Since you’ve been gone!

if you follow me on social media you will see that i rarely sensor my life from my readers and followers, it is with this in mind that I decided to write this post. If I am truly honest I have agonised over writing this, not because I don’t feel I should share the following but because it is still very raw and a daily struggle to face the new normal.

On the 13th of May 2017 my dad passed away following a long fight with cancer, It hurts to say those words but it hurts even more to face everyday without him. I miss his cuddles, hearing his voice, his laugh….. I miss everything about him.

For the first few weeks we found ourselves in a state of limbo, we had a constant stream of visitors and were caught up in a haze of funeral arrangements. But then the day comes, the day people believe you say goodbye. But the truth is you never say goodbye, you carry your loved one everywhere with you. They are in your thoughts, your heart, the places you go and the people around you.

And now just over three months down the line, I’m attempting the new normal, in a world where the colours don’t seem as bright and the smiles don’t seem as wide. I am in a bubble where I surround myself with those that were here in his final hours and I cling to those who can share memories of him. I am trying to live my life the way he would want me to but it is heartbreaking witnessing events happen without him.

As a little girl I always imagined my dad walking me down the aisle, holding my children and being the amazing grandad that he was to my niece. I feel robbed of those moments and I hate that people who are to enter my life from here on wont have the joy of meeting this incredible man who along with my amazing mum made me who I am today.

I decided to write this post to explain my absence from social media and the blogging world, I am slowly working on bringing both back into my life and the reasons for this is that blogging is something I loved and also one of the things that my dad was immensely proud of. He would often tell people about books I was mentioned it or reviews I had written and for both myself and him I want to get back to that.

I will always strive to make my dad (my parents) proud in everything I do and even though it hurts every second that he wont be here to walk alongside with me, I know that he will always be in my heart, my words and the reflection that looks back at me.

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Chasing The Sun by Katy Colins extract

CHAPTER 15

Machinate (v.) – Engage in plots or intrigues; to scheme

 The journey to Adelaide was our quietest one yet. I wasn’t sure if it was because we’d been in each other’s company for too long‚ were slightly hungover‚ or just wanting to be back in civilisation‚ but it felt like something had changed. We’d left‚ thankfully not bumping into Sarah-Jane as we checked out‚ and made sure to fill up a little at each petrol station we passed. Fool us once and all that.

 It was strange returning to civilisation. Swapping dusty barren plains for sprawling motorways‚ wide pavements‚ busy roads‚ and lush green parks plonked between it all. Adelaide is the fifth biggest city in Australia; everything appeared to be stretched out. It felt as though you had the whole street to yourself but also needed to walk the length of it just to get to the next tall and wide building.

‘Shell‚ is the sample sale‚ like‚ an evening late-night shopping thing?’ I asked‚ glancing at the setting sun highlighting the dust motes and sticky fingerprints on the dusty dashboard.

‘No‚’ she replied‚ shifting in the driving seat.

 ‘Are we staying in another hostel tonight then‚ to be there for first thing tomorrow morning?’ Cara asked‚ trying with all her might not to let out a moan at the thought of another hostel.

‘No.’ Shelley fixed her eyes on the road signs.

‘A hotel?’ Cara’s voice lifted three decibels in anticipation. This was clearly a woman in desperate need of room service‚ feathery soft duvets and tasteful soft furnishings. 

‘Not quite‚’ Shelley wouldn’t give any more away and told us to look out for the Serenity Bridal

Store. Cara and I passed looks of confusion between ourselves.

‘Ah‚ there it is!’ Shelley shouted‚ and veered The Beast into a parking space.

‘I don’t see any hotels.’ Cara peered outside the window at the quiet street; the sky was darkening with every second. ‘I don’t see this shop either. You sure we’re in the right place? Where’s the hotel you’ve booked?’

‘You can’t see one because we’re not staying in one‚’ Shelley said‚ cutting the engine and turning to face both of us. ‘We’re staying here.’

‘Here?’ Cara and I said in confused unison.

‘Like‚ in the truck?’

‘No!’ Shelley laughed as if we were idiots‚ ‘Out there …’ Opposite us was a large‚ red-brick shop with two enormous flouncy bridal dresses in the window. Signs announcing the sample sale of the year were hung haphazardly in the softly lit glass‚ but the most worrying part about all of this was that trailing off‚ just to the left of the wide double doors‚ were rows of tents pitched up for the night.

 ‘You cannot be serious!’ Cara quickly caught up to speed with what Shelley had planned for us. ‘I thought you were joking when you said you were packing a tent!’ The colour had drained from her face‚ even in the bright street lamp that had just flickered on outside.

 ‘If we expect to stand any chance with finding the dress I want‚ then we have to get the best spot in the queue‚ and that means spending the night in line. It’ll be fun!’ Shelley dismissed our open mouths and flung her door open. 

‘It’s official. She’s lost the plot‚’ Cara gasped.

 I just stared in disbelief at the impromptu campsite‚ unable to string a sentence together.

Shelley poked her head in the door as she began heaving our things out of the boot. ‘Come on‚ hurry up. The queue is already building!’

She raced off with bags under her arms‚ leaving Cara and me to shake our heads in disbelief.

This was surely taking bridesmaid duties to the extreme?

BUY YOUR COPY OF CHASING THE SUN NOW!

 

Excerpt: Where Rainbows End 


Blurb
“I’m not a man, but that won’t stop me. Just you wait and see.”

It’s 1850 and the Noble family have arrived in Australia to start a new life after scandal drove them from their native England. Headstrong Pippa Noble is determined to reclaim their honour by making her father’s plans for a successful stud farm a reality.

Pippa is immediately spellbound by the untamed outback landscape, although she learns the hard way about the unforgiving nature of the bush – sometimes with devastating consequences. When circumstance leads to Pippa tending the new farm alone, it is the steadfast friendship of neighbouring country estate owner Gil Ashford-Smith that helps her through.

Then an unexpected visitor from England arrives, putting Pippa’s dreams in jeopardy. But she refuses to let go. She will hold onto her family’s land and make her mark, even if it means losing everything else …

Excerpt:

Pippa rode until she coughed and her eyes smarted. The roar of the fire drowned all other sound. Smokey baulked at every movement as his terror mounted.

Pippa called for her father again and again. She waited for a few minutes, willing him to burst through the dense smoke. When it became so thick she couldn’t breathe, she wheeled Smokey back the way they’d come. With every yard they took, her sense of unease grew. Then she saw it. A torn scrap of material caught on a branch. Wrenching it free, she studied it. It was the same brown colour as her father’s tweed jacket.

Scrambling off Smokey, Pippa screamed for her father to answer her. She ran into the scrub, stumbling in haste, pulling Smokey by the reins behind her. The horse, frightened, pulled back, throwing up his head and trying to pull the reins free from her grasp. ‘No, no! Smokey. Calm down!’ But the horse half reared, snatching the reins from her hands and once free bolted away.

Distraught at losing the horse, she turned in a circle, looking through the white gloom. ‘Father! Can you hear me? Where are you?’

She darted to the right, peering around large boulders and tree trunks before running to the left where the ground steeply sloped away. She skidded down a few yards, searching the landscape for any sign of him. Her foot dislodged a rock and she tripped, landing on her knees.

‘Father!’ For a moment she knelt on the ground, exhausted. Despair waited to claim her, but she refused to give up. With a frustrated sigh, she stood and wearily wiped a hand over her eyes. Where was he?

A flock of white cockatoos screeched above the trees. The sound of what seemed like thunder came again. Abruptly, a kangaroo bounded down the slope, nearly crashing into her before it jumped to the right and away. Then another came thumping over the top and down beside her, and then another. It hadn’t been thunder at all, but hundreds of kangaroos fleeing. An opossum scuttled by, followed by a large fat wombat and smaller kangaroos and wallabies. Lizards of varying sizes and the odd snake slithered past and Pippa stared in fear as a huge goanna charged its way over a boulder and skimmed past her skirts.

Pippa stared at the exodus of animals and birds all headed east. From the west she heard the splintering of wood, followed by a loud whooshing sound. The fine hair on the back of her neck rose.

The fire was close.

Rushing back to the track, she caught her skirts on a bush and paused to unhook them. The snap and crackle grew louder. Straightening, she tore her skirts free and reached the top only to stop and stare at the small circle of orange flames licking the dry grass a few feet from her. Ash and embers floated in the air like snow; where they landed, they started spot fires.

She looked for Smokey, only he had gone. Fear closed her throat.

Lifting her skirts high, she ran down the track, heading for the entrance down into the valley. Thick smoke blanketed the countryside and crept into her lungs, slowing her down and making her cough. The roar of the fire urged her to keep going. A stiff, hot wind thrashed at the treetops, swirling the ash and embers about her head. The air seemed sucked dry and, apart from the crackle of flames, the bush was eerily quiet.

Pippa ran, the sound of her laboured breathing noisy in her ears. Her eyes smarted and streamed, while her lungs felt as though every breath would be her last. She tried to ignore the encroaching danger and concentrate on getting into the valley. She had to outrun it.

Buy links:

Kindle UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Where-Rainbows-End-compelling-inspiring-ebook/dp/B071P7KBH6

Kindle US: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Rainbows-End-compelling-inspiring-ebook/dp/B071P7KBH6

Author Bio:


Australian born AnneMarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances. Her passions, apart from writing, are reading, researching, genealogy, roaming historical sites, buying books and gardening. She is an author of historical women’s fiction, contemporary romance and several short stories and is currently living in England.

AnneMarie Brear on the web:

http://www.annemariebrear.com 

http://annemariebrear.blogspot.co.uk 

https://www.facebook.com/annemariebrear  

Twitter @annemariebrear.

 

Giveaway: 3 x Fallen books

FALLEN_3D_DVDA young girl finds herself in a reform school after therapy since she was blamed for the death of a young boy. At the school she finds herself drawn to a fellow student, unaware that he is an angel, and has loved her for thousands of years.

To celebrate the launch of Fallen on DVD I have been given 3 copies of the book to giveaway.

To enter just follow the rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

UK ONLY

About the book:

Fallen bookSOME ANGELS ARE DESTINED TO FALL.

Instant. Intense. Weirdly familiar . . .

The moment Luce looks at Daniel she knows she has never felt like this before. Except she can’t shake the feeling that she has . . . and with him – a boy she doesn’t remember ever setting eyes on.

Will her attempt to find out why enlighten her – or destroy her?

Blog Tour: The Ones That Didn’t Quite Make it by GJ Minett

Today I am delighted to welcome author GJ Minett to The Love of a Good Book.

I’ve mentioned quite a few times recently that I’m now well into book 3 and hope to finish it in mid-April. It would actually be more accurate to describe it as the third novel destined for publication because it is in fact the ninth I’ll have completed. In fact, if we throw in for good measure the dozen or so that I’ve started and then abandoned after a few pages and the fifty or so others that have come to me as abstract ideas at different times over the years but never found their way onto the page, we’re looking at quite a substantial body of work, albeit one of highly questionable quality.

​When The Hidden Legacy was published as my debut novel, it was the culmination of a lengthy and largely frustrating apprenticeship that started years and years ago with a novel called Lobello, which owed a great deal to Tom Sharpe and became my first near miss. The next attempt was called (and I kid you not) Breaking Wint – all I can say in my own defence is that scatological humour was very much in vogue at the time and it did at least interest an agent who has gone onto much greater things, but I can’t even bring myself to dip into it now. I don’t need to be reminded how bad it was.

​Having got Tom Sharpe out of my system, I tried my hand at my first psychological suspense novel, Losing It, which also had supernatural overtones. I still quite like this and wonder occasionally if I might be able to do something with it now that I am more experienced but its central failing was that it left things too vague and open for the reader at the end.

​So on from there to crime and A Dish Served Cold which was as generic and derivative as its title suggests, not to mention more than a little pervy. I didn’t even make much of an effort to interest publishers with it because by then I had a pretty good idea of what they did NOT want and was sure it was very much in that category.

​The Tree House however was better. It was a first person narrative by an embittered old school teacher who was having difficulties in coming to terms with the way the world was leaving him behind . . . and before you even go there, it was not based on yours truly. The opening chapters of this got me onto the MA in Creative Writing at Chichester which was really the springboard for everything that followed, so I suppose it can be said to have served its purpose.

​You may be surprised however to know that my most recent ‘no go’ actually came after The Hidden Legacy. While my agent was seeking a two-book deal, he urged me to make sure I actually had a second book to offer, so I started writing Benefit of the Doubt and finished it in six months. I sent it to my agent, quite happy that he would love it as he had its predecessor and received an email soon after suggesting I put it in a drawer and chalk it up to experience. At the time I was as surprised as I was disappointed but agents always know best and Lie In Wait, over which I took a great deal of care and which was very much fuelled by my anxieties that I might turn out to be a one-book author, was a much better product as a result.

​I may go back to Benefit of the Doubt someday and see if it can be salvaged. The others however can stay where they are, hidden away in ring binders that are gathering dust. They may never have made it but they were stepping stones to better things and I’ll always remember them with a certain amount of fondness.

​Well . . . maybe not Breaking Wint.

G.J. Minett studied at Cambridge and then spent many years as a teacher of foreign languages. He studied for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester, and won the 2010 Chapter One Prize for unpublished novels with the opening chapter of The Hidden Legacy. You can follow him on Twitter @gjminett and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/grahamminettauthor.

 A man is dead. A woman is missing. And the police have already found their prime suspect… 

 Owen Hall drives into a petrol station to let his passenger use the facilities. She never comes back – and what’s more, it seems she never even made it inside.

When Owen raises a fuss, the police are called – and soon identify Owen himself as a possible culprit – not least because they already have him in the frame for another more sinister crime.

 Owen’s always been a little different, and before long others in the community are baying for his blood. But this is a case where nothing is as it seems – least of all Owen Hall…

 A dark, addictive thriller, ingeniously plotted with a twist that will make you gasp, LIE IN WAIT is perfect for readers of Angela Marsons or Rachel Abbott.

Guest Post: A wander around London: The Girl in the Painting by Kirsty Ferry

Today I am delighted to welcome Kirsty Ferry back to The Love of a Good Book.

Thank you for letting me chat on your blog about my new paperback release, The Girl in the Painting. As I write this, I’m in a hotel room in Bloomsbury having a ‘moment’. We came down for a few days to see some of the sights and I knew there was no way I’d get my teenage son into the Tate Gallery to see Ophelia by Millais, which is a huge part of my novel – but I did manage to get him to walk around the area a bit, and, to my fan-girling delight, I saw number 7, Gower Street. It’s a lovely, neat, end terraced house and it is the place where, in 1848, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded.
There’s a little street running along the side of the house called Gower Mews, and on our way to Gower Street, we crossed a park called Russell Square. These three places are locations in The Girl in the Painting, and until today I hadn’t visited any of them. It was a strange feeling to think I was walking in the footsteps of my characters, who seem so real to me that I can visualise Daisy promenading around Russell Square and heading towards Gower Street, with the sole intention of bumping into Dante Gabriel Rossetti or Lizzie Siddal or John Everett Millais. I can imagine contemporary Cori pitching up outside of number 7, completely baffled as to why she’d ended up there, and having quite an unpleasant ‘moment’ of her own in the side street as the ghost of Daisy tries to explain it all to her!
The Brotherhood was founded in Gower Street, in John Millais’ parents’ house, and the first meeting comprised of painters John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt. As an aspiring poet, Rossetti wished to develop the links between Romantic poetry and art, and I’ve sort of done the same by linking my first book in the Rossetti Mysteries series, Some Veil Did Fall, into the second book, The Girl in the Painting. The first novel is based on a Rossetti poem called Sudden Light, which is all about reincarnation and soulmates, and the second one is based on art and painting; more specifically, the painting of Ophelia by Millais, as I mentioned earlier. I’ve linked the third book, The Girl in the Photograph, into Pre-Raphaelite photography – as you can probably guess from the title! The original characters from Some Veil Did Fall also crop up in the new books, so hopefully readers will be interested to find out what happens to them, as well as enjoying meeting new characters like Cori and Daisy.
But it was lovely to see the locations I mentioned in the books for myself. I do hope that someone in the future will, having read my novels, take that walk as well, and feel a little thrill of excitement as Cori ducks into the alleyway, just out of sight, and Daisy drifts past in a cloud of hopes and dreams on her way to stardom, just like her heroine, Lizzie Siddal. Google Street View is awesome from a research point of view, but sometimes it’s no substitute for the real thing!

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Blurbs:
The Girl in the Painting
What if you thought you knew a secret that could change history?
Whilst standing engrossed in her favourite Pre-Raphaelite painting – Millais’s Ophelia – Cori catches the eye of Tate gallery worker, Simon, who is immediately struck by her resemblance to the red-haired beauty in the famous artwork.
The attraction is mutual, but Cori has other things on her mind. She has recently acquired the diary of Daisy, a Victorian woman with a shocking secret. As Cori reads, it soon becomes apparent that Daisy will stop at nothing to be heard, even outside of the pages of her diary …
Will Simon stick around when life becomes increasingly spooky for Cori, as she moves ever closer to uncovering the truth about Daisy’s connection to the girl in her favourite painting?

Buy The Girl in the Painting: www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/the-girl-in-the-painting/
The Girl in the Photograph

What if the past was trying to teach you a lesson?
Staying alone in the shadow of an abandoned manor house in Yorkshire would be madness to some, but art enthusiast Lissy de Luca can’t wait. Lissy has her reasons for seeking isolation, and she wants to study the Staithes Group – an artists’ commune active at the turn of the twentieth century.
Lissy is fascinated by the imposing Sea Scarr Hall – but the deeper she delves, the stranger things get. A lonely figure patrols the cove at night, whilst a hidden painting leads to a chilling realisation. And then there’s the photograph of the girl; so beautiful she could be a mermaid … and so familiar.
As Lissy further immerses herself, she comes to an eerie conclusion: The occupants of Sea Scarr Hall are long gone, but they have a message for her – and they’re going to make sure she gets it.

Buy The Girl in the Photograph: www.choc-lit.com/dd-product/the-girl-in-the-photograph/

About the Kirsty Ferry
Kirsty is from the North East of England and won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition in 2009 with the ghostly tale Enchantment. She has also written North East based novels, short stories and articles for magazines such as Weekly News, Peoples Friend, Ghost Voices and It’s Fate.

Her timeslip novel, Some Veil Did Fall, a paranormal romance set in Whitby, was published by Choc Lit in Autumn 2014. This was followed by another Choc Lit timeslip, The Girl in the Painting in February 2016 and The Girl in the Photograph in March 2017. The experience of signing Some Veil Did Fall in a quirky bookshop in the midst of Goth Weekend in Whitby, dressed as a recently undead person was one of the highlights of her writing career so far!
Kirsty’s day-job involves sharing a Georgian building with an eclectic collection of ghosts – which can sometimes prove rather interesting.

For more information on Kirsty Ferry, follow her on Twitter @kirsty_ferry

A big thank you to Kirsty for stopping by.

 The places that gave me inspiration for Me, You and Tiramisu by Charlotte Butterfield 

Today I am delighted to welcome debut other Charlotte Butterfield to The Love of a Good Book!

Twenty years ago I was perched on a bar stool of a tiny wine bar down a cobbled side street in Richmond. Just around the corner were the well-known chain bars with their shiny surfaces, laminated menus, fancy beers and a gorgeous clientele. The bar that I was in had a flamboyant, overweight, middle-aged, gay landlord, an eighty year old lothario that persisted in chatting me up, even though at the time I was six decades younger, two glamorous widows who only drank champagne, a retired film director who ‘discovered’ Elizabeth Taylor and Joseph Fiennes always sat on the battered leather Chesterfield. I’m not kidding, Mr Fiennes was part of this motley crew of regulars. I remember drinking this scene in and thinking that this bar, and these wonderfully eclectic cast of characters would make a great novel, and I couldn’t help myself set Me, You and Tiramisu in Richmond and make this bar the location for Jayne and Will’s magical first date.​I like to think of Will’s deli as like the wine bar in my memory, filled with weird and wonderful locals that pop in every day for a chat and a tub of sundried tomatoes. Soon after leaving Richmond I lived in Bristol and now Dubai, and although I love the fast pace of city life, I do yearn for that fabulous community feel and those evenings spent not trying to fall off the ridiculously narrow bar stool at Magnum’s wine bar in Richmond.
​The South Devon part of my story came from summer holidays spent in Torquay. Every year for about ten years we packed up our Volvo and headed down to the enticingly named English Riviera for a couple of weeks in a caravan (nothing fosters a sense of family unity like cramming a family of five into the space of an airing cupboard and forcing them to play snap for fourteen days while it pours down outside). We had pick n mix at the Pavilion, had our portraits painted and even played the 2p slot machines. So when I was creating a back-story for Jayne and Rachel I remembered my summers and loved reminiscing while writing about them. I just wish I had a bag of pick n mix by my side as I did!

About Me, You and Tiramisu

The love story of the year!

Fall in love with the perfect feel-good romance for fans of Katie Fforde, Jill Mansell and Carole Matthews.
It all started with a table for two…

Life for self-confessed bookworm Jayne Brady couldn’t be better – she has a twin sister she adores, a cosy little flat above a deli and now she’s found love with her childhood crush, gorgeous chef Will.

But when Will becomes a Youtube sensation, thanks to his delicious cookery demos (both the food and his smile!), their life of contentment come crashing down around them. Can Jayne have her Tiramisu and eat it?

Buy the book: Amazon





https://twitter.com/charliejayneb

https://www.facebook.com/charlottebutterfieldauthor/

Former magazine editor Charlotte Butterfield was born in Bristol in 1977. She studied English at Royal Holloway University and an MPhil in Gender and Women’s Studies at Birmingham University before becoming a journalist and copywriter. She moved to Dubai in 2005 and lives with her husband and three children 

Blog Tour: Talking As Fast As I Can

To celebrate the publication of Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham I was asked to share my favourite Lorelei Gilmore moment. But let’s be honest Lorelei is one of the characters who manages to make every episode feel like a favourite. So with that in mind I share with you several moments that allowed us to see the more serious side of Lorelei.

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Lorelei proves through the seasons that she is a woman who goes after her dreams and the best proof of  this is when she and best friend Sookie fulfil take over ownership of the Dragonfly Inn. Owning her own inn is something that Lorelei talks of from the very beginning.

My mother — she was here. I can feel it. Smell that? The room smells like guilt and Chanel No. 5.

While she was estranged from Rory (during season 6) Lorelei adopts a dog and calls him Paul Anka, I love Lorelei’ relationship with that adorable dog. Paul Anka comes into her life when she is struggling and needs her furry companion.

Seventy-five thousand dollars. Seventy-five thousand dollars. Oh my God, that’s like 150 pairs of Jimmy Choos.

When Rory graduates she dedicates her speech to Lorelei in what is one of the most touching episodes of the show, there isn’t a dry eye in the crowd and it is in that moment Lorelei realises the impact she has had on Rory.

“Everything in my life has something to do with coffee. I believe in a former life, I was coffee.”

For four seasons we were in a will they wont they haze and then finally in episode 22 Luke and Lorelei shared their first kiss and my heart burst and the birds were singing,and for a day I believed that love really is all around us.

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In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, ‘Did you, um, make it?’ She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (‘Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!’), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (‘It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout.’)

In ‘What It Was Like, Part One’, for the first time Graham settles in for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay ‘What It Was Like, Part Two’ reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (‘If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high.’), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (‘My bungee cords now earn points!’).

Complete with photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and – of course – talking as fast as you can.

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Mistletoe on 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson 

Olivia has never experienced a snow-covered, ‘traditional’ Christmas before. Having grown up in a family that chose winter sun over decking the halls, she’s not sure what all the fuss is about. So when she and her colleagues are stranded in New York after a work trip, Olivia is perfectly happy spending the holiday season in the Big Apple.

Jon, Olivia’s friend, on the other hand is desperate to get home in time for his big family get-together. Nevertheless, determined to make the best out of the situation, he sets out to show Olivia how enchanting Christmas in New York can be. And when handsome New Yorker Elijah is added to the mix, could the magic of the season finally be working its charm on Olivia? As 25 December draws closer, Olivia suddenly finds herself with a decision to make: who does she really want to kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas?

Full of romance and festive magic, Mistletoe on 34th Street is the funniest and most charming love story you will read this Christmas!


Mistletoe on 34th Street encapsulates the spirit of Christmas in one of the most festive stories I have ever had the pleasure to read. 

Olivia our main protagonist finds herself in New York over the festive period, but where others would find themselves sharing in the celebrations around them Olivia is numb to Christmas and the magic that surrounds it. That is until her friend Jon takes it up on himself to show her just what the magic of New York at Christmastime can do….

As with everything that Lisa Dickenson writes this story is both heartwarming and witty. In fact I defy anyone not to read this and laugh out loud! 

From the very first page I was pulled imagination first into a story that I never wanted to leave. Thanks to the descriptiveness that Dickenson writes with I found myself walking the streets of New York and longing to kiss Jon under the mistletoe. This book has made my need to visit New York even stronger. 

I adore the characters in this book and love the strong female characters that always feature within Dickenson’s novels, women who have strong friendships and don’t need a man to fulfill their dreams. To sum it up… this book has everything and you need it in your life! 

Claudia Carroll, The Inspiration for All She Ever Wished For.

Today I am delighted to welcome author Claudia Carroll to The Love of a Good Book to share with us the inspiration behind All She Ever Wished For.
 
​I’m often asked, ‘where do you get all your ideas from?’ And for All She Ever Wished For the answer, of all places, came from my life-long love of all thing court-related. I’ve always been a total sucker for any kind of a legal drama, you see. (I was nearly left bereft when I got to the end of The Good Wife on Netflix.)

Because there’s just something about a good, old-fashioned courtroom drama, isn’t there? It’s almost like there’s an inbuilt sense of tension already there – who’ll win, who’ll lose and more importantly, whose lying through their teeth?

Then I began to think about all of the super-high-profile court cases that you read about from time-to time. How they seem to just completely grip the public. Do you remember the Heather Mills/Paul McCartney case? Or more recently the Nigella/Charles Saatchi drama? It seemed like everywhere you went, people were talking about it and just about everyone seemed to have an opinion on who was guilty and who was innocent.

Coupled with all that, a long-running high-profile murder trial was ongoing here in Dublin in the Central Criminal Courts. It centered around a very well-to-do young architect – happily married with two kids – who was accused of brutally murdering a young, vulnerable woman who he’d met on a highly questionable website involving bondage and sadomasochism and all manner of boldness. Well, this case utterly gripped the nation for a few weeks; headline news everywhere you went and it seemed like you couldn’t get into the back of a taxi without being asked your opinion on it.

While I was researching All She Ever Wished For, I spent a lot of time at the Central Criminal Courts – a fascinating place, let me tell you. Like the best free drama going. Anyway, I used to get there early in the morning, about 7.30a.m., and couldn’t understand why there were always long queues patiently waiting to be admitted inside. Were this lot queuing for jury service, I naively wondered?

No, I was firmly told by the jury selection officer. The people queuing were actually in line for a seat in the public gallery at the architect’s murder trial. Ghoulish, I thought. Like the women you read about who sat around the guillotine in Revolutionary France and cackled as heads rolled. After all, guilty or innocent, these are real people with real lives – it’s not an episode of Judge Judy.

So then the idea came to me. What would it be like to be summoned as a juror to a super high-profile case? One that the whole country seems to be talking about and yet you as a juror, are expected not to have any opinion, other than based on what you hear in court? No going online, no talking about it, nothing.

What then?

And so the spark for All She Ever Wished For took hold and as soon as it did, somehow it wouldn’t let me alone…