Wednesday, 13 December 2017

TALL CHIMNEYS BY ALLIE CRESSWELL - Book Tour & Extract

I'm delighted to be featuring Historical Fiction novel Tall Chimneys today on my blog with an extract.


Genre:  Literary Historical Fiction
Publication Date:  12 December 2017
Standalone Novel
Estimated Page Count:  420


Amazon UK:  www.amazon.co.uk
Amazon US:   www.amazon.com



Considered a troublesome burden, Evelyn Talbot is banished by her family to their remote country house. Tall Chimneys is hidden in a damp and gloomy hollow. It is outmoded and inconvenient but Evelyn is determined to save it from the fate of so many stately homes at the time - abandonment or demolition.
Occasional echoes of tumult in the wider world reach their sequestered backwater - the strident cries of political extremists, a furore of royal scandal, rumblings of the European war machine. But their isolated spot seems largely untouched. At times life is hard - little more than survival. At times it feels enchanted, almost outside of time itself. The woman and the house shore each other up - until love comes calling, threatening to pull them asunder. 

Her desertion will spell its demise, but saving Tall Chimneys could mean sacrificing her hope for happiness, even sacrificing herself. 


A century later, a distant relative crosses the globe to find the house of his ancestors. What he finds in the strange depression of the moor could change the course of his life forever.
One woman, one house, one hundred years.



EXTRACT

Evelyn and Sylvester Ratton have an antagonistic relationship throughout the entire book. He is her nemesis, always undermining her plans and spoiling her happiness. He is the state manager at Tall Chimneys, with authority to do anything he wishes. She is a girl only just out of school, inexperienced and yet with a strong character. In this excerpt we get an inkling as to what motivates Ratton.
A Proposal.
It was the end of the summer. September came in with squally showers. The housemaids had no end of trouble getting the linen dry. I returned to my cosy morning room, where I had the fire lit, and wrote a long letter to Joan describing all my adventures but fearing they would be plebeian indeed compared to hers.
Then Mr Ratton came back, and we were back to square one. My morning room was not my own, my walks intruded upon, my rides made burdensome by his company. He made no reference to what had occurred on the north wing landing but I knew from the way his eyes lingered on my person that he thought about it often, and more with frustration than with any shame or regret.  
One afternoon, as we took tea in the library and rain like pebbles hurled itself against the window, precluding any escape outdoors, he began, uninvited, to tell me something of himself; the youngest of many, like me, of a respectable but somewhat impoverished family who had nothing to offer the youngest child. He had been well-educated but not at one of the illustrious schools, then forced to make his own way which, he flattered himself, he had done with some credit. ‘You,’ he said, with some significant emphasis, ‘you must understand entirely my situation, sharing it as you do. Youngest children like us, even of good families, must be prepared to make their own way. I’m sure it has occurred to you, that before too long you’ll have to look to your own resources?’
I looked at him at a loss. I had had no such thoughts.
‘You cannot imagine remaining here indefinitely,’ he observed. ‘This spot is so very retired, so backwards, when out there, in the world, things are moving on at such a pace, especially for women.’
I felt his comment as a severe deprecation - it made me cringe with shame - but I made no response.
‘Goodness, yes,’ he mused allowed, ‘one wonders what doors will not be open to them in future. They admitted a woman to the Bar a few years ago, and now a woman is governor of the BBC. Whoever thought such a thing? But even if you do not aspire so highly, there are jobs for women in offices, as nurses, even attached to the military although, naturally, not in a combative role. I met your brother in the military, as it happens,’ he went on, helping himself to another buttered teacake. ‘We were comrades in arms. I saved his life. Has he ever mentioned that to you?’
I shook my head.
‘No? Well, there’s a debt owed, let’s leave it at that, and George is conscious of it. He has promised me advancement. I’m wasted here, in this god-forsaken county, as you are.  George knows it. There are things abroad he wants me to set up for him. His father in law will help. America is a land of great opportunity for those with a nose for business and a respectable name.’
It occurred to me that Mr Ratton was announcing his imminent departure from Tall Chimneys. I could only rejoice, but I kept my jubilation to myself. ‘It must be very gratifying to my brother,’ I murmured, ‘to have people he can rely on, if he intends a new business venture. The Americas are a very exciting prospect, I’m sure.’
‘Indeed yes,’ Mr Ratton enthused. ‘You see the situation exactly. A scion of an ancient English family, no matter how minor here, is counted as very splendid there. Anything English is bound to be successful. I’m assured we will be made most welcome, doors will open up to us on every side. We’ll play the family card very heavily, meanwhile I’ll attend to all the business. We cannot fail to achieve our aim.’
It gradually dawned on me he had ceased speaking of himself, singular, and was now speaking in the plural:  what ‘we’ could expect; openings and introductions which would be made available to ‘us.’
‘Will George be an active participant, then, in the venture?’ I enquired. Perhaps Tall Chimneys would be moth-balled if George and Rita were going to America. Where, I wondered, would that leave me?
Mr Ratton gave a strangled cough and, I thought, almost blushed, but it could have been the heat from the fire. ‘That will hardly be necessary,’ he said, with a sort of lewd coyness I didn’t understand. ‘I’m sure I can manage all aspects of the matter very well without George’s assistance.’ He gave me a straight look, one eyebrow slightly raised. ‘No,’ he concluded. ‘George won’t accompany us, but he is in favour, if you are willing. I have that most certainly from his own lips. He is in favour. I have his backing and, not to put too fine a point on it, in this day and age, for people like us, well, we could both do a lot worse.’
Realisation came upon me like a bucket of ice cold water. His proposal (for such, I gathered, it was) appalled me. ‘I am not willing,’ I said, coldly.
He put his cup back on its saucer, not one whit deterred. ‘We will see,’ he said.
Purchase Links
Amazon.com - http://amzn.to/2jT5UD7



MEET THE AUTHOR


Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.
She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.
She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.
She has two grown-up children, one granddaughter and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.
Tall Chimneys is the sixth of her novels to be published.



Monday, 11 December 2017

MURDER SHE SLOPES BY RACHAEL STAPLETON - Book Blast & Giveaway




Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series 
Release Date - November 26, 2017 
Print Length: 214 pages ASIN: B075CTKP2B

Sirens ring. Are you listening? Near Candy Cane Lane. A Body is glistening. A murderous sight. Trubble's investigating tonight. Walking through this winter wonderland.
It's the week before Christmas and Investigative Journalist Penelope Trubble has reluctantly agreed to investigate the death of a woman at the Sleighs & Slopes Adventure Resort in the hopes of exonerating her her husband—who just happens to be Penny’s ex. But with so many suspicious characters lurking in the trees, Penelope risks being strangled by clues, Christmas lights, conjecture, and catastrophe. It doesn’t help that Penny's still a little frosty with the man accused of icing his bride, and she must prove he's no cold-blooded killer. At least there’s candy-cane cocoa, a roaring fire, and the Laurentian Mountains to savor—not to mention the hunky detective dashing through the snow after her. Helping an ex is a slippery slope, and things are going downhill fast for Penelope Trubble.


About The Author

Rachael Stapleton lives in a Second Empire Victorian home with her husband and two children in Ontario, Canada and enjoys writing in the comforts of aged wood and arched dormers.

Author Links
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Thursday, 7 December 2017

A CHRISTMAS WISH BY ERIN GREEN Book Review & Giveaway (UK only)

I am delighted to be sharing my review today of A Christmas Wish and I've also got a fabulous giveaway of a signed copy of the book for five lucky readers! (UK only)


Genre:  Romance, Contemporary
Publication Date:  1 August 2017
Publisher:  Aria Fiction/Head of Zeus



Amazon UK:  www.amazon.co.uk
Amazon US:   www.amazon.com



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.



This was a lovely feel good read, not really a Christmas read as such, even though it started on Christmas Eve.

Flora has always felt different from day one and, at the age of 30, when she has no home of her own, no job and no boyfriend, and feeling like a complete failure, she decides to try and find out who abandoned her as a baby.

Each chapter was told from a different person's perspective, from Flora herself to her adoptive mother and various other characters she meets when she goes to the village of her birth. I liked this method of telling the tale, I felt it moved the story along quite smoothly and not too fast.

I thought the storyline was unique, I enjoyed the banter between the police officers, there were some laugh out loud lines, it was intriguing seeing how Flora's presence was having a strong effect on the villagers, as memories from the past are dragged up.

An entertaining, romantic read that had me quickly turning the pages desperate to know if Flora's Christmas Wish does come true!


BUY LINKS


MEET THE AUTHOR


Erin Green was born and raised in Warwickshire, where she resides with her husband. An avid reader since childhood, her imagination was instinctively drawn to creative writing as she grew older. Erin has two Hons degrees: BA English literature and another BSc Psychology – her previous careers have ranged from part-time waitress, the retail industry, fitness industry and education. She has an obsession about time, owns several tortoises and an infectious laugh!
Erin’s writes contemporary novels focusing on love, life and laughter. Erin is an active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and was delighted to be awarded The Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017. An ideal day for Erin involves writing, people watching and drinking copious amounts of tea.

Twitter: @ErinGreenAuthor



GIVEAWAY
A signed copy of the book for 5 lucky winners! (UK only)


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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

WHAT HAPPENS AT CHRISTMAS BY EVONNE WAREHAM Blog Blitz

Today I'm bringing you a Blog Blitz for What Happens at Christmas by Evonne Wareham



Genre:  Romantic Suspense
Publication Date:  5 Dec 2017
Publisher:  Choc Lit
Kindle Edition:  255 pages



Amazon UK:   www.amazon.co.uk
Amazon US:   www.amazon.com



Best-selling author Andrew Vitruvius knows that any publicity is good publicity. His agent tells him that often, so it must be true. In the run-up to Christmas, she excels herself – talking him into the craziest scheme yet: getting himself kidnapped, live on TV. 
But when the plan goes ahead and Drew is unceremoniously thrown in the back of a van before being dragged to a hut in middle of the Brecon Beacons, it all starts to feel a little bit too real. 
Meanwhile, not far away, Lori France and her four-year-old niece Misty are settling in to spend the holidays away after unexpected events leave them without a place to stay. Little do they know they’re about to make a shocking discovery and experience a Christmas they’re not likely to forget …





BUY LINKS
Amazon UK   http://amzn.to/2AlOozk


MEET THE AUTHOR

Evonne Wareham was born in Barry on the South Wales coast, but spent most of her working life in London. Now home again in Wales she is studying for a PhD in History and writing romance. She was a finalist in two reality writing contests in the United States and had a great time, even if she didn’t win.
When not studying or writing, she loves to travel, go to the theatre, walk on the beach and sleep. She has won and been nominated for awards for her romantic suspense novels on both sides of the Atlantic, and is now also writing romantic comedy with a light dusting of crime - which is a change of pace from writing the dark scary stuff. She is a member of both the Crime Writers’ Association and the Romantic Novelists’ Association, which means she gets to go to twice as many literary parties.
Twitter: @evonnewareham


Monday, 4 December 2017

A WINTER'S TALE BY CARRIE ELKS Book Review

I'm delighted to be bringing you my review of a feel good festive read A Winter's Tale.


Genre:  Romantic Comedy
Publication Date:  30 Nov 2017
Publisher:  Piatkus
Page Count:  360  (PB)



Amazon UK:  www.amazon.co.uk
Amazon US:   www.amazon.com
Book Depository:   www.bookdepository.com




Struggling film student Kitty Shakespeare is determined to make the most of her new job as nanny to major producer Everett Klein's son, Jonas. It might not be exactly the career she'd hoped for when she moved from London to LA, but thanks to her habit of freezing up in interviews, this is her last chance to impress a key player in Hollywood – if she can get this right, then surely he'll take a moment to look at her work. However, what Kitty hasn't allowed for is Everett's sexy-as-hell brother, Adam – but love at first sight this is not.

Adam Klein may be sexy, but he's also gruff and rude and in no way ready to make a fool of himself over the nanny – not after the year he's had. All he wants to do hole up in his cabin and hide from the brother who destroyed his life. If only he could find it easier to ignore the way Kitty makes his heart race

As Christmas approaches, Kitty and Adam come to realise that the course of true love never does run smooth – and just maybe, it's more interesting that way...



Kitty is looking for an internship but instead ends up working as a nanny for a film producer and when they go to Virginia for the Christmas holidays Kitty goes with them.

Her first meeting with Adam, her employer's brother, does not go well, they dislike each other on sight.  He's very rough, full of contempt for her and was not a gentlemen .... though he was gorgeous!

During the holidays, Kitty is busy with looking after her charge, while Adam is trying to avoid his brother after they had a huge falling out over the summer.  He blows hot and cold with Kitty, he is having therapy due to his bust up, and there is plenty of tension in the family because of their disagreement.

There are highs and lows to their story.....

I loved this book, I immediately warmed to Kitty, she is so lovely and compassionate, and the little boy she looks after is adorable, not some spoiled kid.  She goes sledding and has snowball fights with him.  And he adores his Uncle Adam.  

A heart warming story, with characters that I cared about, in a romantic snowy setting.  Perfect for curling up with in front of a warm fire.

Source:  From Little, Brown Book Group in exchange for an honest review.



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