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Blog Tour | Dreaming of Christmas by TA. Williams


Hello again my loves, 

Everywhere you look it's all looking a lot like Christmas isn't it? Well as we're almost halfway into November I'm going to join the Christmas fan club by taking part in a Blog Tour for TA Williams' new novel called Dreaming of Christmas. 
As a blog tour host, today I have the privilege of bringing you an festive extract of this book and I for one have my cup of tea reading to sit down and have a read. 
So we'll start by looking at what the books about in a book spotlight and then we'll cosy up and have a read together shall we?


Title: Dreaming of Christmas

Author Name: T.A. Williams

Previous Books (if applicable): Dreaming of Venice, Dreaming of Florence and Dreaming of St Tropez

Genre: Women’s Fiction, romcom

Release Date: August 2018

Publisher: Canelo


Book Blurb: It’s the dream Christmas: snow, mountains… and, er, an ex-boyfriend. But can Zoe still find love in the Alps?
Dumped on Christmas Eve by her long-term boyfriend, it's been a rough year for Zoe Lumsley. But then she gets an invitation she can’t refuse: an all expenses paid skiing holiday with old university friends.
The bad news: her ex, Grant, will be there with his new girlfriend. But so will her former flatmate Billy, the organiser, and in the meantime he’s done rather well for himself. As Christmas in the Alps approaches, it'll be great to see the old gang. Some more than others...
Perfect for readers of Tilly Tenant, Holly Martin and Philippa Ashley, this is the perfect magical Christmas getaway from the bestselling T.A. Williams.

Well, doesn't this sound dreamy? Shall we take a look at the extract now? I think it's a real treat to read an extract so you can make a choice as to whether this book is something that is usually your cup of tea. Please enjoy! 


The actor – whose name was Dan Greenfinch – had come across the Atlantic to London to co-star in a low-budget movie about zombies invading Canary Wharf. His face looked seriously weathered, and when Zoë and Ron were shown into his trailer to interview him, her first impression was that he had maybe already applied zombie make-up. It subsequently transpired that he hadn’t and Zoë didn’t envy the make-up artists if he had to appear in a non-zombie role. The actor – ‘Call me Dan’ – did his best to be hospitable by asking her if she wanted a ‘line’. This was not the first interview she had done with showbiz folk, and she now knew what was intended by this invitation, so she hastily shook her head.
‘Thanks, I’m working.’
‘Mind if I do?’
‘No, go ahead.’
She then had to sit there while Call-me-Dan snorted a line of cocaine up his nose. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Subsequently, as he answered her questions, he spent most of his time rubbing his nose, snuffling and sneezing. She shuddered surreptitiously.
The interview took about half an hour, and then Ron spent another half-hour taking a load of photos of the actor. Once she had finished and Ron had gone off with the PR girl to take some shots of the set, Call-me-Dan indicated that he rather liked the look of Zoë. As she was shaking hands with him, he gave her a lecherous leer and informed her that sex with him would undoubtedly be the high point of her life to date. For once, Zoë was grateful to Ron. This was the fifth time in four months that she had been propositioned by celebrities, and the photographer had been happy to provide her with a very effective way of refusing, without fear of being bothered any further. Keeping a straight face, she told Call-me-Dan she regretted she would not be able to accept his kind offer.
‘I’m afraid I haven’t had the all-clear from the doctor yet.’
She didn’t say any more, but comprehension dawned on the pockmarked face in front of her, and she was able to leave unmolested. Unless she counted the sensation of disgust she carried with her all the way back in the taxi.
She spent the next couple of hours writing a two-thousand-word piece entitled ‘Zombies vs Canaries’. Just after lunch, she sent it through to Damien, the editor, and waited for his verdict. She didn’t have to wait long. The phone on her desk buzzed almost immediately, and he was as succinct as ever.
‘Zoë. Get in here. Now.’
She made her way along the corridor to his office, knocked, and went in without waiting for an answer.
‘You wanted to see me, Damien?’
As usual, he was sitting with his back to the window so as to dazzle and intimidate anyone who came to sit opposite him. He was wearing his usual blue striped shirt with a white collar and cuffs, the collar open and the sleeves rolled up. He wore the same thing every day, and opinion in the office fell into two camps. There were those who believed he had a stock of the  shirts, one for every day of the week, while others – amongst them Zoë – felt sure he had just the one and never took it off.
‘Yes, Zoë. Come in. Sit down.’ She did as instructed and he immediately launched into a critique of her piece. The crux of the problem could be summarised as ‘You didn’t like the guy, did you?’
‘Not in the slightest. He was a slimy piece of pond life, and if the next time I see him is on my deathbed, it’ll be too soon.’
‘Listen, Zoë, nobody says you’ve got to like these people. I don’t like many of them, but that’s not the point. His film company has just paid for six full-page adverts in HC magazine and two of our subsidiaries. That pays the bills, and that includes your salary. While I admire your prose, describing him as having “the personality and complexion of a fly cemetery biscuit” is not only insulting, it’s probably actionable. So go back over it, tone it down, and for God’s sake try to sound as if you like him. All right? Got that?’
Zoë spent the rest of the afternoon doing as she had been instructed. At the end of the day, before going off to meet Juliet, she emailed the piece to Damien with one line: Sanitised for your convenience. Zoë.

Please take time to visit the other blogs taking part in this tour as they will have undoubtedly have festive treats for you! 

Links to Book:
Author Bio: T.A. Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best-known language schools in the UK. He’s taught Arab princes, Brazilian beauty queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled extensively. He has eaten snake, still-alive fish, and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long-distance cycling, but his passion is writing.

Author Social Media Links


Blog Tour | Where The Truth Lies by MJ Lee

Hello my loves, 

Today it's my turn to host the blog tour for an absolutely phenomenal book by MJ Lee called Where The Truth Lies. It's a  Crime Thriller and I've fast become a huge fan of this genre. 
When I read the blurb of this book, I just knew that I HAD to read it and I'm sure once you've read this post you'll be dying to read it too! 
As a blog tour host, today I have the privilege of bringing you an extract of this book and I for one have my cup of tea reading to sit down and have a read. 
So we'll start by looking at what the books about in a book spotlight and then we'll cosy up and have a read together shall we?





Title: Where the Truth Lies

Author Name: M J Lee

Previous Books (if applicable): The Murder Game and The Killing Time

Genre: Crime Fiction

Release Date: 22nd October 2018

Publisher: Canelo

Blurb: 

The case was closed. Until people started dying… The unputdownable first DI Ridpath crime thriller from bestseller MJ Lee

A killer in total control. A detective on the edge. A mystery that HAS to be solved.
DI Thomas Ridpath was on the up in the Manchester CID: a promising young detective whose first case involved capturing a notorious serial killer. But ten years later he’s recovering from a serious illness and on the brink of being forced out of the police. Then people start dying: tortured, murdered, in an uncanny echo of Ridpath’s first case.
As the investigation intensifies, old bodies go missing, records can’t be found and the murder count grows. Caught in a turf war between the police and the coroner’s office, digging up skeletons some would rather forget, Ridpath is caught in a race against time: a race to save his career, his marriage… And lives.
When a detective goes missing everything is on the line. Can Ridpath close the case and save his colleague?

I think one of the reasons I love reading crime thrillers are the perspective of the police force as my father was in the West Midlands Police (as is my Mr R) and as he worked through his specialism he was the officer that worked with SOCO and used to "draw up the fatalities" and photograph them for evidence. These days they have whole forensic teams for that. I know only too well how the pressure of working in the force can have a lasting impact upon you as an officer (from witnessing my Father as I was growing up) and also the effects it has on the families, more so today with the huge cuts, lack of resources, and poor portrayal in the media of our Blue Light Family protectors. It's more important than ever that we show our support for our officers and the work they do. So, after I went off on a little tangent there, shall we read the extract now? Yes! 

CHAPTER TWO

Present day


Ridpath stood outside looking up at the acres of plate glass covering the building and shivered. Why was he so nervous? This was his place, his patch; he knew every inch of police headquarters.
He took another long drag on his cigarette. He wasn’t supposed to smoke, the doctors had told him many times, but he was sick of them and their rules. He laughed to himself. Only he could be sick of doctors.
He took one more life-giving suck on the Marlboro Red and threw the butt into the drain on his right. It had been nine months since he’d been inside this place. Nine months is a long time. A lot could have changed. A lot probably had changed.
As his DCI, Charlie Whitworth, always used to say; ‘Listen, Ridpath, the only constant with the police is change. A new chief constable and we change. A new government and we change. A new policy and we change. Only the job remains the same. We catch the bad guys and we put them away. Remember that and you’ll go far in this job.’
Well, he had remembered it and he had gone far.
Until nine months ago.
He pulled his jacket tighter around himself. ‘Come on, lad, get on with it,’ he said out loud, adjusting the tie his wife had given him to wear. It felt strange to feel the noose of the tie around his neck, touching his Adam’s apple. You’ll get used it, he thought. You always get used to it.
He launched himself up the whitewashed steps, stopping in front of the glass doors, waiting to be buzzed in.
The door opened and he strode into the reception area. Well, at least this hadn’t changed. There were still the same old fading police notices on the wall with their fading messages:
‘Look out, there’s a thief about.’
‘Don’t be blind to the signs.’
‘Look her in the eye and tell her a little drink never hurt anybody.’
And there were some new ones, clean and crisp in their colour and design:
‘Help free the UK from modern slavery’
‘Hate crime. Tell the Manchester Police about it.’ Beneath this one somebody had written in biro: ‘Because nobody hates crime more than the Manchester Police.’ He thought he recognized the handwriting.
Just two people spoilt the pristine emptiness of the reception area: a wrinkled woman and a young, burly man, both sitting forlornly on the row of plastic seating screwed to the floor. Probably waiting for someone to be released after a night in the cells. Another drunk driver.
A sergeant he had never seen before was standing behind thick glass, looking like a clerk at a post office except for the blue uniform. A muffled voice through the microphone. ‘How can I help you, sir?’
‘An appointment with Detective Chief Inspector Charlie Whitworth at 10.30.’
The sergeant checked his diary. ‘Nothing in here, sir.’
Just then the door to the inner sanctum of the police station opened. ‘Well, I never. Ridpath, it’s great to see you.’
‘Harry Makepeace, skiving off as usual.’
‘You know me too well.’ Makepeace scanned him up and down. ‘You’re looking well.’
Ridpath stepped back and waved his hands. ‘Feeling great. Raring to go.’
‘You here to see the boss?’
He nodded.
Harry held open the door.  ‘I’ll take you through…’
‘But there’s no appointment…’ The tinny voice of the sergeant sounded feeble through the speaker.
‘No worries, Martin. This is Detective Inspector Tom Ridpath, used to work here.’
‘Still do.’
Harry Makepeace turned slowly towards him. ‘Aye, I suppose you do. Come on.’
He stepped through into the back office. Behind him the voice of the sergeant was calling,  ‘Can you sign the book?’
They both carried on walking down the corridor.
‘Been a few changes since you were here.’
‘Have there?’
‘Me for one – I’ve been promoted.’
‘Congrats, Detective Inspector Makepeace, it’s been a long time coming.’
Harry looked across, checking for irony. ‘Aye, too bloody long.’
‘Charlie’s still here though. Still running the Major Incident Team?’
‘Aye, nowt’s changed there. John Gorman’s officially in charge, but he’s so snowed under by management meetings, Charlie does the day-to-day.’
They entered the CID office on the right.
The place hadn’t changed at all. The same beige walls with the marks of ancient posters staining the government-issue wallpaper. The same mismatched desks. The same ancient desktop computers due to be mothballed a year ago but still being used. And the same grey, coffee-stained carpet that always gave him an electric shock every time he touched his desk.
That detectives’ office.

Well what can I say?! I wasn't ready for the extract to end there - what a tease! If you (like me) want to get your hands on a copy immediately (heck why wouldn't you?) then all the links are below as is a bit about MJ Lee (in case you want to know the author behind the words. Please take time to visit the other blogs that are taking part in this tour to support them as they will have different features showcasing this book that you won't want to miss. 



Links to Book:
Author Bio:
M J Lee has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a university researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, TV commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.
He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the north of England, in London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning advertising awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and the United Nations.
While working in Shanghai, he loved walking through the old quarters of that amazing city, developing the idea behind a series of crime novels featuring Inspector Pyotr Danilov, set in the 1920s.
When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, practising downhill ironing, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake, and wishing he were George Clooney.

Twitter: @WriterMJLee

YA Review | A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas



I am so late to the party on reading these books I'm sure the party has literally been cleaned up and almost forgotten about - especially in the fast paced world of Book Bloggers and Influencers. But one of the best things about being a part of the book community online is that there is always someone who is willing to join the conversation about a newly discovered book and indulge in a little bookish chat! 

It was only in July 2016 that I fell head over heels in love with the YA genre of books and since then it's been a consistent love of my fictional reading pursuit. I was introduced to the Dystopian world through reading The Selection Series by Kiera Cass which whilst some may roll their eyes at, I actually enjoyed and will always have a soft spot for - for without those books I wouldn't be reading so much YA fiction now. Starting with a soft Dystopian novel really helped me in making the transition to the more Fantasy based genre that Sarah J Maas writes. 

The Sarah J Maas obsession and fandom has long been popular amongst the "serious" book bloggers & influencers for some time yet I failed to "get it"...like at all! I say that behind my hands now because having read A Court of Thorns and Roses (referred to as ACOTAR) I totally get it!!! Whilst I've now read the first 2 books in the series and am onto the third, this review is for the first book - ACOTAR so let's refocus. 

This book was a bit of a jump for my imagination into the fantasy genre but once I got started I couldn't put it down and picked up my kindle at every available chance I had - and I mean even whilst waiting for the kettle to boil or whilst filling the bathtub to immerse myself into both bath and book! 

The main characters in this book (and we do meet a fair few so be aware of that if you're used to reading about 1-2 central characters) are Feyre (Mortal), her sisters and father (mortal), Tamlin (High-Fae Lord of the Spring Court, Lucien (Tamlin's friend), Rhysland (Interesting character - High Fae-Lord of the Night Court, Sexual Slave to Amarantha who is an evil evil ... so and so! and one to watch!). 

You'll see that I mentioned a series of "courts" and I should mention that I love how the author has sectioned off the United Kingdom and turned Cornwall and Devon areas into the Mortal Lands, and then the rest of the country is split into various courts such as; Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Day, Night, Dawn, etc. Each Court has a High Fae Lord and there has been some discord amongst them. 

We see Feyre begin with hunting in the Mortal Lands where she lives and about to make a killing that will send her on a journey she could never have imagined for herself. This one shot means that everything as she knows it will change and it could take some getting used to. We see a romance blossom between Tamlin and Feyre once she adjusts and at points throughout I could see a similarity to the Disney Classic; Beauty and the Beast but in a mashup retelling...sort of... sort of not. I think that's what sold me really as at the time of reading I was heavy into Disney retellings. This romance isn't all that it seems and the twists and turns continue into book 2 and beyond. 

The scenes in this book are categorically some of the best written descriptions and in depth character development plots I've ever read, and for that alone it has to be said that Sarah J Maas has got a talent that must be appreciated for its expertise. The graphic nature of these scenes aren't for the faint hearted and all I'd say is don't eat food whilst reading those scenes - not unless you want to see it again that is. This is not a bad thing but rather a compliment to the way in which Sarah develops the plot and characters and brings to life words from a page into the imaginations of the reader. 

During the last chapters of ACOTAR I admit that I did cry - I didn't think I would cry during violent scenes of a high fantasy novel set in faeland but alas I did due to the sheer beauty and delicate nature of the intricately woven emotions of the characters. 

If you've been wanting to try a YA Fantasy and this one seems to keep popping up and has left you wondering if you should - I would hand on heart say "GO FOR IT". I'm hooked now and book two couldn't arrive quickly enough so upon completing this book I immediately downloaded the next installment. That's a perk to waiting until the hype has hyped down over a big series like this, there's no waiting around a year for the next installment - it's instantly at your finger tips. 

I have to award A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas 5/5 stars because it was unputdownable, thrilling, and the work of a pure literary genius. 

To buy your copy please use this link and full disclosure; it is an affiliate link so I earn a tiny amount of money if you purchase through me. 


**Have you read A Court of Thorns and Roses? What are your thoughts? Have you reviewed it? Leave a comment and/or link below so we can open up a discussion about this book. I'd love to know what your thoughts are on this book** 


Speak soon lovely, 
Dawn-Tracy 
xxx

Bookish Lifestyle | 5 Ways To Overcome Book Hangover



Having Book-Hangover is not something made up in the fictional world of books but is actually something very real that we book-Bloggers and general bookworms experience often - sometimes a little too often. 

So what actually is a book-hangover? 

A book hangover is in its most simplistic terms when we have finished reading an absolutely outstanding book that we couldn't put down, didn't want to finish or can't wait for the sequel too (or all of the above). It progresses into the actual 'book-hangover' when try as we might we simply cannot get into reading another book. Why does this happen? Well basically it's that feeling like when we are heartbroken when we're so sure that we'll NEVER experience a love like the one we've just lost... It's all wrong and our only chance of being happy is to have stayed with that person (NEWSFLASH!!! it's really not! I'm actual living proof that there is love after heartbreak - and it tends to be way better than you ever dreamed, hoped or wished for! And the same can be said for your next "current read". 

The problem of having a book-hangover

Mostly it's just really frustrating to not be able to read another book without thinking about the one we've just finished reading, especially as a book-blogger because reading books is what we do! We can only blog about books (largely) if we are in fact reading books! If we can't get into the zone of reading a book we'll it's not worth thinking about! It's like being a Baker and not being able to bake bread or cakes, or like being a builder and not able to actually build anything. 
Another problem with having Book-Hangover is the feeling of hopelessness. Being a blogger is about reaching out to others and sharing our thoughts, feelings, opinions, reactions and our lives with our readers and audience. When we reach that stage of feeling hopeless and full of despair it has a knock on effect to our confidence as a blogger (you know that feeling of being an imposter? - how can I say I'm a book blogger when im not blogging because I can't get into another book?! 😮 😭).

How can I overcome book-hangover?

Ahhh sorry to disappoint you but if I had the answer to that I'd be a millionaire - JOKING - I actually do have some tips for you that I've used and found to help me. 

> let yourself off the hook and take the pressure off of yourself to read straight away. Sure you might usually put one book down and legit pick up the next one (that you secretly started reading before you even finished the last one) but sometimes (again like dating) you actually need time away from books to process what just happened, to talk about it, blog about it, really get into conversation about the book. Allow yourself to take time to almost get fed up of thinking and talking about the book so that you literally leap at the chance of a shiny new book (although I KNOW the problems with book love that lasts forever: The Cruel Prince, A Court of Thorns and Roses, The Lunar Chronicles and more - more about how to deal with this in an upcoming post!) 

> find something else to do other than read. This is why I have a few hobbies so that when I get bored or experience hobby hangover or literally lack enthusiasm or creativity I can put one down and pick up the other. My hobbies include; crocheting, home decor/inspiration, blogging (lifestyle over at Our Country Home Comforts), books and spending time exploring new places with my handsome Mr R. I find that time away usually gives me breathing space and enough inspiration to reignite my passion for reading, blogging, crocheting and more! 

> try a different genre of book. Sometimes reading a book that isn't in the same genre as the one that's given you book hangover can really help. When I first started my book blog I focused on women's fiction and romance and whilst I absolutely adore those books (you can tell by my blog name - another upcoming post for you) sometimes I get book hangover really quickly and can't face reading another romance novel. When I discovered crime fiction by reading Angie Marsons' Silent Scream I entered a whole new world (totally just sang the Aladdin version of that song in my head) and its one that's stuck with me. I find reading crime fiction, or a good psychological thriller a great escape from romance and life in general. So if you usually read YA sci-fi, try a YA without the sci-fi element or try a adult contemporary, or if you usually read women's contemporary try a YA (I did and I loved it!) 

> Blog about related topics. So if you're a book blogger that's lost the mojo (do we still use that word?) for reading right now write about something related to books, or even open up to your audience about your book mojo having took a vacation without warning ⚠ It will make your blog more authentic to your readers and you more relatable. Remember some of the readers of your blog are inspired by you and you have a huge influence on them. Teenage girls (and boys) are more social than we were (if your in the 25-35 age bracket) and therefore it's important I feel that we show them the truth about adulting and blogging! Yes share the highs but think about sharing the lows too because maybe then we can break the stigma and shame about not being happy 24/7, stop comparing ourselves to others and embrace who we are flaws and all, and plus maybe we can reduce our own stress levels by allowing ourselves to be human and not robotic. 

> Read until you fall back in love with reading. Yep you can just push your way through the sludge of book hangover like having the "hair of the dog" - which by the way I have no idea if it works alcohol wise as I don't drink and neither does Mr R. Just read and keep reading until the hangover fades and eventually you'll find that you are enjoying another book! 


There's no easy way through book hangover, no pill to pop, no magic spell to recite or yoga pose to hold. You simply have to just find your own way through via trial and error and even after many years of doing just that you might have to shake things up and tweek them a little. But that's the joy of being alive right? And as a blogger we're totally used to adapting and changing with the times right? 

I hope these tips I've shared with you that have helped me and continue to help me, well I hope they inspire you to pick up your next great read.

If this post has helped you, inspired you to blog or read, and you have actually overcome your book hangover using these tips please come back and share in the comments and let me know! Also, please share this with your friends and bookish friends if you think they'd find it useful 🙏

Also if you have any great tips for overcoming book hangover feel free to share them in the comments below 👇 with the other readers. 

I hope your book hangover subsides soon if you're currently experiencing one, 

Speak soon lovely, 
Dawn-Tracy xxx


Blog Tour | Love At The Northern Lights

Hello my love, 

We are officially in Autumn (yay!) which can only really mean on thing in the world of books can't it? Yep you guessed it, we can officially start to read all those scrumptious Christmas themed books that we've been itching to read since the summer went away and we felt that crisp chill in the air. 

Today I am beyond excited to share with you the hosting of a very special Blog Tour where I am going to share with you an exclusive extract from Darcie Boleyn's latest novel; "Love at the Northern Lights". I am super excited for this because seeing the Northern Lights is something that I've always wanted to see and as luck has it so does my Mr R. Whilst I can't book a flight to take you all off to see it yourself, I can share with you this extract so let's have a read shall we? 





When Frankie was finally allowed to look in the mirror, she didn’t recognize herself. Gone was her straight brown hair, pale face and clear skin. Someone who could give the Kardashians a run for their money had taken her place. Her dark hair was scraped back from her forehead so tightly that her eyebrows sat at least a centimetre higher than usual and the genuine diamond and pearl tiara – that had been her grandmother’s – cut into her now tender scalp. She felt sure that at any moment her hair would snap and she’d be left with a short spiky fringe.

‘Don’t you look fabulous?’ Jen squeezed her shoulder. ‘Rolo is going to want to jump your bones as soon as he sees you.’

Frankie tried to suppress the shudder that ran through her but her new bright-pink trout pout contorted of its own accord. Jen met her eyes in the mirror and held her gaze.

‘It’s going to be OK, Frankie. Married life is pretty darned good. You know… you probably won’t even see him most of the time. Much as I love my Henry, he’s either at work, playing golf or off doing funny handshakes. My life is my own and yours can be too.’

Frankie’s heart sank. That sounded like an awful way to view being a newly-wed like Jen. She was also surprised; Jen hadn’t admitted anything like this to her before and it made her wonder again at how close they actually were. There had always been something between them, a sense of understanding and compassion, but they weren’t exactly bosom buddies in a Sex and the City or Friends kind of way. Was Jen really happy with her lot, as Frankie had previously believed, or had she missed what was right in front of her because she was dealing with her own issues?
‘Come on, Frankie, have some more champagne.’

They clinked glasses and Frankie downed hers in one go. She wasn’t a big drinker, unlike Grandma, who called four in the afternoon gin o’clock, and her father, who kept the wine cellar very well stocked, and the warmth from the alcohol soon flooded her system, loosening her inhibitions. She let Jennifer refill her glass several times, then she was led to the dressing room just off the main bedroom. As well as the dressing room and bathroom, the bedroom had its own veranda and antechamber, which had, at one time, been used as a prayer room. Rolo’s ancestral home was enormous and Frankie knew that it could take an age to walk from one end of the mansion to the other, especially if you got distracted by the antiques and oil paintings of his mother’s side of the family. Frankie loved gazing at Rolo’s ancestors, mainly because she was fascinated by the changing fashions over the years, intrigued by the fabrics, styles, shoes and hats.

‘There.’ The fashion designer – who had a name Frankie had been sworn to secrecy about so that no high-society magazine managed to get a sneak peek at the dress – stood back and admired her handiwork. ‘Gorgeous!’

‘Absolutely marvellously magical… like a fairy-tale princess.’ Jen clapped her hands.

‘Oh, Frankie, it’s super!’ Lorna had been standing in the corner of the dressing room, eyes glued to her mobile while Frankie had dressed. Now she looked up and her eyes widened as she scanned Frankie from head to toe. ‘I hope I’ll be just as beautiful on my wedding day.’

Frankie smiled her thanks, knowing that Lorna always appeared ravishing, whatever she wore, also knowing that Lorna was well aware of that fact.

‘Time to see the results!’ Jen said. ‘Use the mirror in the bedroom as the light is better in there.’

Frankie obediently trotted through to the bedroom and stood in front of the long mirror. The ivory designer dress fitted her slender frame like a second skin. The strapless corset top pushed her small breasts up so they resembled two tennis balls. They glistened under the electric light because of the copious amounts of highlighter that sat on top of the fake tan she’d had yesterday. The satin of the dress seemed to shimmer as she moved, and when she turned to look at the back, the fishtail stretched across the floor making her feel like some sort of mermaid. Whatever her reservations, she had to admit that the dress was breathtaking. She’d just prefer to admire it on someone else. With her mind in such turmoil and her heart squeezing so tight, it was impossible for Frankie to enjoy being so beautifully clothed. Even thinking about how the designer had created the dress, about the textures of the material and the painstaking stitching that held the magnificent handmade creation together couldn’t lift Frankie’s mood. She was lost indeed.

As she gazed at the unfamiliar woman in the mirror, she was conscious of the designer, hairdresser and beauticians leaving the room, until it was just her and Jen.

‘Frankie, you are truly beautiful. The most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen.’ She smiled. ‘You can do this. I’ll be with you all the way.’

Frankie turned to her oldest friend and took her hands.

‘Thanks, Jen. You’ve been really good to me today… and over the years.’

Jen nodded. ‘I know we haven’t been as close as we could have been. I always felt you were holding something back. At times, I wondered if you actually liked me… because, you know, I can be a bit of a drama queen, a bit self-involved and a bit OTT, I guess. And we didn’t exactly become friends in an organic way, did we? What with our grandmothers pushing us together from an early age then being at boarding school together. But I do care about you. I always have.’

‘I know. Me too.’ Frankie tried to smile but her face was pulled so tight that she suspected it came out as more of a grimace.

‘I’m going to give you a moment now to compose yourself, to find your inner calm, as my personal yogi says. Oh… and if I forget to mention it later, I packed a few things in your honeymoon case.’

‘Like what?’ Panic seared through Frankie.

‘You’ll find out when you reach your destination.’ Jen winked at her. ‘No peeking beforehand!’

When her friend had gone, Frankie shuffled over to the bed and sank onto the soft coverlet. This was it then. She was trussed up like a prize turkey, about to make promises of love and fidelity when her heart wanted to do neither.

A knock at the door made her stomach lurch. Was it time already?
She tried to stand but the dress was too restrictive and she was worried about popping the delicate seams if she got up too quickly.

‘Hello?’ she called. ‘Who is it?’

The door swung open and relief washed over her when she saw her father, Hugo Ashford.
‘You look so handsome in that suit,’ she squeaked as he approached the bed. ‘I would get up but I can’t.’

He smiled then took her hands and helped her to her feet.

‘Frances, you are beautiful.’

‘I don’t look like me at all.’

He shook his head. ‘You do, sweetheart. In fact, you look so much like your m—’ He pressed his lips together and dropped his gaze to his shiny black shoes.

They stood there for a while, holding hands. There was so much Frankie wanted to ask and so much she sensed her father wanted to say, but, as always, they stayed quiet, understanding that some things were too hard to discuss; some things were best left unsaid.

Finally, he released a shaky sigh. ‘She’d be very proud of you today.’

‘She would?’

He nodded.

Frankie thought about the wedding invitations she’d written for her mother. Five in total. When it had come to posting them, she’d torn each one into tiny pieces like confetti then dropped them into the bin. She’d wanted to invite her mother, yearned to invite her, but shame and sadness prevented her. After all, her mother had walked away all those years ago and never looked back. Why would she want to know Frankie now? Why would she care that her daughter was getting married? She hadn’t been there for all the other things Frankie had gone through, like getting her first spot or her first period, nor for her exam results’ days or her university graduation when she’d gained a first-class honours degree in business management and accounting. She hadn’t been there when Frankie had cried into her pillow over disappointments and a deep sense of loneliness, when those charity adverts about children in Africa – who had no clean water to drink – broke her heart, or even when she got engaged.

Her mother had never been there for her.

Never. Ever…


Now, I don't know about you but I just wanted to keep on reading...Love at the Northern Lights sounds like it's going to be a delightful read to curl up with a cosy blanket, hot chocolate and maybe a handsome man too if that extract is anything to go by...That's certainly my plan! 



Here's a quick look at all the details you need for this book; 



Title: Love at the Northern Lights

Author Name: Darcie Boleyn

Previous Books (if applicable): Love at the Italian Lake, Christmas at Conwenna Cove, Forever at Conwenna Cove, Summer at Conwenna Cove and A Very Merry Christmas

Genre: Women’s Fiction, romcom

Release Date: 17th September 2018

Publisher: Canelo

Cover Image:

Book Blurb: ‘Climbing out the window in her dress and tiara wasn’t exactly how Frankie imagined her wedding day…’
Runaway bride Frankie Ashford hops a plane to Norway with one goal in mind - find her estranged mother and make peace with the past. But when a slip on the ice in Oslo lands her directly in Jonas Thorsen’s viking-strong arms, her single-minded focus drifts away in the winter winds.
When it comes to romance Jonas knows that anything he and Frankie share has an expiration date - the British heiress has a life to return to in London that’s a world away from his own. But family is everything to Jonas and, as the one man who can help Frankie find the answers she’s seeking, he’ll do whatever it takes to help her reunite with her mother.
Now, as Christmas draws closer and the northern lights work their magic Frankie and Jonas will have to make a choice...play it safe or risk heartbreak to take a chance on love.

Links to Book:
Author Bio: Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

Author Social Media Links

Make sure that you check out the other wonderful bloggers who have been taking part in this tour and still have to share with you their wonderful views, and highlights. Thank you to the publishers for asking me to be a part of this promotional online book tour, it's been my pleasure.