Christmas at the Gin Shack by Catherine Miller @katylittlelady #BookReview @rararesources

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Christmas at the Gin Shack, which Im sharing with Clair at Have Books, Will Read

  • Author: Catherine Miller
  • Kindle Edition
  • Category: Contemporary, Christmas, Book Review, Books, Reading

Gingle bells, gingle bells, gingle all the way…

Olive Turner might have lived through eighty-four Christmases, but she’ll never get bored of her favourite time of year. And this one’s set to be extra-special. It’s the Gin Shack’s first Christmas – and there’s a gin-themed weekend and a cocktail competition on the cards!

But, beneath the dazzle of fairy lights and the delicious scent of mince-pies, Olive smells a rat. From trespassers in her beloved beach hut to a very unfunny joke played on her friends, it seems that someone is missing a dose of good cheer.

Olive knows she’s getting on a bit – but is she really imagining that someone in the little seaside town is out to steal Christmas? More importantly, can she create the perfect gin cocktail before Christmas Eve – in time to save the day?

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo

I hadn’t realised this was a sequel so I had a quick recap of the first book which gave me enough background to become involved with the characters and the story, without actually having read the previous book. Despite being an octogenarian and having been persuaded to move into Oakley West retirement facility by her son after a minor stroke, Olive Turner is determined to live life to the full. Olive’s original ‘gin shack’ was her beloved beach hut where she and her two friends and kindred spirits, Veronica and Randy, met to drink their favourite tipple, becoming known as the Oakley West Trio. The quest to find the perfect gin and tonic began with Olive and her late husband, and Olive has no intention of giving up on their dream. And it makes her feel closer to her husband and daughter when she toasts them at the end of each day.

Olive’s Gin Shack idea escalated and is now a bar in larger premises, run by her beach hut neighbour and good friend, Tony, with the help of the original trio and the beach hut community. Christmas is coming which is Olive’s favourite season, and the Gin Shack members are trying out various delicious sounding cocktail recipes to enter into the Best Christmas Cocktail competition.

The Gin Shack was famous for featuring different gins. Every week customers got to try two new gin varieties and a cocktail featuring one of those gins. They were already known for their cocktail specials so it made sense that they should try and become award-winners to give their reputation some official gusto. Plus, it would be a fun way to keep attracting customers. Having had such a struggle in its early days, they needed to make sure the Gin Club shack was here to stay.

I love the concept of this story; the idea of a beach hut community (I’ve always fancied owning a beach hut) and the Gin Shack. And there’s much more to the story than you might at first assume, including lots of Christmas spirit (of both kinds), seeing off pranksters and saboteurs and a touch of romance. It’s far removed from the typical Christmas themed romance however, with the gang of older characters intent on family and friends, maintaining the Christmas spirit and keeping their enterprise going. Olive is a likeable and realistic character with genuine age related issues and tragic events in her past. She has a great attitude to life with a larger than life personality and I love the way she embraces her new purchase as she overcomes the steep climb up from the beach. It’s a refreshing change to have the more mature characters in the forefront of the story.

Catherine Miller has crafted a delightful cast of characters of all ages with an engaging, feel good story full of emotion and humour, a perfect read for the season.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I chose to read and review Christmas at the Gin Shack based on a digital copy of the book supplied by Rachel’s Random Resources and the author/publisher.

When Catherine Miller became a mum to twins, she decided her hands weren’t full enough so wrote a novel with every spare moment she managed to find.  By the time the twins were two, Catherine had a two-book deal with HQDigital UK. There is a possibility she has aged remarkably in that time. Her debut novel, Waiting For You, came out in March 2016. She is now the author of four books and hopes there will be many more now her twins have started school. Either that, or she’ll conduct more gin research on Olive’s behalf. 

 

Author links ~   Twitter | Facebook | Instagram  

 

#Spotlight & #Extract ~ Blog Tour for The Shock by Marc Raabe #Thriller #Crime @BonnierZaffre

About the Book

A THRILLER THAT YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO PUT DOWN – FOR FANS OF TANIA CARVER AND M. J. ARLIDGE.

When Laura Bjely goes missing during a storm on the Cote d’Azur, the only thing her friend Jan finds is her smartphone – with a disturbing film in the memory.

Back in Berlin, Jan’s neighbour is discovered with a bloody message left on her forehead.

As Jan searches for answers about what happened to Laura, he is thrown into a nightmare of madness and murder.

An exhilarating and merciless psychological thriller from the author of The Cut.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Extract

Thirty-first of October 1977 had been the day to end all days. The day his most fervent wish had been fulfilled. Even though wishes were never fulfilled. You didn’t just get what you wanted. It was a cast-iron rule.

That day, he’d broken the rule. Continue reading

Guest Post & #Extract ~ The Island of Dreams ~ Gregory James Clark @gilbster1000 #BlogTour #TuesdayBookBlog

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Island of Dreams by Gregory James Clark

About the book

In 2107, twenty-four year-old Gary Loman is disillusioned with life. There are scant opportunities in the capitalist world that surrounds him. When he receives a prestigious invitation, Gary knows that the change he has been waiting for has finally arrived; it’s a ticket to fame and glory as a skater.

Leaving the old world behind, Gary embarks on a new adventure on The Island of Dreams, led by the world’s newest monarchy, where he is introduced to the woman who will become his wife and a wildly different social order, one which has evolved over the previous seventy years by virtue of a slow, quiet and largely unnoticed revolution. By 2107, however, The Island is poised to become one of the most powerful states in the world, acquiring, most notably, the territory of Kamchatka.

The Island Queen, Queen Katie of Kamchatka, with the help of her devoted Prime Minister and her faithful staff, then attempt to educate and train the 240 receivers of the distinguished Queen’s Ticket, both for their roles as skaters and within the Kamchatskiy organisation, for whom they will be working under a completely new concept in political economy, based on quality rather than profit motives, and which is replacing Marxism as the world’s rival to capitalism. Continue reading

The Secrets of Villa Rosso by @LinnBHalton #Competition #TuesdayBookBlog @BrookCottageBks

Genre: Cosy mystery/romance

Release Date:21 July 2017

Publisher: Harper Impulse

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.

Book links ~ KoboAmazon UK | Amazon US

My Review

The story begins in the present as Ellie and Josh celebrate their nineteenth wedding anniversary. Her best friend and boss, Livvie, is hosting a party in their honour. When Ellie picks up Livvie’s ornamental crystal ball she sees a surreal image which gives her chills as she wonders what it signifies. Although it’s reputed to have belonged to a famous medium, no-one else has seen anything in the crystal and Livvie is sure it doesn’t work.  Continue reading

Guest Post from #author Merryn Allingham #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour @MerrynWrites @HQstories

For my stop on the blog tour I’m delighted to welcome Merryn Allingham with her guest post ~ The English Country House

The English country house was at its most popular in the 19th and early 20thcenturies. It was where wealthy and aristocratic families retired once the London season came to an end. The First World War is often seen as the moment when the English country house began its sharp decline but with the outbreak of the Second World War in September, 1939, the last remaining vestiges of country house living disappeared. 

When war broke out, houses all over the country were commandeered by the Government, some for training, others for offices or research centres. The least popular option for owners was to house soldiers – and with good reason. A number of country houses were destroyed by military occupation, their interiors hacked about to make different accommodation and several burned to the ground because of carelessness. There were stories of panelling chopped up for use as kindling and jeeps being raced along wide corridors. In The Secret of Summerhayes, Alice Summer, now an old lady, is confined to a small attic apartment while the mansion she once called home is battered and scarred by military occupation. Continue reading

GuestPost by @pgronane_author ~ Catch 52 ~ Surviving #Brexit #TuesdayBookBlog @authorightUKPR

Catch 52: One Man’s Tale of Surviving in a Post-Brexit World 

What do you do when your love affair with Europe comes to an undignified end?

On 24th June 2016, Mike McCarthy wakes up to the news that Britain has voted to leave the EU. A committed European, he is shattered. Over the coming weeks and months, he takes a long, hard look at himself, determined to uncover the reasons why this travesty has occurred, scrutinising the faces of everyone he meets for those he believes may have voted in or out.

As he tries to cope with the looming horror of Brexit, Mike fondly recalls his visits to Europe as a young man, the relationships he formed and how these have moulded his pan-European outlook.

Digging too deeply into issues has always been his problem. Mike begins to question the views he holds so dear and discovers new things about those closest to him. As McCarthy staggers on from The Referendum to the unthinkable triggering of Article 50, he finds himself plunged himself into a different world of social comment and political media. As the strategy for Brexit emerges, he wonders where his future lies and questions his commitment to a cause that may yet plunge his and Britain’s hopes and dreams into the abyss.

Continue reading

A Chateau For Sale by Carrie Parker #Romantic #Thriller @BrookCottageBks #Giveaway

Genre: Romantic thriller

Release Date:  13th January 2017

Publisher: Acorn Independent Press

Kate is living an idyllic life in the Kent countryside until she falls in love with her new neighbour, Nick.  She still loves her husband, Alastair, and she doesn’t want to choose.  Inevitably, she has to, but escaping with Nick to his château in southern France proves to be the worst decision of her life.

The betrayal of her beloved husband, Alastair, leaves Kate racked with guilt, but things are only going to get worse. She never imagined how fiercely loyal Alastair’s best friend, Richard, would prove to be . . . nor the devastating consequences of his loyalty.

Instead of the new start that she’d hoped for, Kate’s life at the château descends into a nightmare, taking her to the brink of despair . . . and when you’re desperate you’ll do anything.

What starts as a romance soon takes a much darker turn as the dramatic and unpredictable plot unfolds, twisting and turning, always with the château at its centre.

The novel captures the essence of rural France, from the descriptions of the countryside and villages to the insights into the lives of the locals and in-comers alike.

An ideal holiday read, A Château for Sale is also a cautionary tale for anyone dreaming of starting a new life in the sun!

Continue reading

#BlogTour ~ Dead Over Heels by Theresa Braun #Paranormal #Romance @t_braunauthor #Novelette

  • Author: Theresa Braun
  • Published: November 2016 by Frith Books
  • Category: Paranormal, Romance, Book Review, Blog Tour, Novelette.

Veronica’s first date with Sebastian not only stirs up a powerful attraction, but also a series of supernatural events that will tear them apart. 

After countless hours of dead end online dating, Veronica meets up with Sebastian at a reportedly haunted restaurant, since he knows she has a fascination with the paranormal. While enjoying their meals and each other’s company, they share a shocking supernatural experience. Their romantic connection is overshadowed by the ghosts of their own pasts that threaten to destroy their budding relationship. Veronica decides she must return to the restaurant to face her past and dig up more answers. Unfortunately, she realizes she must go back, this time with a reluctant Sebastian. In the end, they join forces against the evil that stands between them, but will they make it out alive?

Just when she’d about given up with online dating, Veronica decided to lend fate a helping hand and experiment with a candle spell. A developing online relationship ensued and a couple of weeks later, after messaging back and forth, she agreed to meet Sebastian. Their date was set for The River House, the venue chosen by Sebastian because it was supposedly haunted and he knew Veronica was fascinated by the paranormal. Continue reading