Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Friendship, Guest post, Romance

One Christmas Star Mandy Baggot 5*#Review @Aria_Fiction @mandybaggot #festiveread #Christmas #Romance #Friendship #BlogTour #GuestPost #BookReview

#OneChirstmasStar

Emily Parker is set to have the worst Christmas ever!

Her flatmate’s moved out, she’s closed her heart to love and she’s been put in charge of the school original Christmas show – with zero musical ability.

Disgraced superstar, Ray Stone is in desperate need of a quick PR turnaround. Waking up from a drunken stupor to a class of ten-year-olds snapping pics and Emily looking at him was not what he had in mind.

Ray needs Emily’s help to delete the photos, and she needs his with the show. As they learn to work together they may just open their hearts to more than a second chance…

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#OneChristmasStar #BlogTour

I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Children at Christmas are what make it special, and this lovely feelgood, festive romance has thirty-three children in its cast of characters. Don’t panic you haven’t got to remember all their names, only a few are introduced in-depth, but their enthusiasm, sense of wonder, and innocence as they embark on their festive show gives this story authenticity and a lovely Christmassy ethos.

Another positive theme in this story is its diversity. Many cultures and family groupings and beliefs are in evidence, reflecting contemporary life well.

Then, there’s the romance, which starts to grow between school teacher Emily and famous musician Ray, they meet serendipitously, at a low point in both their lives. They find something in each other that helps them to accept, heal, and move on from their emotional baggage, some of which is severe.

This is gently paced and detailed. You find out a lot about the characters, main and subsidiary. Whilst this doesn’t necessarily move the story forward, it does build the world, and make the reader believe in the characters, their stories and their motivations.

Music is an important element in this story and this celebrated throughout.

If you enjoy a book that absorbs you, and takes you on a journey, with a positive hopeful conclusion, this one is perfect.

Guest Post- Mandy Baggot – One Christmas Star
Never work with children or animals…

Animals will poop everywhere! Children will say the most embarrassing things! In One Christmas Star, I have children and animals, all being brought together in one festive extravaganza!

So, how do you go about writing children in novels? How do you make your ten-year-olds authentic and leap off the page? Well, I have to say, it does help if you have children yourself.

I am the mum of two daughters (12 and 14 now) and they absolutely provide me with inspiration for my books every single day. We can be talking randomly on the school run and then when I’m sat at my desk ready to start writing, this conversation will come back to me and end up slap-bang in the middle of my novel. And those chapters are always much richer for it.

One Christmas Star stars thirty-three Year Six’s under the care of teacher, Emily Parker. Here’s how I handled them as a writer and some top tips for making your characters authentic: –

The first thing I would say is, if you’re writing about a group of children, you are not going to make characters out of all thirty-three of them and nor should you. A) The reader is never going to remember all their names, B) neither are you and C) you aren’t going to be able to make thirty-three characters stand out. If you have children yourself, listen up! Take in what they talk about, what’s important to them and how they express this. What are their quirks and their individualism? If you don’t have children yourself, talk to people who do. Facebook is a great place to ask questions like this and you will find you will get loads of interaction and friends eager to give you their thoughts on this kind of topic.

Mix it up. You need girls and boys and you need to reflect society as it is today. Emily works at a Church of England funded school, but she has pupils from all faiths, of all colours and with many different home-life situations – working parents, unemployed parents, two dads, guardians, step-parents. Not just with children, make all your characters real, bring modern-day living to life. We don’t all speak the same. We don’t all look the same. Embrace all those qualities in your writing. Diversity is so exciting!

Keep it real. Make sure your child characters are absolutely true to their age range. Make their dialogue fit. They are not always going to talk in full, grammatically correct sentences. For me, dialogue always has to be true to the character, not to the grammar. I’ve altered many things after a proofreader has said it isn’t grammatically correct. It has to read the way your character would actually say it if he/she was standing in front of you. Read it aloud! How does it sound then? Like the child, it’s supposed to reflect? Or not?

I hope these tips have been useful and I really hope you love meeting the children from Stretton Park Primary School because they are ready to give you a Christmas to remember!

#MandyBaggot

Mandy Baggot is an internationally bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian. Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Four Christmases and a Secret Zara Stoneley 5*#Review @0neMoreChapter_ @ZaraStoneley #FestiveRead #Christmas @rararesources #Romance #Friendship #Secrets #RomCom #PublicationDay #BookReview #BlogTour

#FourChristmasesandaSecret

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Except for Daisy Christmas means another of Uncle T’s dreaded Christmas parties, complete with Christmas jumper and flashing antlers.  And Oliver Cartwright.  Gorgeous Oliver Cartwright. Who she hates.

Every year Daisy has to face insufferable Ollie and hear all about how BRILLIANT he is.  Whereas Daisy has no job, no man and no idea how to fix things.

This Christmas however Daisy is determined things will be different.  There will be no snogging Ollie under the mistletoe like when they were teenagers.  No, this year she’ll show Ollie that she’s a Responsible Adult too.
 
But as the champagne corks pop, and the tinsel sparkles, Uncle T has news of his own to share…and it could change Daisy’s life forever…

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I received a copy of this book from One More Chapter in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A lovely emotional life journey with amusing and heartwarming family interaction, romance, laugh out loud moments and some life-altering poignant events and secrets. Christmas is the time when families and friends come together, not always successfully. Everything is intensified during the festive period,

Daisy’s story, as the title suggests, is told over four Christmases, focusing on an annual Christmas Eve party, at her honorary uncle’s bookshop and her interactions with Ollie. her friend since childhood.

The plot is well-paced. and the secrets are successfully interwoven into the story for dramatic impact, but it’s the characters who make this special.

Daisy is lovely, self-effacing. and easy to like. She is comparable to the ‘Bridget Jones’ character, as she draws you into her life, and lets you experience the lows, high and outrageousness of it. The cast of characters are also believable and vital, they are so well -written, it is easy to visual them.

The beauty of this book is its vivid imagery, as I read, I can see the scene playing out and the characters within it, and this makes it addictive, easy reading. Whilst, Christmas is an important element in the book, it is not just a festive read.

This is a journey of self-realisation for Daisy, significant events turn her into someone who lets things happen because she doesn’t feel worthy enough to stop them. As the story progresses. through the four Christmases, so does her self-development and character maturity. It’s this that makes this a heartwarming, satisfying read, with the bonus of romance, friendship, laughter and tears.

Zara Stoneley is the USA Today bestselling author of ‘The Wedding Date’.

She lives in a Cheshire village with her family, a lively cockapoo called Harry, and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat called Saffron.

Born in a small village in the UK, Zara wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up. After many (many) years and many different jobs, her dream of writing a bestseller came true. She now writes about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hopes that her tales make you laugh a lot, cry a little, and occasionally say ‘ahhh’.

Zara’s bestselling novels include ‘Bridesmaids’, ‘No One Cancels Christmas’, ‘The Wedding Date’, ‘The Holiday Swap’, ‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’, ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ and the popular Tippermere series – ‘Stable Mates’, ‘Country Affairs’ and ‘Country Rivals’.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense

The Colour of Death Elizabeth Davies 4*#Review @bethsbooks @rararesources #ParanormalRomance #suspense #blogtour #BookReview #vampire #TheColours

“Mad, bad and dangerous to know.”

Olivia Parr doesn’t believe her ability to see auras is a gift. It hasn’t exactly done her any favours. Quite the opposite, in fact. Having become something of a loner, she tries to avoid people and the glow surrounding them, preferring to view life through the lens of a camera, where she can’t see those telltale colours.

But when a rare visit to a theatre ends in death and bloodshed, Olivia’s life is about to become considerably more complicated.

During the mayhem, one man stands out, and not just because he seems oblivious to the terrible carnage. The reason? He has no aura.

But everyone has an aura, right?

Everyone.

Except for the dead.

Not only is she fascinated and intrigued by this strange, compelling man, in the aftermath of the tragedy she gains a protector; a man whose aura is deep, dark red – the colour of blood.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

MyThoughts…

A lovely mix of paranormal, mystery, suspense and passion, with a historical connection that gives the story authenticity and depth. The use of a well known infamous historical character as the antagonist is clever, his documented personality traits fit well with this story, and give it a believable menace.

The action scenes are well-written. and vividly described, they convey the sense of danger and mayhem perfectly and make the paranormal world the author has created within normality believable.

Olivia is a fighter, she’s had to be. suffering appalling bullying since childhood, and lack of family support since they discovered her gift or curse, as she believes it to be. She is likeable, and you want her to succeed, and find happiness.

Olivia apparent unawareness of the paranormal, is ironic, considering her paranormal skill. This may in part, be due to being told by her family, and the numerous medics she has seen that she has a neurological condition.

The interaction with Crow is intriguing, he is on a mission, but finds the time to offer his protection to Olivia, even though she doesn’t want it. Their relationship is a slow burn, barely friends, but there is something there, that may grow.

This is a dark story and the menace increases with the story’s progression. There is an element of noir humour, which people often use to make sense of something that is not quantifiable in human terms, this works well.

Paranormal stories have dipped in popularity, but this is not a lighthearted story of vampires, but one grounded in history and legend, and it paves the way for an exciting series.

Elizabeth Davies is a paranormal author, whose books have a romantic flavour with more than a hint of suspense. And death. There’s usually death…

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