Blog Tours · Books · Giveaway · Guest Post · Rachael Featherstone

Puzzle Girl Blog Tour: A Guest Post from author Rachael Featherstone (@WRITERachael) @DomePress & Giveaway

I am delighted to be welcoming author Rachael Featherstone to Sarah’s Vignettes today. Rachael’s debut novel Puzzle Girl is out in paperback this month and she has written a beautiful piece to share with you about the inspiration behind the story. It’s straight from the heart and I am honoured to be featuring it. There is also a chance for you to win a copy of the book.

Thank you to Emily Glenister at The Dome Press for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for sending me a copy of the book to be reviewed on Sarah’s Vignettes soon.

~ Publisher’s Description ~

Love is a riddle waiting to be solved… Clued-up career girl Cassy Brookes has life under control until one disastrous morning changes everything. When she finds herself stuck in a doctor s surgery, a cryptic message left in a crossword magazine sends her on a search to find the mysterious puzzle-man behind it. Cassy is soon torn between tracking down her elusive dream guy, and outwitting her nightmare workmate, the devious Martin. Facing a puzzling love-life, will she ever be able to fit the pieces together and discover the truth behind this enigmatic man?

~ Guest Post from Rachael Featherstone ~
Rachael Featherstone and mum, Letitia Featherstone

I’m often asked what inspired me to write Puzzle Girl. In a nutshell: my mum. But that doesn’t do her justice. It’s hard to put into words just how much of an inspiration my mum was for this book. She wasn’t just the base of a character or a cheerleader for my writing process. Without her, Puzzle Girl would never have existed, the idea or the physical book.

I was 23 when I found out my mum (aged 45) had terminal ovarian cancer. The news was devastating but my mum didn’t let it stop her from living every minute of her life to the fullest. She travelled, she fundraised, she did chemo and alternative treatments, she embraced a raw food diet and positive thinking. She surpassed the doctors’ expectations. She had always been an inspiration to me, bringing me up by herself, going to university as a mature student to become a primary school teacher when I was young. But during her illness she showed me just how strong she really was.

I tried to hold it together, but I needed an outlet for the emotions I was feeling. When I was a self-conscious teenager, the first book that offered me true escapism and made me laugh-out-loud was Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella. So it just seemed to make sense – at a time when I really needed to find reasons to laugh – to try writing a romantic comedy.

The idea for Puzzle Girl began to take shape while I was sat in a hospital waiting room with my mum. There was a stack of magazines. I began wondering what would happen if someone had left a message in one of them and the story grew from there. While none of the book is based on true events or people, my mum was the catalyst for writing the book and I wanted her reflected in the story in some way.

At one point in the novel, Cassy (for reasons I will leave you to discover!) finds herself reluctantly in a yoga class. My mum only trained to be a yoga teacher when I was older so it’s not often how I remember her but many people do. She touched so many people’s lives. She was the sunshine on a rainy day. That’s why I created Letitia Sunshine.

Letitia Featherstone

My mum died before I finished my book but she never doubted I would get it published one day. When she was in the hospice, I read her the Letitia Sunshine passage and it is so special to me. Puzzle Girl has gone through HUGE structural changes since then, but the short scene with Letitia Sunshine is almost unchanged from the original. Knowing my mum heard that part is so incredibly important to me.

Writing Puzzle Girl was in many ways a coping mechanism for what was going on in my life at the time. Puzzle Girl is more than just my debut novel, it contains a memory, a part of my history and a link to my mum, that I will always cherish. I hope reading Puzzle Girl offers you some escapism and makes you laugh whether on a rainy day or in the sunshine!

~ Where to find Puzzle Girl ~

Puzzle Girl was published by The Dome Press in ebook in August 2018 and in paperback in January 2019. It can be found at Amazon UK and on Goodreads.

~ Giveaway ~

For your chance to win a paperback copy of Puzzle Girl, click on the button below. The giveaway is open until 12am on 20 January 2019. A winner will be announced shortly afterwards. UK entries only please. Good luck!! Full terms and conditions are below the entry button.

*Terms and Conditions –UK and Ireland entries only.  Please enter using the button above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Sarah’s Vignettes will delete the data.  Sarah’s Vignettes is not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

~ About Rachael Featherstone ~

Rachael Featherstone was born and raised in Woodford. Her path to writing was a little unorthodox. After reading Mathematics at Oxford University, New College, Rachael went to work in research.

When Rachael’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012, Rachael decided to take a chance, quit her job, and fulfill a lifetime ambition to write a novel. She went back to university and completed a Masters in English Literature and had several short stories published.

Rachael now lives in Hampshire with her husband and daughter.

You can find out more about Rachael on her website www.writerachael.com and connect with her on Facebook @RachaelFeatherstoneAuthor,  Twitter @WRITERachael and Instagram @rachael_featherstone

~ Follow the tour ~

Do drop by the other blogs on the Puzzle Girl tour!

Alis Hawkins · Books · Crime · Recommended Reads · The Riviera Woman

None So Blind by Alis Hawkins (@Alis_Hawkins) @DomePress ~ Recommended Read ~ The Riviera Woman

The Riviera Woman

I regularly share my top reads from this blog over at The Riviera Woman.

The Riviera Woman, run by Anna Fill, helps women living or working on the Riviera live life to the full with it’s inspirational people and interesting articles.

For December, I have chosen None So Blind by Alis Hawkins. You can read my review here.

Blog Tours · Books · Crime · Review Copy · Reviews

Blog Tour, Review, Giveaway: None So Blind by Alis Hawkins (@Alis_Hawkins) @DomePress

I am thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for None So Blind by Alis Hawkins. Thank you to Emily Glenister and The Dome Press for asking me to be involved and for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review. 

In this tour, I have my review to share with you and a giveaway where you can win a copy of the book. Scroll down to find out what I thought of the book and to enter the giveaway. 

~ Publisher’s Description ~

West Wales, 1850.
When an old tree root is dug up, the remains of a young woman are found. Harry Probert-Lloyd, a young barrister forced home from London by encroaching blindness, has been dreading this discovery.

He knows exactly whose bones they are.

Working with his clerk, John Davies, Harry is determined to expose the guilty, but the investigation turns up more questions than answers.

The search for the truth will prove costly. Will Harry and John be the ones to pay the highest price?

~ My thoughts ~

None So Blind is the first book in The Teifi Valley Coroner series by Alis Hawkins. Set in Wales in 1850, seven years after the Rebecca Riots, it is a story full of secrets, deceit, disguise, lies, love, revolt and so much more. I loved it!

Cleverly plotted with absorbing characters, None So Blind is told in six parts, from Discovery through to Afterwards, each section alternating between the points of view of Harry Probert-Lloyd and John Davies. Harry is an extremely interesting and well-crafted main character. Rapidly losing his sight, he is forced back home to the Teifi Valley from his work as a barrister in London. When human remains are found under an uprooted tree, he knows who they belong to and, with the assistance of his clerk, John Davies, is determined to find out how they got there. Harry and John make a great detective duo and I am excited to follow their stories through the series.

I enjoy reading both crime fiction and historical fiction but I think that this might be the first time I have read an historical crime fiction novel, and it has started something! Enter into a world without DNA to support crime solving, where horses or walking are the only modes of transport to visit suspects and witnesses, letter writing is the only way to contact people and share news. Ooh, it was fun living in this Victorian world and I didn’t want it to end. It was so easy to pick up None So Blind  and think I would just read a couple of chapters but then it was impossible to put down. It was so captivating! Alis Hawkins has a subtle way of slowly drawing in the reader to this dark world and it was a page turner from the beginning. 

I am really looking forward to finding out what Alis Hawkins conjures up for the next book in the series.

~ Where to find None So Blind ~

None So Bind  was published in November 2018 by The Dome Press and can be found at the following links:

Goodreads            Amazon UK          Amazon US

~ Giveaway ~

For your chance to win a paperback copy of None So Blind , click on the button below. The giveaway is open until 12am on 29 November 2018. A winner will be announced shortly afterwards. UK and Ireland entries only please. Good luck!! Full terms and conditions are below the entry button.

*Terms and Conditions –UK and Ireland entries only.  Please enter using the button above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Sarah’s Vignettes will delete the data.  Sarah’s Vignettes is not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

~ About Alis Hawkins ~
Alis Hawkins
Alis Hawkins

Alis Hawkins grew up on a dairy farm in Cardiganshire. She left to read English at Oxford and has done various things with her life, including bringing up two amazing sons, selling burgers, working with homeless people and helping families to understand their autistic children. And writing, always.

Radio plays (unloved by anybody but her), nonfiction (autism related), plays (commissioned by heritage projects) and of course, novels.

Her current historical crime series featuring blind investigator Harry Probert-Lloyd and his chippy assistant John Davies, is set in her childhood home, the Teifi Valley. As a side effect, instead of making research trips to sunny climes, like some of her writer friends, she just drives up the M4 to see her folks.

Alis speaks Welsh, collects rucksacks and can’t resist an interesting fact.

Find out more at www.alishawkins.co.uk and follow Alis on Twitter at @Alis_Hawkins.

~ Follow the Tour ~

Be sure to drop by the other stops on the tour!

None So Blind Blog Tour poster
None So Blind Blog Tour 
Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Recommended Reads · Reviews · Sue Haasler

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Half A World Away by Sue Haasler (@pauseliveaction) @DomePress

Welcome to my stop on the tour for Half A World Away by Sue Haasler. I have my review to share with you as well as a chance for you to win a paperback copy of the book.

Thank you to Emily Glenister at The Dome Press for asking me to be part in the tour and for sending me a proof copy of this book to read and review.

~ Publisher’s description ~

Being different can be dangerous…

East Berlin, 1987. Charming and talented Alex dreams of becoming a professional saxophonist while working long hours in the family bakery. Detlef, lonely, repressed, and a small-time Stasi informer, develops an obsessive love for him. But Alex has eyes only for Nicky, an English woman visiting East Berlin as an au pair.

With no natural outlet for his feelings, Detlef’s passion becomes destructive, his need for approval enmeshed with the latent homophobia of the regime. As Alex takes up with more successful musicians, he moves closer to influences considered subversive by a state that has eyes and ears everywhere, and Detlef’s passions threaten to endanger them all.

~ My Thoughts ~

Half A World Away is a love story set in East Berlin in 1987, two years before the Berlin Wall came down. Alex works in his family’s bakery by day and plays saxophone by night. When he meets Nicky, a young English au pair, the two begin a relationship and will do whatever it takes to be together. However,  when Detlef, a loner and Stasi informant, upon seeing Alex for the first time, falls in love with him. Under a regime where homosexuality is not allowed, a destructive love triangle ensues.

When I first picked up Half A World Away, I only set out to read a few pages. 50 pages later, I looked up at the clock – I didn’t want to put it down! The writing is comfortable and flows really well. The chapters are short too, which I really liked, and feel lends itself well to the gripping and captivating nature of the story.

Continue reading “Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Half A World Away by Sue Haasler (@pauseliveaction) @DomePress”

Advanced Review Copy · Books · Claire Dyer · Recommended Reads · Reviews · The Riviera Woman

The Last Day by Claire Dyer (@ClaireDyer1) ~ Recommended Read ~ The Riviera Woman

I regularly share my top reads from this blog over at The Riviera Woman. The Riviera Woman

The Riviera Woman, run by Anna Fill, helps women living or working on the Riviera live life to the full with it’s inspirational people and interesting articles.

For April, I have chosen The Last Day by Claire Dyer. You can read my review here.

The_Last_Day

Advanced Review Copy · Blog Tours · Books · Claire Dyer · Guest Post · Recommended Reads · Reviews

Blog Tour, Review & Guest Post: The Last Day by Claire Dyer (@ClaireDyer1) @DomePress

I am absolutely thrilled to be welcoming Claire Dyer and her latest novel The Last Day to my blog today. I have a great guest post from Claire about other people’s wrongs as well as my review of this wonderful story to share with you.

Thank you to Emily Glenister at The Dome Press for asking me to be part of the tour and for sending me a proof copy of this gorgeous book to read and review. Continue reading “Blog Tour, Review & Guest Post: The Last Day by Claire Dyer (@ClaireDyer1) @DomePress”