Blog Tour: A Mother’s Sacrifice by Gemma Metcalfe

Today I am sharing with you my review for A Mother’s Sacrifice by Gemma Metcalfe which is hosted by Jenny at Neverland Blog Tours

Blurb…

God ensured she crossed my path. And that is why I chose her.

The day Louisa and James bring their newborn son home from the hospital marks a new beginning for all of them. To hold their child in their arms, makes all the stress and trauma of fertility treatment worth it. Little Cory is theirs and theirs alone. Or so they think…

After her mother’s suicide when she was a child, Louisa’s life took an even darker turn. But meeting James changed everything. She can trust him to protect her, and to never leave her. Even if deep down, she worries that she has never told him the full truth about her past, or the truth about their baby.

But someone knows all her secrets – and that person is watching and waiting, with a twisted game that will try to take everything Louisa holds dear.

Review…

After reading Gemma’s first novel Trust Me I was really excited to get a copy of A Mother’s Sacrifice.

Gemma has an amazing way of writing that keeps you guessing, you may have a prediction but that can change multiple times as you read and that’s what draws me to her work.

I found myself drawn to the main character. I not only felt sorry for her but could see things unravelling. I don’t want to give any of the story away but I thought it was very well written.

However, I have to admit the ending did disappoint me. While I understand why it took the path it did I would have liked answers to questions wrapping up first. I felt like for such a build up of every thing it fell a bit flat even if it wasn’t a typical generic ending.

Saying this though I highly recommend it. The problem is more with me and my need to have somethings tightly wrapped in a bow rather than the book itself and as far as it goes this is a very worthy read.

I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.

You can purchase your copy here.

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x

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Author Guest Post: J.K Ellem

Hey, today I have a Guest Post from J.K Ellem author of the No Justice Series, who discusses his take on writer’s block and what he wish he’d known before becoming a writer. 

On…Overcoming Writer’s Block

 I don’t really get writers block. What typically happens is that I will be struggling with a scene in the book and realise what I have written is terrible. What I then do is stop, get up and get a coffee or if I need inspiration to write better I will pick up a book from one of my favourite authors and read for a while. That usually does the trick. My advice is that if you get stuck, don’t know what to write or the story has grinded to a halt then go and read. Reading someone else’s book is one of the best ways to overcome this.

On…What I Wish I’d Known

I wish I knew how wrong it was when people say it’s a very lonely existence when you are an author. It is completely wrong. When you spend hours a day just writing you will feel lonely. But when you spend hours a day living in the scene or inside you protagonists head or in a villains perverted mind, you are surrounded by people, places, smells, sights and emotions and it can be as busy as standing in Times Square on a Friday night. It’s the same tactic you need to embrace when you get writers block. You are not sitting at a desk gazing at words on a screen. You’re in a forest in the snow at night, someone is following you and you have just stumbled on a body. What would you do next?

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today JK Ellem. You can find out more about this author on his website jkellem.com

Emma-Louise x

What Lurks Beneath (Part 1) 

Today I have the first in a two parter that I wrote for Halloween. It originally started as a flash fiction piece but has evolved into much more.

——————————————————————

The heart of Autumn surrounded us now. The leaves rustled in the bitter breeze that stings my cheeks and makes my eyes water.

I thought agreeing to this trip would be a good thing, I’d imagined a cosy cabin, log fires, long walks and early nights. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

First there was no heating save for the log fire, which also was the only source for heating water, the cabin was old and dusty and looked like it had been picked up from some cheesy Halloween film and put in the middle of this forest. I’m glad I wasn’t here alone otherwise I’d have turned and left by now.

There was however, a beautiful lake which on a night like this shone with a moonlit glow. It looked incredible, inviting.

I’m sure I could see things moving underneath it’s surface but it was clear the atmospheric effect of this cabin was playing tricks with my mind.

I could hear the others playing Monopoly in the main room. Louis loudly declaring how much he was kicking everyone’s arse on the property front, Sarah laughing because despite him owning everything he was broke and she wasn’t and then Ryan who just laughed at them both. My Ryan, the diplomatic one, never caused a scene, always the voice of reason and the one I was head over heels in love with.

Ryan and I had been together now for almost 2 years. We had met through random chance at a college fair when we were in our last year of school. This week was my 18th birthday and this trip was meant for me. Ryan knew I didn’t do massive parties or huge celebrations. Coming to a quiet romantic cabin with our best friends was the perfect gift.

At least it should have been. Leaving Louis to find and book a place may not have been the wisest of ideas. His version of comfort was quite different from mine. Despite this place though I was having a nice time, I just didn’t relish showering in the luke warm water or waking up to know I needed to de-frost the kettle before I could have a morning cuppa.

We were booked for a week and this was our 3rd night. I had to admit though this place was growing on me. It was my birthday tomorrow and we were going to have a barbeque if it wasn’t raining. The last few days had been sunny but cold, perfect walking weather. Louis and Sarah decided a barbeque would be a great idea, I have to say it did sound nice.

I excused myself and went up to bed. I wanted an early night so I could get up for a jog in the morning before everyone else awoke. Running through the surrounding forest with just the birds for company was relaxing. I could happily do this everyday rather than at home where I had to navigate roads and cars on my morning route. Living in the middle of a big city meant we didn’t have places so full of nature like out here.

I felt the alarm vibrating under my pillow, I must have slept great because I don’t remember anything from when I got into bed until now. I reached for my thick dressing gown while attempting to stay hidden under the cover. I grabbed it and quickly whipped it on, then slide my feet into my furry slippers.

I snuck out of the room and made my way to the main living room. Now that we had started to make our presence felt I could definitely see the charm in it. The kitchenette stood off the the left, a simple row of cupboards, cooking stove, fridge and other essentials. To the right a massive open fireplace and an arrangement if mismatched chairs, a sofa and some bean bags. There was a gorgeous real wood coffee table that had two tree trunk legs. To either side of the fireplace was wood stacked up to the ceiling as well as smaller piles scattered around the room, Windows sat next to the tall wood piles. The floor was made from wooden floorboards with thick worn rugs in random colours scattered about. In the centre of the back wall was a huge door and coat rack. I could see the moonlight just hitting the trees. It was still pitch black outside.

I walked over to the fire and added more logs, stoking it to bring up the flames. Thankfully the room wasn’t as cold since the embers had burnt through the night. I filled the kettle and switched it on, grabbing one of the mugs and popping in a teabag and some sugar. I walked over to the one of the windows near the fireplace. This view looked directly over the lake, it looked even more stunning than the night before.

I heard the kettle click off and went to make my drink. I shoved on some wellies, put my thick coat over my dressing gown, grabbed my mug and headed towards the lake. I sat on the bench that sat near the waters edge. Despite been dark the moon let off enough light that I could see easily.

I was sat contemplating the day ahead. Finally 18 years old. Old enough to drink and vote. A proper adult now. Due to start university in a weeks time. Life was good.

It was then I heard the whispers. At first I thought it was just me. I’d have put it down to the wind but there wasn’t even a small breeze this morning. It was still and silent. The whispering seemed to get louder, more frequent. I couldn’t make out any words. I looked around me but I couldn’t see anyone. I then got up and started to walk around the lake, staying in the light. I could hear the whispers getting louder now and tried to follow the sound, it led into the woods. I hesitated following, I mean I was still in my pj’s, who knows what else is out here. But still, I followed.

I came to a small clearing surrounded by the most beautiful wildflowers, the moon shone down into the centre. Everything seemed to sparkle.

The whispering had stopped now. There was no sound not even a bird.

“Hello Juliet” a voice said. I turned around, nothing was there. I couldn’t see anyone. Shadows hiding from the moonlight concealing what lurked in the darkness.

“Don’t be afraid Juliet, we’ve waited a long time for you” the voice spoke.

“Who are you? Where are you?” I replied, my voice shook with nerves. My heart was beating so fast I thought it would jump out of my chest. My hands had gone clammy. I was more than half tempted to to run back to the cabin but something compelled me to stay.

“Juliet, we are the people of the forest. You will see us when your eyes allow us to be seen” the voice said.

“What do you mean? My eyes allow you to be seen? What are you ?” I replied.

“Everything will be revealed in time Juliet. The question you should ask is not who are we, but who are you” the menacing voice replied.

“What do you mean? I’m a human of course. What else could I be?” I had no idea what was going on, were the guys playing a trick on me? Not exactly the way I wanted to start my birthday.

“You my dear child are not pure human, there are things in this world that have been kept from you. But now as you celebrate the day of your birth old magic will pump through your veins. When you are ready to know everything come back to this spot. We will be here waiting. You are not ready yet, don’t fight it when you feel it” the voice faded as it finished it’s words, I knew that whatever it was had gone.

I went back inside confused, sitting on the sofa in front of the fire my body started to warm up. What on earth did it all mean. I’ve never felt normal, at least not in the way that people seemed to look. My father has always kept secrets about my mother,  my heritage and what happened to her. Did this have something to do with her?

I jumped as Ryan put his arms around my shoulders, I hadn’t even heard him come out of the bedroom. “Good Morning birthday girl. Happy birthday” he said, kissing my cheek.

To be continued…..

Emma-Louise Smith x

Other bloggers who have written a small Halloween story…

J.E Kennedy – The Sven Lands

Cassandra Jones – Ghostly Writes Anthology Free E-Book

Book Tour: The Big Little Festival by Kellie Hailes {Guest Post}

Blurb…

Love happens when you least expect it…

Jodi is panicking. It’s only weeks until her little village in Devon holds its first ever festival and everything is falling apart.

Desperate to avoid disaster, she brings in notorious party planner Christian to save the day. Although she wasn’t prepared for just how gorgeous he would be!

Men are off the cards for Jody and surely Christian is the last man she would ever date? But with tensions rising – along with the bunting and home-made scones – she’s about to find out…

Guest Post…

The Power of Procrastination

It’s safe to say before giving birth and changing jobs my whole working life had been deadline driven. My career as a radio copywriter was filled with daily, heck, hourly deadlines. From when a script must be written by, to when it needed to be approved by, to when it needed to be recorded by, to when the audio needed to be approved by the client for it to go to air. And it wasn’t a case of one client a day, we’re talking multiple clients, multiple account managers, multiple demands to have stuff done yesterday. I thrived on it. Procrastination was a dirty word. It meant not getting stuff done. And stuff needed to be done.

Fast forward five years and how times have changed. Since becoming an author I’ve become quite the procrastinator. You see there are deadlines, but they’re not the kind that require you to plan your day out in order to meet them. It’s more… if I write just over one thousand words a day I’ll finish the book with enough time to go through it two more times to ensure the plot holes are tidied up, the grammar probably won’t kill the copy editor and the spelling is checked.

It leaves a lot of time to twiddle my thumbs, but is that twiddling of thumbs actually procrastination? I think not, for it’s during those times of putting off writing when I get my best ideas.

Recently I was standing in the shower longer than usual and it came to me that my hero in Christmas at the Second Chance Chocolate Shop needed a good emotional reason to hate Christmas, and not the amusing one I’d initially considered going with. I walked out of that shower cleaner and with an idea.

When I’m at the absolute end of a deadline my house turns into a tip. Everything is ignored in order to get the words to my editor. But in the initial stages you could eat off my floors. Toys are in the toy box. Dishes done and put away. And when I do sit down at my laptop it’s with a scene planned in my head. A scene that has played earlier in my head as little bits of toys and cat fur are sucked up the Hoover’s tube.

You’ll also find my legs a touch more toned (which means not really toned at all) during this period, as there’s no better way to procrastinate than by telling yourself you need to go for a walk to avoid writer’s bum. Also known as avoiding the daily word count. So you wander round, get your exercise in, and during that time characters accompany me on my walk and chat to me about their needs, desires and what irritates them about the world. Those walks fill out my characters, make them more real to me. Changing them from strangers into friends.

Procrastination. Not such a dirty word after all. Without it I’d be staring at a blank page.

(PS – previous to writing this, I’d convinced myself I really needed to go down to the fruit and veg shop to buy bananas. And that’s where the idea for this post came from.)

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x

Book Tour: A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt {Review}

Today I have a review for the book A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt.

Blurb…

 Welcome to Thornwaite, a quaint village tucked up in England’s beautiful but rainy Lake District… where homecomings happen and surprises are in store for the four Holley sisters…

Anna Holley, the third of four sisters, has always felt a little bit forgotten. A family tragedy when she was a child had her retreating deep into shyness, and social anxiety kept her on the fringes of the cozy chaos of the busy vicarage.

After several years away from home, Anna returns for Christmas… and an important announcement from her father. As much as she once loved the village, coming back is hard and puts Anna’s social capabilities to the test. 

Avoiding her sisters’ bossy questions, she heads out to the local pub one night, and meets a handsome stranger nursing a pint. Somehow, unburdened by expectations, Simon seems like the perfect person to spill all her secrets to—including a hopeless, long-held crush on her sister’s boyfriend. Confident she’ll never see him again, Anna returns home… only to discover the next day that Simon is actually her father’s new curate!

Anna is beyond mortified, but Simon won’t let her retreat into her usual shyness—and for once Anna is forced to confront the past, and all the fears and feelings she’d tried so long to hide. But with his own heartache that needs to heal, can Simon help Anna to make this the most magical Christmas either of them have known?

Review…

I have read a few of Kate Hewitt’s books before and always enjoyed them. A Vicarage Christmas was no different.

This book has elements of mental illness in it, specifically social anxiety and I found it interesting to read about. How it affects the characters and the decisions that Anna makes because of it. 

Anna is a really easy to like character, I sympathised with her completely and really felt for the situation she was put in and also the guilt she felt.

Simon is a really good guy and it was really good getting to know him, I’d quite like a book from him perspective which delves into his past. 

There are elements of sadness in the book but every moment is well worth reading. I was left feeling warm and cozy when it was over.

Kate has such a smooth writing flow that you can easily get through chapters and not even notice. 

I would rate this 4 stars and highly recommend it for anyone wanting a lovely Christmas read.

You can grab your copy here.

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x

It’s A Family Thing: Jay-Jay Playbus Books by Sue Wickstead {Review}

Welcome to the first Mummy and Toddler joint review. Today we are reviewing the books Jay-Jay The Supersonic Bus and Jay-Jay and His Island Adventure both by Sue Wickstead. Both are children’s books for age 3+

Sue was generous enough to send us these copies to review when she found out how much Alexis loved to read. It’s so nice to share my love of reading with my children.

We read The Supersonic Bus first and really enjoyed it. We learnt all about how Jay-Jay had transformed from an ordinary bus into a super Playbus. 

Alexis really enjoyed this book, especially when Jay-Jay had all the toys put inside for the children to play with. 

When I asked Alexis what she thought of this book she said “she enjoyed it very much and liked the bus”.

We then read the Island Adventure book. This was a great story about Jay-Jay traveling to an Island on a Ferry and meeting new children. Alexis loved the pirate theme of the book and very enthusiastically kept saying “yarr” all the the way through.

When I asked Alexis what she thought of this story she said she “wished she had a Playbus” which even as an adult I can sympathise.

As an adult reading these books I found them enjoyable. They were interesting and educational without been too in your face about the lessons they taught. I was a little worried that Alexis may lose interest as they are a little wordier than her normal book but it wasn’t a problem, the stories were entertaining enough to keep her fully engaged.

We both really liked these books and will definitely be reading more by Sue. 

For more information;

Sue’s Author Page

Original Playbus Page

Sue’s Website

Sue is a supply teacher and has worked with children for over 20 years, it was through her charity work with The Bewbush Playbus Association that she got inspiration for her Jay-Jay series. 

You can find Sue’s books for purchase here.

Thank you for reading.

Emma-Louise and Alexis x

The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle {Review}

​A contemporary romance inspired by Christina Rossetti’s eerie, sensual poem, “Goblin Market.” Four neighbors encounter sinister enchantments and a magical path to love in a small, modern-day Puget Sound town, where a fae realm hides in the woods and waters…

Today I bring to you my review of Molly Ringle’s The Goblins of Bellwater.

Blurb…

Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out.

Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.

Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.

It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own. 

Review…

I was lucky enough to get a copy of this via NetGalley and I have to admit when I requested it that initially it was the gorgeous cover that dragged me in. Once I read the blurb I just had to read the book. I seem to have a bit of a thing for books featuring Goblins. I find them really interesting and full of fantasy.

The Goblins of Bellwater proved to be a book full of Magic, Intrigue, Bravery and Sadness. When I say sadness I mean it in the best way. 

Following the story of Skye it’s so easy to feel sorry for her, suck in a situation she cannot control and more importantly cannot discuss. Skye choses actions she knows are wrong but is compelled to do and she feels such sorrow for the situation she puts others in.

Livy is someone who would die for her sister, she’s at a loss now to help but once she finds a way she stops at nothing to break the spell. Facing the biggest challenge of her life and putting all her trust into something unknown she shows courage and bravery.

Kit is a great guy, I instantly liked him and felt bad for him stuck under the curse. Building a life around the complexities of such it’s great to see him let others in and to let himself find love.

Grady is a cool guy who just wants to help. He ends up stuck in a situation which is equally as frustrating as Skye’s. Together they find a way to endure what is happening to them, their reliance on each other ultimately saves them from the prospect of a life of misery. 

I liked how all the characters developed over the duration of the book, each learning about themselves on the way.

The Goblins as much as I dislike them are so fantastically written that you cannot help loving to hate them especially Redring.

I thought the story was magically, and beautifully written in many ways. It completely sucked me in with the vivid details and descriptions. 

Molly’s writing style flows so naturally and she created a world I wanted to be part of. I found it really hard to put the book down as I wanted to keep going and find out what happened. The pacing is perfect, nothing felt too drawn out or equally rushed. I feel like I want to read it again just to get back into the world.

The Goblins of Bellwater has definitely earned a place on my Top 10 of 2017.

5 star all the way.

You can purchase a copy from Amazon UK and it’s currently under £4 on kindle. An absolute bargain. I’m going to hunt down the rest of her works!

To find out more about Molly and her books you can find her here.

Thank you for reading.

Emma-Louise x

P.s look at this beautiful cover.

Book Tour: Losing Myself by Victoria J Brown {Review}

Today I have a review for Victoria J Brown’s book Losing Myself. Losing Myself is the sequel to Holding Myself.

Blurb…

Since Kat made her decision, everything around her seems to be falling apart. Not only is she dealing with family’s secrets, lies and deceit but the salon, which is opening around the corner, threatens her livelihood.

To make matters worse her relationship with Max is on the rocks. Although her relationships with Max’s mother, her step-mother and her sister have grown stronger, are they strong enough?

Working tirelessly to save her salon and save her relationship with Max, she is battling everyday to stay focused on her future. But what will the future bring?

Review…

After reading the first book which I enjoyed (you can see my review here) I was really looking forward to see how Kat’s story progressed. 

All the way through I felt so sorry for her, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. 

I really felt like I could relate to her, more often in life we have more town’s than It’s and this was a more realistic story to follow. There was no Knight on a white horse ending, it just simply was as it is. 

We saw Kat develop into a more rounded person and come to terms with loss of not just her business, her friend and her partner but of the single person without children. Kat took on the new roles in her life with dignity and grace despite been utterly heartbroken. 

We see her sister go through turmoil and I would personally love to have a story which focused around that and her as a main character, perhaps a novella. It was be such a good read. Kat struggles to make sense of the world in which her sister is lost too but does what she feels she can all the way through. 

I really enjoyed this and it is far from some soppy romance. It’s realistic and shows that despite going through the worst of times we can all come out on top. 

I would rate this book 4/5. Brown’s writing style flows perfectly and interest in the page never wavers. 

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x

Path To The Key by April Canavan {Review}

I received this book from Seraph Book Reviews.

​Wow, Wow, Wow. Let me start by saying this is not your average Vampire story. Path To The Key is incredibly unique and full of twists and turns that even seasoned readers will not see coming.

The book sucked me in right from the start. Every single character that was introduced was fascinating and interesting whether it was the main character Sarah or the Villan Alex.

Each character held their own and had great character arcs despite some only been background characters. Each personality fed into the story and plot in such a fitting way.

I loved the mix of supernatural and vampire, the way they blended together in such an unusual fashion which worked so well. I really like how the author describes the way that magic works within a Vampire and doesn’t just expect the reader to guess at possible issues.

While sex does feature in the book its not done in an in-your-face manner and fits perfectly with the story.

I adored the character of Winter, I’d like to think if I was a Witch I would be as powerful as she is and Jack is adorable. The use of having a child as part of the main story in what could be quite a dark book works really well and doesn’t feel forced or out of place.

Sarah was such a unique main character. Faced with making life altering decisions and the reality that she cannot do the one thing which she lives for really shows how people can overcome adversity and become stronger than they initially thought. This definetly isn’t your average weak girl becomes strong style story. It runs much deeper.

The plot was filled with emotion and really led you to care about what was happening to everyone in the book not just the main players.

The writing style flowed beautifully, it was so easy to read and get sucked into. The Imagery used was realistic enough to allow your mind to create scenes and pictures from the writing.  The style of the story could so easily have become confusing but everything was written so well that I never ended up confused by what was going on.

My favourite quote is from a part where Winter is discussing her relationship with Jonathon and she says;

“I chose power over love, and there is nothing worse than that.”

I feel this is relevant even in our non-fiction real life world.

April Canavan has written an amazing book and I would urge everyone to read it.
Massively impressed I eagerly await the follow up. This book has huge potential to be one of the greats that people talk about for generations. It’s definitely a page turner that I couldn’t put down, I throughly enjoyed every moment, even when I almost missed my bus stop because I was so engrossed. If in doubt just know that the main part of the book is set in a magical bookstore…now who wouldn’t love a story like that?

Star Ratings;

Plot 5/5
Character 5/5
Heat 5/5
Writing Style 5/5
Overall Rating 5/5

Thanks for reading. You can also see a copy of this review and others over at Seraph Books

Emma-Louise x

Blog Tour: The Law of Attraction by Rosie Cooper {Review}

Today I have the book The Law of Attraction by Rosie Cooper.

Blurb..

Amanda Bentley has always dreamed of being a barrister…

But as a platinum blonde bombshell from the wrong side of town, with a perfect tan and sleek high heels, she doesn’t exactly look the part – or fit in with the brash public school boys and cold posh girls of Newcastle Crown Court’s robing room. Amanda’s never been one to back down from a challenge, and so when she wins a prestigious pupillage following law school, she’s determined to make the most of her chance – and make all her dreams come true.

Only three things stand in her way: Sid Ryder – the sexy, irresistible barrister who she absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, sleep with. At all. Marty Gregg – her smarmy law school nemesis, who she’s in direct competition with for the top job. And her big, dark secret that could jeopardise everything she’s worked so hard for.

Who said that following the laws of attraction was going to be easy…?

Perfects for fans of Legally Blonde, Lindsey Kelk and Joanna Bolouri

Review

Well where to start?! This book reads a bit like my life. The author is from a town local to me and the story itself is very similar to my life, with the exception of sexy Sid.

Amanda is a great character, she is charismatic, funny and knows what she wants. There is that human element to her with the self doubt most of us experience. I really enjoyed this book from start to finish. It had everything you want in a funny romance. Was a perfect read for me as I am just about to embark on my Masters in Law. As a massive fan of Legally Blonde I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves the who inspiration behind the stereotypical ditzy blonde.

Roxie’s storytelling is great and flows really well and her style of writing is extremely relatable.

I would rate this 5 out of 5 stars.

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x