Friday, 20 December 2013

Review of A Wartime Christmas by Carol Rivers

I was delighted to receive a copy of A Wartime Christmas to review, as I have heard lots of good things about Carol Rivers' books.

It's 1941 and London is in the middle of the devastating Blitz. Kay lives on Slater Street on the Isle of Dogs in East London, which has been badly hit. However, she is determined to stay positive for her young son Alfie and make sure that he has a good Christmas. However, out of the blue a strange woman and young boy turn up on Kay's doorstep making shocking accusations. Can they be true and what do they mean for Kay's marriage?

I really enjoyed reading this book and found myself completely absorbed in the story. I instantly warmed to Kay and found her to be a very selfless character who always puts other people before herself. There was quite a lot of mystery surrounding Kay's husband Alan and this added a real edge to the story and I felt like I didn't want to put the book down.

I would highly recommend A Wartime Christmas, especially for fans of historical fiction and I would rate it as a five star read.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy to review.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Cover Reveal - The Holiday Survival Guide by Jane O'Reilly

I am delighted to be taking part in the cover reveal for The Holiday Survival Guide by Jane O'Reilly.

The Holiday Survival Guide is published by Harlequin Escape and is released on 1st January 2014

Witty, clever, and sharp. It's going to be the holiday from hell...and that's just how Erica wants it.

When tabloid journalist Erica Parker is forced to take a holiday, she's determined to make it the most miserable holiday she possibly can, but not even her impressive imaginative powers could have come up with sharing a tent with survival expert Nathan Wilde.

Nathan was a married man with a successful TV show before Erica got to work on his life. Now the hottest man she’s ever met is single, furious, and he’s got her alone in the wilderness for three long days… 

Goodreads Praise for Once A Bad Girl : Once A Bad Girl is an amazing debut by author Jane O’Reilly. It is actually hard to believe that it is a debut novel. The interlaced humour and sensuality in this story sucked me in from the start and held me captive throughout...”

Jane O‘Reilly writes for both Escape and Carina UK. The Holiday Survival Guide is her third title with Escape.
Perfect for fans of Victoria Dahl

About the Author

Jane O’Reilly started writing as an antidote to kids’ TV when her youngest child was a baby. Her first novel was set in her old school and involved a ghost and lots of death. It’s unpublished, which is probably for the best. Then she discovered contemporary romance, and that, as they say, was that. She lives near London with her husband and two children. Find her at, on Twitter as @janeoreilly, Facebook or email her at

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Review of The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow

I really enjoyed reading Liz Trenow's first novel The Last Telegram and have been looking forward to reading her latest book The Forgotten Seamstress.

Maria Romano grew up in an orphanage in East London. At the age of fourteen, Maria and her friend Nora are selected to become seamstresses at Buckingham Palace. Once there, they work very hard, but Maria catches the eye of the handsome young Prince of Wales. Soon things get out of hand and Maria is forced into devastating circumstances. Years later, a quilt is discovered that has been made with a very special and unusual material. Will this link to Maria and the Royal family reveal what really happened to her all those years earlier?

I really loved this book and the idea of the quilt, which held so many long forgotten secrets. It is beautifully written and I felt that I didn't want to put the book down until the very end. Trenow cleverly weaves in lots of historical facts and information that create lots of twists in the plot. I was particularly shocked by the idea of the hospital at Helena Hall. I can't wait to read Liz Trenow's next book The Poppy Factory.

The Forgotten Seamstress is a fantastic story that I found mesmerising to read. I was fascinated by the story and loved the the way that Maria's side of events is told through the recordings. It is a tragic tale, but at the same time is an utterly compelling read.

5 stars

Thank you to Olivia at Light Brigade PR for sending me a copy to review.

Interview with Liz Trenow - Author of The Forgotten Seamstress

I am delighted to welcome Liz Trenow to the blog today, as part of the blog tour for The Forgotten Seamstress. Liz has answered a few questions for us here...

Please tell us a little about yourself
My family has been weaving silk for three hundred years, and I was brought up in the house next to the mill which is still weaving today. Although I didn’t go into the silk business myself, this upbringing has left me with a great love of all things to do with fabrics.
I came to fiction writing quite late in my career having spent fifteen years as a news journalist on regional and national newspapers, and on BBC radio and television news. I always wanted to write fiction (some would say journalism is fiction!) and had no idea how different it would be. I knew that I would need someone to ‘hold my hand’ so enrolled on a part time two year MA in Creative Writing at City University in London. For this degree you have to write a full length novel as the ‘dissertation’, so I emerged with the draft of what would eventually, after many rewritings, become my first novel, The Last Telegram. The Forgotten Seamstress is my second novel.

I live in Essex with my artist husband, and we have two grown up daughters. There’s more about me at and I’d love to hear from you on Twitter @LizTrenow.

Please tell us about The Forgotten Seamstress and your inspiration for the book
Two stories are told in parallel: In 1910 a young seamstress, Maria, is noticed by Queen Mary, patron of the London Needlework Guild, and employed in the royal household. In 2010 Caroline discovers that a patchwork quilt inherited from her grandmother contains unique royal silks. Through the fading memories of her mother, some family letters and photographs, some old cassette tapes and the help of a local journalist Caroline uncovers an extraordinary story involving a royal affair, a life of incarceration and two women whose lives collided with devastating consequences. Finally, she comes to understand what her Granny wanted her to know – the truth about herself and how she wants to live her own life.
I was inspired to write this book when I went to the Warner Textile Archive in Braintree, Essex, doing research into my own family history, and chanced upon a case of the ‘May Silks’: beautiful damasks and brocades, some with interwoven gold and silver threads, hand for the trousseau of Princess May for her wedding to the heir to the British throne in 1893. The silks themselves were entrancing but it was the story behind them which most intrigued me.
I decided to set it in a mental asylum because, as a teenager, I was an inpatient in a ward set aside for minor clinical operations at an enormous Victorian mental hospital close to my home town. The sights and sounds of the place left a deep impression on me. It was like a country mansion set in its own grounds but surrounded by high fences – outwardly grand and yet with such an oppressive and ominous atmosphere.

Can you tell us about your typical writing day? 
I write in the mornings when my mind is freshest – usually starting around 8.30ish and continuing till my stomach rumbles for lunch. I start by reviewing and editing the section I wrote yesterday, to get me back into the ‘zone’ and then I usually try to write between 1,000 – 1,500 words each day. I always write in my study, a small room at the front of the house where there are not too many distractions. My imagination seems to close down after lunch so then I do research, admin, replying to emails, blogging and, when I’ve got to that stage, proof reading.

What are you working on now?
I have already written the first draft of my next book, The Poppy Factory. It will be published in August 2014, marking the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. As the title suggests, the story revolves around the work of the real-life Poppy Factory which still employs disabled veterans making Remembrance Day poppies in Richmond, Surrey. Besides a poignant First World War strand it also has a powerful contemporary storyline based on interviews with two extraordinary young women who served as army medics on the front line in Afghanistan.
My next book will go back in time to the 18th century – set among the silk weavers of Spitalfields in London, where my family’s silk weaving history began.

What do you like to do outside of writing? 
Reading, spending time with family and friends, walking on the coast in Suffolk, and singing – especially early music!

Thanks, Liz!

Look out for my review of The Forgotten Seamstress, which is coming soon.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Review of Melting Ms Frost by Kat Black

Summary from Goodreads
How do you thaw the coldest of hearts? Find out in the sexiest romance to hit the shelves this year.

When Aidan Flynn walks into Cluny’s Restaurant, he can’t take his eyes off his new boss, Annabel Frost. With his heart set on winning her over, Aidan can think of nothing but getting beneath her cold exterior.

Known as one of the toughest women in the business, Annabel is impervious to Aidan’s many charms. His compelling grey gaze and persuasive Irish lilt do anything but anything but captivate her.

But Aidan knows there’s more to Annabel than meets the eye. And he’s not going to stop until he reveals all…

Annabel Frost is a demanding and uptight boss of Cluny's an upmarket restaurant in London. She comes across as a very cold, determined character, but underneath that is a much more vulnerable person. When she meets new Irish bar tender Aidan, she takes an instant dislike to him. Aidan, however, is the opposite and sees Annabel as a project and someone he is very attracted to.

As Aidan attempts to seduce Annabel, we start to see how their relationship changes. Annabel is determined not to be seduced by anyone at work and has no intention of crossing any boundaries, but she doesn't realise just how persuasive Aidan can be.

Aidan really pushes the boundaries and I think that is was makes the book so gripping, I just didn't know what would happen next. I also liked the way that he starts to uncover Annabel's secrets and show who she really is.

I really enjoyed this fast paced and gripping read and the tension just sizzles on the page. It is a steamy read that I didn't want to put down.

Thank you to Avon for sending me a copy to review.