#GuestPost MEET ME ON THE BUDDY BENCH by HANNAH PEARL @ChocLituk @HannahPearl_1

Delighted to be with you today to hand over the blog to the lovely HANNAH PEARL  as she shares some thoughts on her wonderful new book MEET ME ON THE BUDDY BENCH, which was released yesterday.  It’s a book very close to my heart as I have M.E too, so it really struck a chord with me and it’s a book I cannot recommend highly enough… go get your copy NOW!!

Over to you Hannah….

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Guest Post: Meet Me on the Buddy Bench by Hannah Pearl

My inspiration for writing Meet Me on the Buddy Bench was to explore what happens when life takes an unexpected turn. It’s all about finding happiness even when life isn’t easy or straightforward. This happened to me when I got ill just over seven years ago and didn’t fully recover. I wanted to write about a character who develops ME as this condition continues to really limit what I can do. It means so much to me to have this opportunity to raise awareness of the condition, but to hopefully do this within a book that reaches past our community and is read more widely too.

Meet Me on the Buddy Bench is a romance, and I hope that people will enjoy watching Ava and Sam fall in love as much as I enjoyed writing their story. Romance books are so powerful, and I needed them when I, like Ava in this book, could suddenly no longer do all of the simple things I once took for granted. I needed their uplift, their positivity, their support, their encouragement. Their reassurance that people do find happiness even when they’ve experienced unexpectedly difficult times. Romance books kept me company when I was suddenly alone for hours at a time. They offered hope and made me laugh and cry in turn.

I hope that this book can entertain people, but if it can also bring comfort or companionship to anyone who needs it, that would make me very happy indeed.

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About the Book:

When an ordinary park bench becomes a lifeline …

As a primary school teacher, Ava Lam is familiar with the ‘buddy bench’: a rainbow painted bench where sad or lonely children can sit to show they need a friend.

But are buddy benches just for kids? Ava might have assumed so – until she finds herself sobbing her heart out on a park bench and a kind stranger sits down next to her.

The stranger, Dr Sam Stone, has a house, an impressive job and he’s even training for a marathon – all things that seem painfully out of Ava’s reach in her new and scary circumstances. But, whilst Sam appears to have everything figured out, it turns out he needs a sympathetic ear just as much as she does.

Is the encounter a one-off, or could the ‘buddy bench’ begin to represent a source of comfort and support that will become precious to them both?

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Buying Links:

 Kindle: https://amzn.to/36YZOxI

 Kobo: https://bit.ly/3EuHaKc 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3uYgaQk

 Nook: http://bit.ly/3I0HlOt

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About the Author:

Hannah Pearl was born in East London. She is married with two children and now lives in Cambridge.

She has previously worked as a Criminology researcher, as a Development Worker with various charities and even pulled a few pints in her time.

In 2015 she was struck down by Labyrinthitis, which left her feeling dizzy and virtually housebound. She has since been diagnosed with ME. Reading has allowed Hannah to escape from the reality of feeling ill. She read upwards of three hundred books during the first year of her illness. When her burgeoning eReader addiction grew to be too expensive, she decided to have a go at writing. In 2017 she won Simon and Schuster’s Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition, in partnership with Heat magazine, for her short story The Last Good Day.

Follow Hannah on Twitter here: @HannahPearl_1

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#BookReview IT STARTED WITH A WEDDING by KIRSTY FERRY @ChocLituk

ABOUT THE BOOK

It’s one thing to be asked to plan your sister’s wedding; it’s quite another when your sister is Nessa McCreadie …


Alfie McCreadie wants his twin sister Nessa to have the best wedding ever, but he’s not happy at being roped in as wedding planner – especially as, unbelievably, his main assistant seems to be Nessa’s cat, Schubert. Anyway, Alfie is a scientist. He might know his protons from his neutrons, but what does he know about weddings?


It’s Nessa who points him in the direction of Bea’s Garden, just outside Edinburgh, where he’s tasked with picking a “very-relevant-bouquet”. It’s there he meets Fae Brimham, who might be prettier than any bouquet bloom but doesn’t seem impressed by Alfie’s sensible, scientific side.


But when Nessa and Schubert are involved, surprises are bound to happen and, despite less-than-perfect first impressions, perhaps something new and beautiful can still blossom for Alfie and Fae …

PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon


MY REVIEW

Schubert is back and this time he’s helping to plan a wedding!! Maybe cats should always be involved with wedding planning if this book is anything to go by! This is part of a series but is easily read as a standalone – once you’ve read about Schubert you’ll want to read more!

This time we get to hear the story of Alfie, who is charged with planning the wedding of his twin sister, Nessa. Way out of his comfort zone, he’s more scientific than romantic, but gets a helping hand from Fae who he meets when he’s helping to choose flowers from Bea’s Garden. Fae is an apothecarist so places huge importance of the meanings and senses behind each flower – very different from Alfie’s approach to life and medicine.

Sparks fly between them instantly and there’s so many co-incidences and moments of deja-vu that you get the sense that the universe is working its’ magic on these two and wants their paths to cross! But will they take the signs and see things through?! Or are there darker arts at work to change their destiny?!

I loved watching the story play out and also loved hearing about the different folklore and meanings about different flowers! It was a lovely, magical and sweet story and Schubert has a wonderful starring role!! As, of course, he rightly deserves!! Brilliant!

★★★★★

#BookReview KEEPING UP WITH THE KERSHAWS by HELEN BUCKLEY @ChocLituk


ABOUT THE BOOK

What do you do when your life becomes more dramatic than reality TV?


As the devoted carer for famous antique expert Harold Kershaw, Karrie Morgan was always happy to keep a professional distance from his four spoilt grown-up children, who rarely made time for their father. But then a surprise involving Harold’s Will means Karrie is flung headlong into a press scandal, and into the chaotic world of the surviving Kershaws.
With the support of her trusted childhood friend Andrew, mild-mannered Karrie must face down ruthless ice queen Portia, master manipulator Gabriel, Botox fanatic Arabella, and ladies’ man Rafe, star of reality TV show Raised in Richmond … although perhaps not as fake and flashy as he initially seems?


As vicious rumours circulate and Karrie’s past comes back to haunt her, she struggles to know who to trust. Can she keep up with the Kershaws’ schemes?

Book 4 in Spotlight series but they can all be read as standalone stories.

PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT

PURCHASE LINKS

Kindle: Keeping Up with the Kershaws: This contemporary has twists, turns & plenty of drama, but also a wonderful slow-burn romance at the heart. (Spotlight Book 4) eBook : Buckley, Helen: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

Apple: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/keeping-up-with-the-kershaws/id1606964264?

Kobo: Keeping Up with the Kershaws eBook by Helen Buckley – 9781781895115 | Rakuten Kobo United Kingdom

Google: Keeping Up with the Kershaws by Helen Buckley – Books on Google Play

Nook: Keeping Up with the Kershaws by Helen Buckley | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

MY REVIEW

This was such a fabulous read! Featuring characters that you only wish good things for, against those that make you tremble with rage at just how awful they are!!

Karrie has spent 7 years devoted to Harold Kershaw as his carer, whilst his adult children got on with their lives and didn’t want much to do with the old man….. that is until he dies, and there’s money to be had! Karrie is devastated when he passes as he’s family to her and she’s wondering what to do with her life next but it appears that Harold had her future in his thoughts when writing his will, and that upsets the Kershaw children!

So what transpires is Karrie and her best friend Andrew, doing all they can to survive the mudslinging and dirty tricks of the children – Portia, Gabriel, Arabella and Rafe. They look down on Karrie and think she must have tricked him into leaving her everything and want it stopped. The fact that they’re all well off and living comfortably doesn’t even seem to enter their heads! Greed rears its’ ugly head!

I loved the portrayal of the different character types in this novel! In Karrie you had someone who has had a genuinely tough life, but find happiness in caring for others, always putting them first over her own needs. And the characteristics of the Kershaw children showed what’s wrong with some in society – the ‘me first’ attitude and entitlement is staggering! And they’re not even afraid to badmouth members of their own family to get their own way!!

The more time Rafe spends with Karrie, he begins to see a different side to people that he normally hangs round with, and how there are ‘normal’ people out there genuinely interested in others and having no malice in their bones! It was great to see his eyes being opened to decent human behaviour, other than the fakeness he’d seen in the Reality TV show world he found himself living in.

I loved this story. It’s one of those that you totally lose yourself in and seeing how money brings out the worst in people just makes you cringe! The shock twists along the way add to the drama as well, but no spoilers from me!! A cracking read!!

★★★★★

#GuestPost KEEPING UP WITH THE KERSHAWS by HELEN BUCKLEY #Extract @ChocLituk @HelenCBuckley

So happy to be with you today to share an exclusive extract from the rather fabulous KEEPING UP WITH THE KERSHAWS by HELEN BUCKLEY, which was released yesterday. If you’ve not got your copy, WHY NOT?!!!  Go grab yours now! You will not be disappointed!! I promise!! 

Over to Helen with the exclusive extract for you to enjoy!!

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Exclusive Extract: Keeping Up with the Kershaws by Helen Buckley

Yesterday Helen Buckley celebrated the release of her fourth book with Choc Lit, Keeping up with the Kershaws – the Kershaws being a family with so much drama they could give the Kardashians a run for their money! Are you ready to meet ruthless ice queen Portia, master manipulator Gabriel, Botox fanatic Arabella, and ladies’ man Rafe, as well as poor Karrie Morgan, the devoted carer to the Kershaws’ father, who has to put up with them all? Read this extract and see if you can resist finding out what happens next …

From: Keeping Up with the Kershaws by Helen Buckley

Karrie

Karrie knocked gently on the heavy oak door. She traced the whorls of the wood with her fingertips as she waited for a reply. It often took Harold a moment to respond when he was taking his afternoon rest, and she didn’t want to rush him.

The balmy summer air breezed in from the open windows where the hallway overlooked the gardens. Karrie breathed in the scent of the grass, freshly mown that morning by the gardener. The birds were in fine voice as they serenaded the sky, an endless cornflower blue without a cloud in sight. It was the most beautiful July day and Karrie hoped Harold might like to go for a stroll in the gardens that afternoon.

Karrie rested her fingers on the door and nudged it open a little way.

‘Harold?’ she called softly. ‘It’s 4 p.m. I’ve got your tea.’

The room remained silent and dark. Karrie pushed the door open further, feeling invasive, but knowing Harold prized his routine and would need his medication soon.

She could make out a rumpled figure on the bed, seemingly undisturbed by her entrance. She went to the window and opened the heavy curtains halfway to allow the sunshine to permeate the dark cool air, and turned to Harold. The world-renowned antiquities expert lay still and quiet, curled up on top of the covers.

Karrie paused, her eyes tracing his features, taking in the slack jaw and the waxy skin, a wan pallor unusual even for a man who hated the sun. Her chest tightened and her breathing became shallow as she knew instinctively that something was very wrong. She put a hand to her mouth and tried to will herself to move forwards, but her feet wouldn’t budge.

She wanted to cry out and she opened her mouth, but she couldn’t make any sound. Instead she heaved a ragged gasp, dropping onto her knees, knowing that there was nothing to be done, knowing that from this moment on her world would be very different.

It was quite clear to Karrie that Harold Kershaw was dead.

Rafe

Rafe scowled with annoyance as his phone rang. The jarring ringtone, which he kept meaning to change, completely disrupted his focus on his eyebrows, which needed some work before his club appearance that evening. He needed to finish getting ready and he wasn’t in the mood for chit-chat.

He glanced over at the phone to see his sister’s name flashing at him, the persistent shrill ringing as irritating as seeing her name on the screen. Rafe carried on tweezing. Portia could wait.

He sighed with relief when the phone fell silent, only for it to start ringing again almost immediately. He frowned at it and set down his tweezers with a groan of frustration. He checked his appearance in the mirror, neatened a stray hair or two, and swiped the phone off the table, stabbing at the answer button.

‘Portia, I’m just in the middle of something …’ he began, but his eldest sister’s voice cut him off before he could make an excuse for dodging her calls.

‘Daddy’s dead,’ Portia announced. Though the words she said were far from ordinary, she spoke in her usual icy tone, devoid of emotion, and entirely brusque. Despite her voice being instantly recognisable, Rafe still wondered if this was a prank call, so unbelievable were the words she had just said.

‘Wait, what?’ he said. He must have heard her wrong.

Portia sighed and he could imagine her tapping her immaculate nails impatiently on the nearest hard surface.

‘Daddy’s dead,’ she repeated.

‘He’s dead,’ Rafe repeated dully.

‘Yes, that’s what I said. Dead.’

‘How? When?’ Rafe sat down on the bed, the energy draining from his legs as the news began to sink in. His chest felt heavy as he tried to take a deep breath, but all he could manage was a shallow gasp.

‘He passed away this afternoon, while he was taking his nap,’ Portia said. ‘Apparently it wasn’t painful.’

Rafe detected a slight softening in her voice as she said it. Even Portia wasn’t made entirely of stone, he thought, despite being known for her flinty nature.

‘That’s good,’ he said. The words sounded flat and odd to him, the lack of emotion in his voice not reflecting the turmoil in his head where all his thoughts were suddenly entangled with so many memories. He put a hand to his mouth as a powerful wave of sadness crashed over him, and he swallowed hard against the lump in his throat.

‘What happens now?’ he asked, knowing Portia and Gabriel would sort everything. Although he had suffered under their authoritative and manipulative dominion when he was younger, in some ways it was a relief knowing that his two eldest siblings would have everything under control at a time like this. He didn’t need, and wasn’t expected, to take responsibility. They would never have let him anyway.

‘We’re going to start making funeral arrangements. I’ll text you the details of when to come to the house to meet,’ Portia said, as if she were discussing a business meeting and this were merely a work call rather than a family tragedy. She hung up before Rafe could reply.

He sat for a moment, his hands twisting in the sheets, trying to remember the last time he had seen his dad. He felt a chill shiver of shame run through him when he realised it had been over six months ago, at Christmas. Since then he had been too busy wrapping up filming the latest series of Raised in Richmond and trying to find other projects, to visit his elderly father.

He flopped backwards onto the bed and lay down with a heavy sigh. He would have to cancel his club appearance tonight, he thought; a shame as he was really desperate for a drink right now. He reached out to the bedside table, where a glass stood with a double Scotch he had poured sometime last night and fallen asleep before drinking. It would do for this moment when he didn’t want to move off the bed. He extended his arm and grabbed the glass, tipping the tepid amber liquid down his throat with a single flick of his wrist.

He closed his eyes for a moment and thought back to Christmas, remembering how his dad’s hazel eyes, misty with cataracts, had been brightened by the candles and the Christmas lights. Rafe scrolled through the photos on his phone, looking for photos of them together, but there weren’t any recent ones. The last one he had was from two years ago at a garden party, when Raised in Richmond had the best ratings it had ever had, and his engagement to Megara was all over the magazines. He and his dad were standing side by side, clinking a glass. His dad’s usual solemn expression was lightened, a real pleasure sparkling in his eyes. Rafe would have liked to think that his dad’s joyful look was to do with the success of Raised in Richmond, but he knew that was unlikely. His dad’s happiness that day was caused by the success of his fundraiser, and not anything that Rafe had achieved.

He clicked on the photo and uploaded it to Instagram to share with his 900,000 followers, carefully choosing the best filter, cropping out a little of the background so he and his dad were framed exactly in the centre of the image.

#RIPdad. He typed the caption, and pressed Share. He waited for the inevitable slew of likes and comments and buried his face in his pillow to allow his grief to finally take hold.

© Helen Buckley

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About the Book:

What do you do when your life becomes more dramatic than reality TV?

As the devoted carer for famous antique expert Harold Kershaw, Karrie Morgan was always happy to keep a professional distance from his four spoilt grown-up children, who rarely made time for their father. But then a surprise involving Harold’s Will means Karrie is flung headlong into a press scandal, and into the chaotic world of the surviving Kershaws.

With the support of her trusted childhood friend Andrew, mild-mannered Karrie must face down ruthless ice queen Portia, master manipulator Gabriel, Botox fanatic Arabella, and ladies’ man Rafe, star of reality TV show Raised in Richmond … although perhaps not as fake and flashy as he initially seems?

As vicious rumours circulate and Karrie’s past comes back to haunt her, she struggles to know who to trust. Can she keep up with the Kershaws’ schemes?

Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3NkarLM

 Kobo: https://bit.ly/3wyer5n 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3LjiQ0d 

Nook: https://bit.ly/3DasoYi

About the Author: 

Helen Buckley lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and two sons. After working in the charity sector in the UK and abroad, she turned her hand to writing and her first novel, Star in the Shadows, was published in 2019. She writes any moment that she can, enthralled by stories of fame, romance and happy ever afters. Apart from being addicted to writing and enjoying soft play with her sons, she’s an avid reader, action-movie fan and chocolate addict.

Find out more about Helen here:

https://www.facebook.com/Helenbuckleyauthor

https://www.instagram.com/helencatherinebuckley/

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#GuestPost IT’S ONLY ROCK AND ROLL by BERNI STEVENS #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @Berni_Stevens1

Hello and welcome!! Happy Tuesday and also Happy Publication Day to the fabulous BERNI STEVENS for the release of IT’S ONLY ROCK AND ROLL!!!

And to celebrate that fact, I’m handing over the blog to her today so she can share an excerpt from the book with you… and then you can rush out and buy yourself a copy as it’s another wonderful book from her!!

Over to you Berni….

Exclusive Release Day Extract: It’s Only Rock and Roll by Berni Stevens

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be in a relationship with an internationally famous rock star? Would you travel with him? Or would you stay at home, following your own career path? Can you even imagine what it must be like going to every social occasion alone, because your man’s away on the other side of the world?

How fragile the balance within the band must be sometimes, and how easily it can all go horribly wrong. Everything could collapse in a drumbeat if that balance is upset.

There’s the soaring egos amongst the band’s main personnel, the competition and the jealousies, and then there’s the girlfriends and wives …

Here’s a couple of sneaky peeks at the book, firstly when Izzy and Seth arrive in Adelaide for the final leg of the tour before everyone enjoys a few weeks’ holiday, followed by Izzy’s arrival at Seth’s beautiful country pile in Sussex …

I hope you enjoy them.

Berni x

From: It’s Only Rock and Roll by Berni Stevens

Seth cast a cursory look over their cases and nodded.

‘All there,’ he said.

One less thing to worry about. Their luggage had arrived safely with them in Adelaide and not careered off to Bangkok.

Zach was indeed waiting with Anna in Arrivals, standing with a bunch of other drivers all holding up notices. Zach’s said: Mr Rock God and his lovely lady. Seth laughed aloud when he saw it, and Izzy, in spite of the weird feeling that she’d somehow landed on a different planet, joined in.

‘Hey man, how’s it going?’ He shook hands with Zach and dropped a kiss on Anna’s cheek. ‘How’s my second favourite girl?’

‘Good to have you back,’ said Zach. ‘Really.’

‘Sounds ominous.’ Seth shot him a look.

‘Nothing you can’t sort,’ said Zach quickly. ‘The odious Sophie arrived a couple of days ago.’

Seth rolled his eyes. ‘Now I know it’s ominous.’

‘Sophie?’ Izzy looked at Anna, fearing Sophie might be another Gracie, and, to be honest, one of those was enough for any one lifetime. Gracie was one of Seth’s ex-girlfriends – demanding, jealous and verging on stalker-like.

‘The love of Jonno’s life – apparently,’ said Anna. ‘Interfering and really annoying – just like the woman in Spinal Tap.’

‘I’m betting Iz has never seen Spinal Tap,’ said Seth with a grin. He raised his eyebrows at Izzy in question.

‘Sounds like an affliction,’ muttered Izzy.

‘In all the years I’ve worked for the band, I’ve never ever known Gina and Caz to argue. They’re like twin sisters, but the moment she arrived, they’ve been arguing,’ said Anna with a sigh.

Seth frowned. ‘Over what?’

‘Sophie “borrowed” Caz’s personal mic, so she could sing Jonno’s track yesterday. Without asking I might add, and her voice is bloody awful. When challenged, she told Caz that Gina said she could use it, so it was Gina who got yelled at.’

Izzy didn’t know much about band politics, but even she knew personal equipment was just that – personal.

‘What fun she’s having,’ said Seth grimly.

***

The gates clanged shut behind her, and she drove up towards the property. The beautiful red-brick Tudor house came into view after the first bend in the drive. She remembered the first time he’d brought her here, and it did feel strange to just turn up without him. Almost voyeuristic. He must trust me implicitly to allow me to come here, she thought. The London flat was one thing, but this was his special place: his retreat from the mad world of rock and roll. And yet he’d allowed her in without any doubts at all, it appeared.

Unsure where she should park, Izzy followed the sweeping drive round to the back of the house, to the big wooden door she knew opened on to his very impressive kitchen – the kitchen nobody ever cooked in. A gunmetal coloured VW Golf was parked under the trees opposite the back door, so Izzy parked next to it, wondering who it belonged to. She got out of her car and stretched, feeling the need to walk off the hours spent driving.

The back door opened, and a sturdy-looking woman with grey-streaked brown hair pulled back in a severe bun stepped out.

‘You Isabelle?’ she called.

‘That’s me,’ said Izzy.

‘I’m Sarah, Seth’s housekeeper.’

Another housekeeper. Izzy really hoped she didn’t live in.

‘Hello, Sarah,’ she said, hauling her case out of the boot. ‘How’s everything?’

‘Quiet with Seth away,’ Sarah replied with a quick survey of Izzy’s belongings. ‘How long are you here for?’

‘I’m not sure yet.’ Suddenly Izzy didn’t feel very welcome.

‘I don’t cook,’ Sarah continued. ‘You’ll have to fend for yourself. And I don’t clean either. I’m only here now to see you in.’

‘Fair enough,’ said Izzy, wondering what, in fact, she did do. ‘I’ve brought supplies, and I’ll be visiting my family a fair bit too.’

‘Couldn’t stay with them then?’

Izzy hid an inward sigh. This woman would take some winning over, it seemed.

‘I could have, yes,’ was all she said. She continued pulling bags of supermarket shopping out of the boot, and her laptop bag, but decided to leave her wellies where they were. Something told her she shouldn’t appear to be moving in to this territorial woman. Slamming the boot shut, she locked the car and began taking her stuff into the kitchen. Sarah made no attempt to help, just continued standing in the wide doorway with her arms folded, so Izzy had to say ‘excuse me’ every time she wanted to get by.

‘There’s no milk either,’ she said, seemingly as a last ditch attempt to rattle Izzy.

‘I brought some,’ said Izzy abruptly, wishing the woman would just go home.

‘Or tea,’ she continued.

‘Don’t drink it,’ said Izzy, almost beginning to enjoy the exchange now.

‘Or coffee.’

Izzy burst out laughing. She couldn’t help it. What was her problem?

© Berni Stevens

About the Book:

Is the rock and roll lifestyle all it’s cracked up to be?

Being the girlfriend of a rock star isn’t all glitz and glamour – at least that’s what Izzy Grant has found since she started dating Seth Roberts of Scarlet Gryphon fame; it’s actually a lot of waiting and wondering and worrying as Seth travels the world whilst she’s stuck in London. Can she ever rely on Mr Cool to settle down?

But rock gods get insecure too, and whilst Seth is jetting off to far-flung locations to perform sold-out shows, he worries that Izzy will find a “Joe Normal” and opt for a more ordinary life. Plus, he could do with some support when a certain entitled rock star girlfriend gets too big for her Jimmy Choos and threatens to break up the band.

There is a solution, but are either of them willing to take the plunge?

Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3q6cE3r 

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3taumEU

 Apple Books: https://apple.co/3IfN5Df 

Nook: https://bit.ly/3KMLs1C

About the Author: 

Berni Stevens lives in a four-hundred-year-old cottage in Hertfordshire, England, with her husband, son and black cat. She trained in graphic design and has worked as a book cover designer for more than twenty years.

Books and art remain her passion, and her love of the paranormal began when she first read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, aged fourteen. She is now on both the committee and the book panel of the Dracula Society, a society for fans of gothic literature and film.

Berni writes contemporary and fantasy romance.

Find out more about Berni here:

https://www.instagram.com/berni.stevens.5/

https://www.facebook.com/berni.stevens.5/

#GuestPost IT STARTED WITH A WEDDING by KIRSTY FERRY @ChocLituk @kirsty_ferry

Hello! Happy to be handing over the Blog today to the wonderful Kirsty Ferry to celebrate publication day for the fabulous IT STARTED WITH A WEDDING!! Raise those glasses to celebrate and go grab your copy NOW!! 

Over to you Kirsty….

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 It Started with a Wedding by Kirsty Ferry

Welcome to the fifth Schubert book, It Started with a Wedding! It’s actually, I think, the longest one so I hope people enjoy reading it as that’s one of the complaints I usually get – ‘if only it was longer!’ But there was a lot to cram into this one – and as the title might imply, we are building up to a wedding. It’s Nessa’s wedding, and her twin brother Alfie is assigned the task of organising it along with a little help from Schubert the cat.

If you’ve read any of these books, you’ll know that Schubert is a mystical cat, and all the members of Nessa’s family have their own quirks, shall we say. Alfie is in a bit of denial about his quirks, but then he meets Fae and she has her own quirks – so they’re pretty well matched.

The garden Alfie and Fae meet in is called, in the book, Bea’s Garden, and is based on Dilston Physic Garden in Corbridge, Northumberland. Dilston a very special place and has its own atmosphere and mysticism as well. In fact, I was once at a workshop there and someone commented that they could almost hear the plant spirits whispering, which is a beautiful way to look at it. I knew I wanted to set a book somewhere like it, so It Started with a Wedding was perfect. Where else could Alfie get a special collection of flowers for Nessa’s bouquet, and where else could Schubert enjoy a small rampage in a bed of catnip?

The ruined church I ‘borrowed’ for the book, where Nessa has her wedding, was based on a ruined chapel hidden within Egglestone Hall Gardens near Barnard Castle, in County Durham. The earliest tombstone there is dated 1607, but the chapel was closed in 1868. I love this phrase from the website: ‘In many ways it is a spirit echo from the past. It is a part of the garden shrouded with history and tranquility, a small space for meditation, contemplation and reflection. Yet there are voices for those that wish to hear.’

I have started writing a new book, using Bea, the owner of the garden, as my heroine. Originally, I wasn’t going to have Schubert in it – but now I’m not so sure. As I am writing it, I keep finding bits where a big, fat, black cat could easily slink in. I think I need to do some contemplation and reflection myself to see if he really does need to make his presence known … so all I can say to you as readers on that one, is answers on a postcard please! 

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About the book:

It’s one thing to be asked to plan your sister’s wedding; it’s quite another when your sister is Nessa McCreadie …

Alfie McCreadie wants his twin sister Nessa to have the best wedding ever, but he’s not happy at being roped in as wedding planner – especially as, unbelievably, his main assistant seems to be Nessa’s cat, Schubert. Anyway, Alfie is a scientist. He might know his protons from his neutrons, but what does he know about weddings?

It’s Nessa who points him in the direction of Bea’s Garden, just outside Edinburgh, where he’s tasked with picking a “very-relevant-bouquet”. It’s there he meets Fae Brimham, who might be prettier than any bouquet bloom but doesn’t seem impressed by Alfie’s sensible, scientific side.

But when Nessa and Schubert are involved, surprises are bound to happen and, despite less-than-perfect first impressions, perhaps something new and beautiful can still blossom for Alfie and Fae …

Buying links: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3L3Svnu 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3pndWXM 

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3oY3OEt 

Nook: https://bit.ly/3Fn4rxp

About the author: 

Kirsty Ferry is from the North East of England and lives there with her husband and son. She won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition and has had articles and short stories published in various magazines. Her work also appears in several anthologies, incorporating such diverse themes as vampires, crime, angels and more.

Kirsty loves writing ghostly mysteries and interweaving fact and fiction. The research is almost as much fun as writing the book itself, and if she can add a wonderful setting and a dollop of history, that’s even better.

Her day job involves sharing a building with an eclectic collection of ghosts, which can often prove rather interesting.

Find Kirsty: 

on Twitter: @Kirsty_Ferry 

on Facebook: Kirsty Ferry Author 

on her blog: Rosethorn Ramblings

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#GuestPost QUEEN OF THE DESERT by MARIE LAVAL #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @MarieLaval1

Thank you for joining me today to help celebrate publication day for the fabulous QUEEN OF THE DESERT by MARIE LAVAL!  And I’m very happy to hand over the blog to Marie today so that she can share a few thoughts about the release of her new book – there’s a purchase link further down too, so get clicking and grab your copy!!

Over to you Marie…..

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QUEEN OF THE DESERT by Marie Laval

I am so happy to see my historical romance QUEEN OF THE DESERT published by Choc Lit UK this February, and just can’t stop admiring the book’s gorgeous cover! This novel is very dear to me, and not the least because of the love story between the brave and unconventional heroine Harriet Montague and the seemingly harsh and mercenary hero Lucas Saintclair, but because of its setting – North Africa – which has always fascinated me.

My mother grew up in Algeria and she told me and my sisters so many stories of her childhood there that ever since I was little I have dreamt of going there for myself. Algeria is a vast country, stretching from a beautiful coastline to the Sahara desert in the far South.


Visiting Algiers’ Kasbah with its ancient mosques and ottoman palaces, seeing the stunning Roman ruins of Timgad or Tipaza, the fortified villages – the ksars and beautiful oases of the Sahara, and the peaks of the Hoggar mountains (or Ahaggar as it is sometimes called) and stunning rock art paintings is an ambition I may probably never fulfil, but at least I had the joy to travel there by using my imagination as I wrote QUEEN OF THE DESERT.


I loved every minute of writing Harriet’s and Lucas’s story and of researching some of the history, myths and legends of the Tuareg people, as well as their culture and traditions, and finding out about their mystical queen, Tin Hinan. Whilst writing QUEEN OF THE DESERT I discovered a fascinating culture, read beautiful poetry and listened to some wonderful musicians who accompanied me in my imaginary journey, among which Bombino, Imzad-Ténéré or again Tinariwen. Music really does bring people and hearts together.


About the book:

Sometimes the most precious treasures exist in the most barren and inhospitable of places … Harriet Montague is definitely too much of a gentlewoman to be frequenting the backstreet taverns of Algiers. But her father has been kidnapped whilst on an expedition to the tomb of an ancient desert queen, and she’s on a mission to find

the only person who could save him. It’s just unfortunate that Lucas Saintclair, the man Harriet hopes will rescue her father from scoundrels, is the biggest scoundrel of the lot. With a bribe in the form of a legendary pirate treasure map, securing his services is the easiest part – now Harriet must endure a treacherous journey through the desert accompanied by Saintclair’s band of ruffians. But on the long, hot Saharan nights, is it any wonder that her heart begins to thaw towards her guide – especially when she realises Lucas’s roguish façade conceals something she could never have expected?

Buying links for Queen of the Desert: 

Kindle: https://amzn.to/3rHKNYr 

Kobo: https://bit.ly/34PGktE 

Apple Books: https://apple.co/33C9nk2 

Nook: https://bit.ly/33q8HOr

About the Author:


Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire and writes historical and contemporary romance. Best-selling LITTLE PINK TAXI was her debut contemporary romantic novel with Choc Lit. A PARIS FAIRY TALE was published in July 2019, followed by BLUEBELL’S CHRISTMAS MAGIC in November 2019 and bestselling romantic suspense ESCAPE TO THE LITTLE CHATEAU which was shortlisted for the 2021 RNA Jackie Collins Romantic Suspense Award. HAPPY DREAMS AT MERMAID COVE is her latest contemporary romance. QUEEN OF THE DESERT is Marie’s second historical romance, following on from ANGEL OF THE LOST TREASURE which features another member of the Saintclair family.

She also writes short stories for the bestselling Miss Moonshine anthologies, and is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her novels are available as ebooks and audiobooks on Amazon and various other platforms.

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#BookReview ESCAPE TO LITTLE BLUEWATER BAY by JOANNE BODEN

ABOUT THE BOOK


Start the new year in Little Bluewater Bay …New year, new Willow Jenkins? All Willow knows is that she needs an escape. So, she takes an extended break from her PR job and retreats to her grandmother’s cosy cottage by the sea in Little Bluewater Bay, where a limitless supply of hot chocolate will soothe her broken heart and a limited wi-fi connection will prevent her workaholic tendencies.
Willow is soon made to feel welcome by the friendly locals – although grumpy artist Noah Atkinson doesn’t seem to like her very much. Just what is his problem?
But then Willow is asked by her grandmother to approach Noah with a very special commission, only to discover that he hasn’t painted people for a long time – and with good reason. Will he make an exception, and in doing so usher in a hopeful and healing new era for them both? 


PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT

PURCHASE LINKS


Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/ebook/dp/B09M4337G2/
Apple: Escape to Little Bluewater Bay on Apple Books
Kobo: Escape to Little Bluewater Bay eBook by Joanne Boden – 9781781895023 | Rakuten Kobo United Kingdom
Nook: Escape to Little Bluewater Bay by Joanne Boden | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)
Google: Escape to Little Bluewater Bay by Joanne Boden – Books on Google Play

MY REVIEW


Ooh what a gorgeous story!! I loved the characters – especially Willow and Noah!! – and the setting was brought vividly to life throughout – so much so that it makes you want to pack up all your belongings and head straight there!!

Willow is looking for a break! Her work in PR has become overwhelming and she needs to get away from it all. There’s been some sadness in her family, so she retreats to her grandmothers’ cottage to help support her after the devastating loss of her husband. And that brings regrets for Willow in herself, as her own circumstances meant she hadn’t visited for so long.

There’s a very different pace of life in Bluewater Bay, and it takes a while for Willow to come to terms with. But she soon finds comfort in the surroundings and the locals make her very welcome.. with the exception of Noah who has his concerns she’s just there for money.

He’s got his own backstory as to why he lives alone in an isolated cottage, and the more we get to know about him, the easier it is to understand why he has shut himself away. He has his painting and is very happy in his own company… but Willow might be able to shake that way of thinking up!

I devoured this story!! I never wanted it to end! As Willow was helping clear out the old shed at her grandma’s she uncovered memories of her grandfather which were precious for all. And that time away from the internet and social media, allowed her to concentrate on just ‘being’ and that seems to work wonders for her peace of mind.

This is one of those books that I’m always going to go back to when I need a happy reading experience!!


★★★★★

#GuestPost ESCAPE TO LITTLE BLUEWATER BAY by JOANNE BODEN #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @JoBodenAuthor



We are fit to burst with celebrating new books here today!! It is an absolute pleasure to be handing over the blog today to the lovely JOANNE BODEN to help her celebrate the publication day of ESCAPE TO LITTLE BLUEWATER BAY!! That cover is just perfection! I’m packing my bags and heading there ASAP!!
Over to you Joanne…..


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Release Day: Escape to Little Bluewater Bay by Joanne Boden

Hello Karen and thank you so much for inviting me on your blog to help celebrate the publication of Escape to Little Bluewater Bay that is out in the world today! I can’t believe I am writing that! I am so excited to share Willow and Noah’s story with everyone. I had such a good time writing this book.

When it came to choosing the setting for the story I decided to set it on the fictional island of Little Bluewater Bay. I really wanted to write a contemporary romance with an old school feel, so this meant the islanders having no access to the internet as the island has no Wi-Fi. Willow soon learns to adapt to a life without Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp. I really wanted to create a sense of community, where everyone looks out for each other and no one stares at screens while sitting in a cafe. I think I succeeded in doing so.

Escape to Little Bluewater Bay is a contemporary romance. From the very beginning I had a clear picture in my mind of who Willow was and what had happened to her in the past. Her story ran loud and clear in my mind and I quickly fleshed out her story. I then started to think about Noah. Who was he? What does he look like? How did he fit into this story? My first thought was where should he live? I decided on a shack on the beach. He’s a bit of a loner, preferring to spend days by himself, painting and crafting. He’s an artist. But then I asked myself why does he live alone? What’s his story? And I took it from there and very quickly I knew who he was and how to bring him into the story and how he and Willow would interact. I created scenes that had humour, some tender scenes and of course scenes that involved misunderstandings. By the time I’d finished the first draft I realised that Noah was my favourite character and that during the writing process I had gradually fallen in love with him. I hope that you do too.

Although this story has romance at its very core, I also wanted to introduce the dynamics of a grandmother and granddaughter relationship. Willow travels to the island to be with her grandmother, Annie, after her grandfather’s death. Although they have kept in touch via monthly phone calls, the two women haven’t had much face to face interaction in the past five years and so I wanted to explore their relationship and in doing so highlight the important role that grandmother’s play. I loved developing Annie’s character and the strong and caring relationship between the two women. I also thought it was important to write about strong women, and especially an older woman in her later years of life.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing Escape to Little Bluewater Bay. I had so much fun writing the first messy draft all the way through to the final edits. I really hope you enjoy reading Willow and Noah’s uplifting and heart-warming story.

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About the Book:

Start the new year in Little Bluewater Bay …

New year, new Willow Jenkins? All Willow knows is that she needs an escape. So, she takes an extended break from her PR job and retreats to her grandmother’s cosy cottage by the sea in Little Bluewater Bay, where a limitless supply of hot chocolate will soothe her broken heart and a limited wi-fi connection will prevent her workaholic tendencies.

Willow is soon made to feel welcome by the friendly locals – although grumpy artist Noah Atkinson doesn’t seem to like her very much. Just what is his problem?

But then Willow is asked by her grandmother to approach Noah with a very special commission, only to discover that he hasn’t painted people for a long time – and with good reason. Will he make an exception, and in doing so usher in a hopeful and healing new era for them both?

Buying links: 

Kindle: www.amazon.co.uk/Escape-Little-Bluewater-Bay-hopeful-ebook/dp/B09M4337G2

 Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/escape-to-little-bluewater-bay/id1596092706

 Kobo: www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/escape-to-little-bluewater-bay

Google Books:https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Joanne_Boden_Escape_to_Little_Bluewater_Bay?id=Ls5VEAAAQBAJ

About the Author:


Joanne lives in Lancashire with her husband and their two sons. When she is not busy writing, she likes to take her boys to the local museums, cafes and for walks in the countryside. Joanne has published 4 non-fiction works aimed at parenting children on the Autistic spectrum, based upon her experiences as a mother of an autistic son. She has also self published a contemporary romance novel, Picking up the Pieces.

Joanne writes contemporary romances with gorgeous heroes. Escape to Little Bluewater Bay is her debut novel with Choc Lit.

Social media links: 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoBodenAuthor 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JoBodenAuthor

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#GuestPost THE FALL AND RISE OF RONNI FAIRWEATHER by GINA HOLLANDS @ChocLituk @ginaholls #PublicationDay



Delighted to be with you today to help celebrate the publication day of THE FALL AND RISE OF RONNI FAIRWEATHER by GINA HOLLANDS!!    She’s here to share some personal thoughts about her new release! You’re going to want to read this one!! Links to buy are also included so scroll down and grab your copy NOW!
Over to you Gina…..


★★★

Release Day: The Fall and Rise of Ronni Fairweather by Gina Hollands

I am more excited about the release of my new book, The Fall and Rise of Ronni Fairweather, than I’ve ever been about a book release (and that’s saying something!). That’s because it was so long in the making and because it’s so different from anything I’ve written before.

There is romance, yes, but it’s more than that. It’s about independence, friendship and the resourcefulness of women. The main character thinks she’s got it all –– the successful husband, the beautiful home, the rich friends, the country club lifestyle, then something happens which means she has to start over by using her brain to survive. She returns to her roots and discovers the person she could have been all along, even though that’s the last thing she thought she wanted.

The setting isn’t glamorous or luxurious –– far from it. I wanted to show that how you judge any place is based on perception alone, and that great things can happen everywhere.

The Fall and Rise of Ronni Fairweather started out life as a short story for a writing competition. A friend, who is also a writer, offered to critique it for me. Although I didn’t win (boo!), my friend saw something in it and suggested I work it into a novel.

A few months later, the day before Christmas Eve, I had an accident in my kitchen. No drunken, debaucherous or even slightly interesting story attached to that –– I fell over my own feet and ended up with a bleeding head and a broken wrist. Worse still, two days later I was due to fly out to Norway for a skiing trip with my family. It was touch and go whether I’d be allowed to fly, but I was and I did. There were plenty of limbs in plaster at the resort, but I was the only one to arrive that way.

While my family hit the slopes, I drank endless cups of tea and got to work on the novel. It was probably for the best –– I’m a useless skier (see earlier comment about falling over own feet). It took another 18 months before the book was finished, edited and ready for the world to see.

The Fall and Rise of Ronni Fairweather is a very personal book to me, but it’s a book for everyone. I want people to read it, feel uplifted and say to themselves: if Ronni can do it, so can I.

★★★

About the Book:

When going back to your roots is the only way forward …

Raegan Kent-Walters is living the high life. Thanks to her husband’s salary, she enjoys the elite Surrey housewife existence of luxury holidays, exclusive gym memberships and skinny lattes.

But then the high life comes crashing down, and, whilst reeling from the discovery that her husband wasn’t the man she thought he was, Raegan is also confronted with the reality that she and her daughter, Sabrine, will have to make some major life changes.

So, out goes the state-of-the-art Range Rover, and in comes the beat-up old Transit van to take them away; back to Raegan’s roots in Yorkshire and the life she abandoned.

But perhaps by embracing who she used to be, Raegan can find the strength she never knew she had, building something unexpected – but truly special – to get her and Sabrine through to a brighter future.

Buying links: 

Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fall-Rise-Ronni-Fairweather-inspirational-ebook/dp/B09N9K8Z1F

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/the-fall-and-rise-of-ronni-fairweather/id1599267388

 Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-fall-and-rise-of-ronni-fairweather

Google Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Gina_Hollands_The_Fall_and_Rise_of_Ronni_Fairweath?id=8a1VEAAAQBAJ

About the Author:


Originally from Yorkshire, Gina now lives by the sea in West Sussex with her husband and son. When she’s not working in her job in marketing and PR, or writing her latest book, Gina can be found dancing everything from lindy hop to salsa, shopping (she loves clothes far too much for her own good), eating out (she hates cooking far too much for her own good), or relaxing, which generally involves reading a book someone else has written or indulging in her new hobby of learning to play the piano. She has a sneaky suspicion she may be a musical genius in the making, but isn’t about to give up the day job just yet.

Social media links: 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ginaholls/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ginahollands 

Website: www.ginahollands.com

★★★