Laura Bambrey Books

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Monday, 24 July 2017

Guestpost: Linn B Halton: Research for The Secrets of Villa Rosso took … time!

With her new novel, The Secrets of Villa Rosso released last Friday, I'm thrilled to welcome Linn B Halton to the blog to hear all about the research that goes into crafting her novels.

Research for The Secrets of Villa Rosso took … time!
by Linn B. Halton

A question I’m often asked is about research. After all, it’s fiction, right? Isn’t it easy to simply make it all up?

Well, the answer is that while the plot is fiction, there’s a whole framework it sits within which requires factual information.

People usually assume that research mainly applies to the location and I do tend to feature locations I’ve visited, because I think that’s quite important. So that you can give the reader an atmospheric ‘feel’ for the setting you have to be able to describe everything - from the sights, to the sounds and the smells. But I’m talking about the other elements within the story.

For The Secrets of Villa Rosso the research list was a long one. It was set in a period after the
disastrous olive harvest in 2014, which was quite crucial to the story. I needed to carry out a lot of research to understand the impact on those affected. It was worldwide news but it takes time to read and digest the information, in order to build a story around it.

Having visited the area, I still had to research an unknown beach location which would feature briefly in the story. Being unable to ‘hop on a flight’ to check it out, I spent time finding a beach that was within a reasonable travelling distance and getting to know it so I could describe it with accuracy.

And then there’s the topic of flights. When a character in one of my stories travels, I always spend time researching distances and routes etc. So, if you were doing the same journey, at the same time in the year, that’s what you would be experiencing. Ellie Maddison’s flights were real, as were the distances and route she travelled by taxi to Villa Rosso itself.

Villa Rosso is fictional, of course, it could be one of any number of beautiful old villas in the area. Many have vast olives groves, as well as orchards and, of course, vines. I hope I managed to convey to my readers the ambience that wrapped itself so beautifully around me when I visited the area. And yes, I can still close my eyes and conjure up the smells - the hot, sweet, air laden with oleander blossoms will never leave me. What comes to mind? Bubblegum and perfume.

As for food - well, the meals described were things I’ve sampled for myself on my travels to Italy. I hope that if you take a trip to Castrovillari, I will have tempted you to try some of the dishes Ellie was presented with and, overall, that you would feel a sense of recognition. Now … let me take you on a little trip to Italy …

The Blurb:

Some places stay with you forever…

When Ellie Maddison is sent on a business trip to Southern Italy, she's reminded why she loves her job – set amongst rolling vineyards and rich olive groves, the beautiful Villa Rosso is the perfect escape from her life back home. But what Ellie isn't prepared for is the instant connection she feels to the estate's director Max Johnson, or the secrets they share that are as intertwined as the rambling vines that cover Villa Rosso.

It's not long before Ellie finds herself entangled in the history of the place, trying to understand the undeniable effect Max is having on her. As their relationship grows, what will Ellie discover about this idyllic villa and those who have walked through its doors?

What started as a simple work trip will change Ellie's life forever.

Grab your copy now:

Kindle:                              Paperback:

About the author:

Linn writes chick lit, cosy mystery/romances, romcoms and women’s contemporary fiction – from the heart, for the heart.

Bristol-born Linn, lives in the Forest of Dean in the UK with her lovely husband and Bengal cat, Ziggy.

"I'm a hopeless romantic, self-confessed chocaholic and lover of strong coffee. For me, life is all about family, friends and writing.

Most weekends I can be found either in the garden weeding, or with a paint brush in my hand - house renovation and upcycling furniture is another passion of mine! Oh, and I do enjoy the occasional glass of White Grenache..."

Linn's novels have been short-listed in the UK's Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.

An Amazon UK Top 100 best-selling author with A Cottage in the Country in November 2015, Under the Stars also became a best-seller in November 2016 and A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love in January 2017.

Linn is published by Harper Impulse, Choc Lit and Endeavour Press. Linn is rep’d by Sara Keane.

Website/blog: http://linnbhalton.co.uk/
Twitter: @LinnBHalton
FB: Linn B Halton Author

Friday, 21 July 2017

#LoveAudio Week with Orenda Books: Review: In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings

If you think that reading a seriously good psychological thriller can get under your skin like nothing else, then I've got an experience that will top that... and that's listening to an exquisitely written psychological thriller being read to you by a fantastic narrator.

This week, to celebrate #LoveAudio week, I have had the absolute pleasure of listening to the audio book of In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings. I have to thank Orenda and Audible for the review copy in return for an unbiased review... and I have to admit- I'm not really sure where to start!

Perhaps the first thing I should do is set the scene for you. You may be aware that as well as blogging and reviewing books in my spare time, I also work as a pet and portrait artist. This entails spending up to 40 hours per portrait sat at the table with a pencil in my hand working on the minutest of details. Last week, I had two commissions to complete back-to-back - but the book-loving, reviewer part of my head was desperate to be reading. In comes the audio book of In Her Wake. So- the first thing I have to offer in this review is a love letter to audio-books in general. They are not something I've indulged much in in the past- but this gripping thriller had me hooked, and allowed me to immerse myself in both my passions- art and books- simultaneously. Who'd have thought that so much enjoyment could be found sitting staring at a piece of paper for so many hours at a time.

So, on to the story. In Her Wake. I now know what all the fuss was about back when the novel was first realised. Does Amanda Jennings know how to write or what?! In turns intensely creepy, claustrophobic, heart-wrenching, sad, breath-snatching, moving and strangely uplifting. I just didn't expect to have such an emotional reaction to it.

Bella's life as she knows it is torn apart not once, not twice but three times in quick succession. With everything she thinks she knows turned upside down, she follows the only scrap of a clue she has left and goes in search of answers. She finds herself in Cornwall where answers begin to surface. But in finding one answer, she is only faced with wave after wave of more questions and a mystery that has haunted her family for 25 years.

It's something quite incredible to get that "can't put the book down" feeling with an audio-book. I sat at my portraits for long hours between breaks- not able to hit that pause button. I went to bed with my headphones in, listening long into the night (ah, the joy of not having to worry about keeping my tired eyes open!). I set the alarm an hour earlier to start listening first thing in the morning, and the brilliant narrator accompanied me in the car every day on my way to and from the day-job. I was completely hooked. 

I can't recommend this incredible story-telling experience highly enough. In Her Wake is a chilling and complex psychological thriller which is beautifully narrated, and will have you listening late into the night.

Win Your Free Audio Copy Here:

I've got two Audible audio book copies of In Her Wake up for grabs thanks to the lovely guys at Orenda. Simply enter below and I'll draw two winners after 12am on Monday, 24th July. The lucky winners will receive a code and instructions on how to download and listen to their free copy of In Her Wake.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Blurb:

A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella's comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity but her life.

Chilling, complex and profoundly moving, In Her Wake is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family - and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to home.

And if you can't wait to get your hands on it and want to listen to your copy this weekend- you can grab it from Amazon here:

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Cover Reveal: Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Charlotte Butterfield

Thrilled to be joining in this evening with the cover reveal for Charlotte Butterfield's gorgeous new title, Crazy Little Thing Called Love... and here it is! (just click on the pic to find out more about this beauty - due out on the 7th September but available to pre-order now!)

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Blogtour: Review: Holding Myself by Victoria J. Brown

Today I’m reviewing Holding Myself by Victoria J. Brown as a part of her publication blogtour with the newly re-launched Bombshell Books.

What a fantastic read this is. I didn’t really know what to expect as this is definitely a book I chose as a heart over head read -  you know the ones where the cover and a couple of lines of the blurb speak to you – and you grab it without investigating any further. Anyhow – I sat down to start reading, and several hours later, with just a quick bit of shut-eye (it was a school night!) I finished the last page as dawn was breaking and the blackbirds started making a racket in the back garden.

Yup – this is one of those books that you just can’t put down.

One of the strangest and most unexpected elements of the book was that I didn’t like the main character. No – actually that’s wrong – I really liked the main character but I really didn’t like her actions, decisions and the way she responded to life. But this was all part of the beauty of Brown’s writing.  Kat is such a complex lead, but I knew exactly why she was responding to life in the way she was. She is a damaged character with such difficult past that, even while wanting to give her a good shake and talking to, I really wanted everything to work out for her and for her deepest issues to heal so that she could enjoy the life she deserved.

Holding Myself deals with some harrowing and incredibly difficult issues- but far from being a difficult read, the tone and craft of the writing turns this into a gripping, unputdownable drama laced with moments of humour and warmth that seem to hug the reader to them.

This is a novel that is absolutely cram-packed full with drama whilst remaining anchored in real-life. The characters are complex and memorable. Overall, despite the difficult issues touched upon, Holding Myself is ultimately a life-affirming read with recognisable, real-life moments full of warmth and compassion.

The Blurb:

Kat has a busy life. She runs her own beauty salon and has an alcoholic father to worry about. To make matters worse she has just discovered she is pregnant.

Kat and Max have only been together for six months and she has a turbulent relationship with his mother and his ex-girlfriend who refuses to go away.

As the pressure builds Kat finds herself wondering what path to take.

Is having a baby the right thing to do?

Can she keep her head above water while her life spirals out of control?

Kat has some big decisions to make and whatever happens her life is going to change forever…

Grab Your Copy:

Kindle:                           Paperback

About the Author:

Victoria J.Brown has always had a passion for writing. When asked at the age of 9 years old, what
she wanted to be when she grew up, her reply ‘an author’ was met with a disheartened response, ‘that jobs like that, don’t happen to people like us!’
Luckily, Victoria didn’t listen to this advice and never gave up on her passion.  She continued to write while perusing a career in Marketing after gaining a BA (Hons) in Business and Marketing.
In 2006 her eldest daughter was born and then two years later her 2nd daughter came along. Victoria realised in the midst of the mummy madness, that she’d let her writing dwindle and that nappy-changing, sleepless nights and not being able to go to the toilet in peace could not stop her fulfilling her writing dreams. So when her girls were 3 years old and 18 months old, she decided that sleep was over-rated and enrolled at Teesside University. A year later she proudly left with a MA in Creative Writing, some wonderful friendships and a passion for therapeutic writing. While studying for her MA she was also delighted to win a short-story competition judged by Adele Parks, to which she received publication and mentoring from Adele.
After her MA, Victoria concentrated on writing women’s fiction. She loves writing stories that women can relate to. The Chaos Series grew from her own experience of pregnancy, motherhood and life.
Victoria is also passionate about mental health and likes to write of such issues in her stories. Her dedication to mental health and living life to the full has led her down a spiritual path. Through her learning of spirituality she qualified as a Law of Attraction and NLP Practitioner, which she integrates into her writing. Her inspirational blog includes an A-Z motivational journey with weekly therapeutic creative writing exercises. She has developed this further and will soon launch her inspirational shop. The shop has been created to pass on positivity and love to others … you never know when someone may need to see those messages.
Being accepted by Bombshell Books is a dream come true for Victoria, she hopes that her mantra for giving love always and never giving up will inspire others to follow their dreams and passion.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Victoria, her inspirational blog and shop you can visit www.victoria-brown.com, plus you can follow her on:

Monday, 17 July 2017

Blogtour: Review: The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara

Today I’ve got the real pleasure of taking part in Ali McNamara’s blogtour for her exquisite new summer novel, The Summer of Serendipity.

Serendipity Parker, or Ren as she much prefers to be known, is a driven, single-minded business-woman. Ruled by her head rather than her heart, she is at odds with the myths and magic of Ballykilltara- where she finds herself on her most recent property hunt.

Aided by her ever-ditzy assistant Kiki, Ren soon finds herself drawn into the stories surrounding the area as she hunts for the perfect house for her client. But when their search draws her right into the heart of one of the local myths, she quickly discovers how loyal the locals are to their own history- and what a tricky task she has ahead of her.

As she slowly falls in love with the place, Ren’s heart begins to take over from her head – and she opens up unexpectedly to the new people in her life. But which version of herself will win – head or heart?

Full of beautiful characters – each with their own unique charm – I feel like I’ve been living amongst them for the past few days. A romance with Ballykilltara is definitely the way to spend your summer.

The Summer of Serendipity is a magical read full of mystery, romance and mythical Irish charm. This summery novel will make you look at your own life with new eyes and see that spark of magic in the stories that surround you every day.

The Blurb:

One summer, property seeker, Serendipity Parker finds herself on the beautiful west coast of Ireland, hunting for a home for a wealthy Irish client. But when she finds the perfect house in the small town of Ballykiltara, there's a problem; nobody seems to know who owns it.

'The Welcome House' is a local legend. Its front door is always open for those in need of shelter, and there's always a plentiful supply of food in the cupboards for the hungry or poor.

While Ren desperately tries to find the owner to see if she can negotiate a sale, she begins to delve deeper into the history and legends that surround the old house and the town. But for a woman who has always been focussed on her work, she's remarkably distracted by Finn, the attractive manager of the local hotel.

But will she ever discover the real truth behind the mysterious 'Welcome House'? Or will the house cast its magical spell over Ren and help her to find true happiness?

Grab your copy:

Paperback:                 Kindle:

About the Author:

Ali McNamara attributes her over-active and very vivid imagination to one thing – being an only
child. Time spent dreaming up adventures when she was young has left her with a head bursting with stories waiting to be told.

When stories she wrote for fun on Ronan Keating’s website became so popular they were sold as a fundraising project for his cancer awareness charity, Ali realised that not only was writing something she enjoyed doing, but something others enjoyed reading too.


Friday, 7 July 2017

Blogtour: Guestpost: The Little Bed & Breakfast by the Sea by Jennifer Joyce

I'm welcoming the lovely Jennifer Joyce to the blog today as part of her tour for her new novel, The Little Bed & Breakfast by the Sea.

Sunshine Songs by Jennifer Joyce

I started writing The Little Bed & Breakfast by the Sea back in November 2016, back when the weather was grim and Christmas was just around the corner, which isn’t the ideal time to immerse yourself in writing a summer-set book. It’s hard to imagine hot, lazy days at the seaside when you’re wrapped up in layers and the only heat source is coming from the central heating cranked up to the max. So, to help beat the winter blues, I set up a playlist of songs on Spotify, songs that scream summer, sunshine and days at the beach.

These songs helped enormously and I could almost forget I was shivering in my festive jumper! I thought I would share my top 5 from the list. They’re pretty cheesy, but I make no apologies for this. Enjoy!

Walking On Sunshine

[Katrina & The Waves]

Mi Chico Latino

[Geri Halliwell]

 Club Tropicana


Summer of Love


Cruel Summer


Which songs remind you of the summer?

The Blurb:

Escape to the seaside this summer!
Mae loves running her little Bed & Breakfast, it’s the perfect place to raise her adorable four-year-old daughter! And no matter how persistently local vet, Alfie, chases her, she just doesn’t have time for men in her life.

Willow is busy building her dream home with her husband, Ethan, but with every month that passes she secretly worries that her happy ever after will never come true…

Melody only intended to stay in the bustling seaside town for a few days to capture the perfect photo. But when she meets Hugo – the charming man in the ice cream van – she decides to stay a little longer!

One thing is for sure, summer at the little Bed & Breakfast by the sea certainly has a few surprises in store…

A cosy and charming romance set in an English seaside town, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley and Caroline Roberts.

Grab your copy here:

About the author:

Jennifer Joyce is a writer of romantic comedies who lives in Manchester with her husband and their two daughters. Her latest novel, The Little Bed & Breakfast by the Sea is out now. You can find out more about Jennifer and her books on:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jenniferjoycewrites
Twitter: www.twitter.com/writer_jenn
Instagram: www.instagram.com/writer_jenn
Blog: www.jenniferjoycewrites.co.uk

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Blogtour: Guestpost: The Hen Party by Emily Benet

I'm delighted to welcome the fabulous Emily Benet to the blog today with a guestpost as part of her tour for her fourth book, The Hen Party, which is out now!

The Hen Party - How Moving to Mallorca Inspired a Novel
by Emily Benet

When I tell people I've written a novel called The Hen Party and it's set in Mallorca, they immediately think of the scandalous beach resort of Magaluf. If you haven't heard of it, then I'm glad I wasn't the only one. Before I moved to the island, I thought it was in Greece. I remember half-heartedly watching a documentary about tourists behaving badly there and feeling sorry for the Greek police!

My husband and I made a snap decision to move to Mallorca. I'd been twice in my life. Once, when I was 18 months old - apparently it snowed - and later for a wedding, where I hardly stepped out of the villa.  But being half Spanish and having lived in Barcelona as a teen, the language wasn't going to be a problem and I was sure the Mediterranean culture would feel familiar. On the crack of dawn flight over, I got my first taste of the Magaluf vibe as everyone got stuck straight into the booze for breakfast. That was to be the first of many rowdy flights to and fro from England and there was always at least one hen or stag party among them. It definitely sewed the seed for my book!

Within days I was besotted with Mallorca and I knew I had to set a book there. I was also determined to write a story driven by multiple protagonists. I'm a huge fan of Liane Moriarty and Deborah Moggach. I love their style of telling stories through different characters who are all interlinked. There's always a secret, or lie, at the centre of their stories which always ends up coming to light. Inspired by my favourite authors, I embarked once... twice... three times on The Hen Party. It took me four attempts and thousands of deleted words before I was happy.

Magaluf does feature but it's not the main location. This is not about hens behaving badly... I mean, it's not JUST about hens behaving badly anyway. The hens are all part of a hen party Reality TV show being filmed on the island. The novel begins with the director turning up at their villa to find the entire cast and crew have gone missing. Bit by bit, through each character revealing their part of the story, you find out what happened.

Write the book you want to read, is a common piece of given to writers. Sunny location, drama, secrets, comedy and romance I think I've got all the elements I love in a book. Now my fingers are crossed my lovely readers will love it too!

Grab your copy here:

Kindle: Paperback:

The Blurb:

Film Director, Kate Miller, is in serious trouble.  The entire cast and crew of the reality TV show The Hen Party has gone missing while filming in Mallorca. 

To make matters worse, the network boss has just flown in and will be arriving any minute to check up on her production.

Kate thinks it's all her fault. She hasn't exactly been following the guidelines. 

But if she is to blame, why were the hens arguing between themselves? And why is the groom-to-be calling her up in tears?

Kate doesn't know the half of it. The hens have their own secrets and it's only matter of time before they all come tumbling out.   

A party of eight arrive on the island, but not everyone's going home.

About Emily Benet:

The Hen Party is Emily Benet's 4th book.  Her debut book, Shop Girl Diaries, began as a blog. Her
second, Spray Painted Bananas, racked up a million hits on the online platform Wattpad and  led to a 2 book deal with Harper Collins. They published her Wattpad book under the new title The Temp as well as her comedy about social media addiction, #PleaseRetweet. She lives in Mallorca with her husband and writes for abcMallorca magazine.

Connect with Emily:

Website www.emilybenet.com
Facebook www.facebook.com/EmilyBenetAuthor
Twitter www.twitter.com/@EmilyBenet