Showing posts with label Welsh Weekend. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Welsh Weekend. Show all posts

May 25, 2015

Welsh Weekend Review and Giveaway: Breathless by Louise Marley

Someone in Port Rell has a secret.

Nothing ever happens in the seaside village of Port Rell, which is why Lainey Jennings is so keen to leave it. She’s only twenty-four, there’s so much more she wants to do with her life. Crazy and outlandish things; like ice diving in Alaska, explore the underwater caves in Mexico, maybe even search for the lost city of Atlantis. Stay in Port Rell forever? Talk about purgatory!

Since the death of her father, she’s struggled to keep the family diving business from bankruptcy. There’s just one thing that keeps her going. Her dream that one day she’ll discover the lost wreck that her father was so obsessed with, the legendary Mary Eliza - responsible for destroying Port Rell almost four hundred years ago.

When an old, unknown wreck is discovered in the bay, sleepy Port Rell is under siege once again. This time it’s from the media, including a team from the Wreck Raiders TV show, led by handsome archaeologist Zac Nelson. The villagers are quick to cash in on their unexpected popularity, but ancient wrecks aren’t the only things waiting to be discovered in Port Rell.

Because someone in Port Rell has a secret.

And it's deadly.

Breathless is a romantic comedy with a murder mystery.

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Lainey lives in Port Rell, a village that's famous because of smugglers and shipwrecks. Most of the inhabitants of the village gladly see the tourists coming as it's their main source of income. Lainey is a diving instructor, she's trying to keep her father's business going. He died while diving, in a shipwreck. He wanted to find the Mary Eliza, that was his biggest wish and his lifework. He left Lainey his papers and she's trying to find the ship as well. When she finds a coin, she knows she's close, but then someone else claims to have found it. Will is her biggest competitor, his diving business is thriving while Lainey's is struggling. He's always one step ahead of her and she doesn't like him very much.

Lainey's best friend Selma and her family are seeing her as one of their own. She's always welcome at the Smuggler's Inn which is her second home. Lainey is living on a barge and she loves being on the water. When her boyfriend is being found dead she's having quite a fright. They had actually just broken up, but she misses him very much. When she meets someone new after a while she isn't ready yet. And who is he anyway? Greg says he is a policeman, but the police have never heard of him and what is he doing at the house of Lainey's enemy? And then there's Zac, the archaeologist who's making a documentary about the Mary Eliza, the ship they're trying to uncover. Lainy offers her services, but that isn't without complications...

Breathless is a great story about a girl who's lost so much. Lainey is tough, but to keep going she has to build a wall around her. She does what she can to make a living, to get by and to survive. I liked that about her. There are so many secrets in Port Rell and I couldn't wait to find out what they were. Something clearly isn't right and I wanted to know the details. I couldn't stop reading and really liked the story. The background of the shipwrecks, the sea, the smugglers and the tale of what happened in Port Rell in 1695 made this such an interesting book. I enjoyed reading about Lainey's love life and couldn't wait to find out more about the mysterious Greg. Breathless is a fantastic read and I highly recommend it.

Enter the giveaway to win a kindle copy of Breathless and Something Wicked.

 I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international. 

Welsh Weekend: Elen's Island by Eloise Williams Signed Book Giveaway

Enter the giveaway to win a signed copy of Elen's Island by Eloise Williams. You can find my review here, it's a fantastic book. Good luck!

    I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international. 

Welsh Weekend: Laughing Bird Beauty Products Giveaway

Enter this giveaway to win a Laughing Bird beauty package with body wash, hand cream, lip balm and soap. Good luck!

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  I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international. 

May 24, 2015

Welsh Weekend: Someone Else's Conflict by Alison Layland

The boy looks up and sees the foreigner's rifle aimed at him. Why is this man here? This is not his conflict, it is not the boy's... it is hell.
Jay has been home for a long time, but the ghosts of Yugoslavia are still with him as he busks his way round the country.
Marilyn is fresh out of a controlling relationship and desperate to reassert her independence. The last thing she needs is to fall for an itinerant storyteller who has a strange relationship with the truth. And then the police call on her.
When the past catches up with the present and stories become reality, Jay and Marilyn must decide who to believe and who to betray.

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Jay is leading a nomadic life. He owns a house, but he isn't staying there. He's trying to come to terms with his past, but it keeps haunting him. He's fought in Yugoslavia, for friends. Something traumatic happened and Jay has never been able to get over it. Jay has his flute and he tells stories to make money. When he meets Marilyn he offers to help her with her house after a terrible storm. Even though she doesn't need to she offers him the guest room and some food and clean clothes. A friendship between them instantly blossoms and also the feeling that they want more, but Marilyn has been badly hurt in her previous relationship and Jay isn't a very reliable person. Is this relationship doomed from the start?

Jay's past becomes his present again. There's a boy he wants to help, Vinko. Vinko doesn't have an official identity and Jay wants to help him change it. He's had a tough life and Jay wants to make sure he's taken care of. Unfortunately there's someone who wants to use Vinko to get a large sum of money. The question is if Jay can really help him or not. And will helping Vinko mean that he has to betray Marilyn?

Jay is traumatized because of something that has happened in the Yugoslavian war. War is terrible and there are always many victims. In this war friends and neighbors were suddenly fighting each other and that had a lot of dramatic consequences. Jay was there to help his friends, but the war made him lose so much, even his own identity. I felt really bad for him, because he's such a good guy.

Things are threatening to escalate and as a reader you know something is going to happen. This constant tension combined with the unusual relationship between Marilyn and Jay make Someone Else's Conflict a gripping read. The story is unusual and really good and I liked it a lot. Money plays an important role in this book, I was curious to see where the chase would end and if Vinko and Jay were going to be all right. 

Jay has a lot of love and kindness to give and that is another important aspect of this book. Marilyn is just as kind. She and Jay are two broken people and they're good together, I loved their connection. There are several clear decision points in this novel which are making the story really strong. The war in the past, the consequences of what happened that are dominating the present and the hope for the future are intertwined in a fantastic way. I loved this book and am glad I had the chance to read it.

Welsh Weekend: Suze Loves HL Bespoke Jewellery! & Giveaway

I love HL Bespoke Jewellery. The owner, Hannah, is a great designer.

Her pieces are trendy and very pretty.

A lot of the jewelry can be personalized.

Every piece is unique and made to order especially for the customer.

This Tendril Bangle is Hannah's signature design. I really like it, the design is absolutely stunning. Hannah makes it in both gold and silver.

Hannah loves commissions, so if you'd like her to make something especially for you, you can always contact her.

It's wonderful that she makes jewelry for both women and men.

Hannah is a proud member of the The Goldsmiths' Company.

I love that Hannah has such a distinctive own style. She's done a great job setting up a fabulous jewelry brand.

Everything looks absolutely fantastic.

Hannah has studied four years to become a silversmith. She's also sold high end retail jewelry, but stopped doing that to make her dream come true. Now she has her own shop and people from all over the world are wearing her jewelry.

She works with silver and gemstones and also does some pieces in gold.

I really like Hannah's combinations. The stones, charms and different layers of her jewelry make it distinctive and I think it's beautiful.

If you're looking for a romantic gift or something beautiful to treat yourself, this is the perfect shop for you.

Hannah's charms are great and she's always looking for pretty stones to combine them with.

She often uses semi precious stones, but she also has a few really precious pieces with diamonds for example.

The jewelry is both artistic and distinctive, which I love.

I like window shopping in Hannah's shop, because her photos are great.

I can spend an entire afternoon looking at everything she has in her shop.

Enjoy browsing...

... and have fun shopping!

Hannah offers free worldwide shipping.

One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a fantastic prize:

This gorgeous sterling silver bespoke charm necklace with a stone of your choice will be for the winner of this giveaway. Good luck!

  I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.

Welsh Weekend Review and Giveaway: The Medium Path by Elizabeth Davies

Ruby died nearly one hundred years ago. She saw spirits of the dead when she was alive, and now she is dead she has become a guide who helps ghosts pass on. When ghosts start being taken by darkness instead of the light, Ruby is forced to seek help from a handsome and unwilling medium, who awakens emotions she never knew she had.

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Ruby is a spirit guide. She died already a long time ago but instead of going into the light she is destined to help people who have died to cross over. This is not always an easy task. 
When ghosts are disappearing into the black darkness instead of going into the light Ruby knows that something is really wrong.

Ruby turns to the people who can help her with her quest to find out what is going on and how this imbalance can be fixed. Her crew is a mix of spirit guides, mediums and ghosts. Michael is a medium. He doesn’t want to be, but he can’t prevent ghosts from seeking him out. When he meets Ruby he knows he has to help. It turns out that, in the end, he is more committed to the task than he
ever thought he would be.

And so the battle begins…between good and evil & the dead and the living. Who will win in the end?
What prices do they have to pay to fight in this battle? I had a little bit of trouble to get into this story because of the fact that it builds up slowly. Later I found out that the author needed this time to introduce her readers to the characters and slowly she pulled me into the story.

I was actually sad when I finished this book. I loved this story and I absolutely loved the way the author developed the characters and their lives. The ending is spectacular! I highly recommend The Medium Path to anyone who enjoys reading paranormal and romance stories.

  I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.

Welsh Weekend: My Snowdonia by Jan Ruth

My Snowdonia

Is there something moving out there… or is it just my imagination?

The only historical event I can remember with any accuracy is good old 1066 and The Battle of Hastings. At school I was hopeless at dates, in fact anything to do with numbers, but I used to love history because sooner or later it usually involved writing a lot of essays. Now though, I suspect there may be more to it. The longer I live and the more places I visit in the world, the more connected I feel to my roots, or more specifically my spiritual home, Snowdonia.

Twenty years ago we moved from Cheshire to North Wales. Although Cheshire has its history and pretty rural surroundings aplenty, Wales is far more extreme in both aspects. The castles and the rugged hillsides scattered with stone settlements, druid’s circles and Roman roads bring out the historical muse in me. To think that I am treading the same path as someone who lived in the Iron Age, is both fascinating and humbling. Snowdonia kick-started my stalled obsession with writing in a very positive way.

All this whimsical talk of the past makes me sound as if I write historical based fiction. Far from it. Much as I admire many other genres I tend to be very much rooted in current times and my work reflects a lot of my own life experiences. But this is where I find the two ideas merge a little because I am most certainly inspired by this Ice Age landscape and the idea that what has gone before, shapes what we see today, but does it shape what we feel, too?

I am certainly in my creative comfort zone tramping up the hills on a moody day. There’s no better way of plot busting. The tiny church of St. Celynin (sometimes known as Llangelynin) is a great find for historians, spiritualists, all kinds of artists, and a certain weary walking writer! It’s quite a climb, some 900 feet above the village of Henryd, but sheltered from the Irish Sea by the comfortable bulk of Tal-Y-Fan. It proclaims to be the most remote church in Wales and due to its location, it is actually better accessed on foot or on horseback, but that’s just me wearing my whimsical hat again. I guess you could ride a quad bike or get a 4×4 along the green lanes and tracks up from the village, but that would spoil the experience considerably. Someone said that ‘The centuries of men’s hands on the same stones put the feeling into a place’. I can relate to this and there’s no better way of making that connection than scrambling over those very same walls and finding a way across the hills. Even the names of the mountains are laced with enough magic to fuel the effort.

The church is named after a 6th Century prince, Celynin, and it is a widely held belief that the remains of the settlement close by was also his home. Inside, there are inscriptions on the white-washed walls of The Ten Commandments and The Lord’s Prayer, and strangely enough a skull and crossbones. The Welsh language, being the oldest (still spoken) language in the world, lends so much more romance and intrigue to any story, even though I don’t understand all the words. One of the well-preserved benches is dated from 1629 and dedicated to Reverend Owen Bulkeley, former rector. Oh, I’d love to go back to those times just for a few hours, to maybe listen to the man reading his sermon and sit with the congregation. Instead, we have to be content with mere historical recordings and the remnants of those times, in whatever form they present.

So, I fling myself down on the rough grass, or if the mountain weather is inclement, sit awhile in the porch to drink coffee and just… fall into the dreamscape. I love the way ancient history here is often blurred by myths and legends, shape-shifters and superstitions. Rich then, in history and romance and easy enough to blend both, with a touch of fantasy and suspense. Especially so when the winter sun is low in the sky, sending out early shadows to creep across the crooked stones of derelict homesteads and graves. And late sunsets in summer, when the scudding clouds floating in a fiery sky take on the shape of dragons and rearing horses. Or maybe, when the druid’s circle is shrouded in mist and… can you hear something? Like the clink of marching armour and the clash of swords…there’s something moving out there, or is it just my imagination?
Jan Ruth lives in Snowdonia, North Wales, UK.

This ancient, romantic landscape is a perfect setting for Jan’s fiction, or simply day-dreaming in the heather. Jan writes contemporary stories about people, with a good smattering of humour, drama, dogs and horses.

Connect with Jan:

Welsh Weekend: Bird On Branch Earrings

Enter this giveaway to win these bird on branch earrings made by Bryony Jade. Good luck!

  I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.

Welsh Weekend: Suze Loves Pa-pa Designer Jewellery! & Giveaway

I love Pa-pa Designer Jewellery. Phillippa makes gorgeous sea inspired pieces. I like that she works with shape, texture and dimensions. She has a great unique and cheerful style.

Phillippa's based in Swansea where she makes the jewelry. She is a silversmith who both designs and makes jewelry. The designs are for women who like their individuality. For me this jewelry expresses freedom and I like that it's inspired by the beauty nature has to offer. It's clear that Phillippa loves the sea. I'm from a coastal town and am a big fan of it as well, so the jewelry suits me very well.

Not too long ago I bought a necklace from Pa-pa. It's gorgeous and the quality is great. Phillippa packages her jewelry very well. I'm definitely treasuring my piece. She ships quickly as well, so it was a fast and easy transaction. 

I love how great this jewelry combines with summer clothing. It's perfect to wear with a bikini or with a simple top. It's meant to be noticed while it's often still quite subtle, I like that combination. Phillippa's jewelry has been featured in several magazines already and I totally understand that as I love her style.

Visit the shop and enjoy watching all the gorgeous pieces, they're fantastic and there's a large range to choose from. Everything has been divided into handy categories that makes it easy to navigate the collection.

If you're in Swansea you can visit Pa-pa's gallery. You can find more information about that on the website.

Phillippa has made a fabulous necklace for one very lucky reader of my blog:

The winner of this giveaway will receive this beautiful mussel necklace. Good luck!

  I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international. 

May 23, 2015

Welsh Weekend Review: Silver Rain by Jan Ruth

 Black sheep meets good shepherd - can black and white become silver, or just a dangerous grey?

Alastair Black has revealed a secret to his wife in a last ditch attempt to save his marriage. A return to his childhood family home at Chathill Farm is his only respite, although he is far from welcomed back by brother George.

Kate, recently widowed and increasingly put upon by her daughter, sister, and mother, feels her life is over at fifty - until she meets Alastair. He's everything she isn't, but he's a troubled soul with a dark past. When his famous mother leaves an unexpected inheritance, Kate is caught up in the unravelling of his life as Al comes to terms with who he really is.

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Al has reviewed his deepest and darkest secret to his wife and now she wants to divorce him. He hasn't been alone for long and has a younger girlfriend. He doesn't want to live with her though and because he has no place to stay he returns to his childhood home. Half of it is his, but his brother George is living there with his wife and daughter and Al isn't welcome. Because George can't kick him out Al is now living at the farm. Kate is visiting, she wants to stay for a week to have a bit of a holiday. The farm isn't in a good state as there isn't any money for repairs. Kate has to prepare dinners for everyone because there isn't even any food for the humans in the house, just for the animals.

Kate and Al like each other, but Al has a girlfriend and Kate has recently lost her husband. She isn't grieving any longer though and Al and his girlfriend don't love each other very much, but there are certain complications. Slowly they're becoming friends, but is that actually a good idea? And what's Al's big secret?

Al is basically a good guy. He's trying to make people laugh, he's generous and he's a loving and caring person. Things just keep going wrong for him, he messes things up without ever wanting to hurt someone. Kate is very much in control, they are very different. Al loves his children and wants to see them as often as possible. Family is everything for him. I liked that a lot, he's such a wonderful, caring, but flawed man. He deserves some happiness, but will he get it when he meets Kate?

I've read Silver Rain in one sitting. I liked it so much that I couldn't put it down. I loved the main characters, the setting and the unusual family. Everything was exactly right. Jan Ruth has written such a fantastic story. It's sweet, it's captivating and it's romantic. I enjoyed reading this book very much and highly recommend it.

Enter the giveaway to win a kindle copy of Silver Rain.

I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.   

Welsh Weekend Review and Giveaway: The Territory by Sarah Govett

Limited space requires limited numbers. The year is 2059. Noa Blake is just another normal 15 year-old. Except in The Territory normal isn’t normal. The richest children have a node on the back of their necks and can download information and bypass the need to study. In a flooded world of dwindling resources, Noa and the other ‘Norms’ have their work cut out to even compete. And competing is everything – because anybody who fails the TAA exam at 15 will be shipped off to the disease-ridden Wetlands, which means a life of misery, if not certain death. But how to focus when your heart is being torn in two directions at once? 

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 It's 2059 and a lot of what used to be land is now under water. Noa Blake is a normal teenager who's living in The Territory. Only the smartest people are allowed to live there. Rich children can download information into their brains and don't have to study. There isn't enough space for everyone to stay on land and one exam will determine the future of every teenager. If they pass they can stay and if they fail they have to go, they will be sent to the Wetlands where mosquitoes are causing horrible diseases. The people there are being left to survive without any of the modern resources of The Territory. 

It's a competitive world and Noa is worrying about the exam. She's studying as much as she can, because she doesn't want to fail it. At school those who have the nodes are looking down on the students who are normal and have to study. Until Noa meets one of them who isn't like that. They instantly become very close, only Noa already has a best friend, someone who isn't willing to give her up. Noa isn't just a student, she's also a regular teenager who should be allowed to live a normal life. Unfortunately life is far from normal.

The Territory is a scary world to live in. Inequality is making things difficult. Noa has a chance, she might pass the exam. Other normal teenagers aren't that lucky, they already know what their destiny will be. Noa cares for her friends, but she also has her faults. The Territory comes with many rules. There's no reading for fun, hardly any music, etc. The world has become a colder and harder place. Not everyone is going that way though and Noa and her friends are struggling to survive in a world that becomes more and more insensitive.

Noa is a regular teenage girl. She isn't perfect and she makes mistakes. She might pass the exam because she's really smart. She's even smarter than most of the students who have the nodes to upload information. There's so much pressure, if she doesn't pass the exams her parents have to go with her to the Wetlands and she's dreading it. Studying is her main focus, but like every girl her age there are distractions. Falling in love for the first time can be confusing, especially when you have to choose between two guys.

I love the world Sarah Govett has created. I like her version of what would happen if water claims the land. The Territory is such a good book. The pressure is slowly building when the exam date is coming closer. Because of this I couldn't stop reading. The Territory is a great page-turner and the ending is really good an unexpected. This is a fabulous first book and I can't wait to read more.

Enter the giveaway to win a paperback copy of The Territory.

    I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international. 

Welsh Weekend: Silver Shell Necklace Giveaway

 Enter this giveaway to win a silver shell necklace made by Personalised Jewellery. Good luck!

  I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international. 

Welsh Weekend: Suze's Around the World Event Introduction

I'm going to virtually travel to different countries the next couple of months. In the countries I visit, I 'm looking for good books written by local authors and great local shops. I will post about my discoveries in the form of special dedicated weekends. I'm very much looking forward to my virtual trip. It shows me more of the world, things I might otherwise have missed. I love opening my eyes and discovering something new. Even if it's from behind my computer I still feel like I'm on a holiday when I'm reading and writing about a different country.

After my Welsh Week I received so many brilliant reactions which I why I've decided to start my first weekend in Wales. I love the friendly people and their amazing talent. I'm very happy with the books I'm reviewing, there will be some great guest posts and interviews and I've also found some amazing shops to feature. Wales has stolen my heart, so it's a great country to start my event with.

I'm hoping my Around the World Event will be a way to try and show new things. I want to broaden my horizons. I love reading and learning about other cultures and I feel like a child who's going on her first holiday. I'm excited, a little bit nervous and I can't wait to experience something new and foreign. 
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