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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Book Review - P.S. From Paris by Marc Levy

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Review by Suze

Mia's husband is cheating on her. They're a famous couple and just made a movie together that they need to promote, so they need to pretend that they are happy. In real life things are far from ideal though and Mia needs a break from it all. That's why she decides to stay with her best friend in Paris for a while. Her friend runs a restaurant and Mia will work there as a waitress, hoping she won't be recognized with her new haircut and made up identity.

In Paris Mia meets Paul, a moderately successful writer from America. He's mostly popular in Korea these days and hopes to write a book again that will be well received worldwide, just like his debut. Mia and Paul both aren't unattached, but that doesn't mean they can have a great time visiting their favorite places in Paris. However, what will happen when their connection evolves into more than just friendship? Can they ever be their true selves when they are together?

P.S. From Paris is a wonderful story with plenty of interesting twists and turns. I loved Mia and Paul from the beginning. They're funny when they interact and they bring out the best in each other. I enjoyed reading about their adventures. Paris is a fantastic location for a romantic story and Marc Levy describes it in a lively energetic way that immediately pulled me in. The main characters have a fabulous way of discovering the city and I loved seeing Paris through their eyes.

Marc Levy has a fantastic dynamic writing style. P.S From Paris is a fast-paced whirlwind filled with surprises. I read the book in one sitting and was completely spellbound by the main characters and the way they get to know each other. The dialogue is entertaining, I liked every single sentence of it. P.S. From Paris put a big smile on my face and the ending is terrific. I love a great feelgood story and enjoyed reading this one very much.


If you love romantic stories set in Paris you will definitely like P.S. From Paris.

Birds Notebooks, Flamingo Mug & Chocolate Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win four Sass & Belle notebooks, a Sass & Belle mug and four chocolate bars. Good luck!

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

Book Review - Tempting Flame by D.J. Michaels

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 Review by Anniek

Tallis Ba'reah was forced to leave his own planet. After a lot of years drifting through space Tallis and his people decided to start a new life on earth. They're different from humans and mostly keep to themselves. Tallis always puts his clan first. He'll do everything that has to be done to keep them safe. Together with his brothers he'll go to war if he needs to. Never has he been interested in humans, that is until he spots a woman who has handcuffed herself to a security desk. Tallis can never claim a human woman as his own, but is he strong enough to fight the temptation?

Jasmine Teale works with children who are seriously ill. She's does everything she can to fulfill their wishes, because they might be their last. The children have one big wish, to meet an alien. Jasmine has tried to get in touch with their office lots of times, but is being ignored. She decides it's time to take a different approach. For the Jendari children are sacred. It hurts Tallis's heart when he finds out why Jasmine went through all this trouble. He agrees to come with her to the hospital, even though he's risking his life while doing this. Jasmine can't deny that he's the most beautiful man she's ever seen. Does Jasmine have what it takes to understand how Tallis's world works?

Tallis and Jasmine have a connection from the very first time they meet. Tallis is a badass warrior but he also has his softer side. Every alien has an animal companion and I loved the animal connection in the alien way of life. Jasmine is a person who takes care of everybody. She's dependable and won't let anyone down. She's so sweet and even though she's scared of some aspects of Tallis's life she pulls herself together and does what needs to be done. I loved their view on love and how this sometimes also means letting go. It can offer new possibilities and I was cheering for Tallis and Jasmine to find their happy ending.

Tempting Flame is a unique love story. Normally I stay away from stories with aliens, but I'm so glad that I read a story that was out of my comfort zone this time. I've known D.J. Michaels from her Watchtower Knight series, which she wrote under the name Delwyn Jenkins. Ever since that first book I'm hooked on the way she builds up her magical worlds. D.J. Michaels describes Tallis and his world so vividly that I found it easy to believe that aliens like him are truly out there. It also made me think about the possibilities of other life forms. I've always been a strong believer of the idea that it isn't logical that there isn't a life form that resembles ours on all the planets that are out there. If those aliens would be anything like Tallis, they'd be more than welcome to live beside me on our planet. D.J. Michaels has created a brilliant story and I'm looking forward to the rest of this series.


If you're looking for a refreshing story about true love and like reading about aliens, Tempting Flame would be a perfect choice.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Summer at Seafall Cottage by Lily Graham - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Summer at Seafall Cottage was previously published as The Cornish Escape

Review by Suze

Victoria travels to Cornwall to get over her broken heart. She and her husband have grown apart and he's hurt her badly, so it's time for her to make a fresh start. When Victoria sees the dilapidated Seafall Cottage she feels drawn to it straight away. In the cottage Victoria finds a diary and the story inside makes her curious. The writer, Tilly, went through something devastating and Victoria wants to find out more about the history of the cottage and the life of the woman whose diary she's so engrossed in.

Meeting Adam, a handsome lawyer, might give Victoria the chance to get some details about Seafall Cottage. He's the person who's selling it and Victoria knows one thing, she wants to buy the place. While Victoria is getting to know Adam she's making progress with the cottage she will soon call home and its complicated history. Will Victoria find a happy future in a place where the past has been so unlucky?

Summer at Seafall Cottage is a beautiful story about the power of true love. I immediately loved both Victoria and Tilly. They're strong determined woman who fight for what they want and what they believe in. They're smart and capable and it was interesting to read about their lives and what's inside their hearts. I was equally interested in both the past and the present and flew through the pages. I love it when I can get so close to the main characters of a story and liked Summer at Seafall Cottage a lot because of it.

Lily Graham has a wonderful heartwarming writing style. She makes her settings come to life incredibly well and I really enjoyed reading about Seafall Cottage and the beautiful Cornish landscape. It's a perfect place for a romantic story, which for me was pure magic. I was enchanted and entertained by Lily Graham's charming story and absolutely loved Summer at Seafall Cottage, it's another amazing book by a great storyteller.


If you like love stories that alternate between the past and the present Summer at Seafall Cottage would be an excellent choice.

About Lily Graham

I grew up in dry, dusty, sun-filled Johannesburg, which gave me a longing for the sea that has never quite gone away; so much so that sometimes I’ll find sand grouting the teaspoons, and an ocean in a teacup. I live now in the Suffolk countryside, happily just minutes from the sea, with my husband and my sweet, slobbering bulldog, Fudge, and bring my love for the sea and country-living to my fiction.

And now for some things that don’t go in the press sheet …

Here’s a few frequently, and not-so-frequently asked questions …

Do you have a South African accent?

Yes, I do, though apparently not in Norfolk – not sure why they don’t detect it there – maybe they are just really polite … but yes, otherwise.

What do you miss about South Africa?

The many independent coffee shops, the abundance of blue skies and family.

What are your favourite things about the UK?

Cottages, the sense of humour, and lemon drizzle cake.

Your books seem to be a blend of genres, is that accurate?

They are sort of tragi-comedies, blending light-hearted fiction with darker women’s fiction. I love exploring darker themes in a hopeful way – it’s what inspires me most about the human race, how people overcome adversity and go after their dreams.

Is your real name Lily Graham?

Confession time! My real name is actually Dominique Valente, which yes sounds more like the made up name. I chose Lily Graham as my mother originally wanted to call me Lily and because I was far too frightened in the beginning to publish under my real name. Personally, that made it much easier as I could step away a little and it helped as no one I knew had any idea what I was doing … of course, they all figured it out.

You first self-published but are now traditionally published is that right? Can you tell us a little more?

Yes. I’d been writing for years and years, yet never finishing a book as I switched to the next one that ‘I’d get right’. I really suffer from ‘Shiny New Project Syndrome.’ Yes, that’s totally (not at all) a legit term. My best friend heard about Amazon KDP and challenged me to finish one of my half-finished books for once and to try it – which I did. It was such a rewarding, positive experience. Prior to this, I’d tried to get a children’s book published under my own name but that got a positive rejection – which just means they were rather polite when saying no. Self-publishing, in the beginning, was me proving that I could actually finish writing a book, from there things just grew, no one is more surprised than me at how it all turned out! Now almost four books later, signed to Bookouture – one of the best publishers in the UK, a division of Hachete (which feels like a dream come true) it’s been pretty phenomenal, and I owe it all to just deciding one day in 2014 that enough is enough – I will finish a book at last.

Even though you are now traditionally published, would you recommend self-publishing?

Yes, definitely! However, I would add – do what works for you. Some genres don’t always work in the self pub market – though there are always exceptions. It’s about what would make you happy. In today’s age there’s no reason not to go for both. I’m happy I did. If I had the time, and in the future, I may explore hybrid publishing

What’s your number one writing tip?

Just write, and finish the thing already – there comes a time when we all shut up the voice/s that said we aren’t yet ready/ need more life experience/ schooling/ add an excuse of your own, and sat down and just saw what happened. It’s a tip that alas is just as important on the first book as it is on the fifteenth. There’s no big secret, apart from just going for it. I wish there was as trust me, I’ve looked for them all. Then set yourself a deadline so that you actually finish the thing.

What has writing four books taught you?

The only failure is quitting. My most recent book almost broke me. It needed so many redrafts it’s scary, at one point I even asked my editor if we could scrap it. Luckily she said no, and now it’s on it’s way to being released in the world. This isn’t an easy job, we can’t pretend that. Some books are harder than others, sometime your biggest challenge comes on your third or fourth book – just keep swimming.

Are you a natural blonde?

Yes – well, once upon a time.

I heard that you have a disability, is that true? And does this make things difficult?

Yes, I do – I was born without a left forearm – like Cerrie Burnell. Yes, we are part of a special club … kidding, though I do think she’s wonderful.

Disability is always difficult, but not always for the reasons most people believe them to be, there’s honestly not a single thing that I find impossible to do, except say no to chocolate. I’m lucky in that I experience no physical pain or any real physical challenges – I drive, tie my shoelaces, plait my hair … It’s difficult for me mostly because it’s different and that is always a challenge for most people. Our challenge as people with disabilities is to help ensure that in time that difference is normalised. I’d be lying if I didn’t explain that the hardest part really is other people’s reactions to me, though there are times, every now and again when the best part is other people too.

Is it true that you don’t like it when people refer to you as a ‘disabled writer’?

Yes. Partly it has to do with the phrasing. But even if it is phrased better – such as ‘a writer with a disability’ is it really necessary unless the article is specifically about disability? I don’t think we will make headway until we stop highlighting it as a difference. Shonda Rhymes once crossed out a speech that recognized her as a ‘successful, black woman’ screenwriter. She crossed out black and woman because it was all still true without those adjectives. I think we need to start doing the same when it comes to disability. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it, we definitely should – and I am always keen to chat about it, but I would prefer not to be defined by it.



Guest post

How Anthony Trollope has inspired me to change my writing habits
By Lily Graham

In the literary world, Anthony Trollope, has in many ways become a bit of a joke when regards to his writing habits – he was said to have written 250 words every quarter of an hour for three hours straight and that if he finished one novel in his allotted time, he’d simply start on the next.

I suppose the joke lies in the sense that he makes it sound so easy, and novel writing as my long-suffering, walk-starved bulldog knows, is often plain hard work that can get in the way of pretty much all else. I’ve always been a bit of a binge writer – getting out loads of text in shorts bursts, and then spending the rest of the time, banging my fist against my head to get the rest to come and howling at the moon for its sheer imperfection. Fear, procrastination and self-doubt are often a long for the ride. I have spent days having only written a paragraph and then being sure that paragraph was terrible anyway.

But after reading Trollope’s autobiography recently, I realised his critics missed the point entirely – his approach is a method that a lot of writers – beginning or established – could benefit from, particularly if like me, they are sometimes prone to periods of self-doubt and fear and would like to also lead a more balanced life.

Writing a novel can be easier than we allow and he had a lot of great advice on how to do it in a way that gives you enough time to get the work done long before deadline, while making room for other things in your life, like sleep. I joke, but really one of the things that really stood out for me was that he said that in the mid 1800s he was the most prolific author of the time, with three times as many volumes to his name than most other authors, and yet he held a full-time job at the post-office, hunted at least twice a week, went off on long summer holidays abroad, was a frequent whist player and spent a lot of time with friends in clubs in London. “Few men, I think, ever lived a fuller life.”

The secret of his prolific, yet balanced life, he said, came down to early mornings. “And I attribute the power of doing this [writing prolifically and enjoying a balanced life] to the virtue of early hours. It was my practice to be at my table every morning at 5.30 a.m. and it was also my practice to allow myself no mercy.”

He hired an old groom – this was the age before alarm clocks! – to wake him up with a cup of coffee. “I do not know that I ought not to feel that I owe more to him than to anyone else for the success I have had.” By around 8.30 a.m. he said that he would be finished his literary work for the day and then would be off to the post office.

What struck me most about his methods are the fact that he only wrote for three hours a day – having a time limitation is something that I feel works rather well. Before I became a full-time author, I used to write in the hours before work as well as on the weekend – those hours were sacred and if I missed them I’d lose a whole day’s work. My second novel was written almost entirely with only morning hours on hand – and it was the easiest novel I wrote. Yes, there were many factors that helped, beyond the steady drip of those hours – like having a deadline, a story I was excited to write, and a fixed goal – but it’s only recently that I realised how much easier it was to do because I was consistent with writing a certain

amount of words every day. Having the words written – even if I need to spend the rest of the day re-writing them, which may well be the case, is perhaps the best cure for my particular Achilles heel, which is a tendency towards perfectionism. The old saying goes, you can’t edit a blank page and it’s often in rewriting that stories come alive. What they don’t say is that consistency can save you a whole lot of drama and pain. So tomorrow, I’m setting my alarm for 5.30 a.m. and right now, I’m pinning this quote from Anthony Trollope onto my wall: “A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.” Here’s to embracing my inner tortoise.


One very lucky winner of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of Summer at Seafall Cottage and a beautiful book cover necklace.

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

Book Review - Lay Me to Rest by E.A. Clark

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Review by Suze

Annie has been through a lot. She lost her husband and finds herself unexpectedly pregnant. Because she needs a break she decides to go to Wales for a while. She hopes that staying at a remote cottage in Anglesey will have a healing effect on her. However, fresh air and healthy meals aren't the only thing she finds. Annie isn't alone, someone is at the cottage and Annie isn't safe there. There's something sinister going on and Annie's suddenly in the middle of it. She isn't a spiritual believer, but when ghosts keep appearing she has to admit something is seriously amiss, will she be able to remain unharmed and protect her unborn child?

Lay Me to Rest is a creepy story about grief, ghosts and terrible secrets. Annie travels to the countryside for some much needed rest, but instead her time in Wales is far from stress free. She's being dragged into something she doesn't understand and while she's trying to make sense of it she also has to come to terms with the death of her husband and the fact that she's going to be a single mother. Fortunately she doesn't want to do everything alone and she asks for help. Together with people who know what they're doing she's able to make some progress, but that doesn't make her problem go away. There are plenty of secrets to be uncovered and she needs to get to the bottom of them. I couldn't wait to find out what would happen with the ghosts and read Lay Me to Rest in one sitting.

E.A. Clark's writing is fast-paced and a little choppy, which suits the eeriness of the story very well. I loved that she gave me the creeps from beginning to end. I enjoy reading ghost stories that actually spook me and liked that there are quite a few chilling scenes. I was hooked from the beginning. The setting is well chosen and E.A. Clark manages to make it come to life in a great vivid way. There are plenty of gripping twists and turns and the ending of Lay Me to Rest raised plenty of questions and managed to make me frightened all over again.


If you love creepy ghost stories Lay Me to Rest would be a great choice.

Fable & Black Tote Bag, Mug, Notebook & Bookmarks Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a Fable & Black tote bag, notebook, mug, bookmark set and Lucky Dip Box filled with bookish surprises. Good luck!

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

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Under an Amber Sky by Rose Alexander - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Sophie loves her high school sweetheart Matt with all her heart. When a devastating afternoon ends life as she knows it forever her best friend Anna convinces Sophie to go on a holiday to Montenegro. There they view a house in the Bay of Kotor and Sophie, who desperately needs a fresh start, decides to buy it. At first Sophie can only give in to her despair and loneliness, but slowly her life and her house start filling themselves with people.

Sophie's house comes with the belongings of former inhabitants. There's just one thing that actually interests her, a stack of letters written during the Second World War. The writer went through a different kind of suffering and Sophie can't help but feel a connection. While trying to get herself together again with the help from old and new friends Sophie starts to look into the past. Will she be able to discover more about the woman who wrote the letters and will she be able to find the parts of herself that she lost while doing this research?

Under an Amber Sky is a beautiful story about grief, longing, love and hope. My heart ached for Sophie because of everything she's going through. Rose Alexander describes her pain in such a realistic way that it brought tears to my eyes. Sophie is stronger than she thinks though. She might not want to go on, but she keeps fighting and love eventually has a healing effect. Her wounds will never disappear, but slowly they become more manageable. I loved how Rose Alexander describes her slow progress with ups and downs with sympathy and respect. It makes the story moving and very impressive.

The Bay of Kotor is a stunning setting and I loved Rose Alexander's gorgeous detailed descriptions of it. I was immediately curious about Sophie's new surroundings and couldn't wait to find out more about them. I admired that Rose Alexander made an important part of Montenegro's history such a vital element of the story. Under an Amber Sky is mostly set in the present, but the past is an essential part of it and I think that works really well. What I loved best about the story though is the group of people Sophie gathers around her, it feels like she has a wonderful welcoming family, even though they aren't actual relatives, and it warmed my heart to read about each member. Under an Amber Sky is an amazing captivating story and I enjoyed reading it from beginning to end.


 If you love stories about beautiful settings and people who meet by chance, but clearly belong together, you will love Under an Amber Sky.

About Rose Alexander

Rose has had more careers than is probably strictly necessary, including TV producer / director making programmes for all the major broadcasters, freelance feature writer for publications including The Guardian and secondary school English teacher, not forgetting cocktail waitress, melon picker and interior designer.

Writing a novel is, however predictable the line seems, the realisation of Rose’s childhood dream and the result of finally finding ‘a voice’. The triumph is that the voice was heard above the racket created by her three children plus rescue cat (tabby white, since you ask). Rose likens the experience of penning Garden of Stars, a multi-layered love story, to another recent achievement of learning to ice-skate: progress is two-slides-forward-one-back; insecurity, self-doubt and despondence reign supreme; onlookers laugh, mock or even worse, smile indulgently.... But the finished manuscript, polished and pristine, is like the perfect pirouette performed on freshly raked ice. (Rose can’t do pirouettes yet, obviously, they just made the best simile.)

Rose is currently working on several new projects including a novel based on a relative’s true story of an epic journey as a ‘flüchtlinge’, fleeing the vengeance of the rampaging Red Army as Nazi Germany collapsed.



Guest post

How do I write?
By Rose Alexander

‘Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.’ So said the late, great Mark Twain and I’m trying to take his advice but it’s not easy. All writers know that we should sit at our desks and get down x thousand words per day, come what may, but knowing something makes sense and actually doing it is where the problems start, right? Like we all know asparagus is better for us than Haribo but it doesn’t stop us from reaching for just one more Tangfastic....

The writing process for me is convoluted to say the least. Quite apart from anything else, I work full time as a teacher in a tough inner London secondary school. After a day in front of anything up to 130 stroppy, hormonal, disaffected teenagers, plus a few hours planning and marking, a meeting or two, and a detention for the worst miscreants, spending the evening writing gripping and inspirational stories is the last thing I feel like doing. But do it I must, otherwise nothing would ever be achieved and I wouldn’t be a writer, I’d just be an over-worked, underpaid public servant.

Relentless self-discipline has enabled me to publish three books in just over a year - Under an Amber Sky and Garden of Stars being the first two with the third, a psychological thriller called The Missing Twin due out in August under the author name Alex Day. Now the school summer holidays have just begun and over the next six weeks I hope to get a good way through two new manuscripts. I’m brushing off a school year’s worth of exhaustion in the hope that, if I ignore it, it will go away.

The fact that I am the unlikely possessor of three children of my own puts yet another spanner in the works. (Sorry kids.) Every now and again I feel compelled to show some interest in my progeny and sometimes even to spend time with them, doing what they want to do. But wherever I go, my writing comes too. I can, and have, written whilst waiting for a bus, for a theatre show to begin or for an orthodontist’s appointment. I’ve written at magic parties, trampolining parties and ice-skating parties. (Not whilst skating. That would be silly.) I’m currently writing in my (minuscule) garden whilst builders attach a new section to the bathroom waste pipe running down the wall beside me. This is possibly going to turn out to be unwise place to sit right at this moment. But I can’t stop or the schedule will fall apart!

So on that note I’ll leave you with some wise words about the writing process. I’d like to say I wrote them myself but I didn’t so it would be a lie. Instead, Brian Clark, thank you for laying out the most accurate ’10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer’ that I’ve ever come across and that, in my writing life, I live by:

1. Write.

2. Write more.

3. Write even more.

4. Write even more than that.

5. Write when you don’t want to.

6. Write when you do.

7. Write when you have something to say.

8. Write when you don’t.

9. Write every day.

10. Keep writing.


One very lucky winner of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of Under an Amber Sky by Rose Alexander.

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

Book Review - Together by Julie Cohen

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Review by Suze

Robbie and Emily are very close and they have been together for a long time. Now that they're grey and old they aren't as healthy as they used to be. Their love is still strong though and they feel lucky because of everything they've been given in life. Things weren't always idyllic between them. Robbie and Emily have a past with plenty of secrets. Was making their relationship their number one priority the right thing to do?

Together is an impressive story about a complex relationship. Robbie and Emily clearly love each other and there's no doubt they'd do anything for one another. Their connection is indestructible. Julie Cohen starts with the winter of their lives and slowly reveals the past until the beginning of their story. I loved that unusual approach and it suits the main characters and everything they've been through together incredibly well.

Together begins and ends with a cliffhanger. I loved how Julie Cohen uses a shocking situation as her starting point and as her finale. Her story ends where it begins and it begins where it ends. That's something I really admired about it and the part I enjoyed the most. While she keeps her writing simple she surprises her readers with plenty of unexpected and original twists and turns and delivers a complete and compelling story.

Julie Cohen always writes about difficult topics in an emphatic way that makes it easy for the reader to understand the situation her main characters are in, no matter how conflicting or unexpected it is. I really like that about her writing. Together is a fantastic book, it's a quick read and I flew through the pages. I couldn't put it down and read it in one sitting. I love books about secrets and this is definitely a good one.


If you love complex and unusual love stories Together will be an excellent choice.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Books of Choice Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win books of choice worth $25. Good luck!

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

Book Review - Make Me Want by Rebecca Brooks

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Review by Suze

When Abbi needs to get rid of a pushy man Tyler helps her out. He pretends to be her boyfriend and they immediately have a connection. He's only in the area for a few weeks, so she thinks having some fun together would be harmless. However, Tyler is supposed to be working with Abbi on a project they're on opposite sides of. Will their differences at work mess things up for them on a personal level and what will happen when past and present become intertwined?

Make Me Want is a sexy story with two strong, but damaged main characters. Abbi has been hurt by someone in her past and is still dealing with the consequences every day. It influences each relationship she has. Tyler wants to be there for her, but it's difficult for her to accept his help. Tyler went through something very traumatic and left everything he used to know behind for a fresh start. Being accepted and caring for someone is exactly what he needs. My heart ached for both of them. Abbi and Tyler keep having their differences and they seem to continuously take one step forward and two steps back. I couldn't wait to find out where that would lead and read their story in one sitting because of it.

Make Me Want is hot because of two things, forest fires and sizzling attraction. I love the way Rebecca Brooks combines the two. Fire is a serious topic and she writes about it in an informative and sympathetic way. In her Men of Gold Mountain series she chooses to focus on different sides of what living in the area is like, which makes each story equally fascinating. Make Me Want is a sparkling, entertaining and captivating romance, it's a fantastic addition to the series.


If you love sexy stories about two people who deserve something good in their lives you will definitely like Make Me Want.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fable & Black Lucky Dip Box, Mug, Book Bag, Badge & Notebook Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a Fable & Black notebook, badge, book bag, mug and Lucky Dip Box filled with bookish surprises. Good luck!

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

Now and Then Friends & A Mother Like Mine by Kate Hewitt - Book Reviews, Interview & Giveaway

Review by Suze

Rachel and Claire were best friends when they were children, but something caused a rift between them. Rachel was never able to leave Hartley-by-the-Sea, she's been stuck taking care of her family for years. Since her mother became disabled Rachel has been looking after her younger sisters. She also has a three-year-old nephew to partially raise, so her days are always filled. She supports everyone by cleaning houses of wealthy people. One of those houses is being owned by Claire's family. The house hasn't been used as a permanent residence for years, but now Claire is back. What does that mean for Rachel?

Claire always did what she was told. Other people made the decisions in her life and she just went along with everything. Because of this she now has nothing left, she doesn't have a job, she isn't together with her fiancé any longer and she has to start over completely. She's back in Hartley-by-the-Sea friendless and alone. She could use a shoulder to lean on and her brother Andrew asks Rachel to keep an eye on his fragile sister. However, after everything that happened between them, Rachel isn't happy to spend time with her former best friend and is feeling hurt all over again. Will she and Claire be able to find their way back to each other eventually or is it too late for them to make up?

Now and Then Friends is an impressive story about two former friends who could use a second chance together. Both Rachel and Claire are struggling. Claire has never had a true identity. She let other people direct her and never made any decisions for herself. This was quite shocking at first. She's sweet, but doesn't know how to live and she doesn't have a backbone. I enjoyed witnessing her grow and turn into the woman she's supposed to be. For me that was one of the best parts of the story. Because of Claire's behavior Rachel was hurt and those feelings keep resurfacing. Rachel is quite bitter because of the unfairness of her situation. She's incredibly smart, but can't follow her dreams because she has to provide for her family. She tries to remain in control and sometimes becomes too much because of this. I could easily feel her pain and think Kate Hewitt has done an amazing job describing the feelings of both of her main characters.

Now and Then Friends is set in Hartley-by-the-Sea, which is a beautiful place with interesting inhabitants. I had a lot of fun reading about it. She combines this with a gorgeous moving story about friendship and family. I loved this combination and think it worked out very well. Now and Then Friends is a fantastic book, it has many emotional layers and there are plenty of surprising twists and turns. Kate Hewitt's writing has a wonderful warmth that always manages to pull me in straight away. I love her books and highly recommend them.


If you love beautiful stories about friends and family Now and Then Friends would be an excellent choice. It's part of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, but can easily be read as a standalone.

Review by Suze

Abby lives with her grandmother and helps her with the family business, a beach café in Hartley-by-the-Sea that could use an upgrade. Abby's grandmother is struggling with her health, so Abby is glad she can take care of her and help her with the café. When Abby and Noah needed a place to stay after Abby's fiancé passed away moving in with her grandmother was the perfect solution and Abby is happy where she is. This abruptly ends when her mother shows up. Laura left Abby with her grandmother when Abby was little and never returned. They've only seen each other a few times since then. Laura has come back to stay and once more turns Abby's life completely upside down.

Laura is back in her hometown. She used to have a successful career, but is now jobless and homeless. She wants to make a fresh start with her daughter. However, Abby isn't ready to let her mother back in just like that. Laura has to work for it. Slowly she's trying to bond with her daughter and grandson, something she should have done years ago. Will she be able to make up for her past mistakes and is there a chance Abby will forgive her? Several tragic incidents are making things even harder for them, will they be able to find their way back to each other eventually?

A Mother Like Mine is a beautiful emotional story about a complex mother-daughter relationship. Abby has never seen Laura as a mother. Laura was very young when she had her daughter and then left. Nothing is ever black and white though and it was interesting to discover why she went away. Both Abby and Laura are having a hard time adjusting to their new situation and Kate Hewitt describes their struggles in a fantastic emphatic way. I was intrigued by them from the start and couldn't wait to find out more about them. Abby is sweet and caring and Laura has a harder surface, but underneath she is actually much more kind than I expected. They have a lot in common and I enjoyed finding out in which ways they resembled each other. I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to discover if they'd find a way to get along.

Kate Hewitt writes about complicated family relationships with love and compassion. I love how heartwarming her stories are. Her characters have their flaws and sometimes it's hard to understand their decisions, which makes their stories even more fascinating. I love reading about family connections and A Mother Like Mine is a strong story about this topic. I really enjoyed reading this book and was surprised by the many unexpected directions the story takes. I liked it very much and was spellbound from beginning to end.


If you love mother-daughter stories you will definitely like A Mother Like Mine. It's part of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, but can be read as a standalone as well.

About Kate Hewitt

Kate is the USA Today-bestselling author of over 40 books of women's fiction and romance. She is the author of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, set in England's Lake District and published by Penguin. She is also, under the name Katharine Swartz, the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell. Other series include the Emigrants Trilogy, the Amherst Island Trilogy, and the Falling For The Freemans series.

She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women's fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in the English Cotswolds with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever. You can read about her life at

Author links


1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am an American ex-pat living in a small market town in Wales with my husband and five children, aged between 4 and 18.

2. What makes your heart beat faster?

A great story idea, the beauty of the world around me, knowing I am loved!

3. If you could create the perfect romantic day what would it look like?

I think it would be a fairly normal day. My husband and I have had to find romance in little things, as with five children we can’t get away very often! So I find him bringing me a cup of coffee in the morning just as romantic as a day strolling through Paris—something we haven’t been able to do ☺

4. Who are your favorite romantic couple?

I love the quiet, tortured aspect of the suppressed romance between the butler Stevens and the housekeeper Miss Kenton in Remains of the Day. They never get together, but their fledlging romance is so perfectly done.

5. Could you describe what romance means to you?

Romance is showing a person how much he or she means to you with thoughtful gestures, loving words, and ultimately, sacrificial love for that person.

6. Do you find it difficult to write about romance?

I love writing romance, because I love writing stories of healing and hope. Romance isn’t just the ‘meet cute’ at the beginning where two people meet and sparks fly. It’s the depth of enduring love, which faces fears, trials, and grief.

7. Can you tell us about your most romantic experience?

My husband’s marriage proposal was very romantic—in Central Park, with him kneeling in front of the fountain of Bethesda.

8. What kind of music do you like to listen to when you're in a romantic mood?

I love old Sinatra songs which combine whimsy with romance.

9. Which country personafies romance for you and why?

I’m not sure a country personifies romance for me, but I love the Greek isles and find them quite romantic—white sand, blue-green sea, and delicious food! The perfect place to be swept away.

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

My third Hartley-by-the-Sea book, A Mother Like Mine, is coming out August 8 and my fourth and last Willoughby Close book is coming out July 18. In the autumn I will be coming out with a brand new series, the Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite, set in the Lake District.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of Now and Then Friends by Kate Hewitt.

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

Monday, September 25, 2017

Book Review - The Nearest Faraway Place by Hayley Long

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Review by Suze

The brothers Griff and Dylan are close to their parents. When they're on their way back to Manhattan after a great family holiday a terrible accident ends life as they know it. Griff and Dylan lose everything they hold dear. They have to move on, but it's difficult to live without parents when there's nobody close to look after you. Dylan worries about Griff. Will he be able to cope, can he manage without their beloved mother and father? And who will take care of the two boys, will they be okay?

The Nearest Faraway Place is a beautiful story about love, grief, hope and family. I immediately loved Dylan. He's kindhearted and responsible. He's always looking out for his brother and wants the best for Griff. Griff is so closed off in the beginning and I kept hoping he'd find someone who could break down his walls and make him talk again. Dylan is trying to help him and I was anxious to find out if he'd succeed. My heart ached when I read about their tragic accident and everything that followed after and I shed quite a few tears while reading their story. Hayley Long describes emotions in a fantastic honest, understandable and emphatic way and she always balances them exactly right, which is something I found absolutely amazing.

The Nearest Faraway Place is about loss, healing and being forced to move on even if sadness is preventing you from doing so. I was completely blown away by this story. It radiates love and care and that is what makes it so mesmerizing. Unexpected friendships are giving the story a fascinating angle and compassion in surprising ways makes it extra special. The Nearest Faraway Place is a compelling multilayered story that will stay with me for a very long time, it's an absolute must-read.


If you love stories about siblings filled with tragedy, but also love and hope you should definitely read The Nearest Faraway Place. It's suitable for both young adults and adults.

Book Review - Cocky Captain by Kelly Moore

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Review by Anniek

Kenna is a 24-year-old nurse and she's still a virgin. On a night out with her best friend she met Luke. He's in the military and they've been writing to each other for the past two years. Luke has been stationed in Germany and Kenna will be going over to there get to know him better in person. However, at the airport she meets Decklan. The second Kenna sees him he makes her feel things she's never felt before. Kenna does believe in fairytales, will she settle for the things life has given her or will she go after her prince charming?

After his father died Decklan worked hard, so he could provide for his family. He did his best to climb the ranks as fast as he could and he's now a Captain. He hides his true self behind a mask, but the moment he looks at Kenna he knows that the time to play games is over. Decklan is a man of honor and he lives for the military. Will he open his heart to possibly find his one true love?

Kenna is such a sweetheart. She always worked hard at school and is a practicing nurse now. She'd never met a man who made her feel flustered just by looking at her, until Decklan. From the very first moment sparks fly and I loved it that she could hold her own against this big and stunning man. Decklan is all muscle. He's such a badass, but so sweet to Kenna at the same time. I fell in love with him immediately and the fact that he's not afraid to show his feelings made me like him even more.

Cocky Captain is a short story about finding true love. I flew through the pages and read it in one sitting. Kelly Moore is a brilliant and skillful writer and every time she releases a story I can't wait to read it. The beautiful way she uses her words to tell a story has me hooked every single time. I have a soft spot for men in a uniform, so Cocky Captain was right up my alley. Kelly Moore is one of my favorite authors and I highly recommend any of her books.


If you love to read military romance Cocky Captain is a fantastic choice. This book is perfect for when you don't have a lot of time and want to read a complete story.

Embroidering Stars Tote Bag, Mug & Pillow Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win an Embroidering Stars tote bag, mug and pillow set designed by Nyx Sullivan. Good luck!

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

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Book Review - The Chaos of Longing by K.Y. Robinson

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Review by Suze

there's a universe
swirling inside you

you have to learn to be
your own earth,
wind, fire
and water

you are a natural
not a natural disaster

In The Chaos of Longing K.Y. Robinson writes about her deepest emotions. The poems have been divided into four sections, Inception, Longing, Chaos and Epiphany and they each cover a different part of her personal development. She doesn't stay away from difficult topics, she writes about her early sexuality, sexual trauma, longing, lust, disgust, love, being broken, mental illness and much more in a beautiful raw and honest way. To me it felt like I'd been given a chance to look into her soul, which is something incredibly brave to offer. K.Y. Robinson's readers receive a truly precious gift from the author.

K.Y. Robinson's words have a stunning natural flow. Her poems aren't difficult to read, but at the same time their content is far from easy. I liked that contrast from the start. Once I started reading The Chaos of Longing I couldn't put it down, I had to read all the poems at once and when I finished them I read them again. There are many emotional layers and reading the poems more than once gave me a better insight and understanding of them. I could read this collection over and over again and still discover something new every single time. I am really impressed by these poems and highly recommend The Chaos of Longing.


Please take into account that The Chaos of Longing covers some difficult subjects. If you love raw emotional poetry about love, lust and life this collection is a definite must-read. 

Alice in Wonderland Necklace & Tea Collection Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a beautiful Alice in Wonderland necklace made by The Locket Library and the Literary Tea Company's Alice's Wonderland Tea Collection. Good luck!

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

Friday, September 22, 2017

Book Review & Giveaway - Those Who Lie by Diane Jeffrey

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Review by Suze

Emily is a widow, she lost her husband in a car accident. She survived and he didn't. Emily's been through something traumatic in the past and because of this the accident is being investigated. Has Emily killed her husband or was something else going on? She knows he told her something before the car crash, but she can't remember what it was. Will her memories of this fatal night come back eventually?

Because Emily spent some time on a psychiatric ward she doesn't completely trust herself. Especially not when she thinks she sees and hears things that aren't really there. Is someone messing with Emily or is she going crazy? Emily doesn't know who she can trust. She can't completely trust herself, so where should she start if she wants to unravel the truth? What is going on in her life and what is the cause of Emily's growing fear and unrest?

Those Who Lie is a gripping story. Emily seems to be a kind and loving woman, which is something that made me extra curious from the beginning. Is she capable of what's being said about her? I couldn't wait to find out and read Those Who Lie in one sitting because of it. Emily knows her husband was hiding something from her, but she can't remember what exactly. I was intrigued by this and loved all the clues Diane Jeffrey leaves. Slowly the truth comes to light and the story ends with a terrific finale.

Those Who Lie has something I absolutely love, an unreliable narrator. Because Emily doesn't know if she can rely on her own senses I found the story extra compelling. Diane Jeffrey kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. Emily's story isn't an easy one and she writes about difficult topics with empathy, but she also uses them to raise even more suspicion. She combines this with a writing style that's easy to read, which made me fly through the pages. Those Who Lie is a fantastic page-turner and I really enjoyed reading this captivating book.


If you love a good thriller with interesting main characters and fantastic secrets Those Who Lie would be an excellent choice.

About Diane Jeffrey

Diane Jeffrey grew up in Devon, in the United Kingdom. She now lives in Lyon, France with her husband and their three children, Labrador and kitten.

THOSE WHO LIE is her debut psychological thriller.

Diane is an English teacher. When she's not working or writing, she likes swimming, running and reading. She loves chocolate, beer and holidays.

Above all, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
Readers can follow Diane on Twitter @dianefjeffrey
or on


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive delicious chocolates and a Those Who Lie book cover necklace.

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

Book Review - Death Plays a Part by Vivian Conroy

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Review by Suze

Guinevere has found a job at a castle on a small Cornish island. The theater she'd been working for is being renovated and she's glad to have something else to do in the meantime. The island is the perfect environment for long walks with her dog Dolly. However, when Guinevere has only just arrived a reenactment at the castle goes horribly wrong and ends up in murder. Without Guinevere's help the murderer might not be found. Guinevere is going to have an eventful summer, will she be able to catch the killer?

Death Plays a Part is a fun cozy mystery. I immediately loved Guinevere. She's strong, sharp and observant, which are the exact right qualities to possess when you want to unmask a murderer. Vivian Conroy introduces several interesting suspects and I couldn't wait for find out who was behind the crime at the castle. Guinevere finds clue after clue and it was fabulous to be taken along with her on the journey. She's kindhearted, loyal and a good judge of character and I found it really fascinating to see the world through her eyes.

Vivian Conroy has a great gripping writing style that made it impossible for me to put Death Plays a part down. I read it in one sitting and enjoyed every single minute of the mystery. I fell in love with the beautiful setting, an intriguing Cornish island with plenty of gossip, island politics and secrets. It's versatile and it kept me hooked from beginning to end. I liked this wonderful story a lot and can't wait to read more of Vivian Conroy's books.


If you love a good mystery and are a fan of beautiful settings you will definitely like Death Plays a Part.

Book Review - Burning Love by Trish Morey

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Review by Suze

Caleb and Ava have been hooking up for quite a while. Their agreement worked well for them at first. Because of Caleb's divorce he wasn't ready for anything more and Ava thinks she shouldn't have a relationship because of her past, so they were on the same page. However, Caleb is now thinking about having something serious with Ava. She's the woman who makes him happy and he's ready for the next step, but whenever he broaches the subject Ava starts pulling away. Caleb is a firefighter and when bush fires are threatening the surroundings their connection is being tested once more. Will Ava eventually realize she should take a chance on Caleb?

Burning Love is a sexy story about two people who have plenty of chemistry. It's clear from the start that whenever Ava and Caleb are in the same room they can't stay away from each other. Ava has built a big wall around her heart though and she doesn't want to let anyone in. Caleb is persistent and I couldn't wait to find out if she'd eventually see sense. Ava and Caleb are both strong people and I liked reading about their devotion to their work. They have plenty of talent and it was really fun to read about that. It's a wonderful combination with the sparks that they have in abundance.

Trish Morey has written a great passionate story about love, lust, art and fire. Her writing has a nice flow and I flew through the pages. I especially loved the ending, which is wonderfully fitting for the Hot Aussie Knights series. Burning Love is both hot and romantic. Ava and Caleb are fabulous together and they're a perfect addition to the series.


If you love reading about men in uniform Burning Love would be a great choice. It's part of the Hot Aussie Knights series, but can easily be read as a standalone.

Buddle Book Sleeve and Book of Choice Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a cherry Buddle book sleeve and a book of choice worth $12. Good luck!

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

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The White Camellia by Juliet Greenwood - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

It's 1909 and Bea and her family have to move out of Tressillion House. Bea now has to look after her mother and sister, who aren't happy with their current status. Marriage is how she's expected to do that. Getting married is a way to achieve a better financial standing once more and there is a candidate, but does Bea actually want to tie herself to someone she doesn't love? Bea wants a career instead, she'd like to make her own success. When she discovers the White Camellia, a tearoom where the suffrage movement is coming together, she's finally found a place where she can be herself. Can she make her own plans for the future?

Sybyl has taken another huge step in life, she managed to purchase Tressillion House. It's finally hers, but what can she do with it now that she owns it? The property offers several options, but it hides plenty of secrets as well. While Sybyl doesn't want to love the house, slowly she's starting to feel at home nevertheless. Will Tressillion House change the direction of her future and what will happen when past and present finally come together?

The White Camellia is a brilliant story about two strong and capable women. Bea is creative, talented and fierce. She knows what she wants and she's willing to work hard to achieve her goals. Because of family problems life has been difficult, but she's fighting for better prospects. I immediately loved her spirit and her adventurous personality. Sybyl is a smart business woman. She knows how to get things done and she has a good head on her shoulders. She might be angry, but her good heart keeps winning it from the hatred she carries inside. I loved the development of her characters, she becomes more and more intriguing and was anxious to find out her secrets. I loved how Juliet Greenwood alternates between her two fantastic main characters, her writing is both beautiful and gripping and it kept me on the edge of my seat.

Juliet Greenwood has chosen an interesting historical period for The White Camellia. I loved the captivating way she writes about the suffrage movement and the way they come together in the lively tearoom and could easily picture the actions of the women, the fights with the police and the determination of the characters to follow their own plans and make their own choices. Juliet Greenwood effortlessly took me away to a different place and time and managed to mesmerize me from beginning to end. The research behind her stories is always incredible and I love the way she translates knowledge into stunning readable adventures that take my breath away. The White Camellia is another true gem, I loved this book with all my heart.


If you love historical fiction and like strong female main characters The White Camellia is an absolute must-read.

About Juliet Greenwood

Juliet Greenwood is published by Honno Press. Her books are set in Cornwall, London and Wales in Victorian and Edwardian times, and follow the lives of strong, independently-minded women struggling to find freedom and self-fulfillment. Her novels have reached #4 and #5 in the UK Amazon Kindle store, while ‘Eden’s Garden’ was a finalist for ‘The People’s Book Prize’. ‘We That are Left’ was completed with a Literature Wales Writers’ Bursary.

Juliet’s great grandmother worked as a nail maker in Lye Waste, near Birmingham in the Black Country, hammering nails while rocking the cradle with her foot. Juliet’s grandmother worked her way up to become a cook in a big country house. Their stories have left Juliet with a passion for history, and in particular for the experiences of women, so often overlooked or forgotten. Juliet lives in a traditional cottage in Snowdonia, in the UK, and loves gardening and walking. 

‘The White Camellia’, Honno Press, September 2016

‘We That Are Left’, Honno Press, 2014
Amazon UK Kindle #4 May 2014

‘Eden’s Garden’, Honno Press, 2012
Finalist for ‘The People’s Book Prize’, May 2014
Amazon UK Kindle #5 June 2014

Guest Post

The Inspiration of the Cornish coast
By Juliet Greenwood

Big old houses, crumbling away on a Cornish cliff, a family feud going back over the generations, and a heroine battling against the odds …

I loved writing ‘The White Camellia’, which is set in Cornwall and London during the Edwardian period. A touch of Downton Abbey, but with the family ruined and scattered by folly and greed, and having to pick up the pieces again, while a woman who has built a fortune from nothing takes over their abandoned mansion, and is forced to face the demons in her own past. And at the middle of it all, an old goldmine with secret that will not rest …..

There’s nothing like the windswept coastline of Cornwall to set as the backdrop to a family mystery. I loved Daphne du Maurier and Agatha Christie when I was growing up, and ‘The Shell Seekers’ is still one of my favourite novels. Apart from when I lived in London, I’ve always lived very close to the sea. I love its many moods, sometimes calm, sometimes wild. I love clear, cold winter days when the sea is so smooth and blue you can’t see where the sky begins, and storms where the waves go crashing against the land. 

So the Cornish coastline was the obvious choice when I began to work on the story of ‘The White Camellia’, with its passionate heroine, Sybil, who takes over the house she once hated and has to come to terms with the consequences of her past actions, and maybe, just maybe, find peace and love again. Like the sea, human beings change, which is always the fascination of writing a new story. The characters you start with inevitably become so much more as the story takes shape. This is exactly what happened to Sybil, and her love-hate relationship with crumbling Tressillion House and its ruined garden, which became so much more than the house on the cliff that was the first inspiration for the story. 

Of course, stories have many inspirations. Tressillion House was inspired by a romantic old house in Devon, where I often used to go with friends. The story of the goldmine was inspired by my grandfather’s desperate bid to escape poverty in the 1920s, and the unexpected consequences of his actions that still reverberate down the generations. The seascape was inspired both by my favourite Cornish beaches, and those where I live now, in North Wales. And running through it all are the wild cliffs of North Cornwall and the exhilarating (if at times terrifying) power of the sea. I have a feeling I might have to return soon, to find more inspiration ….


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed copy of The White Camellia.

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