a girl from inner city London learn how to become a Lady?

Take a trip to Hiverton Manor for the most uplifting novel of 2020 – guaranteed to put a smile on your face! Fans of Jenny Colgan, Trisha Ashley and Carole Matthews will love this romantic, feelgood read.

 

My review

Oh dear, I’m late reviewing this wonderful book. Sincerest apologies to talented author Liz. I wrote the wrong date down in my book review diary – truly a ‘senior moment’.

But here I am, better late than never.

A New Life For Ariana Byrne is a heartening, truly uplifting story. After a tough start to her adult life, things start to come right for Ari, who’s had to grow up quicker than she should. She finds herself transported to Norfolk, where she can establish a new life for her family. And mybe a new chance at love.

Ari is likeable, determined and genuine. She’s a modern mother hen, caring deeply for her children and sisters but she’s a truly twenty-first century young woman. We really care about her and become totally invested in the story. And she’s not the only fascinating character. There are plenty more thoroughly engaging people to meet, good and bad, all different and appealing in their own way.

The settings are beautifully handled. Early in the book, when Ari is struggling, her surroundings seem constraining and harsh, but once she moves to the estate there’s space, light, possibilities. There are shadows on the horizon but Ari can cope with those.

I particularly love how the author has combined the very realistic hardship of struggling to make ends meet with Ari’s slightly magical rise to riches. This demonstrates both deftness of plot and great skill by the author to marry these two elements in the story and make each so convincing.

I can’t wait to read more from Liz Hurley and I’m delighted that Ari has four sisters whose stories she’s going to share with us.

 

 

Purchase Links

AMZ: https://amzn.to/2NKQuAm

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2uPB0ob

Apple: https://apple.co/2RsuI5z

 

Author Bio –

When I grew up I wanted to be an underwater archaeologist or an astronaut but I ended up in a library. Everyone laughed as I’m not a naturally quiet person but I loved it. I went on to become a professional librarian for the money and the glamour. Not finding quite enough of either my husband and I set up a bookshop.  We didn’t find much there either so I started writing. Now I have loads of money and glamour but only in the pages of my books! In the meantime I dive and look at the stars.

 

Social Media Links –

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Five Wakes And A Wedding by Karen Ross


Undertaker Nina Sherwood is full of good advice. For example, never wear lip gloss when you’re scattering ashes.
Nina is your average 30-year-old with a steady job, a nice home – and dead bodies in her basement. As an undertaker, she often prefers the company of the dead to the living – they’re obliging, good listeners and take secrets to the grave.

Nina is on a one-woman mission to persuade her peers that passing on is just another part of life. But the residents of Primrose Hill are adamant that a funeral parlour is the last thing they need… and they will stop at nothing to close down her dearly beloved shop.

When Nina’s ‘big break’ funeral turns out to be a prank, it seems like it’s the final nail in the coffin for her new business. That is, until a (tall, dark and) mysterious investor shows up out of the blue, and she decides to take a leap of faith.

Because, after all, it’s her funeral…
The perfect antidote to all those books about weddings, this book will make you laugh until you cry.

My review

Now here’s an unusual central character for a romcom – an undertaker! And Nina is an unusual example of one, which makes it all the more interesting. She’s lively and approachable as a person, and, on the work side, professional and totally dedicated to her trade. She spots a niche for her business and leaps into it.

There’s lots of wit and black humour in the novel. Neither the author nor Nina are the least bit squeamish about it all, which is a great approach. No sentimental mawkishness or overdramatic hushed reverence here. The honest, in a fictional way, straightforwardness of the novel is uplifting and admirable.

The pace is between steady and brisk, the characterisation varied and just the right degree of nicely eccentric, the plot original and absorbing. The novel makes for delightful reading, and gives you a thing or two to think about that other inescapable aspect of life that isn’t taxes.

Purchase Links
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Five-Wakes-Wedding-Karen-Ross-ebook/dp/B07NXYXFSB
US – https://www.amazon.com/Five-Wakes-Wedding-Karen-Ross-ebook/dp/B07NXYXFSB

About the author
As a former journalist, broadcaster and advertising copywriter, Karen Ross has followed a fairly traditional path into writing fiction. Five Wakes and a Wedding is her fourth book, and like its predecessors, the novel has two common threads: the setting is London’s Primrose Hill – Karen’s own neighbourhood – and one of the characters is a dog . . . this time he’s called Chopper and he’s almost the same size as a Shetland Pony

Karen has been self-employed for many years, and continues to work as a marketing consultant, in the absence of an offer to manage Tottenham Hotspur. By way of credentials, her other ‘job’ is trading profitably on the world’s first football stockmarket, a platform called Football Index, where you buy and sell players with real money.

Social media links
@ComedyKaren

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Cool Cover Reveal for The Cornish Confetti Agency by Daisy James


A gorgeous sun-filled new story from author of the Villa Limoncello series.

Welcome to The Cornish Confetti Agency!

When the grand finale of Lexie Harrington’s catwalk show ends with a disastrous twist on the ‘ice bucket challenge’, she was expecting her highly-strung boss to fire her on the spot. What she wasn’t expecting was to bump into her fiancé cosied up with an attractive blonde in the restaurant opposite their apartment!

Desperate to escape her heartbreak, Lexie flees to her childhood home of St Ives to hold the fort at The Cornish Confetti Agency for her best friend Freya, leader of the yummy mummy network and firm believer in ‘happily ever afters’. Little did she know that delivering a Caribbean-themed wedding in sunny Cornwall would rival the fashion industry for drama, tantrums and mysterious goings on.

Who is responsible for dousing the bridesmaid’s dress with tomato ketchup? Or hiding the bride’s beloved Jimmy Choos? Or attaching googly eyes to everything in sight?

The perfect Cornish wedding? Is there such a thing for The Cornish Confetti Agency?

 

And here’s the cover!

Pre-order Links:
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cornish-Confetti-Agency-gorgeously-uplifting-ebook/dp/B0846LN57K/
US – https://www.amazon.com/Cornish-Confetti-Agency-gorgeously-uplifting-ebook/dp/B0846LN57K/
Publication Date: 19th March

About the author
Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

Daisy would love to hear from readers via her Facebook page or you can follow her on Twitter @daisyjamesbooks or on Instagram @booksdaisyjames.

 

Social Media Links –
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009889775019
Twitter: https://twitter.com/daisyjamesbooks
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/daisyjamesstories/

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For Love and Money by Clodagh Murphy: just lovely!

Lesley has always fancied herself as an amateur sleuth, a sort of modern day Miss Marple without the support stockings.

So when Al wants to hire her to investigate his elderly uncle’s young fiancée, she jumps at the chance. It doesn’t hurt that the job will involve posing as Al’s girlfriend and joining his glitzy, star-studded family on holiday in Nice.

Stella still can’t quite believe she’s engaged to legendary actor Sir Peter Bradshaw. She accepted what she thought was a deathbed proposal. Now she has a living, breathing fiancé and a wedding to plan.

First, though, she has to get through a holiday in the South of France with Peter’s extended family, who all seem convinced she’s a gold-digger with her sights set on the family fortune.

As Lesley bonds with Stella over shopping trips and bottles of rosé, she thinks she has it all figured out. After all, it’s no great mystery why a young woman would marry a fabulously wealthy seventy-two-year-old with a heart condition, is it? It’s an old story.

And Al may be the nicest boyfriend she’s ever had (even if he is fake), but Lesley believes in instant attraction and there’s just no spark … no matter how fit he looks in his swimming trunks. So there’s no chance he’s going to grow on her.

But people have a way of surprising you, as she’s about to discover …

 

My review

Just lovely!

Whilst that sums my feelings about this book up perfectly, I don’t think it will quite do for a review!

I love romcom as a genre because it has so many permutations. Here we have an unlikely heroine with a truly dysfunctional family thrown in with another slightly off-the-wall group of people to do some poking around. While not quite a cosy mystery, there are plenty of elements of this equally wonderful genre to make life interesting.

There’s lots of wit and humour as these lively characters spark off each other, also modern and pertinent issues touched upon, and some moving moments. The romance we encounter comes in both slow-burn and firework modes – something for everyone!

A clever, sophisticated, funny novel that is definitely one to read.

More please!

 

Purchase Links:

Apple

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Amazon: http://mybook.to/ForLoveorMoney

 

Author bio

Clodagh Murphy lives in Dublin, Ireland and writes funny, sexy romantic comedies. She always dreamed of being a novelist, and after more jobs than she cares to (or can) remember, she now writes full-time. For more information about her books or to sign up to her newsletter, visit her website at http://clodaghmurphy.com/.

 

 

Social media links

Website: http://clodaghmurphy.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ClodaghMMurphy

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/clodagh-murphy

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

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

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The Cottage in a Cornish Cove by Cass Grafton

The Cottage in a Cornish Cove

A heart-warming tale of discovering all you never wanted is exactly what you needed.

Orphaned as a baby and raised by indifferent relatives, much of Anna Redding’s happiness as a child came from the long summer holidays spent with an elderly family friend, Aunt Meg, in the quaint village of Polkerran.

With Aunt Meg’s passing, Anna is drawn back to the West Country, relocating to the Cornish cove where she was once so happy. Filled with memories, she hopes to perhaps open a B&B—and perhaps cross paths with Alex Tremayne again, a local boy she used to have a major crush on and who only had to walk past Anna to make her heart flutter.

Settling into her new life, and enjoying her work for the older, reclusive and—to be honest—often exasperating Oliver Seymour, Anna is delighted when Alex reappears in Polkerran and sweeps her off her feet.

The stars are finally aligned, but just as Anna thinks all she’s ever wished for is within reach, a shock discovery brings everything under threat, and she finds herself living a dream that isn’t hers.

Can Anna rescue the new life she has made for herself and, when the testing moment comes, who will be there to hold her hand?

The Cottage in a Cornish Cove is the first in an uplifting series of romances from Cass Grafton. Get to know the locals, wallow in the quaintness of Polkerran, and fall in love with romance all over again.

Pre-order Links:

UK –

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083H2Q5V9

 

Publication Date: 11th February

 

Cass Grafton – Bio

An avid bookworm since childhood, Cass Grafton writes the sort of stories she loves to read – heart-warming, character driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of the story as her characters.

She leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favourite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’.

Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine but never in the same glass. She has two grown up children and currently splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband and imaginary cats, and England, where she lives with her characters.

 

Blogs

www.cassandragrafton.com

www.tabbycow.com

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/cassie.grafton

Twitter

@CassGrafton

Instagram
@cassgraftonauthor

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Christmas in Chamonix by Sasha Wagstaff

Synopsis
When life goes downhill… head to the snow-capped Alps for roaring fires, apres-ski and festive romance.
Lily Jackson loves Christmas. She also loves her childhood friend Jamie, but when her plan to kick-start their romance goes drastically wrong and her job gets her down, Lily decides it’s time to make changes. A job opens up in snowy Chamonix and egged on by her best friend Imogen, Lily decides to go for it.
As Lily settles in with the eccentric Devereux family at their gorgeous boutique ski hotel, she starts to confront her past. But when she meets handsome ski instructor Luc, who hates Christmas, Lily might have taken on more than she can handle.
Can Lily make a new life – with or without skis? And can she get Luc to see how truly romantic Christmas can be?
A heart-warming, feel-good romantic comedy, perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Carole Matthews and Tilly Tennant.

My review
This is a fabulously festive story with skiing, snowy mountains and delicious food. We have two strong, interesting and attractive lead characters in Lily and Luc. The setting in Chamonix is beautifully described. You can feel the chill in the air and smell the scents and hear the sounds of a busy resort.
There’s added depth to the novel with the fact that it’s more than romance. Lily faces real fears and learns to overcome them, something that is never easy. She has to deal with a huge disappointment too, but she’s courageous, resourceful and determined. She develops before our eyes as the story progresses.
There’s lots that fun in the novel. Lily loves Christmas, but Luc doesn’t so there’s some interesting tension there. Luc is another very rounded and deep character. He’s charming, patient and he too develops along the way.
The pace is steady and the plot captivating, tantalising and ultimately very satisfying.
This is a super Christmassy, uplifting and romantic book to while away the hours until Father Christmas comes down your chimney.

Purchase link

Author bio
Sasha Wagstaff learned foreign languages, and imagined she might eventually get a glamorous job speaking French. After climbing her way up the banking ladder, Sasha started idly mapping out the beginnings of a novel on an old laptop. When she realised her characters were more real to her than dividends and corporate actions ever could be, she left her job to become a writer. She also writes under the pseudonym of Ella Harper.

Social media links
twitter @canelo_co
@Ella__Harper
facebook.com/canelobooks/

 

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Happy Christmas Eve by Jackie Ladbury

Happy Christmas Eve

A heart-warming Christmas story to put you in the mood for the festive season.

All I want for Christmas is you … or you?
Eve Halligan is back in her hometown for Christmas after a whirlwind few years touring with her band, the Molotovs. A lot has changed since she left, but two things have stayed the same. One: Eve is head-over-heels in love with Lucien Malikov, the Molotovs’ bad boy lead singer. Two: Lucien is completely indifferent to her.
Still, Eve dreams that this could be the Christmas where she convinces Lucien that they’re made for each other. But when childhood friend and local caterer Theo Wright comes back into her life bringing with him festive cupcake and sausage roll conundrums, Eve begins to question whether her Christmas dreams have been wasted on the wrong man …

 

My review

This is an energetic and uplifting romcom, peopled by interesting and rounded characters, although one of them really isn’t very nice!

The atmosphere is very festive with seasonally icy and snowy weather and sledges. We’re surrounded by all things Christmas with lots of delicious food and beautiful decorations, a lovely nativity play and a general, palpable excitement reflecting the build up to the big day.

There’s another build-up going on – Eve is starting to realise she needs to make a very important decision… Amongst all the fun there’s a more serious element in the story.

It’s one of those books that reads itself because the writing is so beautifully done and the story so entertaining. Absolutely one to read in the run-up to Christmas.

 

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/Happy-Christmas-Eve-Jackie-Ladbury-ebook/dp/B07WF8PK88/

 

Author bio

Jackie Ladbury writes heart-warming contemporary and historical women’s fiction that is always guaranteed a happy ever after. From spending many years as an air-stewardess and seeing that it really is love that makes the world go around, she determined to put the same sparkle and emotion into her stories. Her life is no longer as exotic (or chaotic) as it was in those heady days of flying as she now lives a quiet life in Hertfordshire with her family and two cats, spending her days making up stories and finding excuses not to go to the gym.
To find out more about Jackie Ladbury, check out these pages:

https://www.facebook.com/jackie.ladbury
https://jackieladbury.com
https://twitter.com/JackieLadbury
https://thewriteromantics.com/

 

 

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My Christmas Fake Fiancé by Linda West: wonderfully uplifting!

Synopsis

Snowflakes are falling on Kissing Bridge Mountain, and Devlin is going home at last. But he can’t go home without a fiancé, even if it has to be a fake one! When he meets small-town girl, Allie, who has a Christmas crisis of her own, they strike up a deal. Soon, the fickle snow flurries of fate send them down a destined road they never expected…

 

My review

This is a bubbly, festive, witty romance, which gives you lots to laugh and groan about on the way through!

The theme of needing to supply evidence of a stable relationship to critical slash despairing relatives at Christmas time is a popular one, but never becomes old, especially when in the hands of this author.

Allie and Devlin spar with each other to begin with, being, surely, far too different to ever be compatible. Allie is the sparkiest of the two lead characters, and she’s immensely likeable even if she leaves you breathless with her endless energy and activism. But that’s not to say Devlin is bland – far from it. He’s every bit as developed and fascinating as is Allie.

This is a short, sharp read that rivets your attention from start to finish. As well as the great characters, the setting and action really grip you.

Wonderfully uplifting!

Purchase Links



Author Bio

Linda West is the best selling author of the adorable and enchanting “Christmas Kisses and Cookies.” It is a delightful series of holiday romances based around the town of Kissing Bridge and the magical Landers sisters who are the reigning blue ribbon cookie queens thanks to their mothers’ ‘special’ recipe book.

Linda was the owner of Mayberry – a celebrity-filled restaurant in Malibu where many of her recipes enchanted the regulars such as Tom Hanks and Anthony Hopkins to name a few. Her recipes are sprinkled throughout her fiction books much to the delight of her fans.

Her newest venture is in the cosy mystery and humour genre. With – Death by Crockpot – the first in her newest series -Linda takes her favourite known characters from Kissing Bridge and throws them into some side-splitting funny adventures.

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/Morningmayan

http://www.morningmayan.com/

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Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman

Christmas and romance are in the air…

It’s December 23rd and while everyone else is rushing home for the holidays, workaholic Leesa Oliver is dreading switching on her out-of-office for the festive season. And it seems her equally driven boss, Cary Anderson, isn’t relishing spending Christmas at his family’s country estate either.

So together, they draft an unexpected Christmas contract: They’ll spend half of the holidays with each other’s families, pretending to be a couple. Leesa knows the insufferably good-looking Cary will make her Christmas more bearable, but what happens after the last of the mince pies have been eaten…?

Leesa signed off on a sensible business agreement, but somewhere, amongst the fairy lights and carols something seems to have changed… It seems there might just be some magic under the mistletoe this Christmas!

 

My review

I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this Christmassy treat from Lucy Coleman’s as I’ve loved all the other books by her that I’ve read. And I was right!

This is a charming and uplifting story that will get you feeling very festive. The theme of co-workers or friends pretending to relatives encountered over the holiday period to be in a relationship is one we’re familiar with but this author handles it in a very fresh and original way.

Cary and Leesa are both workaholics with emotional baggage that has made them close themselves off to an extent. They’ve poured their energy into their careers, but perhaps its time they gave priority to themselves.

The background of familiar, familial bickering and tension mixed in with the love that we get in the scenes with the relatives is very enjoyable, also warming and a wonderful reminded that although our families frequently drive us up the wall, we wouldn’t want to be without them. Not really!

Highly entertaining, this feel-good festive romcom will leave you with a smile on your face and a glow in your heart.

 

Purchase Link –


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 the Society of Authors. She writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

 

Social Media Links –

Website: https://linnbhalton.co.uk/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucyColemanAuth

 

Giveaway to Win a Signed paperback copy of Snowflakes over Holly Cove and Christmas Pamper Pack. (UK only)

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

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494305/