Because Of You by @Dawn_French #Paperback #BlogTour @MichaelJBooks #BecauseOfYou

The fabulous new release by the awesomeness that is Dawn French is now out in paperback!

Because of You

Because Of You by Dawn French

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock . . . midnight.
The old millennium turns into the new.
In the same hospital, two very different women give birth to two very similar daughters.
Hope leaves with a beautiful baby girl.
Anna leaves with empty arms.
Seventeen years later, the gods who keep watch over broken-hearted mothers wreak mighty revenge, and the truth starts rolling, terrible and deep, toward them all.
The power of mother-love will be tested to its limits.
Perhaps beyond . . .

I was honoured to receive an arc copy of this book, and my review follows.

I was extremely excited to be chosen to read an advanced copy of Dawn French’s new book, Because of You, having read all of her previous novels, and enjoyed them immensely.

The story centres around two women, due to give birth on New Year’s Eve/Day, 2000.
Anna, wife of wannabe politician Julian, and Hope, the girlfriend of gentle Isaac.
Tragedy surrounds both women, yet out of the despair, one baby, Minnie, emerges.

It took me a little while to really get into the book, but within a few pages, I was truly immersed in the story.
A story about mothers and daughters, and love that grows. How real relationships are formed. Matters of the heart.
Dawn French has created beautiful, rounded, characters, that cause you to either to care deeply about them, or want to throttle them (Julian, anyone?)
Every step of the way, I wondered when the truth would be exposed. I had an inkling, but I wasn’t sure.
The book is written from the point of view of Hope, Anna and Minnie, in turn, with snippets of Julian and Isaac too, giving you a complete picture of the thoughts of everyone throughout a surreal situation.
I don’t want to give too much away, but suffice to say, I had tears in my eyes by the end of the book. Absolutely wonderfully written.

Shh… It’s Our Secret by @Lizzie_Chantree #BlogTour

I am excited to be handing my blog over to the wonderfully talented Lizzie Chantree, today, to let you know about her new release!

Shh… It’s Our Secret, by Lizzie Chantree

Thank you for inviting me onto your beautiful blog today and for the amazing support of the
launch of my latest book!
Shh… It’s Our Secret, is about a shy woman called Violet, who is trying to silence her inner
critic and step out of the shadows. Her best friends and sister support her, but she feels like
they don’t see the real her, or understand that she has ambitions of her own and skills that
could help them all.
To them, she is reliable, slightly dull and not very talented, but she is hiding a secret that
could blow this theory sky high. Violet will have to eliminate old demons, learn to stand up
for herself and show the world who she really is.

Book Blurb:
Violet has a secret that could change the lives of everyone she knows and loves, especially
the regulars at the run-down café bar where she works. After losing her parents at a young
age, they are the closest thing she has to a family and she feels responsible for them.
Kai is a jaded music producer who has just moved outside of town. Seeking solitude from
the stress of his job, he’s looking for seclusion. The only problem is he can’t seem to escape
the band members and songwriters who keep showing up at his house.
When Kai wanders into the bar and Violet’s life, he accidently discovers her closely guarded
secret. Can Kai help her rediscover her self-confidence or should some secrets remain

I was honoured to read an arc of the book, and I really enjoyed it! Here’s my review.

Shh… It’s Our Secret by Lizzie Chantree
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Shh… Can I tell you a secret?
I finished this in a day!
I have read several of Lizzie Chantree’s books already, she is an extremely versatile author, and this book is another little gem in her book jewels.
Violet loves to sing. She has since she was young, but the joy of singing ends when her parents pass away.
Since then, she’s hidden her talent, singing in secret, and succumbed to an awful relationship. The only silver lining in the cloud that is her life is the cafe she works at, and the family she has built from her regular customers.
Life takes a huge turn when music producer Kai walks into the cafe and hears her voice.
All in all, an enjoyable read, quick and easy, and the happy ending we all want!
Many thanks to NetGalley and BHC Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Purchase here.

International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie
Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of
Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the
Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children
were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular
networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each
other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about
women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger
than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex. Visit her
website at or follow her on Twitter
Short bio:
International bestselling author Lizzie Chantree, started her own business
at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent
Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year. She writes books full of
friendship and laughter, about women with unusual businesses, who are
stronger than they realise.

Book links: Lizzie Chantree.
Universal book buy link: The little ice cream shop:
Universal book buy link: Networking for writers:
Universal book buy link: If you love me, I’m yours:
Universal book buy link: Ninja School Mum:
Universal book buy link: Babe Driven:
Universal book buy link: Love’s Child:
Universal book buy link: Finding Gina:
Universal link: Shh… It’s Our Secret:

Social media links:
Author page:

FB Groups:

A Fear Of Heights by Jim Webster #BlogTour

That extremely talented Jim Webster has another release coming up, and has kindly written a story for us here on But I Smile Anyway!

Smallfield, Frederick; The Ringers of Launcells Tower; Royal Institution of Cornwall;

The Bells!

I have mentioned before that here at the Shrine of Aea in her Aspect as the
Personification of Tempered Enthusiasm we have had trouble with bell
ringers. Once you are known to have bells, bell ringers will descend on you
from all over the place, desperate to play a ‘new peal’. If you are not firm
you can be overrun with them. Now I wouldn’t personally describe them as
‘vermin’ but in all candour I have known some use stronger terms. Especially
when kept awake at night by an attempt to play out a full peal with all the
I am not sure how other shrines manage the problem. There are doubtless many
winning strategies, but my suspicion is that all will revolve around the
need to ‘domesticate’ the bell ringers you have. ‘Your’ bell ringers appear
to adopt a possessive attitude to ‘their’ bells, and will work to control
interlopers. The most important person in this regard can go under a number
of names. I’ve come across Tower Captains, Ringing Masters, and Tower
Leaders. If you get a good one, cherish them.
Now I cannot judge this select few from the point of view of an ordinary
bell ringer. Similarly I have no opinion on how they maintain order in their
campanological swarm. I have heard rumours that some achieve their position
of dominance through divide and rule. They maintain order by playing various
cliques against each other, achieving harmony through division. Others I
have seen strike me as avuncular types. By being everybody’s favourite
uncle, aunt, or kin of similar standing, they keep their musicians in order.
This can involve keeping their bell ringers fortified with everything from
strong liquor through to cake. Whether one is more effective than the other
I cannot really comment although it has been pointed out to me that the camp
of bell ringers fortified with strong drink tends to pull with more vigour
than niceness of timing and the results are discernible to the cognoscenti.
On the other hand I’ve even heard of Tower Captains who rule through fear,
maintaining the firmest discipline and perfect order.
Yet, between ourselves, when one hears the mathematically wrought cacophony
produced, even the most discerning listener struggles to tell the difference
between the differing leadership styles.
Now lest people think that I am disparaging campanology, I will state that I
rather like the sound of bells. As I sit in thought on the barge, pondering
a verse, the sound of a distant peal can even be helpful. Ringing out across
the city in a measured manner it weaves music into the very fabric of the
municipality. I am not too proud to state that the bells have, on occasion,
inspired some of my finer verse.
So my advice to the temple wardens of other shrines that happen to possess
bells is to find a competent Tower Captain who you can work with, and
domesticate them. Admittedly this domestication is an uncertain process.
I’ve known temple wardens who approached the matter methodically. They felt
you had to use both carrot and stick. I know in one case where the tower
captain and his camp of ringers were asked to play for a wedding. Apparently
the bride felt it would be romantic. To be fair to the young lady in
question, up unto a point, she was right. The point was when it became
obvious that to the ringers, their appointment to ring to introduce a
touching service lasting barely half an hour, was merely an excuse to ring a
full peal lasting at least three hours. In this case, a nameless lady temple
warden handed the bride’s mother a horse whip, opened the door to the
ringing loft and let the furious lady have at them. Apparently she cleared
the loft in less than a minute, and was greeted with a standing ovation from
the wedding guests when she returned to her seat.
But it is often said that wild creatures are better tamed with kindness. It
could well be that the truculent demeanour of the senior temple warden
induces a healthy respect within the camp. Should another temple warden then
make positive comments, arrange for bottles of beer of dubious provenance to
be provided to quench the thirst of the ringers, and generally become their
friend, there appear to be no limits to the cooperation that can be
achieved. In all honesty it has occurred to me that this is why shrines have
even numbers of temple wardens. It allows you to have both the cantankerous
grouch and the genial acquaintance on hand and you can deploy whichever
seems appropriate.
But once you have domesticated your tower captain, then cherish them. Do
not, under any circumstances, have anything to do with the lesser lights
within the camp. Otherwise you will get drawn in to all sorts of internecine
strife and conflict as factions rise and fall and attempt to bring down the
tower captain in the process. I well remember when one bell ringer, aspiring
to displace her tower captain by guile, told Maljie that it had been decided
to change the practice night. Maljie merely looked at her and commented that
she was used to discussing policy with the organ grinder, not some small and
only sporadically continent ape kept to please the crowd.
Now it may be that you lack Maljie’s personal presence. This is not to be
wondered at. Reputations have to be built up over the years, nurtured like
some delicate potted plant. But even Maljie had to start somewhere, even if
none of us are quite sure when. So when dealing with bell ringers (or other
wandering undesirables such as archhierophants or those creatures who dwell
deep in the property department of the Office of the Combined Hierophants of
Aea) decide on your approach and stick to it. In forty years’ time you will
thank me. 
Still I seem to have drifted from the topic. Cherishing your tower captain.
The problem with these otherwise splendid figures is that they lack
permanence. Whether they are overthrown and devoured by their camp, abscond
with the funds or flee in the arms of a lover (I confess I’ve never really
understood that latter allusion. Surely you must flee faster if not
embracing? Or perhaps you hand the technicalities of flight over to your
coachman and thus embrace in the coach as it hurtles through the night?) you
will lose one captain and will be forced to acquire another.
My personal preference is to allow the camp to bring forward a leader from
within their ranks. But beware, out there in the dark there are ‘tower
leaders’ who lack both tower and camp. They are drawn inexorably to a tower
with no tower leader and will attempt to inveigle themselves into a position
of control. Under these circumstances there is no point in being avuncular,
reasonable or open to discussion.
For the lesser temple warden there is only one recourse. Memorise the line,
“Ah, but you don’t want to talk to me, you need to discuss this matter with
the incumbent.”
That is all you need to say.
Now when it comes to the incumbent, they too have no need to worry about
these matters. They merely need to say, “Ah, that’s a temple warden matter.
You need to take it up with Maljie.”
At the last count, of four who were directed to Maljie, three abandoned
their quest then and there. With regard to the fourth, there are mendicants
who are willing to swear in a court of law that they saw that individual
leave the shrine carrying his head under his arm.

And now a brief note from Jim Webster. It’s really just to inform you that
I’ve just published a full Tallis Steelyard novel. Yes the rumours are true.
Tallis Steelyard, the man who considered jotting down a couple of anecdotes
to be ridiculously hard work, and considered the novella form to be the very
pinnacle of literary labour, has been cozened into producing a novel.

It is, ‘Tallis Steelyard. A Fear of Heights.’

In this novel, recounted by Tallis Steelyard in his own inimitable manner,
we discover what happens when the hierarchy plots to take control of the
Shrine to Aea in her Aspect as the Personification of Tempered Enthusiasm.
Will the incumbent be exiled to a minor fane in the far north? Will Tallis
end up having to do a proper job? Does ordination and elevation beckon for
This story includes the Idiosyncratic Diaconate, night soil carts,
Partannese bandit chieftains, a stylite, a large dog and some over-spiced
food. On top of this we have not one but two Autocephalous Patriarchs and a
theologically sanctioned beggar.

Available both for kindle and in Paperback.

The Little Ice Cream Shop By The Sea by @Lizzie_Chantree #BlogTour

I am delighted to welcome the very talented, and generally very lovely Lizzie Chantree to my blog today, to introduce her new book, releasing tomorrow!

Over to you, Lizzie!

Why did you choose the setting you chose and do the locations hold any real life significance to you?I chose this setting because I’m from Essex and the coastline is beautiful here. I’ve always wanted to write a local story and I was sitting in a little cafe by the sea, when an elderly lady came in, sat down and began crying. The young waitress rushed up to comfort her and they spoke for quite a while. After the lady left the waitress told me they had only just met, which it made me think about the kindness of strangers. The cafe I was in was beautiful and had been family owned for generations. I wondered what would happen if they all fell into a state of disrepair and a story grew from there. The little ice cream shop by the sea is about unexpected friendships through the generations and how family heritage can sometimes mean more to some than others.
This story has a bankrupt celebrity chef in it who flies in to protect his grandmother. What made you think of this character?
Cal has had such success but overstretched his business and his world collapsed around him, so he’s been hiding and licking his wounds. Hearing about the ice cream shop owner, Genie, and her new friendship with his grandmother, he decides that Genie must be after his family money and rushes to protect his grandmother, Ada. He doesn’t realise that a few of his actions make the cracks in Genie’s relationship with her own parents even deeper and he uncovers a family secret he really wishes he hadn’t. 


From the international bestselling author of If you love me, I’m yours, Ninja School
Mum and Babe Driven.
Genie’s family is in crisis. Their seafront business is failing with the loss of Genie’s
grandmother and her legendary ice cream flavours. Genie is determined to be the one to save
her family’s heritage, but suddenly her mother wants to sell to developers and leave their shared
history behind.
Buying the business and taking on a sixty-eight year old business partner, Ada, with a
mysterious past and a gorgeous but distracting grandson, Genie sets out to prove her parents
Ada’s grandson, Cal, wants to protect his gran from ‘pensioner persuader’, Genie, but soon
realises that living in a little seaside town and away from the paparazzi in Hollywood can actually
give him time to heal. Hiding in a seafront business with its fiery owner and working as kitchen
staff, is the only way he can think of to keep his ex-Hollywood glamour-puss, gran from harm.
But his meddling might also ruin Ada’s second chance at love. 
Hiring a private detective and learning about Genie’s parent’s past makes Cal regret his own
impulsiveness. The information he has unearthed could destroy their blossoming romance and
turn Genie’s world upside down.
Genie soon discovers that friends can become enemies and your closest family can have lied to
you for your whole life.

Book links: Lizzie Chantree.

Universal book buy link for The little ice cream shop:

Universal book buy link: Networking for writers:

Universal book buy link: If you love me, I’m yours:

Universal book buy link: Ninja School Mum:

Universal book buy link: Babe Driven:

Universal book buy link: Love’s Child:

Universal book buy link: Finding Gina:

International bestselling author Lizzie Chantree, started her own business
at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent
Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year. She writes books full of
friendship and laughter, about women with unusual businesses, who are
stronger than they realise.

Social media links:


Author page:






FB Groups:




A Winter Romance – Historical Romance Anthology #BlogTour

I always love to promote work that is for a good cause, and an anthology that is selling for charity is definitey a good cause.

One of the Facebook groups I am a member of, The New Romance Cafe, has another short story anthology, in time for Christmas, and all proceeds go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. (Another, because I mentioned the first, Twelve Days of Kisses, a couple of weeks ago!)

A Winter Romance (Romance Café Collection Book 9) eBook: Jameson, Angelina,  Sanatra, Lauren, Everly, Riana, Baun, Marci, Bolton, Alexie, MacCabe,  Chele, Martinson, Liz: Kindle Store

True love and timeless romance. Journey through history with these sassy and spicy short romances.

Breast cancer affects one in four women. Here’s your chance to read a swoon-worthy book and help others at the same time.

Curl up in your comfy chair in front of the fire and know that every book purchased, and every page read raises money for breast cancer research.

This historical romance collection has it all:

  • The Old West
  • Regency aristocrats
  • A female Samurai
  • Chanukah in Scotland
  • Breaking conventions
  • The American civil war
  • And sweet Victorian Romance

Get A Winter Romance today for stories with all the feels.

This anthology is brought to you by The Romance Café, a community of romance novel fans and writers, born out of the desire for a safe space to discuss our shared passion for romance, as well as empower and support authors of the genre. Join us every day for your dose of romance in the Café:

A Winter Romance, the latest HISTORICAL anthology of short stories for charity from the authors at The Romance Cafe is now available to order NOW!



***ALL proceeds go to fund research in the fight against breast cancer. ***

Please, head on over to download, read, enjoy, and know that while you are enjoying, you are giving to a good cause, at the same time!

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