Friday 10 March 2017

Blog Tour: Finding Secrets by Lauren Westwood, published 1st March 2017

Today we welcome the lovely Lauren Westwood and her most recent novel Finding Secrets, published 1st March 2017.

A country house, a precious jewelled locket, and a puzzle dating back to the London Blitz and Imperial Russia. Utterly captivating, a fantastic romance from beginning to end. Perfect for the fans of Carole Matthews and Milly Johnson.
Alex Hart loves her dream job as manager of Mallow Court, a historic Elizabethan house, even if her friends think she needs to get out more. But a discovery in the pocket of an old coat – a jewelled mechanical locket shaped like a bird – changes everything, and Alex discovers that things are not as they seem.
From an old diary, to a handsome barrister, a mysterious clockmaker, and the darkest hours of the London Blitz, Alex must follow the trail of the jewelled bird to uncover the truth about the things she holds dearest – and someone is determined not to let sleeping dogs lie!

Only by finding the secrets of the past can Alex find the keys to her future – and her heart.

Lauren was kind enough to write us a guest post for today's stop.

The life in my men . . .

It's not the men in my life that count, it's the life in my men.
Mae West

I write a lot of posts about my inspirations and writing, but let’s face it, most of us read romance novels for one reason – the love story between the hero and heroine. It’s often said that novels are ‘escapism’, but from what, dear reader, are we trying to escape from?

I’m not a biologist or an expert in human behaviour, but as a modern professional woman, I’ve ‘been there’ many times – I’ve done the dating thing, the settling down thing, the having kids thing. I’ve done the toilet seat up or down thing, the washing his black socks with my white shirts thing, the flowers and chocolate thing, the arguments over money, schools, holidays, jobs, and you-name-it, thing.

And in the end, I’m happy in real life. It’s taken me a lot of years to be able to say that, but for the most part, it’s true. So why do I still like to read and write romance novels and conjure up in my mind those scrummy heroes?

The answer is different for everyone, I’m sure, but for me, it’s fun to dream and imagine ‘the road not taken’. Every day when I’m commuting to work I pass hundreds of men – single, in relationships? – for the most part I’ll never know or give it a second thought. For most of us, chance, fate, and the elements have aligned in a certain way, and that’s that.

But when you think about it, there are so many tiny random elements that decide the who our life partners are – who we meet and don’t meet, who we are attracted to and not, who’s ready, willing, and at the same stage in life as you are. In theory, any one of the men we pass on the street could have been ‘the one’, and we’ll never know for sure what life would have been like if we were with them.

Romance novels give us that chance to dream, that chance to explore other lives, other . . . ahem . . . partners, and rekindle those flames that are challenged in our relationships every day. Romance novels give us that little extra zest in our lives. While some people say that this may be a bad thing – it gives us an unrealistic view of love, life, and ‘happily ever after’ – I think it can be good too. Because you and me, and every woman deserve a little extra love and romance in her real life, and we shouldn’t be afraid to ask our partners to provide it.

So the next time he leaves his dirty dishes in the sink or his pants on the floor, go out, buy yourself a lovely new book, and give him a big hug and kiss. Because at the end of the day, it’s up to us to make it happen for real.  

About Lauren Westwood

Originally from California, Lauren relocated to the UK in 2000. She works as a lawyer for a renewable energy company. Lauren’s first novel, 'Finding Home' was inspired by her family's 3-year search for a house that made them the bane of home county estate agents. She currently resides in a pernickety 400-year old house in Surrey with her partner and their three daughters. She enjoys travel, visiting old houses, baking with her daughters, dance, playing piano, and hates tennis.
Follow Lauren

Twitter: @LWestwoodWriter

Wednesday 8 March 2017

My Inner Bookworm

I get emails with book deals several times per day, and being a complete book addict I cannot leave them unopened. I almost feel anxious if I don't read them, thinking that I will definitely miss out on a great book, a great story, a life changing novel. I know I am not alone in this way of life, as countless members of online book clubs keep reassuring me with their 'book post' hashtags and carefully posed and filtered 'book pics'. 

Sometimes I think I should just unsubscribe and let go, and for whatever my next read may be to find me instead. As if it were fate, or meant to be. But my inner bookworm refuses. She is a force to be reckoned with and has lead me down many incredible paths, introduced me to some unmissable characters and shaped my life beyond measure. So for that, I obey her every wish. She is real, she is formidable. She is my childhood and my best friend. 

She is me.

Tuesday 7 March 2017

Book Praise: Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes

Behind Closed Doors (DCI Louisa Smith, #2)Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Elizabeth is one of my favourite authors, so I fear this review may be a little biased! However, having read the previous 5 books from her, I feel that I can confidently give Behind Closed Doors a 5 star rating.
I find Elizabeth's style incredibly easy to read and the quirky information formats, such as police reports, witness statements and internal emails add greatly to the reading experience. I also find Elizabeth's novels very unpredictable which, for me, is pretty rare. I can pretty much read between the lines of most mystery/thriller novels and work out the ending to some extent, but I have not been able to do this with any of Haynes' novels. She has previously been hailed as one of the most exciting things to hit recent crime fiction, and I have to agree. Elizabeth has firmly established herself as one to watch out for and I cannot wait to read whatever comes next.

View all my reviews

Saturday 4 March 2017

Upcoming Blog Tour!

Extremely proud to announce our very first blog tour stop! The lovely Lauren Westwood is bringing to us her second novel Finding Secrets. Visit us next Saturday, 11th March to check out Lauren and her book!

Thursday 2 March 2017

Happy World Book Day 2017!

Happy World Book Day fellow book lovers!

This is one of my favourite days of the year. We have a beautiful sunny day here in South Wales for a change and it was wonderful taking my children to school this morning and seeing the different costumes in all shapes, sizes and colours! My favourite from 2016 had to be our Deputy Headteacher who transformed into Miss Trunchbull and looked amazing! Matilda was one of my all-time favourite Roald Dahl books.

My eldest two have gone to Hogwarts; Hermione and Quidditch Harry strolled in this morning alongside Gangsta Granny, Where's Wally, Merida from Brave and, of course, no book day would be complete without a Gruffalo or two!

Harry and Hermione
My youngest refused to dress up, but was more than happy to take The Gingerbread Man along to nursery and proudly proclaim it as her favourite!

I am spending World Book Day with tea and the fantastic Elizabeth Haynes and her fourth novel Under A Silent Moon. Elizabeth has recently become one of my favourite thriller writers and I am hoping to do a Q&A or guest post with her on the blog as soon as I have finished the next few books!

All in all, a pretty good week here in Rachael's world; Pancake Day on Tuesday, St David's Day yesterday and World Book Day today, not forgetting the fantastic books we are all reading too!