#BlogTour! #Review – Don’t Stop Me Now by Colleen Coleman (@CollColemanAuth) @Bookouture

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A hilarious feel good read about making lemonade when life gives you lemons, and finding the silver lining in every cloud.

Poppy Bloom planned to finish her PhD and walk straight into a job at her university. But here she is, unemployed, unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend, and living back at her mum’s in her vampire-themed childhood bedroom.

Not exactly what she was hoping for.

But when Poppy sets her mind to something, nothing can stand in her way. She scores herself an internship at the hottest radio station in town, joins a netball team, and renews her friendship with her oldest friend Leanne. Spending time with Leanne’s gorgeous twin Tom is just a bonus…

But life has a way of tripping you up when you least expect it, and Poppy soon has to decide where her priorities lie… With new friends, a new career and a new romance, can Poppy keep everyone happy, or is everything about to tumble down around her?

What does TWG think?

DON’T STOP ME NOWWWWW, CAUSE I’M HAVING SUCH A GOOD TIME, I’M HAVING BALLLLLLL. DON’T STOP ME, DON’T STOP ME OOOH OOOH OHHH.

Sorry, couldn’t resist, especially seeing as I have the pleasure of hosting today’s stop on Colleen Coleman’s blog tour for her brand new book, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’! Colleen’s book was published on the 22nd March 2017 by Bookouture, and it already has 21 FIVE star reviews (information correct as of 26/03/17)! Amazing. Here is my review of ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’.

The title of Colleen Coleman’s book intrigued me beyond belief as, despite the fact we know those four words from a well-known song, it made me curious to see what those words would mean in the storyline itself.

Seeing as I was in a really dark place before I began reading ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, I was really hopeful that the book would give me the escape I so desperately craved. As soon as I had finished the first chapter I knew for certain that it was going to be THE book for me.

Poppy Bloom has been working so hard to ensure that all her T’s were crossed and I’s were dotted, in regards to her studies at university. Poppy was adamant that she would end up leaving university with a ready made job and that her life was going to go exactly to plan. The thing is, we all know that life doesn’t always (if ever) go to plan and unluckily for Poppy, she got to find out that her plan was no more, right in front of an audience. Double burn. No job. No home. No boyfriend. No income. No plans. That’s enough to scare anyone really, isn’t it? Well, lets just say that Poppy’s buds BloomED. No, really…they did. Get your mind out of the gutter people!!

Some people may read this book and think that Poppy’s lifestyle ended up unrealistic and unachievable (yes, I’ve been nosing), and you know what? I’m not one of those people. Yes, the things that happen to Poppy on a positive level DID make me envious, but did I think that it was unrealistic for people like us? No I didn’t. If anything it gave me hope that good things DO actually happen to people, and going through a ton of bad things doesn’t automatically mean that you’re going to live a life of picking the short straw. Poppy left a life of organisation, a life where she had grown accustom to the ins and outs of her daily circumstances, a life where anything different meant that Poppy ticked it off as a ‘don’t like’ thing.

The moment Poppy had to think about what she wanted, what her choices meant for those closely linked to her, how it felt to have a group of trusting friends; was the moment, for me, that Poppy flourished. As a reader who was so invested in the storyline and the characters I could have probably had a cameo in the book, I felt like I saw another side to Poppy’s personality. Her humour was incredible and her heart was ginormous; she really is the type of character I would LOVE to have as a best friend!

I found the entire novel rather hilarious, so hilarious in fact that several giggles managed to escape at the most random moments. The storyline was so fun from the very start, and I was overjoyed to see that fun carry on right until the very end. It didn’t lose momentum at all. The levels of sarcasm from Poppy’s new/old-found friends was ON POINT. Several giggles and snorts escaped from my mouth at the moments, I have to be honest!

Before I started Colleen Coleman’s novel I had a feeling it was going to be a good book;  what I didn’t know though,  was exactly HOW good it was going to be. As the saying goes, it turned my ‘frown upside down’. I have never felt so much joy and fun the entire length of a novel, as I have this one. I can’t put my finger on exactly why that was, it just was…perfect.

‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ is THE book to read right now. It’s fun. It’s flirty. It’s sassy. It’s hilarious. It’s light. It’s real. Colleen’s words showed me that it is okay not to be okay, it’s okay to not have your shizzmanizzle together as long as you DO get it together. Colleen showed me that it’s okay to follow the right route for you, not the right route for everyone else. Most important, Colleen and Poppy (of course) showed me it doesn’t matter how rocky the road is, all that matters is whether you have the right people helping you over those rocks.

Never mind buying a self-help book when you can buy ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. I absolutely adored this book, and I absolutely adored Poppy. If you need (hah, we all need books) a book to buy yourself, I highly recommend ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ as it is just what Doctor Bookouture and Doctor TWG ordered. Oh, and it just happens to be in amongst my favourite books ever.
Colleen Coleman; YOU’RE AMAZEBALLS.

Thanks to Bookouture.

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US

About the author
 
Colleen Coleman is an Irish-Canadian novelist. She is the winner of the much-coveted Novelicious Undiscovered People’s Choice Award launched to find the next ‘chick-lit star’. She spent over ten years working as a teacher of English and Philosophy before finally taking a deep breath, scrunching her eyes shut, putting her pen to paper and vowing not to lift it again until she wrote the words The End. As a result, her first novel was born. Colleen lives between London, Ireland and Cyprus with her very patient husband and very, very chatty twin daughters. Don’t Stop Me Now is her first book and will be released in March. 
Colleen Coleman’s Twitter

Make sure you follow the rest of the tour with these fabulous bloggers!!

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#Review – Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell (@JillMansell) @headlinepg

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Love is in the air in St Carys, but you’d never know it – the people of this seaside town are very good at keeping secrets…

The man Clemency loves belongs to someone else. She has to hide her true feelings – but when she ropes in an unsuspecting friend to help, wires start to get crossed.

For the first time in Ronan’s life his charm has failed him in winning over the woman he wants. Loving her from afar appears to be his only option.

Belle seems to have the perfect boyfriend, but something isn’t quite right. And now a long-buried secret is slowly rising to the surface.

The truth has a funny way of revealing itself, and when it does St Carys will be a very different place indeed…

What does TWG think?

One word; WOW. I didn’t really have any idea what Jill Mansell’s book was going to be about, all I knew was that it was set in Cornwall! I don’t tend to read the blurbs of a novel as I prefer getting surprised and finding out every piece of information myself. Reading ‘Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay’ felt like I was unwrapping a never-ending bag of presents; the small ones on top, the larger ones at the bottom.

For every small present I unwrapped, I learnt more about the characters, their history and exactly what brought them to Cornwall. In amongst the small presents I found multiple medium-sized ones; not often but enough to catch me off guard. For me, those medium sized presents represented situations in the storyline that truly did catch me off guard (in a good way). I really did feel as though I was unwrapping an incredibly precious storyline with every page I turned (or pushed, seeing as it was my Kindle).

I don’t usually have any problem waffling in my reviews, but today I am because I can’t quite put my thoughts into words good enough to describe exactly how this book made me feel. I loved the exceptionally complex love elements, the house viewings, the banter between each character; even all of the secretive moments! Every single thing about this storyline flowed, there were no pregnant pauses or overfilling a characters storyline to fill up a chapter. None of that. It was as though every character, every house, every emotion and every secret had a right to be there. Does that make sense?

My heart went out to Ronan and his life story. He came across as such a confident and cocky guy, yet you could tell underneath he was missing something. Plus, he was also rather funny!

Clemency was my favourite character, she was just everything I wish I could be. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to shake some sense into her at one point but she didn’t know what I knew!

You know, I don’t actually think I hated any of the characters. Well, aside from one but it’s pretty clear as to why once you read the book (sorry, don’t want to give anything away!). Parts of Belle’s personality irked me something chronic, BUT, I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt once the jigsaw pieces of her life came together.

‘Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay’ was everything I could have dreamed of, and more.  No lie. For me, it was absolutely perfect. There was the right mixture of past vs present, sadness vs happiness, as well as character vs character.

Jill Mansell’s novel made me laugh, well up and gasp. I finished reading the novel with a HUGE smile on face without even realising it. I genuinely cannot fault ‘Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay’, it truly was the breath of fresh air and escape that I needed to lose myself in.

Beautifully written, Jill Mansell has created yet another fantastic novel rather flawlessly. I wish I could give this novel a much higher rating than Amazon allowed (trust me, if I could it would be off the scale), as it as really gotten under my skin in such an indescribable way.

‘Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay’ is such a special, unique and cleverly written novel that obviously has been written from the authors heart. I know that Jill Mansell’s novel will forever hold a special place in my heart, reminding me to never give up on what you truly want, regardless of the amount of hurdles you have to jump over first.
Outstanding.

Thank you Headline.

Buy now from Amazon UK 

#Review of #TheKickingtheBucketList by @CathyHopkins1 @fictionpubteam @W6BookCafe

bucketThe stunning debut for fans of Celia Imrie and Dawn French.

Meet the daughters of Iris Parker. Dee; sensitive and big-hearted; Rose uptight and controlled and Fleur the reckless free spirit.
At the reading of their mother’s will, the three estranged women are aghast to discover that their inheritance comes with strings attached. If they are to inherit her wealth, they must spend a series of weekends together over the course of a year and carry out their mother’s ‘bucket list’.

But one year doesn’t seem like nearly enough time for them to move past the decades-old layers of squabbles and misunderstandings. Can they grow up for once and see that Iris’ bucket list was about so much more than money…

What does TWG think?

I’ll be honest, this book wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I was expecting a storyline that was centred around the ‘typical’ bucket list and somewhat predictable. However, what I actually got was a novel that had me in absolute hysterics one moment, to then finding myself ugly crying the next, whilst also having some incredibly bold and unique characters thrown in for good measure. So you see, sometimes judging a book before you have even read it, can be a good thing. After all, we all like surprises, especially when they’re good ones like this!

Dee, Rose and Fleur were expecting a bog standard will reading. You know, letters from the deceased read out, inheritance (if any) spoken about and other wishes discussed, ending with a signature from all those involved. Snigger, that was NOT what they got. There was a condition attached to any inheritance money, as laid out via the deceased’s wishes. All three ladies have one thing in common; they have all lost their mother. The deceased, their mother, has one thing which trumps her daughters ten times over; she was their mother and she knew them better than they even knew themselves. Therefore, mummy knows best, right? Especially as the three sisters haven’t exactly been bosom buddies over the years…

Iris Parker is a L-E-G-E-N-D! Her last wish to her daughters via her will, had me in absolute hysterics! I totally envisaged all three daughters faces at the news. In any other circumstance; such as the sisters getting on really well, it probably wouldn’t have come as such a shock to them, nor would I have found it as funny. But, because they couldn’t stand the sight of one another and one of them really needed the money, Iris Parkers last wish was an absolute belter.

Obviously, I forged my own opinion of Fleur, Dee and Rose, I always do. At first, I disliked Rose with a passion. Her stuck up nature and arrogance riled me up the wrong way, I’m sorry to say. I adored Dee as I found her personality incredibly warm and soft natured, even though she was incredibly bouncy and energetic. As for Fleur, I kept changing my mind with her. One moment I liked her ‘company’ and found her humour to be quite similar to mine, yet the next moment I struggled to bond with her as she came across a bit self-centred and far to free and easy about a lot of things.

The weekends the sisters had to endure were a mixture of events, some being funny and some being rather thought-provoking. Despite the weekends being their mother’s ‘bucket list’, the three women couldn’t seem to open their eyes to what was directly in front of them, nor could they see further than the money. However, watching the sisters go on their journey of self discovery by reminiscing and trying new things, was such an emotional one. Even though the ladies refused to see further than the inheritance money at first; watching them get to the point where things started to make sense was an ingenious idea on the authors part. Without even realising it, their mother had given them an incredibly powerful gift which, unfortunately, they seem to realise far too late.

Because most of Cathy Hopkins’ book was light-hearted and turned the negative circumstances into positive ones, when the dynamic of the storyline completely changed my hand flew to my mouth and my eyes began to sting. You know what I mean, yeah? Think of this; you’re reading a storyline that seems to make you laugh more often than none, has such an important underlying message to it yet all of a sudden….WHAM. Every single thing you thought you understood, you no longer understand and it’s made you far more emotional than you thought it would. Does that make sense now? Good, because that’s what happened to me when I read the last third or so of the novel.

The last third of Cathy Hopkins’ novel also gave her characters a well needed kick up the backside, too! I hadn’t realised how invested in the storyline and the characters lives I was, until that moment. Dee, Fleur and Rose’s relationship finally decided to mosey on down the path that their mother clearly knew that it would, Iris just had no idea under what circumstances/weekend or event, that that would happen.

I bawled like a baby, no lie. I was absolutely devastated by the turn of events! I couldn’t keep a lid on it, AT ALL. Yes folks, it surprised me too. It was as though I was feeling their emotion first hand.
I LOVED ‘The Kicking the Bucket List’ from the moment I read about Iris’ last wish, right until the very end of the book. The attention to detail in regards to the sisters personalities, was unbelievable, I have never read a character like those before. Incredible realistic and more than just words on a piece of paper. Those ladies stole my heart (yes, even Rose), and I took their hidden message. There were highs and there were lows. Good times and bad times. Funny moments and absolutely hilarious, sexy snorting moments. And you know what? It was absolutely brilliant. Cathy Hopkins has written such a clever and unique storyline, putting a twist on the usual ‘bucket list’ by making it her own.

Don’t be like Dee, Rose and Fleur and leave things too late. Don’t break a close relationship thinking that you have all the time in the world to fix it again. You don’t. Go and do those things that you want to do before you end up being in Iris’ position. Although to be honest, Iris is an absolute genius. So is Cathy Hopkins, especially as she has written her own ‘Ten Steps to Happiness’ at the very end. Definitely worth a read.

Completely unexpected and surreal, Cathy Hopkins novel is definitely one of my most favourite books of 2017 so far.

Thank you Netgalley and HarperCollins.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review of #TheEscape by C.L.Taylor (@callytaylor) @AvonBooksUK

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“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.

The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

The Sunday Times bestseller returns with her biggest and best book yet. The perfect read for fans of Paula Hawkins and Clare Mackintosh.

What does TWG think?

29 days…29 tour stops…and day two is finally here…
I am beyond thrilled to be hosting today’s stop on C.L.Taylor’s blog tour for her new release, #TheEscape, which was published by Avon Books on the 23rd March.

How on EARTH have I not read any of C.L.Taylor’s books before now?! I am ashamed of myself for not sticking my nose into one of her books until ‘The Escape’, but by golly! WHAT a book to start with!!!

Jo, being too trusting, ends up giving a stranger a lift and she soon realises that the stranger is quite clearly not a ‘stranger’ to Jo’s personal life. The stranger knows EVERYTHING and they use their knowledge to their advantage. Unfortunately, this means that Jo is left at a severe disadvantage. She’s anxious, she’s a mother and she feels as though her whole life is about to get taken away from her. There’s only one thing that she can do…escape…

An incredible page turner of a book, The Escape had me flicking through the pages at lightening speed, wanting to digest the storyline as quickly as I could. My maternal instincts kicked in for Jo’s little girl, even though a lot of those uncertain moments were incredibly difficult to read, I felt as though I owed it to that little girl…

I am honestly surprised that I didn’t faint whilst reading this book, as it felt like I was holding my breath the entire time, I don’t recall taking a breath. Even though I could work out bits and pieces of the storyline before they actually happened, the sense of fear and uncertainty jumped off those pages making those ‘known’ moments; unknown.

C.L.Taylor writes the storyline from both Jo and her husband’s, Max. Max describes Jo as severely unstable and seems to be determined to get what he wants. Although to be honest, I wasn’t even sure that Max even knew what he want. During the chapters from Jo’s point of view, my nerves went on high alert as every single noise and emotion that Jo heard and felt; I weirdly felt it too. If Jo looked over her shoulder thinking that she was being followed, I also looked over my shoulder and wondered why I was seeing the back of my sofa and not a path like Jo.

C.L.Taylor has quite clearly researched, and researched, and researched some more, where the procedures and illnesses are concerned. Taylor hasn’t written those parts into the storyline on a whim, thinking that nobody would notice. No. She has taken several illnesses, laid them bare and entwined them in a rollercoaster ride of fear. ‘The Escape’, personally, psychologically stumped me for a good 24 hours after reading it. My emotions and mind were in absolute tatters…and not in a negative way! Thank goodness for having a lot of chocolate in my cupboards to inhale!

‘The Escape’ has enough plot twists to make you require a sat nav. It has enough headfunk material to render you psychologically paused. The storyline offers multiple opportunities to ask yourself a ton of questions to the point you’ll think you’re on an episode of ‘Question Time’. Whilst reading C.L.Taylor’s novel, you may find that your most repeated words are ‘what the…..’.

I am in awe at Taylor’s literary skills with her ability to create a storyline so complex and intense, without losing momentum. I really don’t know the heck she does it, but geeeesh she does it good.
A heart pounding, spine tingling, fear inducing novel from the incredibly talented, C.L.Taylor.
(P.S. I blame you if I end up with a lack of money after buying your back catalogue….sorry, not if…WHEN. -runs to amazon-.

Huge thanks to Avon books for having me on the tour.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Make sure you keep a look out for the other bloggers on C.L.Taylor’s tour (details on pic).

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#Review – Nobody’s Son by Cathy Glass (@CathyGlassUK) @HarperNonFic @Jasmine_hl #fostercare

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Born in a prison and removed from his drug-dependent mother, rejection is all that 7-year-old Alex knows.

When Cathy is asked to foster little Alex, aged 7, her immediate reaction is: Why can’t he stay with his present carers for the last month? He’s already had many moves since coming into care as a toddler and he’ll only be with her a short while before he goes to live with his permanent adoptive family. But the present carers are expecting a baby and the foster mother isn’t coping, so Alex goes to live with Cathy.

He settles easily and is very much looking forward to having a forever family of his own. The introductions and move to his adoptive family go well. But Alex is only with them for a week when problems begin. What happens next is both shocking and upsetting, and calls into question the whole adoption process.

What does TWG think?

Receiving an e-mail from the lovely Jasmine Gordon from HarperNonFic, asking if little ol’ me wanted to review Cathy Glass’ new book, just happened to be one of THE most surreal moments…EVER. Of course I was shocked, it’s CATHY GLASS. I have been a HUGE fan of Cathy’s for as long as I can remember and seeing as I already have a few of her titles in my small (COUGH LIE COUGH) book collection, I jumped at the chance to review Cathy’s brand new novel, Nobody’s Son. I’m a little bit late with my review as it was released a month ago (I did read it on time!), I do apologise. Hopefully my review will make up for the lateness, but, be warned, this book will not be reviewed the same as fictitious books. I am not a foster carer, nor have I been directly involved with the subject itself. Therefore, how can I review this book on its ‘storyline’, ’emotional value’, ‘writing style’, when it is based on real life events? I can’t. So I won’t. Instead, I will review Cathy Glass’ novel from my heart, and my heart only.

I read ‘Nobody’s Son’ in one day. Now, before you think I’m bragging about how quickly I read books, I’m not (even though I do read them quickly). I was determined not to put Cathy’s book down until I had found out what happened to Alex, because I felt like I would be letting him down by not reading his story. Maybe that sounds daft, I don’t know. Or, maybe it’s my maternal instinct reaching out, into the storyline. I had to give him and his story my time, and the only was that I was able to do that, was by reading his journey from start to finish.

When Alex turned up to Cathy’s house and seeing how her children interacted with this little boy, made my heart swell. Cathy’s two children came across as such selfless little bundles, with hearts made of gold. Yes, they may have been used to foster children coming and going from their home and having to see their mum share her love, yet those two children could have been the complete opposite and bounced around like little firecrackers. They could have though, couldn’t they? But they didn’t. After settling in his new, temporary home, Alex’s personality began to shine like a beacon, as his enthusiasm and joy at knowing the next home he would be living in was going to be his ‘forever home’, was quite similar to a child being in a sweet shop. And, to be honest, could you blame him? The poor boy came into this world in such heart breaking circumstances, obviously (and luckily) blissfully aware as he was too young to understand, and now he was so close to having people who love him and want him. It really isn’t too much to ask really, is it?

Now, we all know that the best laid plans aren’t always as straight forward as we would like to think; the foster care system isn’t exempt from that either. Have you ever felt your heart swell due to reading something incredibly touching, being overcome with such love and emotion towards people who you don’t even know; just to have the rug pulled from under you and your happy bubble popped? If any of you are sitting and shaking your head to that question, I want to know your secret behind keeping yourself out of harms way. Hell, I can’t even walk from one room to another without causing myself pain. But the thing is, this is life and as adults we become more accustomed to pain and how to approach it; yet as children, really? Children are resilient, we all know that; but when a child’s life comes crashing down yet again, everything just…stops.

My reaction to the storyline changing direction along its journey, caught me off guard, and immediately I felt incredibly, incredibly guilty. Why? Because it wasn’t me that was going through that pain, it was Alex. I can’t even begin to imagine what pain that little boy felt, or what thoughts entered his mind.  Cathy painted a pretty vivid description of the domino effect surrounding Alex and everyone involved, so I was able to guess what Alex may have been thinking at that time. Truthfully, could you blame him? Cathy Glass is, as we all know, a well-respected foster carer, and yet I wanted to give her a big hug too. What Cathy and her family went through at the same time, on an emotional level, was incredibly hard to read as I could see every single person’s reactions in my head. As I mentioned above, I am not a foster carer, nor have I had any involvement in that particular system, however, the circumstances surrounding the care system left me feeling physically sick.

HOW?!

Cathy Glass writes in such a delicate yet black and white manner as she describes each turn of event the way it happened. No fluffing around it. No patting the children on the head going ‘there there’. No hiding behind the cracks in the system, nothing; Cathy told it how it was. My respect for Cathy went through the roof due to her honest and heart-felt descriptions of such a heart breaking circumstance. You know what surprised me even more? Cathy’s writing was held up by logical thinking and not by emotion. Don’t get me wrong, it was extremely clear that Cathy’s emotions were incredibly raw (and rightly so!), yet she didn’t let her emotions rule her head. Instead, she knew what she had to do and she did what she could for the happiness of one boy, and one boy only. Alex.

After I read ‘Nobody’s Son’, I went to have a little read of the reviews that had already been posted on Goodreads. Now, whilst I am one of the first people to say that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, (especially where reviews are concerned), something in a couple of those reviews caught my eye and for Cathy’s and Alex’s sake, I need to say this..

Since when has a novel, written about real life events and emotions and based on real human beings, been ‘too emotional’? OF COURSE it’s going to be emotional! The events within this book, actually happened! It’s not the story of a made up character called, ‘Phoebe’, who lives down the road and broke up with her boyfriend after he didn’t want her to nurse him and his broken leg. IT’S REAL LIFE.

I cried so much whilst reading ‘Nobody’s Son’, it really was hard to keep my emotions under the surface.
Cathy Glass has written such a beautiful, beautiful book that is full of both heart breaking AND heart warming moments. It’s also full of courage, strength, trust, family; a lot of things that we take for granted in our individual lives. I wish I could do more, but I am just glad that Alex had someone like Cathy Glass in his corner.

Thank you for opening my eyes to a topic often seen as ‘taboo’. Thank you for telling me about the raw, devastating events that a lot of people would have kept to themselves. Thank you for telling me Alex’s story, I really hope he’s happy now.

Thank you Jasmine Gordon and HarperNonFic.

Buy ‘Nobody’s Son’ from Amazon UK, now.

#Blog Tour! #Guestpost from author of ‘In Plain Sight’ Mel Comley (@melcom1) @bloodhoundbook

Huge thanks to BloodHoundBooks for allowing me to host today’s stop on Mel Comley’s blog tour! I have a guest post from the lady herself, enjoy!

Hi,
Thank you for hosting me today. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Mel Comley, I write under the name of M. A. Comley. I’m known for writing, fast-paced, gritty crime thrillers. My main series is the bestselling Justice series in which there are now 14 novels and several novels and short stories – you can download the first two books in the series for free Here

I began writing around 9 years ago when I moved/retired to France. After renovating the farmhouse we bought I became bored and craved something new to fill my time. I enrolled in a home study creative writing course. After completing the course, I initially started out writing romances. I switched genres after reading my first James Patterson novel.
It took me 18 months to complete the first book in the Justice series, Cruel Justice. The second book, Impeding Justice took over twelve months to write. Nowadays, I can write a novel in 4-6 weeks. How you ask? Once the characters take over and dictate the way the story unfolds it’s a done deal.

In Plain Sight is the third book in the bestselling Hero series which I’m delighted to say has been published by the wonderful Bloodhound Books you can sign up to their website HERE. This is the first time I have been fortunate enough to be traditionally published having been a self-published author for the past 7 years. I’m absolutely thrilled by the early reviews In Plain Sight has received so far.

I hope you enjoy my books, here is the blurb for In Plain Sight:

No one is safe… not even the police. DI Hero Nelson is used to violent crime but this one is personal. When he’s called to a crime scene he discovers the victims are two police officers one of whom is a good friend.
Determined to track down the killer, he’s dealt another blow as the body count continues to rise. To catch the killer before he strikes again, Hero calls upon the public for help. But when the criminal ups the ante by taking hostages, he soon regrets his decision.
Can Hero and the police catch the murderer before more innocent victims are hurt?
Hero must apprehend the killer who is hiding in plain sight before the time runs out.Can Hero and the police catch the murderer before more innocent victims are hurt?
Hero must apprehend a killer who is hiding in plain sight before the time runs out.

You can find out more about me here:

Amazon author page
KOBO author page
iTunes author page
Barnes and Noble author page

My website
Twitter
Facebook author page

Thank you to Mel Comley for stopping by TWG. Enjoy the rest of the tour!

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#Review – Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings by Wendy Holden (@Wendy_Holden) @HoZ_Books

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First in a laugh-out-loud new series that fans of The Devil Wears Prada, Bridget Jones and Sophie Kinsella will love!

She’ll need a triple-barrelled name for the castle one.
She’ll need a gallon of glitter for the woodland one.
She’ll need a lobster-shaped hat for the Shoreditch one.

Laura Lake longs to be a journalist. Instead she’s an unpaid intern at a glossy magazine – sleeping in the fashion cupboard and living on canapés. But she’s just got her first big break: infiltrate three society weddings and write a juicy exposé.

Security will be tighter than a bodycon dress, but how hard can it be? Cue disappearing brides, demanding socialites – and a jealous office enemy who will do anything to bring her down…

What does TWG think?

Have you ever finished watching ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ and thought to yourself; ‘oh I WISH the producers did a re-boot of this film or created something just as brilliant!’? Does that sound familiar? After all, EVERYONE loves ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. Never fear though…

WENDY HOLDEN IS HERE WITH LAURA LAKE!!!

Oh em geeeeee, SQUEAL!!! As soon as I saw the cover of this novel, I just knew I had to get my mitts on a copy. As soon as I began reading this novel, I knew straight away that my phone would no longer be looked at, my t.v would turn itself off because I’ve left it on its own AND my cup of tea would go stone cold. Why? Errrrrr because I wasn’t lifting my head up or diverting my attention from THIS book unless it was a life or death situation….or I needed to pee. Same thing though, right?

Laura Lake’s lifelong dream is to become a journalist, rubbing shoulders with oh-so-fabulous celebrities; but instead she is in Paris, taking part in an art installation thingy-me-jig with a stranger named, Caspar. Oh the things you do when you need extra cash! Laura soon realises that journalism opportunities are few and far between in Paris, and that London is clearly the way to go. However, there’s one slight problem, Laura doesn’t want to leave her extravagant grandmother, Mimi. You only live once, right?

I LOVE Mimi! She is extravagance at its finest and she could totally give everyone a lesson in LIVING. As for Laura Lake herself, well, can I PURLEASEEEE have her as my new BFF?! She is absolutely HILARIOUS! What I found even more funny was how her antics were considered to be ‘the norm’ for her personality, yet to us ‘boring’ outsiders, she appeared to be absolutely bonkers. I mean, seriously, she had nowhere to live so set up camp in the fashion cupboard?! Brilliant idea nonetheless but still! I could just imagine her lying there, getting up for work the next morning and just saunter into the office flicking her hair, acting like she had started work hours before anyone else. Well, technically she did…I think?

I actually don’t think I stopped laughing whilst reading about Laura’s antics. The fact she came face to face with an enemy from her past, was somewhat predictable yet I couldn’t wait for the sparks to fly. It was clear that Wendy Holden wasn’t going to bypass the opportunity to allow her characters to get their claws out and play dirty, and what a genius addition to the storyline.

There was SO much happening in this book yet I didn’t find the storyline too busy or hard to follow. In fact it flowed really well; there was enough grit, fireworks, humour and controversial situations to keep me going until dinner time!

Wendy Holden has written my kind of book to an absolute T. It has humour. It has flirting. It has weird and wonderful characters with incredibly large personalities, and AWESOME names. It has ‘bonkers’ written right through the storyline like a stick of rock. It is absolutely fantastic.

I read Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings one night when I needed to laugh like I’ve never laughed before, to escape from my daily hell for longer than ten minutes, be transported to a place where only ‘bonkers’ and ‘bizarre live’; Wendy Holden’s novel did that for me. I cannot recommend this book enough and I REALLY want the next book, er, now please? Thank you very much!

A hilarious giggle-fest from the very first page, Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings is THE book to read and enjoy without even hiding it as a ‘guilty pleasure’.
Pleasure? Yes. Guilty? Hell no!!
Fantastic.

Thank you Head of Zeus!!

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review of The Song of the Stork by Stephan Collishaw (@scollishaw) @legend_press

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Fifteen-year-old Yael is on the run. The Jewish girl seeks shelter from the Germans on the farm of the village outcast. Aleksei is mute and solitary, but as the brutal winter advances, he reluctantly takes her in and a delicate relationship develops.

As her feelings towards Aleksei change, the war intrudes and Yael is forced to join a Jewish partisan group fighting in the woods.

Torn apart and fighting for her life, The Song of the Stork is Yael’s story of love, hope and survival. It is the story of one woman finding a voice as the voices around her are extinguished.

What does TWG think?

Stephan Collishaw’s blog tour bus comes to a stop at TWG HQ today, as we round-up his tour for ‘The Song of the Stork! Here is my review:

Reading ‘The Song of the Stork’ took me completely out of my comfort zone as, whilst having read historic novels previously, I had never read one where the storyline felt completely black and white. Set during one of history’s most distressing times, WW2, Stephan Collishaw took the storyline up yet another notch by incorporating the life of a Jewish person. If you know your history, you’ll know that Jews were constantly looking over their shoulders in fear and just like the main character in this novel, Yael, they were forever on the run.

Yael, a fifteen year old girl had to find a safe haven away from the Germans, preferably somewhere where they wouldn’t even think to look (she hoped). Thankfully Yael found a gentleman who finally agreed to take her under his wing and, despite the fact that he was mute, Yael and Aleksei’s relationship began to blossom. However, the war continued around them…

A new author as well as a rather different take on historical fiction that I have grown to love, it didn’t take me long to realise that I had to keep my mind incredibly open with this book. It was intense due to the topics it covered, obviously, and I would have been a bit miffed if it hadn’t had that intensity flowing through it. However, I felt as though there was something missing from the overall book and I could not work out what it was. It just didn’t warm to me as much as I thought it would, overall. I think I was a little bit irked that I had to keep re-reading a few sentences to gain more clarity of where the storyline was heading. I dislike having to do that!

That said, the content itself was poignant, powerful and incredibly intense, which I rather enjoyed. For me, The Song of the Stork was a promising read with the bare bones of the storyline showcasing the authors intellect in regards to a devastating and memorable situation.

I didn’t dislike the book at all. I enjoyed the overall concept of the storyline; I just wanted more.

I am glad that I was given the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and embark on a journey with a new author. Despite my reservations, The Song of the Stork was a risk worth taking.

Thanks Legend Press.

Buy now.

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#BlogTour! #GuestPost from ‘Deadly Game’ author Matt Johnson (@Matt_Johnson_UK) @OrendaBooks

Big thanks to author of ‘Deadly Game’, Matt Johnson, and Orenda Books, for having me host today’s stop on the blog tour! Matt Johnson has written a really insightful guest post for us here at TWG HQ! I am super excited to share with you Matt’s thoughts on editing books and having to decide whether all parts of the storyline make the final cut or not!

A darling killed – Matt Johnson.

The editing process can be hard, especially to a new author who is not used
to it. Those words that you have almost sweated blood to produce, that you
have agonised over, changed, improved … only to find they are despatched
to the edit room floor. But that is the very nature of the editor’s role, too look
dispassionately at the content and to make recommendations on what needs
to be changed, what needs to be added, and what should be cut. Editing
helps the story move smoothly, maintains pace and keeps the book on track.
It chops the padding, removes the irrelevant red herrings and polishes up
what remains. It turns a manuscript into a book.

This is an extract from Deadly Game, one that didn’t make the cut. I liked it,
and was sad to see it go, but the editing team were right. And so, my darling
was killed. In this chapter, the central character Robert Finlay has been sent to interview
a potential witness in Gloucester. He meets an old friend, Wendy Russell,
now in charge of policing for that area. This extract, describes and event from
when they first met.

***

Wendy Russell and I had been PCs together at Albany Street and, before
that, on the same intake for the police training school at Hendon in North
London. Early days as a constable consisted of a lot of classroom work, practical
assessments and exercises. After that, every evening was spent on book
study. As an older student, I hadn’t found the book-work easy. Wendy had
been a great help. We first met, one late evening, when I’d taken a break from
the studying to grab a quick beer in the recruit bar. A young redhead had
walked up beside me and offered to buy me a drink. It was Wendy. I accepted
the offer, of course. It’s not every day that kind of thing happens.

Our first hour together was spent talking about the course, why we’d joined
the police and other, ‘get to know you’ type things. Later, Wendy explained
that she’d only spoken to me out of sympathy; she felt sorry for me, sitting on
my own at the bar. I didn’t mind, and that first drink turned out to be the start
of a long friendship. My new friend was on the graduate entry scheme. I
hadn’t heard of it. She explained that by the time I would be eligible to try for a
promotion to sergeant, she would already have made inspector. As it
transpired, her prediction proved correct. Wendy was bright, articulate, and
attractive. She was also a lot younger than me, and was already engaged to
be married to a sergeant who worked in Central London.

Our friendship was cemented one day during ‘restraint’ training. One of the PT
staff had a dislike of female recruits and a resentment of what he called the
‘Bramshill flyers’, the fast-track promotion graduates who would be heading to
the police staff college as their careers progressed. To this particular
instructor, WPCs were all a ‘plonk’ or ‘Doris’ who should have been kept
inside the police stations to make the tea and to look after women and kids.
The fact that Wendy was both female and a ‘flyer’ caused her to be the
subject of much of this man’s attention. A former NCO from one of the infantry
regiments, his uniform tunic was adorned with several medal ribbons, some of
which I recognised. It wasn’t unusual; most of the ex-services lads wore their
ribbons. Almost all had completed tours in Ireland, so the green and blue
General Service ribbon was quite commonplace. Others sported NATO
medals and the Falkland Islands ribbon.

On the day in question, Wendy had been singled out by the PT instructor to
demonstrate restraint techniques. We were to be taught how to deal with
awkward prisoners using the ‘hammerlock and bar’ hold. It was simple
enough to use, but not if you were a rather diminutive female who’s
overpowering male instructor was set on showing you up.
As the rest of the class watched, our fellow recruit was teased, humiliated
and, repeatedly dumped on the gym floor in a bedraggled mess. Wendy tried
hard, very hard, but the instructor was strong, and he was determined to
make his point about the value of WPCs. I saw a tear in Wendy’s eye as she lay on the floor following her sixth or seventh attempt to apply the hold to her tormentor. Ignoring her, the instructor ordered us to form pairs and practise amongst ourselves. I went over to
Wendy and helped her up.
‘You ok?’ I asked.
‘One day, I’m going to come back here as an inspector, then we’ll see who’s
laughing,’ she answered, bravely.
‘Why wait that long?’
‘What do you mean?’

I moved Wendy to the back of the gym where we would be away from the rest
of the class. The instructor, I noticed, had nipped out to do something else
while we tried to master the hold he had been teaching. I had also noticed the
way he had been tipping Wendy on her back as she tried to place him in the
hold. He relied on brute strength. He was overconfident, certain of his strength
advantage and, as a result, was badly balanced on his feet. He didn’t consider
his adversary to be a threat. That left him vulnerable to surprise.
Over the course of the next few minutes, I allowed Wendy to practise on me.
The first time, I dumped her on her back, in the very same way that had
happened to her in front of the class. She made to storm off, but I held her
arm.
‘Stop,’ I said. ‘Now, try this.’
Using a simple sweeping movement of the leg, I showed Wendy how to knock
me off balance and onto my back. By the time the instructor returned, she was
becoming quite proficient at it.
‘OK you lot,’ came the call from our leader. ‘Who’s going to show me what
you’ve learnt?’
For a few seconds, nobody moved. Then Wendy stepped forward. ‘Mind if I
have another try, sergeant.’ The instructor and a couple of the younger male
recruits laughed, but Wendy continued her approach. Failing to anticipate that his stooge could have improved much in the time he had been absent, our teacher adopted the same casual approach to embarrassing his challenger. It was a mistake. Wendy was quick. What she
lacked in strength, she more than made up for in speed. In a flash, the
instructor was decked.

For good measure, Wendy stood for a moment, her right foot on her victim’s
neck and her fists in the air. She looked for all the world like a victorious
gladiator awaiting a command from her audience as to whether to spare her
unfortunate opponent. Two of the women laughed and gave the ‘thumbs
down’ sign. The rest of us cheered and clapped our hands enthusiastically.
In November that year, we were both posted out to Albany Street Police
Station, near Euston, to start our two-year probationary period as uniform
PCs. I had been placed on ‘C’ relief, Wendy was put with ‘D’. Over the coming
years, she inevitably encountered a lot more of the kind of attitude shown by
that instructor, but it didn’t faze her. We kept in contact until she left the Met
several years later, having been promoted to Superintendent.
And now, here she was. As large as life, with six years under her belt in
charge of policing in Gloucester.

Thanks again to Matt for the fantastic guest post! Read on to find out more about his book, Deadly Games, and the link to buy a copy for yourself!

deadlygame1
Reeling from the attempts on his life and that of his family, Police Inspector Robert Finlay returns to work to discover that any hope of a peaceful existence has been dashed. Assigned to investigate the Eastern European sex-slave industry just as a key witness is murdered, Finlay, along with his new partner Nina Brasov, finds himself facing a ruthless criminal gang, determined to keep control of the traffic of people into the UK. On the home front, Finlay’s efforts to protect his wife and child may have been in vain, as an MI5 protection officer uncovers a covert secret service operation that threatens them all… Picking up where the bestselling Wicked Game left off, Deadly Game sees Matt Johnson’s damaged hero fighting on two fronts. Aided by new allies, he must not only protect his family but save a colleague from an unseen enemy … and a shocking fate.

Buy now from Amazon

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#BlogTour! #Review – A Knightsbridge Scandal by Anita Davison (@AnitaSDavison) @Aria_Fiction

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It’s Monday, brand new week which means brand new tour! Aria have given me the honour of kicking off yet another blog tour for them! This is why I LOVE Mondays (even though I’m not on tour for Aria for a few weeks after this one. Sniff).
On my stop today I will be bringing you a review of Anita Davison’s new book, A Knightsbridge Scandal, which was published by Aria Fiction on the 1st March 2017. Hope you enjoy!

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1903 London is bustling and glamorous. With troubling secrets simmering and worrying signs of war Flora Maguire must solve a deadly mystery which leads right to the heart of the corridors of power.

Flora Maguire has escaped the country to enjoy some time in fashionable Knightsbridge, London. Extravagant shops, exuberant theatres and decadent restaurants mean 1903’s London is a thrilling adventure, but there are dark secrets threatening from the continent.

When the body of a London socialite, and leading light of the burgeoning women’s movement, is found outside The Grenadier public house, Flora can’t resist investigating.

Mysterious letters are discovered in the victim’s belongings, strange links to the foreign office and why do the clues keep coming back to the assassination of a Baltic king?

As Flora closes in on the killer, it soon becomes clear she is no longer safe in London, but will her husband Bunny be able to get to her before it’s too late?

What does TWG think?

I was really looking forward to starting Anita Davison’s latest novel, A Knightsbridge Scandal, as she was a brand new author for me to sink my teeth into in regards to her work. I had heard of her, well, seen her books on Amazon, but my love for historical fiction wasn’t as deep back then as it is now.

Set in 1903, London; A Knightsbridge Scandal brought to light the issues that women were up against back in the day;  such as the suffragette movement.  The movement was only just beginning to get the word out about their organisation and their beliefs; and, as this storyline shows, A LOT of people (mainly males) were completely against the entire thing. Because of that, women’s safety became a rather touchy subject and also rather dangerous. Again, just like this storyline describes, there is always a scandal when you least expect it. Especially if, like Flora, you’re meant to be having a little city break and the definition of ‘seeing the sights’ is completely different to what you originally thought….

Recently I have been reading a lot more historical fiction novels than ever before as I am a HUGE history buff (not many people know that), which meant my excitement for this novel was at a high. Early 1900’s, London and a lot of history, what’s not to like?
I need to be honest. It took me a little while to be able to get into this storyline and find something to sink my teeth into to keep me interested. The first couple of chapters seemed to ponder along at their own pace with a couple of sparklers alongside them, instead of a firework moment. Does that make sense? I struggled to find ‘the thing’ at first, and I so badly wanted to! I’m not usually one to give up on a book for a trivial reason, so I kept reading with my fingers crossed.

Did someone say SCANDAL?! Why helllooooooo there! The little ‘something’ I needed to reel me into the storyline properly, arrived with glittery paper and a huge bow (well, not really but you know what I mean). Flora was SUCH an inquisitive soul, completely unable to keep her nose out of things that didn’t concern her. But you know what? I’m SOOOO glad that she was like that because I got to follow her journey of investigation, as well as learning more about an early 1900’s London. From that moment I just knew that the book and I would be A-Okay.

Flora’s mother in law, SHEEEEEESH!!!! What WAS that woman on? Both Bunny and his mother got on my nerves something chronic, no wonder Flora wanted to get a bit of excitement into a life and what a way to do it! Of course she managed to land herself in a bit of hot water, Flora was delving into a situation that she really should be steering clear of. That said, it was an exciting read with my detective skills failing me once again!

Anita Davison filled the storyline with one of my most favourite historical moments, The Suffragette Movement, and her brilliant descriptions made the movement come to life before my very own eyes.

Even though I was slightly unsure of the novel at the beginning, Anita’s delightful writing style, historical knowledge and infectious bouts of excitement throughout, really did change my mind. It was as though something in the storyline just clicked.

Entertaining, secretive and incredibly interesting, A Knightsbridge Scandal is an ideal read to lounge on the sofa and step back in time with.

Thank you Aria.

Links to buy
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2kbPt2U

Book 1 – Flora’s Secret is out now:
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/2cJhzSn
Book 2 – Betrayal at Cleeve Abbey is out now
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/2edQSnv
Follow Aria
Facebook: @ariafiction
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Instagram: @ariafiction
Sign up to the Aria newsletter: http://bit.ly/2jQxVtV

About the author.

Anita’s earlier novels are set in 17 th Century England, with a family saga set in Exeter
during the Monmouth Rebellion and a biographical novel about Elizabeth Murray
during the English Civil War in Surrey. Her fascination with the revival of cosy
mysteries made her turn to the early 1900’s for inspiration where she found Flora
Maguire lurking. The series of five novels was taken up for publication by Aria
Fiction, a digital imprint of Head of Zeus Publishing.

Murder on the Minneapolis is available here [http://tinyurl.com/z2ly6lm] and
Murder at Cleeve Abbey can be pre-ordered here. [http://tinyurl.com/zkqhx37]
Twitter – @AnitaSDavison