Learn To Love Again by Ellen Faith ~ BLOG TOUR!

I want to feel like me again.


Title - Learn To Love Again 
Author - Ellen Faith 
Publication Date - March 14th 2015
Format - eBook (Provided via author)
Pages - 101

The blurb

Living in a small seaside village can have its perks, but after the death of her husband, Lillie Gilbert finds the people she grew up with turning against her faster than the tide rolls out. 

As she grieves for the life they planned, the life they'll never live, she leans on her best friend for support and tries to come to terms with the fact that one day, she may have to open up her heart to a new life and new love. 

After losing her childhood sweetheart, can Lillie really Learn To Love Again?

Becca's thoughts

Before I begin my review of Learn To Love Again by the wonderful Ellen Faith, I'd just like to say a huge thank you to Tay from Chicks That Read for getting in touch with me in regards to Ellen's blog tour, and for also providing me with a copy of the author's brand new novella. Thank you, Tay! (Just a quick note here for bloggers/authors: be sure to check out Tay's website, it-is-fabulous!)

So, Learn To Love Again is Ellen Faith's third release. I've previously read and loved The Story of Us and Home for the Holidays, both of which were bursting at the seams with the author's humour, gorgeously engaging characters and just everything else that I love about Ellen's writing. I've always found it incredibly easy to lose myself within the pages of her books, which isn't surprising really, as they're just so cosy and smoothly written. I really couldn't wait to see what Ellen had in store for me next with Learn To Love Again. 

When I read the blurb of Ellen's latest novella, I noticed immediately that it sounded very different to her normal girly, chick-lit type books. It sounded much more serious in tone, incredibly emotional and very much like one of those books that should come with a tissue warning. I loved the idea of Lillie Gilbert's story being set within a seaside village, and it brought all sorts of images to mind of those tight-knit communities and how fast word gets around. The blurb had me wondering what exactly had happened to have made the people Lillie had grown up with turn against her after her husband's death, and I couldn't wait to dive in to discover more. 

Once I'd began reading, it didn't take long for me to realise that I was right about the tissue warning. Gah! Ellen managed to achieve such a tenderness and heart-wrenching realness with her writing, my eyes pooled with tears on more than one occasion. I could not believe the sheer emotion that was within the words, it was so real and so raw, and moved me immeasurably. There were some seriously heartbreaking moments within Lillie's story, moments where I wanted to reach into my Kindle and squeeze her, and it saddened me that I couldn't. Ellen really went to work in this one, folks. I thought she was a fantastic writer after reading her first two novels, but after reading Learn To Love Again, I feel like I've just seen the author in a whole different light, and only now am I aware of how beautifully she can put her words together. It surprises me that Ellen was able to make the emotion within this novella feel so real without having experienced Lillie's pain and heartbreak herself. I am completely in awe of the author right now. Completely! 

When the reader is first introduced to Lillie, she's already lost her husband Nick. We walk beside her, reading everything in first person narrative, and experience it all as Lillie attends his funeral and says her final goodbyes. As if the sheer brutality of losing her husband isn't enough, Lillie also has to face the cruel taunts from the people of her seaside village, where she and Nick and best-friend Sam grew up, who refuse to accept that it wasn't Lillie's fault that Nick was taken. The guilt, the pain, the pure, raw heartbreak is so incredibly evident when reading, I couldn't help but to shoulder some of the emotions that Lillie had to deal with. I felt angry on her behalf at the vile people of Barton-by-the-Sea who couldn't keep their mouths shut. I felt an overwhelming sadness whenever Lillie thought about the future the she and Nick would no longer have together, the plans that would no longer happen. It was just absolutely drenched with some of the most emotive language I've come across, and trying to imagine myself in Lillie's position only served to make me even sadder. Ellen takes the reader on a journey alongside Lillie, as she grieves for the life she'll now never see, and as, oh-so-slowly, she begins to come back to life. Best-friend Sam, who left for LA when the three of them were younger, comes back to help Lillie heal, and despite it being a difficult, length process, I couldn't help the smile that spread across my face when I began to glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel for Lillie Gilbert. 


Within this book, the reader is able to watch a beautiful transition take place. From broken-hearted, lifeless, dead-to-the-world Lillie Gilbert, we see a Lillie Gilbert appear who, after a long time, finally begins to take steps towards living again. With the help of her friends and family, and Nick, Lillie begins to realise that her husband would never have wanted her to live the rest of her life as a sad, shell of a person, but rather to thrive and be happy and smile, and of course, love again. It was, readers, such a moving, delicately written story of love, loss, and love again. What made it seem even more personal was that Ellen, throughout the duration of her novella, included small snippets from the past, of Lillie and Nick's life together before he passed away, and it becomes clear that a lot went on in their relationship. Ellen deals with some pretty dark issues within this story, things that reader isn't aware of beforehand, and I felt privileged to be able to see things had already been and gone. 

Learn To Love Again by Ellen Faith packed a big emotional impact for a novella. Beautifully written, in a gorgeous seaside setting, it was a message to people that life does go on, and no matter how bad things may seem, with the help of your loved ones, you can be brought back to life. It was moving on so many levels, and Lillie Gilbert goes through a hell of a lot in such a short amount of time. Now that I've finished, I can safely say that wow, from start to finish, I absolutely adored this story. Becca's Books is awarding Learn To Love Again by Ellen Faith with FOUR OF MY GORGEOUS CUPCAKES! A tender, emotional package, wrapped up in a huge hopeful bow.


You can find Ellen Faith on Twitter & Facebook

Make sure you check out & keep up with the rest of Ellen's Learn To Love Again blog tour!






   

   








COVER REVEAL ~ B R Maycock's It Started With a Snub

Today on Becca's Books, I'm delighted to be taking part in B R Maycock's cover reveal for It Started With a Snub. I think the cover for this one is brilliant, and the book sounds absolutely fantastic, too! Another one to add to your ever-growing to-read lists, bookish beauts! ;) 

Revealing B R Maycock's cover for It Started With a Snub...


It Started With a Snub
By B R Maycock
Published May 22nd 2015

Heather Green is a fun loving, happy go lucky, twenty-six year old who has remained upright and beaming despite a few wobbles in life. She wears her heart on her sleeve and pins on her thoughts for good measure. 

We meet Heather as she moves out of her family home to share with four guys, much to the dismay of her long suffering (by his own admission!) boyfriend Graham. We follow her housemates and watch their sometimes funny, sometimes-fraught relationships as they go about about their daily lives.

Join Heather as she navigates the simple things in life, her inability to remember the code for the house alarm, odd driving habits, general musings on chick flicks, casualties in cooking, as well as her attempts to talk down the "mad farmer with the gun". Experience comedy and drama as we get to know her family and housemates, and, as an unexpected event finally takes her down, learn what happens when the last people you expected to turn to are actually the ones you need the most.

***

~ Author Bio ~


Bernadette Maycock (writing as B R Maycock) participates in a closed Facebook group called Image, Write, Inspire (IWI) led by the award-winning author Carmel Harrington (Beyond Grace's Rainbow, The Life You Left) and has contributed to their three publications, "All I want for Christmas," "Stop Waiting For Friday" and "The Love Anthology; A collection of short stories."

Bernadette has just started a book review blog (visit it here) that is in complete infancy, reviewing books that are 'the lighter side of heavy TBR lists,' in particular chick lit (her first love!) and women's fiction.

She lives in Westmeath, Ireland, with her great husband, Keith and four brilliant children, Paul, Conor, Aidan and Brian.





It Started at Sunset Cottage by Bella Osborne

"This lot are staying at the pub but you and I have Sunset Cottage to ourselves for the night."


Title - It Started at Sunset Cottage
Author - Bella Osborne
Publication Date - February 12th 2015
Publisher - HarperCollins UK, HarperImpulse
Format - eBook (Self-purchased) 
Pages - 390

The blurb

Kate Marshall is slowly getting her life back on track after losing her fiancé. As an author she has been able to hide herself away from the world and its expectations - but now one of her books has been optioned for a film and Hollywood suddenly comes knocking on her door!

When Kate is given the opportunity to stay at a beautiful country retreat and concentrate on the screenplay, it's an offer she can't refuse. Encouraged by her best friend, sharp-tongued single mum Sarah, Kate sees it's finally time to stop letting life pass her by. 

Looking for confidence and inspiration in the countryside in the idyllic Cotswolds countryside, the last thing Kate expects is for Timothy Calder, A-list actor and leading man in the movie adaptation of her book, to turn up on her doorstep, hoping to lie low after his latest tabloid scandal! But after a rocky start, with Tim narrowly avoiding death by watering can, they find they have a few things in common: a liking for Lady grey tea, walnut whips and bad 'knock knock' jokes. Actually, the bad jokes are just Tim.

As an unlikely friendship begins to blossom, and with circumstances repeatedly throwing them together, is Sunset Cottage where both Kate and Tim's lives will really start?

Becca's thoughts   

I won't lie to you book lovers, the cover of Bella Osborne's It Started at Sunset Cottage was the very thing that drew me to this book. I love anything that's pink, cute, adorable, and Bella's cover fell into that category immediately. The colours, the image of the charming cottage, the swirly font and the flowers all came together to create the perfect cover in my eyes, and because of that, I couldn't wait to read what was behind it. I know they say that you should never judge a book by it's cover, but I just couldn't help myself when it came to It Started at Sunset Cottage, and I'll hold my hands up freely and admit to it.

For starters, Bella had me giggling within the very first chapter of her book. It opened with a very serious, very sombre tone, placing me right at the scene of a funeral. It didn't take long for Bella to tickle my sides when I realised that it was, indeed, a funeral that was taking place, but a funeral for a hamster. Just from this small amount of text, I knew that I was in for a treat with the rest of Bella's book. Her humorous, engaging writing style spurred me on throughout the rest of It Started at Sunset Cottage. 

Bella's characters in It Started at Sunset Cottage were fantastic, although I felt at times that perhaps I didn't know them well enough. Kate, a writer and recently widowed, has been offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to have one of her books turned into a movie, which leads to her meeting the gorgeous Timothy Calder who will be playing the leading male role in the movie adaptation. There was a fabulous chemistry between Kate and Timothy, that I constantly looked forward to seeing again and again, and I seriously enjoyed reading about the numerous actors and actresses who Kate met when on set. It was a gorgeous world that had been opened up to her, full of famous faces and diva actresses, and the atmosphere felt as if were buzzing each and every time. Kate's best-friend, Sarah, single-mum, had a life that contrasted beautifully with Kate's. Rather than dealing with stroppy actresses, she was dealing with her stroppy arse of an ex, instead. Belle does a fantastic job of sneaking in a gloriously mysterious aspect to this ex, and I found myself trying to figure out what exactly he was up to. I took a serious disliking to the man, and really couldn't wait for him to bugger off, but when Bella dropped a huge twist into the plot, I was hooked! Things turned upside down and I just couldn't wait to see how it would all play out. 

I found It Started at Sunset Cottage to be a seriously entertaining read, and loved the relationships between the main characters and some of the secondary characters, too! It was a lovely, light-hearted story, and Sunset Cottage was just one of the many things that I loved about. Becca's Books is awarding It Started at Sunset Cottage by Bella Osborne with FOUR DELICIOUS CUPCAKES! I'm still giggling away about that first chapter! ;)



  









COVER REVEAL ~ Cathy Bramley's Appleby Farm

THE MOST EXCITING THING EVER IS HAPPENING TODAY ON BECCA'S BOOKS! *HENCE THE NEED FOR OVERUSE OF CAPITALS AND EXCLAMATION MARKS!*

On a serious note, it is a VERY exciting day because here on Becca's Books, I'm teaming up with the wonderful Cathy Bramley and her publishers Transworld to reveal her BEAUTIFUL cover of Appleby Farm. Currently being published in four eBook parts, August 2015 will see the publication of Appleby Farm in paperback, and I am SO excited and cannot wait to get my hands on a copy, because it looks good enough to eat!

So, without further ado, behold! 
The stunning cover of Cathy Bramley's Appleby Farm.


Appleby Farm
By Cathy Bramley
Published August 13th 2015 by Transworld

Appleby Farm is a charming, funny and romantic story for anyone looking for a feel-good, light-hearted read, from the author of bestselling Ivy Lane. 

Freya Moorcroft has wild red hair, mischievous green eyes, a warm smile and a heart of gold. She's been happy working at the cafe round the corner from Ivy Lane allotments and her romance with her new boyfriend is going well, she thinks, but a part of her still misses the beautiful rolling hills of her Cumbrian childhood home: Appleby Farm. 

Then a phone call out of the blue and a desperate plea for help change everything...

The farm is in financial trouble, and it's taking its toll on the aunt and uncle who raised Freya. Heading home to lend a hand, Freya quickly learns that things are worse than she first thought. As she summons up all her creativity and determination to turn things around, Freya is surprised as her own dreams for the future begin to take shape. 

Love makes the world go round, according to Freya. Not money. But will saving Appleby Farm and following her heart come at a price? 

***

Honestly, bookish beauts, I cannot even begin to tell you how EXCITED I AM for Appleby Farm, and doesn't that cover just sing to you? Absolutely perfect! Rolling green hills, and the bunting of course! I just LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! Roll on August! I'm seriously looking forward to holding a copy of this beauty in my hands!


~ Author Bio ~


After four years of flinging herself round the dancefloors of Nottingham's nightspots, British author Cathy Bramley somehow managed to get an honours degree in business. 

She then plunged herself into the corporate world of marketing, working on high-powered projects such as testing the firing range of SuperSoaker water guns and perfecting the weeing action of Tiny Tears until deciding in 1995 to set up her own marketing agency. 

She now lives in an idyllic Nottinghamshire village with her husband, two daughters and a dog called Pearl. 

Random facts about Cathy Bramley: 

Lucky charm: pottery frog out of a Christmas cracker
Favourite tipple: Polish cherry vodka 
Best ever Christmas present: Potter's Wheel (toy version)
Hates the expression: Compliments to the chef

You can find Cathy Bramley on Twitter | Facebook | cathybramley.co.uk  









COVER REVEAL ~ Kierney Scott's Crossing the Line

Today on Becca's Books, I'm revealing Kierney Scott's steamy cover for the third book in the author's The Firing Line Trilogy, Crossing the Line. It's sexy, it's teasing, and it's got some really nice biceps, too! ;) Behold, Kierney Scott's cover!


Crossing the Line
By Kierney Scott
Published June 2nd 2015 by Carina UK





HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY JENNY OLIVER!

Today on Becca's Books, I'm wishing the fabulous Jenny Oliver a super happy publication day! The second book in Jenny Oliver's Cherry Pie Island series The Vintage Ice Cream Van is published today by Carina UK, and it looks and sounds absolutely scrumptious! After reading the first book in Jenny's latest series The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Cafe (see my review here), I couldn't wait to see what she had in store for us next! And finally, bookish beauts, the big day is here!


If you were to ask Holly Somers how life is going at the moment she wouldn't have a clue how to answer you... On the one hand she's embarking on a retro-fabulous road trip in her vintage ice cream van all the way from Cherry Pie Island to the South of France. Plus, she's sharing the journey with Wilf Hunter-Brown (quite possibly the most attractive man she's ever met!)

On the other? Well, apart from being unsure as to whether the rickety old ice cream van will actually make it to the Riviera, she and Wilf had a one-night fling a few weeks ago. Even worse, it seems there's an unexpected little consequence of their impromptu night together. Life on Cherry Pie Island definitely hasn't equipped Holly with knowledge of the best way to tell a super-rich entrepreneur with a womanising reputation that he's about to become a Dad!

Despite the heat of the Provencal sunshine you'd think you'd be able to keep cool inside an ice cream van - but the temperature is definitely rising. And with time running out to tell Wilf the truth, Holly's dream roadtrip is fast becoming a nightmare on wheels! There's no denying that this will be a journey to remember. When it comes to sundaes, Holly has always been partial to the more traditional flavours - but something's telling her this could be the time to try something new...

***

Eeee! I am so so SO excited to read The Vintage Ice Cream Van! Definitely sounds like the heat is about to be turned a couple of notches between Holly and Wilf and I can't wait to see how it all plays out! 

Jenny Oliver, I wish you a wonderful publication day! I hope there'll be bubbles!





Samantha Tonge & I talk Game of Scones ~BLOG TOUR STOP!

Today on Becca's Books, I'm delighted to be chatting to the fabulous Carina author Samantha Tonge about her latest book release Game of Scones. 


Samantha, I'd just like to take a moment to thank you for joining me on the blog today! Without further ado, let's get started! 

B ~ Samantha, sweet delicious treats are a "thing" of yours, aren't they? Can you tell us where your love of baking originates from? Have you always been a lover of cupcakes and scones? 

S ~ My mother did a lot of baking when I was a child - all the staples like rice pudding, tarts, pies and suet sponges. When she became a midday supervisor at a primary school, mum would bring home the recipes to try out - yum! I always baked with her and have fond memories of licking out the mixing bowl and decorating the Christmas cake. So I guess some of the inspiration for the sweet treats in my book comes from her. And yes, I have ALWAYS loved cupcakes and scones!

B ~ In your latest release, Game of Scones, the story is set in a stunning Greek island fishing village known as Taxos. Samantha, have you ever been to Greece? Where did your inspiration come from for your setting? 

S ~ I've been the Greece twice - once with a group of girlfriends, and then on my honeymoon. I have strong memories of the sea breeze, bustling nightlife, aromatic restaurants and clear, tropical-looking waters... I think the Greek islands offer one of the most romantic settings in the world and as a romance writer, find the azure sea, white sands and quaint buildings very inspiring. 

B ~ What sort of characters can we expect to meet in Game of Scones

S ~ The heroine is an independent career woman, Pippa, who is torn between her head and heart. She has great logical, business acumen but at the same time loves reading slushy romance novels. Niko, a rather sexy Greek fisherman, is a friend from her childhood, with mocha eyes, caramel skin and an enormous sense of loyalty to his family and Taxos, the village where he lives. Half-dutch, six foot four Henrik is Pippa's suave, property developer boyfriend, who makes the local Greek ladies swoon with his Hollywood looks - yet, he has a ruthless side that soon emerges...

B ~ Did a lot of research go into creating your fourth novel? 

S ~ A fair bit of research - I like to get the detail of my settings spot on, for example exactly how local flowers smell and when they bloom... My OCD side can make the research process take longer than it should! I also needed to research property development, but no, apart from that this story more or less spilled onto the page. 

B ~ Do you have a particular writing process? Any hints or tips for other writers that work well for you? 

S ~ I am lucky enough to write full-time, so I start at 8am, often still in my dressing gown, and might stop at 10.30am for breakfast, having tried to fit in a quick bath in between. I then juggle the rest of the day with domestic responsibilities and work on social media (I call it work, anyway) My piece of advice would be to just get started. Don't worry about the quality of the first draft - rewriting and editing are for the fine-tuning. 

B ~ What's your favourite writing accompaniment? Chocolate? Cake? A nice cup of tea? 

S ~ Ooh, cake and biscuits, definitely, and consequently my keyboard is always covered in crumbs. Donuts are the worst as the sugar gets everywhere and leave your fingers sticky! Is it any wonder I always put on over half a stone when writing the first draft of a book... 

B ~ How are you hoping readers will feel whilst reading Game of Scones? 

S ~ I am hoping readers will feel the romance of the relationships in Game of Scones and of the setting - that they'll enjoy being whisked away to a Greek island to spent time with two rather hot heroes. I hope they'll become as fond of the characters and of the little village Taxos, as I have and that their mouths will water at the descriptions of the scones. 

B ~ Now that Game of Scones is out in the world with readers, how are you feeling? 

S ~ I'm always a little nervous when one of my babies goes out into the big wide world. For some reason I am particularly fond of this book, and am keeping my fingers crossed that readers feel the same. 

B ~ How do you deal with negative reviews, and what are your thoughts on the book-blogging community? 

S ~ I don't mind negative reviews, as long as they are not spiteful nor personal. Everyone has a right to give their verdict on a story they have paid good money for. In fact sometimes a bad review proves to be really useful - I always read them with an open mind, and if I agree, will take on board the criticism. I'm grateful to anyone who bothers to review, especially all the generous, kind book-bloggers like yourself, who give up their free time to help us writers promote our work. 

B ~ Have you started work on your next novel? If so, can you tell us anything about it? 

S ~ I have started my Christmas novel and it is completely bonkers! I don't want to say too much at this stage but I am thrilled that my editor has approved the idea. I am chuckling just thinking about it!

B ~ Any parting comments, Samantha? 

S ~ Thanks so much for having me here, Becca, I've really enjoyed answering the questions, and if anyone buys Game of Scones, I really hope you enjoy it. Please do post any photos on Twitter if it inspires you to do a little baking! xxx

Samantha, it has been an absolute pleasure having you here on Becca's Books, and I'm super looking forward to losing myself in Game of Scones! Who can refuse a free holiday to a Greek fishing island?! ;)

~ Author Bio ~


Samantha lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and two cats who think they are dogs. Along with writing, her days are spent cycling, willing cakes to rise and avoiding housework. A love of fiction developed as a child, when she was known for reading Enid Blyton books in the bath. A desire to write bubbled away in the background whilst she pursued other careers, including a fun stint working at Disneyland Paris. Formally trained as a linguist, Samantha now likes nothing more than holing herself up in the spare room, in front of the keyboard. Writing romantic comedy novels and short stories is her passion. 

Samantha has sold over 80 short stories to mainstream women's magazines. Her debut romantic comedy novel from CarinaUK Harlequin, bestselling "Doubting Abbey", was shortlisted for the Festival of Romance Fiction best eBook award, 2014. Its fun sequel is "From Paris With Love". Mistletoe Mansion is a fun standalone Christmas novel. 

You can find Samantha Tonge on Facebook | Twitter | samanthatonge.co.uk

You can find Game of Scones on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US



   



Author Interview with Caroline Mitchell

I am SUPER EXCITED to be welcoming the marvellous Caroline Mitchell to Becca's Books today! Before we get to the author interview, I'd just like to take a moment to wish Caroline a BRILLIANTLY HAPPY publication day! Her Bookouture debut novel, Don't Turn Around, is released to the world today, and since I've had the privilege of reading it already, I can tell you that it is FANTASTIC! A real, gripping, thrilling, unsettling read that had goosebumps prickling my skin as I read. 

So, I really don't want to hang around with this one, as I'm excited about having the author on Becca's Books, so let's get this interview started right away! 


B ~ Caroline, at what age did you begin writing? And at what age did you decide that you wanted to take it seriously? 

C ~ Thanks for having me Becca! English was my favourite subject in school and my reports often commented on my daydreaming. I was a voracious reader but I never thought of myself as a writer until a couple of years ago, when my husband Neil nagged me into writing a book of our true story, Paranormal Intruder. 

B ~ Was finding a publisher ever something that you'd considered? 

C ~ Certainly, although I'm very happy I self published Paranormal Intruder. It gave me a real insight into the book industry. 

B ~ Before signing with Bookouture, you self-published Paranormal Intruder, which is a novel based on real paranormal experiences that yourself and your family witnessed and experienced. Did you plan to continue self-publishing? 

C ~ Yes, I seriously considered it. It made sense, as I knew how to self-publish, and Paranormal Intruder had done very well. 

B ~ At what point did you decide to submit to Bookouture? How many attempts did it take, or did you catch their attention with your first submission? 

C ~ I had submitted to a handful of publishers when I found Bookouture online. Their ethos immediately appealed to me and I emailed my manuscript through their online submission page. A little while later I received full MS requests from the other publishers. I thought it only fair to let Bookouture know, and was delighted to hear that my manuscript had already been flagged to Oliver, who had taken great interest in it. It all went from there. 

B ~ What were you doing when you received the news of your book-deal? How did it feel to be told that you were going to become a published author? 

C ~ News kind of trickled through, I had emails of interest, then their crime editor, the lovely Keshini Naidoo asked to meet, but it wasn't until she uttered the words that they wanted to sign me for three books that I dared believe it. I felt a mixture of emotions, as my mum had passed away very suddenly the month before. I was thrilled to be signed, but sad I couldn't ring her up and tell her about it as she was so supportive of my writing. I like to think she was with me that day, giving me the thumbs up. 

B ~ What have your main fears and worries been in the build-up to the publication of Don't Turn Around

C ~ My main concerns were that people wouldn't get it, as it is a crossover of genres. I was asking my existing base of paranormal fans to give it a chance as it was mainly crime, and trying to win crime fans around when they may not have considered such a mix. I was very relieved when the very positive early reviews came in. 

B ~ Don't Turn Around is within a dark, disturbing and unsettling genre, intertwining crime-thriller with paranormal, something which I've never read before.Was it interesting, being able to mix these two genres together? 

C ~ They say write what you know, therefore as a police detective who has experienced the paranormal, it made sense to infuse it into my writing. I really enjoyed it, as you never know where the story will take you. 

B ~ Your heroine, D.C. Jennifer Knight, was a fantastically real and flawed character, who was able, amazingly, to hear voices from beyond the grave. What did you mainly want to focus on when creating Jennifer? Was there anything you desperately wanted the reader to grasp about her? 

C ~ I wanted it to reflect upon my own experiences with the paranormal. Although I'm not blessed with any special gifts of communication to the other side, when you encounter something like this in your everyday life you feel very alone. You doubt yourself, and at times wonder if you're losing your mind. Slowly you find the strength to deal with it, and come out a stronger person as a result. 

B ~ Your interests within the paranormal have always fascinated me, Caroline, and I know that they partly stem from your own experiences. Were you interested in the paranormal before your experiences took place? 

C ~ Not really. I had a mild interest in spirituality, but nothing prepared me for the onslaught of paranormal activity that invaded our quiet rural home. 

B ~ There are some seriously chilling scenes in Don't Turn Around that had goosebumps appearing on my arms whilst reading. Tell me, what do you think a writer really needs to nail when wanting to spook their reader? 

C ~ That's a really good question. You have to be able to imagine yourself in that situation. Go on a ghost hunt, or failing that, turn the lights off and close your eyes. You hear breathing but you know you're alone. The breathing is accompanied by scratching noises coming closer. How do you feel? Are the hairs prickling on the back of your neck? Do you stand your ground or run? We had many witnesses to our true-life case and it was interesting to see how people reacted in different ways. Bring your characters into the room, and see where it takes you. 

B ~ How long did it take you to completely finish Don't Turn Around? How did you find the editing process? Was there anything that you struggled with? 

C ~ It took me about nine months with all the edits, although thankfully I'm getting quicker with my writing. The hardest part was not the writing but finding the time to do it. I work full time and have four children, so time can be frustratingly limited. 

B ~ You created a truly twisting, turning plot within Jennifer Knight's first book in the series. Was it hard to ensure that there were no plot-holes? 

C ~ I used writing software Scrivener which helped immensely. Their online cork board was a really useful way of making sure the structure was firm, and I was very lucky to work with crime editor Keshini Naidoo who was great at spotting any possible discrepancies. 

B ~ Where did the idea for Don't Turn Around originate from? 

C ~ Frank Foster came to me one sleepless night, as many of my stories often do. I have a notebook by my bed for this very reason. After I worked him out I had to create someone who could deal with him and Jennifer seemed to fit the bill. I can't really explain where the idea came from, I just sat down to write and allowed the story to flow. 

B ~ Did you find it hard when switching between the different time frames? 

C ~ It was tricky to begin with, and at times I wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew. I've got a quote on the chalkboard wall in my writing room. "It always seems impossible until it's done." I must have looked at that quote a thousand times, but it helped me finish the book! 

B ~ What did you hope your reader's reaction would be like? 

C ~ I wanted readers to take DC Jennifer Knight into their hearts, faults and all. I ended the first book with a teaser for the second as I wanted readers to continue the journey with her. The feedback has been fantastic so far and I'm very happy that people are already asking about book two. 

B ~ Have you started work on book #2 in Jennifer Knight's series? Can you tell us a tiny bit about it or is that a strictly confidential area? 

C ~ I'm very excited about book two as it's even creepier than the first. I've just finished the manuscript and will be handing it over to my editor shortly. It's about a character called The Raven, a tarot card reader whose fatal prophecies seem to come true - you wouldn't want to cross his palm with silver!    

B ~ Do you have any plans for anything more after this series? 

C ~ I'm working on a straight crime thriller featuring a character named DS Ruby Preston. I don't know when she'll see the light of day but I'm enjoying developing her character in between writing about DC Knight. 

B ~ Caroline, if you were to choose another genre to try your hand at, which genre would you like to try? Could you see yourself as a romance writer, do you reckon? 

C ~ I used to think I could write romance, but I just know I'd end up veering off somewhere dark with my characters! My favourite genres are psychological thrillers, crime and the paranormal, I think my writing encompasses all three. 

 B ~ Who are some of your most influential authors? Any whose work you've adored? 

C ~ Stephen King is the master as far as I'm concerned. When I come out of reading one of his books I feel as if I've been transported to another world. My fellow Bookouture authors of course, and I hear there's a certain novel named Return To Bluebell Hill which I'm quite keen to read!

B ~ When not writing, where can we expect to find you? 

C ~ I'm either at work or at home writing. I also love spending time with my kids, hubby and dogs, and am lucky enough to live near a beautiful beach. 

B ~ How long would you say you spend writing a day? 

C ~ As much as I can. I usually write at night, and can often be found nodding off over my laptop into the wee hours. 

B ~ What do you like to do to relax? 

C ~ Relax? What's that? Ha! Okay straight answer, I find writing very relaxing. Being a police officer can be quite a stressful job and writing has been a very therapeutic way of dealing with it. 

B ~ Do you have any advice which you'd like to pass on to aspiring writers? 

C ~ In the words of Stephen King from his book On Writing, "Stopping a piece of work just because it's hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you need to go on when you don't feel like it, and sometimes you're doing good work when it feels like all you're managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position." 

B ~ What are your hopes for the future in regards to your writing? 

C ~ I would love to write full time. Although I enjoy working in the police, I cannot think of any better job than getting paid to create adventures for a living. 

B ~ Any parting comments? 

C ~ I'd like to give some virtual hugs and massive thanks to you, and all the wonderful bloggers and readers that have helped me get Don't Turn Around out there. I'm more grateful than you could ever imagine. 

B ~ Caroline, thanks so much for taking the time to be on Becca's Books today! It has been wonderful to have you here and I'm seriously looking forward to what comes next for Jennifer Knight! 

~ Author Bio ~


Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her husband, four children and two dogs in a pretty village on the coast of Essex. Five years ago Caroline and her family encountered real life paranormal activity in their home. Paranormal Intruder is her best selling true story. Caroline's new novel Don't Turn Around has recently been published by Bookouture in a three book deal as part of her DC Jennifer Knight series. These edge of your seat crime thrillers are infused with Caroline's experience in both the police and the paranormal. 

You can find Caroline Mitchell on Facebook | Twitter | Caroline-Writes.com

You can find Paranormal Intruder on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US

You can find Don't Turn Around on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US 
(You can also read my review of Don't Turn Around here)

  


    

How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst

It won't be over until I find out who's doing this to me.



Title - How I Lost You
Author - Jenny Blackhurst
Publication Date - 23rd April 2015 (Paperback)
Publisher - Headline
Format - Paperback (Provided via publisher)
Pages - 352

The blurb

They told her she killed her son. She served her time. But what if they lied? 

I have no memory of what happened but I was told I killed my son. And you believe what your loved ones, your doctor and the police tell you, don't you? My name is Emma Cartwright. Three years ago I was Susan Webster, and I murdered my twelve-week-old son, Dylan. I was sent to Oakdale Psychiatric Institute for my crime, and four weeks ago I was released early on parole with a new identity, address and a chance to rebuild my tattered life. This morning, I received an envelope addressed to Susan Webster. Inside it was a photograph of a toddler called Dylan. Now I am questioning everything I believe because if I have no memory of the event, how can I truly believe he's dead? 

If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back? 

Becca's thoughts 

I'd like to begin my review by thanking the lovely Georgina for sending across a proof copy of How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst in exchange for a fair and honest review. Just lately, I've been becoming a serious fan of psychological thrillers, so I could not wait to get my hands on How I Lost You. After reading the blurb, I was intrigued as to how the plot would play out, and incredibly eager to get started. 

Once I'd begun, I could tell that How I Lost You was going to be one hell of a ride from the first page to the last. Right from the get go, it was clear that something strange and unusual was happening to Jenny's heroine Emma (previously Susan Webster) and so, my curiosity was immediately piqued. As the plot progressed, I found myself looking forward to each clue being unveiled. The circumstances which surrounded Emma and her son Dylan were mysterious and not entirely known, which was brilliant for me, as a reader, because it ensured that I continued reading just to find out more. Not only was I mystified by everything that was happening, but there was a certain eeriness to what was going on. The sort of eeriness that was capable of sending a few slight shivers up and down my spine. Quite frankly, I think Jenny did a fantastic job of pulling the reader in and drowning them in the suffocating seriousness of the book. 

Not only did Jenny focus on Emma's point of view, but she also took the reader back in time. As much as I loved this, I did find myself becoming confused with a few of the characters that popped up from the past. I tried my best to become familiar with each of them, but a few times I did flounder with trying to remember the separate circumstances of each character. That said, it was thrilling to figure out where the entire reasoning for the story itself stemmed from. It was incredibly interesting to see how a certain part from the past linked with Emma and Dylan's future, so I couldn't wait to see how the author tied it all up once the book came to an end. There was just the right amount of mystery and intrigue within the book, keeping me interested right the way through, and a huge explosion of action just before the smoke cleared near the end of the book. 

I thoroughly enjoyed How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst, the tenseness and darkness worked so well together and really held me captive, refusing to let go. The plot was such a twisting, turning spiral and held so many hidden secrets that I couldn't wait to figure each of them out as the story progressed. Jenny's characters were fantastic, so well put together and capable of holding the reader's attention, and the turn of events had me reeling. 

Becca's Books is awarding How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst with four gorgeous cupcakes! A fantastic book that will clutch at your shoulders and refuse to let you go. Well done, Jenny!   











A Good Catch by Fern Britton

His own boat. Money coming in. A son he adored. A marriage that was happy enough. 
A secret that was safe.


Title - A Good Catch
Author - Fern Britton
Publication Date - April 23rd 2015 (Kindle Edition & Hardcover)
Publisher - HarperCollins
Format - Hardcover (Provided via publisher)
Pages - 400

The blurb

Even happy families have their secrets...

Greer Clovelly seems to have it all, beautiful, chic and slender, she's used to getting her own way. Greer has been in love with Jesse Behenna since her first day at school and she's determined that one day, they'll be married. After all, a marriage between them would join together two dynasties of Cornish fishing families to make one prosperous one. 

For her friend, Loveday Carter - plump, freckled and unpretentious - living in the shadow of her friend has become a way of life. She loves Jesse too, but knows that what Greer wants, she usually gets. 

Jesse, caught in the middle, faces an agonising choice. Should he follow his heart or bow to his father's wishes? And what about his best friend Mickey, who worships the ground that Loveday walks on? 

Jesse's decision will touch them all in ways that they could never foresee, and as the dark clouds start to gather the four friends find themselves weathering a storm - one that has the power to sink them all...

Becca's thoughts

Before I begin my review, I'd like to take a moment to wish Fern Britton a FABULOUSLY EXCITING publication day! A Good Catch publishes today by HarperCollins (Kindle Edition & Hardcover) and bookish beauts, let me tell you, if you're planning a trip down to the seaside this summer, then A Good Catch is the book that you need in your bag! I'd also like to say a massive thank you to the wonderful Amy Winchester for getting in touch with me in regards to a review copy. I am so, so chuffed that she did, because I adored this book. Utterly, utterly adored it. Let me tell you why...

Fern Britton chose to set A Good Catch in the idyllic Cornish fishing town known as Trevay. Right away, with the added bonus of Fern's fantastic descriptions, I was able to picture this setting beautifully. Each of my senses were brought to life during my time in Trevay; I could smell the salty sea air, I could see the homes and the people, could hear the calls from the fish market, and quite simply, I felt as if I were an extra character in the book. I absolutely adored Trevay, there was a real sense of community there, the sort where everybody knows everybody else and the families have been around for generations. To me, this was the perfect place to escape to, making me feel as if I were on holiday when in reality, I was just sitting in the garden in the sunshine. I lost myself incredibly easily to the story within the pages, and I found myself gripped from the get-go, taking the book everywhere with me and reading it at every given chance. Following the theme of fishing and life beside the sea that appears as an ongoing theme within the book, it's fair to say that A Good Catch by Fern Britton had me hook, line, and sinker!

Fern opens A Good Catch with a most intriguing prologue, and gives the reader a glimpse of two of the main characters, Loveday Carter and Greer Clovelly. Of course, at this point, the reader knows nothing about the two women, but there's a clear hint at something that has happened previously, and immediately, I wanted to know exactly what that something was. The atmosphere was rather glum, and slightly depressive, instantly making me wonder what had gone on. A million questions popped into my mind, a million scenarios, but most importantly, that needed 'tug' to dive into the book and find out for myself. After that, Fern whisks the reader back to the past, right back to where it all truly began, and I was riveted. I adored that A Good Catch began in this way. It opened up a whole history between Loveday and Greer, triggering them as being so much more believable. I loved that immediately, I felt like they went way back with each other, that a whole life had happened before I'd even opened the book. There was a familiarity between them, how they spoke and how Loveday comforted Greer, and so I was interested to see how it had all began, when their friendship had started, and how they'd come to find themselves where they were in the present day. 

The characters within A Good Catch were fantastically memorable. When I wasn't reading the book, I was thinking about them, and that's such a good sign in my eyes, because it again highlights just how real these characters felt to me. The story focuses on Greer Clovelly, Loveday Carter, Jesse Behenna and Mickey Chandler. Fern, amazingly, manages to fit a huge time-scale within her 400 pages, so that I truly felt, once finished, that I'd lived a lifetime right beside them. Fern takes us from childhood right the way up to fully grown adults, and still manages to include all of the small milestones in-between. Now, there's a real complication of feelings within the group, which had me eager to see how their lives would play out. It was a real tangle of feelings, yet beautifully managed by the author as the plot progressed. Each character came with their own uniquely prominent features, allowing me to set them apart neatly in my mind. Greer Clovelly was a very prim and proper girl, which continued well into adulthood. Bred from a rich family, Greer usually got what she wanted. What also became apparently rather quickly was that Greer's father pretty much had Greer's future set out for her, and that involved marrying Jesse Behenna. This was due to the fact that both Greer and Jesse's fathers owned chunks of the fishing industry within Trevay, and what better than to pull the two parts together and take the fishing industry by storm? Fern couldn't allow the plot to be so simple though, and to mix things up, Jesse wasn't interested in Greer Clovelly at all. In fact, he had his eye on Loveday, who wasn't as prim as Greer, was slightly overweight, and was adored by Mickey. See what I mean? It-was-brilliant. A real love triangle that brought these characters to life beautifully! If I hadn't already been transfixed by the mysterious prologue, then by this point I was desperate to watch these four lives continue. I just couldn't wait to see where Fern took them throughout the book.

And then BAM! Something happened (I won't tell you exactly what that something was), that changed the direction of these characters' lives entirely. I couldn't help but stare, gob-smacked, at the pages within my hands as I read on. This something took me completely by surprise, and quite simply, I'm surprised the pages didn't catch fire by the sheer pace of which I was began to turn them. It was incredible, and I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that things were about to get pretty freaking serious. I JUST COULD NOT GET ENOUGH! Of course, Fern takes the reader further forward in time with every few chapters, allowing the reader to see what's changed and what hasn't. I felt so emotionally connected to the characters, I just couldn't consider, for a single second, putting the book down. It wasn't that I needed to know what happened next, but rather that I HAD to know, for my own peace of mind. It was such a messy, tangle of feelings and relationships, and just wow. This was definitely one of those books that I felt desperate to finish but, at the same time, didn't want to finish.

When I began to near the end A Good Catch, I couldn't quite believe how much time had elapsed within the pages. I'd seen these characters grow up, make their decisions, take the necessary steps, and live out their lives. At times, it felt bitter-sweet, full of heartbreaking regrets and wishful longing, as well painful and sad. The circumstances of each of the characters lives took hold of me, and if I'm going to be honest, I wasn't happy with some of the decisions that the characters decided to make. I felt like screaming at them, to change their minds, to make things right! But of course they couldn't hear me, and so I was forced to watch their actions and the consequences that were sure to follow. God, it was beautiful and gut-wrenchingly melancholy. The twist and turns the characters' lives took left me feeling helpless as I watched it all play out in Fern's words, and I couldn't do a single thing to stop it. 

After finishing A Good Catch by Fern Britton, I believe I've learnt a little lesson, and that lesson is to always do what makes you happy, not anybody else. Regrets are a hurtful, awful thing to have to do deal with for the rest of a person's life, and sometimes, these regrets can become a little too much to handle. It just goes to show that when faced with a decision, always go with your heart. A Good Catch was a beautifully written and structured book, that truly captured my heart and had me tearful as I turned the few last pages. Trevay may have seemed like the perfect little Cornish fishing town at the beginning, but by the end of the book, you realise that there is so much more to Trevay than meets the eye. 

Becca's Books is awarding A Good Catch by Fern Britton with FIVE DELICIOUS CUPCAKES! This is the perfect book to lose yourself within this summer, beneath the sun and a blue sky. Never has a fictional place felt so alive and vivid to me. Never have I wanted to turn back time for a character and make things right as much as I wanted to with this. Absolutely, 100%, the book you need in your beach bag this summer, I promise you.