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Blog Blitz – ‘One Summer in Rome’ by Samantha Tonge

Huge congratulations to Samantha Tonge whose new book, ‘One Summer in Rome’ is out today as an eBook, published by HQ Digital.  I took part in the cover reveal back in January and today I am absolutely delighted to be one of a number of book bloggers taking part in this blog blitz, which was organised by Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources.  I would like to thank both Rachel and the publisher for my review copy.

You will find out in a little while what I thought of ‘One Summer in Rome’, but first here’s a reminder of what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

To Rome…with love?

Mary Smith is turning her very ordinary life upside-down! She’s bought herself a one-way ticket to Rome and is ready for a summer she’ll never forget.

Men might be off the cards for waitress Mary, but within hours of arriving at the utterly charming family-run La Dolce Vita pizzeria, she’s already fallen in love with the bustling capital!

Only Dante Rossi, the mysterious (and drop-dead gorgeous) chef seems displeased with her arrival. And in the heat of the kitchen, it doesn’t take long for long-buried secrets to surface and sparks to fly…

A deliciously heartwarming romance to have you dreaming of summer. Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Caroline Roberts.

 

My Review

Until now, I had never read any of Samantha Tonge’s books. So what is my verdict now that I have finished ‘One Summer in Rome’? Well, I could literally kick myself for not having done so. I absolutely loved this author’s style of writing and the descriptions of Rome, the restaurant and the piazza. It really is true when they say that you can travel all over the world without leaving your chair.

I warmed to Mary straightaway and thought that it was very brave of her to start a new life in Rome. It actually did her a lot of good. The Rossi family were just lovely and they welcomed Mary with open arms, although it did take Dante a little while to thaw out.  I wasn’t too sure about Rocco at first. All became apparent later on though.

Reading about the pizzas made my mouth water. How I would have loved to watch Dante creating them. In fact, he can come and make me a pizza anytime. I certainly wouldn’t turn him away.

‘One Summer in Rome’ is a wonderful story. It deals with a number of issues; things which can affect us all. What some of the characters had been through was heart-breaking. It’s not all doom and gloom though. This story will also warm your heart and make you smile on a number of occasions.

I really do hope to read some of Samantha Tonge’s previous books when I get the chance and I am already looking forward to her next one.

Thank you for the many hours of pleasure.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~

Has my review whet your appetite?  It is available to buy from Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2rrwXfT

 

About Samantha Tonge

Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat who thinks it’s a dog. When not writing she spends her days cycling, willing cakes to rise and avoiding housework. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award in 2014. Game of Scones hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Best Romantic Ebook category at the 2015 Love Stories Awards.

 

Links

Website – http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/SamTongeWriter

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaTongeAuthor

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Cover and First Chapter Reveal – ‘The Things We Need to Say’ by Rachel Burton

I am thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for Rachel Burton’s new book.  ‘The Things We Need to Say’ is being published as an eBook on the 11th May 2018 by HQ Digital.

I hope you are ready to feast your eyes on the cover.  I really like it and think it’s beautiful.  It reminds me of long summer days.

Here goes……..

Book Blurb

Sometimes the things we never say are the most important.

Fran loves Will with all her heart. They had a whirlwind romance, a perfect marriage and a wonderful life. Until everything changed. Now Fran needs to find her way again and teaching a yoga retreat in Spain offers her just that. Leaving behind a broken marriage she has some very important decisions to make.

Will needs his wife, he needs her to open up to him if they’re to ever return to the ways things once were. But he may have damaged any possibility he had of mending their relationship and now Fran is in Spain and Will is alone.

As both Fran and Will begin to let go of a life that could have been, fate may just find a way of bringing them back together.

Perfect for fans of Katie Marsh, Amanda Prowse and Sheila O’Flanagan

~~~~~

And now to give you a taste of this book here’s the first chapter.

Book Extract

 

DECEMBER 2004

It started at the party. His hands on my hips, my forehead against his shoulder. He asked me to dance but he didn’t know how. We stood together at the edge of the dance floor shaking with laughter at his two left feet. I don’t know how long we stood there. I don’t know if anybody noticed.

He’d waited for me, sitting with my friends, not sure if I’d turn up or not. I wasn’t in the habit of going to work Christmas parties; I only went in the end because he said he would be there, because he said he would wait for me. I arrived just as the main course was being served. I slipped into the seat next to him. His hand brushed against my thigh as I sat down. He held my gaze for longer than he should have done.

I fell in love with him that night as we stood on the dance floor laughing, my hands on his waist, feeling the muscles of his back, the warmth of his body, through his dress shirt, the press of him against my hip.

That was where it began. I sometimes wonder if that should have been where it ended.

But later that evening, as I got out of his car, and I said those words I should have kept to myself, we both knew there was no going back.

 

JULY 2016

Fran

She wakes up in the same position in which she fell asleep, her husband’s arms around her, their hands entwined on her stomach. Neither of them have slept that deeply for months. Fran remembers something: a hotel room on a Greek island, a feeling of hope, of new beginnings. She doesn’t allow the memory to linger. This is what they have now. They can be happy again if they allow themselves to be.

The hot, humid weather has broken in the night and she listens to the sound of summer rain on the roof. Will moves gently against her, pulling her closer. She feels his breath against her neck and the sensation of hot liquid in her stomach, a combination of desire and need. This is their second chance – she can’t let it pass her by.

‘I love you,’ Will says sleepily.

‘I love you too,’ she replies. It feels good to be saying it to each other again. She’s never stopped loving him; she just forgot how to tell him for a while.

‘Do you want me to go and make coffee?’ Will asks, nuzzling her neck.

‘Not just yet,’ she replies, turning around to look at him. His brown eyes are dark, impenetrable pools. His hair is pushed back off his face. Sometimes she forgets how much all of this has affected him too. Sometimes she forgets everything except her own pain. She feels his warmth against her, his strength. She feels as though the gulf that had been threatening to open up between them for the last year is slowly closing. She realises they have so much life ahead of them. So much time to learn to be happy again.

‘I thought I’d lost you,’ Will says quietly, reaching up to stroke her face. ‘I thought you’d gone, but recently I feel as though you’ve come back to me.’

She smiles softly. ‘I thought I’d lost you too,’ she says. ‘This last year has been …’ She doesn’t finish. She can’t finish.

She watches as a shadow of anguish crosses his face, as his brow furrows, as his jaw tightens. She recognises that look, recognises the pain he is trying to hide. She hears the shudder of his breath. His eyes flick away for a moment; he pauses for a fraction too long.

‘No,’ he says. ‘You never lost me. I’ll always be here.’

She kisses him gently then, and feels his hand drift down the bones of her spine.

Later, showered and dressed, they finally appear in the kitchen; Will’s younger brother, Jamie, is already sitting at the table drinking coffee. Will and Fran are hardly able to stop touching each other.

Jamie smiles at them, raising an eyebrow. ‘You’re up late,’ he says. Fran feels herself blushing, her stomach flipping over, and turns away towards the toaster.

‘Thanks for last night,’ Jamie goes on. ‘I needed that.’ Recently separated from his wife, living apart from his children, Jamie is lonely. Last night wasn’t the first Saturday night he’d spent with them. Fran knows Will has been throwing himself into cheering his brother up. She doesn’t mind. Jamie makes Will smile and it’s good to see him smile again.

As Will and Jamie start talking about the cricket, she feels her husband’s hand on her thigh, the warm, solid sensation of him right there next to her. They have been given a second chance, and they have grabbed it with both hands. She isn’t naive enough to think everything is going to go back to the way it used to be, but she knows that they can move on; they can talk and heal together. They can take another chance on living, find a new kind of normal.

Will stretches, draining his coffee cup. ‘This weather isn’t going to let up is it?’ he says looking out of the window where the rain is rattling against the frames like beads in a jar. ‘I’m going to have to cancel the cricket.’ As captain of the village team it is up to him to reschedule this afternoon’s match. Fran is quietly delighted that the weather means she doesn’t have to spend her last afternoon with her husband before she goes away watching him play cricket. Will gets up and walks into his study, shutting the door behind him.

‘How are you feeling about tomorrow?’ Jamie asks.

‘Nervous,’ Fran replies. ‘It’s the first time I’ve been on a plane on my own, which is pathetic at my age, I know.’

‘It’s OK to be nervous.’

‘It’s the first time Will and I have been apart since …’ She trails off. Jamie knows what she’s talking about. ‘I’m worried about him too.’

Jamie smiles. ‘I’ll look after him,’ he says.

After a moment Jamie gets up and follows Will into his study. He doesn’t knock; he just opens the door and walks in. As Fran starts to clear the breakfast dishes she hears raised voices but can’t quite make out what they are saying. She rolls her eyes to herself. As an only child she has long since given up on understanding Will and Jamie’s relationship: best friends one minute, bickering the next. She just hopes Jamie doesn’t stay too long – she wants her husband to herself for the day.

 

Will

It rains all day, the sky grey and waterlogged and heavy with cloud. After Jamie leaves, Will pulls Fran towards him, his hands at the back of her head where her skull meets her neck, where her hair is cut so short.

‘No cricket,’ he says. ‘I’m all yours.’

She smiles, standing on tiptoe to kiss him.

‘Can we just watch a film or something?’ she says. ‘I’m tired and I have to pack for Spain later.’ His stomach drops at the thought of her going away. He wishes he’d never encouraged her to do it.

‘I’d forgotten about Spain,’ he says.

‘No you hadn’t. It’s the only thing we’ve talked about for ages.’

Will had watched Fran spend the last few weeks flipping back and forth between excitement and terror at the thought of going to Spain on her own. He knew she was strong enough to do it; he knew she was stronger than anyone realised. But he also knew that she wondered if she was ready. When she first mentioned Spain to him he had seen it as a perfect opportunity to help her begin to put herself back together again after what had been the worst year of both their lives. He tried to believe that everything life threw at him was an opportunity.

Fran had been teaching at a studio in central Cambridge for six years and had been asked to teach for a week on a retreat in Spain. Will had always supported her teaching, always tried to put her career on a level par with his own and had done everything he could to help her find the strength to go back to work in January. None of it had felt as though it was enough. None of it would make up for the last year, the things he had said, the things he had done. Suddenly he is terrified about being on his own. Neither of them have been alone for months.

‘What do you want to watch?’ he asks, squatting down in front of the TV.

‘Can we watch Some Like it Hot?’ Fran replies.

Will rolls his eyes. He must have seen it a hundred times, but puts it in the DVD player anyway and goes to settle himself on the sofa. ‘Come here,’ he says, and she sits with him, leaning back against his chest.

‘Are you OK about Spain?’ he asks quietly.

‘I think so,’ she says. ‘I’m nervous, but I’m excited as well.’

‘Elizabeth will be there with you, won’t she?’

‘Yes, and Constance. In fact, I already know most of the other people who are going. I’ll be fine.’ She pauses. ‘Are you going to be OK?’ she asks quietly.

‘I’m going to miss you,’ he says, lying back on the sofa, wrapping his arms around her. He doesn’t know how to answer the question. He wants to tell her everything but knows that now is not the right time.

‘I’m going to miss you too,’ she replies.

He kisses the top of her head as she presses ‘play’ on the remote control. He watches her as she watches her favourite film, her lips moving along with the characters – she still knows every word by heart. They used to spend rainy Sundays like this when they were younger, when life seemed easier.

Halfway through the film he realises that Fran is crying – fat, salty tears running down her cheeks.

‘Fran?’ he asks quietly, pressing pause on the remote.

Fran doesn’t reply, she just turns around and he takes her in his arms. He feels her body against his. She clings to him as though her life depends on it and he holds her close as she cries and cries. He can’t remember the last time he saw her cry like this. They had both done their grieving in private over the last year but to Will it feels as though Fran has been holding all this in for months, shutting herself down. He’s relieved that she finally seems ready to let go.

‘I want my old life back,’ she sobs. ‘I want to be happy again.’

‘So do I,’ Will whispers. ‘And we will, in time. I promise.’

‘I wish we’d never bought this house – we had so much hope.’

‘Shhh …’ Will says softly, stroking her hair as she weeps against him.

 

~~~~~

Hopefully your appetite for this book has been well and truly whet.  The good news is that it can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2kLqSYL

 

About Rachel Burton

Rachel Burton has been making up stories since she first learned to talk. After many false starts she finally made one up that was worth writing down.

After graduating with a degree in Classics and another in English, she didn’t really know what to do when she grew up. She has worked as a waitress, a paralegal and a yoga teacher.

She has spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Leeds with her boyfriend and three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.

Her debut, The Many Colours of Us, was an Amazon Kindle bestseller. Her second novel, The Things We Need to to Say, is released on 11 May 2018. She is currently working on her third novel in which the heroine follows the love of her life to live in a city in northern England. It has no autobiographical elements at all…..maybe.

Find her on Twitter & Instagram as @bookish_yogi or search Facebook for Rachel Burton Author. She is always happy to talk books, writing, music, cats and how the weather in Yorkshire is rubbish. She is mostly dreaming of her next holiday….

 

Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rachelburtonauthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/bookish_yogi

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/bookish_yogi/

 

Cover Reveal – ‘One Summer in Rome’ by Samantha Tonge

I am thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for Samantha Tonge’s new book, ‘One Summer in Rome’ which is being published as an eBook on the 9th May 2018 by HQ Digital.  I love the cover.  It’s so bright and colourful and it would definitely tempt me to read the book.

It’s time to reveal the cover in full.  I hope you all like it……

 

Book Blurb

To Rome…with love?

Mary Smith is turning her very ordinary life upside-down! She’s bought herself a one-way ticket to Rome and is ready for a summer she’ll never forget.

Men might be off the cards for waitress Mary, but within hours of arriving at the utterly charming family-run La Dolce Vita pizzeria, she’s already fallen in love with the bustling capital!

Only Dante Rossi, the mysterious (and drop-dead gorgeous) chef seems displeased with her arrival. And in the heat of the kitchen, it doesn’t take long for long-buried secrets to surface and sparks to fly…

A deliciously heartwarming romance to have you dreaming of summer. Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Caroline Roberts.

~~~~~

Do you like the sound of this book?  Well, it’s available to pre-order now on Amazon UK.  Here’s the link –  http://amzn.to/2rrwXfT

 

About Samantha Tonge

Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat who thinks it’s a dog. When not writing she spends her days cycling, willing cakes to rise and avoiding housework. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award in 2014. Game of Scones hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Best Romantic Ebook category at the 2015 Love Stories Awards.

 

Links

Website – http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/SamTongeWriter

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaTongeAuthor

 

Interview with Natalie Kleinman

I would like to introduce you all to Natalie Kleinman whose novel, ‘Escape to the Cotswolds’ was published as an eBook on the 21st June 2017 by HQ Digital.  I interviewed Natalie and asked her all about her latest book.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘Escape to the Cotswolds’ please?

After her husband cheats on her one time too many, Holly leaves London and starts again in the beautiful village of Cuffingham. A talented artist, she is able, with the help of a legacy from her parents, to open a small gallery in the high street. She’s doing well, is spotted by an American dealer and whisked off to the States for an exhibition. Back in England Holly gets a puppy, the adorable Tubs, but still something is missing from her life. And then there’s Adam, the gorgeous vet with whom she has a less than satisfactory relationship. Will they ever recover from the scrap of their first meeting?

 

How long did it take you to write?

About six months from first draft to first edit. Then another edit. Then ano…

 

Where did you get the idea for your book from?

It began as the germ of an idea. A cheating husband. A girl who has the courage to start again. And an area I lost my heart to years ago in which to set her story. Aside from that I’m a bit of a panster so from that point on it took me where it would. That first draft is as much a journey of discovery for me as I hope the finished article is for my readers.

 

Have you ever visited the Cotswolds and if so, how would you sell it to someone thinking about going on holiday there?

Many times and I wouldn’t have to sell it. It sells itself. Glorious honey coloured stone buildings. Quaint villages and hamlets. English market towns. Rolling countryside. Magnificent country houses. Does it for me.

 

Did you find that your characters spoke to you whilst you were writing?

Always, to the extent that two demanded I change their names because they were definitely not happy with the ones I’d given them, particularly my hero. He was right. The first one didn’t fit. And Holly’s inner thoughts became private conversations between the two of us. I found myself willing her on. Even some of the minor characters are real to me. I can clearly picture Betty and Donald and their farm.

 

What would you do if you met any of the characters from your book for real?

Greet them like the old friends they are.

 

What was the publishing process like for you?

A wonderful experience. My manuscript was submitted on 30th January and accepted on 15th February. My editors at HQ Digital were incredibly helpful and quick to reply to any queries. In no time, it seemed, I was given a publication date, then a cover reveal (I love it) and before I could blink it was up on Amazon and on its way.

 

How did you feel on the day your book was published?

Excited, euphoric and a bit stunned by the promotion side of things.

 

Are there more books coming?

The next one is in the planning stage, sort of. I don’t do a meticulous plan (remember, I said above I’m a panster) but I’ve written an outline and the whole story is in my head, though not the details of course. A couple of chapters done and already I’m finding out about my characters. One is particularly appealing. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

Has social media been useful to you?

Immensely. It’s not my favourite thing but I appreciate its importance. How can readers buy a book they don’t even know exists?

 

What advice have you got for anyone wanting to write a book?

Write it – but remember that writing is a craft, to be learned like any other. Now-famous authors who experienced instant fame had probably been writing for many years before their overnight success. There will be highs and lows but if it’s in you it will find a way out. Above all, engage with other writers. Join a group or a creative writing school. And depending on your favoured genre, look to the romantic, crime historical associations and become a member. The help you will receive will be priceless. On a personal level I can’t recommend The Romantic Novelists Association too highly.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

What spare time?

 

Who are your favourite authors?

Georgette Heyer. Lee Child. Georgette Heyer.  Harlan Coben. Georgette Heyer…

 

You are given the task of living on a desert island for one month and are only allowed to have two books with you.  What would they be?

Frederica by Georgette Heyer. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read it. It’s like a comfort blanket. And Escape to the Cotswolds so my characters, who have become my friends, can hold my hand until I’m rescued.

 

Thanks for answering my questions, Natalie.  Your book sounds wonderful and I wish you every success with it.

 

About Natalie Kleinman

Natalie, a born and bred Londoner, has a not-so-secret wish to live in the area she so enjoys writing about. While this isn’t practical at the moment she stills allows herself to dream of honey-coloured stone cottages, quaint villages and rippling brooks. Maybe one day.

A late-comer to writing, she has two published novels and many short stories to her name. She attributes her success to a determination to improving her craft, attending any and every writing event she can. All that and a weekly attendance at The Write Place Creative School in Dartford where cream cakes are frequently on the agenda.

Natalie lives with her husband in Blackheath, south-east London – except when she’s tripping off to The Cotswolds in the name of research. Somebody has to do it!

 

Links

Amazon
Facebook
Twitter
Blog

 

Blog Tour – ‘Trust Me’ by Gemma Metcalfe


I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in this blog tour celebrating Gemma Metcalfe’s debut novel. ‘Trust Me’ was published as an eBook on the 10th March 2017 by HQ Digital. I got my review copy from NetGalley.

Lana is stuck in a dead-end job working for a callcentre in Tenerife, making the sort of phone calls most people find annoying. Her boss is breathing down her neck as she hasn’t been able to sell even one holiday yet. Time is running out for her. If she doesn’t make a sale she’ll be out of a job. Dialling yet another number Lana hopes that this will be the one. Never in a million years did she expect the response she got.

Hundreds of miles away in Manchester, Liam has decided that life just isn’t worth living anymore. As he contemplates the best way to commit suicide the phone rings. At first he doesn’t intend to answer but then he decides that at least one person should know the truth before he dies, even if it is a complete stranger.

As the clock ticks, Lana and Liam find themselves sharing their deepest secrets. Will Lana be able to help Liam and stop him from committing suicide?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Trust Me’. I have to say there wasn’t much in the way of happiness in this story and I thought it to be a bit too depressing at first, but I soon found myself totally hooked and wanting to learn more about both Lana and Liam. I thought the plot based loosely on Gemma Metcalfe’s experience as a callcentre operative worked really well. Spread out over an afternoon, this story is about two complete strangers opening up to each other.

I really admired Lana and how she risked her job to try her best to help a stranger in his hour of need. At the same time though Liam was also of some comfort to Lana as she felt able to reveal her past to him. I was just itching to know why Lana had no choice but to up and leave with her daughter and to run away to a different country. Surely things couldn’t have been that bad? But as I read on things became very clear indeed and I was left shocked at what happened to Lana. Equally shocking was Liam’s story and what he had been through. I felt so very bad at the way he had been treated. I couldn’t help but hope that there would be a happy ending for them both. I think that what happens next though is left to the reader’s imagination.

‘Trust Me’ is a gripping read which will leave you absolutely aghast.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

Giveaway

There is a giveaway being run throughout this blog tour.  It is open to UK residents only.  For you chance to win a Boots voucher, a hardcopy of Trust Me and some surprise Boots goodies click on this link Rafflecopter Giveaway.

 

About Gemma Metcalfe


Gemma Metcalfe is a Manchester born author who now lives in sunny Tenerife with her husband Danny and two crazy rescue dogs Dora and Diego. By day, Gemma can be found working as a Primary school teacher, but as the sun sets, she ditches the glitter and glue and becomes a writer of psychological thrillers. An established drama queen, she admits to having a rather warped imagination, and loves writing original plots with shocking twists. The plot for her debut novel ´Trust Me,´ is loosely based on her experiences as a call centre operative, where she was never quite sure who would answer the phone…

 

Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01M4KBUBM/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33853393-trust-me?ac=1&from_search=true

Twitter: @gemmakmetcalfe

 

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