Laura Bambrey Books

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Monday, 22 May 2017

Blogtour: Summer at Conwenna Cove by Darcie Boleyn

Good morning my lovelies- long time no news!

I have the pleasure of being today’s tour stop for a very special book- Summer at Conwenna Cove by Darcie Boleyn – but I have to admit that today is a bit of a first for me and I need to explain a bit about it before telling you more about the book.

So, you might have noticed that I’ve been AWOL from the blog for a couple of weeks. I hit a complete reading desert. It wasn’t that I wasn’t enjoying reading- more that I haven’t been reading at all. For some people, I guess not picking ing a book for a couple of weeks or even a month isn’t a source of worry. For me, where I’m used to devouring four or five books a week, it’s a bit of a shock to the system- and the fear sets in - what if this is it... what if I don't get it back? I’ve seen various other bloggers talk about burn-out where they become overwhelmed and disenchanted by the amount they have been reading and posting. I guess that this has been my form of burnout.

I have experienced this a couple of times before, and oddly, it seems to hit around the same time of year. Whether it’s an up-swing in real-life business or the weather or the change in light- I just stop wanting to read for about a month. I try not to let it worry me and ride the wave and tell myself that I know I’ll get back to reading sooner or later- and I try not to let the guilt of not posting here from kicking my bum (I’m very good at guilt!) It's almost like I've eaten too much and need to take the time to digest all of those stories and characters before I can add any more.

The thing is, it takes a really special book to lift me out of the reading desert, and this time around, my book-saviour is Summer at Conwenna Cove by Darcie Boleyn.

As I mentioned above- this blog tour is a first for me. Obviously, as a blogger you sign-up for a tour weeks or even months in advance- when you have no clue that the dreaded blogger-drought is going to hit again. I promised a review but I’m not going to be able to deliver- not yet. You see I haven’t finished reading the book yet. I’m at about 60% and every page is like a gift. I absolutely refuse to rush this gem of a book- this gorgeous piece of writing which is- word by word- putting my world to rights, reigniting my passion for fiction and letting me fall in love with characters all over again.

Selfish? Maybe. But right now, that’s possibly the most glowing accolade I could give to any book- I want to continue to savour the story and allow it to work its magic on me. I want to give Eve and Jack and Gabe the time they deserve. I don't know how else to put it other than... slowing down enough to show how much you love something. I think Eve would understand.

If you’re looking for a beautiful, funny read that will make you believe that anything is possible, no matter how dark your days have been – this is the one for you. Thank you Darcie for bringing reading back to life for me. I’ll have a full review up later in the week.

Grab your copy here:

The Blurb:

In a gorgeous Cornish village, two brokenhearted people fall head over heels. But can the magic of Conwenna Cove heal the hurt of the past? A feel-good summer romance perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Phillipa Ashley and Jenny Hale.

Eve has a glittering career, a loving husband and a future. But a terrible twist of fate means she loses it all, and with nowhere left to turn she flees to her Aunt Mary’s home in Cornwall. The last thing on her mind is romance – until she meets Jack.

Jack has seen the worst things people can do to each other and realised he is better off alone. He settles in Conwenna Cove, and saves his affections for the rescue dogs he cares for. But when Eve arrives in the village he can’t deny his attraction to her.

Eve and Jack are both scared to trust, but when they come together it’s impossible for either to ignore their feelings. Can they put their fear aside and learn to love again?

Summer at Conwenna Cove is an emotional and heart-warming holiday read about being brave enough to take a chance on love.

About Darcie Boleyn:

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.

Friday, 12 May 2017

#Friday5: Interview With Fallen Author Lauren Kate

Hi Lauren! Thank you so much for taking part in this week’s #Friday5. Huge congratulations on the DVD release of Fallen here in the UK – the film is beautiful and it was really exciting to watch your characters brought to life. So… now to pick your brain a little…

1. Can you tell us a bit about how much involvement you had in the creation of the film version of Fallen, and what this experience has been like for you as the author?

I'm an executive producer and have worked closely on the movie. I've loved collaborating with Scott Hicks on bringing the story to the screen. I worked on the script (and wrote the voice over for the opening scene of the movie, with Miss Sophia's introduction to the world), and spent time on set with the cast and crew. It's been a beautiful experience and I'm proud that we ended up with a beautiful movie.

2. I’ve seen on your blog that Cam is the only Fallen character based on someone in real-life – your husband. What was it like choosing an actor for this role and seeing Cam come to life on the screen?

I was most nervous to cast Cam. I can't express my fondness and gratitude to Harrison for being as thoughtful, devoted, inquisitive, and damn hot as he is. He's perfect and he makes the movie, in my opinion.

3. What about the other characters? Though they’re not based on individual real-life people, you’ve known them for more than 7 years. Do you have a favourite character / actor match-up?

Addison is so rawly talented. I have a deep appreciation to her for bringing Luce to life on screen.
She cares about the character, the story, and the love as much as I do, as much as Fallen's greatest readers do. And she's hilarious and extremely cool. She has an intuition about people that I think makes her so good at what she does. The whole cast is truly great, but I also must give a shout out to Lola Kirke for stealing scenes.

4. Having seen the film last week, I thought that some of the design elements were stunning- and for me, the depiction of the angel’s wings was absolutely beautiful. Luce running her fingers through the feathers is one of those images that will stay with me for life! It must have been an incredibly tough job translating such mythical elements of your books into visuals. Do you have any favourite moments from the film that you feel captured everything you imagined as you were writing?

I completely agree with you. The wings moment is breathtaking, perfect. It could have gone so badly, but it's one of the film's greatest achievements.

5. Having worked closely on the film of Fallen and seen the finished product- will the experience creatively influence the way you write your future books?

I don't think so. I've loved working on this movie, but writing the books is its own thing. I do, however, keep in mind my readers. It has shaped the way I write some to know the people who are waiting to read my books. They inspire me all the time.

Lauren, thank you so much for taking the time to join me on the blog today!

Book Blurb:


Instant. Intense. Weirdly familiar . . .

The moment Luce looks at Daniel she knows she has never felt like this before. Except she can't shake the feeling that she has . . . and with him - a boy she doesn't remember ever setting eyes on.

Will her attempt to find out why enlighten her - or destroy her?

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic. Fallen is a thrilling story about forbidden love.

Kindle:                          Paperback                  DVD

Friday, 21 April 2017

CassaStar, CassaDawn, Alex J. Cavanaugh and Non-Romantic Love Stories

In yesterday’s review of the lovely The A to Z of Everything by Debbie Johnson, I touched on the fact that the relationship between Andrea and Louis was one of the most moving testaments to the different forms of true love that I’ve come across in a book. Despite being in a completely platonic relationship, Andrea is Louis’ love of a lifetime. And that got me to thinking about other books that have showcased true love that exists in forms other romantic love.

The one that instantly springs to mind actually comes from a genre that sits outside of my usual comfort zone. Cassa Star by Alex J. Cavanaugh is pure sci-fi, but it’s a book that I have now re-read over half a dozen times for the central relationship  - the friendship of the young pilot, Byron, and the older, more experienced navigator, Bassa. Cavanaugh crafts their story in such a way that, although they may be training and fighting in the far reaches of the galaxy, their friendship develops like a classic romance. And every single time I’ve read it, it has reduced me to an emotional, sobbing wreck.

Cassa Star is the first in a trilogy – all fantastic reads, but it will always be my favourite. The great news is, Cavanaugh has released a prequel to the series in the form of a 5000 word short story, which is currently free to download on Amazon here – so if you fancy a little introduction to his fantastic writing and Byron’s world- I highly recommend you delve into this space-opera this weekend. I warn you- if you pick up CassaStar- you’re going to need the Kleenex!

How about you? What’s your favourite fictional non-romantic love story / relationship? Have you read and fallen head-over-heels for a book in a genre that stretches your comfort zone recently?

Have a wonderful weekend,
Laura x

Grab your copies here:

As mentioned above:
Book 1:                     Prequel

Also in the series:
Book 2                         Book 3

The Blurb for CassaStar:

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…

Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard. 

Much to Byron’s chagrin the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential.

As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?

About Alex J. Cavanaugh:

ALEX J. CAVANAUGH works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is Ninja Captain Alex and founder of the Insecure Writer's Support Group and website. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Review: The A to Z of Everything by Debbie Johnson

Today is publication day for one of my strongest contenders for Book of 2017 so far- The A to Z of Everything by Debbie Johnson. 

At its heart, The A to Z of Everything has a broken family. Poppy and Rose may have been close as kids, but the sisters are now estranged following one epic mistake which tore their little family unit of three apart

Now the sisters have both learned to live with this, their lives continuing, both of them… happy. But Andrea, their mother, still feels the gaping hole that the loss of her tight-knit family has left in her heart. Knowing that her time is short, Andrea isn’t about to give up on her last wish- of seeing her daughters reconciled- and leaves a gift to both of them. The A to Z of Everything.

The four key characters in A to Z are truly brilliant. Andrea’s larger than life character makes for a fantastic, ultimately tragic, ringleader. I cried buckets over Andrea. I completely fell in love with her- and through her- with her daughters too.

Louis, as Andrea’s very best friend and confidante, is exquisite in his grief. His viewpoint adds an unbiased and not always favourable take on the sisters and their past behaviour. A dose of reality which plays a useful counterpoint to Andrea’s never-ending, unconditional love for her girls.  Andrea and Louis’s story is the most beautiful testament the different faces of love- and where true love can be found in your life.

And then we come to Poppy and Rose. So far estranged that being in the same room is so painful that it’s almost impossible. Poppy, who has locked down all emotion and softness from her life. Rose, who is a mother herself. Who can’t value herself. Who is still clinging to the past. Both sisters go through intense personal journeys throughout the book and emerge as completely different characters. Two voyages of re-discovery.

I finished the last page of The A to Z of Everything and instantly called my family– you know– made the connections that I might have been putting off for whatever reason. I love fiction that is so powerful that it pushes you to make changes in your own behaviour and real life- and The A to Z of Everything is one of the strongest examples of this. Debbie Johnson is a genius.

Stunning – a truly gorgeous book that I know I’ll be reading again and again.

Grab your copy here:

Paperback:                     Kindle:

The Blurb:

P is for Paris where it all began. J is for Jealousy where it all came undone. But the most important letter is F. F is for Forgiveness, the hardest of all.

Sisters Poppy and Rose used to be as close as two sisters could be, but it’s been over a decade since they last spoke. Until they both receive a call that tells them their mother has gone – without ever having the chance to see her daughters reunited.

Andrea, though, wasn’t the kind of woman to let a little thing like death stand in the way of her plans. Knowing her daughters better than they know themselves, she has left behind one very special last gift – the A-Z of Everything.

About Debbie Johnson

Debbie Johnson is an award-winning author who lives and works in Liverpool, where she divides her
time between writing, caring for a small tribe of children and animals, and not doing the housework. She writes romance, fantasy and crime - which is as confusing as it sounds!

Her best-selling books for HarperCollins include The Birthday That Changed Everything, Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe, Cold Feet at Christmas, Pippa's Cornish Dream and Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper. Debbie's next title is The A-Z of Everything, released on April 20.

You can find her supernatural crime thriller, Fear No Evil, featuring Liverpool PI Jayne McCartney, on Amazon, published by Maze/Avon Books.

Debbie also writes urban fantasy, set in modern day Liverpool. Dark Vision and the follow-up Dark Touch are published by Del Rey UK, and earned her the title 'a Liverpudlian Charlaine Harris' from The Guardian.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Guest Post: Author Sue Shepherd: What If?

I'm thrilled to welcome Sue Shepherd to the blog today for a guest post. Sue is the author of Love Them and Leave Them - a story that explores the consequences a snap decision can have on your life, and the lives of your friends and family. One decision- two very different outcomes... You can find my review of Love Them and Leave Them here. Over to Sue...

The first film I remember watching that explored the ‘what if?’ theme was ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’

I doubt I need to explain the premise to you, but, just in case you’re that one person who’s never settled down to watch it during the festive season, here goes – it was directed and produced by Frank Capra in 1946, and it’s the story of a man named George Bailey, who is faultlessly played by James Stewart.

George, mistakenly believes he’s led an unimportant existence, and, after a series of ill-fated events, in a moment of absolute despair, considers ending his life. At this point, Clarence the angel arrives, to change his mind. He does this by giving George a glimpse into how the town of Bedford Falls would’ve fared, if George had never existed.

Clarence shows George all the people he cares about and how different their lives would’ve turned out without his input. Not only are the lives of his friends and family poorer without him, but there are also knock on effects.

For example, the part I found most moving was when Clarence takes George to see a row of gravestones. He reminds George that his brother, Harry, performed a heroic act during World War II, which saved many lives and earned him the Medal of Honor. However, because George never existed to save Harry, when, as a child, he fell through the ice, Harry wasn’t there to save the soldiers.
I absolutely couldn’t get that scene out of my head. I remember my dad coming to see why I was crying later that night. There I was in my little top bunk, sobbing for the men whose lives had been lost. I still can’t watch the film without crying, and it remains a firm favourite of mine.

Despite all the tears, it’s an amazing, uplifting movie and one everyone ought to watch at least once. If you ever think that maybe things are a little mundane and you’ve not achieved much in your life so far, stop for a moment and consider all your loved ones, your friends and your colleagues. Then remove yourself from the picture, and see how they’re all getting on without you. There you go!

Since my childhood, I’ve gone on to enjoy films such as Family Man, Sliding Doors, The Butterfly Effect and Back to the Future II. All movies that delve into the what if things had been different? question. I’m fascinated to explore the possibilities of choice.

So, it’s no surprise that when I came to write my second novel, ‘Love Them and Leave Them’ I was thinking about parallel lives. I’d recently read about a woman who’d swerved to avoid a bird in the road and tragically collided with a telegraph pole.  Her life was changed in an instant, and I felt terrible for her. I couldn’t help thinking that if I were her, I’d wish I could go back and take the other option and hit the bird. From this thought, a story formed in my head about a man who has to make a similar decision, and the affect both choices would have on his loved ones, in particular, his twenty-something daughter.

Knowing that my first film love was It’s a Wonderful Life, surely, it’s no co-incidence that my debut novel was about guardian angels and my second is a ‘What If?’

Hmmm … it would seem I have much to thank Frank Capra and James Stewart for.

About the author:

Sue Shepherd writes contemporary romance and enjoys creating novels with heart, laughs and naughtiness. She doesn’t pull any punches when choosing her subjects, but manages to handle her characters’ challenging situations with sensitivity and humour.

Her debut novel 'Doesn't Everyone Have a Secret?' was published by Corazon Books in March 2015.  It reached the top 10 UK Kindle chart, and also topped the romantic comedy, contemporary romance and humour charts. It became available in paperback on Amazon.UK in November 2015. 

Sue’s second novel ‘Love Them and Leave Them’ was published in September 2016.

Sue lives on the picturesque Isle of Wight with her husband, two sons and a standard poodle.  Her passions in life are: her family, writing, the sea-side and all the beautiful purple things her sons have bought her over the years.  Ask Sue to plan too far in advance and you'll give her the heebie-jeebies and she'd prefer you not to mention Christmas until at least November!

Website: www.sueshepherdwrites.co.uk
Twitter: @thatsueshepherd
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SueShepherdWrites

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Weekly Series: Doomed Date Diaries: Part 18

Ladies and gents- I hope you've all really enjoyed reading Bethany Quinn's hilarious Doomed Date Diaries over the past few months. Today is the last instalment- though you can catch up with the full series here. Here's part 18... thanks for reading!

Part 18

Doomed Date Diaries by Bethany Quinn

44. Zak

It was a great photograph- if I say so myself- perfectly capturing the moment when the bride's tightly clenched fist connected with her sister-in-law's chin. They had been officially related for less than an hour. In the background, slightly out of focus, you could see a surprised looking bridesmaid being thrown headlong into the cake. She was still holding a champagne flute. I had a large print hanging on the wall of my tiny office-cum-spare bedroom- to remind me that life is full of such magical, fleeting moments.

I don't get invited to many weddings- for obvious reasons- but Suzie was an ex client, who had finally decided- despite my best efforts- to get hitched to Geoff, not ditch him. I'd always found her kind of ineffectual- but she certainly knew how to start a fight.
Apparently though, it wasn't the worst wedding my stand-in date, Zak, had ever been to.

'A quick tip,' he said. 'Never try the "seared scallops with a piquant salsa verde" unless you're absolutely sure they're fresh. Especially if the reception is being held in a marquee, in a large field miles from anywhere with only one chemical toilet, few hedges and no running water.'
'Why not?' I said- already guessing the answer.
'Have you any idea how hard it is to be violently ill in a bridesmaids outfit without ruining your shoes?'

I shook my head. Thankfully I didn't.

'Or how many people it takes to get a bride into a portaloo wearing a wedding dress? Or that it takes even more to get her out again?'

I didn't expect to laugh so much- not after Matt let me down at the last minute. Zak was a great substitute. Pity he was to be magical and fleeting too.

Yup, it was a solid right hook alright. Not easy in a tight looking, silk chiffon dress with a corseted back, large organza bows and several acres of cascading tulle.

'You look beautiful darling,' Geoff had said as they posed for photos outside the church together.

I thought the bride looked like an upturned mushroom.

I think there were five arrests after the reception, including Suzie, the groom's mother- and the vicar- who rather foolishly tried to step in and calm everyone down- and got a black eye and 300 hours of community service for his troubles.

Who says weddings are boring?

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Weekly Series: doomed Date Diaries: Part 17

Part 17

Doomed Date Diaries by Bethany Quinn

26. Trevor

'You've got a beard,' I said.
'Yes,' he said.
'Is it itchy?' I said.
'Sometimes,' he said.
'Do you ever find things living in it?' I said. It was more of a joke really.
He thought about it for a moment. 'Not recently,' he said.
'Uh-huh,' I said.

Trevor was a tap dance instructor, but he didn't exactly look like one. Not the way I'd pictured him anyway. For a start- I don't remember Fred Astaire having a goatee. I was also a smidge disappointed that he hadn't turned up wearing a top hat and tails- and didn't snap his fingers at the barman and order champagne or a Martini with a green olive in it. He had a cranberry juice and some cheese and onion crisps instead. My 1920s fuelled, black and white film fantasy was falling apart at the seams and I'd barely sat down.

I get this a lot. I'm notoriously bad at guessing what people will be like in the flesh. I'm a dreamer. Always have been. In my over-active, rose-tinted mind, Trevor should have been brought up in Paris before moving to New York as a teenager to be taught by one of the last remaining greats of tap- Sore Toes Murphy. In his nineties now and almost blind but still as light on his feet as an angel. The old man and his young student would tippety-tap, tippety-tap, tippety-tippety-tippety-tap away on the rooftops of Harlem to the applause of the locals, hanging out of their windows in the sultry heat of summer.

Oh dear. See what I mean? I get completely carried away.

Trevor was actually from Brighton where his mother managed a small hotel that was dog friendly and had distant sea views- if you were willing to view them from the top of a wardrobe or swinging precariously from a light fitting.

In lots of ways I preferred my version. Maybe that's why I'm still single?

Despite the face furniture, Trevor seemed like a nice enough guy. The way he incessantly drummed his fingers on the table was only vaguely annoying now, but I could see it being a major stumbling block in the future. Not that we had a future. Apparently I wasn't what he had imagined either.

'I thought you'd be taller,' he said.
'No,' I said.
'Oh,' he said.
And we left it at that.