BoldWood Blogger, Blog Tours/Reviews

#Review | How Not To Be A Loser by Beth Moran #HowNotToBeALoser #BlogTour #BoldwoodBlogger @bethcmoran @BoldwoodBooks

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Hello, Sunshines, I hope you are safe and well? Today I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of this heart-wrenching and gorgeous book; How Not to be a Loser by Beth Moran. This post was scheduled to be shared in March, but as we all know one thing leads to another and we fall behind…..Oops! So, here it is ridiculously late, sorry! I hope you all enjoy it!

Amy Piper is a loser. She’s lost her confidence, her mojo and her way.

But one thing she has never lost is her total love for her thirteen-year-old son Joey, and for his sake she knows it’s time for a change. But first she has to be brave enough to leave the house…

What she needs are friends and an adventure. And when she joins a running group of women who call themselves The Larks, she finds both. Not to mention their inspiring (and rather handsome) coach, Nathan.

Once upon a time Amy was a winner – at life, at sport and in love. Now, with every ounce of strength she has left, she is determined to reclaim the life she had, for herself and for Joey. And who knows, she might just be a winner again – at life, sport, and love, if she looks in the right places…

Uplifting, funny and unforgettable, Beth Moran returns with a joyous tale of friendship, love and facing your fears.

This is a stunningly beautiful, emotional and inspiring book!

Honestly, I can’t really say much more than that can I? This is an emotional, moving, heart-warming, full of hope, it really shows the power of a mothers love and determination.

As soon as we meet Amy Piper you just feel instantly close to her, she is the kind of person whom you can’t help yourself but feel very protective of, you genuinely care for her and her well being. There was something about her that pulled me in, it is obvious that she is suffering from Mental Health issues, she is depressed, agoraphobic, she is anxious and stressed. There is also a lot of sadness and guilt that she feels she has ruined something or her son, that she finds certain things so difficult.

Amy wants to get passed this barrier, she wants to be well and the mother she has always dreamt to be for her son, she wants her life and happiness. So one day she makes that choice, and it is through this stage that we get to know her, we see her bravely take one step after another to regain control over her life. It is through her journey that we really have our heartstring pulled, there is a lot of sadness, happiness and it pulls you through all aspects of human emotion as Amy tries to find her feet again and be able to breathe the fresh air.

I have to give huge praise to Beth Moran, what a beautiful, sensitive and realistic piece of writing this is. Beth has done the most amazing job with writing Amy’s mental health illnesses which is something that can and does affect every one of us in some way or another whether that’s direct with your own mental health problems or indirectly by watching a loved one struggle. Having a leading character battle these illnesses while trying to do right by her son really got me and I genuinely felt a little teary at times while reading. Beth showed such care with her writing she didn’t go over the top and Amy’s issues weren’t overly dramatized. Her problems and how she was fighting were raw and real ad again I have to applaud Beth for bringing to attention just how easily a person – anyone – can fall into a depression and how hard it is not only for the person but for the family too, I do know that part from personal experience. Bravo! It’s not taboo to talk about such things or to have characters in books go through such trials.

Overall, this is a fabulous second chance story that really hammers home how important it is to not allow your self to sink and how true friends can be so important, it’s a real feel-good, heart-warming and inspiring story that is one of those books which must be read. It will make you cry, smile and look on the world with positivity.

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About the Author

Beth Moran is the author of three previous books, including Making Marion.  She regularly features on BBC Radio Nottingham and is a trustee of the national women’s network Free Range Chicks. She lives on the outskirts of Sherwood Forest.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Boldwood Profile

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I just want to make a brief apology to Beth and the team over at Boldwood Books for not posting this review on my day of this amazing blog tour. I think many will agree with me when I say the last few weeks/months have been a bit on the weird side and I’m afraid I have let things slide a little and now I am drastically playing catch up.

So, for all those who missed out on the blog tour, why not check out each of these amazing blogs which participated in this tour and show them some love?

#Review | The Runaway Girl: A Titanic Love Story by Jina Bacarr #TheRunawayGirl #BoldwoodBlogger #BlogTour @JinaBacarr @BoldWoodBooks

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Hello Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of this gorgeous book with you all; The Runaway Girl by Jina Bacarr. This post was scheduled to be shared in March, but as we all know one thing leads to another and we fall behind, way behind in this case…..Ooops! So, here it is ridiculously late, sorry! But, I hope you all enjoy it anyway.

The Runaway Girl: A Titanic love story by Jina Bacarr 

Genre: Historical Romance

Release:17 March

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Two women hold the keys to his heart. Only one will survive that fateful night…

When Ava O’Reilly is wrongly accused of stealing from her employer, she has no option but to flee Ireland. The law is after her, and she has only one chance at escape – the Titanic.

Aboard the ship of dreams, she runs straight into the arms of Captain ‘Buck’ Blackthorn, a dashing gentleman gambler who promises to be her protector. He is intrigued by her Irish beauty and manages to disguise her as the maid of his good friend, the lovely Countess of Marbury. Little does he realise, that the Countess is also in love with him.

As the fateful night approaches, tragedy strikes further when Ava is separated from Buck, and must make a daring choice that will change her life forever…

A sweeping, emotional historical romance set aboard the Titanic, perfect for fans of Gill Paul and Suzanne Goldring.

This is a revised and fully updated edition of a novel previously published as Titanic Rhapsody.

Amazon UK / Amazon US

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I absolutely loved, loved, loved this book, it has everything I look for in a historical romance not to mention being set on one of the greatest is most tragic ships of all time, then you have me hooked before I even open the first page.

Titantic…. Check!

Romance…Check!

History…Check!

Gorgeous Captain…Double Check!!!

Even though I have been aware of Jina Bacarr’s work for a while, this is actually the first of her books I have read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Her writing is so fluid, it moves the reader along through the story with such ease.

I don’t think it will just be me that while reading certain parts of the book, especially when the ship is sinking that I had flashes of a certain film cross my mind; you all know which one I am talking about!

Jack, Jack. Never let go!” – Sorry, I had to do it! 😉

After being wrongly accused of stealing, Ava O’Rielly must flee not just the area but her home and her beloved Ireland too. With her ex-employer and now the authorities after her, she has one chance and that is onboard the Titanic as she sets off on her maiden voyage. But her problems don’t leave her once she is aboard the ship of dreams, she is still being chased, which is when she meets dashing Captain Blackthorn, otherwise known as Buck who helps Ava by getting her a job as a lady’s maid to his good friend Fiona.

This is where the trouble for poor Buck starts as Ava starts taking a real shine to our handsome rogue – but then again who wouldn’t he is a twinkly eye rake who could charm the stars to fall from the sky if he so wished it, but it also transpires that Lady Fiona also has her eyes set on Buck too, but alas she needs to marry for money and not love. A girl can dream though!

Buck and Ava’s romance isn’t the speediest of romances I have read, it is slow – if I am, to be honest a little too slow for my liking – I can’t fault that they are a cute and gorgeous couple and indeed they are certainly made for each other, but I would have liked them to get to where they needed to be, where we readers saw them going a lot faster then did.

I do have a real love for stories set around the Titanic, there is something about them that draws the reader into a moment in time that is locked in history forever. You know there is going to be sadness and heartache and that not all character’s will live to tell their tale, but I think it makes the romance all the more captivating as you are willing the couple on, hoping that they won’t end up like Jack and Rose from the film torn apart not by social standing but by and iceberg. Another thing that I really love about Titanic stories is that it can really bring together the two classes, and it showcases just how much prejudice there was with in the top deck and how romance can filter through.

I love the way which Jina has captured the very essence of the era, those scenes when the ship is going down and the aftermath is very powerful, it’s like you are actually there in the moment. Jina’s writing is solid and engaging. This is a beautiful, atmospheric, enthralling romance with added tragedy and intrigue with a scene stealing setting, wonderfully likable characters and a poignant journey of love.

My only negative word about it was the pacing of the romance between Buck and Ava, I would have liked that part of the story to go a little faster, especially considering the setting, but again that is only my personal opinion and as I say i cannot fault anything other aspect of this book, the story really is beautiful.

***

About the Author

Jina Bacarr is a US-based historical romance author of over 10 previous books. She has been a screenwriter, journalist and news reporter, but now writes full-time and lives in LA. Jina’s novels have been sold in 9 territories. Her first novel with Boldwood is called Christmas Once Again and was published in October 2019.

Website / Twitter

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I just want to make a brief apology to Jina and the team over at Boldwood Books for not posting this review on my day of this amazing blog tour. I think many will agree with me when I say the last few weeks/months have been a bit on the weird side and I’m afraid I have let things slide a little and now I am drastically playing catch up.

So, for all those who missed out on the blog tour, why not check out each of these amazing blogs which participated in this tour and show them some love?

#BlogTour | Whitsborough Bay Series by Jessica Redland; Feature, Excerpts and Exclusive Author Interview #WhitsboroughBaySeries #BoldWoodBlogger @JessicaRedland @BoldwoodBooks

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Hello Sunshines!! Have got a mega post for you all today? I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this epic blog tour for the whole; Whitsborough Bay series by Jessica Redland. Not only will I be sharing exclusive excerpts for each of the books, but I also have an exclusive to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals interview with Jessica, where will be chatting all about books, writing and my favourite topic; chocolate. So pull up a seat, grab that cuppa and enjoy.

Frankie: Hi, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.

Jessica: Thank you so much for having me

Frankie: Firstly, what five words would you use to describe yourself?

Jessica: Snuggly, imaginative, caring, fun, organised

Frankie: Can you tell us a little about your latest/up and coming release?

Jessica: Coming Home to Seashell Cottage is the final part in my ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series. The series is made up of four books, each centring around one main female protagonist:

Book 1 – Making Wishes at Bay View – This is a prequel to the series, introducing Callie who works in a care home and tends to make very poor relationship choices involving much older men. Her favourite resident, Ruby, thinks Callie would be better off with her grandson, Rhys, but Callie is worried that Rhys might be a figment of Ruby’s imagination. It’s a lovely story of intergenerational relationships and how it’s never too late to give up on a wish for a happy ever after.

Books 2-4 are set chronologically, each one picking up where the last one left off, and they follow three friends – Sarah, Elise and Clare. Each book is a complete story with one of the women as the protagonist but we get to know and find out about the others.

Book 2 – New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms – This is Sarah’s story. After being unexpectedly gifted her auntie’s florist shop, Sarah returns to her hometown of Whitsborough Bay, licking her wounds after a bad relationship. When packing to move, she finds a clairvoyant reading from when she was 18 and everything has come true except one prediction: she’s about to meet the man of her dreams. And his name is Steven. Best friend Elise is convinced it’s going to come true but her other best friend, Clare, thinks it’s a load of rubbish. Who’s right?

Book 3 – Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove – We’re focusing on Elise now. Her 12-year marriage has unexpectedly broken down and she’s facing a divorce yet has two weddings to attend as bridesmaid. Not easy! Gary was her one and only relationship so she decides that she needs to get back out there and recently-divorced Daniel may be just what the doctor ordered. Or is he?

Book 4 – Coming Home to Seashell Cottage – The final part of the series is Clare’s story. So much has changed for the three women that the dynamics of the friendship have shifted massively. We find out why Clare is so cool and spiky and why she doesn’t talk about her past. There are lots of secrets and demons to face as Clare discovers that she can run from the past but she can’t hide from it.

Frankie: When not writing, what do you like to do to relax?

Jessica: I really wish I had an interesting answer but I’m afraid I don’t get any time to relax. I have a full-time day job so I fit writing around that on evenings and weekends. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to write full-time and have a bit more me-time. In rare moments off, I enjoy watching romcoms or reading, and spending time with my family and dog, but these moments are definitely too few!

Frankie: If you could have a holiday home anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Jessica: I’d want it to be somewhere close enough to home that I could visit regularly. Last May, we had a family holiday in Portugal. It’s the first time we’ve been there and we absolutely loved it. The scenery was stunning and the people were so friendly. We’re going back this May because we loved it so much.

Frankie: If you could have one of your books made into a film, which book would it be and who would play your lead character’s?

Jessica: I would love the whole of the series to be made into a Netflix series! If it was just one book to be made into a film, I’d probably say The Secret to Happiness which is a standalone novel which was released last September. It’s the story of three women – Karen, Alison and Danniella – who need to say goodbye to someone/something but are struggling to do so. When they meet at a bootcamp run by Karen, can the power of friendship give them the strength to do what they’ve been unable to do alone? I would struggle to say who the main characters would be, though. I have a Pinterest board with inspiration for my characters but they’re not necessarily famous people. I struggle with picking celebs because I watch so little TV (back to earlier question about never having time to relax!)

Frankie: When writing, do you plot or do you go with the flow?

Jessica: Pantser. All the time. I know my characters very well and I know where the story is going to end but I let the journey unfold as I write.

Frankie: What three tips would you pass on to an aspiring author?

Jessica:

  1. If you want to write, write. You may not be great at it but you’ll never know unless you try
  2. Learn how to write. Being good at writing in day to day life v writing a book are two very different skills. There’s a lot to learn but there are some amazing self-help books, courses, and qualifications out there to help. I spent ten years learning my craft whilst writing my debut. To be fair, I had a lot of years where I didn’t write anything as I married, had a baby, opened and closed a business and changed job several times during that time, but I never lost sight of that goal and never stopped learning
  3. Take the NaNoWriMo approach of just getting on with it. You can edit it later. You might ditch a lot of it later. But if you don’t get the words down in the first place, you’ll have nothing to edit

Frankie: If you were hosting a dinner party what three people would you invite?

Jessica: The famous person answer would be Dawn French, Chris Hemsworth and James Corden.

The non-famous answer would be my good friends Susan, Jackie and Catryn who I hardly ever get to see because we live so far apart.

Frankie: Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today, Jessica! I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun; What is your favourite snacking food?

Jessica: Chocolate. Nom nom. Specific favourite at the moment are Teasers (Maltesers). Ooh, salivating right now!

Frankie: Oooh, yes!! You are certainly talking my language with Teasers, thank you! xx

Jessica: Thank you so much for your fabulous questions. Jessica xx

***

Whitsborough Bay Series

Making Wishes at Bay View: The perfect uplifting novel of love and friendship for 2020 (Welcome To Whitsborough Bay Book 1)

This book was previously published as two novellas – Raving About Rhys and Callie’s Christmas Wish.

Never give up on a wish for a happy ever after…

Callie Derbyshire has it all: her dream job as a carer at Bay View, finally she has found the love of her life. Everything is perfect.

Well, almost.

Ex-partners are insistent on stirring up trouble, and Callie’s favourite resident, Ruby, hasn’t been her usual self.

But after discovering the truth about Ruby’s lost love, Callie is determined to give Ruby’s romantic story the happy ending it deserves. After all, it’s never too late to let love in again. Or is it?

A heartwarming and uplifting novel of finding love and friendship in the least expected places from top 10 bestselling author, Jessica Redland.

Amazon

****

New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms: The perfect uplifting page-turner for 2020 (Welcome To Whitsborough Bay Book 2)

Sometimes love can bloom where you least expect it…

For Sarah Peterson, it’s time for change. Coming out of a dead end relationship and having had enough of city life, she just needs to escape and have a fresh start – a new job, a new home and a new lifestyle.

So when her Auntie Kay unexpectedly offers her the opportunity to take over her flower shop, Seaside Blooms, the timing could not be more perfect. She could escape to the beautiful seaside town of Whitsborough Bay, start a new chapter in her life – and learn how to run a business!

But, as she packs up her life in London, she isn’t prepared for the discovery of a clairvoyant reading that’s been missing for twelve years. All of the predictions have come true, except one: she’s about to meet the man of her dreams. Oh, and his name is Steven…

As she prepares for the biggest move of her life, Sarah can’t help but wonder if Seaside Blooms could be a new beginning for love too?

A warm, uplifting novel of love, friendship and destiny from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland.

New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms is a new, revised and updated edition of a novel previously published as Searching For Steven.

Amazon

New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms; Excerpt

Come on, Jason. Ring.’ I frowned at my iPhone as I paced up and down in the lounge, my stiletto heels echoing on the wooden floorboards. ‘Or text. I don’t care which. Just make contact. Please.’

My heart leapt as the phone beeped, but the text was from one of my best friends instead.

From Elise

Happy birthday Sarah! Last year in your twenties so make the most of it. Wish you weren’t so far away so I could give you a birthday hug so sending one by text instead. I’ve hopefully timed your present to arrive today. Hope Jason’s got you a fab gift… proposal maybe? Have a great evening xxxxxxx

I stretched out my arm to admire the sparkly silver bracelet she’d sent.

To Elise

Just got home and your parcel was waiting. Way too generous as usual… but absolutely gorgeous! Thank you so much. Not sure where he’s taking me but hopefully it’s somewhere nice this time. I’m all dressed up with nowhere to go! Would be lying if I said a proposal hadn’t crossed my mind. EEEEEEKKKK!!!! You’ll be first to know if he does xxx

My hands shook slightly and I felt a flutter in my stomach as I typed in the words. Could tonight really be the night? Maybe. The timing felt about right and he’d been talking about making plans for the future. We’d been together for two years and two months and had lived together for most of that time. Aside from occasional bouts of thoughtlessness on his part and a tendency to drag me to the gym or on a twenty-mile hike way more often than a person should have to endure in a lifetime, we were very happy together and I assumed that a proposal wouldn’t be too far away.

Another text arrived but it still wasn’t Jason.

From Clare

Sorry for not texting earlier. Dim Daz borrowed my phone then drove to Essex with it. Bloody muppet. Anyway, better late than never… happy birthday you old fart. Can’t believe you want to spend the evening with your eejit flatmate rather than me. Hope it’s not McDonalds this time! Maybe he’ll really treat you & do Pizza Hut?! Keep Saturday night free if you want your card & gift or I’m keeping them xx

She’d added several laughing emojis to the end of the text.

Your Auntie Clare is being very rude, as usual,’ I said to one of our kittens, Kat, who’d appeared to demand a fuss. ‘Flatmate indeed.’ But I couldn’t help smiling. Only Clare could get away with a comment like that.

To Clare

Thanks. Was beginning to think you’d forgotten me! I promise to keep Saturday free for you. Dread to know what sort of abuse I’d get if I don’t. Not sure where MY BOYFRIEND is taking me. Still waiting to hear. McDonalds was a misunderstanding and you know it! Laters xx

From Clare

Misunderstanding my arse! My final guess of the evening… The Griffin

I shook my head. So our two-year anniversary hadn’t gone quite to plan, but it was my fault really. I should have known that saying, ‘I’d love to go out for a meal to celebrate; how about The Kam Po? I could meet you in The Griffin after work,’ was far too vague for Jason. I ended up nursing the same glass of Pinot Grigio for ninety minutes before finally accepting he wasn’t coming. Trudging home, I found him in his gym kit playing on his Xbox. ‘You been working late?’ he asked. ‘You should’ve texted me. I got you a McDonalds on the way home, but it’ll be cold now and there’s nothing else to eat.’ He returned to his game and I went to bed hungry. I kept hoping he’d realise his mistake but he never did and, by then, it felt too late to say anything.

I checked my phone again now. Nothing. It couldn’t happen twice, could it? No. It had been his idea this time. Some of my friends from work had suggested a birthday meal, but Jason had insisted on taking me out himself. I’d gently reminded him a couple of days ago and he’d assured me it was in hand and I wasn’t to quiz him any further or I’d spoil the surprise. He said he’d contact me last minute with a location to meet him so I could enjoy the excitement of speculating about where we were going. This was certainly last minute and excitement wasn’t quite the feeling I’d describe.

It was now after half six. Sod it! I couldn’t do this anymore.

To Jason

This is killing me! Where are you taking me? I’m all ready and awaiting my instructions! Please tell me you haven’t forgotten xx

***

Finding Hope at Lighthouse Cove (Welcome To Whitsborough Bay Book 3)

When it feels like everything is against you, sometimes you just need a little bit of hope…

Married to her childhood sweetheart for over twelve years, Elise feels like starting a family is the next natural step. However her husband, Gary, has other ideas…

Suddenly single, Elise is completely heartbroken and struggling to start over on her own. But when she’s enlisted to be bridesmaid to her best friend, Sarah, she has to put on a brave face, put her own feelings aside and find a way to get over Gary. Fast.

So when she meets handsome, recently-divorced, Daniel, she thinks he could be just what she needs. But why can’t she shake the feeling that he must be too good to be true?

Will she ever be able to take that leap and trust again?

An uplifting read of love, loss and finding yourself from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland.

This book was previously published as Getting Over Gary

Amazon

Finding hope at Lighthouse Cove; Excerpt

Li! Are you ready yet?’ Gary shouted up the stairs. ‘I thought we were meeting them at seven.’

I glanced towards the digital alarm clock: 18:28. Still twelve minutes till we needed to leave. I took a deep, calming breath then called, ‘Just a few more minutes. We won’t be late. I promise.’

Squirting another mist of hairspray on my loose auburn curls, I blew a few flecks of make-up off my new teal dress, then pulled on a pair of black strappy, sparkly shoes. Grabbing a black pashmina and clutch bag off the bed, I took a quick glance in the full-length mirror on the wall. Not bad. Perhaps a little over-dressed for a meal at The Bombay Palace with my sister and her fiancé, but surely Gary would be impressed with the effort, especially as the dress was his favourite colour on me. Maybe he’d even pay me a compliment. I shook my head at my reflection. I wouldn’t get my hopes up on that one. I’d be lucky if he managed the ultimate cop-out non-compliment of, ‘You look nice.’

I paused at the top of the stairs and gazed down at my husband tapping something into his phone, a deep frown creasing his brow. Even in a mood, he was still irresistible with his dark hair, dark eyes and tall, athletic build.

I’m ready,’ I called, preparing myself to do a little twirl so he could appreciate the tightness of the bodice clinging to all the right places – a daring move for someone who normally wore long skirts and maxi-dresses – but he barely managed a cursory glance as he pocketed his phone.

About time too,’ he said. ‘I’ll get the car started. Can you lock up?’ Without waiting for an answer, he went outside.

I reached for the banister and clung onto it as I took a few deep, shaky breaths and willed myself not to cry. It was fine. Timekeeping stressed him out and, even though we weren’t actually late, he was understandably tired and irritable. He’d been working long hours with the surgery expansion recently and seemed to be permanently on edge. He’d likely skipped lunch again so was bound to relax when we ate.

Would you like me to drive back tonight so you can have a drink?’ I asked as Gary backed his Lexus off the drive. I reached across to give his thigh a gentle stroke but withdrew my hand when I felt him tense under my touch.

I’m fine, thanks. We’ll stick to the rule.’

Okay.’ Gary’s ‘rule’ was that if it’s your family or your friends, you drink and the other drives. I rarely drink so was happy to be the designated driver most of the time, but Gary refused to deviate.

I stared out of the window as he drove along Abbey Drive then guided the car out of the small new-build housing estate where we’d lived for the past six years. Glancing across at his tight jaw as we joined the main road into Whitsborough Bay, he certainly looked like a man who could do with a relaxing drink. Perhaps I’d have one more try at breaking the rule.

Are you sure? You know I’m never bothered about drinking when we’re eating.’

We stopped at the traffic lights, but Gary still didn’t look at me. His hands tightly gripped the steering wheel. ‘I’ve already said I’m fine. She’s your sister so I’m the driver. Can we just drop it, Li? Please?’

Okay. Sorry.’ I turned to look out of the window again, blinking back tears. He’d come round when he saw Jess and Lee. He loved their company, even if he didn’t seem to love mine at the moment.

***

Coming Home To Seashell Cottage (Welcome To Whitsborough Bay Book 4)

*Winner of Chill With a Book Book of the Year 2019 Award as Dreaming About Daran*

For Clare O’Connell, home is where the heart aches…

Since the age of sixteen, Clare O’Connell has lived her life by four strict rules:

1. Don’t talk about Ireland

2. Don’t think about Ireland

3. Don’t go to Ireland

4. Don’t let anyone in

And so far, it’s worked well. She’s got a great career, amazing friends, and she’s really happy. The future is all that counts, isn’t it?

However Clare is about to realise that you can run from the past, but you can’t always hide from it…

When her boss insists she travels to Ireland for work, Clare finds herself drawn back to the village of Ballykielty – the home of her family, and the home of her secrets. The one place where vowed never to return to again…

With the door to her past now wide open, the first three rules have gone out of the window. Will Clare stick to rule number four?

Can she be brave and face up to her family and the demons of her past?

An emotional novel of family, friendship and dealing with your past from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland.

This book was previously published as Dreamg About Darran.

Amazon

Coming Home to Seashell Cottage; Excerpt

Late September

What the hell is that in the fruit bowl?’ I cautiously leaned forward on Ben’s sofa to get a closer look, hoping it wasn’t an enormous spider about to scuttle over me.

Apples, pears, kiwis and bananas,’ Ben said. ‘Don’t tell me that you’ve reached the grand old age of thirty-three and you still can’t identify your basic fruits.’

I raised my eyebrows at him. ‘Ha ha! You’re hilarious. You should be on stage, so you should.’ I reached my hand out towards the object.

Argh!’ yelled Ben as I was about to touch it.

I snatched back my hand, screaming.

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.’ He rolled around on the sofa, laughing hysterically.

You eejit!’ I whacked him with a cushion. ‘You scared the life out of me! Is this what it’s going to be like living with you? Because if it is, I can check into a hotel for the next few months instead. Are you ready to say goodbye to that new kitchen?’

I worked for a company called Prime PR, managing public relations campaigns for large corporates. Having recently been promoted, I needed to relocate from London to Leeds. Ben – or Saint Ben, as I called him – was the brother of my best friend, Sarah, and he lived in Leeds so I’d adopted him as my meal buddy for the past few years every time I visited on business. Meeting up with a friend for some good craic was far more appealing than dining in a hotel restaurant surrounded by suits staring into space, eating meals for one. On my last trip, I’d moaned about the prospect of living in a hotel for a month or two while I found somewhere to rent and, being the saint he was, Ben immediately offered me his spare room. Grand idea. It meant I could pay Ben rent using my allowance for not staying in a hotel, giving him the funds to refit his prehistoric kitchen. Win-win. Of course, he refused to accept payment, but I wore him down eventually.

Ben put his hands up in surrender as I lifted the cushion to whack him again. ‘Sorry. But you’d have done the same if it had been the other way round. You know you would.’

Perhaps.’

Definitely.’

I smiled. He was right. ‘So, what is it, then?’

Ben reached into the fruit bowl, then held out the black object in the palm of his hand.

It’s a chess piece,’ I said, looking at the black king. ‘Why’s there a chess piece in your fruit bowl?’

He shrugged. ‘I came home from work last Tuesday and, quite randomly, it was on the front doorstep.’

With a note?’

No note. Just the king on his own.’

And it’s yours?’

Nope. I don’t play chess.’

Oh. Very random. But do you know what’s even more random? Why the hell it’s in your fruit bowl instead of the bin.’

It seemed like a good place for it.’

But you don’t know where it’s been. It could have been peed on by a dog. Or worse.’

Ben looked at the king thoughtfully. ‘Good point. Just as well it was between the bananas and kiwis, then, wasn’t it? They’ve got skins.’ He leaned forward and put it back.

Ben! Put it in the bin.’

No.’

Ben!

I reached forward but he grabbed me and started tickling me, which he knew was a pet peeve of mine. I squealed, leapt to my feet and darted past him into his kitchen. Thankfully, I was saved from another attack by the arrival of our Indian takeaway.

Get your hands washed before you touch that food,’ I ordered Ben.

He winked at me. ‘I love it when you’re bossy.’

I dug out some plates and we busied ourselves dishing up the food.

Shall we watch a film while we eat?’ Ben asked. ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’s on TV and I’ve never seen it. My mate Pete said it’s really good.’

Is that the one with Jim Caviezel in it?’

I think so. And Guy Pearce.’

Ooh, two hotties. Grand. Count me in.’

***

About the Author

Jessica Redland is the author of nine novels including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

Website / Instagram / Facebook / Newsletter

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Blog Tour Schedule

#BlogTour | The House By The Sea by Louise Douglas #Excerpt #BoldwoodBlogger @LouiseDouglas3 @BoldWoodBooks

Posted on Updated on

Hello Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; The House by The Sea by Louise Douglas. Not only will I be telling you all about this wonderful book, but I also have an exclusive excerpt which I know you will love. So settle in, grab a cuppa and enjoy.

The House by The Sea by Louise Douglas

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Format: Paperback/Ebook/Audiobook

Genre: Women’s fiction

The new chilling and captivating novel from the bestselling author of Richard & Judy pick The Secrets Between Us.

When Edie’s mother-in-law, Anna DeLuca, dies, she is relieved. Edie blames Anna for the accident that destroyed her family. So, when her will lures Edie to Sicily and the long-abandoned Villa della Madonna del Mare, she sees through Anna’s games.

Suspecting Anna is meddling from beyond the grave to try to reunite her and her ex-husband Joe, Edie is determined to leave Italy as soon as possible. But before she can, the villa starts to shed its mysterious secrets.

Who are the girls beside Anna in her childhood photos, and why has one of them been scratched out? Why does someone, or something, want them to leave the past untouched? The villa is a place where old ghosts feel at home, but does their legacy need to be laid to rest before Edie and Joe can move on…

Bestselling author Louise Douglas returns with a captivating, chilling and unforgettable tale of betrayal, jealousy and the mysteries hidden in every family history.

Amazon

***

Praise for Louise Douglas

Kept me guessing until the last few pages and the explosive ending took my breath away.’ C.L. Taylor, author of The Accident on Your Beautiful Lies

Beautifully written, chillingly atmospheric and utterly compelling, The Secret by the Lake is Louise Douglas at her brilliant best’ Tammy Cohen, author of The Broken

A master of her craft, Louise Douglas ratchets up the tension in this haunting and exquisitely written tale of buried secrets and past tragedy.’ Amanda Jennings, author of Sworn Secret

A clammy, atmospheric and suspenseful novel, it builds in tension all the way through to the startling final pages.’ Sunday Express, S Magazine

***

Exclusive Excerpt

The aircraft tipped to begin its descent and through the porthole I watched the southern side of the island of Sicily emerge from the glare of the sun. Beyond the breaching wing lay a hazy, mountainous land surrounded by turquoise water. Wispy clouds bunched around the summit of Etna, the shadow of a forest creeping up her flank. I saw the sprawl of cities, the pencil lines of motorways, the meandering loops of a river and the brilliant blue rectangle of a reservoir. My journey was almost over and Joe was somewhere down there, waiting for me. The last time I’d had a meaningful conversation with my ex-husband was ten years previously, and on that occasion, I’d told him I wished he was dead, and I’d meant it and he knew that I meant it. I’d watched him implode, emotionally, in front of my eyes. I’d turned away. I didn’t know how I was going to face him again. I didn’t know how either of us were going to cope.

It wasn’t as if we had anything in common any more, save memories too painful to revisit. I knew very little of Joe’s life now and I didn’t know how much, if anything, he knew of mine. He probably didn’t know that home, for me, was my friend Fitz’s two bedroom house in Southville and work, the Special Educational Needs department of St Sarah’s school, South Bristol. In my spare time, I walked Fitz’s dogs or went to the Watershed cinema to watch European films with subtitles. Sometimes I meandered around St Nicholas’ Markets and treated myself to a Caribbean wrap and a ball or two of knitting wool; some second-hand books. Most of my energy was taken up with keeping Daniel’s memory alive, that was my raison d’être; I would not let my son be forgotten – never. It might not look much of a life, but it was mine and I was happy with it. I felt safe and I didn’t have to worry about the worst happening because the worst had already happened. I was doing fine and if Joe thought I wasn’t, well, he’d be wrong.

All this anxiety was his mother’s fault. Anna DeLuca was the reason why I was on this plane and why Joe was waiting for me at the airport in Sicily. She was behind this, she couldn’t leave us alone, she had to be interfering in our lives, pulling our strings, moving us around like the pieces on a chessboard, even now, months after her death. Hadn’t she ruined our lives enough already? Hadn’t she caused enough heartache? Martha had said Anna’s death would be a line drawn in the sand for me, but Martha had been wrong. I thought of Anna’s small, heart shaped face, her black hair, her pretty brown eyes and little white teeth, the peppermints she used to freshen her breath, and the old fury began to rise in me.

***

About the Author

Louise Douglas is the bestselling and brilliantly reviewed author of 6 novels including The Love of my Life and Missing You – a RNA award winner. The Secrets Between Us was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. She lives in the West Country.

Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / Boldwood Author Page / Newsletter  

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Blog Tour Schedule

#BlogTour | The Children from Gin Barrel Lane Lindsey Hutchinson #TheChildrenOfGinBarrelLane #Excerpt #BoldwoodBlogger @LHutchAuthor @BoldWoodBooks

Posted on Updated on

Hello Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; The Children from Gin Barrel Lane Lindsey Hutchinson. Not only will I be telling you all about this wonderful book, but I also have an exclusive excerpt which I know you will love. So settle in, grab a cuppa and enjoy.

The Children from Gin Barrel Lane Lindsey Hutchinson

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Format: Paperback/Ebook/Audiobook

Genre: Saga

Ten-year-old Jack Larkin has seen more than his fair share of shocking sights, growing up in the notorious Crown Saloon.

Broken hearts and broken bones are just a fact of life in a Gin Palace, but for orphan Dolly, the Crown is her last hope.

After the death of her mother, Dolly ran away from her sleazy step father Arthur, only to find herself living on the streets. When Jack discovers her hiding in the back yard of The Crown, he persuades his mother Nellie Larkin, to take Dolly in.

But Dolly has a secret – a very valuable secret – and Arthur is determined to get his clutches on her at any cost. And when local hard-man Ezra Morton joins in the hunt, the Larkins may have to risk everything to keep Dolly safe…

The Queen of the Black Country sagas is back with a page-turning, heart-warming, laugh-out-loud story to remember. Perfect for fans of Val Wood and Lyn Andrews.

Amazon 

***

Praise for Lindsey Hutchinson

A great story with a great mix of characters, well written and keeps you hooked with each page turn!’ Sarah Davies, NetGalley

A wonderful read … The author writes so well, it’s a really hard novel to put down!’ Grace Smith, NetGalley.

Make sure to read this book where you won’t be disturbed because once it gets going, you won’t want to put it down’ Andrea Ruiz, NetGalley

A very poignant, feel-good-factor novel’ Shelia Easson, NetGalley

Excellent story!’ Stephanie Collins, NetGalley

The story will linger in your mind long after you finish it’ The Avid Reader.

***

Exclusive Excerpt

Gin – the opium of the masses. With a smile, Jack’s attention was caught by a small hand tapping a coin on the counter. Standing on the sturdy wooden box that ran the full length of the bar, Jack leaned forward.

Hello Ginny – usual is it?’ he asked with a grin.

Yes please, Jack,’ the little girl said, passing over her money and a jug.

Filling the jug, he handed it to his small customer. ‘You want me to see you home?’ he asked amid the noise of the bar.

No, s’all right, I can manage,’ Ginny answered.

Jack nodded and watched her thread her way through the crowd being careful with her important cargo. He knew if she dropped it she would be given the hiding of her life.

Stop lollygagging and get serving!’ Nellie’s voice soared over the hubbub of the bar.

Jack took a deep breath and closed his eyes tight for a few seconds, trying to hold on to his temper. As he went back to his work, he recalled the last time he had stood up to his mother. They had argued about Jack needing new boots. Nellie was loath to part with her money, even when Jack had showed her the soles he had fashioned from waste cardboard and tied on with string to cover the holes. With the profit she was making, Jack could not understand why he couldn’t have a couple of pennies to buy second-hand footwear from the market. He had protested loudly at her refusal to provide the necessary funds which had subsequently earned him a sound beating. To add insult to injury, Nellie had battered him with the very boots they had disagreed about. With a few bruises and no money for arnica to ease them, Jack had fumed in silence for days. The question he kept returning to was – did his mother love him? Because, if he was honest, much of the time he felt unloved and only wanted for the work he could undertake.

Just then his attention was drawn to two burly men in the corner, their raised voices heralding an imminent fight. Jack glanced at Nellie who jerked her head towards the crapulous men and he sighed. Climbing over the counter he jumped down and pushed through the throng of unwashed bodies, all the while thinking, ‘I shouldn’t be doing this – I’m only a kid!’

Walking over to the men, he shoved himself between them. Looking up at the first one and then looking to the other Jack yelled, ‘Nellie sez to take it outside or shut the hell up!’

Simultaneously, the men glanced over at the large woman behind the bar and were immediately cowed by her frown. Jack nodded and returned to his post behind the bar wincing at Nellie’s look which he was certain could sour milk. He heaved a sigh of relief when he saw those same men laughing and clapping each other on the back. He hated being sent to break up fights or disagreements; he could be hurt badly if one of those big blokes turned on him. So far he’d been fortunate, but how long would his luck hold out? One of these days he’d find himself thrown out onto the streets with his brains mushed from a pounding.

When a toothless old woman called Aggie picked up her skirts and began to sing and dance, Jack knew it was going to be a long night.

***

About the Author


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.

Twitter / Facebook / Boldwood Profile

***

Blog Tour Schedule

#Blogtour | A Riviera Retreat by Jennifer Bohnet #ARivieraRetreat #Excerpt #BoldwoodBlogger @jenniewriter @BoldWoodBooks

Posted on Updated on

Hello Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; A Riviera Retreat by Jennifer Bohnet. Not only will I be telling you all about this wonderful book, but I also have an exclusive excerpt which I know you will love. So settle in, grab a cuppa and enjoy.

A Riviera Retreat by Jennifer Bohnet

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Format: Paperback/Ebook/Audiobook

Genre: Women’s fiction

*From the bestselling author of Villa of Sun and Secrets*

Take time out to find what makes you happy…

When Retreat owner Amy offers three lucky competition winners a holiday on the Cote d’Azur, she has no idea that this act of kindness will have life changing repercussions on her own life and those who join her…

Young entrepreneur Chelsea, is still grieving the tragic loss of her mother and has just been subjected to a very public relationship breakup. She needs to get away and lick her wounds.

MP’s wife Victoria is at a crossroads in her life now that the children have left home. Much to her husbands shock, she realises she has ambitions of her own and is desperate to reconnect/find her own identity. She needs some ‘me time’.

Recently widowed Matilda, is assessing life without her beloved husband. Their dream had always been to retire to France. Can she find the courage to follow their dream on her own?

Over the course of the ten days they spend together, the four women, despite their differences, support and bond, making memories and forming friendships that will last for years.

A heart-warming, uplifting novel, perfect for fans of Jill Mansell and Fern Britton.

Amazon 

***

Exclusive Excerpt

PROLOGUE

A restless Amy Martin wandered alone through Belle Vue Villa one Sunday afternoon in late March, lost deep in her memories and regrets. Today, the fifth anniversary of the opening of ‘Bell Vue Retreat’, was bittersweet in so many ways. She opened the kitchen door and stood on the terrace looking out over the garden towards the Mediterranean Sea glinting in the afternoon sunshine in the distance. Situated high up in the hills behind Cannes, Belle Vue Villa, one of the smaller belle époque villas along the coast, had enviable views overlooking the sea and over to the Esterel Mountains.

Standing there, Amy sniffed the air and looked around her appreciatively. The perfume from the several mimosa trees in the garden wafted past her, courtesy of the gentle onshore breeze. Amy thought, not for the first time, how life could surprise you with its endless unexpected twists and turns. Some bad. Some good.

The death of Aunt Tasha, her mother Fleur’s older sister, had been so sad, but leaving her Belle Vue had been a wonderful surprise – and something of a lifesaver. The two siblings had remained close throughout their lives, but whilst Fleur had stayed near to home when she married, Tasha had followed the love of her life to France and embraced everything that country had to offer. Amy remembered countless family summers spent in Belle Vue Villa, listening to the two sisters reminiscing about their eccentric childhood in the wilds of Somerset.

Fleur had been devastated by her sister’s early death, telling Amy she’d always known that the villa was to be left to her because a childless Tasha had adored her. ‘It’s just that none of us expected it to happen so soon,’ she’d cried.

Walking alone into the hauntingly silent villa the day the notaire had handed her the keys, knowing it was now hers, Amy had failed to stop the tears flowing. Tears of sorrow but also of guilt. She’d seen so little of Tasha in the last few years. They’d talked regularly and Fleur had kept her up to date with Tasha’s news and later her illness, but Amy had rarely visited. Pressure of work had been her prime excuse, although sadly not the full truth. The guilt that had flooded her body after that last hospital visit to see Tasha had been painful. The fact that Belle Vue had enabled her to escape her old life and create a new one for herself gave her an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. Knowing it was the direct result of Aunt Tasha dying though was the hardest thing to bear and accept. A true bittersweet inheritance.

Tasha had run Belle Vue Villa as a successful auberge after Francois, her husband, had died and Amy knew that the villa would have to continue to earn its keep for her in the future. Rather than having holidaymakers turn up willy-nilly looking for a bed, Amy decided to focus on offering short retreats for writers and painters throughout the year. That way she’d always know how busy she’d be – with the added bonus of not having to worry about unexpected or unwanted strangers knocking on the door at all times of the day or night.

Lots of Tasha’s guests had left comments in the visitor’s book over the years, saying how special the house felt; how serene the atmosphere around the place was; several had said the villa was definitely a little French paradise. Amy had vowed to herself that she would do her utmost to keep the lovely ambiance that Tasha had masterfully created in and around the villa, while she endeavoured to put her own stamp on the place.

Five years on, Amy knew she could feel proud of what she’d achieved at Belle Vue. The auberge was now a popular venue as a retreat for artists and writers and it was her guests who left compliments in the visitor’s book and were returning time and time again. One particular writer had returned four times last year, saying she wrote more in a week when staying there than she wrote in a month at home. Amy knew Tasha would be proud and thrilled for her at the way the retreat had found its place in a niche market and taken off so well.

Turning back into the kitchen, Amy picked up the photo of her aunt that stood on the dresser and gently touched it. She owed Tasha so much. Thoughtfully, she replaced the photo. But how to show that gratitude? Tasha had always drummed into her the notion ‘it’s easy to take, but you must always, always give back too’. Amy knew that if Tasha had still been alive, she’d have wholeheartedly endorsed the current ‘do a random act of kindness for a stranger’ memes that seemed to appear every day on social media.

Amy smiled, remembering how Tasha had thoroughly embraced social media, joining groups, signing up for causes and having hundreds of friends on Facebook. Amy also knew her grateful act of ‘paying it back’ was long overdue, but despite thinking about it for weeks, months, not a single idea had surfaced. Nothing she thought of seemed grateful enough.

She glanced at the kitchen clock. A little early, but she’d open the bottle of wine she’d bought especially for today and leave it to breathe for a while. Opening a bottle of wine and silently toasting Tasha while watching the DVD of the film Enchanted April was a ritual that always finished off this particular day for Amy. Tasha had introduced her to the film and together they had watched it countless times.

As the credits rolled at the end of the film, Amy switched off the DVD, poured the last of the wine into her glass and opened her laptop, her head spinning not only from the wine she’d drunk but also with the perfect idea of how to give something back. To finally thank the universe for her good fortune.

Like the film she’d just watched, where an advertisement drew four women together, all strangers to each other, for a holiday in an Italian castle in the 1920s, her random act of kindness would begin with an advertisement too. Not in a newspaper but on twenty-first century social media.

Are you a woman who longs to spend time in retreat? Or simply in need of a holiday?

Answer the following question: Who wrote the book Enchanted April, and in less than one hundred words say which character you identify with most and why you need to win a holiday (June 6–16) at a retreat in the countryside behind the French Riviera. Travel expenses not included but low-cost flights are available to Nice. Transport to and from the airport will be arranged. Please note the date of the holiday on offer is NOT changeable or transferable.

Competition closes midnight the 31st of this month. Three lucky winners will be notified by email within one week of the competition closing.

***

About the Author

Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of over 12 women’s fiction titles, including Villa of Sun and Secrets and The Little Kiosk By The Sea. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.

To hear all about Jennifer’s new and books sign up to her newsletter HERE

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / Boldwood Author Profile 

***

Blog Tour Schedule

#Blogtour | My Great Ex-Scape by Portia MacIntosh #Excerpt #BoldwoodBlogger @portiamacintosh @BoldWoodBooks

Posted on Updated on

Hello Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; My Great Ex-Scape by Portia MacIntosh. Not only will I be telling you all about this wonderful book, but I also have an exclusive excerpt which I know you will love. So settle in, grab a cuppa and enjoy.

My Great Ex-Scape by Portia MacIntosh

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Format: Paperback/Ebook/Audiobook

Genre: Women’s fiction

What if your future was somewhere in your past?

Rosie Jones has been dumped by every boyfriend she’s ever had – most recently by Dinosaur Dave, live on TV, during the ‘phone-a-friend’ segment of a quiz show. After the footage goes viral Rosie receives a bunch of flowers with a message:

I love you, I should have never let you go, I want you back x

But who sent them?

At a loose end and with £50,000 prize money in her back pocket, Rosie decides to take a trip down memory lane, visiting each of her ex-boyfriends to see not just if they are the one who sent the flowers but if they are the one.

Her journey takes her back to the house she grew up in and on a transatlantic cruise to New York, but can Rosie figure out which ex-boyfriend is the love of her life, or should the past stay in the past?

A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from bestseller, Portia MacIntosh. Perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Sophie Ranald and Zara Stoneley.

Amazon 

***

What readers are saying about My Great Ex-Scape

‘A hilarious, roaringly fun, feel good, sexy read. I LOVED it!’ Holly Martin

‘A feel good, funny and well written book. I read it in 2 days and enjoyed every second!’ A.L. Michael

‘From beginning to a delightfully surprising end, I loved it!!!’

‘This book is a definite must-read! Brilliant 5+ stars.’

‘Well Portia has done it again. Another absolutely wonderful read which has gripped me from the very beginning.’

‘I am a huge fan of Portia, every new book makes me have a new favourite. She is an extremely talented author who has the ability to create such magical and fantastic reads.’

It is definitely a must read and as always I wish I could give Portia more than five stars for this gorgeous read.’

‘Five stars really does not do this wonderful read justice.’

‘The perfect holiday read’

***

Exclusive Excerpt

I said, how would you like £50,000?’ Mike King, the host, asks again.

I’d love £50,000,’ I admit, my voice wobbling almost as much as I am on this tall chair.

If I’d known I was going to be chosen to take part today, I probably would have turned the opportunity down, even with the knowledge that I could win some serious money. I don’t think I would’ve thought I had it in me to get this far…

I’m somehow too hot and too cold. I want to say the studio lights are hot, but there’s cool air con to offset the warmth. I am sitting opposite the host in the centre of a brightly lit circle, in an otherwise dimly lit room. I can’t see the audience – I can’t even see the camera, not really. I only know they’re there now because of the little red LED lights I keep spotting. Even without them, I don’t think I’d be able to forget I was on TV. On live TV, no less.

This is your final question,’ Mike explains. ‘Who said blondes were dumb, huh?’

I smile politely. I have had to contend with the dumb blonde thing my entire life. First, when I was younger, when I had naturally blonde hair, and then more recently from all the highlights, because for some reason my hair gets darker as I get older.

Your only remaining lifeline is to make a call from your speed dial numbers,’ Mike reminds me.

When we started, I was allowed to select three numbers from my phone in the event of choosing the ‘make a call’ option. Without many friends or people who I even believed would answer, I chose my dad, Tim, Sam, and David. I don’t suppose any of them would know all that much about anything based in pop culture, but I think I have that covered myself. Anything on the life and works of Alan Titchmarsh, unscrupulous news practices, or bones, and one of them might be some use to me. I doubt my boss would appreciate me calling her on her husband’s birthday, so here’s hoping for the Chelsea Flower Show or cavemen. At least if it’s the latter, David’s lecture will be over and he’ll be able to take the call. My dad probably won’t even hear his phone ring.

Ready for it?’ Mike asks.

I nod unconvincingly.

OK, here we go… Which dinosaur had fifteen horns?’

An impossibly big grin stretches all the way across my face. This has to be a joke. I might be optimistic, but I am under no illusions – I am not a lucky person. I don’t get picked for TV shows, I don’t have many people to call for help, and I definitely don’t get questions that are going to be easy… and yet here we are.

You know this one?’ the host asks in disbelief.

I know I might be blonde, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know anything about dinosaurs. I mean, I don’t know anything about dinosaurs, but what gives him the right, huh?

I know a man who does,’ I say as my grin inches even wider. ‘I’d like to call my boyfriend please.’

Your boyfriend knows a lot about dinosaurs?’

I nod, only semi-smugly.

I’m sorry to hear that,’ the host jokes. ‘What’s your boyfriend’s name? What does he do?’

His name is David and he’s a lecturer.’

What does he teach, dinosaurs?’

Palaeobiology,’ I reply.

Is that dinosaurs?’

Yes.’

The audience laugh wildly. Mike is a sort of cheeky-chappy host. A thirty-something former musician who has somehow made it as a TV presenter. I suppose it’s his charm – the audience clearly love him.

OK, let’s get Dinosaur Dave on the phone,’ Mike says.

I wince as he says ‘Dave’ – David hates being called Dave.

So all you have to do is, when Dinosaur Dave answers, just tell him you have one big question to ask him. If he gets it right, you’ll be £50k richer!’

Sounds good,’ I say.

***

About the Author

Portia MacIntosh is a bestselling romantic comedy author of 12 novels, including It’s Not You, It’s Them and The Accidental Honeymoon. Previously a music journalist, Portia writes hilarious stories, drawing on her real-life experiences. T

o keep up to date with Portia’s news and books, why not sign up to her newsletter – HERE

Website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / Boldwood Author Profile 

***

Blog Tour Schedule

#Blogtour | Five French Hens by Judy Leigh #FiveFrenchHens #Excerpt #BoldwoodBlogger @judyleighwriter @BoldWoodBooks

Posted on Updated on

Hello Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; Five French Hens by Judy leigh. Not only will I be telling you all about this wonderful book, but I also have an exclusive excerpt which I know you will love. So settle in, grab a cuppa and enjoy.

Five French Hens by Judy Leigh

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Format: Paperback/Ebook/Audiobook

Genre: Women’s fiction

The best days of your life might be still to come…

When 73 year old Jen announces that she is going to marry Eddie, a man she met just a few months previously on a beach on Boxing Day, her four best friends from aqua aerobics are flabbergasted.

The wedding is booked and, when the groom decides to have a stag trip to Las Vegas, the ladies arrange a hen party to beat all others -a week in the city of love, Paris.

From misadventures at the Louvre, outrageous Parisian cabarets, to drinking champagne with a dashing millionaire at the casino, Paris lives up to all their hopes and dreams. But a week can change everything, and the women that come home have very different dreams from the ones who got on the plane just days ago.

Funny, fearless and with a joie de vivre that reminds you to live every day like it’s your last. Judy Leigh has once again written the perfect feel-good novel for all fans of Cathy Hopkins, Dawn French and Fiona Gibson.

***

What readers are saying about 

Brilliantly funny, emotional and uplifting’ Miranda Dickinson

Lovely . . . a book that assures that life is far from over at seventy’ Cathy Hopkins bestselling author of The Kicking the Bucket List

Brimming with warmth, humour and a love of life… a wonderful escapade’ Fiona Gibson, bestselling author of The Woman Who Upped and Left

Amazon 

***

Exclusive Excerpt

Chapter One

Jen held the umbrella over her head and listened to the rain drumming on the canvas. It would be cosy inside the pub. The wind blew hard through the material of her jacket. She’d thought she’d be warm enough, but there was ice in the February gusts that sifted around the corner and lifted her hair, rearranging it across her face. She’d spent the afternoon in the hairdresser’s and had been pleased with the glossy style, silver strands streaked through the chestnut locks. In the grey suit and neat heels, she’d thought she’d look smart, but the cold weather and the sharp breeze had taken the edge off her preparations and she was sure her nose would glow red beneath the light dusting of powder. But Eddie wouldn’t mind – the first thing he always said was how nice it was to see her and how lovely she looked.

There were posters in the windows of the Olive Grove, huge red hearts and cute Cupids with arrows, proclaiming the evening’s special Valentine dinner. Jen could hear the hushing of the waves breaking against the sea walls in the distance and, from down the road, the crisp sound of approaching footfall. It was Eddie, in his pale mackintosh, the collar up, looking debonair, just like Inspector Morse. It was seven thirty, sharp.

* * *

Half seven, thought Rose. The torture must end soon. Little Amelia’s nimble fingers pressed the pristine ivory keys on the piano: the discordant jangle made a pulse in Rose’s head throb.

Try again from the beginning, dear,’ she murmured, watching the second hand twitch on the wall clock. It would soon be over and Amelia would leave her in peace. Rose sighed and spoke through clenched teeth. ‘Shall we call it a night, dear? I think Mummy’s here – someone just rang the doorbell, I’m sure.’

Amelia slammed the piano lid down without turning round and stood up, still in her school uniform, tidy in the crisp white blouse and tartan skirt, her blonde plaits neatly secured with bows. Rose held up the child’s coat and led her to the door where a tall, slim woman with dark hair in a no-nonsense cut and a smart coat was standing in the porch, the rain teeming behind her. Amelia went straight to her and took her hand, a dutiful six year old. But Rose was sure that the child wrinkled her nose and stuck out the edge of a pink tongue at her. Amelia’s mother smiled, although her eyes remained cold.

How was Amelia’s lesson, Mrs Grant? She’s been practising all week. Is it time for her to be put forward for a grading?’ She held out two notes, a ten and a five.

Rose noticed Amelia scowling. She was unsure what to say, her hand fluttering in front of her face. ‘She’s making progress, Mrs Bassett. Soon, I hope.’

Amelia’s mother frowned. ‘My friend, Sally, tells me that Joni Yates puts all her pupils in for grading early. They all seem to pass with distinctions too.’

Rose sighed. She wished she could tell the woman to take her child to Joni Yates, then, and see how she coped with Amelia, who clearly didn’t practise anything from one week to another. But her pupils were becoming scarcer: she had no idea why she didn’t just retire. After all, it wasn’t as if she needed the money. Bernard had left her comfortably off and piano teaching was a routine that left her feeling unfulfilled, flat, without energy. ‘Keep practising Für Elise, Amelia, and maybe we’ll discuss grade entry next week.’

Amelia gazed up at her mother, her tiny brows meeting in a knot. ‘Furry Liza is boring, Mummy. Can I learn the violin instead? Elsa in my class goes to violin. She says the teacher is really cool.’

Amelia’s mother met Rose’s eyes, as if her daughter had just made up her mind for her, and turned on her heel, tugging the child towards the pouring rain and a dark car parked by the kerb. Rose closed the door, locked it securely with the bolt and chain and muttered, ‘Minx.’ As an afterthought, she mumbled, ‘What a blessing that Beethoven was deaf. If he’d heard Amelia slaughtering his Für Elise for the last forty-five minutes, it would raise him from the grave.’

She stood in the hallway, thinking. Half past seven. She hadn’t eaten since lunch, and then just a slice of toast. She wasn’t really hungry, but she ought to look after herself better. Her skirt was hanging off her, the waist baggy, and her legs felt weak. She would find something in the freezer, something with calories. There was a box of macaroni cheese for one. She could heat it up in the microwave. Rose sighed again. She didn’t like February. Spring was too far away and the house was too cold. Besides, Bernard had died in February two years ago and each year she felt the cold, haunting loneliness grasp her by the shoulders and whisper in her ear that she was by herself and companionless and that was how it would always be now.

Of course, she had her new friends, the four women she’d met at aqua aerobics last October when the club first started. They were nice women, but they only met for coffee once a week and then she came home alone and it was back to the silence again. She shuffled into the lounge and picked up a yellow duster, rubbing it over the piano. It had been hers and Bernard’s. He had been a wonderful musician, a church organist too. She replaced their wedding photo lovingly on top, over the circle left by a wine glass years ago. Not hers, of course – it might have been made by their son, Paul, one Christmas when he’d visited with the children. His visits were a rare thing nowadays – he was a busy man, of course, he had an important job.

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About the Author

Judy Leigh is the bestselling author of A Grand Old Time and The Age of Misadventure and the doyenne of the ‘it’s never too late’ genre of women’s fiction. She has lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Cornwall, but currently resides in Somerset.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / Boldwood Author Page

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Blog Tour Schedule

#BlogTour | The Weekender by Fay Keenan @BoldwoodBooks @faykeenan #TheWeekender #Review #BoldWoodBlogger

Posted on Updated on

Hello, sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on the wonderful blog tour for; The Weekender by Fay Keenan, I am so looking forward to sharing my review of this book with you all, so settle in grab a cuppa and enjoy.

 

The Weekender by Fay Keenan

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Genre: Contemporary/Women’s Fiction

Format : Print/ebook/Audiobook

When Charlie Thorpe met Holly Renton, they were not a match made in heaven…

Holly lives and works in the beautiful town of Willowbury in Somerset. An incorrigible optimist, she is determined to change the world for the better.

Charlie Thorpe on the other hand, is the ultimate pragmatist. As Willowbury’s new member of parliament, he has to be. While he’s determined to prove himself to the town, as far as Holly’s concerned, he’s just another politician on the make.

But when their paths cross again, it’s clear they’ve got more in common than they think. Can Holly and Charlie overcome their differences and work together, or are they destined to be forever on opposite sides? And why does Holly have a funny feeling she has met Charlie before…

Let Fay Keenan whisk you away to a world of glorious country views, unforgettable characters and once-in-a-lifetime love. Perfect for all fans of Fern Britton, Veronica Henry and Erica James.

Amazon / Boldwood Books

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This is the first I have read by Fay Keenan and I will certainly be seeking out more of her work in the future, I liked her passionate and intelligent writing style, that combines real heart and a pleasurable and very enjoyable story.

Holly and Charlie, if ever there were a couple that shouldn’t be together then these two are it, honestly I was wondering how they were going get together as they are the complete opposite, yet those tantalising little burst of romance are well worth the wait and it does make for great reading as they manoeuvre there way to happily ever after.

This is far more than just a little village romance between two completely different fractions, it has a real hard edge to it which basically surrounds the subplot, the cause that Holly is fighting for and I really liked that element to it, I really won’t go into what that is, in this review, as I think it would be a major spoiler, but this book does raise awareness for this hugely important subject, but that is all your going to get from me, you need to read the book to know what I am hinting at.

I did think that it was a little too slow-paced for my liking, the beginning in particular did drag on for a bit too long as we got to know the character’s, as I said this is my personal view which is a real shame as I did enjoy the blossoming romance and the head-butting between Holly and Charlie, their heated conversations between the two of them are highly entertaining and shows just how passionate each of them are.

Overall this is a lovely and heartwarming story, that has a serious side hidden within the romance.

This was a complimentary copy via the publisher, which I voluntarily reviewed as apart of this blog tour.

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About the Author

Fay’s Bio – Fay Keenan is the author of the bestselling Little Somerby series of novels. She has led writing workshops with Bristol University and has been a visiting speaker in schools. She is a full-time teacher and lives in Somerset. Fay’s new series for Boldwood will begin with The Weekender in November 2019.

Website / Twitter / facebook / Instagram 

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Blog Tour Schedule

#BlogTour | The Snow Killer by Ross Greenwood #TheSnowKiller #Excerpt #BoldwoodBlogger @greenwoodross @BoldwoodBooks

Posted on Updated on

Hello, sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on the fabulous blog tour of The Snow Killer by Ross Greenwood, I am sharing an exclusive excerpt which I know will make you want to rush out and grab a copy of this book, which sounds amazing. As always, grab a cuppa and enjoy. 

The Snow Killer by Ross Greenwood

Genre: Crime and mystery

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Format: Print, ebook, audio

Fear the north wind. Because no one will hear you scream…’

A family is gunned down in the snow but one of the children survives. Three years on, that child takes revenge and the Snow Killer is born. But then, nothing – no further crimes are committed, and the case goes cold.

Fifty years later, has the urge to kill been reawakened? As murder follows murder, the detective team tasked with solving the crimes struggle with the lack of leads. It’s a race against time and the weather – each time it snows another person dies.

As an exhausted and grizzled DI Barton and his team scrabble to put the pieces of the puzzle together, the killer is hiding in plain sight. Meanwhile, the murders continue…

The first in a new series, Ross Greenwood has written a cracking, crackling crime story with a twist in its tale which will surprise even the most hardened thriller readers. Perfect for fans of Mark Billingham and Stuart MacBride.

Amazon / Goodreads

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Praise for The Snow Killer

Move over Rebus and Morseexplosive plot kept me turning the pages until the final dramatic twist.’ author Richard Burke

With The Snow Killer, master of the psychological thriller genre Ross Greenwood once again proves his talent for creating engrossing and gritty novels that draw you right in and won’t let go until you’ve reached the shocking ending.’ Caroline Vincent at Bitsaboutbooks blog

Ross Greenwood doesn’t write clichés. What he has written here is a fast-paced, action-filled puzzle with believable characters that’s spiced with a lot of humour.’ author Kath Middleton

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Exclusive Excerpt

WINTER

50 YEARS AGO

Chapter 1

I must have been ten years old when I first tidied up his drug paraphernalia. I didn’t want my sister crawling over it. We called her Special – a take on Michelle – because she was an enigma. Special was a term of endearment for us, funny how nowadays it could be considered an insult. She never spoke a single word and seemed more of a peaceful spirit than a physical entity. Give her a crayon or pencil and a piece of paper, though, and her smile filled the room.

I monitored my father’s habit through his mood swings or by how much time he spent in bed. The foil and needles increased rapidly just before we escaped London a few years back. I cried because both my parents left evidence of their addiction.

In many ways, my mother was as simple as Special. Swayed by my dominant father, she did everything he said, even though she had more common sense. Joining him in his heroin habit was inevitable.

Until the night we left, we took holidays and ate out in restaurants. I didn’t know where the money came from because I had no idea what my father did.

The evening we fled London, we packed our suitcases at ten at night and caught the last train to Peterborough, arriving at two in the morning. I recall beaming at my parents, especially when we checked into a huge hotel on the first night. My mum’s brother, Ronnie, lived nearby. When we eventually found him, he helped us move into a cottage in rural Lincolnshire, which was cheap for obvious reasons. The single storey building had five rooms and no internal doors. You could hear everything from any room – even the toilet.

Six months after we settled in our new home, I lay in the damp bed with my sister’s warm breath on my neck and heard my father casually say he’d shot the wrong man. The fact my mother wasn’t surprised shocked me more.

Life carried on. My parents continued to avoid reality. We ate a lot of sandwiches. Lincolnshire is only two hours north of London but it felt like the edge of the world after the hustle and bustle of the capital city. I walked the three miles to school. Special stayed at home where she painted and coloured. My mum sold Special’s pictures. She drew people and animals in a childish way, but they captivated people as the eyes in the pictures haunted the viewer.

One freezing night, my sister and I cuddled in bed and listened to another argument raging in the lounge. We had our own beds but only ever slept apart in the hot summer months. At six years old, she didn’t take up much room.

You did what?’ my mother shouted.

I saw an opportunity,’ my father replied.

What were you thinking?’

We’re broke. We needed the money.’

What you’ve done is put our family in danger. They’ll find us.’

They won’t think I took it.’

I might have been only fifteen years old, but I had eyes and ears. My parents constantly talked about money and drugs. By then, that was all they were interested in. That said, I don’t recall being unhappy, despite their problems. Normal life just wasn’t for them.

My mother’s voice became a loud, worried whisper. ‘What if they come for the money? The children are here.’

They won’t hurt them,’ my father said.

A hand slammed on the kitchen table. ‘We need to leave.’

It’s three in the morning and snowing. No one will look now. Besides, where would we go?’

We’re rich! We can stay where we like.’

Crazily, they laughed. I suppose that’s why they loved each other. They were both the same kind of mad.

That was the sixties and a different time. Not everyone spent their lives within earshot of a busy road. In fact, few people owned their own car. If you’ve ever lived deep in the countryside, you’ll know how quiet the long nights are. So it makes sense that I could hear the approaching vehicle for miles before it arrived. The put-put-put we gradually heard in unison that night sounded too regular for it to be my uncle’s ancient van. And anyway, good news doesn’t arrive in the middle of the night.

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About the Author

Ross’s Bio – Ross Greenwood is the author of six crime thrillers. Before becoming a full-time writer he was most recently a prison officer and so worked everyday with murderers, rapists and thieves for four years. He lives in Peterborough and his first title for Boldwood – the beginning of a series – is The Snow Killer to be published in November 2019.

Twitter / Facebook / Amazon / Goodreads / Boldwood Publisher Page

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Blog Tour Schedule