The Chance of a Lifetime by Kendra Smith

Blog Tour

A new life down under? It’s not as perfect as you’d think.

Katie and Tom’s marriage is in trouble. As is their bank account. So, when Tom tells Katie that they need to talk, she knows it must be about one of two things, and neither are good. But when he blind-sides her saying that his boss is sending him to Australia – permanently – Katie realises it might just be what they need to save their marriage.

Trouble is, she doesn’t like the heat, can’t swim and hates spiders. Not to mention the bouts of homesickness – and Tom’s endless business trips. Katie is finding the hope of saving their marriage slowly slipping through her fingers. But Katie is determined to take the bull by the horns – and her Speedos by the strap – and tackles her new life.

When all is said and done which side of the globe will she decide to call home

What others think:

‘An entertaining, fast-moving, page-turner for anyone dreaming of a new life’ Jane Corry, best-selling author of Her Dead Ex.

Chells and Books Review:

I would liked to thank Aria for asking me to review this book and to be part of the blog tour.

This is a lovely read and one I very much enjoyed. The vibrancy of the cover reflects well inside the book to some interesting characters. A marriage needs saving but will going across the globe save it? Poor Katie is going through some struggles and moving across the world might not be the the right move to make as first thought. This is a book filled with lots of action and interesting things happening.

I would have liked to have come away after reading feeling I really knew that characters and setting better but other than that it was a great read with some very funny moments thrown in.

A great debut from Kendra.

Kendra Smith has been a journalist, wife, mother, aerobics teacher, qualified diver and very bad cake baker. She started her career in Sydney selling advertising space but quickly made the leap to editorial – and went on to work on several women’s magazines in both Sydney and London. With dual Australian-British nationality, she currently lives in Surrey with her husband and three children.

Love Heart Lane by Christie Barlow

Blog Tour

Welcome to Love Heart Lane…

When Flick Simons returns to the small village of Heartcross she only expected to stay for a few days. The white-washed cottages of Love Heart Lane might be her home, but the place holds too many painful memories, and of one man in particular – Fergus Campbell.

When a winter storm sweeps in, the only bridge connecting the village to the main land is swept away! As the villagers pull together, Flick finds herself welcomed back by the friends she once left behind. And as the snow begins to melt, maybe there is a chance that Fergus’s heart will thaw too…

Chells and Books Review:

Firstly, I would like to thank Rachel Gilbey for organising this blog tour. As soon as I knew a new series was coming out from Christie Barlow I new I had to get my hands on a copy as quickly as possible.

Well as the blurb says Welcome to Love Heart Lane and what an absolutely brilliant setting we have for this story. Love Heart Lane is in the beautiful village of Heartcross in the Scottish highlands and here there is plenty of drama. It all starts with snow which is very apt at this moment in time and the arrival of Felicity, who is back home to face up to what she left behind. Her arrival home is met with mixed emotions from many of the locals and lots has changed. Felicity needs to get herself together to help sort out the village of Heartcross before everything is lost. Just when things seem to be calming down, the snow has stopped and his melting and friends are welcoming Felicity back with warm hugs heavy winds and rain appear leaving the village stranded as the only connection to Heartcross collapses. All the locals must pull together but they need a strong leader to guide them!

Felicity has an eventful welcome back to the village and not just with the locals and the weather but also with a certain handsome man she left behind and still loves. Christie has really excelled in her writing if that is even possible as her last book was just amazing and had me in tears. Love Heart Lane has my emotions all over the place too.

A brilliant read filled read full of hope, love and friendship. I am excited for what is next in the series.

Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Love Heart Lane. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA & Australia. 

Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being as well as Literary Editor for http://www.mamalifemagazine.co.uk bringing you all the latest news and reviews from the book world.

The Foyles Bookshop at War by Elaine Roberts

Blog Tour

Swapping books for the bomb factory takes courage – and could be dangerous.

Working at the Foyles bookshop was Molly Cooper’s dream job. But with the country at war she’s determined to do her bit. So Molly gathers her courage, and sets off for the East End and her first day working at Silvertown munitions factory…

It’s hard manual labour, and Molly must face the trials and tribulations of being the ‘new girl’ at the munitions factory, as well as the relentless physical work.

The happy-ever-afters Molly read about in the pages of her beloved books have been lost to the war. And yet the munitions girls unite through their sense of duty and friendships that blossom in the most unlikely of settings…

What others think:

‘A delightful story of friendship, love and hope during the dark days of WW1. Elaine Roberts is a bright new star in the world of sagas’ Elaine Everest.

Chells and Books Review:

First I would like to thank Aria for asking me to review this delightful book and to be apart of the blog tour and to Elaine for answer my questions, which you will see in my next post or on my interviews page.

This is the follow on from The Foyles Bookshop Girls. We continue the journeys from the girls from the first book and see where they are know and what is going to happen to them now in the back drop of WW1. Molly whose dream job is to work in the bookshop decides that she must do her duty and goes to work in a munitions factory, however while here she comes up against some issues that even she did not see coming. As the war rages on can these girls keep the dreams that they read about in books alive? Read and find out, there are no give away’s here.

About the Author:

Elaine Roberts had a dream to write for a living. She completed her first novel in her twenties and received her first very nice rejection. Life then got in the way until she picked up her dream again in 2010 and shortly afterwards had her first short story published. Elaine and her patient husband, Dave, have five children who have flown the nest. Home is in Dartford, Kent and is always busy with their children, grandchildren, grand dogs and cats visiting.

Look out for the next in the Elaine Roberts’ heartwarming series The Foyles Girls series, Christmas at the Foyles Bookshop, coming soon!

Interview with Elaine Roberts

Interview

I would like to welcome Elaine Roberts to Chells and Books and to say I am very excited you are here.

  • Please tell us a little about The Foyles Bookshop Girls at War and where the idea for the book came from?

Working at the Foyles bookshop was Molly Cooper’s dream job. However, with the country at war, she’s determined to do her bit, so Molly gathers her courage and sets off for the East End and her first day working at Silvertown munitions factory.

It’s hard manual labour and Molly must face the trials and tribulations of being the ‘new girl’ at the munitions factory, as well as the relentless physical work.

The happy ever-afters Molly read about in the pages of her beloved books have been lost to the war. However, the munitions girls unite through their sense of duty and, as a result, friendships blossom in the most unlikely of settings.

It was while I was researching for The Foyles Bookshop Girls, that I came across an explosion at the Silvertown munitions factory. The photographs showed the devastation, but it was the podcasts from the women who worked there that were so moving, as they were so accepting of the work they did. The health and safety in those days was almost non-existent.

  • This is a sequel, did you know how you wanted the characters journey to play out before writing or did you find the characters had a mind of their own? 

The three main characters developed their personalities in the first book. However, as with all of my books, detailed planning is necessary, regarding their individual journeys and the plot of the book itself.

  • How much research did you do for this book and what are the best ways that you find to go about doing research for a story idea?  

For the first book, The Foyles Bookshop Girls, I visited the museums, including the Imperial War Museum, and downloaded some of their podcasts. Archive libraries were also valuable, to gain more information. The Internet is a wonderful asset, although it is always best to check the information is correct. When I do research, I always involve my husband, Dave, because I have a tendency to get lost in all of the information gathering, especially on the internet.

I prefer to use reference books for that reason. I have a numerous amount of books on WW1, including recipe books, theatre shows, cinemas and a book that was written for a child. I purchased several old maps of London, which have enabled me to work out things like routes taken to work and often, to add a complication, I discover that road names have changed over time. I have pages of old newspapers, so that headlines could be mentioned in my novel. Pinterest is great for images of the time. The BBC Schools website is an excellent place to go, because it is factual, but written for children, so is easy to understand. I looked at the census for popular names at that time, as well as my own family tree.

  • How do you develop your plot and characters?

Some of the plot and character development is based on their individual back-stories, their history. Important dates and events have to be tied into the story, to make it factually correct, so that adds to the plot and the characters’ stories. I always do a chapter breakdown by scene and that enables me to see what my characters have ahead of them. Sometimes ideas come to me while I’m writing, so that means my chapter breakdown is a changeable document. I also get ideas through conversation, so I’m always using my voice memo on my phone to record the ideas.

  • Do you have a certain place where you like to write?

When I’m at home, I do have an office, which is ideal because my various research books and articles are to hand and it’s also a place that I can lock myself away and be relatively undisturbed. However, if I’m away from home for any reason, my laptop always goes with me. In fact, as I write this, I am at the hospital while my husband receives treatment.

  • Did you learn anything from this book while writing it?

At the time of writing my first book in the series, I’m ashamed to say I had no particular interest in the WW1 period, although I knew loads about WW2, but I wanted to write a family saga. Once I started the research, I came to realise that it became the backdrop for some major events in social history, particularly relating to the roles of women. They worked tirelessly and extraordinarily long hours, in conditions that put their own lives at risk. They were the unsung heroes, or should I say heroines, of the war. It is their actions that helped to get women the vote, and therefore changed all our lives.

  • What advice would you give to any budding writers?

Writing a novel is not the same as writing an essay. It does need to have structure, which I would suggest is one of the important things to learn. If you write historical, it’s important to incorporate the historical timelines with your characters and story timeline. The facts need to be correct, but delivered in a way that will hold the interest of the reader. Know your audience and believe in your characters, because if you don’t, the readers certainly won’t.

Above all else, don’t give up, no matter how many rejections. Make sure you learn your craft; try writing short stories and articles. I often liken it to someone who learns to play the piano at school – the fact that they have learnt to play doesn’t make that person a concert pianist. Likewise, learning to write doesn’t make you a novelist. Good luck.

  • What are your future projects?

There is a third book in The Foyles Bookshop Series, Christmas At The Foyles Bookshop, which is due to be released next year. Beyond that, I’m not sure yet, although I do have a few ideas floating about. I daren’t get too excited about them just yet because I’m easily distracted and a new project always seems more exciting than the one I’m working on at the time.

Thank you agin Elaine for taking the time to answer my questions.

Island of Secrets by Diane Demerte

Blog Tour

Two love stories separated in time. Two women following their dreams. In a paradise littered with painful secrets, will love turn the tide?

1973. Cecilia “CiCi” Freemont has a restless soul and the voice of an angel. Leaving her privileged upbringing behind, she chases her dreams to the sandy beaches of an unspoiled Hawaiian paradise, Harbor Island. But life takes an unexpected turn when she falls for the island’s young heir-apparent and her newfound adventure becomes too much to bear…

2017. Investigative journalist Tina Templeton has dedicated herself to the pursuit of truth. But when she inherits Harbor Island, her career plans take a confusing twist. Managing the sprawling island estate is tough business even with the help of aging cabaret singer, CiCi Freemont. Especially when a massive ecological disaster threatens to destroy her beautiful beaches—and the responding coast guard captain steals her heart.

As the investigation into the disaster reveals a 40-year-old mystery that could change their lives forever, will Tina find love among the secrets, or will CiCi’s painful past dash her dreams on the rocks?

Island of Secrets is an epic love story. If you like generations-spanning drama, characters with hidden pasts, heart-warming romance and intrigue, then you’ll love Diane Demetre’s powerful romantic mystery in paradise.

Chells and Books Review:

I would like to thank Rachel Gilbey and Diane for organising the blog tour it is great to be apart of it and to read such an amazing book.

Island of Secrets is a very interesting read, it is a love story that also has other elements of other genres. The story spans across time and the brings many characters together. It is set in these years 1973, 2017 and 2027.

We meet Cecilia in 1973 who decides to go on an adventure and meets loads of exciting people and settles in to life at Harbour Island, but not all is as it seems, we then meet Tina in 2017 and her story plays out in amongst the old characters from before with some new, again there is a mystery. In 2027 we find out the endings and what has happened to our characters. It makes for a very interesting read.

This story will leave you emotional, it is quite different to what I have read before but is very good.  

About the Author:

Diane began her career as a school teacher before moving into the entertainment industry as a choreographer, director, event manager, dancer and actress, working in television and live theatre, and managing multi-million dollar productions.
            Following her onstage career, she spent many years as a stress & life skills therapist, keynote speaker and presenter, appearing on national radio and television.
            When she launched into a writing career, Diane’s debut erotic romance series, the Dance of Love was voted Luminosity Publishing Readers’ Choice Best Books and Best Covers for 2015 and 2016.
            Her romantic suspense, Retribution won the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Pro Award 2017 for Best Unpublished Manuscript. Diane loves to write genre-busting stories with a twist. Her works are packed with emotional punch and feature empowered heroines who live life to the fullest, much like the author herself.

Snowflakes over Holly Cove by Lucy Coleman

As the snowflakes start to fall, Holly Cove welcomes a new tenant to the beautiful old cottage on the beach…

For lifestyle magazine journalist Tia Armstrong, relationships, as well as Christmas, have lost all their magic. Yet Tia is up against a Christmas deadline for her latest article ‘Love is, actually, all around…’

So, Tia heads to Holly Cove where the restorative sea air and rugged stranger, Nic, slowly but surely start mending her broken heart.

Tia didn’t expect a white Christmas, and she certainly never dared dream that all her Christmas wishes might just come true…

Set in Caswell Bay on the stunningly beautiful Gower Coast, the cottage nestles amid the limestone cliffs and the woodlands, where the emotions run as turbulently as the wind-swept sea.

What others think:

‘I adored this book. A wonderful escapist read … For me, it’s a 5 star read!’ Katherine, Katherine’s Book Universe.

‘I adored this beautifully written tale. The score is a well deserved and easy 5* out of 5*’ Ginger Book Geek.

‘This book gives you all the feels. It’ll make you want to move to France and start a new life … Lucy Coleman has a way of writing where it feels like you’re actually there standing beside Anna and you mentally really feel involved in the story’ Stacey, The Cosiest Corner.

Chells and Books Review:

I was so excited to be able to review this cracker from Lucy Coleman, who if she not careful will become a firm favourite of mine. Snowflakes Over Holly Cove is an amazing read and one I was sad to finish.

First off lets take a look at that amazing cover. How lovely is it. Its perfectly in keeping with the setting. Tia Armstrong is in need of some TLC and time to gather herself and decide exactly what she wants from life after a tragedy in the family. She arrives at Holy Cove and magical things begin to happen.

Lucy Coleman has a way with words that completely draws you in to her world. Her setting of the cottage by the sea with woodland and cliffs is something dreams are made off with add snow! The love story is simple lovely and with added twists that I did not expect I was filled with so many emotions.

I just love this book.

Wicked Game by Jo Lambert

Blog Tour

Fashion designer Thérèse D’Alesandro has recently moved into Westhead Manor with daughter Felicia and stepson Marco. Joining forces with neighbour Ella Benedict, she is about to open a bridal boutique at Ella’s exclusive wedding venue Lawns at Little Court.

 Managing his father’s European restaurant chain, Marco has both the looks and charm to guarantee him any woman.  Any woman, that is, except the one he wants: Ella’s niece Charlotte.  Marco knows he should walk away as not only is she the most exasperating female he has ever encountered she’s currently in a relationship with rock star Christian Rosetti. But the chemistry between them is undeniable and sensing trouble brewing between Charlotte and the egotistical singer he is prepared to wait.

Charlotte’s cousin Lucy has discovered Christian’s guilty secrets – ones he has been keeping safely hidden from everyone. Determined to cause mischief and at the same time settle her own score with the arrogant star, she sets in motion a chain of events which eventually brings Marco and Charlotte together.

Thérèse’s husband Gianlucca has invited the granddaughter of an old friend to stay as a house guest while he undergoes heart surgery. Rossana Caravello is due to inherit the one of Italy’s premier vineyards on her twenty first birthday in September. Aware this would make an excellent addition to her husband’s international business portfolio, Thérèse plots to push the young heiress and her stepson together. Rossana is already besotted with Marco, but if the plan is to have any chance of success first she needs to get rid of Charlotte…

Please note Wicked Game was previously published under the title The Other Side of Morning.

Chells and Books Review:

Firstly, I would like to thank Rachel Gilbey for organising this brilliant blog tour. I was looking for something a little different to read from what I had previously read when I saw Wicked Games. This book is many genres in one book which I think is great. I enjoyed this read.

We have a array of characters, which can be off putting, however the way that Jo writes creates a perfect plot and one where you can follow every characters story. There is also an intro to the characters. The plot is one I found very interesting with several stories intermingled to create an in-depth over all story. We have elements of family drama, romance a little thriller, this story has it all.

Jo Lambert’s writing is lovely, I felt like I was on set of a movie and right there in all the drama. The settings just fall from the pages to enveloping you. I will defiantly be seeking more books from Jo.

This book reminded me very much of Jackie Collins or a Danielle Steel.

About the Author:

Jo Lambert lives on the eastern edge of Bath with her husband, one small grey feline called Mollie and a green MGB GT. She is the author of seven novels. The first five collectively known as the Little Court Series are saga/romances set in West Somerset. For book number six she ‘moved’ over the border into South Devon. Summer Moved On became the first of two linked contemporary romances. The second, Watercolours in the Rain was published in October 2016. In June 2018 Jo signed to Choc Lit and her eighth novel, The Boys of Summer, set in North Cornwall will be published in 2019 under their Ruby imprint. Jo is currently working on another coastal romance, this time set in South Cornwall.

When she isn’t writing she reads and reviews. She also has an active blog.  Jo loves travel, red wine and rock music and she often takes the odd photograph or two.