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Cover Reveal – The Hygge Holiday By Rosie Blake

The Hygge HolidayRosie Blake is back with a fabulous new book called ‘The Hygge Holiday’

What the back cover says –

It’s autumn in Yulethorpe and everyone is gloomy. It’s cold, drizzly and the skies are permagrey. The last shop on the high street – an adorable little toy shop – has just shut its doors. Everything is going wrong for Yulethorpe this autumn. Until Clara Kristensen arrives.

Clara is on holiday but she can see the potential in the pretty town, so she rolls up her sleeves and sets to work. Things are looking up until Joe comes to Yulethorpe to find out exactly what is going on with his mother’s shop. Joe is Very Busy and Important in the City and very sure that Clara is up to no good. Surely no one would work this hard just for the fun of it?

Can a man who answers emails at 3 a. m. learn to appreciate the slower, happier, hygge things in life – naps, candles, good friends and maybe even falling in love?

The perfect recipe for hygge this autumn: make a hot chocolate, draw the curtains, snuggle under a blanket and read your way to happiness!

You can pre-orderThe Hygge Holiday from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 21st September 2017.

This Beautiful Life Book Tour – My Playlist Of My Life By Katie Marsh

Katie MarshOn the book tour and the publication day for Katie Marsh’s new book, ‘This Beautiful Life’, Katie talks about her love of music.

I’ve wanted to set a book to music for a very long time, but I only found the courage once Abi arrived in my head one day and I knew that she – like me – set her entire life to music.

In ‘This Beautiful Life’ Abi has just recovered from bowel cancer when the book starts, only to discover that her family has fallen apart. Her husband John has made some decisions that are about to come back to haunt him and her son Seb is battling with a secret of his own. The story follows them over the ensuing year, with each month set to a song on Abi’s cancer survival playlist, which she creates to remind her of the people that matter and the life that she doesn’t want to leave.

Ever since I discovered mix tapes I have set my life to music. From trying to capture the final lines of ‘Parklife’ before Simon Mayo talked over them, to creating playlists for each book I write, I am a confirmed addict of mixing songs from all genres to create a mood or a feeling. For me, nothing is more evocative than music and today I’d love to share the playlist of my life with you. I’ve kept it short – twelve songs just like Abi – but believe me there were three hundred in the running and so it took many tortuous hours to choose.

‘Thank you for the music’ by ABBA. The first song I learned by heart and – unfortunately – one I liked to perform for customers at my parents’ trout farm. Thank goodness it was before the age of phones with videos.
‘The Wombling Song’ by Mike Batt and Chris Spedding. This was playing at my first ever school disco, when I danced with Matthew Archer and learnt that perhaps there were more moves than ‘step-shuffle’.

‘I don’t care’ by Transvision Vamp. I LOVED this band when I was a teenager. I was going through one of those ‘wear-DMs and only buy skirts with bells on’ phases and I used to play this constantly at full volume, much to the irritation of my entire family. Wendy James is pretty much entirely responsible for a very painful experiment with hair bleach. This song sums up teenagerdom for me.

‘Blackbird’ by The Beatles. Will always remind me of mum and dad and their beloved vinyl collection. Such a simple and beautiful song.

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen. My brother and I always used to fight over what music to play in the car. This generally won and I have to say, he had better taste than me.

‘Sit down’ by James. I can’t hear this song without seeing me and my mates jumping up and down in a sweaty huddle and then falling to the floor for the chorus. This still happens every time we hear it, come to think of it.

This Beautiful Life

‘Children’ by Robert Miles. I have danced on roofs to this, danced in sweaty nightclubs to this and now I listen to it whenever I’m stuck on a chapter and I need to dance around until I work it out. This is the anthem of my twenties, no question.

‘The Promise’ by Tracy Chapman. I walked down to the aisle to this beautiful, heartfelt song and I still cry every time I hear it.

‘A Tisket-A-Tasket’ sung by Ella Fitzgerald. An amazing extravaganza of scat-singing and pure joy, this is Ella at her best. And my grandparents adored it, so when I hear it I think of them dancing in their garden.
‘Don’t Rain on my Parade’ from ‘Hello, Dolly!’ This is what picked me up after my second novel was rejected and I really wondered if now was the time to give up. I made an ‘I’ll show them’ playlist and started number three, which was eventually published as ‘My Everything.’ This song was the opener.

Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A Major. At school I played the clarinet, and attempted parts of this work, and as a result I know a) how technically difficult it is and b) how glorious it can sound when people who aren’t me play it. My number one classical listen for peace and wonder.

‘Crazy in Love’ by Beyoncé. A song to dance to, to bounce to and to be inspired by. Love it.

You can buy This Beautiful Life from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Roanoke Girls Book Tour – Extract

The Roanoke GirlsToday on the book tour for Amy Engel’s seriously twisted and eerily sexy debut, ‘The Roanoke Girls’, I’ve an extract from the book that will leave you bursting to read more!

Prologue

The first time I saw Roanoke was in a dream. I knew little of it beyond its name and the fact it was in Kansas, a place I had never been. My mother only ever mentioned it when she’d had too much wine, her breath turned sweet and her words slow and syrupy like molasses.

So my subconscious filled in the rest. In my dream it stood tall and stately, tucked among a forest of spring-green trees. Its red-brick facade was broken up by black shutters, white trim, delicate wrought-iron balconies. A little girl’s fantasy of a princess castle.

When I woke, I started to tell my mother about it. Talking through a mouthful of stale Cheerios drowned in just-this-side-of- sour milk. I got only as far as the name, Roanoke, before she stopped me. “It was nothing like that,” she said, voice flat. She was sitting on the wide windowsill, knees drawn up into her cotton nightgown, smoke from her cigarette gathered around her like a shroud. Her ragged toenails dug into the wooden window frame.

“You didn’t even let me tell you,” I whined. “Did you wake up screaming?”

A dribble of milk ran down my chin. “Huh?”

She turned and glanced at me then, her skin pale, eyes red- rimmed.

The bones of her face looked sharp enough to cut. “Was it a nightmare?”

I shook my head, confused and a little scared. “No.”

She looked back out the window. “Then it was nothing like that.”

Check out my review of the book to hear my thoughts on this gripping tale.

The Hope Family Calendar By Mike Gayle

The Hope Family CalendarMike Gayle is back with a new book this Autumn called ‘The Hope Family Calendar’

Tom Hope is broken. Ever since his wife Laura died he hasn’t been the same man, and definitely not the same father. Luckily for Tom his mother-in-law Linda is around to pick up the pieces and look after his two struggling daughters, Evie and Lola. But Tom getting arrested on the first anniversary of his wife’s death is the last straw for Linda.
In a last bid attempt to make Tom reconnect with his daughters she takes drastic action and leaves for Australia. With two fast-maturing daughters Tom has to learn how to accept his responsibilities and navigate the newly discovered world of single fatherhood – starting immediately. With only himself to rely on, will Tom fall back into grief or finally step up and be the father his girls need?

In Mike’s latest book, we meet Tom Hope, a man who’s heart is broken after his wife was tragically killed in a car accident. Overcome with grief and not wanting to face up to the truth, he throws himself into his work and leaves the care of his two daughters to his sympathetic and understanding mother in law, Linda. But as the time draws closer to the anniversary of Laura’s death, Linda decides that it’s time for her to start living and for Tom to act like a father to his daughters, who he has kept his distance from.

Linda, decides to travel to Australia, to fulfil a life long dream of visiting one of her best friends and hopes that with this sudden break, Tom will step up to the plate and begin to behave like the father that he was before Laura died.

The story is about two people who deal with grief differently, we have Linda who naturally steps into the role of mother, she looks after the two little girls and helps them understand as best they can why their mother is no longer around, she’s gentle and sweet and does everything with little or no complaint. Meanwhile Tom, can’t handle the thought of Laura not being around, he finds it difficult to express his emotions and finds it easier to work than spend time in the house and be surrounded by everything that reminds him of what used to be.

With Linda’s sudden departure to Australia, Tom takes a break from work, to devote to getting to know his little girls all over game, this makes for sweet and tender reading as the small unit interact and tentatively get to know each other and deal with their combined grief and pain for the mother that was taken away. As Tom grows in strength, we see a man become more happier and confident in himself as he realises that he can cope as a single parent family and with new friends and relationships along the way, the future is a little bit brighter. Whilst on the other side of the world, Linda has to deal with having time to herself and looking after her needs instead of her family.

A sensitively written story that made for poignant and bittersweet reading, Mike returns with a beautiful tale about starting over and putting ghosts to rest.

You can buy The Hope Family Calendar from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Falling Leaves And Fireworks By Chrissie Manby

Falling Leaves And Fireworks‘Falling Leaves And Fireworks’ is a short story by Chrissie Manby.

The thirty-first of October usually marks the start of the party season in the Benson Edwards household but, having recently lost his beloved cat Fishy, little Jack, aged eight, isn’t ready to celebrate. When the rest of the Bensons and their neighbours decide to throw a Halloween fancy-dress bash in an attempt to cheer Jack up, however, not everything goes to plan as Mark and Ronnie play a ghostly prank which inadvertently sparks a local scandal. By the time Bonfire Night rolls around, will their neighbourhood relations be up in in smoke? And will Jack have rediscovered his sparkle?

This story story sees the return of the Benson Edwards family, the fun and warmhearted family from Chrissie’s successful ‘Proper Family’ series and this story is solely seen through the eyes of Ronnie, the older sister of the family. Her family is heartbroken when the family cat suddenly dies, particularly her youngest son Jack who is distraught that his feline friend has departed. Whilst Ronnie worries about her little boy, her eccentric neighbour Cathy is convinced that she can contact the spiritual world and one day Ronnie and her husband Mark decide to play a joke on their naive neighbour, with hilarious results.

I’ve been a fan of the ‘Proper Family’ series since the very beginning and love the characters, the story has just the right combination of humour with tenderness that makes the book perfect reading. The story is only 94 pages long, so it’s an ideal length to curl up with and is the perfect distraction from the cold and windy weather. Fun from the start, ‘Falling Leaves And Fireworks’ is an enchanting tale filled with fun moments, tender scenes and a ghostly cat that makes a lovely albeit short return to the heart-warming family.

You can buy Falling Leaves and Fireworks: a funny, feel-good autumnal enovella: (A Proper Family eNovella) from Amazon