Blog Tour: 10 Things To Do Before You Leave School – Bernard O Keeffe

Blog Tour: 10 Things To Do Before You Leave School – Bernard O Keeffe

10 Things To Do Before You Leave School follows Ruby, a teenage girl about to embark on her A levels. Ruby has had a difficult year, and has had an ongoing battle with mental health issues. On her return to school, Ruby comes across a list left by her late father of 10 things he hoped she would do before leaving school. Ruby makes it her aim to complete the list before the end of sixth form, despite her ongoing battle with mental health issues and the dramas of being a teenager.

10 Things To Do Before You Leave School is a brilliantly written piece of fiction, which highlights the issues of mental health and the impact that it can have on a young person’s life. I felt O Keeffe tackled the issues with sensitivity and compassion, whilst also bringing mental health awareness to the forefront.

Ruby as a character is a beautifully described and whole person who we follow on her ongoing battle with depression and mental illness. Her views and feelings at times are thought provoking and heartbreaking all at one, and as a reader really pulled at the heart strings. I was whisked away in her world, following her on her journey of discovery. I enjoyed learning more about her and having a real insight in to her thoughts and feelings. Ruby was an engaging and strong character, who I wholeheartedly got behind from page one.

It was interesting to learn about her relationships and see the impact her mental well being had on these and the effect on her friends and family. Her emotions and feelings were raw and the emotions and interactions with others were beautifully encapsulated in words.

This is one hell of a book and I have struggled to find the words to give this incredible book the justice it deserves. Overall I felt it approached mental health in a way which was both raw and enlightening, showing the reader the real impact grief and mental health has on a person and their loved ones.

This is a must have read. But make sure you have the tissues at the ready!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

After graduating from Oxford, Bernard O’Keeffe worked in advertising before training as a teacher. He taught for many years, first in a North London comprehensive, then at Radley College, where he was Head of English, and most recently at St Paul’s School in London, where he was Head of Sixth Form. 

He has reviewed fiction for Literary Review and The Oxford Times and, as an editor of The English Review, has written over a hundred articles for A Level students on subjects ranging from Nick Hornby and Roddy Doyle to Jane Austen and Shakespeare. In 2013 he published his first novel, ‘No Regrets’.

Website: http://www.bernardokeeffe.com/

Twitter : @BernardOKeeffe1

10 Things To Do Before You Leave School Book Cover 10 Things To Do Before You Leave School
Bernard O Keeffe
Acorn Independent Press
05/03/2019
256

Ruby has had a difficult year to say the least. Just before she started Sixth Form, her father died from a heart attack. In the difficult months that followed Ruby became so depressed that she attempted suicide. She missed a lot of school, but now she’s about to go back and she’s worried. Is she well enough to get through her final year? Will the depression return? Should she apply to university? The night before term begins, Ruby finds something that makes the prospect even more daunting: an envelope addressed to her in her father’s handwriting. Inside is a list: ‘Ten Things I Hope You Do Before You Leave School’. It makes no sense. She can’t understand why he’d want her to do these things, let alone whether she’ll be able to do them.As Ruby navigates her way through UCAS, parties, boyfriends and A-Levels, she decides to give the list her best shot, but her efforts lead her into strange situations and to surprising discoveries. Will Ruby survive her last year at school? Can she do the ten things on The List? Will doing them make any difference?

BLOG TOUR – Dear Lily – Drew Davies

BLOG TOUR – Dear Lily – Drew Davies

We were thrilled to be able to take part in the blog tour for Dear Lily by Drew Davies and I was not disappointed with this book.

Dear Lily is the story of Joy who has taken a leap way out of her comfort zone to start a new life in Denmark working for her company. It’s very clear from the start of the book that this is something very unexpected for Joy and we are taken along with her anxieties as she pours them out on the page.

Joy it seems is an ironic name for the main character who seems to be very anxious and introvert – being in a new country however and having to start a whole new life on her own does however draw her out. When you start the book it’s hard to see where the book is headed, it’s clear that the character has some issues – she often mentions her face time therapist for example.

The narrative of the story is via a series of letters from Joy to her sister Lily and this works so well, allowing Joy to pour out her deepest thoughts and feelings as she settles in and begins to even enjoy her new life. We also get glimpses of her past as she recalls moments between sisters and we learn a lot about Lily and their family.

We never get the meet Lily herself, but she is as much a character as Joy herself thanks to the wonderful way Drew Davies constructs the story. You can’t help but feel connected to the characters, there are indeed moments of Joy and also sadness. Books written as letters can be tricky to get right, but I think Drew Davies has truly nailed it. A beautiful story about building on a fresh start.

A true Joy to read.

Dear Lily Book Cover Dear Lily
Drew Davies
Bookouture
17 May 2019
Kindle
292

Dear Lily,

It’s me, Joy, your much wiser and (very slightly) older sister. I thought I’d start a new tradition of letter writing – now that we’re long distance.

On the plane over here, I began to cry in seat 21C. I think the magnitude of it finally hit me, after everything that happened…

I haven’t even unpacked yet – the only thing I’ve taken out of my suitcase is Harville, your beloved childhood teddy. Sorry for stealing him, but I need him more than you do. Every time I look at that little brown bear I think about our childhood. Remember that dance we made up to Annie’s ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’? (Remember the broom choreography?)

I’m also sorry for abandoning you – I’ve always been your agony aunt, and a buffer in your infamous shouting matches with Mum. But I had to leave, Lily, I had to.

Anyway, I’m here now. I’m here to start over, and to face up to the past. I want to learn to laugh again, and to find someone to love who will maybe even love me back. You always told me I was just getting by, not actually living, so I’m finally doing it. Wish me luck, little sister.

Love,

Joy x

Blog Tour: Amazing Grace – Kim Nash

Blog Tour: Amazing Grace – Kim Nash

Amazing Grace is the debut novel from Kim Nash and follows single mum Grace and her young son Archie. Grace works part time in the local estate agents following the separation from her husband Mark, and whilst she enjoys the challenges of her new role, Grace still fills something is missing in her life.

Archie her son is her whole world, but Grace dreams of one day opening a book store. Her friend Monica however feels that a man is needed and throws Grace in to the world of internet dating with some disastrous dates. However, a chance meeting with gardener Vinnie, who comes to quote for some work, adds a whole other dimension to this story.

From the word go it is clear there is chemistry between Grace and Vinnie, and both are clearly interested in the other. Is this just business or is there something more developing? However, Mark the ex husband keeps popping up at the most inopportune moments, is it jealousy or is he just being controlling?

Amazing Grace was a delightful read, it was funny, it was emotional and had a real good feel good vibe. Grace was instantly likeable from page one, her love and devotion to her son was heart warming. I felt Kim really captured the essence and love of a parent and child and I really love how she explored and developed the relationship between them. Including the endless hours of football practice, let’s face it any parent to a young boy has been there.

I also loved the character of Vinnie, from the moment he appeared in the book I had a good feeling about him. He felt a genuine guy and someone I desperately wanted to love Grace after all she had been through. I felt invested in their relationship and really enjoyed discovering how their relationship developed.

I love the village of Little Ollington, it had a quaintness about it that was charming. I loved the sound of Grace’s new home, it was beautifully described and I some had a lovely image within my mind of how it would look.

Amazing Grace is a brilliant debut novel from an already amazing woman. It was charming and had me giggling away, the dates had me in tears. I don’t think Kim could have portrayed them any better. There were plenty of unexpected moments that kept the story exciting and had me wondering where we would go next.

If you want a romantic, emotional and funny read, I can not recommend this book enough. I look forward to the next book….

Author Bio

Kim Nash lives in Staffordshire with son Ollie and English Setter Roni, is PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture and is a book blogger at www.kimthebookworm.co.uk

Kim won the Romantic Novelists Association’s Media Star of the Year in 2016, which she still can’t quite believe. She is now quite delighted to be a member of the RNA. 

When she’s not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog, reading, standing on the sidelines of a football pitch cheering on Ollie and binge watching box sets on the TV. She’s also quite partial to a spa day and a gin and tonic (not at the same time!) Kim also runs a book club in Cannock, Staffs. 

Amazing Grace is her debut novel with Hera Books and will be out on 10th April 2019

Connect with Kim on Social Media here:
Twitter: (@KimTheBookworm) https://twitter.com/KimTheBookworm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimTheBookWorm/
Instagram: @Kim_the_bookworm

Amazing Grace Book Cover Amazing Grace
Kim Nash
Hera Books
10/04/2019
257

She’s taking her life back, one step at a time…

Grace thought she had it all. Living in the beautiful village of Little Ollington, along with head teacher husband Mark and gorgeous son, Archie, she devoted herself to being the perfect mum and the perfect wife, her little family giving her everything she ever wanted. 

Until that fateful day when she walked in on Mark kissing his secretary - and her perfect life fell apart.

Now she's a single mum to Archie, trying to find her way in life and keep things together for his sake. Saturday nights consist of a Chinese takeaway eaten in front of the TV clad in greying pyjamas, and she can’t remember the last time she had a kiss from anyone aside from her dog, Becks… 

Grace’s life needs a shake up – fast. So when gorgeous gardener Vinnie turns up on her doorstep, his twinkling eyes suggesting that he might be interested in more than just her conifers, she might just have found the answer to her prayers. But as Grace falls deeper for Vinnie, ten-year-old Archie fears that his mum finding love means she’ll never reconcile with the dad he loves. 

So when ex-husband Mark begs her for another chance, telling her he’s changed from the man that broke her heart, Grace finds herself with an impossible dilemma. Should she take back Mark and reunite the family that Archie loves? Or risk it all for a new chance of happiness? 

A funny, feel good romance about finding your own path and changing your life for the better – readers of Cathy Bramley, Jill Mansell and Josie Silver will love this uplifting read.

Blog Tour: The Summer of Chasing Dreams – Holly Martin

Blog Tour: The Summer of Chasing Dreams – Holly Martin

Holly Martin is back with another outstanding summer feel good read. This time we meet Eva and Thor, the man of any woman’s dreams. Following the death of her mum, Eva comes across a box in her mother’s loft, full of dreams. Eva decides to use the money left to her by her Mum, to fulfill the dreams her Mum never got to experience, taking Eva out of her comfort zone. In order to to make her Mother’s dreams come true, Eva enlists the help of a guide to help her plan and travel the world. But at the last minute her guide changes, leaving Eva with Thor as her guide.

Now I don’t want to give too much away, but Thor is the one person Eva definitely did not want to be stuck with on a round the world trip. But as they spend time together, Eva begins to see another side to Thor.

The Summer of Chasing Dreams is a real feel good read, I literally could not put it down. The words flowed and I was whisked away in to Eva’s world. Eva was an easy to love character, there was no part of her I didn’t like. She is kind, caring and brave and I loved joining her on this adventure of a lifetime, with all the ups and downs this involved. It was fascinating learning more about her back story and discovering with her secrets kept by her Mum.

Then there is Thor. There is so much to Thor than there first appears. Other than his Godly name and body, there is this fun loving and sensitive guy. I loved the dual narrative of the story, enabling me as a reader to learn things about Thor and his perspective of events and Eva. Thor is a strong and compelling character, whom I couldn’t help but fall in love with.

The whole story worked superbly, I loved the use of the postcards from Eva, this really added to the story for me and brought a new insight in to Eva’s thoughts and experiences.

As for the experiences and countries visited by Thor and Eva,WOW! Holly really managed to capture my imagination with these. The detailed descriptions and little facts, added a whole other dimension to an already awesome book. I could picture vividly the scenes as if I were experiencing them myself. I was literally blown away and really would like to visit some of these places.

So Holly, thank you for once again giving us a cracker of a book. This is an awesome feel good, romantic read. I loved every single second of this book, my only regret is that I devoured it so quickly. I would so love to meet these characters again. I think Eva and Thor may be my favourite book characters to date.

So for those looking for a book to lose yourself in that will leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling. This is the book for you. What are you waiting for?

The Summer of Chasing Dreams Book Cover The Summer of Chasing Dreams
Holly Martin
29/3/2019
328

The stunning new story from the bestselling author of The Cottage on Sunshine Beach. A joyously romantic, feel-good summer read. Eva Blue is about to go on a trip of a lifetime, but one adventure she didn't count on was falling in love...

Eva is quite content with her life in London. In her job as a cover designer, she works at home, and often in her cosy pyjamas. She's happy to stay in her safe little world and not explore much outside of it.

She is the opposite of her mum, a free spirit who craved finding adventure and thrills in all corners of the world. But on the day her mum’s will is finalised, Eva finds a list of all the dreams her mum wanted to achieve in her life. Things she never did because she fell pregnant with Eva.

Eva decides these dreams will not go unfulfilled - she is going to be brave and complete them for her mum. As Eva has no experience travelling the world, she hires a guide to go with her on this holiday.

Gorgeous but rude Thor Anderson is not the person she would choose to accompany her on this journey, but somehow she gets stuck with him. As they discover the world together Eva starts to think he might not be as bad as she first thought. She is swept away by Thor's kindness and mischievous sense of humour. But will it be a simple holiday romance or could this wonderful adventure lead to so much more?

Discover an unforgettable romance this summer. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Miranda Dickinson and Jill Mansell, this book is for you.

Blog Tour: Coming Home to Maple Cottage – Holly Martin

Blog Tour: Coming Home to Maple Cottage – Holly Martin

I am a massive fan of Holly Martin and I have been eagerly awaiting her latest book. Coming Home to Maple Cottage takes us back to Sandcastle Bay, this time we follow Isla and Leo. Isla moved to the seaside village following the tragic death of her brother Matthew, in order to care for his young son, her nephew Elliot. Leo was Matthew’s best friend and god father to little Elliot. Leo has spent much of the last year proposing to Isla, offering to take care of her and Elliot. But Isla wants the real deal, love. Isla and Leo spent a night together 4 years previously and Isla has loved Leo ever since, but knows Leo doesn’t feel the same. But unbeknown to Isla, Leo very much has feelings for Isla.

As friends and relatives meddle, in order to try and bring Isla and Leo together, their lives become more complicated and tangled. Throw in the return of Leo’s birth mother and we know we are in for a cracking read.

It was great being back at Sandcastle Bay and meeting up with all the characters we had met over the previous books in the series. Isla and Leo’s story is one which I have been particularly looking forward to. We have had glimpses at their relationship throughout the previous books and know their relationship is complicated. I loved how Holly explore their relationship and the use of the dual narrative, allowing myself as the reader to hear the story from both Leo and Isla’s perspective. Both valued their friendship and both felt a great deal more than they led the other to believe in order to protect their own hearts, following their past relationships. Most of the story seems to stem from the night they spent together at Elliot’s christening.

Throw in Elliot, this gorgeous, happy little boy whom I wanted nothing more for than for him to be happy. He is desperate for Isla and Leo to be his parents, following the death of this father Matthew, and being abandoned at 1 years old by his mother Sadie. Isla is in the processing of trying to legally adopt Elliot, nut things aren’t always as easy and straightforward as one would hope. Throw Leo in to the mix and the untimely return of Sadie and we know we are in for some heart stopping roller coaster moments.

Coming Home to Maple Cottage is Holly back at her best, drawing us in to her world with her beautifully descriptive settings and relatable and likeable characters. I was quickly lost among the pages of this incredible story, laughing and crying as I followed the Leo and Isla through their story. I couldn’t get enough and before I knew it I had devoured the whole book. I certainly can not wait to see what comes next, but for now I will deal with the bittersweet feeling of being sad I’ve read and finished the book already but delighted to have experienced Sandcastle Bay and it all it has to offer.

Coming Home to Maple Cottage is a fabulous and heart warming book, which is there to be devoured. So make sure when you do pick it up, you have no plans that day….

 

Coming Home for Maple Cottage

Biography


Holly lives in a little white cottage by the sea. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.

Holly has been writing for 8 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 18 books

Follow her on Twitter @HollyMAuthor






Coming Home to Maple Cottage Book Cover




Coming Home to Maple Cottage




Sandcastle Bay





Holly Martin





Bookouture




28/09/2018




266



This utterly addictive new novel from bestselling author Holly Martin will make you smile until your cheeks hurt, sob tears of pure joy and fall head over heels in love with a totally unforgettable romance…

Isla Rosewood is creating a new life for herself and her sweet nephew Elliot in their cosy, yellow-brick family cottage, brimming with special memories. Living in Sandcastle Bay was never part of Isla’s plan but, after her brother Matthew’s tragic accident, her whole world changed as she unexpectedly became a mother to the little boy she adores so much.

Leo Jackson was always known as Matthew’s fun-loving and wild best friend. But now Matthew is gone, it’s time to put his colourful past behind him. His role as Elliot’s godfather is the most important thing to him. And even though Leo and Isla are two very different people, they both want to give Elliot the childhood he deserves.

As the three of them enjoy time together watching fireworks, baking cakes and collecting conkers, Isla begins to see a softer side to charming Leo, with his twinkling eyes and mischievous sense of humour. And, despite herself, she begins to fall for him.

But does Leo feel the same way? Isla knows their situation is complicated but is it too complicated for true love… or will the year end with a happy new beginning for them all?

A glorious, feel-good romance that will make you want to snuggle up under a warm blanket with a hot chocolate and the one you love. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond this book is for you.

The Cottage on Sunshine Beach – Holly Martin

The Cottage on Sunshine Beach – Holly Martin

Wow Holly is back and better than ever! the Cottage on Sunshine Beach takes us back to Sand Castle Bay, where we catch up with Melody, Jamie, Tori and the gang.

This time we focus on Melody and Jamie who we met previously in The Holiday Cottage by the sea. We know from the previous book that Melody is in love with Jamie but doesn’t feel that this love is reciprocated. We learn more about Melody’s past and why she is cautious with her heart. We also get to hear the story from Jamie’s perspective too, learning that he has the same feelings and worries as Melody. We learn Jamie’s past and all the reasons why he has felt the need to protect his own heart.

The Cottage on Sunshine Beach is Holly at her absolute best. I love the use of the dual narrative, allowing me as the reader to see the story from both sides. I fell a little bit in love with Jamie myself. I was desperate for them to realise their feelings were reciprocated and to fall hopelessly in love. Holly certainly took us on a rollercoaster ride, with highs and lows keeping me on the edge of my seat. This was a real feel good read and it was amazing to be back in such a wonderful world. I loved catching up with the characters from the previous book in the series and seeing how their lives had progressed and what had happened since we were last in Sandcastle Bay.

Sandcastle Bay is the most perfect setting for such a wonderful series. It’s picturesque and so beautifully described I could picture the village with such clarity. I want to move there myself!

Holly has a beautiful writing style, her words flow and tell the most effortlessly beautiful stories with stunning scenes and loveable characters. I was disappointed to have finished this book so quickly. I really hope we see more from the villagers of Sandcastle Bay again really soon 🙂

The Cottage on Sunshine Beach by Holly Martin
Buy Links:
The stunning new summer story from the bestselling author of Summer at Buttercup Beach. Step into the delightful seaside village of Sandcastle Bay, where you’ll discover golden sand, welcoming smiles and an unforgettable romance…

Melody Rosewood loves her new home in idyllic Sandcastle Bay. The beautiful little cottage on the edge of Sunshine Beach, with its bright yellow door and view of the sea has captured her heart. And she loves being close by to her family and best friend Tori Graham

Life by the sea is pretty much perfect, there’s just one thing missing…

Gorgeous Jamie Jackson, with his cheeky grin and adorable puppy, works as a sculptor opposite Melody’s jewellery shop. From the moment he and Melody meet sparks fly. But despite their instant attraction, a past heartache is holding Jamie back.

As Melody starts to make a life for herself in the close-knit, quirky seaside community, she realises Jamie could be the one for her. But as the two of them take a chance on romance, it’s one dating disaster after another. Are they destined to always be just good friends? 

Or will Melody finally find her happily-ever-after in Sandcastle Bay?

A perfect, feel-good summer read that will make you want to escape to the beach for a romantic day in the sun. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond this book is for you.
 
 
About the author:
 
Holly lives in a little white cottage by the sea. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.

Holly has been writing for 8 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 18 books

Follow her on Twitter @HollyMAuthor






The Cottage on Sunshine Bay Book Cover




The Cottage on Sunshine Bay





Holly Martin





Bookouture




22/06/2018




297

The stunning new summer story from the bestselling author of Summer at Buttercup Beach. Step into the delightful seaside village of Sandcastle Bay, where you’ll discover golden sand, welcoming smiles and an unforgettable romance…

Melody Rosewood loves her new home in idyllic Sandcastle Bay. The beautiful little cottage on the edge of Sunshine Beach, with its bright yellow door and view of the sea has captured her heart. And she loves being close by to her family and best friend Tori Graham

Life by the sea is pretty much perfect, there’s just one thing missing…

Gorgeous Jamie Jackson, with his cheeky grin and adorable puppy, works as a sculptor opposite Melody’s jewellery shop. From the moment he and Melody meet sparks fly. But despite their instant attraction, a past heartache is holding Jamie back.

As Melody starts to make a life for herself in the close-knit, quirky seaside community, she realises Jamie could be the one for her. But as the two of them take a chance on romance, it’s one dating disaster after another. Are they destined to always be just good friends? 

Or will Melody finally find her happily-ever-after in Sandcastle Bay?

A perfect, feel-good summer read that will make you want to escape to the beach for a romantic day in the sun. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond this book is for you.

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