Sunday, December 3, 2017

With Love for Bookouture: Annie's Holiday by the Sea & Annie's Christmas by the Sea by Liz Eeles - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Annie thinks she's alone in the world. She's twenty-nine years old and before her mother passed away it was just the two of them. When Annie receives a letter from Alice, who's apparently her great-aunt, she's surprised. She didn't know she had any family. Annie is a city girl and Alice lives in Salt Bay, a small Cornish coastal town. Alice asks Annie if she wants to stay for a while. Can Annie adjust to the much slower pace of a small village?

Annie doesn't know if she belongs in Salt Bay, but she wants to give it a try. She even has the idea to revive the local choir, which stopped existing after a heartbreaking tragedy. The choir used to mean a lot to the people in Salt Bay and Annie hopes she's the right person to do it justice. It means she has the chance to spend more time with Josh, a handsome, but grumpy man. Is he actually hiding a nice personality underneath the brooding attitude? Will Alice, Josh and the choir be enough to convince Annie to stay in Cornwall or is the appeal of London too great for her to give the hometown of her ancestors a chance?

Annie's Holiday by the Sea is a wonderful story. I immediately liked Annie. She's a bit lonely because she doesn't have many loved ones, but she always makes the best of every situation. She's a fighter, even if she'd rather run away or hide. I loved her fierceness and the kindness underneath. Annie gives her great-aunt Alice a chance, even though she doesn't know her, and she also sees through Josh's surly facade. I was curious to find out what would happen when Annie starts getting attached to people. It's an interesting idea for a story and I loved Liz Eeles's execution. She gives the story the exact right amount of depth and Annie's reactions give it a genuine feel.

Salt Bay is a lovely little town. It might seem a little boring at first, but a lot is going on, the inhabitants are fascinating and the surroundings are beautiful. I liked the interaction between the people, I enjoyed reading about everyone's adventures and it was fun to see how Annie finds her place in a village where it's hard to keep anything a secret. Annie's Holiday by the Sea is a fun feelgood story filled with charm, beautiful songs and gorgeous main characters.

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Review by Suze

Annie has finally found happiness in her life. She loves spending time with her aunt Alice and things are going well between her and Josh. Annie will spend her first Christmas with family and she's really enjoying her time in Salt Bay. However, something unexpected makes her feel completely unbalanced once more. Annie's father Barry pays an unexpected visit. Annie has never met Barry, she didn't even know his first name. She also has a teenage half-sister, Storm. Storm has quite an attitude and Barry doesn't seem very trustworthy. What should Annie do?

Barry and Storm are just paying a quick visit, but after their arrival there seem to be plenty of reasons for them to prolong their stay. Annie constantly makes excuses for them. They insult the inhabitants of Salt Bay, they make things difficult for Annie on numerous occasions and she has no idea why they've even paid her a visit in the first place. Being caught up in family drama puts the relationship between Annie and Josh under pressure. Will Annie actually have her nice family Christmas or will she be heartbroken and alone once more?

Annie's Christmas by the Sea is another amazing story about Annie and her family and friends. Annie has changed since she arrived in Salt Bay. It was fantastic to see her grow. She's a wonderful person and she learns quickly. She cares about people and genuinely wants to make them happy, that are the right qualities for the main character of a feelgood Christmas story. I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out if Annie would find the happiness she deserves and read the book in one sitting because of it.

Liz Eeles's writing has a lovely flow. I could easily picture Salt Bay with its gorgeous landscape, quirky inhabitants and wonderful new choir. I loved reading about each main character and liked that Liz Eeles has given her readers the chance to get to know them even better. Annie's Christmas by the Sea is filled with charm, entertainment and cosiness. It's a terrific holiday story with plenty of unexpected twists and turns and an incredibly romantic ending.

Advice

If you love reading about small towns, unexpected family connections and great friendships and love you should definitely read the Salt Bay stories. I'd advise you to read them in their correct order.

Annie's holiday by the Sea was previously published as Annie's Lovely Choir By The Sea

About Liz Eeles


Liz began her writing career as a journalist and press officer before deciding that she’d rather have the freedom of making things up as a novelist.

Being short-listed in the Corvus ‘Love at First Write’ competition and the Novelicious search for a new women's fiction star gave Liz the push she needed to keep putting pen to paper …. and ‘Annie’s Holiday by the Sea’ (her first published novel) is the result.

Liz lives on the South Coast with her family and, when she’s not writing, likes to spend time walking by the sea, and trying to meditate. Her ambition is to be serene one day …. she’s still got a long way to go.

Links

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lizeelesauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lizeelesauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lizeelesauthor/

Interview

1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

For years, while working as a journalist and press officer, I kept banging on about wanting to write a novel. I must have bored my poor family and friends to tears. Eventually, I took a creative writing course and tried to secure an agent, but my dream only came true when I landed a three-book deal with Bookouture last year – I’m still pinching myself! Now, I write full-time (ish) while living on the south coast of England with my husband. My two children have now moved out which is both good (more time for writing – hooray!) and bad (it turns out that Empty Nest Syndrome is an actual thing).

2. Where do you find the inspirations for your stories?

Happy memories of family holidays were behind Annie’s Lovely Choir By The Sea, which is set in Cornwall. It was often raining when we visited – I’d sit making sandcastles on the beach in a plastic mac - but I fell in love with the dramatic coastline and pretty Cornish villages. Choral singing was another inspiration. I’ve sung in amateur choirs for years and wanted to show that choirs, as well as being fun, can bring communities together.

3. Do you have a writing routine?

I wish! My plan to write in the morning often slips and I end up writing at all times of the day. I never write at my desk either, unless I’m up against a tight deadline and need to shut myself away. You’ll usually find me in a comfy armchair, computer on my lap, Radio 2 on low in the background, and a bowl of crisps nearby. Living the writing dream!

4. What do you like the most about writing romance?

Writing romantic comedy is fun and makes me feel good, which might not be the case if I was writing about grisly murders all day. I’m also a sucker for a happy ending and hope that my book leaves readers with a smile on their face. That’s not to say that romantic comedy can’t include serious themes. My novel includes grief, loss and the fall-out from a chaotic upbringing.

5. If you're not writing or reading what do you like to do?

Walking by the sea clears my head and I like meeting up with friends and family. Writing can be lonely and I go stir-crazy if it’s just me and my computer for too long. I also love singing with my local choir, and I watch far more TV than is good for me.

6. Could you describe your main characters in six words each?

City girl Annie, who makes a new life in back-of-beyond Salt Bay, is brave, funny, sparky, sarcastic, empathetic and honourable.

Handsome Cornish teacher Josh is strong, grumpy, kind, loyal, sad and sexy.

Alice, Annie’s long-lost great-aunt, is fierce, independent, warm-hearted, stubborn, frail and proud.

7. Are there certain elements that a story by you has to have, so readers can easily recognize it as yours?

It has to be funny. I’ve tried writing serious stuff but it just makes me miserable, so heaven knows what effect my fun-free prose would have on readers. My story also has to be pacey with lots of sparky dialogue, and I tend to have mini cliff-hangers at the ends of chapters to encourage people to keep on reading.

8. What makes your heart beat faster?

Ooh, lots of things including:

· My husband, obviously.

· Actor Richard Armitage, especially in TV series ‘North and South’.

· A new book by one of my favourite authors who include JoJo Moyes, Kate Mosse, Jenny Colgan, Carole Matthews and Jill Mansell.

· Spiders because they have too many legs. Anyone who dislikes spiders will know what I mean.

· Being driven along mountain roads in southern Spain. The barrier-free drops are just ridiculous and I miss lots of stunning scenery because my eyes are firmly shut.

9. What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?

When I was a young, about-to-be-married newspaper reporter, an author advised me to write my first book before any children came along. I completely ignored her and it’s only now, many years and two children later, that my debut novel has been published. Some amazing authors manage to bring up young families and write books at the same time. I wasn’t one of them.

10. What can we expect from you in the future?

More books! I’m writing the sequel to Annie’s Lovely Choir at the moment, for publication later this year. It’s set at Christmas but I’ve been editing it during baking hot weather which was quite surreal. After that, I’ll be continuing Annie’s story in the third book in the Salt Bay series. So, all in all, I feel very fortunate and excited about the future.

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of Annie's Holiday by the Sea and a beautiful book cover necklace.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

7 comments:

  1. The Salt Bay series sounds like heartwarming, laugh-out-loud, romantic comedies.

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  2. These sounds delightful and I love the covers:)

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  3. this sounds like a deliciously addictive kind of read, definitely one for the pile!

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  4. Sounds like an awesome holiday read for me.

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  5. Liz, I enjoyed reading your interview. I, too, am petrified of spiders!

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  6. I love sparky dialogue & am glad you always include it in your books.

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