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One Day In December By Josie Silver

One Day In December‘One Day In December’ is Josie Silver’s debut novel.

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist. After all, life isn’t a scene from the movies, is it? But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away. Laurie thinks she’ll never see the boy from the bus again. But at their Christmas party a year later, her best friend Sarah introduces her to the new love of her life. Who is, of course, the boy from the bus. Determined to let him go, Laurie gets on with her life. But what if fate has other plans?

I’ve been fortunate to have read some amazing debuts over the years but I have to say that this debut has really stolen my heart.

The story is seen through the narrative of Laurie and Jack, who’s eyes lock one December day and even though they are fated to be together, something or someone is constantly standing in their way. Over the course of ten years, they deal with marriages, divorces and breakups all whilst keeping each other in the friend zone.

I adored this book and consumed it greedily as the characters and plot line were fantastic. Laurie is a sweetheart of a character and ever since she saw ‘Bus Boy’ aka Jack, she was convinced he was the one, that is until her best friend Sarah brought him home and fell in love with him as well. Being the kind and best friend that she is, Laurie never exposed her true feelings and wished nothing more than love and happiness to Sarah. Jack struggles with his emotions and wants to be friends with Laurie, but does occasionally find himself wondering what if?

The story takes place over a decade and gives an interesting into the dynamics of the couple as they move on with their lives and relationships but are always drawn back to each other.

Sweetly written, this book is a heartwarming and engaging story from the very beginning, with sweet and captivating characters and the picturesque setting of a bustling London which would be perfect to curl up with on these approaching winter nights. A tear jerker, a heart tugger and an occasionally laugh out loud moment, ‘One Day In December’ is a romantic tale about finding the one and never giving up on love.

You can pre-order One Day in December from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 18th October 2018.

What feminism Means to Me

The Same For Everyone

On the book tour for Deborah Frances-White’s brand new book called ‘The Guilty Feminist’, I talk about what feminism means to me.The Guilty Feminist

For me, feminism is all about equality and respect. It’s not about burning bras or shouting it from the rooftops, but to have equal consideration for everyone and their abilities. It’s about being called Bronagh and not love or pet, it’s about being paid the same as male colleagues if we’re producing the same workload and it’s about not being considered as having ideas above my station purely because I want to strive forward and better my career.

As a feminist, I want my voice to be heard, to be considered as an equal and to recognised for being me and and not just purely on my gender.

You can buy The Guilty Feminist from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Leave No Trace By Mindy Mejia

Leave No Trace‘Leave No Trace’ is the second book by Mindy Mejia and it’s just as dark and compulsive as her previous novel called ‘The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman’.

Ten years after a boy and his father went missing in the wilderness of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, the boy – who is no longer a boy – walks back out of the forest. He is violent and uncommunicative. The authorities take him to Congdon Mental Institution in Duluth, on the edge of mighty Lake Superior. There, language therapist Maya Stark is given the task of making a connection with this boy/man who came back from the dead. But their celebrity patient tries to escape and refuses to answer any questions about his father or the last ten years of his life. In many ways he is old far beyond his years; in others, still a child. But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world – but at what cost to herself?

The book is primarily seen solely through the narrative of Maya Stark, a speech therapist at a psychiatric hospital who has been give a new patient called Lucas Blackthorn, a violent and non-responsive young man who came out from the woods one day, ten years after him and his father disappeared. He’s unresponsive and refuses to answer questions, so Maya is brought in to help him and two of them form an unlikely bond and kinship as they have more in common than neither of them realise. There are occasionally perspectives from Lucas and his father and these insight provide an interesting slant to the story.

Along with her patients, Maya is a troubled young soul who never got over her mothers disappearance and has regularly tackled her own demons and mental issues, she provides a relatable voice to her patients with her kind and gentle nature. Right, from the outset it’s obvious that she has had issues in life and those are revealed as the story progresses shocking not only the reader of the book but also supporting characters in the story. Even though Lucas, is also troubled it is hard not to feel empathy for the young man, after living in the woods for 10 years, he’s scared of the world and the new found celebrity status that is suddenly bestowed onto him as well as his concern for his father, the man he had to leave behind in the woods and that he so desperately wants to get back to.

Lucas and Maya trust each other, where people see volatility and unrest, there’s a quiet friendship brewing between the two as they begin to trust each other and find out they have more in common, than they could have ever imagined and when Lucas begs Maya to help him, she puts herself and her job at risk.

The book is a cleverly written tale that is vividly written and atmospheric from the very first page. Filled with drama and shocks throughout and underlined with tension that makes for a gripping ending. With relatable characters tackling real life issues, ‘Leave No Trace’ is a thrilling and occasionally gory story about mental illness and the major impacts that unanswered questions can have on our lives.

You can buy Leave No Trace from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Book News – The Mother Of All Christmases By Milly Johnson

The Mother Of All ChristmasesI’m delighted to see that Milly Johnson is back in 2018 with a delicious new Christmas book called ‘The Mother Of All Christmases’ and it’s a lovely return to some of her old characters from ‘A Winter Flame’.

What the back cover says –

Eve Glace – co-owner of the theme park Winterworld – is having a baby and her due date is a perfectly timed 25th December. And she’s decided that she and her husband Jacques should renew their wedding vows with all the pomp that was missing the first time. But growing problems at Winterworld keep distracting them …

Annie Pandoro and her husband Joe own a small Christmas cracker factory, are well set up and happy together despite life never blessing them with a much-wanted child. But when Annie finds that the changes happening to her body aren’t typical of the menopause but pregnancy, her joy is uncontainable.

Palma Collins has agreed to act as a surrogate, hoping the money will get her out of the gutter in which she finds herself. But when the couple she is helping split up, is she going to be left carrying a baby she never intended to keep?

Annie, Palma and Eve all meet at the ‘Christmas Pudding Club’, a new directive started by a forward-thinking young doctor to help mums-to-be mingle and share their pregnancy journeys. Will this group help each other to find love, contentment and peace as Christmas approaches?

The brand new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Perfectly Imperfect Woman; a gorgeous read full of love, life, laughter – and crackers!

You can pre-order The Mother of All Christmases from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 15th November 2018.

My inspiration for Meadowbrook Manor- Faith Bleasdale

Faith BleasdaleOn the book tour for her new book called ‘Secrets At Meadowbrook Manor’, author of the book Faith Bleasdale talks about her inspiration behind the book.

I have loved being able to write about Meadowbrook Manor and the Singer siblings’ as a series and with book two – ‘Secrets At Meadowbrook Manor’ coming out, I know that when I eventually finish the series I’ll miss them. I wonder if I can keep writing about them forever?

When I was thinking about the first Meadowbrook book, my starting point was the house – Meadowbrook Manor. I wanted it to be a character in its own right and I hope I’ve achieved this. I was aiming for it to be a house that had a soul, and a heart, and from that point I then came up with the story of the Singer Siblings, and the animal sanctuary.

I didn’t want to write about a house that was crumbling or needing saving, I wanted the people, and animals to need saving and for the house to be pivotal in achieving this.

As an adult with only one sibling, I still found the idea of having to live with said sibling as an adult interesting – or horrifying actually. I’m not sure if I had to live with my brother for a year now we would both survive but I loved the idea that sibling relationships change so much over the years and wanted to explore the concept of how those who had lived together as children would cope living together as adults.

I also wanted the animal sanctuary to be a huge feature and I think I can safely say it plays a central role in all the stories set at Meadowbrook. I am a huge fan of animals and I wanted a positive environment where animals are loved, cared for, wanted and also they also play a central role in helping people. Which, I fully believe animals do. Even if you’re not an animal person surely you can’t help but be moved by Hilda the English Sheepdog who, like many people, is looking for love. Or Elton and David the gay bulls who clearly love each other… Crazy, maybe but I think that it’s important to give them centre stage at times, as we can learn a lot from animals.

Secrets At Meadowbrook Manor

Another thing I am passionate about is community. I grew up in the country, in a village, and yes there were morris dancers. Now though it feels different and I love how Meadowbrook Manor brings the community together, helps people, fends off loneliness and teaches kindness. Is is unrealistic in this day and age? Maybe but it shouldn’t be.

I don’t believe Meadowbrook Manor is a perfect world because that doesn’t exist but I hope I have created a place where my lovely readers and future readers want to visit, want to stay, and want to live in. Because I know that’s exactly how I feel about it. I’d even be happy to muck out the pigs… Maybe!

You can buy Secrets at Meadowbrook Manor from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 20th September 2018.