Archive for January 2013

Author in the Spotlight - A.L Jackson

 Today I am delighted to have A.L Jackson as my featured Author In The Spotlight! Lets find out a little bit more about her.

A.L. Jackson is the bestselling author of Pulled, Take This Regret, and When We Collide.
She first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student.  She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.
Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. She now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three beautiful children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.
A.L Jackson's new book LOST TO YOU is released today! I love the cover to this book and look forward to reading it. Congratulations to A.L Jackson on the release of her new book and Brook Cottage Books wishes her every success with it. To celebrate the release, readers of the blog have the chance to win an e-copy of the book! All you have to do is leave a comment below and I will put your name into my magic hat (aka generator) and will email the winner! Good luck!

 Competition closes 1/2/13 at 6pm (GMT)


Reviewer In The Spotlight Nikki Bywater

I am absolutely thrilled to be introducing the lovely Nikki Bywater as my first REVIEWER IN THE SPOTLIGHT. Nikki very kindly underwent an interrogation interview for me and here's what she had to say.
JB: So, Nikki, tell me a little about your blog
NIKKI: My blog is called Books4U and I read and review lots of different kind of books on there and also I sometimes have authors as guests for a chat about their books.
JB: How did you come up with the name for your blog?
NIKKI: I wanted so much for my blog to be called The Book Angel, but that name was gone so was about a dozen others that I tried, so getting tired I just thought there must be one name for me and then I thought 4 and came up with Books4U. So glad I did I was getting really stuck for a name! 
JB: What sort of books do you like to read?
NIKKI: I used to read books only about people and paranormal books as an adult, then one day I happened to be in the store Borders as it was about to close down for good and the manager came out and said “All books 10p now” So I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to pick up lots of books no matter what genre. The store was shutting fast so it was a case of having to grab this great chance fast, so you did not have chance to read all the blurbs on the back of the books anyway. So I ended up walking out with three big carrier bags of books for the cost of only about five pounds!  I wanted to try reading all the books and to see if I could find any I liked. Well I read all the books and I found many I loved. So that is how I ended up reading anything. I will read anything! 
JB: Why did you decide to blog?
NIKKI: Working my way through all those books, I felt quite sad just putting the books on my book shelf and I always wondered if there was a way to get more out of a book. Then I met the lovely author Pauline Barclay who told me about book reviewing and I knew this was just what would be perfect for me. So I decided to write a blog and blog about all the books I have read.
JB: How long have you been blogging?
NIKKI:  have been blogging for almost two years now and I love it!
JB: Do you have any other blogs?
NIKKI: Not at the moment, but I may do a completely different one to books in the future.
JB: Do you have an all-time favourite book?
NIKKI: This would be really difficult for me to choose as there are so many that I have read and really liked. I suppose I will always have a soft spot for books by Enid Blyton as these books are what started me off as a child enjoying reading. 
JB: What was your favourite book of 2012?
NIKKI: I really did read a lot of books in 2012 so it is very difficult to choose, I think I would have to go for Mini Skirts and Laughter lines by Carol E. Wyer.
JB:How many books are on your TBR pile for 2013?
NIKKI: I currently have 57 books in my TBR pile!
JB: Which book on your TBR pile are you most looking forward to reading? 
NIKKI: I am actually looking to read each and every one of the books. I just love reading and love starting a new book.
JB: What book surprised you the most? (in other words what book did you read that was not your usual genre and you found yourself enjoying?)
NIKKI:  A book about a group of super heroes, that you would only maybe usually find in comic books. The books are the H.E.R.O series by Kevin Rau, there are about ten in the series and I am on book two.
JB: Do you have a favourite author?
NIKKI: I really enjoy Jackie Collins books and Patricia Cornwall too.
JB: Give 3 book recommendations for the readers of Brook Cottage Books.
NIKKI: 1. Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines by Carol E. Wyer. 2. Surfing in Stilettoes also by Carol E. Wyer. Both of these books are just a really fun read and are really good. 3. Any books by Mary O'Sullivan as she writes excellent stories and all her books are really enjoyable reads.
Thank you so much Nikki for taking the time to visit the blog and for kicking off the new 'Reviewer in the Spotlight' feature.

Cover Reveal - The Fallen Stars

Today on the blog I am proud to be part of the cover reveal for Stephanie Keyes new book The Fallen Stars. Here's a what a few people have said about Stephanie's work

"Imaginative and fast-paced. Couldn't put it down!" - E.G. Foley, New York Times Bestselling author of The Gryphon Chronicles

"This well-written and intriguing fantasy was a delight to read. I can't wait to read the second novel in this series!" - Linn B. Halton, author Never Alone on The Star Child by Stephanie Keyes.
So, just what is the new book all about? Here's the blurb:

When all is lost, he will have to make the ultimate decision.

Kellen St. James was just your average seventeen-year-old prodigy, until he eighty-sixed the Lord of Faerie and proposed to a Celtic goddess. Now everything in Kellen’s life gets turned upside-down when Calienta, Kellen, and friend, Gabriel Stewart, find themselves on the run from a seriously irritated group of faeries. The worst part? They have zero idea why. 

Suddenly, Kellen finds himself stuck in the middle of another prophecy that questions everything about him including where his loyalties lie. Plus, Calienta’s more than a bit different; she’s making choices that he doesn’t understand. And Gabe, his best friend? He’s started doing all sorts of freaky things that make Kellen question who he really is.

Kellen and Calienta will fight to stay together and keep the hidden part of the prophecy from becoming reality.  

When the ultimate power is within reach, which side will he choose? 

Release Date: 12-April-2013, Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

 Sounds good? If you liked Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, Need by Carrie Jones, or Fallen by Lauren Kate, you will love this book!


About the author:

Stephanie Keyes has been addicted to Fantasy since she discovered T.H. White as a child and started drumming up incredible journeys in her head. Today, she’s still doing the same thing, except now she puts those ideas down on paper.

When she’s not writing Stephanie is also a graphic designer, presenter, teacher, musician, avid reader, and Mom to two little boys who constantly keep her on her toes. In addition, she’s best friend to her incredible husband of eleven years.
Keyes is the author of The Star Child YA Fantasy series, which currently includes The Star Child and The Fallen Stars. She is currently hard at work on the third book in the trilogy.
So, without further ado lets see what the new cover looks like!
I think you'll agree its absolutely stunning! And there's more...........theres a comp! 

Giveaway (Open to US, UK and Canada)

1 wired star bookmark, 3 Star Child (Book 1) ebooks and 5 The Fallen Stars eBooks. Just click on the link! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

Louisa is 27 years old, has a boyfriend and still lives at home with her parents, sister and nephew. Her life has no real direction; she has had the same job for years and has not experienced anything of life. She has no ambitions to do so. It’s a simple life and one she feels at ease in. However, all this changes when she loses her job.
Louisa accepts a job as a carer for a young local man Will, who has been in an accident and is now a quadriplegic. He is full of sadness, anger and resentment at the hand that fate has dealt him. He certainly doesn’t want Louisa in his life. Will feels he no longer has any control over his life but is determined to change that in a shocking decision. What he doesn’t reckon on is the impact Louisa will have in her attempts to convince him life is worth living. Louisa herself is in for a shock at how Will begins to change her own life. Both continually fight a losing battle around the influence each has on the other both giving a little of themselves.
This book is a triumph to JoJo Moyes talent. An emotionally raw book that had me sobbing like a baby. Sensitive subjects such as euthanasia, disability and the right to choose life are tackled here. It poses a moral dilemma for the reader and takes you on an emotional roller coaster, leaving you feeling drained but glad you let this book be a part of your life. 

A Kettle of Fish by Ali Bacon

I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to read this book before its publication and what a little gem it turned out to be.
The main character Ailsa is about to start university. But, her plans don’t go the way she had hoped and with an ill mother to look after Ailsa is torn about the direction her life will take. She soon begins to settle for the ‘easy option’ when she meets Ian. However, the memories of the times she spent with her father as a young child continue to haunt her and his absence seems to loom large in her life. Ailsa never really understood why he left her and her mother so abruptly when she was a child and it is something her mother doesn’t wish to discuss.
As Ailsa’s life begins to unravel she makes some startling discoveries about her family and soon finds answers she wishes she had never gone in search of. All the dots seem to connect and the people in her life are bound by a common history in a mysterious way. The secrets that reveal themselves are more shocking that she could have imagined!
I loved this book. It had me hooked from page one. It appears initially to be about a young girl whose life is torn and directionless. However, it soon becomes apparent there is a mystery unfolding with many shocking revelations! It’s addictive reading and draws the reader in, weaving little clues throughout the book that make you want to scream ‘I THINK I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED!’

However, Ali Bacon never fails to totally surprise the reader just when you think you have the upper hand and have totally grasped what you THINK has happened. There were a few ‘open mouth’ moments for me. Loved it and would highly recommend. You won’t be disappointed! Available in Kindle and Paperback (see below)

Jasmine Nights by Julia Gregson

All Saba Tarcan wants to do is sing. But, it is The Second World War and her ambitions will lead her down an unexpected and dangerous path.  Whilst singing for some injured airmen in a hospital she meets Dom, who himself becomes star struck with the beautiful half-Turkish Saba. 
Saba is signed up by ENSA, an organisation providing entertainment to the troops on the frontline. Her father is horrified by the idea but Saba defies him and soon finds herself in North Africa, on the greatest adventure of her life.  Dom cannot forget the beautiful singer who lifted his soul and helped him on the road to recovery and needs to see her again. Can love be found amongst the chaos of war? Saba soon finds that there are others who are interested in her but possibly for all the wrong reasons and this may ultimately impact on the course of Saba and Dom’s love story.
This is an intriguing and atmospheric book. I loved the backdrop of exotic and far flung places described in such a way to transport the reader making them feel part of the many cultures caught up in the conflict and understand their suffering.  Saba is an instantly likeable character and many other interesting and animated characters are introduced throughout the book. Some are not all they may seem.  Gregson’s descriptions of the haunted frontline soldiers and airmen brings to life the difficulties endured during the Second World War and the sacrifices made by many. 

This review appeared on

The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay

The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay
Moth, a 12 year old girl from the slum tenements of Manhattan in 1871 is the daughter of a gypsy fortune teller. Her father leaves and Moth and her mother, like other families in the tenements struggle to live. A life in poverty becomes a grim fight for survival. However, Moth’s mother, whether through desperation or in an effort to give Moth a better life sells her as a lady’s maid. Moth’s life takes on many twists and turns, and she finds herself in the murky, seedier world of the Bowery. She is befriended by many people most of them dubious, such as Miss Everett who intends to exploit Moth’s virginity and sell it to a wealthy gentleman. However, there are some desperate to look out for her welfare, such as the intriguing Dr Sadie who administers medical care to the girls in Miss Everett’s care. She desperately attempts to lead Moth down a different path towards a better life.

From the start I loved this book. The subject matter of child prostitution is grim and there are some startling scenes in the book. However, this is a fascinating book, giving the reader a glimpse into the past. The characters are intriguing and the further you get into the book the more you want the best outcome for Moth. Her life and her experiences are heart breaking and in telling her story she draws the reader into her world, making us care about her.
*This review appeared on

Author in the Spotlight - Julia Hughes

Brook Cottage Books is thrilled to have Julia Hughes as our featured Author in the Spotlight! Here's a little bit about Julia in her own words.
"I'm an eldest child and walking my younger brother and sister to school and back, I'd tell them stories – a captive audience! On leaving college, I worked at the BBC, helping write stories for their "Schools' Programmes". That was back in the day, before satellite telly made it over to the UK and 'Auntie Beeb' ruled the air waves! I gave it all up for the good life, and moved down to Cornwall, one of the most beautiful counties in England, and often known as 'God's own country.' I think the greatest compliment I received was 'Julia's more Cornish than the Cornish.' I picked daffodils in winter and made pasties for the holidaymakers in the summer. But all good things come to an end: I upped sticks to be closer to my family, and landed in a little village just outside London, and have been here ever since, scribbling away at my stories. "
I don't specifically write in any one genre, an idea will flitter into my mind, and the story develops. My first three titles, "A Raucous Time", "A Ripple in Time" and "An Explosive Time" are action adventures, while "The Bridle Path" is romance. I think I'd overdosed on the testosterone flying around in the previous three books and wanted something a little more feminine and romantic.
My latest title "The Griffin Cryer" is an adventure/fantasy. What makes this genre special is the opportunity to really allow imagination to take flight, and even create whole new worlds for readers to explore.'
Everyone loves a freebie and at Brook Cottage Books we are thrilled that The Griffin Cryer by Julia Hughes is free on Kindle from 12th - 16th January (midnight) so there's still time to grab a bargain! Its now on my TBR list! So, whats the book about? Here's a bit of blurb!
Frankie Shaunessy's friends are out of this world!

It's an easy mistake to make - instead of whistling and calling for her dog, fifteen year old Frankie accidentally summons a griffin and his rider from another world. The Rider is tall, blond and extremely rude. On the other hand, Balkind is the sweetest, most lovable griffin Frankie's ever met, and Frankie is determined to help the Rider and his griffin find a way back to their own world.

Dealing with parallel universes, disgruntled warriors, and hungry griffins is the easier part of Frankie's life. At school, Frankie learns friends can become enemies, teachers aren't always right, and the boy of your dreams can be all too human. Told in approximately 53,000 words, suitable for young adults, and all those who've ever dreamed of riding a griffin.

Cover art by Laura Wright LaRoche of Designs
Julia's website: or tweet @Tinksaid

 The book is also available on as well as

The Bridge Club by Patricia Sands


This book is about 8 women who have remained true and loyal friends through their entire adult lives. The book explores their relationship over a period of 40 years. They meet regularly to play bridge and basically to put the world to rights, although their friendship extends further than just their regular Bridge meetings. They have supported each other through very difficult periods of their lives and each of the women has drawn strength from the collective group.
Each of these unique women brings something different to the group. Coming from a diverse range of lifestyles with equally diverse points of view they seem to gel and have, over time become a special sort of family who remain fiercely loyal to one another. The book examines many issues that the women are forced to examine and deal with in their personal lives from grief, illness and marital breakdown.
I found this book a fascinating read as the idea of enduring friendships is something that I can relate to. I myself have been lucky enough to be friends with the same group of friends since my school days – almost 30 years! We too meet regularly and come from a variety of backgrounds and have also dealt with some of the issues the wonderful ladies in the Bridge Club have dealt with.

Patricia Sands has crafted a wonderful piece of writing through this book. Her descriptions of the various locations throughout Canada are absolutely breath taking. The reader can almost imagine themselves there. The characters in the book, or as I found myself referring to them as ‘the leading ladies’ are likeable in their own way. The fact that each is so different makes the dynamics of their relationship so interesting. It is very difficult to find a favourite character as they are all so fabulous and the reader soon becomes engrossed in each individual’s story.
The book explores just how far you would go for a friend. How much would you do to help them in a very difficult situation? For each of the ladies in the book, there is no limit. They love each other like sisters and no-one will ever break this bond they all share.
I can definitely recommend this book. It’s a wonderful, heart-warming, heart breaking story that is well worth a read. Have a box of tissues at the ready however and make sure you are wearing waterproof mascara!

The Second Coming by John Niven

 This book was definitely an example of why you should broaden your horizons and read things you wouldn't normally. Everyone needs to stretch themselves and experience new types of books. So, that's what I did with this book. Reading the blurb I thought that I would hate this book, but it was recommended to me so I thought I'd give it a go!

The general gist of the book is that God has been on a fishing trip and when he returns to heaven, after leaving Jesus in charge, the world has gone to hell in a handcart! So, he sends Jesus or good old JC back to earth to fix things. However, Jesus is a bit of a stoner......and..........well I won't spoil it for you.

I totally loved this book!!! Definitely not for anyone who has fairly strong religious beliefs as they would definitely be offended. Although, the main message conveyed in the story is one of 'be nice' and love your fellow man. Get rid of all hatred and prejudice! I have to say, that as an atheist, if there was a god and heaven was like this then I'd sign up for religion!!! An absolutely hilarious book. God sends his son back to earth, from heaven which appears to be party central, to try and get his message of love across once again to humanity. I defy anyone not to laugh out loud at this book!


Cover Reveal - Storm Clouds Gathering by Pauline Barclay

Brook Cottage Books is very pleased to be part of a new Cover Reveal for Pauline Barclay. Her new book called Storm Clouds Gathering is due for release later this year! I think you will all agree that the book cover looks fab!  Love it!

The book cover was designed by Cathy Helms at Avalon Graphics. Cathy designed the covers for Pauline's other books.
So, what will the book be about? Here's a little bit of blurb to pique your interest.............
'Set in the backdrop of the mid 1960's, Storm Cloud Gathering is about love, lies, and loss, but it will be the cheating and the lying, the anguish and the bitterness that will change the lives of three families forever. For Anne Simpson and Paul Betham, Jimmy and Shirley Burton and Joe and Kathleen Mitchell, the events of the summer of sixty five will mean there can be no going back, but to go forward it will take understanding and forgiveness, the question is: Is that possible?'
Well, I for one cannot wait for the book!

Reaching For The Stars by Janice Horton

This was the first book by Janice Horton that I read and I absolutely loved it!  Janice has a wonderful writing style and like his fans I also fell in love with Finn McDuff who is the central character. He just oozes charm and sex appeal and in my very vivid imagination I could see Daniel Craig playing him if this was ever made into a movie! Yes I know I have an over-active imagination! Very quickly into the story the reader can't help but be charmed by Finn and care about what happens to him.

 Finn is a sexy celebrity chef with a reputation to go with his lovely new and much sought after award. However, as Finn finds out, reaching for those golden stars does not guarantee happiness and he is forced to make decisions that he never contemplated before. Finn becomes so overwhelmed with the celebrity lifestyle that he shuns it and disappears. This self imposed exile however only perks the interest of the celebrity hunters and the press!

Where is Finn McDuff? Can he change his life? Will the press be a help or a hindrance? Love and support comes from the most unlikely of places but will Finn accept it and what will be the consequences if he does? Will his public love him or hate him? So many questions! Buy the book and find out! You won't be disappointed!


Author in the Spotlight - Janice Horton

Today, the Author in the spotlight feature is focusing on the lovely Janice Horton. I have read two of Janice's books -
Reaching for the Stars (review to appear on the blog tomorrow - 8th January)

How do you Voodoo (Review to appear on the blog 17th Feb) and enjoyed them both immensely.

Lets find out a little about Janice............

Janice Horton lives in Scotland and writes contemporary Scottish fiction with humour and heart. She says that the Scotch mist, the diffused light, the ancient castles and the old traditions surrounding her remote hillside cottage, inspire her stories and fire her imagination.

Look out for her Amazon Kindle bestselling ebooks 'Bagpipes and Bullshot' and Reaching for the Starts and her latest fun and magical novella 'How Do You Voodoo'. When not writing novels, Janice writes lifestyle articles for national and international magazines and regional newspapers.

Janice has also been involved in BBC Scotland's 'Write Here Write Now' initiative. She is a member of the Romantic Novelist's Association and also a Featured Author and Associate Editor of Bookshelf Reviews at the magazine style website

Find out more about Janice and her novels:

Author Blog:
Follow her on Twitter:
Like her Author
Facebook Page
Featured Author & Associate Editor at:
Link to her ebooks on
Link to her ebooks on


SHADES OF APPLEY GREEN – A modern village Novel by Miriam Wakerly


I have to say that this book is not my usual genre but I was keen to read it as I had read so many good reviews about it. I was not disappointed. Whilst the book tells the story of the main character Steph at quite a slow and measured pace this is a perfect style as for me it reflected the unhurried and relaxed pace of the village of Appley Green. If I was ever to go and live anywhere, it would be this village. I could imagine being there! The descriptions of the village that Miriam Wakerly gives throughout the book perfectly sets the scene of a place unaffected by the hamster wheel of modern life that grinds you down.
The main character of the book is Steph a kind and loving young woman who is perfectly suited to her job. She is part of a charity involved with the elderly of Appley Green. One of her‘clients’ Jackson holds a special place in Steph’s heart and throughout the book we discover the reason why. But this is more than a job for Steph. It is a promise she made to one of the few men Steph has ever respected and trusted.

Steph juggles a very busy career with the very serious job of being a single mum to Faith and Barnaby. Her job is not made easy by the man who must oversee her work, Greg. Steph feels he is there at every turn, waiting for her to slip up and putting extra pressure on her.
Steph explores her past through a series of diary entries. A past that is filled with happiness and heartache. A past she must face before she can look to the future. Her mistrust of men threatens to lead her to a lonely life where she feels unloved. But, her life begins to take many unexpected and at times difficult paths that Steph must deal with. Can she do this alone or will help come from a very unlikely source?
Miriam Wakerly has a writing style that shows a special relationship with her characters. She explores many issues within the book. Issues such as grief, loss, love and the need for family. The issue of how the elderly are affected by loneliness, separation from family and isolation is also explored and gives the reader some food for thought. This a great book for a lazy Sunday afternoon or for on the beach. It won’t have your pulse racing but it’s not meant to. It’s a ‘feel good’ book with an unexpected twist at the end. I’ll definitely be reading more work by this very talented lady.

 Kindle format         Paperback format

Classic in the Spotlight - Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights is a wonderful classic written by Emily Bronte. Like most people I was introduced to this great book as part of the school curriculum many years ago. I instantly loved this book from the first page and have read it a couple of times. I still have the copy I had in school! Wuthering Heights is a dark and brooding love story, filled with passion, intrigue and deep seated revenge. Its a story of social divide, doomed love and obsession. It is cruel and shocking in places.

Mr Lockwood rents Thrushcross Grange to spend some time recuperating. He visits his landlord Heathcliff at his home, Wuthering Heights. However, a snow storm leaves Mr Lockwood stranded at Wuthering Heights and he is forced to spend the night with its strange inhabitants. He sleeps in a bedroom once inhabited by someone called Catherine and later dreams of her ghost. He later finds out the story of Catherine from his housekeeper upon his return to Thrushcross Grange. This leads us to find out about the early life of Heathcliff and Cathy.........

Heathcliff, an orphaned gypsy boy is adopted by a well to do gentleman Mr Earnshaw and raised as one of his own, much to the chagrin of Hindley, Mr Earnshaw's natural son. Heathcliff and Catherine (Cathy) Earnshaw become firm friends and spend much time on the moors. In later years when Mr Earnshaw dies, Heathcliff is relegated to the status of servant when Hindley becomes the master at Wuthering Heights.

One day while spying on the inhabitants of Thrushcross Grange, The Lintons. Cathy is caught and spends the week there. She returns a lady and soon Heathcliff seems rough and uneducated to her. Catherine soon becomes entangled in a relationship with Edgar Linton despite being in love with Heathcliff. And thus heralds a saga of love, hurt and a dark passion that is often reflected through the imagery of the moors, weather and Wuthering Heights itself and spanning over a number of years. It is told through flashbacks and diary entries. A wonderful book and definitely one of the classics to read! Its currently free from Amazon on Kindle but also available at a cost in paperback.

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