#Review – The Choir on Hope Street by Annie Lyons (@1AnnieLyons) @HQStories #HopeIsComing

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The best things in life happen when you least expect them

Nat’s husband has just said the six words no one wants to hear – ‘I don’t love you any more’.

Caroline’s estranged mother has to move into her house turning her perfectly ordered world upside down.

Living on the same street these two women couldn’t be more different. Until the beloved local community centre is threatened with closure. And when the only way to save it is to form a community choir – none of the Hope Street residents, least of all Nat and Caroline, expect the results…

This spring, hope is coming!

What does TWG think?

I’ve got to admit, whilst I was looking forward to Annie Lyon’s new novel, the cover had me thinking that the storyline was going to be a lot tamer than what it actually was. Don’t get me wrong, the storyline wasn’t all harsh and completely serious but the cover was rather simple for such a rollercoaster ride of a book. It really was a pleasant surprise.

One of the main characters, Nat, has just been told five words that no wife (or husband), really want to hear; ‘I don’t love you anymore’. As far as Nat was concerned, everything was fine and their family life with their son was a happy one. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The other main character, Caroline, has a life where anything she requires, she gets. Is her life like the ‘Jones’s’, a way of over compensating for many years of resentment? Both ladies are like chalk and cheese yet they come together to support a community building’s closure by starting their very own choir. A contender for the number one spot in the music charts, you think?

Nat’s family situation was quite heart wrenching to read as everything she had ever known to be real, now had a big, red question mark looming over its head. Would she have to move out of the family home with her son? How would she explain the split to their son? Rather her than me, I’ll be honest. Despite all of that, her attitude to life in general was fantastic. The way she tried to solve her problems with humour had me in hysterics. Yes, sometimes she went over the top but who am I to judge? People deal with things in a different way; her included.

I found Caroline a little bit hit and miss as her personality and attitude drove me up the wall to begin with. However, when the storyline began to unfold a little bit more and we got to see a different side to Caroline, I found myself becoming a little more lenient to the way she came across. You’ll need to read the book yourself to find out what I’m meaning!!

To look at Annie Lyons’ novel at first, you may assume that all it contains is a choir, when in actual fact, the community starting their own choir just seemed to be the key to unlock a whole chest of drama, secrets and hidden agendas. There is A LOT more to this novel than ‘just a choir’, and whilst the change in direction caught me by surprise, I found myself respecting the author even more as she was able to completely change my views.

Overall, ‘The Choir on Hope Street’ is a fabulous, fun and surprising read which covers a lot of topics from serious family matters, to hilarious personal dramas. If you’re after a storyline to tickle every single one of your literary taste buds, then my friends, this book is most definitely one to buy. As long as you have support from good friends and family, and your very own choir, what more could you possibly want? After all, it is Hope Street, right?

A heart-warming, cosy read from the wonderful Annie Lyons and The Choir on Hope Street. I wonder if they did get their number one chart position….

Thank you HQ & Netgalley.

The Choir on Hope Street by Annie Lyons, published by HQ (HarperCollins), will be published on the 6th April 2017 in e-book and paperback. It is currently available to pre-order right now from: Amazon UK (go, go, GO!)

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#BlogTour! #Review – The Lost Children by Helen Phifer (@helenphifer1) @Bookouture

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Lizzy pulled the covers over her head. Then she realised what was being dragged behind the person with the torch. She rammed her fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming…

After a previous case ended in a tragic double murder, Detective Lucy Harwin, has been on enforced absence from the force. But when the body of an elderly man is discovered in an abandoned hospital, she is plunged straight back into a case that will test her to breaking point.

For decades, The Moore housed the forgotten children of Northern coastal town, Brooklyn Bay. But ever since a scandal forced its closure, the abandoned building has been left untouched.

Together with her partner, Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy begins to unearth its terrible history, and soon finds herself on the trail of a killer ruthlessly fixated on avenging the crimes of the past.

As Lucy begins to close in on the killer, a woman is found murdered on her own doorstep. With the attacks escalating, and those closest to her now a target, can Lucy protect them and herself before it’s too late?

What does TWG think?

So far this year I have ventured out of my comfort zone more times than I have stayed in it, especially where storylines are concerned. Police crime novels aren’t usually the first ones I would pick off a shelf to buy as I have never felt the urge to read one. However, lately I have been wondering about those storylines in particular, you know, the ones with the incredible DI and a team to rival the one on ‘Life on Mars’, which means that one or two of those novels have made it onto my ‘read’ pile. Now when you’re curious about a particular genre and you spot an author ALL OVER social media (popular much?!), your curiosity decides to reach its maximum level. Basically what I’m saying is that I had to read Helen Phifer’s brand new novel as I was WAYYY too curious about what she had up her sleeve. Luckily for me, Bookouture were on hand! Today TWG is one of two stops for Helen Phifer’s blog tour and I’ll be sharing my review!

‘The Lost Children’ is book one in Helen Phifer’s brand new crime thriller series; there’s a brand new Detective on the scene and she goes by the name of Lucy Harwin! The prologue of the book made the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention and whilst I was a bit of a scaredy cat, it enticed me so much that I had to continue just to see how the storyline unfolded. We get to meet Lucy Harwin and her team as she returns to the force after an unforgettable and devastating case which saw her being absent from work. Now that she’s back, Lucy has a case that is going to test her to the limit and make her wonder if she is truly ready to be back in the firing line.

The thought of the storyline being centred around an asylum gave me the heebie jeebies big time, the fear that the author managed to incorporate into her words about the setting, the murders etc, was enough to make me go cold. Yes, I’m a wuss but at least I’m trying these things! Helen Phifer sure knows how to create an atmospheric plot by zoning in to the most fearfully enticing parts of her storyline, making your scaredy cat backside too flabbergasted to pause the book. I’m not going to lie, this book creeped me out big time, yet I couldn’t stop reading it! I really enjoyed getting to know Lucy and her team, but I did feel like we spent more time getting to know her as opposed to delving further into the investigation. I can’t believe that I’m about to say this, but yes, I wanted more rollercoaster feeling, more stomach lurching moments. Quite ironic really when I just said that I was freaked out, yet I still could go more.

That really does go to show that Helen Phifer is obviously talented at what she does. Not only has she managed to freak me out in a matter of chapters, she has also made me bungee jump out of my comfort zone by requesting more of those thrills. I loved the gritty nature to the book and how the storyline does the odd flash back to the past (more please!). I am glad that this is book one in the series because hopefully we will start seeing a different side to Lucy Harwin and hopefully put her skills to the ultimate test to make me even more of a scaredy cat!

Let’s just say that this book and the upcoming series have both made me exceptionally intrigued. Helen Phifer, you may be one to watch, I’m impressed.

Thank you Bookouture.

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US

About the author.

Helen Phifer’s love of reading began with Enid Blyton, before progressing on to Laura Ingals Wilder and scaring herself with Steven King. If she can’t write for any particular reason she finds herself getting itchy fingers and really irritable. She loves reading as much as writing and is also very fond of chocolate, Prosecco, The Lake District, New York, white Zinfandel wine, my children and grandchildren, my friends, porn star martini cocktails, Stephen King, watching scary films, Marilyn Monroe, Melissa McCarthy, Idris Elba, Simon Baker, Spandau Ballet, The Munsters and coffee. In no particular order.

www.helenphifer.com

https://www.facebook.com/Helenphifer1

https://twitter.com/helenphifer1

Make sure you visit the last two stops of Helen Phifer’s blog tour, tomorrow! Details on the picture below!

helen

#Review – The Little Teashop of Lost and Found @Trishaashley @poppystimpson @Transworldbooks

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Alice Rose is a foundling, discovered on the Yorkshire moors above Haworth as a baby. Adopted but then later rejected again by a horrid step-mother, Alice struggles to find a place where she belongs. Only baking – the scent of cinnamon and citrus and the feel of butter and flour between her fingers – brings a comforting sense of home.

So it seems natural that when she finally decides to return to Haworth, Alice turns to baking again, taking over a run-down little teashop and working to set up an afternoon tea emporium.

Luckily she soon makes friends, including a Grecian god-like neighbour, who help her both set up home and try to solve the mystery of who she is. There are one or two last twists in the dark fairytale of Alice’s life to come . . . but can she find her happily ever after?

What does TWG think?

Oh my goodness. Have you ever finished reading a book and would do anything to read it time  and time again, as though it would be the first time reading it? Before now, I have seen various people saying that they would love to do that for various other books and I couldn’t quite understand what they meant. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed A LOT of novels over the years but re-reading a book like it’s the first time, every time? What on Earth would be the criteria for a book to fit that accolade?
Luckily, I can now answer that question with seven words. A mere seven words is all it takes, in my eyes, to explain the criteria of first time re-reading, every single time; The Little Teashop of Lost and Found.

Why?

I have been a huge fan of Trisha Ashley’s books for a very long time, so to have the honour of holding the ARC of her new novel in my hands was a HUGE deal to me. It felt like I was holding something special, something priceless (and awfully strokeable. coverlove!!!). I tweeted Trisha periodically as I was reading her book as I wanted her to be with me on the journey that I took whilst reading her novel. That probably sounds daft, but as she couldn’t see my facial expressions etc, I wanted to let her know my thoughts as I read it. Can you tell I’m a HUGE fan of hers? OI most certainly read it alright as it only took me a couple of hours to read cover to cover, much to Trisha Ashley’s (and everyone else’s) surprise.

Alice Rose hasn’t had the most settled of lives. To start with she was left on the Yorkshire moors as a baby, adopted into a new family then rejected by her step-mother and then she had embark on an uncertain journey as an adult, with the fear of never belonging. I cannot begin to imagine how hard that must have been for Alice, she didn’t ask to be born so why did she keep getting rejected? Just when she thought that she had found the right path for her journey, Alice’s life once again takes an almighty turn and she is left with the feeling that regardless of which new route she took, the outcome was likely to be the same either way; a dead-end. She just had to work out which route was worth the extra effort to turn the dead end, into an open road. Doesn’t sound so simple when you think about it, does it?

What made me warm to Alice the most was how real she came across. Yes she came across bulshy, sassy and extremely black and white in terms of getting her thoughts across, but I could tell that she was a bit broken inside yet she didn’t shy away from that. I don’t think that this book could have wanted for a stronger main character than Alice Rose, especially as there will no doubt be a lot of readers who will be able to relate to Alice as a person as well as the hurdles she has had to jump over so far. Plus, she is absolutely hilarious!

When I saw that yet another storyline would contain a teashop/café, I will admit that I was a little bit apprehensive purely to the over popularity of those settings in novels just now. I was hoping that this one would stand out from the crowd and not get lost amongst the other teashops.
But you know what? It worked! The teashop setting in Trisha Ashley’s novel isn’t your ‘typical’ rather popular setting. For starters, the building actually took a long time to get decorated and ready for business and as readers, we get to ‘see’ the interior go from shabby to wow, step by step. Secondly, the teashop was hidden away and it was as though a map would be needed to direct customers down the ever winding roads (love btw). Thirdly, whilst the teashop was a big part of the storyline, the main focus wasn’t on the teashop itself as the focus was on Alice rebuilding her life.

Everything worked extremely well together. I felt as though I had been transported to a land far, far away because I had zoned out from my own life and went and sat in Alice’s life. There is nothing about Trisha Ashley’s book that I disliked, at all. Not only does the storyline have a fabulous main character with Alice, it also contains other fantastic who stand out in their own way. Each character made themselves known, not one of them felt the need to sit in the background and shy away from the unfolding events. They were memorable and utterly fabulous.

I really cannot recommend The Little Teashop of Lost and Found, enough.
Full of laughter, hard times, strength and heart warming events, The Little Teashop of Lost and Found, is a book to devour. A book to hold close to your heart. A book where sadness comes to light but then happiness kicks its toosh quicker than a cupcake can be eaten. A book to cherish. A book to turn off your phone, lay on the sofa with a cuppa and a cake, and get cosy with.

The Little Teashop of Lost and Found contains additional recipes to devour alongside the novel. Now, I like cake as much as the next person but you know what? The only recipe I need contains Trisha Ashley & her latest novel as THAT is my recipe to happiness. Definitely one of my most favourite books ever.

An outstanding, heart-warming novel from the incredibly talented Trisha Ashley. Magnificent.

Thank you SO much Poppy Stimpson!

Buy now from Amazon UK
(click the above link to buy in Hardback at only £4.99 as well – price correct as of 28/03/17)

#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