The Postcard by Zoë Folbigg #BlogTourReview

About the book

A year after the kiss that brought them together in a snowy train-station doorway, Maya and James are embarking on another journey – this time around the world. The trip starts promisingly, with an opulent and romantic Indian wedding. But as their travels continue, Maya fears that ‘love at first sight’ might not survive trains, planes and tuk tuks, especially when she realises that what she really wants is a baby, and James doesn’t feel the same. Can Maya and James navigate their different hopes and dreams to stay together? Or is love at first sight just a myth after all…The Postcard continues the once-in-a-lifetime love story that readers so took to their hearts.

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My thoughts

I feel like I’ve been talking about this book forever.  I’m so excited that it’s finally here!  I absolutely loved The Note and I so badly wanted to know what became of Maya and Train Man.  Thankfully, there are these things called sequels and I’m very much here for this particular one!

To say I loved The Postcard is a huge understatement.  It is bubbling over with charm.

As I mentioned above, The Postcard is a sequel to The Note but it can very much be read as a standalone.

Zoë writes characters that are so easy to connect with.  We’ve got Maya and James and also Nena and Tom.  They’re flawed and they’re all imperfectly perfect humans.

This book is full of a really good mix of laughter, friendship, tears and realistic characters.  It makes for a very easy and fun read.

I can’t vouch for the back-packing stories in the book as I never did that myself (although these stories are everything I imagine it to be and then some!) but I can speak from the heart when it comes to having a new-born and needing your best friend.  I’m so glad the book featured a storyline like that of Nena.

I feel like the book world needs a male lead like James right now.  I’m reading so many books of late where the male lead just isn’t very pleasant for varied reasons and, for me, Train Man has come along just in the nick of time!

Thanks so much to Vicky at Head of Zeus for my copy of this book in return for an honest review.  I loved every, single page!

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About the Author

Zoë Folbigg is a magazine journalist and digital editor, starting at Cosmopolitan in 2001 and since freelancing for titles including Glamour, Fabulous, Daily Mail, Healthy, LOOK, Top Santé, Mother & Baby, ELLE, Sunday Times Style and Style.com. In 2008 she had a weekly column in Fabulous magazine documenting her year-long round-the-world trip with ‘Train Man’ – a man she had met on her daily commute. She since married Train Man and lives in Hertfordshire with him and their two young sons.

Follow Zoë:

Facebook: @zoefolbiggauthor
Twitter: @zolington
Website: http://www.zoefolbigg.com

Pre-order Links:

Amazon
Kobo
Google Play

Follow Aria:

Website: http://www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

The Ingredients for Happiness by Lucy Knott #BlogTourReview

About the book

Three sisters, a stash of family recipes, the chance to make their dreams come true…

Amanda is about to open her very own café. She has the pastry sorted, but hasn’t a clue about the plumbing. With the love of her life by her side, surely nothing else can go wrong?

Sabrina has struck out on her own and is proving to the global music industry she has what it takes. However, balancing the business side of the band with her personal life will end up being more than she bargained for.

Louisa is drawing inspiration from the beautiful Amalfi coast, channelling it into creating gorgeous gowns for modern day Sophia Lorens. But putting herself out there in the fashion industry will present its own challenges, even with the ever-supportive Luca by her side.

With the right mix of perseverance, love and plenty of Italian delicacies, these three sisters are about to discover that when they support each other, the sky really is the limit!

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My thoughts 

Firstly, how cute is this cover!  It makes me feel all happy inside.

I didn’t realise this was a second book in a series until very recently!  As the story is a continuation of Lucy’s first book, if you can read that first you should. That said, not having read it didn’t really affect my enjoyment of The Ingredients for Happiness.

This is an absolutely gorgeous read.  If you want to finish out the summer with a book that is packed full of love, Italian food and tonnes of laughs then this is the book for you.  It’s an easy, joyful read that not only has the main characters perfected but also features a seriously super gang of secondary characters too.  I was not left wanting in that regard.

I am a terrible cook.  In fact, I have always wished it came more naturally to me and no more so than when I read about or see the joy it brings people and families to cook together.  I absolutely loved the recipes dotted throughout the book and how food brought the characters together.  Relationships between friends and family were shown really beautifully and it was a special read.

Thanks so much to all at Netgalley and to Izzy at Harper Collins UK for my copy of this book as part of the blog tour.

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You can purchase The Ingredients for Happiness here.

The Daughter in Law by Nina Manning #BlogTourExtract

To say this is an exciting day is an understatement.  I get to share some of Nina Manning’s debut novel, The Daughter in Law, with you – and it’s a pretty great extract!

About the book

No one is good enough for her son…

As a single mother, Annie has an especially close relationship with her son, Ben. They have always been together. Just the two of them. So, when Ben brings home his mysterious beautiful new wife, Daisy, immediately Annie doesn’t trust her. Who is this woman who has taken her son away from her? And what is she hiding?

She’ll protect him with her life…

When Ben disappears, suddenly Annie and Daisy are all the other one has. Alone in Annie’s big, remote house, just the two of them, the tension is rising. And like any protective mother, Annie will stop at nothing to expose her new daughter in law, and the secrets she is hiding…

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Extract

Annie

My favourite room is the spare bedroom at the front of the house. It gets all the light in the morning and looks so inviting. I’ve done it up like a picture I saw in a lifestyle magazine: a checked throw across the end of the bed, floral sheets and hooked back curtains, a little wicker chair in the corner with a few well-read paperbacks stacked on top of it, and a white vase on the bedside table. It really is the most comforting place to be. Of course, no one ever uses it. I like to keep the house looking nice. But it was only ever going to be me and my son.

Getting out of bed was particularly hard this morning. It has been every morning since Ben left. I keep thinking, what is the point? I’ve been feeling that empty hopelessness for several months now. Since Ben deserted me.

For her.

I’d heard all about empty nest syndrome but I never imagined for a moment it would happen to me. I never actually thought he would leave. I thought we would just keep existing together. Forever.

He kept so much of his stuff here initially, that I felt sure he would return – but just last month, he came and took the lot.

It’s so quiet here now. It was quiet anyway, that’s why I took the house. It’s the house I grew up alone in with my father, but fled from as soon as I was able to support myself.
How do you define an unhappy childhood? In those days it was unheard of to make an allegation about your relative. I accepted the violence – it was, after all, part of him and all I had ever known. Throughout my motherless upbringing, the beach house provided a sanctuary for me with plenty of places to hide. I got stealthier as I grew and with my legs pulled up tightly into my chest and my head pressed to my knees, I would squeeze myself into an alcove, the airing cupboard or the shed with the ringing sound of my father’s threats in my ear. Later on, I would sneak out and find my way back to my bedroom past my father’s drunken snores. The next day he wouldn’t remember a thing. Had I not been able to escape down to the shore to skim pebbles or poke about in rock pools, then I would have run away sooner. The sea kept me safe. But as soon as I turned sixteen I took myself hundreds of miles away. I never heard a whisper from my father, who had told me daily I reminded him too much of my brazen excuse of a mother. Then he was dead and the beach house was mine. I left it sitting empty for a while, too scared to return, too busy trying to salvage my own marriage. Then Ben arrived and I knew it was time.

When I returned here all those years later with my son, it was fairly run down and rotting in places I couldn’t get to, much like my father for all those years. The brown weather- worn cladding needed a sand down and varnish and the white framed windows were peeling, but overall the exterior wasn’t so bad. I did the best I could with it and I could overlook most of the natural decay when I scanned the vast horizon and breathed in the fresh sea air.

It’s a remote spot, perched right on the edge of the peninsular before it slopes round into the sea. Standing in the garden or looking out of the window, you would be forgiven for thinking there were no houses for miles, but there is one around along the shore and to the left and then they begin to scatter more frequently as they feed towards the village. People rarely walk this far down as the shore is a little more rustic with huge pieces of driftwood and great mounds of seaweed washing up daily. Besides, the stretch of beach at the end of the garden and over the low battered wall essentially belongs to me. We are protected a little from the wind by a few surrounding trees, but it does get a little breezy here at times. But when it’s still and the sea looks like a flat piece of mirror you could walk across, that’s when I love it the most. Of course, I love the waves too, especially the ferocious ones that thrust themselves towards the wall. I like to watch those waves and feel my own fury in them.

A house on the seafront, much like a savannah plain, is the perfect spot to see when enemies are approaching. And anyone who tries to come between me and my son, I consider an enemy.

But despite the weather and the waves, I know the house is empty. And although I try to fill my days with mundane daily tasks, I too feel empty. I need to feel fulfilled again. I need my son back. Back where he belongs.

There’s no one downstairs humming a tuneless song whilst they make their breakfast. There are no dirty trainers in the hallway, or piles of washing in the laundry basket. There are no toast crumbs on the kitchen side, or butter streaks in the marmite. The house is so eerily quiet. I have never experienced this. Not since having Ben. I forced all the bad memories away from the time I lived here as a child and made it all about me and Ben. It’s our sanctuary; our hub. Our place away from the world.

Now he’s gone. He hardly texts or rings. She has him wrapped around her little finger. Calling all the shots no doubt.

It was a real shock when Ben told me he had met someone. It was more of a shock when he told me he had gone and gotten himself married. He had been spending a lot of time at her house, that I knew. But I had no idea things had evolved so quickly. And to have done it without telling me, his own mother, first. We used to be so close. I am not coping so well.

I did the right thing, of course. I invited them over for something to eat – mostly because I needed to get a good look at the woman who thinks she has replaced me.

But I know it’s only temporary. I can’t be replaced. My son can’t live without me.

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I read this book last week and my heart is still pounding!  It is Nina Manning’s first novel, which is really hard to believe after reading it.  It’s a psychological thriller that becomes more twisted the further into the plot we get. Isn’t that what we all want from this kind of book?  Congratulations, Nina!

If you’d like to purchase The Daughter in Law, you can do so here.

You can get to know Nina Manning better by heading to her author profile on the Boldwood Books website.
https://www.boldwoodbooks.com/contributor/nina-manning/

Nina also has her own website, and is active on her Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages.

Thanks so much to Megan at Boldwood Books for providing me with this superb extract, as well as a copy of the book to read.

 

The Night You Left by Emma Curtis

About the book 

When Grace’s fiancé vanishes without a trace in the night after proposing, her life is turned upside down.  But has Nick walked out on her or is he in danger?

As Grace desperately searches for answers, it soon becomes clear that Nick wasn’t the uncomplicated man she thought she knew.  And when she uncovers a hidden tragedy from his childhood, she realises the awful truth:

that you can run from your past – but your secrets will always catch up with you … 

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My thoughts 

Well, if I’m honest, my thoughts are pretty much OH. MY. GOD!

The tension in The Night You Left just grows and grows as the book goes on.  It had my full attention from the day the package arrived from the publishers and kept me gripped until the very last page.

The reader is dropped straight into action and there really is no let-up in pace.  From the very beginning of this book we are served so much drama and suspense – it’s nail-biting stuff.  The numerous characters are all superbly written and we get to see that they have all got their own secrets and pasts.

It is an absolutely engrossing book and quite a thought-provoking read.  I felt like I was on a rollercoaster ride from the very start and The Night You Left is definitely one of my favourite reads of this year so far.

I loved Emma’s other books and I always hope I’ll love the next book by an author but there really is no guarantee that will happen.  I can now confirm that Emma Curtis really brought her A-game for this one.

Thanks so much to Hannah at Transworld Books for my copy of this book in return for an honest review and also for the invitation to join this blog tour.

Go buy the book – you won’t regret it!

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Judge Walden – Call The Next Case by Peter Murphy #BlogTourReview

I’ve got to say I was incredibly excited to read this book as my work background was that of Legal Secretary and I spent the whole of my twenties surrounded by lawyers, barristers and Court papers!

About the book

The irrepressible Resident Judge (RJ) of Bermondsey Crown Court is back with a new selection of cases. As ever, there is little rest for the RJ as he does his best to deal with the churchgoing carer who steals from the old lady under her care, the cleaverwielding chefs wth different ideas about how to make a Caesar salad, the man with a penchant for ‘marrying’ multiple women and the astrological guru accused of fraud. Not to mention the shock-horror when colleagues get into trouble: Judge Hubert Drake for writing an angry letter to the press, and Judge Marjorie Jenkins for storing suspected pornography on her judicial computer. Oh, and the ongoing wars against the Grey Smoothies, who try to frustrate Charlie at every turn with their bureaucracy and their endless quest for value for money for the taxpayer.

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My thoughts 

I haven’t (Yet!) read any of the other books in this series but I already know I will.

The writing is so warm and very witty. I just loved it.  It is also a hugely entertaining book and I laughed out loud so many times whilst reading.  This is a book packed full of humour and insight.

My only complaint is that I wish the book had been longer. Just a little!

I guess that’s a compliment!

If I were in the habit of giving out ratings – just to make things clear I never do – this would be a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐from me.

Thanks so much to Anne Cater and No Exit Press for my copy of this book in return for an honest review.

I thoroughly enjoyed every one of the five cases!

You’ll find this book available to purchase right here.

The Gingerbread Houses by Benedict J Jones #Review

About the book

A dark secret lies at the heart of the British government; a secret so appalling that they will kill to protect it.

Charlie Bars is back in London and has taken on a missing persons case. Easy money – or so he thinks. The man he is looking for is inextricably linked to the evil perpetrated in the Gingerbread Houses and as Charlie’s search progresses, he finds himself drawn into the seedy underbelly of the capital; a world of abuse, exploitation and deviancy that threatens to destroy his soul.

Others are looking for the missing man too and hunter soon becomes hunted as Charlie finds himself the target of an insane torturer haunted by the ghosts of his military past.

As he descends into the darkest depths of human depravity, Charlie desperately tries to stay out of prison, on the right side of his morality and, most importantly, alive as he seeks to uncover the buried secrets of the Gingerbread Houses.

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My thoughts

I’ve never read anything by this author before, so when I was asked by Crime Wave Press if I’d like a copy of The Gingerbread Houses I jumped at the chance.

The Gingerbread Houses is part of the Charlie Bars series and to say it left me wanting more would be a complete understatement.  It did not disappoint.

It has plenty of action, suspense and adventure.  A gritty, atmospheric London jumps off the pages with each description of the city.

The subject matter is not for the faint of heart and neither is the level of violence throughout.  Good versus evil is an age-old conflict in the history of the world and that is no different for our protagonist.

It’s quite a compelling read and even though I had allowed myself a two week period to read and review, I had finished it in under two days.

I would definitely recommend you get to know Charlie Bars.

Thank you to Crime Wave Press for my copy of this book, which I received with no pressure to review.

Mummy Needs A Break by Susan Edmunds #BlogTourExtract

I’m delighted to be able to share an extract from Mummy Needs A Break with you today – the first day of the blog tour!

About the book

A hilarious story of the ups and downs of unexpected single motherhood, the perfect laugh-out-loud romance for fans of Why Mummy Drinks, The Unmumsy Mum and The Not So Perfect Mum.

With a devilish toddler and baby number two on the way, Rachel’s big dream is to one day go to the toilet on her own.  So, she’s surprised to discover that her husband has found the time to have an exciting affair while she’s been bringing up their family.

Suddenly, Rachel is left wrangling with a child who will only eat crackers and a 35-week bump.  She knows even Mumsnet isn’t going to solve this.

What Rachel needs is a handsome, good-with-children, single man.  But she can barely leave the house without a stain on her top and child on her hip.  How on earth can she claim her life back, let alone think about dating?

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Extract

It was a particularly muggy spring evening when my usually uneventful, comfortably boringly suburban life fell apart. I was eight months pregnant, sweaty, grumpy and was working late. Again.

‘So, tell me a bit about what’s happened.’ I had tucked my phone into the crook of my neck, a pen making an indent in my middle finger as I scribbled on my notepad. Somewhere beyond the door to my makeshift home office in our spare bedroom, I could hear my two-and-a-half-year-old son,
Thomas, pushing a toy truck or car repeatedly into the freshly painted wall of the kitchen.

At least, I hoped it was a car. The way our day was going, it might have been his father’s head.
The woman at the other end of the phone coughed. Could she hear me tapping my pen on my notebook? I eyed the clock: 6.30. My workday was meant to finish at 5 p.m., but the emails from my editor had become increasingly frantic.

If we didn’t want yet another front-page story about the unseasonable weather, I needed to get a quote from this woman about her burgled-for-the-fourth-time-in-a-month clothes store.

Thanks so much to Avon Books for including me in this blog tour and also for giving me such a fab extract to share with you guys!

Mummy Needs A Break is available to purchase now!

 

 

 

 

That Long Lost Summer by Minna Howard #BlogTourExtract

 

About The Book

A gorgeous and bittersweet romance set in the South of France, about an old passion rekindled and the choice between family loyalty and a great love.

Flora and Hugo are devoted to their children, but when their girls leave home for university, their lives seem empty. Hugo is cold and distant, leaving Flora unsure what their future holds. When they are invited to a friend’s villa in the South of France, Flora hopes the summer sun and gorgeous setting may bring them closer together. In a crumbling, picturesque villa in the luscious French countryside, they are introduced to Susie, Matt and their friends. Flora is surprised to meet Xavier, her old flame, who she fell in love with one long lost summer when she was eighteen. They parted suddenly all those years ago, leaving Flora wondering, what if…

Handsome, passionate, sensitive, Xavier is so different from her reliable, predictable Hugo. Both Flora and Xavier have moved on with their lives, but is there something that still lingers between them? Or will Flora’s devotion to her children, and her loyalty to Hugo, show her where her true heart lies…

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Today, I’m bringing you an extract from That Long Lost Summer and I think you’re going to really enjoy it.

Extract

Flora was engulfed by memories as she stood there with Hugo in the garden of the Villa Emeraude, surrounded by Susie and Matt’s friends.

Xavier said, ‘After all this time. I often wondered if we’d meet again.’ He moved closer to her, his voice soft in her ear. She glanced round the group. Everyone else was talking to each other, or helping carry out the supper from the kitchen. Hugo was still deep in conversation with Ben.

Those dark eyes of his searched her face and she felt herself drawn to him just as she had all those years ago. This was madness. She took a step back from him.

So…’ He turned and looked round the gathering. The dusk was drawing in and lights were beginning to come on. His gaze came to rest on Hugo. ‘That must be your husband, lover, whatever.’ There was mischief in his face and she remembered how he would tease her.

‘Yes, my husband, Hugo, you must meet him. And you, have you someone here?’ She glanced around the group in the garden.

‘No, I am divorced, I’m here alone.’ Again his eyes, those warm and tender eyes lingered on her face and desire flooded through her. She turned away; he must not guess how empty her marriage had become.

Susie was walking towards them, smiling. ‘Come and have supper. It’s so good to see you both. Longing to catch up.’ She put an arm round Flora’s shoulders, hugging her, before turning to Xavier. ‘We used to live in the next street in London, our children – well, their children and Alegria, my niece – briefly went to school together when they were little, and then three years ago, as you know, we moved to Cambridge and somehow we haven’t managed to meet up for more than an instant until now – though we do phone and gossip occasionally.’

‘That’s great,’ Xavier said and Flora waited for him to say that they, too, had once known each other, but he did not and then they were swept up with the others, all sitting round a table groaning with delicious food and drink and she and Xavier were not alone again that evening.

Sylvia slipped away to check on the kittens and announced that there were four, ‘one tabby like her and the others black,’ she said. ‘I’ll put a note up in the village in case she has an owner looking for her.’

Flora was relieved to get to bed. As the evening progressed, night creeping over the garden now dotted with gold orbs from the garden lights, she felt herself wilting.

‘Good to be in bed,’ she said to Hugo, who was carefully hanging up his trousers, ‘and a lovely squashy mattress and linen sheets, no doubt left over from Matt’s grandmother’s day. Such luxury.’

Buy links

Amazon

Kobo

iBooks

Google Play

About the author

Minna has had an exciting career in fashion journalism and now writes full time, whilst enjoying time with her grandsons and working as an occasional film and TV extra.  She lives in London.

Follow Minna

Twitter: @MinnaHowardMary
Facebook: @MinnaHowardBooks
Follow Aria

Website: http://www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

Thanks so much to Aria Fiction for the opportunity to read this book and to take part in the Blog Tour – and of course, for such a fab extract to share!

The Single Mums Move On by Janet Hoggarth #BlogTourReview

Can neighbours become more than good friends…

After her fiancé left her, Ali and her daughter Grace enjoyed living in what became known as ‘the Single Mums’ Mansion’. However, with her best friends Amanda and Jacqui moving on, it’s time for Ali and Grace to make their own way. Thankfully, a chance conversation leads to them moving into the infamous South London gated community known only as The Mews.

In The Mews everyone lives in each other’s pockets and curtain twitching is an Olympic sport. The neighbours are an eclectic bunch – from Nick the alleged spy, Carl the gorgeous but clearly troubled Idris Elba lookalike, to Debbie who is about to face the hardest fight of her life, and TV agent Samantha who is not as in control as she likes to pretend.

Each day brings another drama, but along with the tears, real friendships grow. And her neighbours’ problems might unlock the key to something Ali has yearned for all along…

Will these single mums be able to move on from life in the mansion?

Based on a true story – you’ll never be able to look at your neighbours quite the same way again … 

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The Single Mums Move On is a sequel to The Single Mums’ Mansion and is a book full of engaging characters and an effortless, engaging storyline.  If you can read The Single Mums’ Mansion first you totally should but this book reads perfectly as a standalone also.

The characters are so well described throughout the book that I started to recognise one or two personalities from my own life – past and present.  I think that will be a common thing from readers and, for me, it just added to the reading experience and made the laughs even better and the romance even sweeter.

If you manage to get a quiet afternoon to yourself this summer by the pool, or out in the back garden in the sun, this book will make a perfect companion.  It’s not too taxing and there are lots of laughs, love and even some secrets!

About the author 

Janet Hoggarth has worked on a chicken farm, as a bookseller, children’s book editor and DJ with her best friend (under the name of Whitney and Britney). She has published several children’s books, the most recent ones written under the pseudonym of Jess Bright. Her first adult novel The Single Mums’ Mansion, a huge bestseller, was based on her experiences of living communally as a single parent.

Follow Janet:

Twitter: @Janethauthor
Facebook: @JanetHoggarthAuthor

Pre-order links:

Amazon
iBooks
Kobo
Google Play

Follow Aria: 

Website:  http://www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

Thanks Aria Fiction for having me along for the ride on this blog tour.  I loved the book and highly recommend it!

I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

Snow Angels by Nadine Dorries #CoverReveal

I’ve got an exciting Cover Reveal for you today!

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About the book

Spend Christmas with the nurses of St Angelus Hospital.

Christmas is coming, but will the doctors and nurses of St Angelus get a chance to enjoy it?

Sister Emily Haycock and husband Dessie are anxiously counting the days until the signing of final adoption papers for their precious baby Louis. But someone has got it in for them and Emily is about to get caught out in a dangerous lie.

Victoria Baker is now Mrs Davenport and heavily pregnant. But as the snow begins to fall, has she made a big mistake about her dates and put the life of her unborn baby at risk?

And who is the figure obsessively watching St Angelus from the shadows? Or the mystery woman who turns up one dark, windy evening, begging for a room at Malcolm Coffey’s ‘Seaman’s Stop’ bed and breakfast?

In Snow Angels only one thing is certain. Christmas will be anything but peaceful.

About the author

Nadine Dorries is the author of three bestselling novels about St Angelus Hospital and of The Four Streets trilogy, now available in one volume. She grew up in Liverpool and trained as a nurse in the 1970s. She has been MP for Mid-Bedfordshire since 2005.

Thanks to Head of Zeus for the opportunity to take part in this Cover Reveal.

Follow Nadine:

Twitter: @NadineDorries
Facebook: @NadineDorriesAuthor

Pre-order links:

Amazon
Kobo
Google Play

Follow Head of Zeus:

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com
Twitter: @HoZ_Books
Facebook: @headofzeus
Instagram: @headofzeus

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