Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Suspense

Her Last Holiday C.L.Taylor 4* #Review @callytaylor @AvonBooksUK #HerLastHoliday #BookReview #psychsuspense #suspense

You come to Soul Shrink to be healed. You don’t expect to die.

Two years ago, Fran’s sister Jenna disappeared on a wellness retreat in Gozo that went terribly wrong.

Tom Wade, the now infamous man behind Soul Shrink Retreats, has just been released from prison after serving his sentence for the deaths of 2 people. But he has never let on what happened to the third suspected victim: Jenna.

Determined to find out the truth, Fran books herself onto his upcoming retreat – the first since his release – and finds herself face to face with the man who might hold the key to her sister’s disappearance. The only question is, will she escape the retreat alive? Or does someone out there want Jenna’s secrets to stay hidden?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Atmospheric, claustrophobic and intriguing best describe this psychological suspense told from three female viewpoints in dual timelines. Fran is seeking answers for her sister’s disappearance at a wellness retreat two years previously. The sisters are not close, Fran being much older, and the family dynamic comes across as toxic.

The story has many twists, and all the women have issues making them unreliable protagonists. The story’s lynchpin is Tom, the leader of the retreat who is multifaceted and keeps secrets. This is an addictive book with mostly unlikeable characters, but this doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable read that keeps the reader’s attention with its well-paced reveals and unexpected conclusion.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

Shooting Stars Over Bluebell Cliff Della Galton 5*#Review @DellaGalton @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #Family #UpLit #Romance #Dating #RealityTV #Dreams #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers

There’s someone out there for everyone… you just need to know where to look…

All NEW from bestselling author Della Galton.

Unlucky in love Poppy Allen is the producer of a brand-new TV show, ‘Date for a Day’ – think ‘Take Me Out’ meets ‘It’s a Knockout’!

Lovelorn contestants must perform a series of seaside challenges to win the hand of the starring lady and a ‘Date for a Day’.

Left heartbroken when Stephen, her childhood sweetheart eloped with her best friend on her hen night – Poppy has no plans to risk her own heart again. Besides, she’s far too busy filming contestants against the backdrop of the beautiful Bluebell Cliff Hotel and the stunning Jurassic Dorset coastline.

However, when sabotage on set threatens to stop shooting, Poppy discovers soulmates can be found in the most unexpected places…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Set on the Dorset coast, this book focuses on Poppy, a film producer and a pilot for a reality TV dating show. This is topical contemporary fiction, and whilst I am not a fan of reality TV, going behind the scenes with Poppy and her film crew makes this absorbing reading.

Poppy is career orientated after being practically jilted at the altar. She has a supportive family who we discover lots about and good work friends, particularly Dave, her camera director. At the heart of this story is a lovely gentle friends-to-lovers romance that is heartwarming. There is also plenty of family drama which adds to the story and shows what a loving and loyal person Poppy is. The filming of the pilot of the Dating reality show is interesting full of humour and conflict, which adds authenticity to the story. The setting at Bluebell cliff brings cameos from some well-known characters and a wonderfully described setting.

This is a lovely, uplifting story, with family drama, glamour and romance.

Extract from Shooting Stars Over Bluebell Cliff – Della Galton

Poppy Allen took a gulp of the fresh, brine-scented air and shielded her eyes against the winter sunshine as she looked out across the strip of pale sand. It was warm for February and the sea was flat and calm. She wasn’t the only one making the most of the stunning early-morning weather. Out in the bay, a small boat towed a waterskier in a black wetsuit past Old Harry Rocks. He bounced across the navy sea and Poppy could hear the distant drone of the boat’s engine beneath the mewling cries of the gulls. 

Her ankle boots sank into the powdery sand as she twirled slowly around. Wow, this was a beautiful location to film. In her mind’s eye, she saw a pair of chestnut horses cantering in slow motion through the surf into a sunset that painted the sky pink and gold and turned the sea all around into a mirror of rose-tinted glass. 

Which way was west? She checked her smartphone. Oh God, it was perfect. The sun would set over Brownsea Island. They might be able to use this very stretch of beach for that part of her show. 

People raved about Dorset’s beaches. Bournemouth drew the crowds, but, in her opinion, Studland Beach was better. It was wilder, with no neat prom and no pier. Just a backdrop of sand dunes dotted with scrubby grass that stretched away into the distance. It was so much more romantic than its staid sister, Bournemouth, certainly for what she had in mind. 

Date for a Day, a new kind of dating show, was Poppy’s brainchild. Billed as a cross between Take Me Out and It’s a Knockout, it involved seven contestants participating in challenges to win the attention of the picker. Netflix had commissioned a pilot that would be shown in the autumn. Poppy was determined to make it a hit. Being a producer was all she’d ever wanted to do and she was passionate about her work. 

Poppy turned back towards the chain ferry, which was docking again. It came from Sandbanks three times an hour and the crossing took four minutes. From her flat on Poole Quay, it was quicker to come by ferry. The alternative was a very scenic forty-minute drive (on a good day) through Wareham and the Isle of Purbeck. 

The ferry disgorged a handful of cars from the 9 a.m. crossing. She had got the one before. She never slept much past dawn anyway. Dave would probably be on this one. It had been tricky to get him to agree to such an early start, especially as he was – technically – working for nothing today. This was a pre-recce excursion, prior to bringing in her full crew. She could have done it by herself, but she wanted a sounding board and Dave had agreed to keep her company after she’d caught him in a weak moment last week following a shoot. 

She’d known Dave Blackwell for a lot longer than he’d been her preferred director of photography – they had worked for other production companies together before she’d set up her own, Beauty Spot Productions, eighteen months ago, and they’d become good friends. There was no one she trusted more to help her bring her dream to life. 

Poppy felt a prickle of excitement run down her back as she looked around her. It might be too busy to film here, but there were other more secluded, even more beautiful, beaches in this bay. 

She glanced back towards the National Trust car park and saw Dave’s old black Mercedes pulling in and parking beside her metallic-silver Jeep Renegade. Too impatient to wait, she set off to meet him. 

Della Galton

Della Galton is the author of many books, including Ice and a Slice.  She writes short stories, teaches writing groups and is Agony Aunt for Writers Forum Magazine.  She lives in Dorset. Della’s new fiction series launched with Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff in May 2020.

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Read my review of Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff

Read my review of Moonlight Over Studland Bay

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Literary Humour, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Primrose Park Christie Barlow 5* #Review @ChristieJBarlow @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources #PrimrosePark #BlogBlitz #BookReview #LoveHeartLane #Humour #Romance #romcom #weekendreads

Vet Molly has always been career driven and focused on caring for her animals, but when she meets a gorgeous Mystery Man at a conference and their connection is off the charts, well, one night off work won’t hurt anyone…except the next morning he’s vanished and all Molly knows about him is his first name.

Three months later, back in Love Heart Lane, everyone loves the story of Molly’s amazing one-night stand.  It’s so unlike her! But when Mystery Man turns up walking his dog through Primrose Park and their night together seems to mean nothing to him, Molly needs her friends and neighbours more than ever. And especially when she’s left with the most unexpected of surprises…

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

Molly, the vet, is the focus for this story, set in and about the lovely village of Heartcross and the iconic Primose Park, where characters often meet. Even though it’s the sixth book in this lovely uplifting series, it reads well as a standalone. Each book focuses on a previously unexplored main protagonist.

Career-driven Molly has an uncharacteristic and unforgettable one night with Cam, who disappears afterwards without a word. They meet again in the park, but it’s not the dramatic reconciliation Molly wishes for.

This story is full of heartache and surprises. Molly needs to solve the mystery surrounding Cam. Contemporary issues are interwoven into the more lighthearted storylines, which give this story an authenticity that makes it enjoyable.

Christie Barlow

Christie Barlow is the number one international bestselling author of fifteen romantic comedies including the iconic Love Heart Lane Series, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Kitty’s Countryside Dream. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.

Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 international bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.

When Christie isn’t writing she co-presents The Book Show on Radio Northwich, enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.

Christie is an ambassador for the @ZuriProject alongside Patron of the charity, Emmerdale’s Bhasker Patel. They raise money and awareness for communities in Uganda.

Christie loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Janey Trelawney’s Year of Surprising Triumphs Georgia Hill 5* #Review @georgiawrites @rararesources #Gardening #RomCom #Devon #BlogTour #BookReview

Janey’s life becomes more disaster movie than romcom when the ruthless Becca steams in to manage Cheney House. Her job as head gardener in peril and her self-confidence in tatters, Janey must fight back. Finding an ally in Will, who’s more Clark Kent than Superman, it’s up to them to save the day while owner Clare is away having her Shirley Valentine moment. It doesn’t help that everyone is in love with the wrong people!

Why can’t people love the one who loves them back?

Will Cheney House survive – and will Janey ever get her When Harry Met Sally happy ending?

Find out in this warm-hearted romance from the author of the best-selling Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Café, full of Gregory Peck look-a-likes, snowdrops, cake, and a cocker spaniel called Camilla.

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

My Thoughts…

Such a lovely uplifting read with a likeable and relatable main protagonist who really brings the story to life. Janey is the head gardener who loves her job and being at one with nature, she has a secret passion for a fellow worker, but it goes unrequited. The arrival of a new manager causes friction and heartache for Janey mitigated only by the numbers guy ​who has hidden depths.

This well-plotted story is set in a vibrant location with quirky characters and lots of information about plants. The romance is gentle, the humour delightful, and the conflict and drama make this addictive reading.

Georgia Hill

Georgia Hill writes warm-hearted and up-lifting contemporary and timeslip romances about love, the power and joy in being an eccentric oldie and finding yourself and your community. There’s always a dog. It’s usually a naughty spaniel of which, unfortunately, she has had much experience. Her books are firmly rooted in small seaside towns similar to the one she lives in and she loves history especially when it insists on rearing up and battering at the present.

As a child she had an invisible friend called Gonky who lived on the third stair from the bottom. As an adult her invisible friends inhabit her head and refuse to leave until she commits them to paper. Readers of her books can escape into a warm bath of words and, no matter what challenges her characters face they will, ultimately, have a happy ending.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, New Books

Lost Property Helen Paris 5* #Review @drhelenparis @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #LiteraryFiction #SelfDiscovery #Memories #Loss #Family #Friendship #Forgiveness #MentalHealth #uplit #LostProperty

Dot’s life has become a bit stuck. The big dreams she once had are beginning to fade away as she works each day in the Baker Street Lost Property office. Until one day someone enters her life and unlocks a new determination inside her. After all, everything that’s lost belongs somewhere. Maybe now it’s Dot’s turn to be found…

Twelve years ago her life veered off course, and the guilt over what happened still haunts her. Before then she was living in Paris, forging an exciting career; now her time is spent visiting her mother’s care home, fielding interfering calls from her sister and working at the London Transport Lost Property office, diligently cataloguing items as misplaced as herself.

But when elderly Mr Appleby arrives in search of his late wife’s purse, his grief stirs something in Dot. Determined to help, she sets off on a mission – one that could start to heal Dot’s own loss and let her find where she belongs once more…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A poignant and ultimately uplifting exploration of family, forgiveness, loss and memories. This gently paced story focuses on Dot, a young woman seemingly sidelined by life, but why? She is easy to empathise with, as she stumbles through life, with her keen insight, self-deprecating humour and sense of guilt.

The workings of a busy lost property office are vividly given life in this story, as every lost item has a history and is a cause of humour or sadness seen through Dot’s eyes. The structure and writing style are conducive to easy reading and immerse the reader in the characters and plot.

Contemporary issues concerning family, loss and mental health are woven into this lovely story, which follows Dot’s emotional journey of self-realisation to its positive conclusion and the realisation that some things are meant to be left behind.

Helen Paris

Helen Paris worked in the performing arts for two decades, touring internationally with her London-based theatre company Curious. After several years living in San Francisco and working as a theatre professor at Stanford University, she returned to the UK to focus on writing fiction.

As part of her research for a performance called ‘Lost & Found’, Paris shadowed employees in the Baker Street Lost Property office for a week, an experience that sparked her imagination and inspired this novel.

Lost Property is her first novel.

A note from Helen:

“Although entirely a work of fiction Lost Property was influenced by the short time I spent in Lost Property,
Baker Street shadowing different employees as research for a performance. Whether it’s a designer bag left in the back of a black cab or a woolly scarf forgotten on the number 44 bus, loss touches all of us. It is pervasive, and it never ends – as Dot Watson might say, ‘It’s reliable like that.’

I have always been fascinated by the memories that objects hold, how even the most every day object – a pipe, a bag, a small purse – can help us recall a place or a person or a particular time in life. Objects can be totemic, portals to the past. Tactile memory – the memories triggered by holding familiar objects – can be profound. Some objects almost let us time-travel back to the places we yearn to be, to the people no longer with us, and linger there, if only for a moment.”

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Murder Mystery, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Dial A For Aunties Jesse Sutanto 4*#Review @thewritinghippo @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #humour #romance #family #drama #PublicationDay #DialAForAunties #Women

When Meddy Chan accidentally kills her blind date, she turns to her aunties for help. Their meddling set her up on the date so they kind of owe her.

Although hiding this goddamn dead body is going to be harder than they thought, especially when her family’s wedding business has THE biggest wedding of the year happening right now.

 It turns out the wedding venue just happens to be managed by Meddy’s ex, aka the one who got away. It’s the worst time to see him again, or…is it? Can Meddy finally find love and make her overbearing family happy?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story is a multigenerational delight, full of humorous incidents and vibrant characters. It has a little of everything culture, drama, fun, murder mystery and romance. The family curse means Meddy feels she can’t leave her mother and aunties, as their husbands and sons have, but this has consequences for Meddy, which become clear as the story progresses.

This story is a journey of self-realisation for Meddy, who has changed the course of life for her female relatives. It also explores the concept of family and the willingness to do anything for a loved one. The visual writing style makes the comic and dramatic events easy to visualise and therefore more engaging. The dialogue is key to the enjoyment in a novel that is the perfect escape.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama, New Books, Noir

Games People Play Owen Mullen 4* #Review #PICharlieCameron @OwenMullen6 @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #boldwoodbooks #BlogTour #BookReview #Detective #MissingPersons #CrimeFiction #noir #MondayBlogs #GamesPeoplePlay #cantgiveupwontgivein

When a baby is stolen from a Scottish beach, private investigator Charlie Cameron reluctantly agrees to take the case.

While her parents are just yards away, thirteen-month-old Lily Hamilton is abducted from Ayr beach in Scotland. Three days later, her distraught father turns up at private investigator Charlie Cameron’s office. Mark Hamilton believes he knows who has taken his daughter. And why.

Against his better judgment, Charlie takes the case—and when bodies are discovered, he suspects this may not be an isolated crime. Is there a serial killer whose work has gone undetected for decades? Is baby Lily his latest victim? Charlie won’t be able to give up on this case. Memories and guilt from his childhood won’t let him… Owen Mullen is a best-selling author of psychological and gangland thrillers.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The story begins with a traumatic struggle for life followed by a sinister child abduction. Charlie Cameron is a successful private investigator with a tender heart. A past emotional trauma defines him, and he never takes cases involving children until now.

The first in the series introduces the reader to Charlie, his friends and his clients. The writing style draws the reader into his world, and it’s easy to imagine the characters and setting, which makes this addictive and engaging.

The plot is full of clues, false leads and complex, often toxic relationships. It showcases the best and worst of humanity in a heartrending and poignant way. Charlie is a dedicated and diligent investigator. Driven by his emotions and past experiences, he understands human nature and the devastation of a lack of closure and loss. His empathy gives him important insight but at the risk of his wellbeing.

Aptly named, Games People Play is well-plotted noir suspense, with relatable characters and a likeable main protagonist.

Owen Mullen

Owen Mullen is a highly regarded crime author who splits his time between Scotland and the island of Crete.  In his earlier life he lived in London and worked as a musician and session singer. He has now written seven books and his first gangland thriller for Boldwood, Family  will be published in January 2021.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Humour, Romance

Finding Home Kate Field 4* #Review @katehaswords @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources #FamilyDrama #Romance #humour #BlogTour #Secrets #BookReview #Heartwarming #FindingHome

She might not have much in this world, but it cost nothing to be kind… 

Meet Miranda Brown: you can call her Mim. She’s jobless, homeless and living in her car… but with a history like hers she knows she has a huge amount to be grateful for.

Meet Beatrice and William Howard: Bill and Bea to you. The heads of the Howard family and owners of Venhallow Hall, a sprawling seaside Devonshire estate… stranded in a layby five hours from home the night before their niece’s wedding.

When fate brings the trio together, Mim doesn’t think twice before offering to drive the affable older couple home. It’s not like she has anywhere else to be. But as the car pulls into the picturesque village of Littlemead, Mim has no idea how her life is about to change…

An uplifting story of found family and true love.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Mim is currently homeless, but she still offers to help a couple whose car breaks down. This selfless act is a turning point for Mim. She is a relatable character with a kind heart but an understandable wary outlook. The Howard family positively changes her life, and she learns that their family isn’t perfect and that relationships need work to flourish.

This is a character-driven story with believable family dynamics and authentic characters. Mim’s relationship with Corin intensifies as they get to know each other, and these two characters experience the most notable character development.

A heartwarming and poignant story.

Kate Field

Kate writes contemporary women’s fiction, mainly set in her favourite county of Lancashire,where she lives with her husband, daughter and mischievous cat. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Kate’s debut novel, The Magic of Ramblings, won the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Medical Romance, Romance

The Cornish Midwife Jo Bartlett 4*#Review @J_B_Writer @BoldwoodBooks #BlogTour @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #Cornwall #Coastal #BookReview #TheCornishMidwife

WELCOME TO THE BEAUTIFUL SEASIDE TOWN OF PORT AGNES.

A fresh start…

Midwife Ella Mehenick left the small Cornish town of Port Agnes for London and never looked back. But when her seemingly perfect life crashes down around her, there’s only one place she can heal her battered heart – the place she once called home. 

A new arrival…

Ella is quickly welcomed into the small community midwife team and loves her new job caring for mums and their precious babies – it’s what she does best! But being back also means facing ex-flame Dan Ferguson…the first man to break her heart. 

A second chance at love?

Dan is still as gorgeous as ever, but he’s never forgiven Ella for leaving. And now she’s back it’s clear that there is unfinished business between them. As Ella settles into her new/old life, she can’t stop the memories of how she once loved Dan so completely – and maybe never stopped.

Maybe coming home to Cornwall is Ella’s chance to love again…

Meet The Cornish Midwives of Port Agnes- where community, friendship and love are always delivered.

This book was previously published as Return to Port Agnes.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This book has the perfect balance of drama, humour and romance to keep me turning the pages. Ella returns home to heal after her engagement ends disastrously. She wants to hide, but the community at Port Agnes won’t allow that and draw her into their close-knit, and for the most part, comforting world.

The immersive writing style is engaging, and the characters are relatable. The vividly depicted Cornish setting has memorable characters. The author highlights contemporary issues that affect coastal communities adding authenticity.

The community midwives team give the story its focus, with many heartwarming and poignant moments. There is a sense of camaraderie that is believable. Ella’s life in Port Agnes is about second chances, new and rekindled friendships, a rebuilding of self-esteem and romantic possibilities with the man she left behind.

This is a lovely story.

Jo Bartlett is the bestselling author of nineteen women’s fiction titles. She fits her writing in between her two day jobs as an educational consultant and university lecturer and lives with her family and three dogs on the Kent coast. Boldwood is publishing the first title in The Cornish Midwife Series – part of a twelve-book deal – in April 2021.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Photographed in the Writer’s Room Michelle Price 4* #Review @MichelleLEPrice @rararesources #RomCom #Celebrity #Romance #BlogTour #BookReview #PhotographedintheWritersRoom #MondayBlogs

Former TV star Brandi Tyler’s big screen debut crashed and burned amid rumors of an affair with her married co-star… Now, she wants nothing more than to quietly slink away from Hollywood. When she’s offered an opportunity to get out of town and work on a project involving the photographer that launched her career, it seems like the perfect escape! Unfortunately for Brandi, her famous face makes hiding out even a huge city like Houston a little tricky.

When the celebrated photographer’s son offers to let her use his home for privacy, it seems like everything is falling into place. Little does she know that Michael Ames a gorgeous best selling author, and he comes with the package! As Brandi makes her way through old photographs and new scandals, Michael struggles with his next project, and they both fight the growing attraction between them.

Maybe a posse of new girlfriends, some Texas-sized boozy brunches, and a little private time in the writer’s room will help this leading lady find her path back onscreen. And, if she can just picture it, maybe this time she’ll even find love?

Amazon Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Told from Brandi and Michael’s viewpoints, this is a gently paced story. Brandi’s first film is a flop, and the press haunts her, about an alleged off-screen romance, with her married co-star. Devastated by the effect on her life, she wants somewhere to heal and hide. In Houston, she finds the anonymity she seeks but also friendship, respect ​and the chance of real romance.

Brandi and Michael’s slow-burn romance and witty dialogue engage the reader. This a charming, romantic read with contemporary conflict, emotion and vibrant characters.

Born in Montreal but raised in New England, author Michelle L. E. Price has been writing as long as anyone can remember. An avid reader who was on the verge of losing her mind as a mom to two small children, Michelle began writing her first book, Hidden in the Writer’s Room, as an escape… at least her characters would do exactly what she told them to do and she could always count on a happily ever after ending. She also enjoys wine, re-watching 90’s sitcoms and occasionally running, but heavily relies on writing to stay sane. Michelle is a firm believer that laughter and love are the best parts of life.

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