Avon Books

Blog Tour: Christmas Cheer (Willow Cottage) by Bella Osborne – Extract and Review

Bella OsborneOK, I admit it, I already have the Christmas songs playing and if I could get away with it, I would already have my tree up. I adore this time of year. I love the songs, the lights and any excuse to dig out the Christmas films whilst eating mince pies.

One of the things I love the most are the Christmas themed novels. I am very excited to say that Bella Osborne is with Novel Kicks today (welcome back, Bella,) with the blog tour for her latest Christmas themed novel, Christmas Cheer which is the second book in the Willow Cottage series.

Beth is running away. With her young son Leo to protect, Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Overlooking the village green in a beautiful Cotswolds idyll, Beth sees a safe place for little Leo.

When she finally uncovers the cottage from underneath the boughs of a weeping willow tree, Beth realises this is far more of a project than she bargained for and the locals are more than a little eccentric!

A chance encounter with gruff Jack, who appears to be the only male in the village under thirty, leaves the two of them at odds but it’s not long before Beth realises that Jack has hidden talents that could help her repair more than just Willow Cottage.

Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose…

Thanks to Bella and Avon, we have an extract from Christmas Cheer. Enjoy…

‘Carly!’ said Beth, her voice sharp.

Carly spun in Beth’s direction with an exaggerated movement. With slow blinks she looked at Beth until something registered.

‘Beth! This is … um … what was your name again?’ She swung precariously back towards Jack who stopped her falling on him with one hand whilst holding the pub table steady with the other.

‘I know who it is.’ Beth was trying to suppress the annoyance that was rapidly developing within her.

‘He’s lov-erly,’ cooed Carly whilst she stroked his arm in a deliberate action.

‘I’d like to know what he’s planning on doing with my drunk friend?’ Beth retorted. Jack let go of

Carly as if she were a lit firework.

As the accusation slowly registered, Carly looked hurt. ‘I’m not dunk!’ she protested as she slowly slid towards the floor.

Jack was looking blindly from one woman to the other as if he’d just been teleported there. ‘I was just …’

‘For someone that wasn’t looking for a relationship a few hours ago you’ve sure as hell come round to the idea quick!’ Beth stepped forward and grabbed Carly by one arm and hauled her into a standing position. ‘Come on! We’re leaving now.’

Carly wobbled on unsteady legs, grinned inanely at Jack and was towed away.

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Bella’s Scribbling’s: Shelfies

rp_Bella-185x300111111-185x300-185x300.jpgYou may have noticed that a well known UK Superstore is now stocking my novel – ‘It Started At Sunset Cottage’ and if you haven’t then I suggest you hot foot it down to the store where ‘Every Little Helps’ to check it out for yourself. To be honest I’m guessing most folk are not quite as excited as I am to see it on a shelf (I could stand there staring at it for hours but apparently they’re not very keen on that, or so the nice security guard man said as he showed me out).
So how did this happen? (Grab a cuppa and I will update you).

Apparently my lovely editor at Harper Impulse, Charlotte Ledger, has been encouraging everyone she knows to read my book and one of the people she offered it to was Caroline Kirkpatrick from Avon (no not the curly paged magazine that gets poked through your door and then an odd-looking man comes to demand it back a few days later – not that. This Avon is another imprint of Harper Collins and thankfully has no curly pages or odd-looking men). Luckily Caroline enjoyed the story and this is where I get a little hazy as to what happened next, so I may have to make bits up.

After various discussions deep within the nooks and crannies of the News building in London they decided to repackage my novel and make it ‘supermarket friendly’. I wondered if this meant it would have a sell by date and come with two packets of custard creams (well, a girl can dream). Apparently, the supermarkets are very specific about what they want and what their experience tells them will sell. So with that in mind my cover was tweaked – it gained some bunting and the cottage was thatched but sadly we lost the dog in the handbag and the pineapples hidden in the floral arrangements. But overall the revised cover was definitely striking.

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Blog Tour: Creature Comforts by Trisha Ashley

CreatureComfortsI am excited to be welcoming Trisha Ashley back to Novel Kicks. Her latest novel, Creature Comforts was released by Avon on 26th February and as part of the blog tour for the book, Trisha and Avon have shared an extract with us. Enjoy.

When we first met, it felt so right that I thought falling in love with him must be part of my preordained destiny. Even though my best friends, Lulu and Cameron, teased me about my conviction that I had a near-death experience and went to Heaven while I was in a coma after the accident, and was sent back only because I had some important purpose to perform in life, I knew it was real. Since then I just had to tune inwards to the voice of my guardian angel from time to time to check I’d taken the right turning … only with Kieran, I think I must have fallen for him so hard that I misread the message.

My path through life had appeared clearly marked till then, for after studying Textiles and Design, I’d accepted a job with the Women’s World Workshops Foundation, which sent me on assignments all over the world, though the majority were in India. The pay was minimal, but the job satisfaction immense: discovering the skills and artistic heritage of each area and finding ways of utilising them in the making of beautiful garments, the sale of which could transform the lives of the local women involved in the scheme and, through them, those of their families and even their whole communities.

And all the time I was amassing a huge portfolio of colours, designs, patterns, ideas and contacts, ready for the day when I would finally go home for good to Halfhidden, the small village in west Lancashire where I grew up, and set up my own business selling retro-inspired clothes.

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Blog Tour: Review – Creature Comforts by Trisha Ashley

CreatureComfortsIzzy has broken off her engagement to her feckless fiancée Kieran and returned to her childhood home – the sleepy village of Halfhidden.
She soon realizes that life in the village is anything but peaceful – for one thing she’s living with her mad aunt Debo and her pack of dogs, and for another, Izzy has a lot of unanswered questions.

When she was a teenager, Izzy was involved in a terrible accident, involving various inhabitants of Halfhidden. As she sets out to discover what actually happened on the night of the accident, she realizes that her painful past is actually standing in the way of her future happiness. So when a handsome stranger comes to Halfhidden will she let love back into her life?

I have loved Trisha’s previous novels and I was excited to receive a review copy of her new novel, Creature Comforts. I always find a warmth and humour in Trisha’s novels and this one was no exception.

Izzy is a lovely character and I liked her from the beginning. She has a relatable quality to her and I wanted her to be OK throughout the course of the book. She simply wants to get on with her life and the only way she can do this is to find out what happened the night of the accident she was involved in when she was sixteen. She is a lovely girl but is not someone who is going to be walked over and I loved this about her.

The other characters are endearing. I loved Debo and Judy and I loved Lulu and Cameron together. I did not warm to Dan or Kieran at all but I think that was the point. Rufus was a great character and I knew from the beginning that he wasn’t going to be what he seemed or as horrible as people made out. I felt quite sorry for him actually – with all of the things he was having to deal with.

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