Poppy is looking forward to spending her first Christmas in France at her boyfriend, Leo’s, Château. And as the snow falls softly around the dramatic castle, Poppy can’t think of anything more magical.
There are new traditions to discover, a cosy Christmas market to explore and best of all, a promise of secret treasure hunt from gorgeous Leo. Only family pressure and uncertainty about her future in France can threaten to cast a shadow over the holiday.
When the treasure hunt takes an unexpected turn Poppy knows for sure this is one Christmas she’ll remember forever.
I received a copy of this book from One More Chapter in return for an honest review.
A charming sequel to Poppy’s Place in the Sun, its almost Christmas, and Poppy is looking forward to Christmas at the Chateau with Leo. Poppy is in love and suffering from all the insecurities that go with that state of mind. Her emails with her friend keep her positive, which is just as well as her mother is less than supportive.
There are lovely animals in this story, which provide humour and sentimental moments. The story is incredibly romantic and manages to tell a lovely festive tale in a few pages. This allows the reader to experience a Christmas story, in a short time, which makes it perfect for the commute to work, or when you have an hour or so to spare.
I have read most of this author’s books, which always have lovely settings, strong romance, and often an animal or two to complete the treat, this one is no exception and is a perfect festive read.
Lorraine Wilson writes flirty, feel-good fiction for One More Chapter – a Harper Collins imprint – and is unashamedly fond of happy endings. She loves hearing from readers and feels incredibly grateful to be doing the job she always dreamt of.
She splits her time between the South of France and Cambridgeshire and is usually either writing or reading while being sat on, walked over or barked at by one of her growing band of rescue dogs.
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the link above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
She’s setting the terms… In business and pleasure!
Lucas Waring was my brother’s best friend—before he broke my heart and betrayed my family. Yet one glance from those dark, intense eyes, and that bolt of aching need returns. Now Lucas wants my business. But the nice Eva he knew is gone forever and naughty Eva wants her cake, and a taste of deliciously hot Lucas, too. Only my heart’s about to pull the biggest betrayal of all…
I received copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
A seductive festive treat with heartfelt emotion, sensual romance, and a strong female protagonist. There is real character development in this story, which reflects on the event when Eva was eighteen, and how much she has changed ten years on. Yet her passion for Lucas remains stronger than ever. External conflict is strong in this romance, but Eva wants the truth and is determined that this time, everything will be on her terms.
The romance is sizzling and sensual, hotly pursued by the couple’s emotional attachment, which makes this romance endearing, even though, on one level, it is all about the physical attraction. The plot is well- written and the writing style in the first-person point of view, from both protagonists, makes it immediate and believable.
The perfect stocking filler this Christmas.
Rachael Stewart adores conjuring up stories for the readers of Harlequin Mills & Boon and Deep Desires Press, with tales varying from the heart-warmingly romantic to the wildly erotic.
Despite a degree in Business Studies and spending many years in the corporate world, the desire to become an author never waned and it’s now her full-time pleasure, a dream come true.
A Welsh lass at heart, she now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children, and if she’s not glued to her laptop, she’s wrapped up in them or enjoying the great outdoors seeking out inspiration.
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the link above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Can Josiah solve the puzzle before more people die, or is he out of his depth?
In 1841, at the height of the
industrial revolution in the North West of England, Josiah Ainscough returns
from his travels and surprises everyone by joining the Stockport Police Force,
rather than following his adopted father’s footsteps into the Methodist
While Josiah was abroad, five men
died in an explosion at the Furness Vale Powder Mill. Was this an accident or
did the Children of Fire, a local religious community, have a hand in it. As
Josiah struggles to find his vocation, his investigation into the Children of
Fire begins. But his enquiries are derailed by the horrific crucifixion of the
Now Josiah must race against time
to solve the puzzle of the violence loose in the Furness Vale before more
people die. This is complicated by his affections for Rachael, a leading member
of the Children of Fire, and the vivacious Aideen Hayes, a visitor from
Can Josiah put together the
pieces of the puzzle, or is he out of his depth? Children of Fire won the
Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Prize for 2017
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
A curious mix of the historical fiction and murder mystery genres. The story is rich in historical detail and has a well-plotted murder mystery. The suspects are plentiful and the murders are vividly written. Josiah is a complex detective, who is ambitious, with secrets of his own.
The setting of the story in Victorian England, in an industrial setting, is of intrinsic interest, and the focus on a radical religious group explores, prejudice, religion and the communities that evolved, in the wake of the industrial revolution.
Its originality is appealing and it will suit those who appreciate historical fiction with a contemporary dash of a murder mystery.
His latest novel, Children of Fire,
is a Victorian murder mystery set in 1841 at the height of the industrial
revolution. It won the Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Award in November 2017 and
is published by The Book Guild Ltd.
Paul lives near Manchester in the northwest of
England. Children of Fire is set against the hills of the Peak District as well
as the canals and other industrial infrastructure of the Cottonopolis know as
the City of Manchester.
Harry is a mischievous young dog,
adored by his family, Dad and Mum, Maisie (8) and Max (5). When the family
leave him on his own he creates chaos. Dad demands, “That bad dog must
go!” Alone and sad in bed that evening, Max asks, “Can anyone
help?” How will the Thunkies respond to his call?
I received a copy of this book from the authors in return for an honest review
The family dog or dogs are an integral part of many households, but dogs are pack animals, and many integration problems arise from the dog being unclear about their role in the family.
This beautifully illustrated and cleverly written picture book uses a team of cartoon characters, each with a specific role to help educate a family about their dog’s behaviour when they leave him home alone.
The story is fun to read for adults and their children, and the advice is delivered in bite-size amounts. Using illustrations and short written paragraphs, making the narrative easy to understand.
I like the positive ethos of this story, which reinforces the idea, that things are not always perfect the first time. Sometimes, you have to work at understanding how someone thinks before you can live or work together in harmony.
A well written and engagingly illustrated picture book. Delivers advice in a fun, easy to understand way, about living with our animal friends. I look forward to the next book in the series.
Jerry Rhodes’ life-long research and teaching is the inspiration behind ‘Home Alone Harry’, this first book in a series for children featuring the cartoon characters, Thunkies®. After completing his degree and teacher training at Oxford University, Jerry’s career as a school-master was cut short by polio. He changed course to a management career in industry, discovered his talents for creativity, and formed his worldwide consultancy to collaborate with international organisations. A special project with Philips led to the discovery of ‘Thinking-Intentions’, to which he has now given the playful name, Thunkies®. Jerry writes his books from his weather-beaten old farmhouse in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds.
Rachael Messiter, a Dog Listener, uses the approach
known as Amichien® Bonding pioneered by Jan Fennell. Rachael has her own
practice, Talking Paws, based in Staffordshire. Previously she lived with
wolves for close on two years in Colorado, USA, to learn how packs work. She
has identified a group of issues that dog owners experience that are due to the
well-meaning but flawed behaviours of owners, rather than ‘nuisance’ dogs. How
to properly avoid and resolve such troublesome issues will be the theme of each
book in the series Thunkies® love Dogs.
Nicky Hill is an illustrator and storyteller from
Winterbourne near Bristol. Her artwork is featured throughout the Thunkies®
Love Dogs books, bringing a bright, vibrant style that captures the
imagination. A great lover of animals both wild and domestic, Nicky also
illustrates and writes her own series of books about ‘The Wotton Pack’; a group
of inquisitive pooches who spend their days and nights having many adventures.
She currently lives with her own pack of three dogs in Wotton-under-Edge, a
small town in Gloucestershire, where she also co-runs the shop called ‘The
Izzy is a seven-year-old girl who lives in Ireland and loves all sport, especially Gaelic Football.
Izzy plays football with her brothers on a regular basis in their back garden and dreams of playing for her county in the All Ireland Ladies Football Final in Croke Park when she is older.
One day, Izzy puts on her great grandmother’s bracelet, which is made of old All Ireland medals that her great grandmother won a long time ago, and something unexpected and magical happens, which may make Izzy’s Croke Park dream a reality sooner than she expected…
I received a copy of book from the author in return for an honest review.
A lovely family story, about believing in yourself and your dreams, and practice makes perfect.
Izzy regularly plays Gaelic football with her three brothers, and despite trying hard, is often on the losing side, which is frustrating and makes her unpopular with her teammate brother. Banished to her room, when she has a tantrum, she finds her grandmother’s bracelet, and then with a little magic, she sees what the future could be.
The characters are relatable, the adventure full of magic and motivation, and the illustrations follow the action beautifully. The introduction to Gaelic football is interesting, for those who are not familiar with it, and the story is pitched appropriately for the intended age group.
I read the electronic version of this, but the illustrations are clear and still enjoyable.
My name is Emma Larkin, and I am the founder of “Emma Larkin Books” and “Rebel in Kerry Press”. I have recently written and published my first book “Izzy’s Magical Football Adventure”, and I hope to write many more books about Izzy and her adventures in sport. As may be evident from the name of my publishing imprint, I am a “Rebel in Kerry”! This means that I am originally from County Cork in Ireland, which is known as the Rebel County, but I moved to Kerry (another county in Ireland which neighbours Cork) in 2006 and have been happily living in Kerry since then, with my husband and four children. My husband is a Kerry native and we live in North Kerry, near Listowel, where my husband is from and is an area which is rich in literary history!
I have always enjoyed reading and
writing. Writing essays was my favourite part of primary school!
In my spare time, I love to run. I am very involved in my local park run in Listowel. I also coach ladies’ football at underage level with my local ladies’ football club and did attempt to play ladies football for a few years with my local “Gaelic4Mothers&Others Team”! I may not have been the greatest football player, but I could run! And it was an hour each week where I could exercise in a fun environment with a fantastic group of women, who I remain friends with to this day.
My inspiration to write this book was my grandmother, Maureen Hennebry, née Cashman. She was on the Cork camogie team which won the All-Ireland Camogie Championship three times in a row between 1939 and 1941. She came from a family rich in GAA history, the Cashman’s of Blackrock in Cork, and is even mentioned in the following poem by the famous Irish poet, Patrick Kavanagh:
Camogie Match –Patrick Kavanagh 1905 – 1967
Bright shone the sunlight on Peggy and Doreen
Wild swung the ash sticks. Be careful astoreen;
Josie is getting into her stride now,
Kathleen is hurling with all her Cork
A shout from the side-line: Mark your
man, Kathleen Cody.
Kathleen pucks it. I tell you that puck was a dotie.
The game is exciting, it is indeed
Maureen Cashman is tackling the bold
Ide O’Kiely …
In hindsight, I am in awe of the fact
that my grandmother and her teammates played camogie at such a high level at a
time in Ireland, where a woman’s role was predominantly to be a wife and
homemaker. Which comes to my reason for writing this book, my grandmother was
my inspiration to write it, but my reason for writing it was to encourage all
young girls to play sports. It is crucial for our wellbeing and development and
we need to make it as normal for girls to play sport as it is for boys. The
growing popularity of women’s sports in Ireland and further afield is so
encouraging and we need to continue to develop this. As the current 20*20
campaign says, “if she can’t see it, she can’t be it”. I hope that my book can
in some way help to normalise girls playing football and that both boys and
girls will enjoy reading about Izzy’s adventures!
Visit the following websites for more information;
‘Writing Fiction is a little
pot of gold… Screenplay by Syd
Field for film, Writing Fiction
by James Essinger for fiction. It’s that simple.’
novelist and screenwriter
Fiction – a user-friendly guide is a must-read if you want to write stories to a professional standard.
It draws on the author’s more
than thirty years of experience as a professional writer, and on the work and
ideas of writers including:
Martin Cruz Smith
The twenty-four chapters cover every important matter you need to know about, including devising a compelling story, creating and developing characters, plotting, ‘plants’, backstory, suspense, dialogue, ‘show’ and ‘tell’, and how to make your novel more real than reality.
Also featuring special guest advice from legendary screenwriter Bob Gale, who wrote the three immortal Back to the Future movies (1985, 1989 and 1990), and novelist and screenwriter William Osborne, whose many screen credits include the co-writing of the blockbuster Twins (1988), this highly entertaining book gives you all the advice and practical guidance you need to make your dream of becoming a published fiction writer come true.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
What I like about this non-fiction guide, to writing fiction is that is presented in a logical easy to use way. Beginning, with what the author considers fiction to be. Moving through a chapter by chapter guide to the fundamentals of fiction writing, with examples of why they are important, with input from industry professionals.
It covers a wide spectrum of fiction, and includes interesting analogies with screenwriting. This isn’t a workbook. There are examples, but no specific exercises for new writers to judge their content by. However, as an overall guide, and a useful reference book, for fiction writers, learning, or perfecting their craft it works.
The tone of the book is motivational, and the author’s experience and knowledge of the publishing industry are evident.
James Essinger has been a professional writer since 1988. His non-fiction books include Jacquard’s Web (2004), Ada’s Algorithm (2013), which is to be filmed by Monumental Pictures, and Charles and Ada: the computer’s most passionate partnership (2019). His novels include The Mating Game (2016) and The Ada Lovelace Project (2019).
Whitechapel is being gentrified. The many green spaces of the area, which typify London as a capital city, give the illusion of tranquillity and clean air but are also places to find drug dealers, sexual encounters and murder…
Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula doesn’t dislike Inspector Matthew Merry but he has hardly set the world of the Murder Investigation Team East alight. And, it looks as if the inspector is already putting the death of the young female jogger, found in the park with fatal head injuries, down to a mugging gone wrong. The victim deserves more. However, the inspector isn’t ruling anything out – the evidence will, eventually, lead him to an answer.
Is this story inspired by a real event? If not, what are the inspirations behind this story?
Most of the ideas I have are sparked by incidents I’ve heard about or been involved in. However, they do get greatly adapted to fit the plot. For example, the idea to set the main narrative of The Fourth Victim in Whitechapel came from walking past Lehman Street police station and wondering what a modern-day Jack the Ripper might be like. It didn’t take me long to decide that the events if enacted today, would be more mundane – less sensational in this jaded age – and Jack would be psychoanalysed to death. Though he or she would, no doubt, be a Twitter celeb – at least for a day!
Given that I wanted to write something about how the police deal with mental health issues, and how this impacts on the nature of criminality and victimhood; then that ‘Whitechapel Ripper’ setting seemed to put everything into place.
Is it important to create memorable detectives in this genre? Why do think this is?
In general, I would say it is important to create a memorable team of detectives. Even if it is mainly a partnership – Morse had Lewis but also Dr Max DeBryn and Strange, while Poirot had Hastings and Japp. Although neither Morse nor Poirot could function in a modern police force. A better example would be Vera or Montalbano, both of whom have their teams and sidekicks. It is the people around the central character and their relationships which define them and make them memorable.
It is, therefore, necessary to create characters which are relatable, well-roundedhumans with flaws and inconsistencies. The interactions of these characters are what creates interest and bring the story alive. I tend to find ‘lone wolf’ characters unrealistic, especially in the police as these are organisations based on teamwork. If you consider some of the more modern ‘classic’ detectives, like Martin Beck or Wallander, they may not be the best team players but they are still part of a team and interact with them. This is as true of the criminals – no one is all good or all bad – and the victims. Both of which are often used as mere plot devices and quickly forgotten, while in reality, they are central to the crime.
Do your detectives have to be likeable? Why is this?
No, not essentially, in reality, how many of the detectives you read about would you want to spend an evening with (Holmes would be insufferable and Jimmy Perez would be maudlin)? I would say it is more important to make them understandable, to show their weaknesses and vulnerabilities as well as their strengths – this is what makes a character interesting and, hopefully, why people want to read about them.
Take Maigret or Elise Wassermann, these characters only become likeable once you start to understand their backgrounds and relationships. Both these characters might seem to be the typical ‘lone wolf’ detective but neither would be anything more than a cypher until you realise that Maigret needs his wife to give him a strong anchor in life and Wassermann, who is autistic, is really doing her utmost to fit in. Otherwise, neither of them would be particularly likeable.
Do you draw your characters from real life, your imagination, or are they a mix of both? How do you make your characters realistic?
Sometimes, someone, I come across sparks an idea for a character and, at other times, I realise a character I have written reminds me of someone I know. But, on the whole, I find the characters develop a life of their own – once you have a few basic characteristics defined for a character it is surprising how complex they can become.
What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?
I enjoy books that teach me something: whether it is about writing technique, a moment in history or life in general.
Treasure Island is technically the best book ever written. Not a word is wasted, the plot is fast-paced, the characters are well rounded and every scene comes to life. Which is quite a feat?
Though I like anything by PG Woodhouse for his wordplay, and CJ Sansom and C Hibbert for their impeccable research.
These days I generally read crime fiction – usually, police procedurals – and the masters of this genre are Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö who wrote the Martin Beck series.
What are you currently writing?
Having decided to write a trilogy based on the Metropolitan Police’s Major Investigation Team East – who deal with murders in modern-day East End of London – I have discovered this is actually a ‘trilogy’ in four parts. And I am currently working on the final two parts of this series, the second book in the series – Geraldine – is being published at the end of September.
However, I am also working on the plot of another book, an allegorical story of modern life. It’s about a paranoid white suprematist who befriends a homeless Muslim woman – now if I can pull that off who knows what will come next …
What are the best and the worst things about being a writer?
I absolutely love the act of writing, editing and all aspects of the process – I become totally absorbed by it. Unfortunately, because I am naturally lazy, I completely hate the thought of having to start writing, editing or anything else connected with the process, and do all I can to put it off.
Life is full of contradictions.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
The iconic setting of Whitechapel for this book puts you in the correct frame of mind for murder. Although this part of the EastEnd of London, is much changed, it seems the possibility of a serial killer is an uncomfortable echo of its gruesome past.
Detective Inspector Merry, who on the surface is anything but, and Detective Sergeant Lukula make an interesting an investigating duo. The other members of the murder investigating team are also distinctive, and despite their personality differences, the team functions well.
This is a character-driven police procedural, with well-drawn realistic characters whose multiple human frailties make them authentic. The plot gives heavier emphasis on the police team’s personal lives than is usual in a police procedural. This adds interest to the more routine parts of the story, but for some will detract from the main storyline.
The investigation of the crimes is detailed and well researched. There is also a mental health theme in this story, which is contemporary, and again, shows copious research.
The plot has twists and false information, and the ending draws everything together in a satisfying way.
John was born in the mid-fifties in East
London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first
pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now
taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life
working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a
senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young
people with physical and mental health needs.
He has travelled extensively, from
America to Tibet, and he enjoys visiting the theatre, reading and going to the
pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that he is an avid ‘people watcher’ and loves
to find out about people, their lives, culture and history. When he is not
travelling, going to the theatre or the pub; he writes.
Many of the occurrences recounted and
the characters found in his novels are based on real incidents and people he
has come across. Although he has allowed himself a wide degree of poetic
licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the
killings that are depicted.
John is currently working on a series of novels set in modern-day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city.