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!

You can find me on Instagram here

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.

You can find me on Instagram here
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!