Cover Reveal: Escape to the Riviera by Jules Wake

Excuse me while I swoon over the cover I'm revealing to you tonight, book folk, but it's a beauty. Once again, I'm teaming up with those wonderful people over at Avon to share with you the cover of Jules Wake's Escape to the Riviera. Now I don't know about you, but for me, this is one of those special covers I'd happily step right into.

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Arrives June 30th 2016 (eBook and paperback)

Blurb
In St Tropez, anything can happen...

Carrie Hayes leads a perfectly nice life, with a perfectly nice job, and a perfectly nice boyfriend called Alan.

But Carrie's life wasn't always like this. As a young, wild drama student, she married fellow actor, Richard Maddox, after a whirlwind romance. Life back then was full of possibilities and when Hollywood beckoned, Richard followed, leaving her behind.

Now an A-list superstar, Richard's life couldn't be more different to Carrie's, so when their paths cross in glamorous St Tropez, she can't help but wonder what might have been.

But with lovely, sensible Alan in tow, Carrie knows she needs to do the right thing. The only problem is, Carrie and Richard never quite got round to getting a divorce...

Lose yourself this summer on the French Riviera - the perfect read for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jane Costello.

Isn't it gorgeous? I honestly cannot take my eyes off it. And after reading that blurb, Escape to the Riviera by Jules Wake sounds like a must-read this summer! I can't wait to get my hands on this.






  

Cover Reveal: The One with the Wedding Dress by Erin Lawless

This afternoon on Becca's Books, I'm absolutely delighted to be revealing to you the cover of The One with the Wedding Dress by the FABULOUS Erin Lawless. This is Erin's second novella in her gorgeous new series Bridesmaids, and honestly, it is absolutely beautiful. Don't believe me? See for yourself! And what makes this even better is the fact that I have a video including one of the author's very own bridesmaids talking about the journey to finding Erin's wedding dress. I found it wonderful to watch and I hope you do too!


Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Arrives July 14th 2016 (eBook)

For fans of romantic comedies like Bridesmaids and Four Weddings & a Funeral, and bestselling authors Mhairi McFarlane and Jenny Oliver, this is a hilarious new romantic comedy series about one bride and her four best friends.

Gah! Isn't it a beauty? I, for one, cannot wait to get my hands on this fabulous new series from Erin Lawless, and the covers are to die for! It's available for preorder right now, so what are you waiting for? Pop over and one-click! Perfect for the summer, and the approaching wedding season.




Blog Tour: Review - The Daughters of Red Hill Hall by Kathleen McGurl

Today on Becca's Books, I'm delighted to be sharing my review of Kathleen McGurl's recently released The Daughters of Red Hill Hall. I've been a firm fan of Kathleen McGurl's books since the release of The Emerald Comb which I enjoyed immensely, so I couldn't wait to dive into The Daughters of Red Hill Hall. Kathleen has swiftly become one of my go-to authors for whenever I'm after a succulent, fantastically written novel within the historical fiction genre, and so when news of her newest book was revealed, I knew instantly that I'd have no choice but to read it. Thanks to the fabulous Jenny over at Neverland Blog Tours, the opportunity to take part in a blog tour for The Daughters of Red Hill Hall came up, and so I'm thrilled to be shouting about my stop on that tour today!

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Title - The Daughters of Red Hill Hall
Author - Kathleen McGurl
Publication Date - April 14th 2016
Publisher - Carina UK
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided by tour host)

Blurb
When Gemma discovers a pair of ancient duelling pistols encrusted with rubies in the basement of the local museum, she is immediately intrigued...

On a fateful night in 1838 two sisters were found shot in the cellars of Red Hill Hall. And when Gemma begins to delve deeper into their history she begins to realise that the secrets of that night are darker than anyone had ever imagined.

As the shocking events of the past begin to unravel, Gemma's own life starts to fall apart. Loyalties are tested and suddenly it seems as if history is repeating itself, as Gemma learns that female friendships can be deadly...

Review
Kathleen McGurl 'gets it'. She just 'gets it'. She gets what readers want and need. She understands that for a reader to continue reading, they need to have something that will pull them through the novel with such a ferocity that the very idea of putting down their Kindle is monstrous. This is exactly how I felt while reading The Daughters of Red Hill Hall. I could not bear to look away from this story for even a second. I was completely absorbed, wrapped up and consumed within the twisting, turning, shocking plot, and by the time I turned the final page, I felt like I'd been right there alongside the characters right the way through the novel. Breathless, shaken-up and a little relieved that finally the past could be put to rest, but ultimately satisfied at having read such a fantastic novel. And would you believe that these are the same emotions I've felt after reading McGurl's previous novels too? I've said it before and I'll say it again. Kathleen McGurl writes time-slip like no other author I've come across.

The Daughters of Red Hill Hall begins in the most intriguing of ways, as Kathleen McGurl brings her first character forward, Gemma. Gemma works in the local museum and, after going about her usual business, she comes across a pair of ruby encrusted duelling pistols. Immediately fascinated by her find and desperate to know more, Gemma begins researching the pistols and the story behind them, which takes her all the way back to the 1800s. The revelations Gemma unearths lead her to more questions about a time and event way before her own, and I was just as eager as Gemma to put the pieces of the past together in order to see the final picture. Despite my guessing and wondering, Kathleen McGurl takes me completely by surprise in the most teasing and tantalising of ways. From this point onwards, we slip back and forth through time, between Gemma's own story in the present day, and Rebecca and Sarah's story in the past. The way Kathleen McGurl unwraps the mysteries within her novels is one of my guilty pleasures and I honestly don't think that I will ever tire of it.   

As is the norm for McGurl, it's clear that her research when it came to writing her latest novel was spot-on. Her descriptions, the character's language, certain terms and words made this book all the more authentic. It's hard not to feel as if you've stepped back in time right alongside the characters, and are suddenly wandering through the 1830's. How on earth Kathleen McGurl manages to create a dual-timeline which runs so seamlessly side by side is beyond me. She is superbly talented at her craft and only seems to be getting better and better at it. Everything felt so real to me in The Daughters of Red Hill Hall. I had a vision in my mind of Red Hill Hall itself throughout reading, and with the help of Kathleen's visual descriptions, it was crystal clear. It was the ultimate setting for what would turn out to be a dramatic, twisting, gut-clenching story that gripped me tightly and refused to let go.

The story of Rebecca and Sarah was a compelling one. What started out as a friendship when the girls were young, quickly began to turn into something much darker and uglier. I absolutely adored how Kathleen McGurl told their story, and with just a hint of menace simmering in the air, I felt like I was steeling myself for the moment when the truth would surface. The themes of jealousy, betrayal and more slipped into this and suddenly gave the novel a whole new direction. Kathleen McGurl handled it fantastically, and I loved where the author took me, unable to see any of the twists and turns that came. I was shocked by how things progressed in this book, although in a completely positive way. There were moments of gasping, of clapping my hand over my mouth, of eyes so wide they could have rolled out of my head. It had it all, and packed a powerful punch to say the least. What really wowed me though, was how fascinating it was to see the similarities between the past and the present slowly begin to reveal themselves. Gemma, who we spend time with in the present day, has her own troubles going on, troubles that were very like those of Rebecca's and Sarah's. I couldn't believe how brilliantly Kathleen weaved these into the novel. It blew my mind and left me reeling. I was taken on such a journey throughout reading this book, one that will surely stay with me for a long time to come. There was death, lies, secrets, and so much evilness, but at the same time, it was all so real and believable, and it all begins from Gemma's discovery of the ruby-encrusted pistols. Honestly, it was amazing, and in my opinion, without a doubt this is Kathleen McGurl's best novel yet (and that's saying something because I utterly adored her first two).

As I sit here and write this, I can't help feeling frustrated at myself for not being able to find the words to express how much I loved this book. I mean, I've had a good go at it, but it still doesn't feel like enough. My only hope is that you'll stumble across this review and pick up a copy for yourself. Already, and I know I'm getting ahead of myself here, I am incredibly looking forward to Kathleen McGurl's next book. Rich in research and descriptions, shocking in terms of events, and compelling in how the stories are told, I don't think that I'll ever tire of this author and the novels that she delivers.

Becca's Books is awarding The Daughters of Red Hill Hall by Kathleen McGurl with five bookish stars. For me as the reader, this had it all. I was enticed from the beginning, and remained in that state throughout the remainder, racing to the end without stopping to breathe. So many secrets and mysteries are packed within the pages of this book, and I immensely enjoyed uncovering them alongside the characters. Compelling, gripping and oh-so-dangerous, this was a novel of jealousy, betrayal, and how far a person will go in order to break another person down. Completely fascinating and told by a wonderful author who is one of my all-time favourites, this has left a lasting impression me. Huge thanks to Jenny and Kathleen McGurl for providing me with a review copy of The Daughters of Red Hill Hall in exchange for a fair and honest review.
About the Author
Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, with her husband, sons and cats. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present., and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

When not writing or working at her full-time job in IT, she likes to go out running or swimming, both of which she does rather slowly. She is definitely quicker at writing.

You can find Kathleen McGurl on Facebook | Twitter | kathleenmcgurl.com









    









Cover Reveal: No Turning Back by Tracy Buchanan

There's no Friday like an Avon cover reveal Friday! This evening, I'm thrilled to be revealing to you the cover of Tracy Buchanan's No Turning Back. I think this cover is absolutely striking and I'm sure you'll agree! After reading My Sister's Secret, I just know that we're in for a treat with her upcoming release.

Available on Amazon UK | Amazon US
Arrives July 28th 2016 (eBook and paperback)

Blurb
You'd kill to protect your child, wouldn't you?

When radio presenter Anna Graves and her baby are attacked on the beach by a crazed teenager, Anna reacts instinctively to protect her daughter.

But her life falls apart when the schoolboy dies from his injuries. The police believe Anna's story, until the autopsy results reveal something more sinister.

A frenzied media attack sends Anna into a spiral of self-doubt. Her precarious mental state is further threatened when she receives a chilling message from someone claiming to be 'Ophelia Killer', responsible for a series of murders twenty years ago.

Is Anna as innocent as she claims? And is murder forgiveable, if committed to save your child's life...?

 Sounds utterly thrilling, doesn't it? I'm incredibly looking forward to the release No Turning Back by Tracy Buchanan. Roll on July!








Cover Reveal: Don't You Forget About Me by Liz Tipping

Hurrah! This afternoon on Becca's Books, I'm absolutely delighted to be revealing to you the cover of the fabulous Liz Tipping's gorgeous new book Don't You Forget About Me. *sings the epic tune* I'm a massive fan of this title, and a massive fan of the stunning cover I'm about to reveal to you too. Feast your eyes on this little beauty, book folk!

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Arrives June 6th 2016 (eBook)
Blurb
An athlete, a princess, a brain, a criminal, a basket case...

Cara Dunham is definitely one of them. But stuck in her small hometown, with no prospects of escape, she's struggling to find her thing. Her life is more book club than Breakfast Club and there is no Judd Nelson in sight!

So when Cara is invited to a school reunion she knows this is her chance to channel her inner Molly Ringwald and grab her John Hughes moment, once and for all. Because her teenage love, Daniel Rose will be there, the coolest boy at school and the one that got away.

But transforming into an 80's icon isn't easy and Cara enlists the help of her oldest friend, Stubbs, to teach her all she needs to know about being cool and quirky - a la Ringwald.

Except Stubbs thinks she's perfect, just as she is and takes it upon himself to show Cara that her life might not be 'movie perfect', but there is always another take to get things right. And maybe the hero she's dreamed of has been right under her nose the whole time...

If you, like me, adore the movies of the 80's, then Don't You Forget About Me by Liz Tipping will be right up your street. I LOVE the sound of this, especially the references to Molly Ringwald and John Hughes. There's no film like an 80's film, and I have a feeling this is going to be one hell of a story! It's available for preorder right now as I type, so get those one-clicking fingers ready, book folk, and roll on June!










Book Review: Cupcakes and Confetti (The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea) by Jane Linfoot


Title - Cupcakes and Confetti
Author - Jane Linfoot
Series - The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea (Book #1)
Publication Date - April 28th 2016 (eBook) July 14th (Paperback)
Publisher - HarperImpulse
Format - eBook (Provided by author)
Pages - 339

Blurb
Brides by the Sea, the cutest little wedding shop in all of Cornwall, has it all, including cake baker Poppy who lives upstairs. But wedding planning is not the piece of cake Poppy thought it would be, and when her best friend Cate's wedding planner walks out, Poppy has to tie up the loose ends so her bestie can tie the knot.

Double-booked venues, 'rustic' locations and gorgeous but grumpy farmer Rafe have this wedding pro feeling like she could be Cate's something 'blue'.

Will the wedding, the shop and the cake all come crashing down on her? Or will Poppy pull it off to give Cate - and herself - the happy ever afters they deserve?

Review
Hurrah! It's the brand new book from the fabulous Jane Linfoot! I feel as if I've been waiting forever for this to arrive, and finally, it's here. Cupcakes and Confetti is the first book in Linfoot's gorgeous new series The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea, and gorgeous it most certainly is. With wedding season approaching, and summer just around the corner, I cannot think of anything more perfect to enjoy than cake-baking, wedding dresses and frolics on Daisy Hill Farm with Jane Linfoot and Poppy.

Cupcakes and Confetti was the most wonderful beginning to Jane's new series. We're introduced to Poppy, Immie and Cate, alongside a colourful cast of characters who I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know. Poppy has recently had her heart broken and now lives above the adorable wedding shop Brides by the Sea, creating beautiful wedding cakes for a living. But, when things for best friend Cate come crashing down, it's up to Poppy to step in and save the day.

One thing I adored about Cupcakes and Confetti was the fantastic focus on friendship. Poppy, Immie and Cate are wonderful women, although with contrasting views on love and weddings, and colours of dresses for that matter. I laughed and smiled as I read about the antics the girls got up to, and when Cate's ideas for her upcoming wedding began to grow out of control, I couldn't help but to laugh some more. The friendship between the three really lifted my heart, and it made me think about my own friends, how much I adore them and how far I'd be willing to go to make them happy. Poppy really goes the extra mile for Cate, when the wedding planner at Daisy Hill Farm drops out. Although it's something Poppy has never done before, it doesn't stop her from sticking on her wellies and getting stuck into the task at hand. I think this displayed perfectly the amount of love Poppy had for Cate, and it made me so happy while reading. There was nothing that could tear these women apart, and their bond only went from strength to strength in the book, despite the ups and downs they each faced along the way.

Daisy Hill Farm? Where on earth do I begin with this place? It was FABULOUS! And when Jane threw hunky Rafe into the mix, I really hoped I'd get to see some fiery chemistry between him and the lovely Poppy. Although, once Poppy had been introduced to the grumpy, moody man himself, these hopes were quickly dashed. The setting of the farm was brilliant. Throughout the course of the book, numerous weddings were held here, each with their own problems popping up which were down to Poppy to handle. With chickens wandering about and swapping her heels for wellies, I adored seeing how Poppy adjusted to her new life on the farm. Jane's descriptions brought the scene beautifully to life for me and I felt as if I was right there with the characters, including the bridezillas.

From beginning to end, this was an utterly charming novel with equally charming characters who I adored spending time with. Jane's gorgeous writing style and Poppy's hilarious frolics through Daisy Hill Farm ensured that this was a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable read that left me with a massive smile on my face by the time I turned the last page. An uplifting, amusing and romantic read, with icing sugar on top, and perhaps some sprinkles too. If that cover doesn't capture your attention, then Poppy's life certainly will.

Becca's Books is awarding Cupcakes and Confetti by Jane Linfoot with four of my bookish stars! Like the layers of a very good cake, Cupcakes and Confetti was beautifully crafted. A deliciously scrumptious treat that will warm your heart inside out. Jane Linfoot has got out the mixing-bowl and whipped up a truly gorgeous story. Moreish and sweet, you won't be able to get enough.








Cover Reveal: Time After Time by Hannah McKinnon

This evening on Becca's Books, I'm over the moon to be bringing you an absolutely gorgeous cover reveal from those absolutely gorgeous folk over at Avon. I'm in love with this one. Head-over-heels in love with it. There's something magical and enchanting about it, something that puts a strange sort of spell on me. The book itself sounds wonderful and I'm thrilled to be revealing it to you tonight. Time After Time is the title, and Hannah McKinnon is the author. Let's not wait a second longer. Here it is, bookish folk!

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Arrives June 2nd 2016

Blurb
Hayley Cooper, a powerful but now struggling lawyer, fantasises about what her life would be like if only she'd made different choices. It's understandable: the past two years have been hell. She barely sees her kids, her boss is trying to sabotage her, and her marriage is falling apart.

Burnt out, Hayley goes to sleep wishing for a different life. When she wakes up married to her first boyfriend, one she has not seen in over twenty years, she realises there might be some truth in the saying "be careful what you wish for". Over a single weekend, like Ebenezer Scrooge, Hayley gets to see her life on the other side of the white picket fence - not just with her first ex, but with each of her past loves. But is the grass always greener, and will she ever want to go home?

Guys, guys, GUYS! How stunning does this sound?! I'm stupidly excited about this book, and can't wait to finally get my paws on it. It sounds very 13 Going on 30, and I do love a story about how different life choices affect us and what would happen if we could go back in time to do it differently. Roll on June 2nd is all I can say!



  

Book Review: Summer at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US

Title - Summer at the Star and the Sixpence
Author - Holly Hepburn
Publication Date - April 25th 2016
Publisher - Simon and Schuster UK
Format - Paperback (Proof provided by publisher)
Pages - 80

A romantic summer novella, the second in The Star and Sixpence series. 

Review
I was lucky enough to win an exclusive proof copy of Summer at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn over on Twitter, in a competition run by the publisher. I was absolutely over the moon when I was contacted, and spent a good few minutes admiring it once it arrived. This is the second novella in Hepburn's The Star and Sixpence series, although it's the first that I've read myself.

Despite having missed the first in this gorgeous series, that didn't stop me from receiving the full experience. As I read, Holly Hepburn built up a wonderful back-story to sisters Nessie and Sam, ensuring I knew everything there was to know about them, including events that had happened previously and in the lead-up to summer. I was able to grasp that the girls had been left the pub, the utterly charming Star and Sixpence, by their late father, and when the novella begins renovations are under-way, in preparation for the glorious wedding of JoJo (high-flying journalist) and Jamie. As you can imagine, things are pretty hectic in The Star and Sixpence as the girls attempt to get everything under control before the big day arrives, but it's not just the wedding that's on the girls' minds.

There's blossoming romance and the past, as it always seems to, rears its ugly head, making everything more chaotic than it already was. For Nessie and Sam, they both know that the wedding needs to go off without a hitch. Each juggling their own balls, I was enticed by this novella, and thoroughly enjoyed watching as the sisters both dealt with their own problems, but then came back together when it came to the wedding of the year!

There was a real sense of community and friendship within Summer at the Star and Sixpence, so much so that I immediately felt that I belonged in the village of Little Monkham. From pub quizzes to games of cricket on the village green, it was idyllic and appealing in every way possible. Holly Hepburn's descriptions of the pub itself, and of the gorgeous wedding that takes place within this novella, whisked me away completely and I could almost feel the warm, summer air on my skin as I stood beside Nessie and looked out over the activity taking place. It was vivid and busy and completely atmospheric, drawing me in further as I continued to turn those pages.

The characters of Nessie and Sam were fantastic. I absolutely adore a story that involves sisters, and despite their obvious differences in how they approached a number of things in life, it was very clear to me that Nessie and Sam loved one another. The dynamics between the two were familiar to me, reminding me of my own sisters, so it was warm and comforting to read about Nessie and Sam on the page. Alongside Holly Hepburn's leading ladies were a colourful, fun collection of characters. From Joss and Owen, to Ruby and Martha, each were wonderfully crafted and truly brought the story to life and reignited the community feel of it.

Little did I know that Holly Hepburn had set The Star and Sixpence pub in the wonderful county of Shropshire, which was a delight to discover. The plot moved along gorgeously, and when the ups and downs arrived, I couldn't race through the remainder quick enough. Both Nessie and Sam's personal troubles led the way towards a fantastic ending that left me wanting more, more, more, and I can't wait to be reunited with these ladies in Autumn!

All in all, a deliciously short but sweet summer must-have! (Or an any-time-of-the-year must-have) The Star and Sixpence is a treasure of a find and I was completely enveloped within this world from the very first page. Five bookish stars from me!

*Special thanks to Simon and Schuster UK for a proof copy of Summer at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn.*

   

Author Interview: Helen Pollard, The Little French Guesthouse

Today on Becca's Books, I'm delighted to be welcoming the wonderful Helen Pollard to the blog for an author interview. Helen's debut novel with Bookouture, The Little French Guesthouse, arrives exactly one week today, so I'm sure the excitement is mounting. I was lucky enough to nab an interview with Helen, so that's what I'll be sharing with you today, lovely readers. Rather than rabbiting on, let's get straight to it.

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US

Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you Helen, on signing with Bookouture. Could you tell Becca's Books' readers about everything that led up to that moment? How did you feel when you were contacted?
I had two 'sweet' romances published by a digital press in the US over the past couple of years, but then I decided to change direction slightly and veer into chick lit/women's fiction, where I would have more scope with the characters and be able to express my 'voice' and sense of humour... always allowing the romance to creep in, of course!

I submitted the manuscript to Bookouture as I'd heard that they are a very dynamic digital publisher. When I got the e-mail to say they would like to publish the book, I was absolutely thrilled that they enjoyed my story and had such confidence in it.

Helen, your debut with Bookouture, The Little French Guesthouse, sounds like a dream, and looks like one too. Could you tell us a little bit more about the story behind the cover?
The story is told from the point of view of Emmy Jamieson, who books a quiet holiday at La Cour des Roses guesthouse in the Loire region of France in the hope it will revive her stale relationship with her boyfriend Nathan.  She certainly doesn’t expect him to run off with an older woman! Nor does she imagine she will end up looking after Rupert, the temporarily-incapacitated guesthouse owner, and his business . . . and then there are the added complications of a muscled young gardener and an annoying but rather attractive French accountant, and a motley bunch of Rupert’s friends and acquaintances to handle. But as Emmy struggles to keep up with events, she discovers an inner strength and begins to reconsider her future path.

Where did your inspiration come from when it came to writing your novel? Have you been to France yourself?
I had the opening scene in my mind for years (what would happen if you caught your boyfriend with an older woman rather than a younger woman. How would that make you feel?) - but I was at a point in my life when I wasn’t writing (young family, so no time and too tired!) We used to take the kids camping in France nearly every summer – Normandy, Brittany and the Loire region, mainly – and when we’d had enough of faffing about with the trailer tent, we started to stay in gîtes instead. One year, we were staying in a gîte where the owners lived in a house in the same grounds, and suddenly a light bulb lit up and I thought, ‘This is it! This is where that scene takes place!’ Once I could picture the setting in my mind, I was desperate to get that opening scene down on paper - and because I hadn’t done any writing for a few years, it was like opening the floodgates, and I couldn’t stop.

I noticed with rather a lot of excitement that beside your book, there are brackets (book 1). Does this mean what I think it means? Are readers able to look forward to a series involving your characters or the guesthouse itself?
Yes! It is planned as a three-book series! The second book is due out later this summer.

On a more personal note, have you always dreamt of having your writing published? What does it mean to you to know that your novel will be out there with readers in just a few months’ time?
As a child and teenager, I dreamed of being published, and I did send off a couple of manuscripts in my early twenties that were rejected. But then I didn’t write for years, what with bringing up a family and later getting back into the world of work.
When I started writing again – maybe six years ago – I decided that it was now or never, and that I would aim for publication.
This story is particularly close to my heart, and I love the fact that it will soon be ‘out there’!

Are there any authors who you particularly enjoy reading?
If I want a romantic read to lose myself in, Nora Roberts is my go-to author. 
I love Alexander McCall Smith’s tales of Mma Ramotswe and the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, set in Botswana – his books are so gentle, yet so wise - and P.G. Wodehouse’s Blandings and Jeeves & Wooster books - he had a wonderful turn of phrase.
I will occasionally read a thriller – perhaps Michael Connelly or Harlen Coben – but I can’t cope with anything too upsetting!

In The Little French Guesthouse, readers will be introduced to your heroine Emmy, who I really can’t wait to meet! Could you tell us some more about your leading lady?
Emmy is thirty-one and has been with her boyfriend for five years. They are both stuck in a rut, but neither have really acknowledged it. Their holiday acts as a catalyst to that realisation.
Emmy is thrown in at the deep end at La Cour des Roses, but it allows her to recognise her own inner strengths and think about what is important in life – an unexpected journey to self-discovery, if you like. And she is down-to-earth and has a great sense of humour that sees her through.

How did you feel when you first set eyes on your wonderfully evocative cover for The Little French Guesthouse? Was it everything that you’d hoped for?
Oh yes! I thought it was gorgeous – perfect for the setting described in the book. I couldn’t have wished for anything else!

Emmy’s time spent at the guesthouse is intended as a holiday, although from the blurb, it sounds as though things don’t quite go to plan. Tell us, Helen, what is your own idea of a perfect holiday? Do you have any dream destinations?
I used to like storming around sightseeing years ago, but nowadays I prefer to have ‘a day on, a day off’, relaxing in between cultural jaunts. I wouldn’t like to sit on a sun lounger for hours on end, and I can’t stand too much heat, which has always limited where we could go in the kids’ school holidays (hence our holidays in France!)
I wouldn’t say I have a specific dream destination, but for me that would mean the coast. I love the sound of the waves on the beach. It instils me with a real sense of calm.

When it comes to writing itself, are you a planner? How do you begin to pull together your ideas?
No, I wouldn’t say I’m a planner. I don’t usually do a detailed outline at the start – I’ll have a basic premise in mind, and certain points or events that I definitely want to get to, but beyond that, I tend to allow my characters to take me where they want to go. It's more fun and certainly more interesting that way … until they get out of hand!
Having said that, I’m writing as part of a series now, so obviously I have to plan ahead more. It’s taking some getting used to!

What’s your ultimate must-have while writing? A nice cup of tea? A plate of biscuits?
One really decent ‘proper’ coffee in the morning (the kids bought me a mug for Christmas that says ‘I’ll start working when the coffee does’ – very apt!) and several cups of tea in the afternoon. And, unfortunately, chocolate invariably comes into play.

How do you feel about publication day? Nervous? Excited? Both?
Yes, both! I’ve invested so much time and energy in this book, it’s wonderful to see all that hard work come to fruition - but of course there are nerves about how well it will be received.

And last but not least, what do you hope readers will take away from The Little French Guesthouse?
So many of us get stuck in a rut, and it’s important to recognise and acknowledge it and try to do something about it, even if you can only change things in small ways. Not everyone can ‘do a Shirley Valentine’, can they?!
We also have an inner strength that we forget about until we are forced to use it.
And I think it’s good to remember not to take ourselves too seriously!

Helen, I can’t thank you enough for being here on Becca’s Books today. I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of your Bookouture debut! I wish you every success for the big day and hope it’s everything you hoped for!
Thank you so much for having me as a guest and for your kind wishes!

About the Author

As a child, Helen had a vivid imagination fuelled by her love of reading, so she started to create her own stories in a notebook.

She still prefers fictional worlds to real life, believes characterisation is the key to a successful book, and enjoys infusing her writing with humour and heart.

Helen is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association.

You can find Helen Pollard on Facebook | Twitter | helenpollardwrites.wordpress.com









Blog Tour: Book Review - One Moment At Sunrise by Karen Aldous


Today on Becca's Books, I'm thrilled to be sharing my review of Karen Aldous's recently released One Moment at Sunrise as part of the blog tour. All of the books I've previously had the pleasure of reading by Karen have been beautifully evocative, drenched with descriptions and characters real enough to fall in love with. When I spotted Jenny, the fantastic tour host over at Neverland Blog Tours, gathering bloggers for this tour I really hoped I'd be able to squeeze in, and thankfully, I did! So without further ado, here's my review of Karen Aldous's latest novel One Moment at Sunrise.

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US

Title - One Moment at Sunrise
Author - Karen Aldous
Publication Date - April 18th 2016
Publisher - Carina UK
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided by tour host)

Blurb
Nothing will ever be the same again...

Evie Grant has spent two years hidden away in a quiet French village, longing to escape her beautiful villa with its blue-shuttered windows. Maybe this summer, the father of her child will keep his broken promises and return to whisk her away to another life. One way or another, Evie's determined to stop feeling like his dirty little secret...

Yet when a mysterious stranger almost knocks Evie off her bicycle early one morning, her world begins to change in ways she never expected. Embarking on a painful journey of self-discovery, Evie begins to face her darkest fears and rebuild her fragile dreams. But can she ever truly break free from her gilded cage and learn to love again?

Review
One Moment at Sunrise is yet another absolute stunner of a novel from Karen Aldous. I've devoured and loved each of Karen's previous books, having adored how easily I was whisked away to some sun-drenched part of France, where I would have happily remained for the foreseeable future. The author writes so beautifully, peppering her prose with delectable descriptions, it's incredibly easy to lose track of the time slipping by, and this was no different in Karen's latest book One Moment at Sunrise.

From the moment the cover of this book was revealed over on Twitter, I just couldn't wait to read it, and once I'd raced through the blurb, I wanted to do so immediately. One thing I've picked up on while reading Karen's previous novels is the heart-warming focus on family and relationships, and also on motherhood. Karen takes the most important things in life and incorporates them seamlessly within her stories, making them feel all the more real and genuine, and that was most definitely the case in One Moment at Sunrise. Within Karen's latest novel, we're introduced to Evie Grant. Now Evie, to me, felt like a very strong and determined woman, if only she had the chance to use that strength and determination. As Karen began to build up Evie's history, alongside Evie's daughter Charlotte, it quickly became clear that this was very much a 'bird trapped in cage' situation, and this is a situation that I cannot stand to see, in real life as well as in fiction. Evie's life was very restricted. Yes, she lived in a beautiful home in a beautiful area but sometimes in life, beautiful things just aren't enough. Evie's partner, Seb Wilde, was a man who very rarely stuck around. Living a glamorous lifestyle, always on the move, and preferring champagne and yachts to his home, partner and daughter, I very quickly got the impression that Evie was a 'kept' woman. She had little independence, few friends, and was the main carer of their daughter, although a daughter who Evie clearly ADORED, and would have done absolutely anything for. The characters were brilliantly built-up, in my mind as well as on the page, and so I felt like I knew them pretty well before the story truly begun, which was a bonus in itself.

Karen really kicks Evie's story off in the very first chapter. After a heart-racing, near-miss while riding her bike along the Canal Du Midi, Evie finds herself being rescued by Ben, a brown-eyed producer who, without her realising, begins to shape her future. Alongside their chance meeting, Evie sets out on a surprising but nonetheless uplifting journey towards taking back the reigns of her life and being in control once more. Weaved into this story of self-discovery and the rebuilding of confidence was the rich unearthing of the past as Evie joins with Ben to research the creation of the Canal Du Midi itself, and the man behind the creation, Pierre-Paul Riquet. But, having knowledge already of the area, Evie is able to bring something much more riveting to Ben's production and quickly, the two of them become engrossed in the project.

This was a fascinating story, but alongside the research, Evie had issues much closer to home to deal with too. When things took a surprising turn later on in the plot, I couldn't race through the second half of the novel fast enough, and with Evie's daughter involved, it spoke high volumes of danger for both characters who I'd quickly come to adore. I was cheering for Evie right the way through, and I couldn't wait to see how Karen would bring Evie's story to an end. I severely hoped that would all would be well, but in all honesty, I really couldn't say for sure...

All in all, another gorgeous novel from Karen Aldous. Set in a glorious location, with a fantastic collection of characters, I was utterly charmed by One Moment at Sunrise. It was a novel of love, hope and finally, strength. As I sit here and write this review, I find myself thinking of Evie and hoping that all is well in her world. She definitely deserves it. Becca's Books is awarding One Moment at Sunrise by Karen Aldous with five bookish stars. I'm already looking forward to the next book from Karen Aldous!

Giveaway
Love the sound of One Moment at Sunrise by Karen Aldous? Excellent! Enter the blog tour giveaway below and you could be in with the chance of winning an Amazon gift card alongside an eBook copy of One Moment at Sunrise. How fantastic is that? Good luck! 
About the Author

Karen Aldous enjoys village life on the edge of the north-downs in Kent with easy access to the buzz of London. Not only does she love the passive pleasures of reading and writing, she also craves the more active pursuits with her family and friends such as walking, cycling and skiing especially when they involve food and wine!

Karen gets much of her inspiration from her travels and if she had to choose, France, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and the USA would be her favourites. However, wherever she goes, she discovers a new character emerges in 'Karen's World'. She likes to write about strong independent women who can direct their own lives - but struggle to control them! And, of course there's always a gorgeous hunk or two!

You can find Karen Aldous on Facebook | Twitter | karenaldous.co.uk

Don't forget to follow the blog tour!







Cover Reveal: One Hot Summer by Kat French

This evening on Becca's Books, I'm absolutely delighted to be teaming up with Avon Books to bring you yet another gorgeous cover reveal. I've been looking forward to the next Kat French book for months now, and so this is a very exciting cover reveal for me to be taking part in. It would be a complete understatement for me to say that this is a scorcher, because it is exactly that and then some. It positively yells SUMMER right into your face with such velocity, you might just tumble backwards!

Anyway, without further ado, here is the fantastic cover of Kat French's One Hot Summer.

Available on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
Arrives June 2nd 2016 (eBook & paperback)

Blurb
Being married to a celebrity isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially when that celebrity has a very public affair with his co-star...

Alice McBride is determined that the one thing she won't lose in her marriage breakup is Borne Manor, her beloved home, but she gets more than she bargained for when she rents it out for the summer and a sexy cowboy comes to stay.

Country music star Robinson Duff has had his own share of heartbreak and needs somewhere quiet to hide out for the summer. Neither Alice nor Robinson are in any position for romance; the timing is terrible and they're both rebounding like out of control frisbees.

Can a holiday romance help mend their broken hearts. Or will it just make things even worse when the hot summer comes to its inevitable end?

Doesn't it sound absolutely fantastic? Oh, I cannot wait to get my hands on this book, and the cover is just brilliant! Roll on June 2nd, is all I can say!