#BlogTour! #Review – #SomewhereBeyondTheSea by Miranda Dickinson (@wurdsmyth) #TeamSparkly @PanMacmillan @Ed_pr

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Let’s get sparkly!! I am so, SO excited to be today’s stop on Miranda Dickinson’s blog tour for her latest sparkly novel, ‘Somewhere Beyond The Sea’. Thank you so much to ED Pr for the blog tour invite, and a big thank you to Miranda and PanMacmillan for the ARC. Here is my review:

Somewhere Beyond the Sea

Can you fall in love with someone before you’ve even met?

Seren MacArthur is living a life she never intended. Trying to save the Cornish seaside business her late father built – while grieving for his loss – she has put her own dreams on hold and is struggling. Until she discovers a half-finished seaglass star on her favourite beach during an early morning walk. When she completes the star, she sets into motion a chain of events that will steal her heart and challenge everything she believes.

Jack Dixon is trying to secure a better life for daughter Nessie and himself. Left a widower and homeless when his wife died, he’s just about keeping their heads above water. Finding seaglass stars completed on Gwithian beach is a bright spark that slowly rekindles his hope.

Seren and Jack are searching for their missing pieces. But when they meet in real life, it’s on the opposing sides of a battle. Jack is managing the redevelopment of a local landmark, and Seren is leading the community campaign to save it.

Both have reason to fight – Seren for the cause her father believed in, Jack for his livelihood. But only one can win. With so much at stake, will they ever find what they are really looking for?

Miranda Dickinson’s Somewhere Beyond the Sea is a sparkling tale of love, life and finding magic where you least expect it.

What does TWG think?

Having been a huge fan of Miranda Dickinson’s since her ‘Take A Look At Me Now’ days, I nearly cried with excitement when this beauty came through the letterbox! As weird as this sounds, Miranda Dickinson writes the types of novels that you so desperately want to read, yet you keep putting it off because you just know that you will be bereft when the book comes to an end. It’s crazy how super fans can tell that just from looking at the cover! I’m so just so pleased that I wasn’t wrong as ‘Somewhere Beyond The Sea’ is an incredibly special read – I am envious of every single reader out there who gets to read this book for the first time.

Seren is dealing with the grief of losing her father, as well as dealing with the mess that was left after his passing. Whilst Seren knows that her mother would want her to carry on her father’s legacy in the village, she knows deep down that taking over his shop isn’t her dream, just like it is no longer her father’s.

Poor Seren isn’t the only character who is dealing with grief, local builder and single parent, Jack, is as well. Although after reading between the lines, it makes me wonder whether Jack is indeed dealing with grief, or whether he is dealing with a lot more.

Can I just say that Jack’s daughter, Nessie, is a HOOT! The things that that girl came out with had me in hysterics! She sounded so much like my own daughter, it was uncanny.

Obviously Jack and Seren aren’t the only character’s living it up in this novel, just wait until you get to know Aggie! What a flamboyant and brilliant character she is, love her!

I think I underestimated just how magical ‘Somewhere Beyond The Sea’ was. From the very first page I felt as though I was given a pair of wings. By the time I reached the middle of the book, I felt as though I was given a magic wand to go with the wings. Then, by the time I nearly reached the end of the book, I felt as though every inch of me was covered in fairy dust, preparing me for the beauty that was going to come before I closed the book completely. No other book has made me feel as though I was a magical fairy, and no other book has made me feel emotional due to how beautifully written the storyline was.

I wish I could do the book justice with my review, but I just know that nothing I  can say would come close to conveying just how captivated I was by Seren and Jack’s story. It’s very clear that the author has written every single piece of this book from her heart, as the overall vibe of the story is something that can only be learnt via own personal hardships, and not from googling how certain situations can make you feel.

‘Somewhere Beyond The Sea’ highlighted how important it is to chase after your dreams before it’s too late. It taught me that unless you have taken time out to breathe, you will not be any use to anyone else. Not only that, this book showed me that even though there are times in our lives which are incredibly dark, just like the night sky, somewhere, something will always be shining just for you, even if you cannot see it there and then. You just have to believe in yourself, your abilities, and your dreams.

I am getting quite choked up writing this review as I am writing it from my heart and then some. Just when I thought Miranda Dickinson couldn’t write any better than she does already, she goes and writes a novel which ends up becoming my most favourite book that she has ever written, as well as being my most favourite book of 2018 so far (and I have read 194!).

Captivating, heartfelt, poignant, and incredibly powerful, ‘Somewhere Beyond The Sea’ is THE book to read right now – THIS is perfection. Simply stunning.

Buy now!

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#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Almost Wife by Jade Beer (@JadeBRIDES) @Bookouture

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Grab a box of tissues because this one is a tad emotional! Yes, I know, that is coming from the Queen of Ice Queen’s herself, TWG, but still. It is. I am so excited to be able to share my review of ‘The Almost Wife’ by Jade Beer, for the last stop on the blog blitz. Huge thank you to Bookouture for the Blitz invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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Jessie has always known she doesn’t belong, but she thought that would change when she met Adam. But pretending to be someone you’re not isn’t easy… and she’s already cracking under the pressure of keeping her past a secret from Adam’s uptight family.

Dolly works hard to keep up appearances – but what’s the point of only eating salad when her boyfriend Josh always seems distracted. Dolly is sure he’ll change once they’re married with a family; Josh did say he wanted those things… didn’t he?

Emily couldn’t be happier: she’s got funny, loving parents and a job she looks forward to. And then her boyfriend Mark proposes… just as some shocking news sends her life spiralling out of control.

Perfect strangers on the first page, Jessie, Dolly and Emily’s paths will cross in the most unexpected of ways. And as their stories collide, their lives will take a turn you’ll never predict.

What does TWG think?

You may be sitting there thinking that the title of this book gives you a hint about what’s to come, and whilst that is true to an extent, it also couldn’t be further from the truth if it tried. Confused? Don’t be – you just need to read the book for yourself.

Three women, three weddings, and a minimum of three dresses – simple. Or is it? Even though I have never been married and never planned a wedding, I am still aware that planning a wedding isn’t a stress free event, with the lives of the three women in this story cementing that fact on more than one occasion.

Just in case you wanted even more grit to sink your teeth into, ‘The Almost Wife’ isn’t told from the voices of the three brides to be, it is in fact told by four women. Yes, that’s right! This storyline switches between four different characters and whilst I would usually think ‘ohmygawd I’m confused’, the author blends the different viewpoints in such a seamless manner, I sometimes forgot that I was reading about different women and not just the one.

I ADORED the parts set in the wedding shop as everything was intricately described and written absolutely beautifully. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought I was standing with Helen in her shop instead of laying in my bed reading the book. Just like the three brides to be, Helen has her own distinctive, emotional story. It was a shame that she never gave herself enough credit for how strong she was.

Whilst the blurb gives enough details about the three brides to be, I want to add that a lot of readers may relate to Jessie, Dolly, and Emily’s situations, as they come across incredibly genuine and very apt to modern day society. Jade Beer clearly has done her homework, that’s for sure!

Speaking of which, the author clearly knows her way around a wedding shop, and I can guarantee that her knowledge wasn’t taught via re-runs of ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ on TLC! I have always said that I don’t see myself getting married, but after meeting Helen and feeling the beauty of the wedding dresses jump out of the page thanks to Jade Beer’s enchanting words, I can envision myself walking into a wedding boutique without coming out in a cold sweat.

I said at the very start of this review that you’ll need to grab a box of tissues. I stand by that 100%. As I don’t wish to give spoilers, I won’t tell you the why’s and wherefores about the emotion, all I will tell you is that this beautiful story absolutely broke me and made me sob my heart out. It is incredibly sad, but in a weird and wonderful way, ‘The Almost Wife’ is one of the most captivating, beautiful, and flawlessly written book I think I have ever read.

Jade Beer doesn’t only know what works when it comes to A-line wedding dresses or ball gowns, she also knows what works when it comes to telling a story to her readers as she has nailed it ten times over.

‘The Almost Wife’ is a heartbreaking, yet outstanding novel which highlights the beauty of love in all of its various formats, hugging you from the inside out as you make your way through the story on an emotional journey. I won’t be forgetting this book in a hurry, I can promise you that.

Stunning, emotional, and everything I could have ever dreamt of, ‘The Almost Wife’ isn’t ALMOST perfect – it is PERFECTLY perfect in every way. Step down Mary Poppins, there’s a new girl in town!

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

I’m Jade. I’m a novelist, mother to two young daughters and the editor of Conde Nast Brides. 

I love writing about women and all the challenges we face in our daily lives. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredibly talented women throughout my career as a journalist and editor – ones who juggle the most all-encompassing careers with family and friendships and everything else that life throws at them. They often make it look so easy. But we all know it’s not. And that need to present one version of yourself to the world, while keeping the grittier, less polished reality under wraps, is a thread that runs strongly through my debut novel, The Almost Wife. 

In my day job as the editor of Conde Nast Brides, I share my working life with editors of some of the glossiest, luxury brands in the world – Vogue, Tatler, Glamour – and I have the enormous priviledge of travelling the world and sitting front row at beautiful fashion shows and working with the world’s leading florists, cake makers and stylists. But I also take a daily peek into the lives of young women who are engulfed in one of the most exciting times of their lives – planning their wedding days. This, above everything else, is the really fun bit. Being on the front line if you like. Hearing their thoughts, fears, worries and ambitions for the future. This really powerful cocktail of glamour and reality dances across every page of The Almost Wife and is currently being poured into my second novel which is due out in October this year.

I’m not sure I could have written The Almost Wife without making it personal too, feeding some of my own quiet fears into the mix. I’ve sat in important meetings, dropping huge clangers that years later still make me cringe. I’ve got more than my fair share of self-doubt and suffer like many other women from the dreaded imposter syndrome. I worry constantly about my family. How much time I have left with them. Am I doing any of it right? Will I be riddled with regret in later years? Will my daughters be critical of the choices I made? Am I failing the people I love the most?

Although work places me full time in London, my heart is in the countryside where I live with my husband and our two daughters. The Cotswolds is where my husband and I used to spend romantic weekends plotting our future together long before children came along and is now where I watch them both run free, hoping I will keep them close for many years to come. 

Take a peek inside my life on Instagram @jadebeerbrides

#BlogTour! #Review – #IFoundMyTribe by Ruth Fitzmaurice (@RuthONeillFitz) @VintageBooks @AnneCater

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Last but not least, the final blog tour of the evening is for a book that I found very touching; ‘I Found My Tribe’ by Ruth Fitzmaurice. Thank you, as always, to Anne Cater from #RandomThingsTours for the blog tour invite, and to Vintage Books for the ARC. Here is my review:

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Ruth Fitzmaurice has two extraordinary families.

She has her husband Simon, a filmmaker with advanced Motor Neurone Disease who
can only communicate with his eyes via a computer. Together they have five children
under the age of 10, as well as Pappy, a cantankerous Basset Hound. They are kept
afloat by relentless army of nurses and carers that flows through their house in
Greystones, on the East Coast of Ireland.

And then there is Ruth’s other family – her Tribe of amazing women. Amidst the chaos
and the pain that rules their lives, The Tragic Wives Swimming Club congregate together
– in summer and winter, on golden afternoons and by the light of the moon – on the sea
steps at Women’s Cove. Day after day, they throw themselves into the freezing Irish sea.
In that moment, they are free. Later, they will share a thermos of tea, teeth chattering,
hands shaking, ready to take on the world once more.

An invocation to all of us to love as hard as we can, and live even harder, I Found My
Tribe is an urgent and uplifting letter to a husband, family, friends, the natural world and the brightness of life.

What does TWG think?

What can I say about ‘I Found My Tribe’? No, seriously, I’m genuinely asking! This is a book about one lady’s life as she watches the love of her life, her husband, lose his independence and ability to move, thanks to the nasty bastard that is Motor Neurone Disease. Having only heard of this illness and never really having the need to expand my knowledge on the subject, hearing about it first hand from someone whose life revolves around said disease is both eye-opening and devastating at the same time.

However, it isn’t just Ruth and Simon travelling on their MND journey, their five children (all very young) join them too. Whilst I believe that it must be such a difficult subject to discuss with young children who may not quite understand exactly what it is happening, I still feel that they’re all incredibly strong. Part of me feels patronising saying that, but it’s true. I cannot even begin to imagine what the family, and of course Simon, must go through on a day to day basis both physically, and emotionally. Even though the delivery of this novel wasn’t as flawlessly brought together like other memoirs I have read, it weirdly didn’t bother me as it was very clear that Ruth needed this book as her escape and her way of being able to bring awareness to such a devastating illness.

‘I Found My Tribe’ doesn’t just focus on Ruth’s husband, Simon, it highlights what Ruth was able to turn to in her hour of need. I know that Simon is the one with MND, but the psychological and emotional hurdles must knock Ruth for six.

The fact that Ruth had found her way to let off steam at such an emotional time, really did make my heart swell. Not only does she have to be strong for her husband, she also has to be strong for her children, making her abundantly aware that she cannot be strong if she doesn’t take the time out to re-energise, and what a way to do it.

‘I Found My Tribe’ left me with a lot to think about. This is an incredibly honest and moving memoir which not only manages to highlight the devastation one disease can bring, it also highlights how important it is to find something to hold onto when the seas get stormy. Or in Ruth’s case, finding her tribe so that they can swim together in those stormy seas.

I Found My Tribe will be published in paperback on the 28th June. You can pre-order and buy the e-copy here.

About the author.

Ruth Fitzmaurice was born in 1976 and grew up in Co. Louth,
Ireland. She was a radio researcher and producer when she married film director and
writer, Simon, in 2004 and had three children. In 2008, Simon was diagnosed with Motor
Neurone Disease and given three years to live. Simon went into respiratory failure in
2010 and was accidentally placed on a ventilator during an emergency procedure. He
decided, against medical advice, to keep the ventilator; Ruth and Simon went on to have
twins in 2012. In January 2016, Ruth wrote her first piece for the Irish Times about family life and a new passion, sea swimming. She lives in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, with her five children Jack, Raife, Arden, Sadie, Hunter, a dog and a cat. Simon passed away in
October 2017.

Twitter @RuthONeillFitz

#BlogTour! #Review – #TheTallMan by Phoebe Locke (@phoebe_locke) @Wildfirebks @AnneCater

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Second blog tour for you this evening, but this time we are getting very dark with my review of ‘The Tall Man’ by Phoebe Locke. Big thank you to Anne Cater from #RandomThingsTours for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Headline for the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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A SENSELESS MURDER. A TERRIFYING LEGEND. A FAMILY HAUNTED.

1990: In the darkest woods, three girls devote themselves to a sinister figure.

2000: A young mother disappears, leaving behind her husband and baby daughter.

2018: A teenage girl is charged with murder, and her trial will shock the world.

Three chilling events, connected by the shadow he casts.

He is the Tall Man. He can make you special…

What does TWG think?

As I am sure most of you are aware of by now, I do not read the blurb of the book I choose to read, until AFTER I read the book. Therefore, I choose my books based on the cover/title/author. If you look at the cover for ‘The Tall Man’, you can see why I chose to read this book. It intrigued me. It left me wanting to know more. Who on Earth was the tall man? Was he a 7ft man who lived in a village? Was he the ‘World’s Tallest Man’ as seen on the TV show? I did not know, but I ensured I found out the answers to those questions.

The reason why I mentioned the whole blurb thing again, was because it ties to my next point very nicely. ‘The Tall Man’ has a supernatural element to it and, if I had known that beforehand, I wouldn’t have picked it up as I am not a huge fan of those types of books. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the storyline and I felt that the supernatural vibe made the story that little bit more chilling. If that is at all possible by the way, this is one creepy read. I don’t mean creepy as in don’t walk down a dark alley by yourself, I mean psychologically creepy where your mind is put into a total head funk, and your arms have become the new home to a truck load of goosebumps.

I am trying to keep this review vague as I feel that ‘The Tall Man’ needs to be devoured with as little information beforehand as possible!

‘The Tall Man’ is told from different character viewpoints, switching between the past and present day. There is a lot of attention surrounding ‘The Tall Man’, who ‘he’ is and what he wants, especially when the author focuses on events in the past. What comes to light is incredibly unsettling, yet it lays the stepping-stones for events as the storyline progresses. For someone who raises my eyebrows at anything supernatural, Phoebe Locke completely put me under her spell, leaving me questioning the idea of the tall man as well as the truth. It was so scary to see how people can be easily manipulated and the lengths that they will go to when their mind is occupied with an obsession that not only takes over their life, it also terrifies them.

Phoebe Locke is an insanely clever writer, creating vivid and severely sinister imagery with her highly atmospheric descriptions, and her flawless way of combining multiple events through multiple timelines. I am incredibly impressed by what I read, and I am so glad that I unknowingly took the chance with the supernatural vibe.

Buy now!

About the author.

PHOEBE LOCKE is the pseudonym of full-time writer Nicci Cloke. She previously
worked at the Faber Academy, and hosted London literary salon Speakeasy.
Nicci has had two literary novels published by Fourth Estate and Cape, and
also writes YA for Hot Key Books. She lives and writes in London. THE TALL MAN
is Phoebe Locke’s debut thriller.

Find Phoebe on Twitter on @phoebe_locke

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The M Word by Eileen Wharton (@WhartonEileen) @bombshellpub

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First up this evening is my review of ‘The M Word’ by Eileen Wharton. Big thank you to BombshellPub for both the blog blitz invite, and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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Roberta Gallbreath is middle aged and menopausal. She dislikes her children, detests her ex-husband and despises her colleagues.

When her mother dies, Roberta is left with a pile of letters and a mystery surrounding her son. The letters reveal Roberta’s heritage is not what it seems and she is soon on a mission to become a better person.

Told with humour and emotion, The M Word is the tale of one woman’s journey to find out where she came from. As she looks to the past for answers, more questions are raised. Will Roberta discover who she really is?

What does TWG think?

You are in for an absolute treat if you enjoy spending a lot of time laughing whilst reading a book! Eileen Wharton has humour down to a fine art where this novel is concerned, throwing out some one liners that you probably shouldn’t be sitting laughing at but you can’t help yourself – trust me on that, there is a lot of them in ‘The M Word’!

I adored the breath of fresh air style of writing, the ‘I don’t give a….’ humour, and the fact that the main character was 100% bonkers. Seriously, how can anyone not like that?

However (sorry!), the storyline for me, didn’t flow as well as I would have liked. Don’t get me wrong, the contents was incredibly fun, but I felt that the way it all came together a little bit patchy and didn’t really make me feel as though I was reading a story. Sometimes, aside from the letters that were mentioned in the novel, I felt as though I was reading diary entries instead. Like I said before, the contents was there, so I didn’t have an issue with that.

I laughed out loud more than once, and I’ll admit that I even covered my face in shock at some of the jokes that came out of Roberta’s mouth. Hilarious, but very, very daring and quite cut throat. Just be prepared to leave your serious head outside of the book before you start reading, especially as the author is toying with the ‘make them laugh/offend them’ line. I really did laugh, even if I did feel slightly guilty afterwards haha.

If I’m basing my opinion on everything else in the book, I have to say that I am torn because I did enjoy what I read, and I did enjoy reading a book where the author was incredibly daring, brave, and a whole lot of ‘YOU GO GIRL!’. Personally, I just feel that the way all of it was put together, made it quite a staggered novel to read which frustrated me.

However, if I’m basing my opinion on humour alone, then I would say that the author has smashed it. The overall vibe of the book was incredibly fun and kept me thoroughly entertained.

Buy now!

About the author.

Eileen Wharton is not the naughty great-grandaughter of Edith Wharton. She is currently employed by MI5 but has had various jobs including: wigmaker to Donald Trump, Megan Fox’s stunt double and Ann Summers ‘toy’ tester. She also tells lies for a living.

She currently has five ‘lively’ offspring ranging from thirty to ten years of age and has no plans to procreate further much to the relief of the local schools and police force.

Her first novel, ‘Shit Happens’ was published in 2011 to worldwide critical acclaim. She’s also won awards for exaggeration. It did top the Amazon humour chart so she’s officially a best-selling author.

Her first children’s picture book, ‘The Shmoogly Boo’ was published in the same year and another is in the pipeline entitled, ‘My Dad’s Better than Your Dad.’

Her first crime novel, ‘Blanket of Blood’ was launched as a paperback on Friday 28th November 2016. She is now working on the sequel ‘Blood’s Thicker.’

 She teaches English to teenagers and lives on a council estate in Bishop Auckland. She has never eaten kangaroo testicles, is allergic to cats and has a phobia of tinned tuna.

#BlogTour! #Review – One Summer Weekend by Juliet Archer (@julietarcher) @ChocLitUK @RaRaResources

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It’s a dismal day here in the Scottish Borders, unlike the novel I have for you today! Day two of Juliet Archer’s blog tour for, ‘One Summer Weekend’ is here, and I am delighted to share my review with you all. Big thank you to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and thank you to ChocLitUK for the ARC. Here is my review:

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One summer weekend can change everything …

Alicia Marlowe’s life as an executive coach is well under control – until she meets her new client, Jack Smith. Jack’s reputation precedes him and Alicia knows immediately that he spells trouble. Not least because he reminds her of someone else – a man who broke her heart and made her resolve never to lower her guard again.

Taking Jack on as a client is a risk, but one that Alicia decides to take for the good of her career. As long as she keeps him in his place, she might just make it through unscathed.

But Jack has other ideas – including a ‘business’ trip to the Lake District. One summer weekend with him is all it takes to put Alicia’s carefully organised world in a spin …

What does TWG think?

I am very torn with this one! I don’t know whether to listen to my heart or my head, especially when both have such conflicting opinions of the storyline and the characters involved.

If I were to listen to my head, I would say that I found the whole situation with Jack quite bitter due to the way he acted. There are a lot of reports in the media at the moment regarding people like Jack, and I feel that with Alicia adapting herself to his personality instead of listening to her own gut instinct, it made the #MeToo movement appear less poignant. Jack is an extremely egotistical and arrogant man at first. He believes that he can lure a woman into his ‘web’ with his cocksure attitude and roaming eyes, actions that made me cringe more than once. I can appreciate the link between him and Alicia’s ex and what the author was trying to convey there, but there was a large portion of the storyline where Jack turned my stomach. I would have loved it if Alicia did listen to her gut instinct instead of pandering to his actions, making him believe that they’re okay. They’re not.

If I were to listen to my heart, I would say the above BUT, I would also say that as the storyline progressed, Jack’s personality completely changed and he came out of his shell in a way that perceived him as a brand new character. Looking back now, I can’t see how the  Jack we got to know first, is the same man I ended up adoring by the end of the book. The same goes with Alicia. As for the storyline itself, I did thoroughly enjoy the overall premise and the additional romantic moments, as it made me believe the whole theory of kissing frogs to find your prince. I thought the second half of the novel was a heck of a lot more substantial than the first part, and I truly believe that Juliet Archer came into her own, making her writing shine like a beacon as the storyline progressed. It was as though the author finally believed in her characters and what the journey that they were on, and that definitely came across in her writing.

So, you can see why I am torn. Jack’s character at the beginning, put a huge dampener on my feelings for the book, yet I did end up really enjoying his character and everything the storyline stood for, by the time I had reached the end of the book. I am just so glad that I was able to see the author’s writing shine as that allowed me to finish the book on a very good note.

Buy now from Amazon

Giveaway!

Prize – Win PB Copies of The Importance of Being Emma and Persuade Me (Open
Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the
Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all
valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received
within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all
entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is
used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for
despatch or delivery of the prize.

Click here to enter the giveaway!

About the author.

Juliet Archer writes award-winning romantic comedy for Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction. She has been known to spend many happy hours matching irresistible heroes with their equally irresistible chocolate counterparts – watch out for the dark nutty ones!
Her debut novel, The Importance of Being Emma, won the Big Red Read Book of the Year 2011 Fiction Award and was shortlisted for the 2009 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance.

Her second novel, Persuade Me, was shortlisted for the 2011 Festival of Romance Best Romantic Read Award. Juliet’s third book,One Summer Weekend, is out in June 2018. You can also read her short stories: Incense & Insensibility in the Choc Lit Love Match anthology, and Love Rules in Choc Lit’s Kisses & Cupcakes anthology.

Juliet was born and bred in North-East England and now lives in Hertfordshire. She gives talks all over the UK and in the USA about the classic authors who inspire her work. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Jane Austen Society. Her non-writing career has spanned IT, acquisitions analysis, copy editing, marketing and project management, providing plenty of first-hand research for her novels.

Twitter // Facebook

#BlogTour! #Review – #CornishVillageSchool by Kitty Wilson (@KittyWilson23) @canelo_co

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Easing myself back into the office very slowly, as this evening I have the pleasure of hosting Kitty Wilson’s debut novel, ‘The Cornish Village School – Breaking the Rules’. Big thank you to Canelo for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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Rosy Winter is definitely not looking for love

Following heartbreak, Rosy has rebuilt her life in the beautiful Cornish village of Penmenna. Now, headmistress of the local school, she is living by The Rule: no dating anyone in the village. Easy right? But Rosy Winter has a new neighbour, handsome gardener Matt.

In Penmenna for his new gardening TV show, this guy next door will do everything he can to persuade her to break her rule and win her heart. Meanwhile, Penmenna Village School is threatened with closure and it’s up to Rosy to rally the local community and
#SaveOurSchool.

Can she bring her worlds together and accept help from the most unlikely of sources? One thing’s for sure… she won’t be giving up without a fight.

What does TWG think?

Cornwall – a place I have never set foot in, yet I feel as though I know it extremely well given the amount of books I have read with Cornwall as its setting. It’s a very popular setting that’s for sure and, whilst I do seem to roll my eyes whenever I realise a book is Cornwall based, I nearly squealed in excitement when it became clear that Kitty Wilson made her characters the highlight of the story instead of Cornwall. Look, I have nothing against the place, I would just love to see more variation in settings. Seeing as this author put a different spin on the Cornish place we have all grown to love, I won’t hold the setting against her ;).

Rosy adores her little house, seeing it as a place of tranquility and her safe haven away from the PTA busybody at the school she is headmistress of. That is until one day, she comes face to face (literally) with a man who rather enjoyed blocking her car in the driveway, with a van full of his belongings for his brand new home right next to Rosy’s house. If Rosy was looking forward to keeping herself to herself after a hard days work, she’s got another thing coming, especially when her new neighbour seems to find any little reason to go knocking on her front door. The village seemed smitten with the new, local gardener, but Rosy wasn’t convinced – even when she realised that Matt may just be the answer to her prayers…

Keep your mind out of the gutter, I didn’t mean like that! Well, Rosy would probably be dreaming about Matt in that way, but that isn’t what I was insinuating. I think!

I adored Rosy and her looks that could kill. I saw a lot of myself in her, which made me laugh harder when Rosy seemed to plan people’s murders with her eyes alone. Such a fun, sassy, and bold character, I really don’t think I would ever get bored reading about Rosy and her antics.

Just like a lot of the female character population in this book, I ended up tilting my head to one side saying ‘awwww!’ when Matt spent time with the children from Rosy’s school. I’m not usually like that but it was cute, and no I won’t tell you why so if you wanted to know, you’ll have to pick up the book and read it!

‘The Cornish Village School’ was such a multi-layered, laugh out loud, heart-warming, and energetic read which kept me entertained with every turn of the page. I enjoyed how the author put a different spin on Cornwall, bringing its beauty into the description but not letting the setting take the shine away from the overall theme of the book. I suppose the other way of describing this book is by saying that it is a ‘feel good read’, because it is. It’s light-hearted with a hint of serious depth, yet incredibly cosy and guaranteed to keep a smile on your face.

I thought the characters were very well thought out, each with their own memorable personalities (some more than others!). Marion, whilst being incredibly over-bearing, nosy, and often quite annoying, ended up making me warm to her as believe it or not, she actually had a heart underneath the exterior of sticking her nose into everyone’s business. Who would’ve thought it, eh!

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed reading this gem of a book! The only downside for me was that I wanted more and I didn’t have any more, so if the author could rectify that spit spot then I would be rather happy haha.

Buy now!

About the author.

Kitty Wilson has lived in Cornwall for the last twenty-five years having been dragged there, against her will, as a stroppy teen. She is now remarkably grateful to her parents for their foresight and wisdom – and that her own children aren’t as hideous. She spends most of her time welded to the keyboard or hiding out at the beach and has a penchant for very loud music, equally loud dresses and romantic heroines who speak their mind.

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Gracie’s Secret by Jill Childs (@author_jill) @Bookouture

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Two heart-wrenching reads in a row! I don’t think I am cut out for all of this emotion! Today I am delighted to be kicking off the blog blitz for Jill Childs and ‘Gracie’s Secret’. Bug thank you to Bookouture for the blitz invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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My dearest daughter, I will never forget the day I nearly lost you. The day you learned the secrets that would tear our lives apart…

Time stops for Jen when her beloved daughter, Gracie, is involved in a terrible car crash. Pronounced dead at the scene, it’s a miracle when paramedics manage to then resuscitate the little girl.

The relief Jen feels at Gracie’s recovery is matched only by her fury at the driver of the car – her ex-husband’s new girlfriend Ella. Jen has never trusted Ella, and now her worst fears have been confirmed.

But then Gracie begins to tell strange stories about what she heard in the car that day, and what she saw in those moments near death. It’s clear that there’s something shocking hidden in Ella’s past… but exposing it could tear all their lives apart.

What does TWG think?

I don’t feel as though I am mentally prepared to write this review, but I shall give it my best shot. As weird as this is going to sound, there is a small part of me that wishes I didn’t pick up this book to read. Hang on a second, hear me out – I feel like that because up until this moment, I had gone through life surrounded by glaciers, thinking of emotion as a weakness. However, upon finishing ‘Gracie’s Secret’, I now realise that the glaciers I surrounded myself with, aren’t as strong as I originally thought. I guess what I am trying to tell you, is that reading Jill Childs’ novel allowed me to connect to a part of me that has been under lock and key for many, many years. The small part of me wishing that I didn’t read this book, well, that’s only because I wasn’t prepared to be face to face with an emotion I have refused to let bubble to the surface for a long time; sheer devastation. The type of devastation that stops you from breathing. The type of devastating that makes you tremble and your teeth chatter. The type of devastation that makes the memories of your child’s young years, flash before your very own eyes. The type of devastation that leaves you with the question; ‘what if that was MY daughter?’.

Let me just clarify one thing – this is in no way a negative thought towards the book, it’s actually a positive thing because the author has managed to make me react to her words with something I thought I had well and truly hidden. For one person to do that in the blink of an eye, I am in awe and incredibly impressed by her talents.

Jen’s daughter, Gracie, was involved in a car crash where paramedics had to resuscitate her, giving her another chance to fight for her life. The most important ‘thing’ in Jen’s life is her daughter and, thanks to one unfortunate incident involving Gracie and a woman who should have known better, Jen has to prepare herself for the worst possible outcome. An outcome she should not be thinking about nearly four years after the birth of her daughter..

I am bereft. ‘Gracie’s Secret’ is incredibly harrowing, and it will no doubt leave you using all of the toilet roll in your house to mop up your tears. I had my heart in my mouth the entire time where Gracie concerned, especially when she was trying to get her parents to believe what was coming out of their mouth. I was frustrated for her because she was adamant that she saw what she did, yet people around her kept mentioning her mindset due to how little she is. Yes, I see their point a little bit – after all, we all know how three or four-year olds like to tell stories. But c’mon, those who know their children well enough will know when they’re being serious or not. Well, that’s what I think anyway.

The aftermath of the incident left Jen feeling incredibly raw, understandably. But, I did struggle to get my head around a few of her actions as I either thought she was acting rather hastily, or that she wasn’t thinking logically. The author made Jen’s views of her husbands’ girlfriend, Ella, very clear, but I couldn’t help but feel as though there was a little ‘pot kettle black’ going on between the two of them.

Whilst there were two large parts of the storyline in particular which left me feeling devastated, the whole novel has an emotional vibe to it and, in despite of the more heart-warming moments, the feeling of grief could not be shifted. If you are looking for a feel-good novel then personally, I would say that this isn’t the one for you. However, if you’re needing a good cry then you have scored with this one.

Jill Childs’ has a very enchanting way of story telling, bringing every minor detail and description to life in the blink of an eye. Yes, I cried. Yes, the story turned me into a sobbing puddle. And yes, I was incredibly devastated. BUT, I loved the poignancy, the power, and the treasure trove of emotions all wrapped up in one little story parcel. ‘Gracie’s Secret’ is a beautiful, beautiful read. A read that needs to be treasured for what it is, as well as everything it stands for.

Buy now!

About the author.

Jill has always loved writing – real and imaginary – and spent 30 years travelling the world as a journalist, living overseas and reporting wherever the news took her. She’s now made her home in London with her husband and twin girls who love stories as much as she does. Although she’s covered everything from earthquakes and floods, riots and wars, she’s found some of the most extraordinary stories right here at home – in the secrets and lies she imagines behind closed doors on ordinary streets, just like yours.

If you’ve enjoyed reading one of Jill‘s books, please do leave a review.
For latest news, follow Jill on Twitter (author_jill) and Facebook (Jill Childs)

#BlogBlitz! #Review – A Mother’s Goodbye by Kate Hewitt (@KateHewitt1) @Bookouture

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Day two of the blog blitz for ‘A Mother’s Goodbye’ by Kate Hewitt, and I have the pleasure of sharing my review:

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‘My arms ache with the need to reach and hold my precious child, and then to never let go. But I can’t. I know I can’t.’

Heather is devastated. There’s no way she can keep her baby. She can barely pay the bills as it is. But when she meets Grace, a wealthy, single career woman, who wants a baby more than anything, Heather believes she has found the perfect adoptive mother.

As Grace and Heather’s lives become entwined, they are tested to breaking point, though neither can deny the other’s love for the child. But just when they think they are learning how to live with each other, they receive devastating news that turns their fragile world upside down.

Will either mother know what is the right thing to do for the child they both love?

What does TWG think?

I’m not crying, YOU are! Hell, even the sky is crying! My gut told me before I even started reading ‘A Mother’s Secret’, that there was probably going to be a lot of ugly crying. As always, I ignored it and thought I knew better and guess what? There WAS a lot of ugly crying, a lot of nose dripping (unsure whether that’s because of the tears or because of a cold), and a lot of annoying my daughter by hugging her tightly when she was trying to go to sleep. You know, the usual.

I’m keeping this short and sweet because the line between explaining my views on the story, and accidentally dropping spoilers, is incredibly fine and one I do not wish to chance. Especially not with such a close-knit storyline as this one.

For Heather, motherhood doesn’t seem to be in her current future, especially not with her life the way that it is. Faced with a difficult yet heartbreaking decision, Heather has to do what is right for the unborn baby….which is where Grace comes in. ‘A Mother’s Goodbye’ is a story that is told from the viewpoints of birth mother, Heather, and potential adoptive mother, Grace. Two women, brought together by the beating heart of an unborn child.

Having had nothing directly to do with adoption myself, I feel as though I cannot comment on that as really, we don’t know what we would do in any situation, until we are faced with it ourselves. I can see it from Heather’s point of view, and thankfully that is her choice and not mine. The whole concept of Heather’s decision made my heart break, and then reading how she felt about the situation herself just made me cry even more. For someone who seemed so self-assured before the pregnancy progressed, I was rather intrigued to see how she would handle the situation later on in the book. As for Grace, my heart broke for her as well, but I am thankful that we were able to read the story from both points of view! I loved reading the contrasting views and watching a puzzle come together time and time again, still having one piece missing. Heather and Grace had their own story, but something was missing for both of them. Kate Hewitt explored the topic of adoption beautifully and very sensitively.

‘A Mother’s Goodbye’ for me, was an exceptionally hard-hitting read. An unexpected one at that. It is clear that the story was written from the heart, and I think that Kate Hewitt should be applauded for her poignant, heart-wrenching, and beautiful storytelling of a topic which will talk to a lot of readers hearts and souls.

I’m broken but this is utterly powerful stuff – just make sure you have someone to hug you afterwards (or chocolate to hug your belly).

Buy now

About the author.

Kate Hewitt is the author of many titles of women’s fiction and romance. Whatever the genre, she enjoys telling an emotionally compelling story. An American ex-pat, she now lives in South Wales with her husband and five children. You can learn more about her and her books at www.kate-hewitt.com.

#BlogTour! #Review – How To Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan (@SarahMorgan_) @HQStories

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Many congratulations to, Sarah Morgan, on the publication of ‘How To Keep a Secret’! It is an absolute honour to be able to kick off the blog tour for this incredible novel. Huge thanks to HQ Stories for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

How to Keep a Secret

Three generations of Stewart women, all with secrets to keep…

Matriarch Nancy knows she hasn’t been the best mother but how can she ever tell her daughters the reason why? Lauren and Jenna are as close as two sisters can be and they made a pact years ago to keep a devastating secret from their mother – but is it time to come clean? Lauren’s teenage daughter Mackenzie masks her own pain by keeping her mother at a distance. Her mother, aunt and grandmother keep trying to reach her but will it take a stranger to show her the true meaning of family?

When life changes in an instant, the Stewart women are thrown together for a summer and suddenly they must relearn how to be a family. And whilst unravelling their secrets might be their biggest challenge, it could also be their finest moment . . .

What does TWG think?

Avid Sarah Morgan fans may have noticed on social media that ‘How To Keep a Secret’ is the authors’ first, more in-depth novel which has allowed her a lot more scope on the intimate details of her characters and their lives, in comparison to Sarah Morgan’s previous novels. As a huge fan myself, the fact that this book was going to have a different vibe to it, really did intrigue me as I didn’t think anything needed to change. However, after reading ‘How To Keep a Secret’, a novel that is 100% standalone and not linked to other books in a serial, I was able to understand why the author put a different spin on her work.

‘How To Keep a Secret’ is told from the viewpoints of three generations; Nancy (mum), Jenna and Lauren (daughters), and Mackenzie (Lauren’s daughter). All parts are set out well and written with the characters personality in mind – I loved being able to view a situation from a different perspective, whilst also being able to think like the character whose viewpoint is at the forefront of the story.

It was a little hard to remember that all of the women are related as they are all incredibly different! According to Jenna and Lauren, Nancy hasn’t been the ideal ‘mum’, so their relationship isn’t one of a typical mother-daughter – it’s very, very fragile. According to Mackenzie, Lauren is a very strict, obsessive mum who is constantly on her case – how many teenagers HAVEN’T thought that about their parents? According to Jenna, Lauren is the perfect sister, the one who has everything under control 24/7, but to Lauren, Jenna has the ideal life and the confidence to be daring. But, the more the ladies focus on the other members of their family, they are losing touch of their own credibilities in the process. These women do not know how to communicate efficiently, not about things that matter like feelings, worries, that type of thing. They’re dab hand at talking about the weather or their careers, but when it comes down to the things that will either make or break their family, it seems that NOT talking about the secrets will be the thing to break the family, and not the secrets themselves.

I adore Sarah Morgan’s writing as she keeps her style modern and in tune with what is going on in society at that time, especially where her previous novels are concerned. When I found out that ‘How To Keep a Secret’ was going to be different from all of the rest, I did wonder how this author could get even better, because as far as I was concerned, she had already hit perfection in my eyes. It’s safe to say now, however, that the change in direction with her latest storyline has pushed Sarah Morgan above and beyond that perfection line.

The grit that oozed from every single page was outstanding. The entire storyline was laced with fragility, yet still came across as being unbreakable due to the bond of the Stewart women (even if they didn’t realise it themselves). Yes, the style of this book is different from the others because of, in my opinion, the more mature vibe. ‘How To Keep a Secret’ isn’t a book which is guaranteed to give you a happily ever after, but it is a book that shows you the reality of bad decisions, the reality of marriage, the reality of parenthood, the reality of friendships and relationships. Sarah Morgan doesn’t pussyfoot around delicate situations in this book, instead she grabs hold of them, dissects them, and then watches her characters rebuild them in their own way.

I personally believe that ‘How To Keep a Secret’ is Sarah Morgan’s best book yet. Not only has she kept her iconic, romantic style of writing, she has taken it up several notches and encased it in something so raw and powerful, I was genuinely surprised that I wasn’t physically blown away. This book ticks every single box and more. From the moment I started reading, until the moment I finished, I was gripped by the magnetic force on every single page.

An outstanding portrayal of reality at its worst and at its best, with characters who are so flawed, they end up looking flawless. Powerful, thought-provoking, inspiring, and highly entertaining – ‘How To Keep a Secret’ kept a smile on my face and a spring in my step. Perfection.

Buy now!