Louise Bridges has the perfect life.
A loving husband, Patrick. Two adorable children. A comfortable home.
So when PC Becca Holt arrives to break the news that Patrick has been killed in an accident, she thinks Louise’s perfect world is about to collapse around her.
But Louise doesn’t react in the way Becca would expect her to on hearing of her husband’s death. And there are only three plates set out for dinner, as if Louise already knew Patrick wouldn’t be home that night…
The more Becca digs, the more secrets she uncovers in the Bridges’ marriage – and the more she wonders just how far Louise would go to get what she wants…
Is Louise a loving wife – or a cold-hearted killer?
Louise Bridges has the perfect life. She has the husband, two wonderful children, the house, the car and the lifestyle many would and do envy.
When the police arrive to tell Louise that her husband is dead, her veneer doesn’t falter.
Becca, who works for the police sees something strange in Louise’s behaviour. What starts as curiosity turns into obsession as she tries to prove whether Louise is just grieving or whether she murdered her own husband.
This isn’t a normal crime whodunnit. It’s unique in its set up and it’s unlike anything I have read, especially in this genre.
It’s told from a ‘then and now’ structure with a POV from both Louise and Becca. I liked this as it gave me an insight into each of their motivations and character.
Louise is a character I tried to empathise with but I found this hard to do. However, I don’t think I was meant to like her and I needed to question her motives and decisions. It was like she was set up to put the reader on edge and this added to the tension throughout the novel. I loved this aspect. Although I didn’t like her, I wanted to understand her and that made me want to keep reading and for this reason, I think she was very well-developed.
Becca is a character I found to be quite a sad and lonely woman; similar to Louise really. Becca sees work as a way to fill her life and escape her reality. Both in their own way are seeking validation.by
Last winter she had a plan.
Lucy fell in love with tumbledown Rosemary Cottage as a child. So thirty years on, when she loses her city job and discovers the cottage is for sale, it feels like fate. She’ll raise her children in Burley Bridge and transform the cottage into a B&B with her husband.
But a year can change everything . . .
Now Lucy is juggling two children and a B&B, but on her own. Christmas looks set to be their last on Rosemary Lane – until she meets James, a face from her past and someone who might offer a different kind of future . . .
Should Lucy leave the cottage behind? Or could this winter on Rosemary Lane be the start of something new?
I am not crying, I have something in my eye…. OK, I am crying.
It was hard not to reach for the tissues with the latest book by Ellen Berry.
It focuses on Lucy, who after losing her job in Manchester, makes the decision with her husband Ivan to move to the picturesque village of Burley Bridge. It is not all plain sailing for Lucy and her family and there are many ups and downs along the way. Lucy wonders whether Rosemary Cottage is her forever home after all?
It’s not hard to feel love and empathy for Lucy especially as things happen for her pretty early on in the novel.
James, like Lucy is dealing with issues that I think a lot of people would be able to relate to. He and Lucy have many layers to them. I liked them both a lot.by
Hi Laura, and thanks so much for inviting me to share with your readers! Sea Holly and Mistletoe Kisses is a cosy Christmas read and the third book in my romance series known as ‘A Little Hotel in Cornwall’. It continues the adventures of Maisie Clark, an aspiring author who follows her writing dreams across the Pond to a quaint Cornish hotel by the sea. Readers can expect a festive, feel-good read, as Maisie and the rest of the staff at the Penmarrow prepare to host an ice sculpting competition at the historic hotel.
Are you able to tell me a little about what you’re currently working on?
Currently, I’m working on the edits for Book Four in the series, The Cornish Secret of Summer’s Promise. It features a daring heist, an unexpected secret, and a romantic crossroads that Maisie never expected!
When you begin a novel, what do you focus on first?
Hmmmm. I think it varies from project to project, but I tend to focus first on the central plotline or event that kicks off the story. Then the characters tend to develop alongside the twists and turns in the plot that help to bring the whole story together.
Which songs would be on a playlist for Sea Holly and Mistletoe Kisses?
Christmas songs! I have everything from classic to modern on my holiday music playlists, so it could feature anything from Bing Crosby to Mariah Carey songs.
What is your idea of a perfect Christmas?
How do you approach the editing process and what is the biggest mistake that new writers make do you think?by
Hello Eliza. I am so happy to be chatting to you today. I am excited to be heading back to Lytell Stangdale with A Christmas Kiss. What is this one about and how does it fit in with the others in the Life on the Moors series?
Hi there Laura, thank you for taking part in the Publication Day Blog Tour for A Christmas Kiss; I’m very happy to be chatting to you, too! So, this book sees us getting better acquainted with Zander Gillespie, who briefly featured in The Secret – Violet’s Story.
After a last-minute change of plans with his girlfriend, he finds himself – and his adorable black Labrador Alf – driving through a snow storm to his holiday cottage in a very wintry Lytell Stangdale. There, in an unusual set of circumstances, he meets Livvie.
Thanks to her boyfriend, she’s also had a last-minute change of plans and has come to Lytell Stangdale to lick her wounds. It soon becomes apparent that fate may have had a hand in their situation and they find themselves fighting a powerful mutual attraction.
Over the course of their story, we get to see all of the usual characters once again – Kitty, Molly, Vi, Jimby, Ollie and Camm feature heavily; a Life on the Moors book wouldn’t be complete without them! Hopefully, A Christmas Kiss should slot in rather well.
What is your writing process like from idea to the final draft, where do you like to write and do you have any writing rituals?
I have notebooks allocated to all of my different story ideas, it makes them easy for me to locate if an idea suddenly pops into my head. When it eventually comes to writing that story, I’ll grab the relevant notebook, sit at my laptop and start to plot it properly.
After that, I’ll then work on developing the characters – I go into quite a lot of detail for this so I get a really clear idea of each one of them in my head.
Once this is done, I launch into the actual writing of the story. I’ve learnt that I’m not the sort of writer who can just get anything down on a page for the first draft; I have to do as clean a first draft as possible, then go back and do a little editing the following day.
Once I’ve got that first draft done, I print it off and read through, making lots of notes along the way. I then edit the first draft and repeat the process of reading through and editing several times before I send it off to my editor.
Once it’s returned, I get stuck into her edits, check through them, amend them, get them proof read, then convert the document to a mobi and send it to my Kindle for another read through. Phew! It involves an awful lot of reading!
As far as writing rituals are concerned, I don’t have any as such, though I do need a regular supply of Yorkshire tea and plenty of ginger biscuits to nibble on!
How has your process evolved since your first novel? Is there anything you know now that you wished you’d known then?
I’d say I’ve become much more organised in my writing process since my first novel, which makes it much more enjoyable for me. Though, I wish I’d known that everyone has their own system that works for them, and that there isn’t a right or a wrong way; it’s okay not to just get words down if that process doesn’t work for you. Of course, if I’m pushed for time, I will just list ideas, conversations etc. so when I go back to my manuscript, I can flesh it all out and get it to make sense.
How important is planning when writing a series like this and what challenges did you face?
For me it was very important to plan, particularly for the first three books, as I had to ensure that time-lines matched. I’d say the challenges for making sure everyone’s age was right leading from one story to the next.
Do you think character or plot is more important?
For me, I think a story needs to have a good plot, otherwise there’ll be nothing to keep the reader interested. Though well-rounded characters are important, too; I feel they can help move the story along – does that make sense? I hope so!
Which fictional character (other than any of yours) would you like to spend Christmas with?by
Jessica Ridley’s life has just been turned upside-down – and not in a good way! So when blast-from-the-past Tristan Ludworth invites her to stay at Bluebell Castle and transform it into a winter wonderland, it’s the perfect distraction for Jess and her two young children…
Jess is used to planning even the most elaborate events in her sleep, but she certainly didn’t expect to be working so closely with Tristan at the castle – or that she could still find him quite so handsome after all this time!
And with a little holiday magic in the air, it’s becoming harder and harder to resist his charms. Can Tristan convince Jess to give love one more chance, just in time for Christmas?
Jess is on the up and up with her job. She also has a huge crush on her colleague, Tristan. Then, when they are on the verge of taking things beyond flirting, Jess leaves and both their lives take different directions.
Years later and Tristan and Jess’s paths cross again. Tristan has left London and returned to Bluebell Castle to help run his family estate. When he finds out that Jess’s marriage has ended and she needs a job and sanctuary for herself and her two boys, he offers Jess a job.by
One December wedding. One runaway bride. One winter’s day to bring everyone together again.
Today is the day Caro and Cammy are due to walk up the aisle. But Caro’s too caught up in the trauma of her past to contemplate their happy ever after.
Stacey’s decision to return from L.A. is fuelled by one thing – telling Cammy how she feels, before it’s too late.
Wedding planner, Josie, needs to sort the whole mess out, but she’s just been dealt some devastating news. Can she get through the day without spilling her secret?
On a chilly winter’s day, they have twenty-four hours to prove that love can lead the way to a brighter future…
The Last Day of Winter focuses on an ensemble of characters on a day just before Christmas. On the day Caro and Cammy are meant to go down the aisle, Caro’s past makes her doubt that this is her happy ever after.
The fate of the wedding is further put into question when Stacey returns to LA to tell Cammy how she feels about him.
Can love find its way within these 24 hours?
Shari, you made me cry again! I am not too proud to admit it either.
Oh, this novel.
First, the amazing characters. Each of them have their own, complicated feelings. All were developed well and nothing with any of them was black and white. Even where Caro is concerned, I felt enormous sympathy and empathy. This is a terrific ensemble of different personalities and they all fit together so well.
Plot wise, a lot is placed within the 24 hours in which it’s set but nothing feels rushed. The description of Glasgow sounds so incredible and it’s set at Christmas so it gave me all the early festive feels.by
Christmas is meant to be a time of giving, so with Chesterwood food bank under risk of closure Fern knows just what to do to save it. She’s going to get the town to create a living advent calendar.
Fern, and her best friends, call for help from the local community to bring this calendar to life. When Kit, the new man in town, offers his assistance Fern’s heart can’t help but skip a beat (or two).
As they grow ever closer, Fern must admit that Kit’s breaking down the barriers she built after the death of her husband. But his past is holding him back and Fern doesn’t know how to reach him. No matter how hard she tries.
In this town, Kit’s not the only one with secrets. Domestic goddess Cara is behaving oddly, burning meals in the oven and clothes whilst ironing, and Davina’s perfect children are causing trouble at school leaving her son, Jasper, desperately unhappy.
Can the Christmas Calendar Girls find a way to bring the community together in time to save the food bank, while still supporting their families and each other? Can Fern find love again with Kit?
Chesterwood Food Bank is under threat of close and Fern has come up with what she thinks is the perfect plan to save it. A living advent calendar. With the help of her best friends, Cara and Davina, she begins to put her idea into motion.
She is also getting closer to Kit who is the temporary caretaker at her daughter’s school and the only man to get close to her after the death of her husband, Adam.
However, Kit has a secret and it is holding him back.
One of Davina’s son’s is acting strangely and the other is deeply unhappy. Domestic goddess Cara is starting to forget things. Can the three of them pull together and make it a perfect Christmas by saving the food bank?
The Christmas Calendar Girls is everything I love in a Christmas novel.
The idea of a living advent calendar sounds brilliant and makes this Christmas lover want to see something like this for real. As the story progressed, I couldn’t help but feel more and more festive.by
Coming home to catch her husband with his face between the long, silky legs of another woman is the last thing Sofia expects—and on today of all days. So, after scratching an expletive into his Porsche and setting the cheating bastard’s clothes on fire, she cranks up her beloved Bruce and flees, vowing never to look back.
Seeking solace in the peaceful beachside town of Bradley Beach, NJ, Sof is determined to start over. And, with the help of best friends, new acquaintances, a sexy neighbor, and the powerful songs of Springsteen, this may be the place where her wounds can heal. But, as if she hasn’t faced her share of life’s challenges, a final flurry of obstacles awaits.
In order to head courageously toward the future, Sofia must first let go of her past, find freedom, and mend her broken soul.
Barbara has shared an extract today. Enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
Behind us a car’s radio blares “Born in the USA.” Curious, I turn and watch a black convertible pull into the driveway next door. The sandy-haired man in the driver’s seat sings at the top of his lungs and bangs his hands on the steering wheel. He alternates his drumming with a little air guitar. He does neither well.
Mr. Air Guitar gives off an aura of happiness and an appearance that says “I’m carefree” that annoys me. I dislike him, even if he’s a fellow Springsteen fan. He makes me think about the huge pack of trouble I’m trying to unload, the one named Jerome, the one who routinely porks his trainer. Still, nothing requires me to be friends with the neighbors.
Terri opens her door and climbs out. She waves at Mr. Air Guitar, but the man remains engrossed in his playing and fails to notice. He strums a muscled arm again to the blast of the radio, and my ears grow hot. The guy probably knows nothing about the meaning of the song he sings. The mantra “Born in the USA” isn’t a rallying cry for overzealous patriots no matter how many times they try to claim it.by
What if your dreams were so close you could reach out and touch them?
How could anyone resist Michael Tennant, with his hypnotic blue eyes and voice like molten chocolate? Jessie Simmons certainly can’t. But Jessie’s a single mum who can’t sing to save her life – there’s no way she’ll ever cross paths with the star tenor.
At least that’s what she thinks until she’s unexpectedly invited to take part in a new reality TV show. The premise? Professional singers teach hopeless amateurs how to sing. The surprise? Jessie’s partner is none other than Michael Tennant!
As she becomes better acquainted with the man behind the voice, will Jessie find out the hard way that you should never meet your idols? Or will she get more than she bargained for?
Jessie is a single mother of two, works as a pharmacist and knows she is a little tone-deaf (I can relate to that.) This doesn’t hold her back when she is watching the singing star, Michael Tennant on television and having a big crush on him.
I have quickly got obsessed with Kathryn’s novels so I was so happy to be included in the blog tour for this novel.
I am not sure how Kathryn does it but I would like to know how she manages to get my hooked by the end of the first page every time.by
Family means everything to Lily Cortez and her sister Zinnia, and growing up in their non-conventional family unit, they and their two mums couldn’t have been closer.
So it’s a bolt out of the blue when Lily finds her father wasn’t the anonymous one-night stand she’d always believed – and is in fact the result of her mum’s reckless affair with a married man.
Confused, but determined to discover her true roots, Lily sets out to find the family she’s never known; an adventure that takes her from the frosted, thatched cottages of Middledip to the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, via a memorable romantic encounter along the way…
It may be October but it’s never too early for a Sue Moorcroft Christmas novel.
To add the topping to the cake, we’re welcomed back to the village of Middledip, Sue’s wonderful setting for quite a few of her stories. Because of this, we get a smattering of the inhabitants we’ve grown to love and this gives the novel an atmosphere of a family christmas.
Say hi to Lilly Cortez and Isaac O’Brien, out main protagonists, along with Doggo of course, a very friendly Dalmatian.
Fans of Sue will be familiar too with Tubb the Pub who has a central role in the main story. It’s very nice, this reviewer believes, that this much-loved character has more than a peripheral part in this story. In fact, this novel is chock full of wonderful, rounded, well-written characters, including Carola who’s a particular favourite of mine from Middledip.
Switzerland bounds to life off the pages to such a degree that you feel like you’re walking in the snow-clad towns, villages and fields of this Alpine country. It certainly made me wish that I could go for a visit. Here, you have a roadtrip combined with a love story that will have you silently screaming for a happy ending!by
Emily Parker is set to have the worst Christmas ever!
Her flatmate’s moved out, she’s closed her heart to love and she’s been put in charge of the school original Christmas show – with zero musical ability.
Disgraced superstar, Ray Stone is in desperate need of a quick PR turnaround.
Waking up from a drunken stupor to a class of ten-year-olds snapping pics and Emily looking at him was not what he had in mind.
Ray needs Emily’s help to delete the photos, and she needs his with the show.
As they learn to work together they may just open their hearts to more than a second chance…
To celebrate the release of One Christmas Star, Mandy and Aria have shared an extract today.
***** beginning of extract*****
Before Emily had a chance to reply, the sharing-size bag of Haribos was pushed under her nose by Dennis Murray, the forty-something teacher of the Year Five class. He shook the plastic and all manner of gum, sugar, sweet and sour flew into Emily’s sinuses in one mammoth rush. She picked out a sweet simply to get the bag away from her nose. Popping it into her mouth, the bitterness hit her taste-buds straight off, contorting her expression. She watched, one eye squinted, as Dennis put five sweets into his mouth at once, double-chin wobbling. He was a walking, talking pick ‘n’ mix addict but still his capacity for sugary sweet treats astounded her. Simon had liked sweets – Maltesers, Minstrels, Mars Bites, all the chocolate. Simon had liked chocolate the way Emily liked cheese…
‘So, what do you think the budget meeting is going to be about this time?’ Dennis asked, nudging Emily’s arm as the other teachers joined them in the main hall used for assemblies, performances, lunch and meetings such as these. ‘Christmas cancelled? No unnecessary expense until we’re back in January?’
‘I don’t know,’ Emily answered. ‘But no matter what it is, I can’t protest.’ She lowered her voice and leant a little into Dennis’s personal space. ‘Susan caught me giving Jayden Jackson help with his project this morning and I bought him a bagel because I know he isn’t getting breakfast at home.’ She wasn’t getting breakfast at home herself, but only because the cupboards always seemed to be bare now Jonah had gone. Plus, really strong coffee almost counted as a meal, didn’t it?
Dennis sucked through his teeth, bits of gum crushed between his canines. ‘A double-whammy.’
‘I know,’ Emily said with a sigh. ‘I only narrowly managed to avoid the proverbial third thing because the Sellotape on the Christmas stars held out just long enough until Susan had closed the door behind her.’ But she knew she was under scrutiny and it made her nervous. She pulled at the sides of her maroon corduroy skirt, shifting her bottom on the too-small chair. Had she picked one of the children’s chairs and not a grown-up one. That was exactly how her luck was right now…
‘Definitely no extra baubles for the Year Six Christmas tree this year then,’ Dennis remarked, chewing on more sweets.
Emily’s phone erupted, tweeting like a bird, from inside her all-colours vintage carpet bag. It had been a bargain. Well, actually it had been quite expensive, but it was a genuine 1950s artifact. And she’d been quite emotional on that particular visit to the antique boutique. Emotion and her love of vintage were a heady mix…by
Christmas and romance are in the air…
It’s December 23rd and while everyone else is rushing home for the holidays, workaholic Leesa Oliver is dreading switching on her out-of-office for the festive season. And it seems her equally driven boss, Cary Anderson, isn’t relishing spending Christmas at his family’s country estate either.
So together, they draft an unexpected Christmas contract: They’ll spend half of the holidays with each other’s families, pretending to be a couple. Leesa knows the insufferably good-looking Cary will make her Christmas more bearable, but what happens after the last of the mince pies have been eaten…?
Leesa signed off on a sensible business agreement, but somewhere, amongst the fairy lights and carols something seems to have changed… It seems there might just be some magic under the mistletoe this Christmas!
Lucy and Aria have shared an extract with us today. Enjoy.
***** beginning of extract*****
Standing beneath the steady stream of hot water without the overhead shower wetting my hair isn’t easy but it’s so refreshing. By the time I’ve dried, changed my underwear and donned the crease-resistant, long-sleeved top rolled up in my hand luggage, I at least have a bit of my sparkle back. A quick brush of my hair, a squirt of deodorant and then perfume, and I’m done.
Making my way back into the open area of the lounge and scanning around the sea of occupied seats, I look for Cary. His head appears above the crowded masses as he stands to wave at me and I head in his direction. He, too, is looking a little more refreshed, I notice as I sink down very gratefully into the squishy leather seat next to him.by
Discover the secrets to becoming an amazing author.
Find your creative spark.
Grow your skills and confidence.
Have more fun with your writing.
Packed with top tips, this awesome workbook has everything you need to know about creating colourful characters, perfect plots, dynamite dialogue, and lots more …
I have many ‘how to write’ books and I wish half of them were as fun as this book.
Creative Writing Skills contains exercises, tips from the author and fun illustrations. With it being a workbook, your child can engage with the exercises directly. There are also opportunities to draw as well as writing using prompts.
For me, it’s a really good grounding for your child to begin and further develop writing stories. Also, it will give them an understanding of the writing process which, as someone who is trying to write a book is something that is so important. I really wish I’d had this book as a child.
Topics include looking at characters and building a profile, descriptions, settings, structure (there is a fun rollercoaster diagram which I will be using myself,) themes, genres, voice/POV, dialogue and sparking ideas; everything they will need to develop their stories.by
It’s the most wonderful time of the year… but not for Angie Martinelli…
Having lost her boyfriend, job, and apartment all in the space of a week, Angie has no choice but to leave California and return to her family in New England.
Determined not to let life weigh her down, Angie finds work at the local mall where she worked as a teenager. After an embarrassing run-in with a handsome stranger, Nick, she’s convinced her luck is about to change.
But Nick has secrets of his own… and as the first flakes of snow begin to fall, Angie can’t help but wonder if she’ll ever find love.
Angie has found herself living back at her parent’s house in an attempt to escape a bad break-up and the loss of her job. Desperate to find work and having no offers in event planning, Angie takes a job as an Information Specialist at her local mall.
The need for this job becomes even more apparent when, at a café, her card is declined. This is where she meets Nick, when he kindly pays for her drink. Embarrassed, she leaves, knowing at least she will never see him again. That’s what she thinks.
One of the things I love most about this time of year are the Christmas stories that begin to appear on bookshelves. I know, I have mentioned this love before. I am Laura and I love Christmas. There, I said it.
I was excited to be reading Wrapped up for Christmas and couldn’t wait to start reading.
This book was so easy to fall into. Angie is a wonderfully open, endearing character. She has disappointments but she is resilient and I find that inspiring.
Nick is the perfect love interest. He is just what you want from a love story and I wanted things to work well for him, especially once you meet his Dad. Nick’s story is probably one a lot of people can relate to around this time of year.by
Dear Edie, I wanted you to know so many things. I wanted to tell you them in person, as you grew. But it wasn’t to be.
Jess never imagined she’d be navigating single motherhood, let alone while facing breast cancer. A life that should be just beginning is interrupted by worried looks, heavy conversations, and the possibility of leaving her daughter to grow up without her.
Propelled by a ticking clock, Jess knows what she has to do: tell her daughter everything. How to love, how to lose, how to forgive, and, most importantly, how to live when you never know how long you have.
From best-selling author Laura Pearson comes her most devastating book yet. Honest, heart-wrenching, and emotionally raw, I Wanted You To Know is a love letter to life: to all its heartache and beauty, to the people we have and lose, to the memories and moments that define us.
I Wanted You To Know is Laura Pearson’s third novel.
Jess isn’t like other girls her age. Instead of being at university, spending time with her friends and enjoying her youth, she’s facing the fact that her baby daughter will probably grow up without her.
Jess has terminal breast cancer. As she tries to come to terms with her fate, she writes a series of letters to her daughter – to try and be there even when she can’t be. She wants to tell Edie everything and she doesn’t have long to do so.
Oh Laura, you did it to me again. You made me cry. I knew this would happen the moment I started reading and that was just the authors note. I like the fact that it’s a mixture of letters and prose; the style makes it easy to know what’s going on in Jess’s head. I got so invested in this story and have a massive book hangover.
To be honest, I don’t think there was a completely unlikable character in the whole novel. Everyone has their layers, complexities and flaws. It’s all explored so well.
Aside from what I’ve said already and as normal, I am not saying anything else about what happens to Jess and her loved ones. That is something I suggest you find out for yourself.by