Thursday, December 22, 2022

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Christmas Party by Mikayla Davids

The Christmas Party tour banner
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Christmas Party by Mikayla Davids. This blog tour was organized by Lola's Blog Tours. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book and a great guest post from the author about which character was the most interesting to write. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win the eBook and the chance to name a character in the sequel. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: The Christmas Party
Author: Mikayla Davids
Publication Date: November 12th 2022
Print Length: 291 pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller
A family reunion. A shocking secret. A night to die for…

On a snowy December night, the Bailey family are gathered at an isolated hotel in the English countryside. They’re reuniting for the first time since the accident that shattered their lives ten years ago.

It’s a time for love and forgiveness. But more than one guest has an ulterior motive:

The perfect daughter
The alcoholic

The single mother
The liar

The handsome husband
The adulterer

The beautiful sister
The jealous sibling

The murderer…

As the clock strikes midnight, one member of the party is found dead at the foot of the grand marble staircase.

Everyone is a suspect. But which one of them is a killer?

This completely addictive psychological thriller is packed with chilling twists that will keep you up all night. Perfect for fans of The Hunting Party and The Chalet.


As I drive down the dark, winding country lane I can't stop thinking that agreeing to this evening was a bad idea. I finally accepted Erin’s invitation after both Leah and Mum said they were going to the party and pleaded with me to go with them. I’ve thought of nothing else in the last couple of weeks, the idea of going to this party fills me with apprehension. I want to be at home, cosy in my favourite set of pyjamas, making my way through a box of chocolates and watching an old Christmas movie. Instead, I'm squinting into the fog and gloom and praying that I don't scratch the car's paintwork on the overgrown hedgerows that seem to be closing in on us the further down the road we go.

'Come on Sasha, you're barely clearing second gear,' Jesse grumbles in the passenger seat. 'I said to you I'd drive.'

His last comment hangs in the air between us. The only thing worse than me driving as carefully as I can down this narrow, unknown track is Jesse screeching round sharp corners while I cling onto my seat with white knuckles. Jesse is far too cocky when he's driving… well not just driving… and I'd much prefer to be in control of the wheel when our daughter is sitting in the back.

'Sasha, did you hear me? Shall we just swap, this journey is taking twice as long as it needs to.'

'No,' I snap back at him louder than I intended. I glance in my rear-view mirror, hoping Freya hasn't picked up on my tone, but she's fully immersed in her iPad.

Jesse sighs heavily and fidgets in his seat.

'Just let me concentrate,' I say under my breath. 'We left in plenty of time and we don't want to be the first ones there.'

Now it’s Jesse's turn not to respond. Our interactions tend to take on a stilted stop-and-start pattern these days. Neither of us prepared to smooth things over. I wish Jesse would ask me how I'm feeling, ask what he can do to help make the meeting with Erin tonight a little easier.

'Well we don't want to miss out on the free booze,' Jesse mutters.

This is more typical of my husband’s line of thought. I glance at him out of the corner of my eye and, not for the first time, I wonder what I saw in him all those years ago. He used to make me laugh until I was doubled over, I used to feel so carefree with him. But eventually life took us on a path that meant I had to get a proper job, learn how to parent a child and run a house. Jesse has never really grown up since the days in which we used to go on endless nights out, lying in bed until midday before heading out for leisurely dinners.

In fact, he still goes on those nights out with the same set of friends he’s had since his teenage years. They're still all so immature, their idea of a good night out involving necking as many pints as possible and playing silly pranks on one another.


'Don't,' I snap back at him again. 'I'm stressed enough about tonight without you making this drive harder than it already is.'

I try to keep my focus on the road, wishing we'd ordered a taxi instead. It would've been much easier than navigating these unknown roads. Except, I didn't want to feel like I was trapped here, on Erin's territory, without an escape route if I needed one. I can't help it, the negative thoughts have been overtaking the positive ones. I feel like I've been railroaded into this by Jesse, by Mum and by Freya. Even Leah seemed enthusiastic about tonight. So why do I feel so differently? Why do I have such an impending sense of doom about this whole thing?

'Just chill,' Jesse says, his voice softer now.

'I'm trying to,' I say with gritted teeth. 'I don't know why we had to meet at this damn party. It all feels so wrong. We haven't seen each other in years, there's so much to be said, to be worked out. A party full of other people hardly seems like the place for us to meet again.’

I can see out of my peripheral view that my husband is shaking his head. 'Listen, maybe Erin was trying to take the pressure off? Make sure the first meeting was a fun one. With other people around there might not be as much tension.'

'You're right…'

'Wait a second, did my wife just say I'm right?' Jesse laughs and fist-pumps the air.

'Well, let's see how the evening goes before you take this as a win. I really hope you are right though.'

My sentence hangs in the air between us until the satnav cuts in to tell us Burcott House is round the next bend.

'Are we nearly there, Mummy?' Freya pipes up from her seat behind me.

'Almost!' I say, trying to make my voice sound jovial.


Her response is so simple and so sweet. Sometimes I wish I could step out of 'adulting' just for a day.

'Wowzer, look at this!' Jesse says as we pull up to a large pair of wrought-iron gates, decked out in twinkling fairy lights.

'Where even is the house?'

I stare wide-eyed at the scene in front of me as the gates swing open to let us in. There's a long gravel driveway that disappears into an avenue of trees and we drive along slowly. Snowflakes are falling lightly but the way ahead is well-lit with twinkling lights entwined in the tree branches above us. We curve left and come out from the canopy of trees and the house suddenly comes into view.

It’s an enormous country house, like some kind of National Trust palace or minor royal's home. There’s ivy twisting around some of the windows and the roof is covered in snow.

'Is this for real!' It's my turn to express my surprise at the setting now. 'This is huge, I can't even imagine how many bedrooms it has.'

At first, we thought Erin might have hired Burcott House especially for the occasion, which still would've cost some serious money at this time of year. But Leah did some cyber stalking and Erin's accounts aren't as private as they once used to be. Leah's online snooping pulled up a webpage as well as social media pages for Burcott House, which confirmed that Erin and her husband Aaron are indeed the owners. The Bailey-Scotts, as Erin has styled her family, are now living life on the next level.

'This is amazing!' Freya squeals, already unclipping her seat belt and shoving open the car door.

'Wait, we need to park,' I say.

The house is all lit up and there's clearly lots of movement going on behind closed doors. I shiver, despite the car heating being on. When I voiced my concerns about meeting for the first time in a party setting, Mum came up with a solution. She messaged Erin's number and asked for a phone call as a first step. They apparently chatted for over an hour. Mum looked like she was walking on clouds when she relayed the conversation.

She told me Erin suggested we arrive an hour before the party began. She was hoping the party itself would provide a good backdrop to our first meeting, not too much pressure. And she hoped it would be the first of many more family gatherings.

'Let's park then,' Jesse says, jolting me from my thoughts. 'Otherwise Freya will burst.'

There's a waterfall feature in front of the house, with two unicorns in the middle, lit up with a multitude of colours. They’re just as mesmerising as the Kelpies in Scotland but on a smaller scale. I follow the road that curves around the side of the house and I can't help but notice the depth of this place is just as expansive as the front length of the building. I'm curious to see what inside is like.

We pull into a parking bay and I exhale deeply. I'd been holding my breath for most of the tense journey. I'm not looking forward to the drive back, but I can't say I'm looking forward to what's about to happen next either.

Freya jumps out of the car as fast as she can and Jesse isn't far behind. I flip the mirror in the car down and study my face. I've gone for the full works with my make-up to try and hide how tired I am. I breathe in and out, trying to remember the advice on my wellbeing app. It helps a bit and I feel as prepared as I possibly can be for this meeting.

'Come on, Mummy!' Freya cries, and she's tugging at my hand, propelling me forward. I stumble and, for a second, I think I'm going to fall. But Jesse is next to me, saving me from crashing down towards the ground.

'Woah! And you haven't even had a drink yet!' This is a joke I've heard my husband say so many times.

'Thank you,' I say, my voice sounding shaky.

As we stride forward, my stomach is fluttering and the world around me feels unreal. The darkness, the grandeur, the twinkling lights are all somehow working together to distort normality. I feel like I might faint.

Jesse confidently knocks on the cherry red door and immediately it swings open.
Mikayla Davids author picture
I'll let you into a little secret... Mikayla Davids isn't my real name, it's just the pen name I write under. I could be the person sitting opposite you on the train, furiously tapping away at a laptop, or the woman scribbling in a notebook on the table beside you in Starbucks. Everyone has their secrets. And this is mine.

But I will tell you I've lived and breathed fictional worlds all my life. I've been the child who spent hours in the library, the teenager who stayed up turning pages way into the night, the publishing editor who poured every working hour into helping authors achieve their dreams of being published. Now I'm the secret writer who's finally ready to share my own stories.

I write about family dramas, complicated relationships and everyday moments that can suddenly turn into nightmares.

I hope you've been gripped and entertained by my novels. I'd love to hear from you if so, you can contact me across any of my social media pages or sign up to my newsletter.

- Which of your characters was the most interesting to write and why?

I honestly loved writing all of the characters in The Christmas Party! I set myself up for a challenge by writing a number of different perspectives but it was great fun and it kept me on my toes and engaged while I was writing - so I hope readers have a similar experience of the story!

Jesse was interesting to write because digging into a male perspective and seeing his take on the events of the party was a good contrast to the three sisters and their mother, Nadia. With all of the characters, I wanted to make them complex because that's real life. There's good and bad in everyone and we all make mistakes... But the voice that really drove the story for me was Erin, the middle sister. She sends out the gold envelopes containing the invites in the very first chapter and instigates the reunion with her estranged family. The party is held at her luxurious hotel in the English countryside and there's lots of questions about her past. So I would say that, overall, she was the character who was at the heart of the story for me.

I would love to hear from readers on the characters they loved and the characters they loved to hate in The Christmas Party!

I'm currently writing the sequel to The Christmas Party, because I felt there was more to explore with the characters and I wasn't quite ready to let go of them!
Win the eBook of The Christmas Party by Mikayla Davids and get a chance to name a character in the sequel to The Christmas Party - two winners, US only!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Lola's Blog Tours and the author assume all responsibility over this giveaway.)

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