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The Winter We Met by Samantha Tonge

The Winter We Met

When charming, mysterious Nik sits next to Jess on a plane home from a Christmas toy trade fair, she never could have imagined the impact he’d have on her life. As they touch down in London, Jess is hesitant to let Nik walk away, and before she knows it, she’s invited him to visit.

As the two take in the delights of the toy store where she works, Jess gets an upsetting phone call. Willow Court, her grandmother’s care home, is to close before Christmas. Jess is determined to find the perfect new home for her Gran – and throw the best Christmas party Willow Court has ever seen!

But time is running out with the closure looming and Jess becomes increasingly drawn to enigmatic Nik who joins forces with her and best friend Oliver to realise those plans.

Will a chance encounter on an aeroplane bring love to Jess’s life or is this Christmas miracle too good to be true?

 

My review

This is an enjoyable and festive story, that’s more than just a seasonal romcom. There’s almost two stories with the toyshop element, and the Willow Court care home element. They tie together cleverly with very touching and inspiring consequences.

The characters are all larger than life and fascinating. Nik is gorgeous, Jess is strong and genuine, Gran is sweet and courageous, to name just a few of the lovely people we meet.

It’s an original Christmassy story that uses toys, a staple part of Christmas fare, and a more serious issue of senior care that can be rather fragile.

Great fun, moving, absorbing.

 

Purchase Link – getbook.at/WinterWeMet

Author Bio – Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK and studied German and French at university. She has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris, and has travelled widely.
When not writing she loves family time, reading and baking. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.

In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014 her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction Best Ebook Award.
In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category.
In 2019 she was shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Award.
In 2020 she won the RNA’s Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award with her novel Knowing You, from publisher Canelo.

 

Social Media Links –  Twitter: @SamTongeWriter

Instagram: @samanthatongeauthor

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

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‘THE ACCIDENTAL MEDIUM’ and ‘THE GIN PALACE’ by Tracy Whitwell

The Accidental Medium: synopsis  

Tanz is a wine-soaked, potty-mouthed, once successful TV actress from Gateshead, whose career has shrivelled like an antique walnut. She is still grieving her friend Frank, who died in a car crash three years ago, and she has to find a normal job in London to fund her cocktail habit.
When she starts work in a new age shop, Tanz suddenly discovers that the voices she’s hearing in her head are real, not the first signs of schizophrenia, and she can give people ‘messages’ from beyond the grave. Alarmed, she confronts her little mam and discovers she is from a long line of psychic mediums.
Despite a whole exciting new avenue of life opening up to Tanz, darkness isn’t far away and all too soon there’s murder in the air.

 

My review

This is a refreshingly different novel with a refreshingly different heroine. Tanz isn’t the usual twenty-something ditzy lead character you find in a cosy mystery, nor a Miss Marple wannabe. She’s somewhere in the middle: a thirty-eight year old, moderately successful Geordie actor who’s genuine, likeable, occasionally irresponsible and fun to be around. She has gifts of clairvoyance and clairaudience which suddenly make themselves clear to her. She’s been aware of vague ‘symptoms’ of both but it’s only thanks to Sheila at Mystery Pot that she realises what they fully mean. Now she’s coming up against spirits, good and bad, happy and sad, at almost every turn.

The writing is lively and clever, with lots of wit and humour. All the characters, dead and alive, are interesting and very convincing, particularly Tanz’s family with their many foibles.

The story moves swiftly and the writing really flows. All in all, a highly unusual and enjoyable novel.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Accidental-Medium-Tracy-Whitwell-ebook/dp/B08DJ9PKJ7

 

The Gin Palace: synopsis

After a fast-paced introduction to the world of clairvoyance, ghost busting, mystery and murder, Tanz is currently hiding in bed, having nightmares about a suicidal psychopath, drinking red wine, irritating her cat and waiting to be evicted. Life as she knew it seven months ago has turned on its head and only the prospect of a new TV job in Newcastle and a month with her best friend Milo can help pick her up off the floor.
But when she gets home, the Newcastle of more than a century before decides to haunt her bringing all kinds of spooks and horrors with it. She also finds that her new job involves more than it’s own share of intrigue and humiliation. Then it’s a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other, as Tanz, along with her dead friend Frank, attempts to expose a brutal murder that nobody even knows about. Join Tanz and her friends on another crazy, supernatural ride in GIN PALACE, the second in The Accidental Medium series.

 

My review

The mayhem continues in this excellent sequel to ‘The Accidental Medium’. It’s every bit as enjoyable and good quality as the first book, with added character development. Tanz’s honesty lands her a job, at last, and she’s happy to go back to her home town for a while. Having lived both north (in Northumberland) and south (in Cleveland) of Gateshead, it’s a part of the world I know well and its atmosphere comes over brilliantly in the background to the action.

What’s really great about these books is their energy and humour. They’re a real pick-me-up: trust me, their vitality is contagious.

A series not to be missed.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08DJ8NPBM

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tracy Whitwell was born, brought up and educated in Gateshead in the north east of England. She wrote plays and short stories from an early age, then had her head turned and ran off to London to be an actress. By 1993 she was wearing a wig and an old fashioned dress and pretending to be impoverished on telly in a Catherine Cookson mini-series, whilst going to see every indie/rock band she could afford.

After an interesting number of years messing about in front of the camera and traveling the world though, Tracy discovered she still loved writing and completed her first full length play. A son, many stage-plays, screenplays and two music videos followed until one day she realised she was finally ready to do the thing she’d longed to do since she was six. She wrote her first novel. A crime/horror/comedy tale about an alcohol-soaked, gobby, thrill-seeking actress who talks to ghosts. (Who knows where the inspiration came from, it’s almost like she based it on her own ridiculous life.) Then she wrote a follow up and realised she couldn’t stop writing books.

Now Tracy lives in north London with her son, still travels whenever possible and has written novel number four. Now being edited.

Tweet her @WhitwellTracy

 

 

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Minnie’s Orphans by Lindsey Hutchinson: brings history to life

Minnie’s Orphans

Let bestselling author Lindsey Hutchinson transport you back in time to Marshall’s Children’s Home, for this heart-warming tale from the Black Country.

The Fitch children are finally safe, after they and their friends were rescued from the grim orphanage Reed House by Minnie and Billy Marshall. Their children’s home Marshall’s is full of love and laughter, and a world away from their terrible ordeal of being sold to Una Reed for five shillings.

There are many more children who still need a home, especially in a world where the workhouse is the last option for desperate families, and so Minnie makes it her mission to build Marshall’s into a refuge for all the waifs and strays.

But kind hearts can be taken advantage of, and before long, Marshall’s is under attack. Can Minnie and Billy keep their family together and keep all the children safe, or will they be torn apart again?

 

My review

This is the second book in a series but works well as a standalone since enough back-story is provided to allow you to gather what’s what and who’s who.

You don’t have to particularly be a saga fan to enjoy this book. It has some lovely characters, and an atmosphere of optimism and loyalty pervades, despite the conditions of extreme poverty that are prevalent. I like how the author gives such humanity to these desperately poor people who suffered such deprivation but who still strove to do the right thing, although sometimes being overwhelmed by need and temptation.

The Black Country setting is well portrayed with a smattering of dialect terms that add interest but aren’t overdone to the point of confusion. The detail surrounding food, clothing, accommodation and so forth is amazing, and the author must have done an incredible amount of research. The book really brings this period of history to life in a very vivid and immediate way.

Enjoyable, heart-string tugging and thought-provoking.

 

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/33rBCQd

 

Author bio

Lindsey Hutchinson is a bestselling saga author whose novels include The Workhouse Children. She was born and raised in Wednesbury, and was always destined to follow in the footsteps of her mother, the multi-million selling Meg Hutchinson.

Social media links

Newsletter sign up: http://bit.ly/LindseyHutchinsonMailingList

Twitter @ https://twitter.com/LHutchAuthor

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Lindsey-Hutchinson-1781901985422852/

Bookbub – Bookbub: @LindseyHutchinson

Goodreads – GoodReads: Lindsey Hutchinson

 

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Eternal Forever by Syl Waters

Fame, glory and… foul play!

Jessie was a shop worker dreaming of the big time, then YouTube found her. But staying in the limelight requires meticulous management: pop stars are made not born.

With awards night approaching, the pressure’s on for Tito, Jessie’s manager, to whip her into shape. Getting so close wasn’t in the contract, but then neither was him being murdered in Spain.

Alone and scared of the negative publicity, Jessie turns to Mack, her account manager at Eternal Forever, the UK’s first digital legacy management agency. But Mack’s got his own issues: the company’s fast running out of cash, his key developer’s on the turn and a blogger’s suicide looks suspicious.

With the assistance of J-Pop, Mack’s assistant and wannabe reality TV star, Jessie turns sleuth. But in a world where everybody’s watching, it’s hard to escape. Reputation is everything and some people will do anything to protect it.

 

My review

This book is very lively and modern. It’s very relevant in this age of the celeb, and I think it very aptly shows the darker side of this rather shallow obsession. Everyone wants to be famous not just during their lifetimes, but beyond. But if too many people are after the same thing, it’s going to get a bit tricky. It definitely doesn’t bring out the best in them!

The story cleverly intertwines a variety of characters and situations. There’s a slow build-up to a very surprising yet satisfying denouement.

The author has been ingenious in coming up with this plot and this particular set of dramatis personae and bringing them altogether. I think she had a whale of a time doing so! It’s quite a quirky book which just makes it all the more entertaining.

Highly recommended.

 

Purchase Links


https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08D6RNR18

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eternal-Forever-gripping-turner-rethink/dp/1916424554

 

Author bio

Most people know crazy cat ladies are a ‘thing’, but I’m a proud crazy guinea pig lady! I love fun in the sun and plenty of cocktails. My happy place is flip flops. I write stories to keep me company – my characters ensure I’m never lonely and always smiling (when I’m not tearing my hair out!)

 

Social Media Links –

www.sylwaters.com

twitter: @waters_syl

insta: @mrbob.guineapig

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/syl.waters.54

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Food For Thought by Sara Madderson: a tempting treat of a book!

Synopsis

Evelyn Macleod has spent a decade helping her husband, charismatic TV chef Seb Macleod, to become a household name. Now they’re riding high and enjoying the spoils of their success. When a tabloid forces Seb to come out as gay, Evelyn and her young son flee to a friend’s luxury resort in rural Kent. Sorrel Farm is the perfect place to hide out, decompress from her disciplined London lifestyle, and comfort-eat. The enforced break also throws into question everything that Evelyn has worked so hard for. Should she continue to chase the glittering heights of wealth and power in London? Or should she choose balance—and the chance to find love—in the beautiful English countryside?

 

 

My Review

This is a wonderfully enjoyable book – you might say delicious! And very moreish. You plan to just read a couple of chapters but can’t resist another one, and then another one… I devoured this book in one sitting. Quite possibly there were family dramas of my own going on around me but I was too absorbed in this book to notice!

Evelyn is a lovely character. She’s very conscientious and kind, maybe a tad too regimented with her journaling and other daily routines, hard-working and caring. The brand she and Seb have built up between them is all-important, but not never more important as their son. (He’s a total sweetie, by the way.) When Seb pulls open the oven door on the perfectly rising soufflé of their life to that point, and the rush of the cold air or reality makes it sink, she hangs in their. Shaken, obviously, by the initial shock, and boosted by a little bit of comfort eating, she quickly sets to with cracking eggs and whisking a new life into shape. But it’s not going to be a doddle – soufflés never are. The enjoyment for us lies in seeing how she meets the challenges that come her way and the decisions she makes. She has some fascinating friends too and they add great interest and sparkle to the story.

The book has a beautiful cover, and which matches a theme the author has established for her books. The only thing I’d change is the title: there are many, many books with the same title so I do hope this one won’t get lost in their midst. There’s a phrase in the book, Evelyn’s words, along the lines of ‘Life’s not a buffet’ which I personally felt would have been a much more distinctive choice of title.

All in all, a tempting treat of a book.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Madderson is an author, entrepreneur, wife and mother. She was born in Ireland and moved to the UK with her family when she was ten years old. She lives in London with her husband Chris, their two children, Paddy and Tilly, and their cocker spaniel Charlie.

Before turning to writing, Sara worked in finance for a decade and then ran her own fashion brand, Madderson London, for eight years. She earned her MPhil in Early Modern History from the University of Birmingham.

Given that she spent most of her childhood writing and designing clothes, she’s now seen both of her childhood career dreams come true! She’s enjoyed the adventure of publishing independently as much as she’s enjoyed the writing process itself. She’s now completely hooked on writing!

 

Twitter @saramadderson

 

Book details

  • ISBN-10 : 1916353037
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1916353039
  • Paperback : 266 pages

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Food-Thought-Husband-Going-Carbs/dp/1916353037/

 

 

 

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Cover reveal: Christmas in Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay

Meet old and new characters in the Bay for Christmas fun and frolics.

With both the Corner Shop and Cockleberry Café in safe hands, Rosa turns her attention to Ned’s Gift, the charity set up in memory of the great-grandfather whose legacy turned her life around.

Over at the Ship Hotel, Lucas has his work cut out with his devious new girlfriend and the mystery poisoning of an anonymous hotel inspector. Will the hotel still get its 3-star Seaside Rosette?

Will Mary find true love at last? Can Titch cope with the demands of the shop and being heavily pregnant. And can Rosa, with a baby of her own, pull off the Cockleberry Bay Charity Christmas Concert in time?

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay is a festive delight for fans of Rosa and her cheeky mini dachshund Hot, delivering a feast of unpredictable events and surprises.

Pre-order Links

Kindle – UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08JHJKLQF/

Kindle – .com – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08JHJKLQF/

Paperback  – http://eye-books.com/books/christmas-in-cocklberry-bay

Publication Date – 4th December

Author bio

Nicola May is a rom-com superstar. She is the author of eleven romantic comedies, all of which have appeared in the Kindle bestseller charts. Two of them won awards at the Festival of Romance, and another was named ebook of the week in The SunThe Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay became the best-selling Kindle book in the UK, across all genres, in January 2019, and was Amazon’s third-bestselling novel in that year.

She lives near Ascot racecourse with her black-and-white rescue cat, Stan.

Follow Nicola May

Website – www.nicolamay.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/NicolaMayAuthor

Twitter – https://twitter.com/nicolamay1

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/author_nicola/

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My Christmas Number One by Leonie Mack

Cara doesn’t do sexy and she only does ‘Happy Christmas’ under duress. She is, after all, a serious musician, and her stubborn streak is born from her struggle to recover from a serious injury.

Javi lives for escapist fun – in his music, and in his life – especially since he’s always failed at life’s more serious challenges, including marriage and fatherhood.

Javi and Cara are forced to record a Christmas single together, but neither of them have plans to spend any more time with each other than they absolutely have to. With Christmas traditions that couldn’t be more different, and outlooks on life that are worlds apart, the chemistry just shouldn’t work. But the magic of Christmas can bring even opposites together…

From the snowy beauty of London at Christmas, to the candle-lit magic of Javi’s traditional family celebrations, let Leonie Mack whisk you away on a memorable festive adventure.

 

My review

First up, what a clever title. I do like those! The ‘Christmas Number One’ refers to more than just the song Cara and Javi are making.

A lovely cover too. Yes, there are rather a lot of festive novels out there with blue covers and swirly writing but at least here it’s red! It’s eye-catching, genre-friendly and raises expectations of a fun, Christmassy read.

This is a lively novel and gives an interesting insight into the world of the music industry. Just as authors have to write their seasonal stories well in advance of Christmas, similarly pop stars have to think festive in midsummer. Thus the action of the story spreads through about six months of the year so it’s not just a Christmas based story, but there’s enough of the festive spirit to qualify this as a Christmas read.

I did find the lead characters to be a little uneven. Cara was super and likeable from the start with her determination and wry humour. Javi… hmm, he took some warming to and I’m not sure I ever really liked him! But tough, it doesn’t matter what I think! Cara is happy, so that’s good enough for me.

The writing is brisk and enjoyable, the settings superb and so there is much to entertain the reader.

 

Purchase Links –https://amzn.to/3dBg995

Author

Leonie Mack is a debut romantic novelist. Having lived in London for many years her home is now in Germany with her husband and three children. Leonie loves train travel, medieval towns, hiking and happy endings!

 

Social Media Links –

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/leoniejmack

Twitter  – https://www.twitter.com/LeonieMAuthor

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/LeonieJMack

Mailing list sign up – https://bit.ly/LeonieMackNewsletter

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Cover reveal: One Kiss Before Christmas by Emma Jackson

Could it be the start of her happy ever after?

Ashleigh could use a little Christmas magic. She’s still living in Brighton with her Nan — who could give the Grinch lessons in how to be miserable — her acting career has been reduced to playing one of Santa’s elves, and not even the prospect of a friend’s winter wedding can cheer her up…

That is until Olivier, the gorgeous French chef, reappears in her life. Or more accurately, next door.

When they were teenagers, Olivier would spend every other Christmas with his mother, who just happens to be Ash’s neighbour and owner of the best chocolate shop in England.

If anyone can bring a little sparkle back to Ash’s life, it’s Olivier. All she needs is one kiss before Christmas…

Feel-good and festive, this is the perfect romance to curl up with this winter!

Pre-order Link – http://bit.ly/OneKissBeforeXmas

Publication Date – 2nd November

Author Bio

Author of the Best Selling A MISTLETOE MIRACLE and contender for the Joan Hessayon Award 2020, Emma has been a devoted bookworm and secret-story-scribbler since she was 6 years old. When she’s not running around after her two daughters and trying to complete her current work-in-progress, Emma loves to read, bake, catch up on binge-watching TV programmes with her partner and plan lots of craft projects that will inevitably end up unfinished. Her latest romantic comedy, SUMMER IN THE CITY, was released in June 2020.

Emma also writes historical and fantasy fiction as Emma S Jackson. THE DEVIL’S BRIDE was published by DarkStroke in February 2020.

You can find out news about Emma via her website, by signing up to her newsletter at www.esjackson.co.uk or on:
Twitter: @ESJackson1

Instagram: @emma_s_jackson

Facebook @EmmaJacksonAuthor

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Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage by Lucy Coleman

Join us for Christmas in the Cotswolds in this perfect festive escape, from the bestselling Lucy Coleman.

Imogen Tolliman never knew her mother. And when an accident robs Immi of her father too, she goes to live with her grandfather, Tollie, in his picturesque lock-keeper’s cottage by the Aysbury marina.

Tollie is the star of the Santa Ahoy Special each Christmas – a festive boat ride along the canal that enthralls both children and adults alike. And as Immi grows up, she starts to appreciate the magical community she is lucky enough to live in.

When Immi meets Gray Adams, she instantly realises he’s someone special. And as their relationship gets serious, they start to plan for the Christmas to beat all Christmases.

But as the day approaches, and the romantic snow showers turn into blizzards, their dream of a Christmas to remember, looks set to be one they’ll never forget – for all the wrong reasons. Can they salvage the festivities, or will old secrets that are finally uncovered turn Immi’s life upside down forever?

Let Lucy Coleman transport you away to a dreamy Cotswolds Christmas full of snowflakes and secrets, log fires, mistletoe, friends and much-loved traditions.

 

My review

It took me a little while to settle into this story. I’m not a huge fan of first-person present-tense narrations – blame it on my age! – but this narrative style seems to be increasingly popular so I guess I’ll just have to move with the times! And anyway, once the action got underway I stopped noticing it so much.

The book is principally character-driven, and we have some fascinating ones in this novel. Like real people, all these fictional creations have back story, foibles, strengths, problems and dreams. They interact believably and give a strong sense of community.

The waterside and boat setting is unusual and interesting, and introduces those of us not well acquainted with such a way of life to different experiences.

The festive element is all it should be for a  Christmassy story.

An enjoyable, easy read that will start making you think about getting that Christmas shopping done early!

 

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3fGdGvu

Author Bio –

Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys.

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/LucyColemanAuth

https://www.facebook.com/LucyColemanAuthor

https://www.instagram.com/lucycolemanauthor/

lucycolemanromance.com

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lucy-coleman

http://bit.ly/LucyColemanNewsletter

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Love at the Little Wedding Shop by the Sea by Jane Linfoot

St Aidan: a cosy Cornish village where friendships are made for life and it’s always cocktail hour somewhere…

Return to your favourite little wedding shop by the sea for love, laughter and a romance to sweep you off your feet!

It’s the most romantic day of the year but the girls aren’t just gearing up for Valentine’s Day and a busy wedding season ahead, it’s also the 10 year anniversary of their beloved shop!

Jess is planning the party of the decade and with the champagne and cocktails flowing, sparks are going to fly…and not just from the fireworks display!

 

My review

Milla is our central character, and she’s an engaging, interesting person. Also hurting, as this St Valentine’s Day sees the arrival of the baby of her ex-boyfriend and her business partner, Phoebe. To rub salt in the wound, Phoebe has even pinched the name Milla had earmarked for her own use in the future.

So Milla loses herself in her work, and comes into contact with Nic. He’s a fun character, who is upbeat and confident, if occasionally a little too full of himself. He’s a good foil for Milla, who lacks confidence at times.

The story is entertaining and fresh, and the setting atmospheric and charming. Characters gel or spark to give us some interesting interactions, and they all develop. Action is steady with the right amount of tension here and there to keep us thoroughly hooked.

All in all it’s a very enjoyable story, which you can read any time of year, not just around St Valentine’s Day.

 

Purchase Links –

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Little-Wedding-Shop-Sea-ebook/dp/B084L7SJJV

US – https://www.amazon.com/Love-Little-Wedding-Shop-Sea-ebook/dp/B084L7SJJV

Author bio

I write fun, flirty fiction, with feisty heroines, and lots of heart. Writing is fab, because I get to wear pretty shoes instead of wellies. I live in a cottage up a mountain road in Derbyshire, where my family and pets are kind enough to ignore the domestic chaos. Happily, we’re in walking distance of a supermarket. I love hearts, flowers, happy endings, all things vintage, most things french. When I’m not on facebook, and can’t find an excuse for shopping, I’ll be walking, or gardening. On days when I want to be really scared, I ride a tandem.

Social Media Links – Follow Jane on Twitter @janelinfoot, or find her on her Author Page on Facebook. She’s also on Instagram, and has lots of Pinterest boards relating to her novels.