Laura

I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts. I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

Book Extract: Dying To Bake by Helen Golden

I’m pleased to be welcoming Helen Golden to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Dying To Bake.

Bake Off Wars is back! Get your aprons on and let the sleuthing begin!

Vera Bolt, Queen of Bakes, dies unexpectedly aged 66

In a shocking announcement this afternoon, Vera Bolt’s agent confirmed that the Bake Off Wars judge and national treasure died yesterday. Ms Bolt was in the process of filming the next series of the hugely popular television show at Francis Court, the home of the King’s sister and her family. It’s believed that the renowned pastry chef was stabbed in the heart, and the main suspect is rumoured new royal girlfriend, Summer York.

What am I supposed to do? Lady Beatrice has promised DCI Richard Fitzwilliam that she won’t get involved in the investigation into Vera Bolt’s death. But when her brother’s new love interest, Summer York, becomes the top suspect for Vera’s murder, Fred begs Bea to find out who the real killer is. In a race against time, can Bea navigate a labyrinth of secrets and lies, evade danger, and safeguard her friendship with Fitzwilliam? The answer may determine not only Summer’s innocence but also the fate of Bea’s and Fitzwilliam’s burgeoning feelings for each other.

 

Helen has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy it. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

The hugely popular television show Bake Off Wars is being filmed on site at Francis Court and everyone is buzzing. Everyone, that is, except for amateur royal sleuth Lady Beatrice who is more interested in overseeing the refurbishment of her home, The Dower House. In contrast her best friend and business partner, Perry Juke, is gossip central when it comes to the show. But all is not well on set. Following the exit at the end of last season of the well-liked judge, Mark Jacobs, the remaining judge and national treasure, Vera Bolt, has been making herself unpopular with her critical snipes at both the crew and the new presenters. Insiders report that tensions are running high, and the atmosphere is toxic.

After Vera Bolt was found on set stabbed to death, Bea is confident that Detective Chief Inspector Richard Fitzwilliam, who is recuperating in a cottage on the estate after being shot during their previous case together, will be assigned to the case. She gets a call to come and ‘meet’ the DCI assigned to the case and assumes it’s Rich playing a little joke on her, but when she gets there it’s not Rich…

*****

Daisy, seeing a new person, rushed over to greet him, but he carried on walking, not even acknowledging the little dog. Bea frowned. What sort of person ignores a dog who wants to say hello? She lifted her chin and stiffened. Studying the stocky man in front of her, she realised he looked familiar. Hold on, isn’t he the surly sergeant who investigated the failure of the security system at The Dower House a couple of months before James died? She remembered him because, after he’d left, she and James had joked that he looked more like a criminal than a PaIRS officer, with his very short hair, bulging muscles, and a menacing scowl on his face.

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Book Review: The Mistress by Valerie Keogh

I’m pleased to be welcoming Valerie Keogh to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Mistress.

She wants what you have…

Hannah Parker is a woman who always gets what she wants.

When her current husband discovers she has been lying to him – again – she knows it’s time to move on and find someone who can give her the life she desires… The life she knows she deserves…

But who will be the lucky man?

When her eye catches a glimpse of an old flame in a photograph, she’s sure it’s a sign. Mark Shepherd has always been in her thoughts – they’d been happy once, he’d adored her, but she’d made a mistake and let him get away. She won’t make the same mistake again….

Hannah is older now and wiser. She knows what men want and she knows how to keep them happy.

So what if Mark is happily married with a family of his own?

All good things must come to an end…

*****

Hannah is used to getting what she wants or what she thinks she wants. So what if men fall over themselves to buy her things, to give her money? 

When her marriage comes to an end, Hannah looks back to a time in her life where she was close to happy. She will do whatever she can to be with the man responsible for that happiness, no matter what it costs him. 

Susan has been happily married to Mark for years. Although she’s suffering from empty nest syndrome, she thought that she could at least depend on her husband… or can she? 

I am such a big fan of Valerie Keogh and so was super excited to be invited onto the blog tour for her latest novel, The Mistress. 

The author doesn’t waste any time in throwing the reader into the action and the mind games that follow. 

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Ten Sentences

Hello Wednesday and welcome to all of you. 

For today’s writing room, I wanted to explore a creative prompt.

You can either pick a WIP of your own, use a favourite story or your own life story.

Whatever you choose, try to write the story in ten sentences.

If you’re feeling brave, I’d love to see your writing in the comments.

Have fun.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Family Matters

It’s Friday which means it’s time to start writing some fiction.

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing flash fiction prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can.

Don’t edit, just write. Once you’re done, you’re welcome to share in the comments but there’s no obligation. 

 

Today’s prompt is: Family Matters

You’ve been trying to escape the strange myths surrounding your family for many years but you soon realise that you can’t outrun your past forever.

When you inherit the family business from one of your family members, you decide to go back to put these old rumours to bed but when you are getting the shop ready for sale, something strange happens.

Continue the story….

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Conjuring Images

Hello all. Welcome back to Wednesday’s Writing Room here on Novel Kicks. 

For today’s activity, we are going to be using the photo below as a prompt. What does it immediately make you think of?

Set a timer for five minutes and make notes on everything this image conjures.

Once you’re done, have a look through your notes. Is there anything that stands out? The makings of a story? A theme? A strong character?

Set an alarm for another twenty minutes. Start to write this story but when you begin, start right in the middle of the action. You could even try and write purely in dialogue if you like.

Don’t stop. Don’t think too much about the quality of your writing. Just write and see what you come up with.

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Book Spotlight: Murder in Moscow by Kelly Oliver

I’m pleased to be welcoming Kelly Oliver to Novel Kicks. Today, we are shining a spotlight on her latest novel, Murder in Moscow.

Journey into the heart of 20th Century Russia in this fun and funny historical mystery, perfect for fans of Verity Bright and Helena Dixon.

1918 Moscow

Will following her heart mean losing her head? It could mean losing her job.

Fiona Figg trails her nemesis Fredrick Fredricks to Moscow. But when she arrives at the grand Metropol Hotel, the bounder has vanished.

After Fiona doesn’t show up for work at the War Office, Kitty Lane raises a red flag and tracks her to Russia. Seeking haven at the British Embassy, Kitty and Fiona become embroiled in a plot to overthrow the Bolshevik government.

But the plot turns deadly when Fiona goes undercover as a governess in the household of Iron Viktor, the Bolsheviks’ Head of Secret Police. And when Viktor turns up dead in his study, Fiona finds herself wanted for murder and on the lam.

Can Fiona and Kitty find the real killer and escape the Kremlin before it’s too late? Or will this dangerous game of Russian roulette be their last?

 

*****

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Book Spotlight: At The Stroke Of Midnight by Jenni Keer

I’m so happy to be welcoming Jenni Keer to Novel Kicks. We are shining a book spotlight on her latest novel, At the Stroke of Midnight.

It’s 1923 and in a decade that promises excitement and liberation, Pearl Glenham and her father are invited to a mysterious country house party on the Dorset coast, by a total stranger.

Her father claims not to have any prior association with Highcliffe House, but upon arrival, it is apparent that he has a shared history with several of the guests, although he won’t admit it. Belatedly discovering that her father was blackmailed into attending, Pearl’s worries are compounded when their host fails to arrive…

Intimidated by everyone at the party, she escapes to the nearby cove and stumbles upon a mysterious mercury clock hidden in a cave. This strange encounter sets in motion a series of events that will culminate in an horrific house fire, claiming the lives of all the guests, including Pearl herself.

But then Pearl wakes up back in the cave, seemingly destined never to live past midnight. She can repeat the day. But can she change its outcome?

 

At The Stroke Of Midnight was released by Boldwood Books on 12th March 2024. Click to buy on Amazon and Waterstones

 

*****

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Book Spotlight: Time Waits for No One by M W Arnold

I’m beyond excited to be welcoming M W Arnold back to Novel Kicks. Today, I’m shining a spotlight on his latest novel, Time Waits for No One, book five in the Broken Wings series. 

It’s April 1944, England is preparing to take the war back into Europe and the girls of the Air Transport Auxiliary Mystery Club become mixed up in a desperate fight to save a dear friend from forces who would threaten the very existence of the country.

The girls find solace in their deep friendship, even though the presence of a Nazi spy ring threatens their essential war work and their very lives.

Can love blossom through a fortunate meeting, and will they survive a period where life seems determined to put them in mortal danger? The girls find the strength to battle through all the war throws at them, whilst still keeping a stiff upper lip, a witty repartee, and unbreakable spirit.

*****

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Book Spotlight: The Other Wife by Danielle Ramsay

I’m pleased to welcoming Danielle Ramsay to Novel Kicks. Today, we are shining a light on her novel, The Other Wife.

The wife is always the last to know…

What if everything you believed was a lie?
Your life…your marriage…your very existence.

What if the person lying to you is your husband, the man who claims to love you more than anything in the world?

Isolated in his remote Scottish ancestral home on the pretext that you are psychologically fragile and recovering from a breakdown, this home has become a prison. As the days slip by in a haze of confusion and a cocktail of drugs administered by a loyal housekeeper, you begin to piece together the fragments of your life and stumble on a terrifying secret.

What if you discover you weren’t his first wife, and nor will you be the last?
That he plans to replace you, to make you disappear – just like the first wife.
Just how far would you go to save your life and prove your husband’s a murderer?

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Book Spotlight: Can You Keep a Secret? by Jo Lovett

I’m pleased to be welcoming Jo Lovett to Novel Kicks. We are shining a light on her novel,  Can You Keep a Secret?

One New Year’s Eve, Georgie James and her friends come up with a genius plan to help them stick to their resolutions… They all write down secrets, seal them in envelopes and then post them to each other. The secrets will be revealed at the end of the year if they haven’t kept their resolutions.

It’s perfect. Except…

Georgie’s secret is BIG… and revealing it could destroy their friendships. She has no idea why she chose that one to write down. There are plenty of innocent things she could have said – even admitting she finds newcomer Raf incredibly annoying would have been better.

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Book Spotlight: Lean on Me by Beth Moran

I’m so happy to be welcoming Beth Moran back to Novel Kicks. Today, we are shining a spotlight on her latest novel, Lean On Me.

As Faith tries on her future mother-in-law’s wedding dress in preparation for her own wedding, her tears are not of joy. The hideous frock is nicknamed ‘The Ghost Web’ by Faith’s best friend Marilyn, who can’t understand why Faith would even consider wearing it. But there’s a lot Marilyn doesn’t know about Faith – not the least of which is that Faith is just the latest of the names she has called herself.

Faith and her brother Sam survived a traumatic childhood which included having to change their names to hide from the past, but surviving has left scars. Faith’s generous fiancé Perry doesn’t just promise to be a partner, he offers freedom and security, and enough kindness to keep Faith squashing down any doubts on what ‘being in love’ really means.

It’s not until she meets an extraordinary group of women at the Grace Chapel choir, that things start to become crystal clear. As choir-leader extraordinaire, the indomitable Hester, holds a mirror up to her ragtag group of singers, all with their own burdens and insecurities, and teaches them to see how magnificent they are, so Faith can dare to dream of a future where she and Sam can stop running and she might even be ready to accept the love that she deserves.

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Novel Kicks Fiction Friday: Welcome To…

It’s Friday which means it’s time to start writing some fiction.

Fiction Friday is our weekly writing flash fiction prompt.

The aim is to write for a minimum of five minutes and then keep going for as long as you can.

Don’t edit, just write. Once you’re done, you’re welcome to share in the comments but there’s no obligation. 

Today’s prompt is ‘Welcome To…’

You’ve been driving for hours. You’re tired and you need to stop.

Eventually, you pass a sign. You pull the car over to read what it says.

‘Welcome to……’

Name the town.

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Book Review: The Other Gwyn Girl by Nicola Cornick

I’m so happy to be welcoming Nicola Cornick back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her latest novel, The Other Gwyn Girl.

1671 – London

The Civil War is over and Charles II, the ‘Merry Monarch’, is revelling in the throne of his murdered father and all the privileges and power that comes with it. Sharing the spoils is his favourite companion, the celebrated beauty, actress Nell Gwyn. Beloved of the English people, Nell has come a long way from selling oranges and a childhood in a brothel, but as her fortunes have turned, her sister Rose has taken a different path. Marriage to a feckless highwayman has left Rose in the grim Marshalsea prison and now she needs her sister’s mercy to help get her out. But Nell needs Rose too. A plot to steal the Crown Jewels has gone tragically wrong, and Nell’s future with her protector King is at risk. If Rose can’t solve the riddle of the jewels both Gwyn sisters will head straight to the Tower.

Present Day

Librarian and history enthusiast Jess Yates has hit rock bottom. With her ex behind bars for fraud, Jess needs to lay low – easier said than done with a celebrity sister. But Tavy has her uses. Her latest TV project involves renovating Fortune Hall, and she needs a house sitter while she’s jetting around the world. The opportunity is too good to miss, especially when Jess discovers that Fortune Hall has links to the infamous Nell Gwyn.

Slowly the house begins to reveal its mysteries, and secrets that have laid buried for centuries can no longer be ignored. Jess hears echoes from a tragic past and as she struggles to understand her sister, Jess feels ever closer to Rose Gwyn, the sister forgotten by history but who had the fate of her family in her hands.

*****

It’s 1671. Charles II is on the throne and enjoying all that comes with it, including mistress Nell Gwyn. She’s come a long way from the poverty she experienced as a child. Her sister Rose on the other hand has needed to forge a different life.

When a failed attempt to steel the Crown Jewells puts her into the path of Sir Guy Forester, it has the potential to change her life forever.

In the present day, Jess is also struggling with scandal and living in the shadow of her famous sibling. When her sister suggests she look after Fortune Hall, Jess is excited especially when she finds a connection to a Gwyn sister.

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Book Review: The Graveyard Killings by Wes Markin

I’m happy to be welcoming Wes Markin to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for his novel, The Graveyard Killings.

A decades old case….

When the body of a young girl is found exhumed from her grave, DCI Emma Gardner knows there’s more to this grisly find than just misadventure. Penny Maiden was killed in a hit and run accident forty years ago, and her killer was never found…Could someone be trying to right an old wrong?

A DI on the rails…

Determined to bring a dangerous gang of drug dealers to justice, DI Paul Riddick is trying hard to play by the rules. After his previous reckless actions, he knows this is his last chance to stay in the job he loves. But when his private life takes an unexpected turn, Riddick begins to lose control again.

Emma needs Paul to help her with her case, especially when more bodies are found in the same graveyard. But hurt badly by Riddick once before, Emma’s not sure she can trust him again.

But as Paul’s behaviour begins to spiral even more, Emma worries she may have left it far too late to save her old friend Riddick from his own destruction…

*****

DCI Emma Gardner is still reeling from the death of a colleague but is determined to keep going. When the victim of an old case is found on the grave of another person, Emma needs to find out what’s going on and fast. What makes it even more complicated is her ex friend, DI Paul Riddick, who is dealing with ghosts and demons of his own.

This is the first novel I’ve read from author, Wes Markin but as I like a good crime/psychological thriller, I was so pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for The Graveyard Killings, book four in the Yorkshire Murders book series.

If, like me, you’ll be picking up the series from this point, don’t fear. There’s enough information given to be able to keep up with the story. However, I did also feel that reading the previous novels would have enriched the story. They have definitely been added to my list.

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Novel Kicks Book Club: The Lost Bookshop by Evie Woods

Hello March. 

Well, we’ve said goodbye to Valentine’s Day, Pancake Day and the Leap Day and welcome the month of the first signs of spring (I say hopefully as I look out the window at the rain,) St Patricks Day and a very early Good Friday.

This month, I wanted to pick a book that has been catching my eye a lot but one I’ve not actually read. There was something about it that pulled me in just by reading the blurb. Plus, the tag line is amazing and the cover is beautiful.

That book is The Lost Bookshop by Evie Woods. The title sounds very whimsical and the idea of finding a Lost Bookshop just seems so wonderful.

 

How to take part – 

Anyone can take part in our book club whether you’ve already read the novel or will, like me, be picking it up for the first time. I post a question in the comments below to start the discussion and the best part is that you can take part from the comfort of home. I am really looking forward to discussing this book with you.

 

About The Lost Bookshop – 

‘The thing about books,’ she said ‘is that they help you to imagine a life bigger and better than you could ever dream of.’

On a quiet street in Dublin, a lost bookshop is waiting to be found…

For too long, Opaline, Martha and Henry have been the side characters in their own lives.

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Book Extract: Hazard Night by Laura Vaughan

I’m pleased to be welcoming Laura Vaughan to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Hazard Night.

Cleeve College is not for everyone…

When Eve’s husband is appointed housemaster at his old boarding school, Cleeve College, she gives up her life in London to join him. But the isolation and loss of autonomy threaten both her happiness and her marriage.

The arrival of Fen, an enigmatic artist and wife of the new Classics teacher, is a welcome distraction. Fen doesn’t play by the rules, and she and Eve enter into a game of escalating dares, disrupting the delicate balance of school life.

Then, the morning after Hazard Night, a tradition that allows the students to run wild and play pranks for one day, a body is found. Someone has been murdered. And it seems everyone has something to hide…

 

Laura has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy it. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

ALICE

I think I knew from the start that the new beard at Wyatt’s was a hopeless case.

(Beards are what the boys call the campus wives. Gogs – as in pedagogues – are the teaching staff. God is the name for my father, the chaplain. Fishface is what they call me.)

I’d been roped in to help on the Winslows’ first Arrivals because the kitchen was short-staffed and so Pat B – head of catering – asked if I’d lend a hand at Wyatt’s welcome tea. These teas are always served in the housemasters’ gardens, and although the kitchen staff do most of the baking and serving, it’s a tradition that the housemaster’s wife makes her own contribution. When Mrs Winslow unveiled her Tupperware boxes of gingerbread men, she flushed defensively. ‘I’m not much of a cook,’ she said, attempting a laugh, ‘but icing covers a multitude of sins.’

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NK Chats With… Fran Clark

Hello Fran. Thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell me about your novel, Holding Paradise and what inspired it?

Holding Paradise is women’s fiction novel seen from the viewpoint of both West Indian matriarch, Josephine, and her first generation daughter, Angelica. It’s a moving story of family, loss and deceit that explores identity, belonging and the resilience of the human spirit. It was inspired by stories that my mother used to tell us about her times spent in the West Indies and what it was like raising her family in 1950s London. I wanted to honour her memories so created characters who had stories of their own to tell based around that time in history.

 

What’s your typical writing day like? Do you have any writing rituals?

My writing day depends on the stage of the book I’m in. When it’s a new book I tend to devote the mornings to writing at my desk and spend the rest of my day thinking about the plot as I do the other things like answering emails etc. During editing I change desks and put my fold up table by the big French windows where I think I’m seeing the novel with fresh eyes just because I’ve set up in a different place. I know it sounds crazy but it works for me.

 

What are the challenges you found when writing your novel?

First novels are always the ones that you write from the heart and mean everything to you. I had to try to make sure it wasn’t a rambling biography of pouring my heart out. That’s how it started off. I had to keep myself in check and put myself in the position of the reader. I needed to make it an interesting and entertaining read and after quite a few versions of this book, I think I finally got there. But the readers will be the judge, I guess.

 

Which fictional character would you like to meet and why?

Can I pick more than one? If it’s in literature, then probably Jo March from Little Women. She’s just such an inspiring person and a writer who had to be so determined to become a writer in a time in history when it was so difficult for women. I’d hope that being around her might rub off on me and I could get some of her grit and determination. For on screen characters, I’d love to live in Stars Hollow with The Gilmore Girls. I’d love a coffee shop like Luke’s to hang out where I could catch up on the local gossip and and have a place to write.

 

From idea to finished book, what’s your writing process like and how long does it typically take you?

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Book Review: The House Sitter by Elizabeth Drummond

I’m pleased to be welcoming Elizabeth Drummond to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The House Sitter

His house. Her rules. But who’s in charge?

Pippa Munro had everything planned for her perfect wedding. What she did not have planned, was for her boyfriend to break up with her. Or sell her beloved farm. So instead of being blissfully engaged, Pippa finds herself jobless, homeless and loveless. Things couldn’t be going better…

Wolfie Squires needs someone to look after his family’s ancient house. He’s too busy with his hot shot city job to deal with a country manor several hundred miles away.

The perfect solution? Find someone to house sit.
The less-than-perfect candidate? Pippa Munro.

Pippa is more comfortable working on a farm than dusting a chandelier, and definitely not the ideal choice for the job.

As tempers fray, ideas clash, and secrets are spilled, Pippa and Wolfie might realise they have the same ambitions for the house, if only they could stop arguing long enough to find out…

*****

Piper Monro has put years of her life into her boyfriend’s farm in her beloved Hurst Bridge yet, on the night she is hoping he will finally propose, she is given a big surprise.

She needs a new job and fast. When she hears that Squires House needs a house sitter, she finds herself applying for it.

It’s here that she runs into Wolfie Squires, a man she’s not seen since she was a teenager. From what she can see, he’s the same unfriendly person she remembers. Can she and Wolfie find a way to work together?

This is the first novel I’ve read from Elizabeth Drummond. The premise intrigued me so I was excited to be invited onto the blog tour for The House Sitter.

Piper is strong and brilliant and a little frustrating when it comes to her long term boyfriend, Alex but this book teaches us that time, space and hindsight are very important. She’s a force of nature and I loved that about her.

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Book Review: The Lost Letters of Evelyn Wright by Clare Swatman

I’m so happy to be welcoming Clare Swatman back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her new novel, The Lost Letters of Evelyn Wright.

Starting over can be hard to do…

So when mum of two Beth moves out of her beloved marital home and into an unloved and unkempt cottage, she can’t help but feel demoralised. Faced with months of DIY and dust, her children Jacob and Olivia aren’t impressed either. But when Beth finds a box of letters while she’s clearing out the children’s room, things start to look up.

The correspondence is decades old, between agony aunt Evelyn and those in need of solace. Intrigued as to why the letters have been kept safe all these years, Beth can’t resist reading them, and as the wisdom and kindness of Evelyn falls off the pages, so Beth starts to feel she has a friend and champion in this woman she has never met.

Good advice doesn’t age, and as life starts to look brighter, Beth begins to wonder if she could track down Evelyn and thank her for her help. But as Beth uncovers more about Evelyn’s story, it becomes clear that everything is not as it seems. And now Beth is determined to bring peace to Evelyn as she has to her.

*****

Beth had it all – the marriage, the wonderful house and two children. 

Now, she’s a single mother in a ramshackle house that needs a lot of work, her husband is living with the woman he was having an affair with and she has never felt more lonely. 

When she finds some old agony aunt letters, she decides to reply. After all, it’s something to do. However, these letters open up her world to more than she ever imagined. 

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Book Extract: Dark Days at the Beach Hotel by Francesca Capaldi

I’m pleased to be welcoming Francesca Capaldi to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Dark Days at the Beach Hotel.

Can Helen save the hotel… and her reputation?

Helen Bygrove is managing the hotel, now that her husband has been conscripted. Against all expectations, Helen and her team are doing marvellously, despite the shortages brought by war. Even the exacting Lady Blackmore agrees. But then the calm is shattered when poison pen letters are sent to prominent townsfolk and Helen finds herself the target of a police investigation.

Is someone trying to ruin Helen, and the Beach Hotel? And can she rely on the handsome but taciturn Inspector Toshack to help her? When her husband, Douglas, is invalided out of the war he is determined to take back control of the hotel and things go from bad to worse.

How can she ever escape his bullying? Is she a fool to hope that she may have a second chance at love?

 

Francesca has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy it. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

Helen Bygrove has taken over as manageress of the Beach Hotel after her husband is conscripted. There have been libellous letters sent to many people in the town, and much of the focus has concentrated on the hotel. Detective Inspector Toshack has now turned up at the hotel, with several police officers.

 

*****

‘What are they doing?’ said Helen.

‘Carrying out a search.’

‘But my children are up there, with Vera, their nursemaid.’

‘I’m sure WPC Lovelock will escort them elsewhere. Constable, you search the office, down this passageway on the left.’

Twort performed a short salute before obeying the command.

‘Why are you doing this, Inspector?’ Helen asked. ‘Why would anyone here use the hotel writing paper for anonymous letters?’

As she finished the sentence, the door to the stairs opened once more, and Vera appeared, with Elsie in her arms. Dorothy and Arthur came just behind her.

‘Shall I take the children into the staff dining room, madam?’

‘That would be best.’

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Novel Kicks Writing Room: Valentine’s Day Party

Happy Wednesday and another Writing Room exercise. 

As it’s Valentine’s Day today, the exercise will be based around a Valentine’s Day Party.

Is it a party celebrating love or is it one for people who don’t have a significant other? What happens at this party?

Write up to 800 words. You could set a timer for 10 minutes?

To add to the challenge, try and get these words into your story –

Language, Love, Hate, Leave, Underneath, Sorry.

Feel free to post your writing in the comments below but as usual, there is no obligation.

Enjoy.

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Book Review: The Year That Changed Us by Helen Rolfe

I’m happy to be welcoming Helen Rolfe back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Year That Changed Us.

A warm-hearted and gripping story of community, secrets and the family we choose that will captivate fans of Lucy Diamond, Cathy Bramley and Jessica Redland.

As young women, Lise and Emma had the kind of friendship people dream about. While Lise’s own family was distant and disengaged, Emma’s was welcoming and warm, and for the first twenty-six years of their life, growing up together in a close-knit community, the duo were inseparable. But when they decide to spend one year living together in Paris, what starts as the adventure of a lifetime becomes a disaster that changes everything. And when Emma returns to Bath the following summer, Lise stays behind in France, their friendship in tatters.

Now, sixteen years later, Lise has come back to their hometown, determined to put things right. But to do so, she’ll have to face up to the truth about what happened in Paris. And with Emma refusing to talk to her, can she get close enough to share her secret?

*****

From the time they were in primary school, Lise and Emma have been the best of friends, even when Lise is sent to boarding school. 

When it is time for them to spread their wings, they decide to spend time in Paris. They are excited about their adventure. However, when the two women fall out and Emma returns home without Lise, their friendship seems forever broken. 

Can they repair what was lost or is their bond broken forever? 

Having previously read Christmas Nights at the Star and Lantern and loved it, I was excited to have the opportunity to take part in the blog tour for Helen Rolfe’s latest novel,  The Year That Changed Us. 

First, I want to give a shout out to the cover. It’s so pretty. The plot also sounded interesting and so I couldn’t wait to get started. 

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Book Review: The Summer of Lies by Louise Douglas

I’m pleased to be welcoming Louise Douglas back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Summer of Lies.

The summer is the hottest yet in the Brittany coastal town of Morranez, but when a new case lands on the desk of the Toussaints detective agency, there can be no time to relax. As wild fires bear down on the town, the alert goes out for a missing girl.

Nineteen-year-old Briony Moorcroft has seemingly been taken from her sleepy Welsh village and brought to France. Her parents are baffled and scared – Briony needs her life-saving medicine or this case will become even more sinister, and with the police dragging their heels, the Moorcrofts are relying on Mila Shephard and Carter Jackson’s sleuthing skills.

Meanwhile there are mysteries troubling Mila’s life too. Two years after the accident that swept her sister Sophie and brother-in-law Charlie away and left their daughter Ani in Mila’s care, new evidence resurfaces that makes Mila doubt everything.

Can Carter and Mila find Briony before it’s too late? And is the truth about Sophie and Charlie finally about to be revealed…

*****

Mila is not looking forward to the responsibility of organising a celebration for her mother’s birthday – a thought that gives her anxiety rather than joy. A case soon takes her mind off her mother and onto an unwell nineteen-year-old girl who has seemingly been taken from her home in Wales to France. Can Mila and Carter find Briony Moorcroft before it’s too late?

I’m so happy to be back in Morranez with Mila, Carter, Cici and Ani. Having enjoyed The Lost Notebook, I was excited to catch up with these characters. It was like catching up with old friends.

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Book Extract: A Deadly Portrayal by LM Milford

I’m excited to be welcoming LM Milford to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, A Deadly Portrayal.

When local crime reporter Emma Fletcher is asked to help identify her friend’s blackmailer, she discovers a link to the recent death of a teacher at Allensbury Dance and Drama School.

Meanwhile, a police investigation is uncovering some dark secrets, and it is clear that someone is seeking revenge for past wrongs.

As Emma’s list of suspects continues to grow, the discovery of a second body puts her in the killer’s sights.

Warned off the investigation by the police for her own safety, Emma decides the best way to save herself is to find the culprit first.

With the help of fellow news reporter Dan Sullivan, Emma must work out who is targeting Allensbury Dance and Drama School before the killer strikes again.

 

LM Milford has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy it. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

The story so far… dancer Natasha Kent has received an email threatening to ruin her life if she doesn’t admit to what she’s done. Then teacher Travers McGovern, who has been watching Natasha in a dance rehearsal, is found dead in his office. News reporter Emma Fletcher attends the scene to get information for a story.

**

Students were streaming out of the doors of the school as Emma arrived. As she headed towards the entrance, she felt like a salmon desperately trying to swim upstream. She was almost knocked off her feet by a burly male student carrying a sports bag. He gripped her arm to prevent her falling, apologising, leaving Emma just enough time to detain him and ask if he knew what was happening.

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Book Extract: When We Were Us by Patricia Caliskan

I’m pleased to be welcoming Patricia Caliskan to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, When We Were Us.

Is it ever too late to start again…?

Erika Forde has always played second fiddle to her husband David, the famous novelist. But since their son, Matt, left home for university, cracks have started to show in their marriage.

Erika has long had a nagging suspicion that David may not always have been faithful, and now his latest books are starting to wane in popularity causing erratic moods that are affecting Erika.

But while David’s career starts to dip, Erika’s advertising agency is on the up.

Erika’s creative genius wins the agency a huge client in Stable Denim, but her life is thrown into turmoil when one of the models cast for the campaign turns out to be her ex-boyfriend, Enzo.

Has Enzo been sent back into Erika’s life for a reason? Is it time for her to reevaluate her marriage?

Or should some things be left in the past…?

WHEN WE WERE US is a second chance love story, that shows the ups and downs of family life with buckets of humour and wit.

 

Patricia has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Erika Forde has always played second fiddle to her husband David, the famous novelist. But since their son, Matt, left home for university, cracks have started to show in their marriage.

While David’s career starts to dip, Erika’s advertising agency is on the up. Erika Forde’s creative genius wins her creative advertising agency a huge client in Stable Denim, but her life is thrown into turmoil when one of the models cast for the campaign turns out to be her ex-boyfriend, Enzo Morelli.

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Book Extract: Death on the High Seas by Anna Legat

I’m pleased to be welcoming Anna Legat to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Death on the High Seas.

Maggie and Sam take a break from the murder and mayhem of Bishops Well and embark on a relaxing mid-winter cruise across the northern seas. The brochure promises smooth sailing, good food and dazzling entertainment. Sam is hoping to sprinkle the mix with romance.

But nothing goes to plan.

Maggie runs into an old lover, the mesmerising Benedict Rawbotham, who goes out of his way to sweep her off her feet. Sam is left seething with jealousy.

A mayday signal sent by a fishing boat forces the cruise liner off course. But there is something fishy about the rescued crew and Maggie insists that two young women have died on that boat. Alas, no one believes her.

Soon one of the alleged fishermen is also dead and so is one of the cruise passengers. Cordelia Conti Lang, nicknamed the Bitcoin Queen, with links to London’s criminal underworld, is found in her cabin, stabbed to death.

In pursuit of the killer, Maggie hurtles from one disaster to another and Sam begins to fear for her life. Has he taken her on a cruise to hell? 

 

Anna has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

A quick introduction to Sam’s rival vying for Maggie’s affections: Benedict Rowbotham

The show was about to start. The lights were dimmed and the stage was hit with bright spotlights. The compere announced the grand entrance of Maestro de Norte – or Morte, Sam couldn’t quite make that out.

The Maestro burst onto the stage in a puff of white smoke. He was wearing a top hat and a cape, and altogether resembled Count Dracula. He was tall and lean, with sharp but handsome features. His hair was uncannily black – probably dyed. The hair and the heavy eye makeup rendered the man creepy, in Sam’s opinion. Even more so after he noticed that Maggie was utterly hypnotised by him. She stiffened in her seat, pushed her chin forward, squinted and gaped like a possessed groupie.

‘Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to a night of magic and mayhem!’ De Norte spoke in a deep baritone. ‘Let me introduce my glamorous assistant, Mademoiselle Coco.’

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Cover Reveal: Love, Julie by Jamie Anderson

I’m so excited to be helping Jamie Anderson reveal the cover for her upcoming novel, Love, Julie.

Before we reveal the cover, here’s a little about the book… 

A Poignant and Humorous Journey of Self-discovery, Resilience, and Redemption

Once, Julie dreamed of a life filled with love and laughter. Now, in her mid-forties, she faces a starkly different reality. She’s single, lonely, and reeling from breaking her hard-earned sobriety in front of her family and friends.

Opting for self-recovery over romance, Julie dives into planning her best friend Kate’s wedding. However, sharing this task with the irritatingly cheerful best man, single dad Luke, proves to be an unexpected challenge.

As Luke’s persistent kindness chips away at her icy exterior, a friendship forms, stirring a longing she’d sworn to suppress. But with self-forgiveness as her biggest hurdle, and her past ready to sabotage her future, can Julie confront the shame and trauma that have darkened so much of her life and find the courage to love again? Or will her demons shatter both her and Luke’s hearts in the process?

 

So, are you ready to see the cover? Drumroll……

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Book Extract: Last Seen in Havana by Teresa Dovalpage

Please join me in welcoming Teresa Dovalpage to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Last Seen in Havana.

A Cuban American woman searches for her long-lost mother and fights to restore a beautiful but crumbling Art Deco home in the heart of Havana in this moving, immersive new mystery, perfect for fans of Of Women and Salt.

In 2019, newly widowed baker Mercedes Spivey flies from Miami to her native Cuba to care for her ailing paternal grandmother. Mercedes’s life has been shaped by loss, beginning with the mysterious unsolved disappearance of her mother when Mercedes was a little girl. Returning to Cuba revives Mercedes’s hopes of finding her mother as she attempts to piece together the few scraps of information she has. Could her mother still be alive?

33 years earlier, an American college student with endless political optimism falls deliriously in love with a handsome Cuban soldier while on a spontaneous visit to the island. She decides to stay permanently, but soon discovers that nothing is as it seems in Havana.

The two women’s stories proceed in parallel as Mercedes gets closer to discovering the truth about her mother, uncovering shocking family secrets in the process . . .

 

Teresa has shared an extract from Last Seen in Havana today. We hope you enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Short intro: This is how the novel starts. Mercedes’ mother, Tania, has been missing since Mercedes was three years old. As a girl, Mercedes waited in vain for her to return home. Now she is thirty years old, living in Miami, and has decided to try again to find her runaway mom.

The Ashen Hour

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Book Review: Stranger in the Village by Kate Wells

I’m so happy to be welcoming Kate Wells back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Stranger in the Village.

Where there’s a body in Malvern End, there are secrets to be uncovered…

Jude Gray has worked hard to bring a steady equilibrium to life on Malvern Farm and things are going well.

The only fly in the ointment is the foul addition of a new face in the village: staunch townie and chauvinistic sleaze, Des Smith. Jude has nothing but sympathy for his caring, patient wife, Loretta, who has become a regular visitor to the farm for a cup of tea and a chat.

But things take a turn for the worse when a hit and run outside The Lamb brings death once again to the village. Is it an accident or is something more sinister afoot?

Perhaps the answer lies in the stranger with red trainers who’s been seen wandering through the village and through Jude’s fields at night. Following the clues, Jude desperately hopes she will find the right answers, because the murderer being someone she knows is unfathomable…

*****

Jude has settled into life working on her farm. With Noah and Lucy by her side, she feels like things are getting back to normal. However, when a hit and run occurs in the village, it sets off a chain of events. Can everyone figure out what’s going on before someone else gets hurt?

I was so excited to be invited onto the blog tour for Stranger in the Village. Having enjoyed the previous novel, Murder on the Farm, I was intrigued to see what was next for Jude, Noah and Lucy.

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NK Chats To… Angie Elita Newell

Angie Evita NewellHi Angie, thank you so much for joining me. Can you tell me about your novel, All I See is Violence and what inspired it? 

Hello Laura! My novel is about the attempted cultural annihilation enacted against the indigenous North Americans by the United States government. This policy is very nuanced, and the people enacting it and experiencing it reacted in very personal and not necessarily typical ways, so I wove the timeline of 1876 and the coming-of-age experience of the female warrior Little Wolf against the seasoned military fighter Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer and parallel that to her future relation Nancy Swiftfox in 1972 at the height of the American Indian Movement.

 

What’s your typical writing day like? 

Each writing day is different. If I am working on the actual story, I spend more time thinking about the story and the characters and what their world was like versus actually writing.

 

What are the challenges you found when writing your novel? 

The challenge I found was finding a publisher, the more people I talk to in the writing industry the more seem to all experience this, so I am going to say it is a writing rite of passage.

 

From idea to finished book, what’s your writing process like and how long does it typically take you? 

I think each story is unique but two years from start to finish seems to be my rhythm, I work with historical fiction and I am trained as a historian so there is an archival research component to my work that takes some time against the dreaming of it in my mind.

 

What’s your favourite word and why? 

Amazing. I am continuously awestruck with beauty and appreciation for this life and this world, despite everything at its core it is pure love and amazing.

 

Which fictional world would you like to visit and why? 

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Book Review: The Last Days of You and Me by Debbie Howells

I’m pleased to be welcoming Debbie Howells back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her latest novel, The Last Days of You and Me.

They didn’t know – when Winter gave way to Spring that year – that their lives were all about to change…

Marnie didn’t realise – when she stormed into a bookshop one day, demanding a self-help book – that she was about to make a new best friend.

Bookshop-owner Rae didn’t know she had been living like a shadow since her parents died. But then Marnie exploded into her life. And suddenly she realised things had to change… more so when she meets handsome nurse, Jack.

And when Forrest’s life is turned upside down by a fatal car crash, he knew he was being given a second chance, but didn’t know why. He thinks Marnie might just be the woman he’s destined to be with. But – as she discovers that she has an illness she may never recover from – what if it’s too late for them?

Can it ever be too late though? To make friendships that change everything. To grow, to change, to start again. Even – for two unlikely new best friends to find love at last…?

*****

Marnie feels stuck. She’s come to Arundel to help look after a friend’s hotel. It’s the last place she wants to be. However, it’s not the only thing she doesn’t want to face.

Forrest is questioning everything about his life after a tragedy. When he meets Marnie, he feels like he’s getting a second chance.

Rae runs the local bookshop. Ever since the loss of her parents, she’s hidden herself away. New friends could bring her back to life.

Jack is used to dealing with death but grief holds him back. Rae may be a good reason to move on.

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Novel Kicks Book Club: The Last Days of You and Me by Debbie Howells

Welcome February.

At last, we can say goodbye to January, widely agreed to be the longest month of the year and say hello to the shortest, despite this year being a leap year.

The book I’ve picked for this month is, in my opinion, a wonderful tale of love and taking a leap of faith – The Last Days of You and Me by Debbie Howells.

Anyone can take part in our book club, whether you’ve already read the book or plan to read through the month. The best part, you can do it from the warmth and comfort of home. I’ve posted a question in the comments below to start discussion.

I am really looking forward to discussing this book with you.

 

About The Last Days of You and Me

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Book Review: Driven to Murder by Debbie Young

I’m very excited to be welcoming Debbie Young to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Driven To Murder. 

A perfect cosy crime for fans of M C Beaton’s Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth series.

Change is coming to Wendlebury Barrow – and not everyone is happy about it…

When the local bus company announces it will be stopping its route through their quaint Cotswold village, the people of Wendlebury Barrow are up in arms. Not least Sophie Sayers, whose driving lessons with her boyfriend Hector get off to a bumpy start.

But the locals’ peaceful protests against the decision turn deadly when a body is discovered on the Number 27. No one can work out how Janice Boggins met her demise, let alone how the driver didn’t notice. While the police wait for the post mortem results, Sophie immediately suspects foul play, and launches her own investigation.

Can she solve the murder before another passenger is hurt?

*****

Sophie Sayers and her boyfriend, Hector are in a good place as they prepare to expand his bookshop in the Cotswolds village of Wendlebury Barrow.

The only sticking point is the fact that Sophie learning to drive would help the running of the business and she’s terrified of the prospect. As she considers her next move, a body is discovered on the number 27 bus. Can Sophie once again solve the mystery?

The premise of this book sounded great so I was pleased to be invited onto the blog tour for Driven to Murder, the ninth book in the Sophie Sayers cozy mystery series.

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Book Review: Baby One More Time by Camilla Isley

I’m so happy to be welcoming Camila Isley back to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her latest novel, Baby, One More Time. 

Driven and smart, Marissa Mayer has worked her way to COO at a major Fintech startup as well as launching her own successful app on the side. Now what she wants more than anything is a baby. And having given up on love after her heart was broken by the boy next door, she’s prepared to do it alone.

Recently returning to New York from LA, Dr John Raikes is an expert in his field of neonatal medicine. But when John introduces himself as Marissa’s doctor, sparks fly, and not in a good way. Because Dr John Raikes is no stranger: he’s her teenage sweetheart all grown up.

Marissa knows she should keep John at arm’s length, lest she have her heart broken again… But there’s something about a man in a white coat. And with John determined to show Marissa he’s changed, can she keep saying no when her heart is saying yes?

A gorgeously funny enemies-to-lovers, second-chance rom com, perfect for fans of Sarah Adams, Lynn Painter and Jo Watson.

*****

Marissa has decided that she wants to become a mother and so embarks on IVF alone. What she doesn’t count on is a Doctor at the clinic being the man who broke her heart when she was 18.

When they are brought together in more ways than one, can Marissa let John back into her life?

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Book Extract: All Grown Up by Catherine Evans

allgrownupcatherineevansI’d like to give a big hello to Catherine Evans. She’s here with the blog tour for her novel, All Grown Up.

Neveah is fifteen. A schoolkid. With a secret life. She’s a digital freelancer, and is having an affair with her biggest client.

Giles is married. He thinks Neveah is twenty-two.

She’ll do just about anything to stop him from finding out her true age. But secrets have a way of spilling out.

With devastating consequences.

 

Catherine has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy. 

(Warning: Strong Language.) 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

CONTEXT: Neveah (pronounced Ner-vay) is a 15-year-old schoolgirl having an affair with a married man, Giles, who believes her to be an independent woman of 22. Neveah is bright and ambitious, and works as a freelance digital marketer. Giles is her biggest client. Neveah lives with her single mother, Marie. Marie is completely obsessed with her own issues, and has no idea how her daughter earns money or who she is involved with. The affair with Giles is necessarily secret, not only because of his marital status but also because of her age. Nevertheless, Neveah has confided in her best friend, Sharna, who is also 15.

Neveah and Sharna are making their way to the swimming pool. Sharna’s on a weight loss kick, and has roped Neveah in. Neveah doesn’t mind. She knows it won’t last. Besides, she likes the pool.

‘We’ll swim for half an hour, yeah?’ says Sharna. ‘Then we can grab a MackyD?’

‘I thought you wanted to lose weight.’

‘Oh, come on. We’ll deserve it after burning all them calories. D’you wanna stay over tonight?’

‘Yeah sure.’ Neveah never has to ask permission. She’s a totally free agent. Marie works nights except for Tuesdays, and even then she’s not fussed if Neveah isn’t home.

‘So you’re not seeing Mister Loverman then?’

‘Seeing him tomorrow.’

allgrownupcatherineevans‘D’you love him?’ Sharna suddenly asks.

Neveah can’t answer immediately ‘I like being with him, if that’s what you mean.’

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Book Review: The Girl in Seat 2A by Diana Wilkinson

Girlin2AI’m so pleased to be hosting the blog tour for The Girl in Seat 2a, the latest novel by Diana Wilkinson. 

Funny how one lie can spiral…

One thing about me: I HATE flying. It’s my worst nightmare.

That’s why I book seat 2A every time I fly. Since my big win, I’ve been booking seats 2B and 2C as well. They’re my comfort seats, they cushion the claustrophobia, and at last I can afford them.

I am now determined to live the life of luxury. I deserve it, after all.

How to Live Like a Millionaire is the book I’m reading on this flight. When it lands on the floor, a handsome guy hands it back to me. I know he clocks the title, because he’s totally charming and talks to me as if I’m one of the Marbella Millionaire set.

When I land in sunny Spain, I’ll be acting like a millionairess, that’s for sure – even if it’s stretching the truth, just a bit. We all know that money talks, and I intend to talk my way into a better life.

Who knows… maybe this guy, the one who had the cheek to sit down in seat 2C, might be someone special. He has an air of danger, but who cares?

*****

Jade is heading to Spain. She’s enjoying herself after having a windfall. Why shouldn’t she live the highlife? On the plane, she meets Issac. Good looking, protective and rich. Is he too good to be true?

Having enjoyed Diana’s previous novel, One Down, I was excited to be invited onto the blog tour for her latest novel, The Girl in Seat 2A.

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Book Extract: Shadows in the Ashes by Christina Courtenay

Please join me in welcoming Christina Courtenay to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, Shadows In The Ashes.

Brimming with romance, adventure and vivid historical detail, Christina Courtenay’s gripping dual-time novel travels from the present day to the fires of ancient Pompeii.

The sunlight caught her gold bracelet, sending a flash that almost blinded her.

She closed her eyes, but jumped when the earth started shaking and there was an almighty boom behind her.

Present Day

Finally escaping an abusive marriage, Caterina Rossi takes her three-year-old daughter and flees to Italy. There she’s drawn to research scientist Connor, who needs her translation help for his work on volcanology. Together they visit the ruins of Pompeii and, standing where Mount Vesuvius unleashed its fire on the city centuries before, Cat begins to see startling visions. Visions that appear to come from the antique bracelet handed down through her family’s generations…

AD 79
Sold by his half-brother and enslaved as a gladiator in Roman Pompeii, Raedwald dreams only of surviving each fight, making the coin needed to return to his homeland and taking his revenge. That is, until he is hired to guard beautiful Aemilia. As their forbidden love grows, Raedwald’s dreams shift like the ever more violent tremors of the earth beneath his feet.

The present starts eerily to mirror the past as Cat must fight to protect her safety, and to forge a new path from the ashes of her old life…

 

Christina has shared an extract with us today. We hope you enjoy. 

 

*****beginning of extract*****

 

Prologue

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Book Review: Murder at Merewood Hospital by Michelle Salter

I’m pleased to be welcoming Michelle Salter back to Novel Kicks. She’s here with the blog tour for her latest novel, Murder at Merewood Hospital.

The patients survived the Great War only to face a new danger…

In 1916, Sister Helen Hopgood was sent with a team of nurses to care for wounded soldiers at Merewood Farm, a temporary military hospital in Hampshire.

Now the war is over, only five patients remain – and she is the only nurse. The last ward must close, and Helen is doing all she can to find new homes for the injured servicemen.

Joseph Wintringham has to sell the farm to keep Merewood Manor. But since the murder of Nurse Taplin, locals believe the place is cursed – perhaps by the doomed nurse or by the patients who perished from their war wounds.

Is the hospital haunted? Or is someone very real behind the unnatural deaths that begin on Midsummer’s Night 1919?

Can Helen discover the truth before it’s too late..?

*****

World War One has ended and soon the temporary hospital at Merewood Farm will have to close.

Nurse Helen Hopgood wants to make sure that the injured servicemen that remain in the ward have been moved and are OK, However, someone else has other plans and soon one of her patients is murdered. With everyone seemingly under suspicion, can the perpetrator be found before someone else gets hurt?

I’n such a big fan of Michelle Salter. I was not only excited at the release of this new mystery but was very happy to be part of the blog tour around its release.

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Book Review: The Screenwriter by Amanda Reynolds

I’m pleased to be welcoming Amanda Reynolds to Novel Kicks and the blog tour for her novel, The Screenwriter.

Every screenwriter knows the best stories come from the truth…

But the truth can be terrifying

Marnie thought she’d left behind her days of writing ‘celebrity’ tell-all memoirs, but when her big break as a screenwriter turns to dust she’s forced to take another ghost writing job.

Except this time it’s for someone who is actually famous. Or rather, infamous. Blythe Hopper. A reclusive former Hollywood star who recently murdered her screenwriter husband.

And Marnie has her own reasons for wanting to meet Blythe, not least because of an email she received from Blythe’s husband, sent two days after he was shot dead.

But Marnie soon learns Blythe is not a woman to be messed with.

Dark secrets lurk at the Hoppers’ palatial London home – secrets long buried, which Marnie is determined to unearth. At any price.

Because this isn’t just about Blythe’s past.

It’s about Marnie’s too.

*****

With her screenplay about to go into production, Marnie Wilde thought she could finally say goodbye to her career as a ghostwriter but when that falls through, she has no choice but to return to being a ghost. However, needing the job is not the only reason she has decided to help write Blythe Hopper’s memoir. She wants answers but will she find them?

This is the first novel I have read by Amanda Reynolds and I really didn’t know what to expect. The premise for The Screenwriter intrigued me and so I was so excited to be invited onto the blog tour for her latest novel.

Marnie is an interesting yet mysterious character. I like how she was written. There is a slight dark humour to her voice which I loved and it made me warm to her.

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Book Review: An Enchanted Moment on Ever After Street by Jaimie Admans

I’m so excited to welcome Jaimie Admans back to Novel Kicks. She’s here with the blog tour for her latest novel, An Enchanted Moment on Ever After Street, book two in the Ever After Street Series. 

A picture-perfect town, a place where dreams come true. Welcome to Ever After Street…

A tale as old as time…

Since her mum’s death, Marnie Platt has shut herself away from everyone who cares about her. Worse, her beloved bookshop on Ever After Street is suffering too. With sales down and the shop’s garden falling into disrepair, Marnie risks losing the very last thing she loves. Until a chance encounter with her surly and reclusive neighbour….

Dark and brooding, Darcy O’Connell likes to keep himself to himself. But when he hears Marnie needs help, he can’t turn his back on her. Soon they are spending most evenings together in her enchanted garden and a friendship starts to bloom…

With the help of old and new friends on Ever After Street, Marnie’s bookshop begins to thrive again, and with Darcy’s kindness, she starts to get her sparkle back too. She just can’t understand why Darcy continues to shut himself away – especially from her. Can she convince him it isn’t too late to embrace life, and maybe love, again?

Because every story, even theirs, deserves a happy ending….

*****

Marnie runs the A Tale As Old As Time bookshop on Ever After Street but after the death of her mother, everything feels as though she is simply treading water and even that is hard going.

When she receives a letter threatening to take away the only thing she has left, she doesn’t know what to do. However, a chance conversation with her ‘scary neighbour’ sends her life into a direction she never thought possible.

When a book features a bookshop named A Tale as Old as Time that is themed around Beauty and the Beast and a cat named Mrs Potts, you’ve pretty much drawn me in to be honest.

It’s evident to see how lonely Marnie is and I wanted to make her a cup of tea, give her a big hug and sit and talk books with her. She felt so relatable to me and someone I would be friends with.

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