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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Missing Pieces by Laura Pearson - Book Review & Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Esme's world drastically changes when disaster strikes. Her father Tom and mother Linda are having a hard time coping with their loss. Esme feels like her mother blames her. Linda has checked out of their lives. She's heavily pregnant and doesn't want to have another baby. She only thinks and cares about what she's lost. Nobody talks about what happened, which creates an oppressive environment filled with secrets, guilt and anger. The consequences are devastating, how will the family deal with such a big loss?

Even many years later Esme and her father can't express their feelings to each other. The baby Linda didn't want is all grown up. Bea has many questions about what the family was like before she was born, but there's nobody who wants to give her the answers she so desperately seeks. How can she be a good mother if there are so many missing pieces from her own history? To have a future together and to find love again the family has to find a way to move forward, will Bea's pregnancy be what they need to glue the shattered parts of themselves together again?

Missing Pieces is a beautiful heartbreaking story. I shed quite a few tears while reading this amazing emotional novel. One terrible moment wrecks an entire family. There are so many unspoken words, unprocessed feelings and communication issues. Laura Pearson has thoroughly explored the struggles of each family member. Tom, Linda, Esme and Bea all have their flaws, they are far from perfect, they can't cope and they do things they normally wouldn't have done because they don't know what to do with their sadness. The result is a story filled with so many emotions it's about to explode. I was impressed by each layer of this fantastic poignant book.

Laura Pearson has a terrific descriptive wring style. She skillfully makes connections, openly shares her main characters' most private thoughts and she laces her story with an abundance of honesty, empathy and forgiveness. This gives Missing Pieces a perfect rawness that had a strong effect on me. I could literally feel the anger, the hurt and the pain and was stunned by how real it all felt. Missing Pieces is intense, thought-provoking and agonizing. Laura Pearson carefully divides tension, she balances emotions in a great way and she knows how to captivate her readers. She ends her story with a wonderful message and plenty of hope, showing her readers there's always light in the darkness, even in the most daunting situations. Missing Pieces is a story that packs a punch and will stay with me for a very long time.

Advice

If you love emotional stories about family you don't want to miss Missing Pieces.

About Laura Pearson


Laura Pearson has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. She lives in Leicestershire with her husband and their two children. Missing Pieces is her first novel.

Links

Website // Blog // Facebook // Twitter

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of Missing Pieces by Laura Pearson.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Talented Artist - Rita Maia from A Casa do Guaxinim - Interview & Giveaway

A Casa do Guaxinim

About Rita Maia


Hi! Welcome to A Casa do Guaxinim, my online shop.

My name is Rita Maia and I am the designer of the trademark A Casa do Guaxinim.

I'm from Portugal and began this project in 2011 and I'm loving it! It's all designed and handcrafted by me with lots of love ♥ Hope you will love it as well!

Links

Website // Facebook // Flickr // Blogspot

Interview

1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

My name is Rita and I'm from Portugal, a very sunny country and a nice place to live :)

Studied Design and technologies for Ceramic and after some jobs in different areas I decided to work by myself and do what I love most, which is to sew, create and customize things, mostly to children.


2) What’s the inspiration behind your work?

I have to say that is the children's world. Everything that is childish is more beautiful and true and makes me happier.


3) Where did you learn how to sew?

With my grandmother, she was seamstress and I always loved to get all the small pieces of fabric, buttons, ribbons, zippers and create outfits to my dolls by hand or in the sew machine. Later I started to make my own clothes which my grandmother and her sister taught me how to make. My grandmother's house was my favourite place, still keep with me the smell of fabric :)


4) What does your work place look like?

It's not very messy, I'm not a messy person! I work at home, have a room only for the sewing with all the material to work with and it's where I spend the most of my time. I have always many ideas for new projects, I wish I have the time to make all of them! There are a lot of toys in there too, which belongs to my 3 years old boy.


5) You make beautiful fabric book covers, where does your love for books come from?

I like to read since I was a child and I always liked to customize things, so why not create something beautiful and necessary to protect ours books?


6) Can you tell a bit more about how you started your store?

I started to show my work online on a blog and flickr. Later on facebook. People started to ordering and then I decided to create my Etsy shop to make things easier for me and for the customers. Began this project in 2011 and I'm loving it.


7) Your designs are very cute colorful, how do you turn the image in your head into a matching design?

I love color and I love matching different fabrics and colors. I work with felt too which is a very versatile material. Most of my creations are from my imagination, I have always new ideias for new items and the others are customized/requested by customers.


8) You use a lot of animals for your designs, what's your favorite animal?

I love forest animals (fox, owl, squirrel, raccoon, hedgehog and many others). I have to admit that I'm afraid of dogs! But I love to use them in my creations, they look really cute in baby mobiles, which are my best sellers.


9) What do you like to most about having your own shop?

It gives me the chance to do what I love: create something with my hands that came out of my imagination and which will make someone very happy. As I don't like routines I also can make that everyday is different. I can work during all day and in the next day I can play and go out with my son :)


10) What are your plans for the future?

I would love to have my own store (physical), it's one of my dreams! While it doesn't happen I want to continue creating beautiful items mostly for children and being happy!


Giveaway

Fabric book cover

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive this dog themed fabric book cover from A Casa do Guaxinim.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

$50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway



Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a $50 (or your country's equivalent) Amazon gift card. Good luck!


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

The Companion's Secret by Susanna Craig - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Gabriel is a lord with a terrible reputation. He's the Marquess of Ashborough and many people fear him. He's rich, handsome and much disliked. Someone is after what he has and he needs to take action before he'll lose it all. What he requires to save his name and his estate is a devout wife. Lady Felicity seems to be the ideal candidate. She's lovely and well mannered, she has a flawless reputation and her father needs money, so getting a lucrative offer from Gabriel would be well received. However, Felicity has a cousin Gabriel can't get out of his mind. Camellia is everything he's ever wanted in a woman, but she can't be his future.

Camellia is in London because her demanding aunt needs a companion, but she has an ulterior motive. She wants to sell her novel. Writing is her passion and she's found a publisher who's interested in her story. However, she should make her male main character more realistic. Lord Ash would be the ideal example, he's a rake and Camellia feels she should protect Felicity from such a man. When she gets to know Gabriel though, she finds out he isn't the man people are making him out to be at all. Camellia comes from a family with many secrets and going home would put her at risk. Gabriel isn't willing to let anything compromise her safety, but what about his own future? Will these two troubled people find a way out of their difficult situations?

The Companion's Secret is a terrific fascinating story. It's clear from the beginning that Camellia and Gabriel have a beautiful connection. When they are together sparks fly, their dialogue is witty and intelligent and they seem to perfectly understand each other. I loved how well suited they are. Unfortunately Gabriel is looking for a certain kind of wife and Felicity is exactly the woman he should marry, but there isn't any chemistry between them. I was curious to find out if they'd be able to get themselves out of the unfortunate situation they're in and couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to absorb every possible detail. Susanna Craig has written a captivating story with fabulous intriguing main characters. I was glued to the pages of The Companion's Secret from beginning to end.

Susanna Craig has a fantastic compelling writing style. I loved the complex love story she's managed to come up with. I admired the idea behind it and loved the execution, the complex relationships between the main characters are working incredibly well. There's plenty of tension, there's some great suspense and there are many unexpected twists and turns. I love it when a story comes together in such a splendid manner. The Companion's Secret is wonderfully romantic and there are many interesting layers that totally enchanted me. I highly recommend this gorgeous charming book.

Advice

If you love historical romance The Companion's Secret would be a perfect choice.

About Susanna Craig


A love affair with historical romances led Susanna Craig to a degree (okay, three degrees) in literature and a career as an English professor. When she’s not teaching or writing academic essays about Jane Austen and her contemporaries, she enjoys putting her fascination with words and knowledge of the period to better use: writing Regency-era romances she hopes readers will find both smart and sexy. She makes her home among the rolling hills of Kentucky horse country, along with her historian husband, their unstoppable little girl, and a genuinely grumpy cat.

Links

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Bookbub

Interview

1) Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself? 

Hi everyone! I’m excited to be here. In addition to writing historical romance, I’m an English professor. My husband of 20 years is a history professor, so I like to tell people I have a live-in research assistant. He is also my biggest fan! We have an eight year old daughter who loves to help me with my stories. In my books you’ll find lots of details that reflect my life: pets, family, and a lifelong fascination with British culture and history.

2) Ash and Cami don’t have perfect reputations; what’s so interesting about writing about characters with flaws? 

Every romance has a fantasy element, but the characters need to be real, and real people have flaws. As a writer, I think of characters’ flaws as ways to create tension, deepen emotion, and move the plot forward. As readers, we relate to characters who’ve made mistakes because we have too.

3) What should a good intriguing secret look like? 

I think it has to be something meaningful, a secret worth keeping, not just because there might be consequences for revealing it, but because a character thinks of that secret as a part of who they are. If the secret comes out, things won’t be the same. That person won’t be the same. When the hero (for example) is ready to reveal that secret to the heroine, or it is revealed by someone else and we see the heroine’s reaction, we should understand the significance of that revelation. It should show how the characters have grown, how perfect they are for one another.

4) What does true love mean to you? 

Sometimes, we seem to confuse romance for true love. Romance is wonderful, but true love is messy and hard. It’s accepting another person, flaws and all. It’s feeling safe enough to be your true self. It’s supporting someone and being supported in return.

5) How did you get the idea for the Rogues & Rebels series? 

So, my birthday is on St. Patrick’s Day, and I’ve always been interested in Ireland (although I’m not Irish). In my academic life, I’ve done a lot of research on the 1798 Rebellion in Ireland and the Act of Union with Great Britain in 1800, which is when the series is set. At the time, novelists like Sydney Owenson and Maria Edgeworth were writing what we might think of as “romance novels” between Irish and English characters, using it as a metaphor for Anglo-Irish relations and trying to reshape public opinion about Ireland.

I thought it would be fun to echo those stories, so I created a set of siblings who are proud to be Irish, but who meet and fall in love with Englishmen/women. It’s an instant source of conflict, and it introduces readers to a historical moment that hasn’t been done a lot in Regency-era romance.

6) What are the key characteristics of a good rogue? 

Ooh…well, he has to be a risk taker, someone who is willing to break the rules. Smart. Sometimes witty (“sardonic” comes to mind). And of course, he has to have a good heart hidden deep inside that roguish exterior, which the heroine discovers along the way.

7) How did your passion for historical romance start? 

Victoria Holt was my gateway to historical romance when I was a teenager, and from there, I went to the classics, like Jane Eyre. All those romances, mostly set in nineteenth-century England, led me to focus on British literature in college and graduate school, and today I’m a specialist in Jane Austen. I started writing historical romance soon after I started reading it, but I didn’t get serious about it until I came back to reading romance about ten years ago.

8) What should a good happy ending look like? 

The best happy endings come after a couple has met and overcome a significant challenge. We need to know that they will be able to face whatever comes, so we can close the book believing in their future happiness. Because my books tend to be angsty, I try to make those closing scenes more light-hearted, so readers have a glimpse of those little moments that make a relationship work.

9) You are an English professor; what do you do when one of your student shows potential when it comes to writing? 

Students today do so much writing: blogs, social media, essays, creative work. I want to help all of them maximize their ability to communicate effectively in whatever medium they choose. I don’t teach creative writing, but because most of my students know I write fiction, they sometimes come to me for advice. I try to encourage them, explain some of the challenges of the publishing world, and remind them that the most important thing is to keep writing (and reading!).

10) How do you combine the busy life of being a scholar with writing stories?

Right now, I don’t do much scholarly writing; there simply isn’t enough time. But I still go to academic conferences and try to keep up with what’s being said and written about the literature I teach. Last year, I got to combine my scholarly and creative lives by teaching a course on popular romance fiction; we read about 10 novels (starting with Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) and talked about attitudes toward romance novels and their cultural value. Students finished the semester with either a traditional research paper or a creative project. That course was so much fun! I hope I get to teach it again soon.

11) What are your plans for the future?

The next book in the Rogues & Rebels series, The Duke’s Suspicion, releases in December. Right now, I’m at work on the third book, The Lady’s Deception, which will be published in 2019. And I always have a few more story ideas floating around in the back of my mind!

Giveaway

One very Lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of The Companion's Secret by Susanna Craig

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Friday, June 29, 2018

Book Review - Rainy Day Friends by Jill Shalvis

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Lainie's husband betrayed her in the worst possible way. Six months after his death she's still angry and devastated. Lainie found out she isn't her husband's only widow, he had a collection of wives who all believed they were legally married to him. Lainie was the first, but besides a little money in her bank account that doesn't give her much comfort. Lainie doesn't have any support, there's nobody she can lean on and she wonders if she's lovable at all. She desperately needs a fresh start and that is how she ends up with the Capriotti family at their winery. Will she find a way to heal there?

The Capriottis are loud, intense and welcoming. Lainie isn't used to being included, but all family members are making sure she's being made part of the family. Lainie especially feels at ease with Mark, a single dad looking after his twin daughters with the help of his grandparents, parents and sisters. While Lainie is slowly finding a place among this lively family someone else is being added to their ranks. River seems to be a sweet girl, but she's keeping something that can break Lainie's heart all over again...

Rainy Day Friends is a beautiful heartwarming story. I loved Lainie. She's kindhearted, gentle and vulnerable. She hasn't had much luck when it comes to being loved while she's such a wonderful person. Mark and his twins are making it difficult for her to keep her walls up and slowly Lainie learns how to let people in. She does the same with River. River is pregnant and alone. She's young and destitute. There's something she's not telling Lainie though and finding out what would happen if the truth would come to light kept me on the edge of my seat.

Jill Shalvis has an amazing captivating writing style. Her stories are filled with the most precious quirky people. It's easy to fall in love with her main characters and whenever I read one of her stories I always have a big smile on my face. They are impossible to put down and I love their delightful atmosphere. Jill Shalvis knows how to portray people, she gets personalities and knows how to make her characters' flaws work in their favor. Her stories are always a true joy to read. Rainy Day Friends is absolutely amazing and I highly recommend it.

Advice

If you love heartwarming stories about family, friendship and love you don't want to miss Rainy Day Friends.

Talented Artist - Karen from Novel Creations - Interview & Giveaway

Novel Creations

About Karen


Welcome to Novel Creations! My name is Karen and I am happy you stopped by.

Working for a used book store, I would bring home the books they wanted to throw away. I just could not see them taking a dive in the dumpster. Eventually, I had to come up with an idea to recycle them.

I found directions on how-to-make-your-own book purse and I knew that was it.

Well, following those directions, I ended up making a HORRIBLE book purse. Nothing like the photo that was shown. After many mishaps and lots of improvements, I was able to make a book purse and good enough that family and friends wanted me to make them one!

Because of my love of books, it was time to start sharing this creative bookish accessory with other book lovers and my Etsy shop was born in the year 2008.

My book purses have been showcased numerous times on BuzzFeed, Geek.com,
Chicago Times, L.A. Times, USA Today and Horror Finds.

Links

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest

Interview

1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I grew up in a family history of entrepreneurs on my father's side and creative dreamers on my Mother's side. Handmade creations and ideas are a staple in my immediate family. When I get together with my sisters and my Mom, in addition to sitting and visiting, we are always working on some kind of a handmade craft item. Our hands and our mouths are moving.


2) What’s the inspiration behind your work?

I was working at a used bookstore and saw all these unwanted books. It was difficult to see them being unused. So coming up with a way to breathe new life into them started an obsession that I wanted to figure out.


3) Where did you learn your craft?

What surprises most people is that I make these from actual books.

The idea came from a craft-making book I found at the store I worked at.... When I saw this idea, I knew that was it. I followed the directions and the purse came out horrible. Exactly what you would call a Pinterest fail. I reworked, retweaked and redesigned until finally my family wanted me to make them one. Even 10 years later, I am still updating and tweaking my designs.


4) What does your workplace look like?

My home-base workshop is full of things that make me happy. It is not magazine cover design at all but I look forward to stepping inside. My other favorite place is my bookroom library. I have a spare room stuffed with book shelves for my book finds. I have so many books that I am not even able to take photos of them all and upload to my shop yet. Some call it my book hoarding room and that is okay with me. I love the smell of this room too.


5) You make bookish items, where does your love for books come from?

From my childhood of course. When I think back about my elementary years and my teachers, the memories I have are them reading books to us. I can still remember the sound of my 4th-grade teacher's voice when she read Ramona The Pest out loud to the class.

The one book I cherish and is my ultimate favorite book is Mrs Piggle Wiggle. I secretly hid the book that I borrowed from the school library and still have it to this day. I read the stories to my children when they were little.


6) Can you tell a bit more about how you started your store?

After I made purses that people wanted, I branched out to the fairs and festivals where I grew up to see if other book lovers would find my creations just as pleasing as I do. With the great response, I wanted to share with a much larger book lover community and that is when I found Etsy. I was an original seller who brought book purses to Etsy.


7) How do you choose which cover to use and where do you find the books?

I am always at any used bookstore that I can find. Especially when we travel, I hit the used stores and ask to dig through their unwanted recycled piles of books. Thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales and auctions are never passed by.

There is this "thing" that happens when my eyes are diverted to a book. I get this feeling. I have learned to go with it and now will bring that book home. Within a day, I get a request for it or an order. It has been a mystical thing that happens to me that my reluctant hubby now fully accepts.


8) You recycle a lot, how does this process work?

I use every part of the book that I can...if the inside pages are not wanted by the customer, I shred them for packing material. If a book has a satin marker ribbon, I sew that along the top of the inside pocket. Some of the pages are created as a card and envelope for gift-giving. I create other small things with the pages and sell those items individually, ex. book wreaths, bookish ornaments, bookmarks, earrings, etc....


9) Can you name some of your favorite authors whose covers you’d really like to use?

Every customer has their favorite author and favorite book, so the creation of any book into a book purse is endless.

When I have an author who personally contacts me and shares her joy of having her own book created into a purse, I get overwhelmed with the feeling of gratitude for the opportunity to be able to create something special for someone.


10) What are your plans for the future?

I recently created a design so that I will be able to recycle unwanted paperback books or books too small for a book purse or book clutch. The book wallets have been a book lover dream for those who have their own designer purse, but want to keep their favorite book with them in a unique fashion accessory. As long as there are unwanted books, I will keep repurposing them into something unique.


Giveaway

Book cover wallet

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a book cover wallet (winner’s choice).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Six Weeks with a Lord by Eve Pendle - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Grace's father has left his daughter with a huge problem. After his death Grace is about to lose her independence. Her father was a rich man, but she can only have access to money through her dowry, which means she has to marry someone first. Grace's father planned for Grace to marry the lord he selected for her and has given him custody over Grace's little brother and his inheritance. Grace doesn't want to attach herself to this evil and violent man. She fears for her brother's safety. The only way to get her brother back is by marrying someone else under the condition that she's allowed to use part of her dowry, but there's a stipulation in the will, Grace can only marry a member of the ton. Grace's dowry is substantial, will she able to find a man who's willing to marry her for half of her money with a tight contract between them?

When Grace meets Everett, the Earl of Westbury, she's finally found a man she doesn't loathe. Everett is desperate, his brother was the heir, but died. He needs money and marrying Grace would solve his problems. Can he convince Grace to become his wife? He can't believe his luck when the handsome woman shows an interest, but will he be able to make her fall in love with him? Will he be able to turn their business match into something more? Grace doesn't think she belongs in Everett's world, can he convince her that love is the only thing that matters?

Six Weeks with a Lord is a wonderful romantic story. I absolutely loved Grace. She's strong, independent and smart. She knows what she wants and is clever enough to get it. This doesn't mean she doesn't have to pay a price though. Emotionally Grace is suffering. Her father has abandoned her in all possible ways, but Grace isn't inclined to follow his wishes. The man her father wanted her to marry is dangerous and Grace doesn't want him to come anywhere near her. She has to find a way to get custody over her brother. Finding out if she would kept me on the edge of my seat. Her marriage with Everett seems to be a step in the right direction. He's a chivalrous and handsome man, but he's also keeping something from Grace that could destroy their union. He's falling head over heels in love with her and his secrets are threatening to wreck his dreams for the future. I loved this idea for a story and couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to discover more.

Eve Pendle has a fabulous enchanting writing style. I loved every single word of Six Weeks with a Lord. It's a captivating story with many surprising twists and turns. I liked the chemistry between the main characters and their inner struggles are making their relationship incredibly fascinating. There's a lot of love, but there's also plenty of distrust and there are many obstacles to overcome. Eve Pendle describes all of the emotions involved in a fantastic thorough and open way. It makes her story come to life incredibly well. Six Weeks with a Lord is a gorgeous story about true love, finding solutions, friendship, acceptance and family. I highly recommend this amazing book.

Advice

If you love historical romance you don't want to miss Six Weeks with a Lord.



About Eve Pendle



I live in England and write angsty, snarky and passionate romance. My love of reading historical romance eventually morphed into wanting to write my own.

I have National Trust membership, a big-boned cat, and a crazy dog. I love wearing dresses, eating chocolate, equality, liberty, my husband, my dog, and my cat (not necessarily in that order).

Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | GoodReads | Newsletter

Six Weeks, Six Locations
Guest post by Eve Pendle

Hi, I’m Eve Pendle. Six Weeks with a Lord is my debut historical romance and as much as I hope my words paint a picture for you, I thought you might like to look at some real pictures. I live in England and I love to visit historical houses. So I have a variety of photos to help me when I need just the right image in my head. Here is a peek into my location inspiration, along with a little bit of context.

Grace and Everett meet in a London ballroom. Everett only has eyes for Grace and Grace is a bit distracted by some serious lord searching. But if either of them had looked around, it would have looked a bit like this…


After they agree to marry and stay together for six weeks, they set off to go to Everett’s estate. They leave London from Paddington station, which has this amazing glass roof:


Trains were still rather new and glamourous in 1865, when this book is set. Paddington station is much the same now as it was then in some ways. But the size and power of trains and a train station like this would have awed Victorian passengers. Unless they’re just married, hopelessly attracted to and deeply suspicious of each other, that is…

They arrive at Everett’s house, Larksview, and Grace is impressed with how lovely the creamy Cotswold stone house is. Larksrise is fictionally near Bath and based on a mis-mash of lots of different houses I’ve visited, including this one:


To keep up a pretence of being happily married – which was one of their bargains – they walk together each morning. These walks are where they really begin to understand each other, so they don’t notice as much as you and I would, as they’re distracted by each other. But see a kingfisher by the lake:



And walking together develops into doing other things together, like sailing on the lake:


It’s not a very big boat, is it? No. I mean, what could possibly go wrong in such close proximity?

They discover they like doing things together. Including working on [spoilers]. Because of the debts, a lot of the furniture in the house has been sold. But Everett still has a desk. This is the desk:

If you love to see gorgeous historical things and read sexy books, come and follow me on twitter where there’s a regular supply of both.

And if you’re wondering whether a large, sturdy desk like that might be put to another use than paperwork… You’ll have to read and see!


I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour. If you’d like to see more, follow me on twitter @evependle – I often post pictures of houses, flowers, views, and lots of gorgeous historical English things. If you loved seeing this little slice of British Victorian life, you might just love Six Weeks with a Lord.

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of Six Weeks with a Lord by Eve Pendle.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Children's Books of Choice Giveaway



Enter this giveaway for a chance to win children's books of choice worth $27 (this can be anything from picture books to YA). Good luck!


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

Coming Home to Ottercombe Bay by Bella Osborne - Book Review, Guest Post and Giveaway


Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads

Review by Suze

Daisy's back in her old hometown, but desperately wants to leave. There's plenty of history she doesn't want to be reminded of. Going to a funeral saddens her and catching up with old friends is nice, but Daisy doesn't want to be there any longer than she has to. Daisy's Great Uncle Reg found a way to make Daisy reconsider her stay in Ottercombe Bay though. They used to be close and after his death he left Daisy an old railway station. She can only claim her inheritance if she doesn't leave for an entire year. Daisy's wanderlust knows no bounds and putting down roots scares her. However, she decides to give it a try. Together with the help of her lovely aunt and good friends she might survive the year and it may even be better than she initially expected.

Daisy has a building she can use and decides to turn it into a business. Making sure she has happy customers coming for a special drink is her new goal. Being a business owner keeps Daisy occupied and grounded. Ottercombe Bay might seem like a sleepy town, but there's a lot going on. Daisy finds herself in the middle of several mysteries. Uncovering secrets of the past and the present is a tough job. Will Daisy manage to ignore her itchy feet and make Ottercombe Bay her home for twelve months? Will she find happiness there eventually?

Coming Home to Ottercombe Bay is a wonderful heartwarming story. Daisy is a fabulous woman. She has a fiery personality that I absolutely adored. I loved her spunk, her prickly nature and her resilience. She always knows what to say and she stands up for herself whenever she needs to. She's a fantastic main character with a lovely multilayered personality laced with pizazz and toughness, but with a sweet core. Bella Osborne skillfully explores Daisy's fascinating personality traits and the result is fun, fierce and captivating. She has a gorgeous sense of humor that makes the stubborn and dynamic Daisy a joy to read about.

Bella Osborne skillfully combines humor, suspense and romance. Each aspect of her story has been well thought through and she effortlessly manages to keep the balance. She's in full control of her story and that shows. She uses people's flaws to make them interesting, she knows what real love feels like, her dialogue is witty and strong and she's great at dividing tension. She combines this with descriptions of a marvelous small town. I loved Ottercombe Bay, it's a stunning setting filled with terrific surprises. Coming Home to Ottercombe Bay is a true gem, it's a story to fall in love with. Bella Osborne's writing always puts a big smile on my face and I highly recommend this delightful book.

Advice

If you love fascinating stories set in small towns filled with humor, surprises and true love you don't want to miss Coming Home to Ottercombe Bay. The story has previously been released in four separate parts, this is the complete serial.

About Bella Osborne


I've been jotting down my stories for as far back as I can remember... well that's not exactly true. I remember writing a story when I was about nine and I was in Mrs Hurran's class. The story was about a thief who stole the crown jewels but then didn't know what to do with them. It went on for pages and pages, in my spiders dance handwriting, so my teacher typed it up and pinned it to the classroom wall. It was a proud day!

Somehow life took over, I got a sensible job and the writing has remained a hobby which other people puzzle over and which I adore.

Over the years there have been dalliances into poetry, short stories and five unfinished novels. But I decided that 2013 would be the year that was going to change. I joined the Romantic Novelists Association New Writer Scheme which gave me a deadline to chase - a full length novel had to be completed and submitted for review by 31st August. I beat the deadline by a month!

In 2014 I secured a two book contract with Harper Impulse, part of the HarperCollins Group, and my first novel 'It Started at Sunset Cottage' was published in ebook format on 12th February 2015 and paperback on 23rd April 2015. It went on to be shortlisted for the Joan Hessayon New Writers' Award and the RNA Contemporary Novel of the Year 2016.

​My second book 'A Family Holiday' was published Summer 2016 and was shortlisted for RNA Contemporary Novel of the Year 2017.

In 2016 I moved to Avon which is also part of the wonderful HarperCollins family. My latest novel 'Escape to Willow Cottage' was released in four digital instalments ahead of the whole story being published August 2017.

I am currently editing novel number four which is set in a fictional Devon village and has the working title 'A Year in Ottercombe Bay'. Watch this space for more details!

Links

Website // Facebook // Twitter

Fuelling Your Creativity as a Writer
Guest post by Bella Osborne

People often say ‘You have a great imagination’ but what is that exactly? Imagination can be summarised as the combination of everything you’ve ever seen, smelled, heard, touched or tasted that the wondrous engine we call our brain forms into new ideas. Which is why a writer’s brain is a very messy thing. As a child my imagination was boundless and yet my experience was limited. In theory I should now have a giant treasure chest of experience at my disposal like an overflowing magic trunk. But is that really the case? Could this well of ideas ever run out? And how can we ensure that it doesn’t? Here’s a few ideas to keep that imagination chugging and the ideas flowing.

1) Sign up for new experiences. This could be joining new groups, learning a new skill, local evening class or simply a change of scenery. They will all give you access to new people, places and a wealth of material. Be brave about this – push yourself to do something that feels a little outside your comfort zone. But if you’re not ready for that find a new coffee shop and sit, listen and observe.

2) Be mindful. I know it’s everywhere right now but being mindful is a very useful skill to a writer. Spend time focusing on the now. Learn how to really notice things around you and take time to jot it down – it may be valuable later. Concentrate on using all your senses when noticing things, not just what you see.

3) Ask ‘What if? And ‘Why?’ repeatedly. Tap into your own curiosity. Spotting something is one thing but questioning it can take your mind in a whole new direction.

4) Read. As writers it’s important to read but take a slight change of direction. Try reading things you wouldn’t usually read – different genres, non-fiction, magazines and newspapers. You’ll be surprised what your imagination will do with this new found information.

5) Take time out for you. I find that recharging my batteries frees up my brain to go a bit wild and that’s when it conjures up characters and plot quite magically. So set aside time occasionally to step away from the day job and the keyboard to relax and empty your head. At worst you’ll feel refreshed, at best it will fill you with new ideas. 

 Giveaway


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a book related locket necklace and a seaside themed notebook from Bella Osborne.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

$50 Etsy Gift Card Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Etsy gift card. Good luck!


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

The Free by Lauren McLaughlin - Book Review & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Isaac learned to steal at a young age. His mother is a drunk who doesn't look after her children and he doesn't know his father. To take care of his younger sister Janelle he had to put food on the table and he made sure she always had nice clothes, but he isn't able to do that now. When he got into a fight at school he was transfered and became part of a car theft team. After a job that went completely wrong Isaac was asked to take the rap for someone else. He thinks this will be the way to make more money for Janelle. He's supposed to spend a month in juvie and after that he'll be able to send his sister to a good private school. Will this plan actually work?

The Haverland Juvenile Detention Facility is a place that scares Isaac. He wants to remain unnoticed, but being part of difficult therapy sessions that force him to act out his crime are making it hard to stay off people's radars. To have a crowd to sit with he joins the computer lab, where he also manages to stand out. Giving up his invisibility is tough, but it's necessary for Isaac to look after his sister. He has to fully open up to protect himself and the person he loves most in the world, will Isaac be able to do this?

The Free is a fantastic impressive story. I was completely blown away by this amazing book. Isaac is a sweet guy who wants to be there for his sister. He's made some grave mistakes and has trouble living with the consequences. Janelle is a smart girl and Isaac wants her to have opportunities. He does everything he can to make life as easy as possible for his sister, but he's messed up. While he's in juvie he can't protect Janelle from their mother and he isn't able to make any money so he can keep her fed and clothed. Janelle is only thirteen years old and Isaac constantly worries about her. I absolutely loved this brotherly love. Isaac's personalty has so many fabulous layers, I loved every single one of them and couldn't turn the pages of The Free quickly enough to find out how it would end.

Lauren McLaughlin has written a brilliant story filled with surprising twists and turns. Nothing in Isaac's life is straightforward. He has to be smart and needs to come up with strategies to survive. He's never safe, hasn't had the luxury of a solid home and has too many responsibilities for a kid his age. He's plotting and planning to keep his sister out of trouble. Lauren McLaughlin describes his worries about Janelle in a gorgeous heartfelt way that made me tear up many times. The Free is an absolute must-read, it's a terrific story about the screwed up life of a very brave teenager. I highly recommend this compelling, poignant book.

Advice

If you love impressive YA you don't want to miss The Free.

About Lauren McLaughlin


I grew up in the small town of Wenham, Massachusetts. After college and a brief flirtation with anthropology I spent ten years in the film business as both a screenwriter (Hypercube, Prisoner of Love, Specimen) and producer (American Psycho, Buffalo ’66, Vig, Stag, and others) before turning my attention to novels. I am the author of the teen novels, Cycler, (Re)Cycler, and Scored, as well as the children’s picture book series, Mitzi Tulane, Preschool Detective. I am currently at work on my fourth novel.

Links

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads

Giveaway

Five very lucky readers of With Love for Books will receive a paperback copy of The Free by Lauren McLaughlin.

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