Unboxing the ‘Read More’ Book Club Subscription Box from @goldenharebooks

Golden Hare Books

Golden Hare Books is one of a handful of independent book shops in Edinburgh. It is in St Stephen Street, in the Stockbridge area, and is a treasure trove of books of all kinds. Recently they have introduced their first subscription box and asked for bloggers to help them share the news. Being a local blogger, I quickly put myself forward and was delighted to be chosen.

There are a few options for the Read More subscription. You can have a one book option or a two book option and you can choose fiction, non-fiction or a mix of the two. You can order as a one off – ideal for a gift – or you can sign up for a longer period of time. I chose the fiction option and my box arrived through the letterbox last week. Here’s what was inside:

 

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You can’t really tell from this photo but the box is a beautiful shimmery blue.

 

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The box was filled with shredded gold tissue paper and a leaflet with information about the books inside. I didn’t look till I’d unwrapped them!

 

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The books inside were beautifully wrapped and there was a lovely little wooden Golden Hare badge which you can maybe just see in the bottom left corner.

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And here are the two books which were inside. I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of either of them but that is one of the joys of a subscription box. You never know what you will receive and you can be introduced to books you might not have come across otherwise. They are both books I may not have picked up but both look very intriguing. Of course, I haven’t had a chance to read and review them yet but I will do in due course.

If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura

A beautifully moving tale of loss and reaching out to the ones we love, of one man’s journey to discover what really matters in modern life.

Our narrator’s days are numbered. Estranged from his family, living alone with only his cat Cabbage for company, he was unprepared for the doctor’s diagnosis that he has only months to live. But before he can set about tackling his bucket list, the Devil appears with a special offer: in exchange for making one thing in the world disappear, he can have one extra day of life. And so begins a very bizarre week . . .

Because how do you decide what makes life worth living? How do you separate out what you can do without from what you hold dear? In dealing with the Devil our narrator will take himself – and his beloved cat – to the brink. Genki Kawamura’s If Cats Disappeared from the World is a story of loss and reconciliation, of one man’s journey to discover what really matters in modern life.

This beautiful tale is translated from the Japanese by Eric Selland, who also translated The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide. Fans of The Guest Cat and The Travelling Cat Chronicles will also surely love If Cats Disappeared from the World.

Pages for You by Sylvia Brownrigg

When Flannery Jansen arrives at university, she is totally unprepared for an encounter that will rock her existence. But when she comes across Anne Arden in a local diner, Flannery falls dramatically and desperately in love. Flannery is quickly embarrassed in the face of the older woman’s poise and sophistication, and under the gaze of those impossible green eyes, but slowly their paths intertwine, and soon Flannery becomes Anne’s eager student in life and love.

Pages for You is the story of the beginning, blossoming and falling apart of that delirious love affair.

If you like the sound of this subscription service, you can find out more and sign up on the Golden Hare website – Golden Hare Books – Subscriptions I’d like to express huge thanks to the staff at Golden Hare for sending me one of the boxes. I’ll definitely be looking to use this for presents for friends or just as a treat for myself.

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#Guestpost from Settlement #author Anne Stormont @writeanne #lovebooksgrouptours

Settlement Cover MEDIUM WEB (3)

I’m really pleased to be joined by Anne Stormont today as part of the blogtour for her latest novel, Settlement. The book is a sequel to Displacement but can be read as a standalone. For a variety of reasons, I haven’t finished the book though am currently reading it. The book opens with arresting opening scenes where ex-policeman Jack is in a perilous situation, it is unclear whether he will survive or not and his last thoughts are for Rachel. The story moves back four months where we meet Rachel on the morning of her daughter’s wedding.

I haven’t read the first book, Displacement, but enough is explained in the first few chapters to give the gist of the main things which happened and explain why the characters are where they are emotionally.

Although I’ve only managed to read about a quarter of the book so far, I am very much enjoying the exploration of the complex relationship between Jack and Rachel. Anne Stormont is very perceptive in her understanding of the challenges faced in relationships where people bring their past experiences, thoughts and expectations. And it’s great to read about a relationship between slighter older characters than are often encountered in fiction, something Anne Stormont discusses in her guest post below. I love the Skye setting which is where the story is mostly set so far though there will be another very interesting setting in the book as Rachel is planning a trip to Jerusalem to work on what sounds like a fascinating peacemaking project. 

Read on for the guest post where Anne is sharing her thoughts on writing romantic fiction and is keen to point out that romance is not only for the young but also for the young at heart!

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Romantic Fiction: It’s Not Only About, For and By the Young

First of all I’d like to thank Joanne for having me as a guest on her brilliant book blog as part of the blog tour for my new book Settlement. You can find out more about the book in the second half of this post. But first I’d like to share my thoughts on contemporary romantic fiction in general…

When I first sought publication for my debut novel – Change of Life – in 2009, I got lots of nice, but encouraging, rejections. I was told there was no doubt I could write, I could tell a good story, the characters were well drawn.

BUT the fact that my two main characters were in their forties, and married to each other for twenty years meant it wouldn’t work as romantic fiction.

Romantic fiction was apparently about characters in their twenties and at a pinch in their early thirties.

And, I was told, this was the main age-group of its readers too and it was therefore perhaps best written by younger authors.

I was also advised that the genre required the story to be about a couple in a new relationship leading to a happy-ever-after ending. And, it seemed, there was no place for difficult issues such as serious illness or bereavement in romantic fiction.

I was advised to rewrite my novel in order to address these rules. I chose not to.

Yes, I knew about the success of chick-lit written about, for and by younger people than me. I’d read and enjoyed some of it (despite not liking the term ‘chick’).

At the time, I was in my fifties. I didn’t believe that romantic love and sexual relationships were the exclusive preserve of the young. I wanted to read some romantic stories about people nearer my own age, stories where the main characters were dealing with the realities of middle-age, with the effects of troubled pasts and with challenges in the present. And these were the sorts of stories I wanted to write too.

I persevered and in 2010 Change of Life was published. It was well-received. Since then I’ve published two more novels in, what I think of as this second-chance-romance-plus genre. Displacement came out in 2014 and its sequel Settlement was published in September this year.

My readers span the age range from twenties to eighties. And the feedback I get is about how they enjoyed the books – nobody mentions the age of the characters as an issue. And isn’t that as it should be? It should be about the reader having an enjoyable experience and not about the writer following some formula.

I continue to enjoy reading romantic fiction myself. I love young authors such as Milly Johnson, Kathryn Freeman, Miranda Dickinson and Kate Field. I thoroughly enjoy their stories about characters in their twenties and thirties. But I also enjoy books by older authors such as Maggie Christensen, Christine Webber, Hilary Boyd and Jan Ruth where the main characters fall in love in their forties, fifties and beyond.

You’re never too old to experience challenges and stress in your life. But you’re never too old to fall in love and find happiness either. So I embrace books that celebrate that. If you do too, then you might want to read on to find out more about my new one.

Settlement

Can the past ever be put peacefully to rest? Can love truly heal old wounds?

Settlement is the sequel to literary romance novel, Displacement, but it can be read as a stand-alone.

Falling in love is the easy bit. Happy ever after requires work, commitment and honesty.

She wants him to be her friend and lover. He wants her as his wife. Can a compromise be reached? Or are things truly over between them?

When former Edinburgh policeman Jack Baxter met crofter and author Rachel Campbell at her home on the Scottish island of Skye, they fell in love. It was a second chance at happiness for them both.

But after Jack proposes marriage, it becomes clear they want different things.

Then, as Rachel prepares to return to the Middle East to work on a peacemaking project that’s close to her heart, and as Jack’s past catches up with him, it seems their relationship is doomed.

Can Rachel compromise on her need to maintain her hard-won independence?

Can Jack survive the life-threatening situation in which he finds himself?

Will they get the chance to put things right between them?

If you like a complex, contemporary, grown-up romance with lots of raw emotion, dramatic and exotic settings, all mixed in with some international politics and laced with elements of a crime thriller, then this is the book for you.

Settlement is available as a paperback and as an ebook. You can buy it here.

About Anne

Anne Stormont writes contemporary, women’s fiction that is probably best described as literary romance. Her writing is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. Her stories are for readers who enjoy a good romantic story, but who also like romance that is laced with realism and real world issues – and where the main characters may be older but not necessarily wiser.

Anne was born and grew up in Scotland where she still lives. She has travelled extensively having visited every continent except Antarctica – where she really must go considering her fondness for penguins. She has friends and family all over the world including in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and the Middle East.

Anne was a primary school teacher for over thirty years before taking early retirement in order to concentrate on her writing.

She describes herself as a subversive old bat – but she also tries to maintain a kind heart. She hopes that both aspects come through in her writing.

Anne loves to hear from and keep in touch with her readers.

She can be found on Facebook and Twitter and you can also find out more about her, her writing, and her latest book news on her blog and on her website.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/annestormontauthor

Twitter: @writeanne
Blog: https://putitinwriting.me
Website: https://anne-stormont.com

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Christmas at Liberty’s by Fiona Ford #TenThings @fionajourno @arrowpublishing

Fiona Ford

In my second author feature of the day, I’m very pleased to welcome Fiona Ford who is sharing #TenThings she’d like her readers to know about her. Her latest novel, Christmas at Liberty’s takes us back to that famous London department store during the Second World War. Over to Fiona to tell us more.

Christmas at Liberty's (Liberty Girls 1) by [Ford, Fiona]

Ten things I would like my readers to know

  1. I am very proud of the fact that I was born in Cornwall and come from a long line of Cornish ancestors. Sadly a lack of work in the seventies meant we as a family had to move away and so I grew up in Bath and had to settle for frequent holidays in Cornwall instead. However, even though I now live in Berkshire I always try to sneak in a reference to the West Country in my books where possible – it makes me feel like I’m going home.
  2. I haven’t always been a novelist, I started out as a journalist working for the local papers then I moved up to London to work for the nationals and women’s magazines. I got mugged by a three-year-old in Camden the first day I moved to the city – true fact!
  3. From the moment I moved to London I had a soft spot for Liberty’s the subject of my new book. An old friend of my dad’s used to run a concession in the store and regularly told us all tales of how beautiful the store was and how it was a world like no other.
  4. The idea for the new book came when I saw a plaque on the staircase of Liberty’s while I was browsing one day. It was dedicated to all the staff who had died in the war and I started to wonder what on earth it would have been like to work somewhere so unique and sumptuous while the bombs began to fall.
  5. When I’m not writing I’m quite into health and fitness. I’ve run two half marathons – the last one I ran with what I thought was a pulled muscle. In actual fact it was an umbilical hernia and I needed emergency surgery after the race! These days I’m more into sedate exercise as I quite like staying away from hospital.
  6. There’s no such thing as a typical writing day – I write anywhere and everywhere, and frequently do.
  7. After writing two books about female drivers in the war (The Spark Girl and A Wartime Promise) I thought it was high time I passed my driving test myself this year. And so at the tender age of 41 I finally passed my test with zero faults.
  8. I should also say three months after passing I’m terrified behind the wheel of my wonderful new Toyota Yaris. I’m convinced I don’t know what I’m doing, so if you see me be kind – I still think the examiner made a mistake.
  9. Like many I support the #MeToo movement. But one thing I’d like to call out is female bullying. I was bullied twice during my journalism career, each time by another, more senior female. To this day I have never understood why women do this to other women, when it’s always been clear to me we should be helping each other rise up, rather than trying to keep each other down – its not just sad it needs to stop.
  10. Something I’m most proud of is working my way around America as a freelance journalist. I didn’t just get to know a country, I got to know myself, met some incredible people, uncovered some fantastic stories and paid for my travels all at the same time, it was an amazing experience.

 

My thanks to Rachel Kennedy at Penguin Random House for inviting me to take part in the blogtour. Christmas at Liberty’s is published by Arrow and available now in paperback and as an ebook. It will be available from your usual book retailer or you can order a copy online here: Christmas at Liberty’s

From the back of the book

September, 1941: Mary arrives in war-torn London nursing a broken heart and a painful secret.

When she is offered her dream post as an assistant in the fabric department at Liberty store, she knows this is the fresh start she needs. Amid the store’s vibrant prints and sumptuous interiors, Mary finds a new family who can help her to heal.

But not everyone will give Mary such a warm welcome, and the trauma of her past will soon catch up with her.

As Mary and the Liberty Girls endure the heartache and uncertainty of war, it will take a steady heart to keep the magic of Christmas alive.

Author Bio

Fiona Ford is the author of the Liberty Girls series, which is set in London during the Second World War.Fiona spent many years as a journalist writing for women’s weekly and monthly magazines. She has written two novels under the pseudonym, Fiona Harrison, as well as two sagas in her own name in the Spark Girls series. Fiona lives in Berkshire with her husband and two cats.

Website Link:  facebook.com/fionafordauthor

 

 

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#AuthorInTheSpotlight Rachel Ward @rachelwardbooks @sandstonepress #AntAndBea

Rachel Ward

I’m delighted to be joined by Rachel Ward today. She is the author of the Ant & Bea mysteries. I read the first in the series a few weeks back and really enjoyed it. You can read my review here: The Cost of Living. The second in the series, Dead Stock, was published by Sandstone Press yesterday. It will be available from your usual book retailer or you can order a Kindle copy here: Dead Stock I’m really looking forward to reading it sometime soon. But now over to Rachel who is taking part in my Author in the Spotlight feature.

Welcome Rachel, first of all, would you tell my blog readers a little about yourself?

I’m a fiftysomething writer of crime novels and thrillers for young adults. I live in Bath, Somerset, with my family, dog and one remaining chicken.

What inspired you to start writing?

It was just a sense of curiosity – I wanted to see if I could do it! I used to listen to the afternoon play on Radio 4 when I was driving home from work to pick up my kids from school, and I wondered if I could write one. I did write one, but it was pitifully bad.

Tell me about your journey to publication.

I progressed from my terrible radio play to writing short stories, and then novels. I just wrote quietly on my own at home – no courses or writing groups. I had two full length novels for children rejected, quite rightly, and then it was third time lucky with Numbers, which was a thriller for young adults. I found my publisher, Chicken House, via an editorial surgery at the Frome Festival. I published five YA books with Chicken House, and then turned to crime with the Ant and Bea Mysteries, which felt like starting again. I had to find an agent for the first time and was lucky to meet lovely Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates, who in turn sold the book to Sandstone Press!

In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?

Dead Stock (An Ant & Bea Mystery) by [Ward, Rachel]

Dead Stock is the second in my crime series, set in and around a supermarket in a small market town (actually Keynsham, near Bristol). My ‘detectives’ are Bea, a smart checkout girl, and Ant, a trainee. In Dead Stock, they try to find out the truth behind the disappearance and apparent killing of pet cats, which leads them into very dangerous territory where their own lives are at risk. It’s a crime story, but it’s also warm-hearted, with characters that care about each other, and that, hopefully, the reader comes to care about too.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

Oh, I’ve had so much fun coming up with supermarket/retail puns for my titles! I was thrilled to come across the phrase ‘dead stock’ referring to items which stubbornly refuse to sell, which has all sorts of other connotations on the front of a crime book!

How do you plan to celebrate publication day?

I’m not sure about the actual day, but I will be in Edinburgh during publication week and I’m looking forward to appearing on a crime panel at Blackwells as well as touring local bookshops meeting booksellers.

Do you have a work in progress just now?

I’m happily writing the third book in the series. I’m so excited about this one, as it brings together some threads from the previous two books and, if I can pull it off, it’s got a cracking plot. I’m tweaking the heartstrings of my main characters in this one and I’m finding it very emotional to write.

What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!

Oh, that’s quite tricky. I’m rather a slow reader, because I read at night and usually fall asleep after two or three pages. I read Enigma by Robert Harris and really enjoyed it. I’ve also started working my way through Julia Chapman’s Dales Detective books, which I love. I feel like there’s something amazing I’m forgetting. I should write the titles down as I go along, shouldn’t I? *makes early New Year’s resolution*

Enigma by [Harris, Robert]

What are you reading just now?

I’ve just finished The Health of Strangers by Lesley Kelly, which I very much enjoyed, and now I’ve started The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware.

                                  The Health of Strangers (A Health of Strangers Thriller) by [Kelly, Lesley]  The Woman in Cabin 10 by [Ware, Ruth]

If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?

I would take the little hardback notebook I had when my children were tiny. I used it as a sort of diary, writing down things that they’d done or said. It’s real treasure.

Is there a book you’d like to see made into a film? 

Apart from my own books (I think both Numbers, which has been optioned for film/TV, and The Cost of Living would make great films or TV series), I would love to see The Queen of Bloody Everything by Joanna Nadin made into a film. It would be the sort of film that made you laugh, but left you dabbing your eyes when the lights came up.

The Queen of Bloody Everything by [Nadin, Joanna]

How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?

I’m most active on Twitter (@RachelWardbooks) – I take lots of photos of Bath on my daily dog walks and usually post one a day – but there’s also a Facebook page for the Ant and Bea Mysteries (facebook/AntandBeaMysteries). I love hearing from readers. It’s one of the best bits of this job.

And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?

I would either be the little girl or the grandma in Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book, about a summer spent on an island in the Gulf of Finland. It’s a quiet, rather sad but lovely book, and it’s set in one of the places that I’d most like to visit.

The Summer Book by [Jansson, Tove]

 

Thanks for taking part Rachel. It was lovely to read your answers. That’s such a sweet book to want to take to the desert island. I have read that Lesley Kelly book and it’s fabulous. I heard Joanna Nadin talk about her book at the Edinburgh Book Festival and it sounded really good. And I’m very pleased to hear there will be more adventures for Any & Bea!

Follow Ant & Bea on tour at the following blogs

Ant&Bea Blog Tour

Practising for Christmas by Rachael Richey #review @RachaelRBooks @WildrosePress

Practising for Christmas by [Richey, Rachael ]

Yes, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas on Portobello Book Blog with this being the third Christmas book I’m reviewing this week! There are so many great Christmas books out this year, that I want to give you time to think about what ones you’d maybe enjoy too.

The story begins when Olivia is out for a walk on the beach a couple of days before Christmas and comes across an unconscious man who has slipped on the rocks and banged his head. Who wouldn’t want to find a mysterious, unconscious, handsome stranger on the seashore?! When he comes to, she insists on taking him back to the cottage she is staying in for Christmas and, taking the chance that he probably isn’t a serial killer, he stays over – on the couch I should add! The next day when her friends arrive, thanks to a case of mistaken identity, they think he is her boyfriend and he plays along with the idea. Olivia isn’t complaining too much as Adam is totally gorgeous.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the parts of the story where Adam was pretending to be someone else. As you get to know more about him, he couldn’t be much more different from the person he’s pretending to be. It was quite amusing watching as he and Olivia pretended to be this loved up couple and ‘practising’ perfecting their kissing to fool her friends.  Practise makes perfect as they say and could it be that Olivia and Adam were enjoying their practising just a little too much? Olivia’s best friend Jess was rather perceptive though and Olivia wasn’t sure she’d be able to fool her for long.  I really liked Jess who seemed a lovely loyal friend, though I wasn’t so keen on Sarah. Olivia’s mother when we meet her later in the story was a complete hoot!

Practising for Christmas is like a modern day fairy tale, where Cinderella gets her handsome prince. However, it’s not all as straightforward and predictable as you might think with some very unexpected events, one of which had my heart in my mouth. Practising for Christmas is an enjoyable, funny and feel-good Christmas novella.

My thanks to the author for my copy of the book. Practising for Christmas is published by Wild Rose Press and available now as an e-book. You can order a Kindle copy online here: Practising for Christmas

From the back of the book

A remote coastal cottage; a group of old friends; the Christmas holidays. It’s just the break Olivia needs to help her relax and forget her worries. What could be more perfect? But that was before she found a handsome unconscious stranger on the beach. Add in a case of mistaken identity, a lot of kissing practice, and an inquisitive best friend, and things begin to get more than a little complicated.

The large bump on Adam’s head hurts, but he refuses to go to the hospital—or back home—and eventually accepts Olivia’s offer of hospitality. When her friends arrive the following morning, a chance remark catapults them both into a bizarre and amusing situation that promises to make it a Christmas to remember.

About the author

Rachael Richey

Rachael Richey lives in Cornwall with her husband and children. She writes Women’s Fiction, and Storm Rising is the first book in the NightHawk Series. She has been writing since she was a child, starting with stories about her teddy bears and dolls.

She lived in the Hebrides for nearly fourteen years, having originally gone there to work for the summer season. She met and married her husband David whilst there, and had two children, before moving to Cornwall at the end of 2000.

There are currently four titles in the NightHawk Series; Storm Rising, published in February 2015; Rhythm of Deceit, July 2015, Cobwebs in the Dark, February 2016, and The Girl in the Painting, July 2016.

Breaking All The Rules, a standalone romantic comedy, was released on 5th May, 2017, and Practising for Christmas, a seasonal romcom was published on 12th November 2018.

#TenThings about Fiona Perrin author of The Story After Us @fionaperrin @aria_fiction #Lovebooksgrouptours

#TenThings

I’m pleased to welcome Fiona Perrin today who is going to share #TenThings about herself and her writing. Her first novel for Aria, The Story After Us, is available now. I must say, I highly approve of number 8!

Fiona Perrin

Here are #tenthings about me…

Thing 1: The eleventh commandment in my house is ‘thou shalt not take the mickey out of your mother’. I am a mum and stepmum to four teenagers. It’s necessary to lay down the law like God.

Thing 2: After a fairly full-on career in industry, I now have what people call a ‘plural’ job – part Board member, part sales and marketing consultant, part author. This is heaven after writing in the evenings and weekends for as long as I can remember.

Thing 3: I’m divorced (and very unconsciously uncoupled a long while back) but The Story After Us is not my story. It is however, inspired by my very modern blended family full of step-parents and kids who are all quite good mates mostly.

Thing 4: My dog is called Soppy Wagster and she is a springer spaniel. I intend that all my books will feature a springer spaniel.

Thing 5: My cat is called Ducky von Fluffy and she mostly kills things that are bigger than her (rabbits, crows and similar) and brings them through her cat door. My books will not feature a cat like her.

Thing 6: I love reading and like to think of myself as ‘high brow/low brow’ which means that I’ve done an English degree but read a lot of books that people are snotty about for no reason.

Thing 7: I really like parties. Particularly those which involve several hours on a dance floor.

Thing 8: Travelling is a bug. I have recently made it a THING with my husband that when we come back from one trip we need to book another one straight away. I’m not sure he gets that this is a THING yet.

Thing 9: I love writing so much. Being able to sit at a desk and write the comedy and drama of a whole bunch of made-up people that start to seem real, is just great. I feel very lucky.

Thing 10: I find Instagram a very confusing place even though I think I’m down with the kids. My own children spend a lot of time laughing at me squinting at the screen and asking about filters, therefore violating the eleventh commandment (see thing 1 above).  

My thanks to Kelly at LoveBooksGroupTours for inviting me to take part in this tour. The Story of Us is available now in paperback and as an ebook. At the time of writing, the Kindle edition was only 99p (but please check before you buy). You can order that here: The Story After Us

From the back of the book

The Story After Us: A heartwarming tale of life and love for modern women everywhere by [Perrin, Fiona]

Sometimes the end is just the beginning…

If she tries very hard, Ami can remember when she used to have a dynamic and exciting career and a husband who she loved more than life itself, and who was equally smitten with her…

Now she has two children, a terrifyingly large mortgage, and no idea who she has become – or why she and her husband can’t even be in the same room anymore.

With life as she knew it in tatters around her, Ami is heartbroken, and in no way pulling off ‘consciously uncoupling’ like a celeb. But she’s starting to wonder if she just might come out the other side and be… happier?

As funny as Helen Fielding, as poignantly touching as Marian Keyes, Fiona Perrin’s dazzling debut is a story that is as much about finding out who you really are again, as it is about the exhausting balancing act of motherhood. Unmissable for women everywhere.

About the author

Fiona Perrin was a journalist and copywriter before building a career as a sales and marketing director in industry. Having always written, she completed the Curtis Brown Creative Writing course before writing The Story After Us. 

As a mother and stepmother to four teenagers while holding down a fairly full-on job, she wanted to write grown-up commercial fiction about messy, modern love and families – with all their heartbreak, humour and hope. 

Fiona grew up in Cornwall, hung out for a long time in London and then Hertfordshire, and now writes as often as possible from her study overlooking the sea at the end of The Lizard peninsula.

She is currently writing her second novel for Aria.

Twitter @fionaperrin

FB: fionaperrinauthor

Insta: fionaperrin

Web: www.fionaperrin.com

Amazon link: https://amzn.to/2pIBbMn

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A Christmas Gift by @SueMoorcroft #review @AvonBooksUK

A Christmas Gift: The #1 Christmas bestseller returns with the most feel good romance of 2018 by [Moorcroft, Sue]

It’s always a pleasure to read one of Sue Moorcroft’s books and I was so pleased to receive a beautiful hardback copy of her latest book, A Christmas Gift. Like many Christmas books, although set around the festive season, it could easily be enjoyed at any time of the year. For me, this was a welcome return to the village of Middledip, the setting for many of Sue Moorcroft’s other books. I was delighted to spot a few familiar faces in the passing, particularly Ratty (yes, he is still my favourite Sue Moorcroft hero!).

This is the story of Joe and Georgine and how their lives come together one Christmas. Joe was a neglected child, living with an alcoholic mother and abusive step father. My heart went out to the poor child he used to be. Many years ago now I was a primary teacher and taught several children like him. It can be heartbreaking to see potential which may not be fulfilled and also the way they can be treated by other children. Fortunately for Joe, he had an ally in Georgine who always stood by him.

Georgine had a privileged childhood which came crashing down because of something she did. She feels tremendous guilt for how this affected her entire family but she was just a young woman, not even out her teens, and she couldn’t have known what would happen. Because of her experience, she has a terror of being in debt and has recently split with her partner, a decision which hasn’t stopped the debt collectors arriving at her door. Money is a constant struggle but despite this, she takes in her sister when she in need. Her compassion shows too in her relationship with her father who has had several strokes.

The two meet when Georgine is producing a Christmas play at the college where she works. Joe, is introduced as a friend of the principal of the college and is helping out with tech support. The whole background of putting on the show, encouraging the students and letting everyone have their chance to shine, was a great way of the characters working together and really getting to know each other. In Georgine and Joe’s relationship there is a bit of role reversal from their earlier days and a sense of both overcoming adversity.

Joe is such a fascinating character. He seems to have several different persona but they are all different aspects of the same man and all go to make him what he truly is. Amongst other things he is a benefactor, but this is quietly and humbly done. I was outraged on his behalf when a journalist revealed the so called truth about him in the tabloid the Daily Snoop. These kind of exposés infuriate me. Whether they contain a grain or truth or not, they immediately blacken someone’s reputation and it’s hard for a public figure to put things right without it seeming to cover up. I do acknowledge that sometimes there is truth in the stories but do wish some journalists would have more integrity and less sensationalism.

I always finish a Sue Moorcroft book with a warm feeling, a happy glow inside and this book was no different. I really enjoyed the story of Georgine and Joe overcoming all kinds of obstacles in their lives and I look forward to visiting Middledip again. I do wish it was a real place as I feel I’d know my way around and be meeting up with old friends!

My thanks to Sabah at Avon Books for my copy of the book. A Christmas Gift is available in hardback and as an ebook. The hardback should be available from your usual book retailer including many supermarkets or you can order a Kindle copy here: A Christmas Gift

From the back of the book

One Christmas can change everything…

Georgine loves Christmas. The festive season always brings the little village of Middledip to life. But since her ex-boyfriend walked out, leaving her with crippling debts, Georgine’s struggled to make ends meet.

To keep her mind off her worries, she throws herself into organising the Christmas show at the local school. And when handsome Joe Blackthorn becomes her assistant, Georgine’s grateful for the help. But there’s something about Joe she can’t quite put her finger on. Could there be more to him than meets the eye?

Georgine’s past is going to catch up with her in ways she never expected. But can the help of friends new and old make this a Christmas to remember after all?

About the author

Sue Moorcroft

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, an international bestselling author and has held the #1 spot in the UK Kindle chart. She writes contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes.

Sue has won a Best Romantic Read Award, received two nominations at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards and is a Katie Fforde Bursary winner. Her short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing ‘how to’ have sold around the world.

An army child, Sue was born in Germany then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a digital prepress. She’s pleased to have now wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.

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