Friday 22 December 2017

A Quick Christmas Catch Up!

Christmas is nearly here - eep! I hope you're all prepared and are now able to sit back, relax and enjoy the next few days of the festive season. Or, if you're like me, you'll be running around the supermarket picking up last-minute bags of spuds, scribbling Christmas cards, and wrapping that sneaky gift that you somehow missed. Fun times!

No matter how much of a flap I get in, I still love this time of year, and I thought I'd squeeze in a quick catch up before I tuck the blog in for a long winter's nap...

I've just finished the second round of edits for The Wedding That Changed Everything, which is now off to be copy-edited. The cover was revealed last week (you can see my post here) and it's available to pre-order here!

I'm planning to have a few days off over Christmas, but I also have Book 9 on the go, which I'm not very far into. I need to pull my socks up and get writing so I can meet my deadline!

I haven't had as much time for reading as I'd like over the past few weeks as Christmas fever took over, but I'm about to start my third festive read from my list, Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan.

I have a confession to make: this will be the first Sarah Morgan book I've read. I've heard so many great things about her books, so I'm looking forward to diving in!

This month, I've also read A Christmas Wish by Erin Green.

As well as the finals of Strictly and The Apprentice, I've also been getting festive with Kirstie's Handmade Christmas, and we've been working our way through our family Christmas films. So far, we've watched An Elf's Story, Arthur Christmas, Elf, and Home Alone 1 and 2. We'll be squeezing in the rest over the next few days, including my favourite, Jingle All The Way!

Lots of Christmassy things!

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So that's all from me for 2017 - I'll be back here on the blog in January. In the meantime, I'll still be lurking around on Facebook and Twitter!

I hope you all have a brilliant Christmas and a wonderful start to 2018 :)

My Five Favourite Reads of 2017

As the end of the year approaches, I always like to look back on the books I've read and pick my favourites to shout about. This is usually a difficult task as there are so many amazing books out there, but I've pored over my list of 2017 reads (over and over again. It really is tough) and picked five fabulous reads.

Some of the books are older releases, but I've chosen books that I read for the first time in 2017 (so no re-reads) and I've put them in the order I read them in during the year as I simply can't choose one over the other for amazingness. It was hard enough picking five in the first place! So, here goes...

Into The Darkest Corner
Elizabeth Haynes

Catherine has been enjoying the single life for long enough to know a good catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic, spontaneous - Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell. But there is a darker side to Lee. His erratic, controlling and sometimes frightening behaviour means that Catherine is increasingly isolated. Driven into the darkest corner of her world, and trusting no one, she plans a meticulous escape.
Four years later, struggling to overcome her demons, Catherine dares to believe she might be safe from harm. Until one phone call changes everything.
This is an edgy and powerful first novel, utterly convincing in its portrayal of obsession, and a tour de force of suspense.
Into The Darkest Corner isn't always the most comfortable of reads, but I was hooked! I knew, even back when I read the book in January, that it would make my list of favourites.
The List
Joanna Bolouri
Phoebe Henderson may be single but she sure doesn't feel fabulous. Faced with a new year but no new love, Phoebe concocts a different kind of resolution: The List. Ten things she's always wanted to do in bed but has never had the chance (or the courage!) to try. A bucket list for between the sheets.
One year of pleasure, no strings attached. Simple, right?
Factor in meddlesome colleagues, friends with benefits, getting frisky al fresco and maybe, possibly, true love and Phoebe's got her work cut out for her.
The List is hilarious. I read it quite early in the year, after loving Joanna Bolouri's festive novel, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year at Christmas, and I couldn't stop giggling. It's a bit naughty, very funny, and simply had to make it onto my list of favourites!
I See You
Clare Mackintosh
When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it's there. There's no explanation: just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it's just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.
Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make...
I loved Clare Mackintosh's debut, I Let You Go, so I was looking forward to I See You - and I wasn't disappointed. I was gripped by the book and didn't want to put it down. It was a pacy, intriguing read and I can't wait for the next book!
The Friend
Dorothy Koomson
After her husband’s big promotion, Cece Solarin arrives in Brighton with their three children, ready to start afresh. But their new neighbourhood has a deadly secret.

Three weeks earlier, Yvonne, a very popular parent, was almost murdered in the grounds of the local school – the same school where Cece has unwittingly enrolled her children.

Already anxious about making friends when the parents seem so cliquey, Cece is now also worried about her children’s safety. By chance she meets Maxie, Anaya and Hazel, three very different school mothers who make her feel welcome and reassure her about her new life.

That is until Cece discovers the police believe one of her new friends tried to kill Yvonne. Reluctant to spy on her friends but determined to discover the truth, Cece must uncover the potential murderer before they strike again . . .
Dorothy Koomson is one of my favourite authors, so I couldn't wait to read her latest release, The Friend. As always, I was immediately drawn into the world Dorothy created and was eager to find out what happened to Yvonne that night, as well discovering the secrets of Cece's new friends.
This Beautiful Life
Katie Marsh
Can you ever truly say goodbye to the past?
Abi has been given the second chance she never expected, and now she's trying to get her life - and her family - back on track after facing the worst. But it's hard to trust in happiness again, and reconnecting with her husband John proves more challenging than she thought. Can you really go back to 'normal' after thinking you're going to lose one another?
With Abi's son Seb struggling with a secret of his own, the three of them are in danger of falling apart just when they need each other most. But how do you pick up the pieces of a family still suffering emotional shockwaves? And can Abi bring the people she loves most in the world back together again... before it's too late?
I've loved Katie Marsh's previous novels, so I was looking forward to reading her new book. As always, Katie's writing drew me in and took me on an emotional rollercoaster.
So, those are my favourite reads of the year. I'd love to hear yours too! Let us know which you've loved in the comments below :)

Friday 15 December 2017

Presenting My Brand New Rom Com: The Wedding That Changed Everything

I am so excited to be able to share the details of my brand new novel. Previously known as 'Book 8', here is The Wedding That Changed Everything!

Love happens when you least expect it…

Emily Atkinson stopped believing in fairy tales a long time ago! She’s fed up of dating frogs in order to track down her very own Prince Charming, despite the best efforts of her matchmaking best friend…

But now she’s been invited to the wedding of the year at the enchanting Durban Castle, and perhaps bumping into a knight in shining armour isn’t as far away as she thought!

Will Emily survive the wedding and walk away an unscathed singleton – or finally find her own happily-ever-after?
I absolutely LOVE this cover. The colours are gorgeous and you get a real sense of the setting of Emily's story. But what do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday 5 December 2017

A Quick Catch Up

The final weeks of 2017 are really starting to fly past now! My Christmas tree is up, my Christmas shopping is well and truly underway (though I've yet to wrap a single gift - my least favourite part of the festive season) and Isobel has been to visit Santa. Soon, we'll be off to see the panto at our local theatre, the school holidays will begin and the Big Day will be upon us. And I can't wait for it all!

I know we're all super busy right now, but I thought I'd post a quick catch up. Do let me know what you've been up to in the comments below!

I've started the first draft of Book 9, where I'm returning to Clifton-on-Sea (the setting of The Little Bed & Breakfast by the Sea, though it's focusing on a brand new set of characters) and I'm also halfway through the second round of edits for Book 8 (and I'll have some news to share about my new book very soon!) My deadline for the edits is this Sunday, so I'm busily working away in between all the Christmassy stuff!

I'm currently reading my second festive read of 2017: A Christmas Wish by Erin Green. I'm only a few chapters in, but I'm enjoying it so far and I'm looking forward to the mystery of Flora's birth unfolding!
My first festive read of 2017 was The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop by Caroline Roberts, which was crammed with lots of delicious-sounding chocolatey goodness!


Isobel and I have been enjoying watching Strictly together this year (apart from Aston's elimination - madness!)
I've also been enjoying the current series of Gogglebox , The Last Leg, and The Apprentice, and I've made sure to watch Michael McIntyre's Big Show this time round as I only caught the last bit of the last series.
I've also discovered a little gem on BBC1 in the afternoons: Armchair Detectives. It's a bit cheesy, but I love trying to solve the murder mysteries with the contestants!
Non-TV-wise, we went to see David Walliams Live last weekend, where he read extracts from his books, as well as answering questions from the audience. Isobel high-fived him and is now a proud owner of a signed copy of his latest book, Bad Dad.

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So, that's me in a nutshell over the past few weeks.
What have you been up to?

Friday 1 December 2017

Bite-Sized Christmas Reads

It's that time of year again, when there are a million things to do; shopping for Christmas gifts and festive food, wrapping presents, searching the entire house for the kids' advent calendars that you thought you were being super-clever and super-organised by buying back in October but now you can't remember where you put them... There are nativity plays and Christmas fairs to attend, trees to decorate, visits to Santa - SO MUCH. I need a sit down just thinking about it all!

If you're in need of a little break too, why not have a little festive read? I've put together my Christmassy short stories, which are the perfect bite-sized reads when you only have a few minutes to spare during the busy festive period. Click on the covers to read your chosen story. Enjoy!

Thursday 23 November 2017

Festive Reads for 2017

I'm a massive festive fiend and love a good Christmassy read, so I've been looking forward to compiling my festive TBR. I've picked four books that I'll hopefully get to read in the run up to Christmas (there are NEVER enough hours in December, but I'll do my best).
Here's what is in my festive TBR this year:
(Caroline Roberts)

The snow is falling, the hot chocolate’s warming, and hearts are melting . . .

Emma is the proud owner of The Chocolate Shop by the Sea, nestled in the heart of the cosy seaside village that’s become her home. With Christmas right around the corner, she and her assistant Holly are busy cooking up the locals’ festive favourites.

From cinnamon hot chocolates to reindeer lollipops, Christmas wouldn’t taste the same without a little cocoa magic. And for Emma it’s the perfect distraction from her romantic pains of the past. So when the shop’s miserly landlord threatens to hike up the rent, Emma’s Christmas and New Year suddenly look a lot less cheerful.

With the whole village rallying behind her – and loyal spaniel Alfie by her side – Emma’s determined to hold onto her chocolate-box dream.

The chocolate calendar countdown is on. Can Emma rescue her business and her broken heart?
(Erin Green)
Flora Phillips has an excuse for every disaster in her life; she was abandoned as a new-born on a doorstep one cold autumn night, wrapped in nothing but a towel. Her philosophy is simple: if your mother doesn't want you – who will?

Now a thirty-year-old, without a boyfriend, a career or home she figures she might as well tackle the biggest question of them all – who is she? So, whilst everyone else enjoys their Christmas Eve traditions, Flora escapes the masses and drives to the village of Pooley to seek a specific doorstep. Her doorstep.

But in Pooley she finds more than her life story. She finds friends, laughter, and perhaps even a love to last a lifetime. Because once you know where you come from, it's so much easier to know where you're going.

A story of redemption and love, romance and Christmas dreams-come-true, the perfect novel to snuggle up with this festive season. 
(Sarah Morgan)

She'll risk everything for her own Christmas miracle…

Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family. But when dog-walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list – dealing with Madi's temporary dog-sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry.

Ethan thought he was used to chaos, until he met Madi – how can one tiny dog cause such mayhem? To Ethan, the solution is simple – he will pay Harriet to share his New York apartment and provide 24-hour care. But there's nothing simple about how Harriet makes him feel.

Ethan's kisses make Harriet shine brighter than the stars over moonlit Manhattan. But when his dog-sitting duties are over, and Harriet returns to her own home, will she dare to take the biggest challenge of all – letting Ethan know he has her heart for life, not just for Christmas?

(Christie Barlow)
A gorgeous country house hotel, a liberal dusting of snow, a cosy weekend away…what more could Lizzie ask for at Christmas?

Every Christmas Lizzie promises herself that things will change and she will leap into the new year a new woman. And yet here she is again, at the beginning of December and nothing is different. Her girls have grown up and left home, her husband Henry is slumped in front of the TV and she is alone in the kitchen, seeking refuge in the cooking sherry and talking to her Gary Barlow calendar. She’s also been very diverted by handsome new neighbour Marcus and she knows she shouldn’t be …

So when best friend Ann suggests a weekend away in the country, Lizzie jumps at the chance. Will this Christmas escape give Lizzie some much needed perspective and allow her to mend her marriage? Or will Marcus prove to be too much of a distraction?
What's on your festive TBR pile?

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In my next newsletter, I'll be recommending one of my favourite festive reads.  Plus, one of my subscribers will win a signed copy of The Little Bed & Breakfast by the Sea - plus other goodies - for themselves AND a friend!
Subscribe here

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Bumper Newsletter Subscriber Giveaway!

As Christmas is approaching, I thought I'd put together a bumper giveaway for my newsletter subscribers! The prize bundle includes:

A magnet selection &
A bag of Maltesers' mini reindeers

Not only will one lucky subscriber win this bundle, they can choose a friend to receive a prize bundle too!

To be in with a chance of winning the prize bundle:

1. subscribe to my newsletter using the form below
2. enter the giveaway using the rafflecopter form

If you're already a subscriber, simply enter using the rafflecopter form! 

The giveaway ends on 10th December.
I will contact the winner via the email address provided.

Good luck!

Enter The Giveaway

Thursday 16 November 2017

Christmassy Reads

I love curling up with a festive read during the run up to Christmas. Log fires, snow, mince pies, hot chocolates, a bit of romance... bring it on!

I've started a little festive reads pile that I'll soon be diving into, but I thought I'd flag up a couple of my own Christmassy reads in case you're looking for something festive and fun.

Curl up with a mug of hot chocolate and a warm mince pie for the perfect festive read this holiday season!

‘I wish I could live your life. I’d happily swap lives with you.’

’Tis the season to be jolly but for Calvin and Judy the usual festive bickering has already begun! Judy’s convinced that her husband has it easy – no glittery wrapping paper, no playground gossip and absolutely no Christmas baking.

Calvin wishes he could trade in his obnoxious boss and dull nine-to-five job to spend more time kicking back with his kids – how hard can Judy’s life really be?

But after a magical mince pie mix-up, one thing’s for certain – by Christmas Day, life for Judy and Calvin will never be the same again. Perhaps the grass isn’t always greener after all…
The Mince Pie Mix-Up is a fun, festive Freaky Friday-style rom com and is just 99p at the moment (at the time of posting. Please check before purchasing).

A festive romantic comedy short story.

Ruth usually spends Christmas curled up on her parents’ sofa, watching feel-good movies whilst being fed festive food and drink until she can no longer move. But Ruth’s perfect Christmas is shattered when her mum receives a DIY-induced injury and Ruth is forced to take over the preparations.

Shopping. Cooking. A house full of hyped-up kids.

Christmas may no longer be the most wonderful time of the year.

A Beginner's Guide To Christmas is a quick read, so perfect if you're short on time (and aren't we all at this time of year?), plus it's FREE (happy Christmas indeed!)

If you read The Mince Pie Mix-Up or A Beginner's Guide To Christmas (or both!) I hope you enjoy it and they make you giggle. I'd love to know what you think, so do pop a review on Amazon as every one helps :)

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Oldham Reindeer Parade 2017

One of the things I look forward to most during the run up to Christmas is the reindeer parade, which is held in the town centre every year. It's fantastic fun and so lovely to see so many families gathered together.

This year's theme was 'A Christmas Day Feast' and there was also lots of different characters and props, bands playing festive music and Santa and his reindeer!

What do you look forward to during the run up to Christmas?

Tuesday 14 November 2017

A Quick Catch Up!

It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted on the blog as I've been busy working on Book 8, but the first round of edits are now done (phew!) so I thought I'd post a quick catch up!

I've been working on the edits for Book 8 for the past month - and it was a pretty hefty edit where I had to rewrite a lot of the scenes/chapters! I sent the book back to my editor early last week and I've had a few days away from writing since, but I'm back to plotting Book 9 now!

I'll hopefully have some news to share about Book 8 soon...
I'm between books at the moment; I've just finished The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (yes, I am lagging behind! I enjoyed it though) and I know my next read will be a festive one but I haven't picked which one yet!
Over the past few weeks, I've also read After I've Gone by Linda Green and This Beautiful Life by Katie Marsh.

On TV, I'm loving the return of QI, Gogglebox and The Last Leg, as well as the not-quite-return of Celebrity Hunted ('not quite' because this is the first celebrity version).
I've also been enjoying Strictly, which Isobel has been watching with me for the first time. We like getting snuggled up in bed to watch. Her favourite dance is the jive!
I've just discovered The Good Place on Netflix, which I'm LOVING so far.
At the cinema, I've watched Paddington 2 with the family and we loved it. It's a fantastic follow up for the whole family to enjoy. Highly recommended!

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I'd love to hear what you've been up to! Let us know in the comments below! Feel free to add any book/TV/Film recommendations too :)