blog tour · book blogger · Book of the month · Book Review · Bookouture · Crime/thriller · netgalley

#BlogTour! #Review – The Last Breath by Robert Bryndza (@RobertBryndza) @Bookouture

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He’s your perfect date. You’re his next victim.

When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case.

While she fights to secure her place on the investigation team, Erika can’t help but get involved and quickly finds a link to the unsolved murder of a woman four months earlier. Dumped in a similar location, both women have identical wounds – a fatal incision to their femoral artery.

Stalking his victims online, the killer is preying on young pretty women using a fake identity. How will Erika catch a murderer who doesn’t seem to exist?

Then another girl is abducted while waiting for a date. Erika and her team must get to her before she becomes another dead victim, and, come face to face with a terrifyingly sadistic individual.

Gripping, tense and impossible to put down, Last Breath will have you on the edge of your seat, racing to the final dramatic page.

What does TWG think?

Eeeee!! So excited to be one of todays stops on Robert Bryndza’s blog tour for his brand new book, Last Breath, which was published by Bookouture on the 12th April! Big thanks to Kim Nash for inviting me onto the tour! Hope you enjoy reading my review.

I left reading ‘Last Breath’ until the last-minute as after reading the prologue a few weeks back, I found myself being a humongous wuss. As I’m sure you’re aware by now, thriller/killer novels haven’t always been at the top of my radar so when I do actually read one, i’m hopping, skipping AND jumping over my comfort zone line. I really had no idea what to expect with the latest Erika Foster novel, hell, I haven’t even read the previous ones! It was that apprehension which made me wait after all,  I needed to read the book anyway for my blog tour stop! After giving myself a kick up the youknowwhat –  I sat down to read the ‘Last Breath’ on the 10th April, the 10th April saw me finish the novel as well.

Yes, it took me a matter of hours to read.

OH.MY.GOD
OH.MY.GOD
OH.MY.GOD
THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As soon as I re-read the prologue I was absolutely hooked. I even had to pause and think to myself, ‘wait brain, you usually twat about right about now!?’. But I didn’t twat about, in fact, I just kept reading and cursed under my breath when my bladder required emptying, or my little person required food for the 17575738596th time that day. I JUST WANTED TO READ GODDAMMIT!

I can’t even summarise the storyline because I know I would end up typing something I shouldn’t. Every single piece of information needs in this book needs to be experienced through your very own eyes. It’s all well and good someone saying ‘oh my god it was so intense!’, if you haven’t experienced it for yourself. Plus, there aren’t enough adjectives to describe JUST how brilliant this storyline is. Being told that it is ‘an intense read’ does not do the book justice at all.

My heart felt as though it was going to pound out of my chest at around the halfway point, I was unable to think rationally, and my hand was getting so tired from being raised to my mouth, that it just rested against my cheek ready for the next ‘mouth open’ moment. The descriptions weren’t gorey in a horrible, scary kind of way; they were gorey in a way that shocked me yet taught me something. That sounds daft but I really had no idea about certain circumstances until now.

I kept fidgeting on the sofa whilst I was reading, as I had a horrible feeling that Erika Foster and her team were going to be too late. But as soon as that thought crossed my mind, something else happened. At that moment in time I felt like I was watching the drama unfold with my very own eyes as though I was able to see the scenery for myself, being able to smell an accumulation of aftershave and perfume mixed with car fumes. It was so surreal. The more vivid the imagery became in my mind, the more on edge I became and a mixture of anger, disgust and apprehension took over.

Have I said that I was hooked by the storyline? Haha.

After reading ‘Last Breath’ I cannot believe that I have never read an Erika Foster novel before. She is such a kick ass, mouthy and on point detective; I loved her!! Pardon the pun but ‘Last Breath’ too MY breath away. Never mind the X-Factor, Robert Bryndza has the SHOCK factor and my goodness he is PHENOMENAL at creating such nail-biting, intense and flawless storylines.

‘Last Breath’ is most definitely a book NOT to be missed. This book is full of complexity, suspense and kick ass characters, and to top it off, it also has a storyline which starts off brilliant yet it gets even better with every turn of the page. I never knew that was possible.

A unbelievably gritty, spell binding, intense read that is FULL to the brim of ‘hand in mouth’ moments. Absolutely incredible. I feel like I’ve missed out by not reading Robert’s previous novels in the series, but thanks to his AHHHHHHHMAZING novel, I will be binging on the rest of Erika Foster for Easter, no joke.

I think some of the books on my ‘top books ever’ list will be getting shunted down a peg or two! Move aside as Mr.Bryndza has now got a place on TWG’s most favourite books EVER.

Huge thanks to Bookouture!

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author
 

Robert Bryndza grew up on the east coast of England, but now lives in Slovakia with his Slovak husband. His debut romantic comedy The Not So Secret Emails of Coco Pinchard became an Amazon bestseller. He’s published further Coco Pinchard adventures and two more best selling stand-alone romantic comedies, but has always harboured a desire to write crime, and was a finalist in the BBC Writersroom Drama Academy.

Bookouture publish Robert’s crime fiction series featuring Detective Erika Foster and the first book in the series The Girl in the Ice has sold over 1 million copies.

www.robertbryndza.com
https://www.facebook.com/bryndzarobert
https://twitter.com/RobertBryndza

The blog tour for ‘Last Breath’ is nowhere near over! If you wish to check out the other stops on the tour, check out the details on the picture below!

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aria fiction · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Crime/thriller · netgalley

#BlogTour! #Review of The Trophy Taker by Sarah Flint (@SarahFlint19) @Aria_Fiction

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He’s watching, waiting… and counting. The next gripping serial killer read in the DC ‘Charlie’ Stafford series, from the bestselling author of Mummy’s Favourite. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons.

He keeps each one floating in formaldehyde to stop them from rotting. Each finger denotes a victim, tortured and butchered, their heart ripped out and discarded, replaced instead by symbols of their treachery. He sits alone admiring his trophies weekly; each and everyone of them guilty in his eyes. And now more must pay.

But who or what links the victims?

DC ‘Charlie’ Stafford is already investigating a series of escalating racist attacks and it now seems she has a vicious serial killer on her patch. With no leads and time running out, the team at Lambeth are at near breaking point.

Something has to give… and all the while he’s watching, waiting… and counting.

What does TWG think?

New author to add to my collection as well as a new female DC protagonist, not bad going really is it?! ‘The Trophy Taker’ is the second book in the DC Stafford series and it can be read as a standalone. The first book in the series, ‘Mummy’s Favourite’ doesn’t NEED to be read before you begin this book, but if you want to read it first then by all means knock yourself out (not literally please!).

What an opening! The prologue truly set the scene for the rest of the storyline with its vivid and rather gruesome  descriptions of the killers antics, and whilst it made me stomach churn my curiosity won the fight. However, nothing could ever have prepared me for the rest of the storyline.

Whilst I don’t have much experience in crime thrillers, the investigations described in this novel were extremely eventful and very high energy, which gave the storyline momentum. The storyline didn’t seem to be lacking in horrific circumstances at all which is obviously what needed to happen at that moment, however, I found that several parts of the storyline went over my line of comfort. It’s nothing against the author by the way, as she has fulfilled her mission in being able to get a reaction out of me with her words alone. And yes, even though I found parts of the book to be rather uncomfortable, the entire storyline was really well written.

There were also many moments where I struggled to differentiate between reality and fiction, as Sarah Flint gorey and realistic descriptions managed to make her book come to life, as well as being able to stand out from the crowd.

It’s clear that Sarah Flint knows her stuff due to her own policing background, which luckily for us, she has been able to bring her knowledge back to life in such a memorable and dynamic way.

Police procedural/crime thriller novels and I, will never be the best of friends as I am too much of a wuss. However, whether this genre is my favourite or not, the true star of the novel is Sarah Flint herself and her intriguing, gritty and genius style of writing.

Sarah Flint is an exceptional author who certainly knows how to captivate her readers with her intense storylines and edgy characters; this book really did keep me on my toes.

Thanks Aria & Netgalley.

About the author

With a Metropolitan Police career spanning 35 years Sarah has spent her adulthood
surrounded by victims, criminals and police officers. She continues to work and lives
in London with her partner and has three older daughters.

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

Follow Sarah Flint
Facebook: @SarahFlintBooks
Twitter: @SarahFlint19

There are other stops on the blog tour to keep your thriller radars at bay, make sure you take a peek at the stops! All the details are below:

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Follow Aria
Facebook: @ariafiction
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Instagram: @ariafiction
Sign up to the Aria newsletter: http://bit.ly/2jQxVtV
blog tour · book blogger · Book of the month · Book Review · Bookouture · contemporary fiction · netgalley

#Tour! #Review: Spring at Blueberry Bay – Holly Martin (@HollyMAuthor) @Bookouture #tuesnews

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Welcome to beautiful Hope Island where the sea sparkles, the daffodils are blooming and a blossoming romance is just around the corner…

Bella has always had a sunny outlook and caring nature, despite recently falling on hard times. When she finds a handsome homeless man on her doorstep, her kind heart tells her she must help him. So, she invites Isaac into her cottage and into her life in ways she could never have imagined…

But Isaac is not what he seems. He’s keeping a huge secret from Bella, yet he never expected to fall for this open, generous and charming woman.

Bella can’t ignore the chemistry between her and Isaac, but she’s had her trust badly broken in her past. Will she run when she learns the truth about Isaac, or will he be the one man who can help Bella believe in love again?

A gorgeously romantic and heartwarming story to completely lose yourself in. Perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Jane Costello and Miranda Dickinson.

What does TWG think?

Being chosen as one of the lucky few bloggers to host a stop on the fabulous Holly Martin’s blog tour, is a HUGE honour. Thank you so, so much! I am beyond thrilled to be able to share with you my review of Holly’s latest release; Spring at Blueberry Bay, which was published by Bookouture on the 7th April 2017. I hope you enjoy my review!

Have you ever fallen so deeply in love that you cannot see anything else around you? Have you ever fallen so deeply in love that your thoughts are completely occupied by them, and not even the prospect of chocolate will be able to turn your thoughts elsewhere?

Me too -daydreams-.
Ahem!
What? You want more information?
Er, yes.
Okay. Fine.
Which man did you fall in love with?
With a man? Don’t be so stupid!
Errrr, did you fall in love with yourself?
No!!!!!! OH MY GOD, I cannot keep it to myself any longer…I fell head over heels in love with…..

THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m not even joking! It’s not the sort of thing you joke about, I mean, the book has taken my heart and has occupied my thoughts since I finished it! (Which reminds me Holly M, next book please kthx!). I also found myself a new book boyfriend although judging by the comments on social media at the moment, it’s looking like I’m going to be joining the huge queue! He seems to be a rather popular fellow and it’s no wonder really as he managed to get me RATHER hot under the collar once or twice.

Ha, ha, ha oh who am I kidding, more than once and I’m not embarrassed to admit that either! I also decided that Issac is ‘The One’ so his personality characteristics will be shown to prospective boyfriends. Gone are the days of swiping left and right on Tinder or poking someone on Facebook; instead the new thing is to shove a character in front of the person and be like ‘OI, if you aren’t a replica of this character then it’s a big, fat NUH’.

The main female lead in the storyline is called Bella. She has had such a difficult upbringing and has unfortunately found herself merely surviving, as opposed to living her life to the full. When a homeless man gets comfortable on Bella’s doorstep, the storyline then introduces the male lead, Issac. Despite Bella’s circumstances her heart still remains selfless, and other people’s needs are put higher on her list of priorities instead of her own. Now, there is a lot more to Bella’s and Issac’s situation that meets the eye, yet that seemed unimportant at first due to the firecracker chemistry between the two strangers.

What an incredible storyline though! Not only does the book contain two people who are fiercely attracted to each other with chemistry and sexual frustration that just jumps off the page and find its way to us readers, it also contains heart ache of a completely different nature which really made me think. As the storyline unfolded and Bella’s past became even more clear, I wondered how on Earth she has managed to stay so strong and be able to live her life with those thoughts in her head. I can’t even begin to imagine how Bella must have felt but Holly Martin certainly did a fantastic job of conveying Bella’s feelings and emotions into the storyline. I must admit that it really did blow me away.

I’ve already mentioned that the book contained scenes of a sexual and flirtatious nature -fans self-, and thought-provoking circumstances, yet the entire storyline seemed to constantly blossom in ways I can’t even describe. At one point my eyes were welling up at the sheer beauty of certain events.

If Holly Martin bottled the beautiful, poignant, raw, flirtatious and loving feelings which oozed from her book, she would make an absolute fortune. I wish I could fully explain just how beautiful the storyline was to read, and just how much it too my breath away. I honestly felt as though I was transported to Blueberry Bay itself, and you know what? I would have given anything to be able to stay alongside such humbling and diverse characters in such a wonderful setting.

I cannot recommend this book enough, truly. You really will be missing out on something unforgettable if you do not grab yourself a copy.

Spring at Blueberry Bay is a book EVERYONE needs to read and lose themselves in. Full of three-dimensional characters with such more-ish personalities, scenarios to keep you fulfilled in every single way (phwoar), and multiple emotional moments to keep your heart full and your soul loved.

A truly majestic and unputdownable book from the unbelievably talented, Holly Martin. Not only is this my most favourite book of hers to date, it has also become one of my most favourite books ever. I loved it.

Thank you Bookouture and Holly.

Buy ‘Spring at Blueberry Bay’ by Holly Martin now, from Amazon UK
Buy ‘Spring at Blueberry Bay’ by Holly Martin now, from Amazon US

You will be a fool not to stop by the other incredible bloggers on this tour, you can check out their details on the picture below. Thank you so much to Holly Martin, and Bookouture, for inviting me on this tour!

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blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Crime/thriller · netgalley · Transworld/Penguin

#BlogTour! #Review of #TheRestlessDead by Simon Beckett (@BeckettSimon) @TransworldBooks

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‘Composed of over sixty per cent water itself, a human body isn’t naturally buoyant. It will float only for as long as there is air in its lungs, before gradually sinking to the bottom as the air seeps out. If the water is very cold or deep, it will remain there, undergoing a slow, dark dissolution that can take years. But if the water is warm enough for bacteria to feed and multiply, then it will continue to decompose. Gases will build up in the intestines, increasing the body’s buoyancy until it floats again.
And the dead will literally rise . . . ‘

Once one of the country’s most respected forensics experts, Dr David Hunter is facing an uncertain professional – and personal – future. So when he gets a call from Essex police, he’s eager for the chance to assist them.

A badly decomposed body has been found in a desolate area of tidal mudflats and saltmarsh called the Backwaters. Under pressure to close the case, the police want Hunter to help with the recovery and identification.

It’s thought the remains are those of Leo Villiers, the son of a prominent businessman who vanished weeks ago. To complicate matters, it was rumoured that Villiers was having an affair with a local woman. And she too is missing.

But Hunter has his doubts about the identity. He knows the condition of the unrecognizable body could hide a multitude of sins. Then more remains are discovered – and these remote wetlands begin to give up their secrets . . .

With its eerie, claustrophobic sense of place, viscerally authentic detail and explosive heart-in-mouth moments, The Restless Dead offers a masterclass in crime fiction and marks the stunning return of one of the genre’s best.

What does TWG think?

 Several years ago if someone had told me that I would be on the blog tour for a chilling novel in the future, such as this one, I would have laughed in their face and gone back to reading my Nicholas Sparks** novel. However, I am on the blog tour for a chilling novel…today as it is my stop on Simon Beckett’s blog tour for ‘The Restless Dead’! I hope you enjoy reading my review!
(**Note: I still LOVE Nicholas Sparks’ novels but I don’t keep myself chained to the one genre anymore 😉 ).

I am renaming April as ‘TWG’s Out of Comfort Zone Month’ as I seem to be reviewing books I’d never look twice at years ago! I am probably going to sound weird here but seeing as I’m amongst friends I need to say this; the title of Simon Beckett’s book was what made me jump at the chance of reviewing it. How crazy is that? The title may be ‘The Restless Dead’ but I was ‘The Restless TWG’ whilst I was reading it!

Simon Beckett is a brand new author for me, and whilst his new book is part of a series, I was actually okay reading it as a standalone novel. I didn’t get too confused as, funnily enough, my attention was elsewhere!

Dr.David Hunter has been asked to assist with a case in Essex, a chance he literally jumps at seeing as his professional life seems to be hanging by a thread. Although, if he doesn’t respond how a local businessman wishes him to, Dr.Hunter’s personal life could be hanging by a thread too.

Not only is there decomposed body to try to wrap your head around (not literally!), there is also the surroundings of which the body was found. To put it bluntly it scared the hob off my hobnob biscuit. Beckett has created this eerie and chilling backdrop for the dead bodies and putting both of those together in such vivid detail, was enough to make me not read this novel at night! And that wasn’t my lot either! Reading #TheRestlessDead was like being on a constant rollercoaster, there were so many twists to every situation that I had no idea whether I was coming or going (not a bad thing). Alongside that there seemed to be a multitude of red herring moments put in for good measure. Well, I assume they were! Either that or my detective skills are much worse than I originally thought!

Not only does Hunter have a decomposed body to contend with, he also has to get to the bottom of another missing person investigation and try to piece together each individual puzzle. Ahhh it sounds rather simple when you put it like that, doesn’t it? Er no, Hunter quite clearly had his work cut out for him!

Even though my body was covered in goosebumps and I kept jumping off of my sofa in fright, like a trampoline, at the slightest noise my house made whilst reading the book, as weird as this sounds I felt like I actually learnt something too. Before now I hadn’t really paid too much attention to the steps in which a body decomposes, neither did I have any clue about the stages involving the lungs and bacteria, yet the way Beckett had written those developments into the storyline made me come away with some rather valuable knowledge. Don’t get me wrong it’s not the sort of subject I’ll be bringing up at Christmas dinner this year, but it will certainly help me understand more details for Beckett’s upcoming novels.

Yes, you saw that right. Whilst crime scene investigations and dead bodies aren’t my usual go to novels, I found Beckett’s vivid imagery of both setting and investigations to be a work of art. If a storyline can make me become a nervous wreck then I most definitely will not sniff at that at all.

Simon Beckett most certainly knows his stuff and Dr.David Hunter is such an intriguing fellow; I have a feeling I won’t be ‘seeing’ the last of Simon Beckett on my bookshelf.

A suspenseful, spine tingling, roller coaster ride of a novel which will keep you on your toes the whole way through.

Thanks Transworld Books/Bantam Press.

Buy #TheRestlessDead now from Amazon UK

Feeling a bit restless? There are a few upcoming tour stops to have a nose at, so make sure you follow the rest of the tour. Details are below:

restless

blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction

#BlogTour! #Review: The Little Clock House on the Green by @EveDevon @HarperImpulse

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Welcome to the little village of Whispers Wood and one glorious summer when friendships are forged, secrets are revealed and romance delightfully bursts into bloom.

Kate Somersby has finally returned home after years of running away. She’s heard that Old Man Isaac is selling the clock house on the green and she’s determined to make him an offer – the very bricks that make up the little clock house hold precious memories for her.

Only gorgeous entrepreneur Daniel Westlake is standing in her way. Their rivalry is the talk of the village and soon rumours are spreading thicker than jam on a scone…

A charming feel good romance perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Alex Brown and Sarah Morgan

What does TWG think?

Today is my stop on Eve Devon’s blog tour for her recently released novel; The Little Clock House on the Green, which was published on the 23rd March by HarperImpulse! I hope you enjoy my review of this truly beautiful looking novel!

How STUNNING is that book cover?! I couldn’t wait to see what treats were in store for me; I was SO excited to get stuck in. And, you know what? The entire storyline did not disappoint AT ALL. From the first chapter, The Little Clock House had some sort of magical hold over me, it was as though I had climbed up to the top of The Magic Faraway Tree into the land of written tranquillity.

In this story we have two main characters lives to follow (not stalk fyi); Daniel’s and Kate’s. Daniel found himself in Whispers Wood by chance thanks to an iffy car and driving without a map and now he’s in the village, one or two things may have caught his eye to warrant becoming a permanent fixture in the village. Then there is Kate, she’s back in the village after spending a little while (several years in fact) clearing her head from circumstances she would love to forget. However, being back in the village is a tad bittersweet and she wonders whether she has made the wrong decision by coming back.

I need to be so careful with this review as a lot of the main events in the storyline are linked with certain emotions and situations, and I need to ensure I don’t drop myself in it whilst I write. If I end up being too vague, the best option for you is to go and buy the book so that you can get the answers! I know, fab idea, right?

‘What the hell made Kate run away? What was so bad that she had to up sticks and leave?’, were two of the questions that I asked myself multiple times whilst reading a fair chunk of this book. There were a lot of raw emotions and rather vague conversations to keep me pondering Kate’s reasons for going, but I didn’t want to read between the lines and delve deeper before the storyline got there, as it was such an enchanting read. You really do need to let the storyline do the talking. Let the characters develop before your very eyes and follow the paths that they choose to walk down.

The storyline had so much going for it! Not once did I find myself at a loose end, wondering when the storyline was going to pick up again as the storyline was ALWAYS on a constant rise. There was drama between characters, drama between old lifestyles and new lifestyles, drama between old memories and new memories; how COULD I be bored when there was always something to keep me interested. Don’t get me wrong, there were a couple of times when I may have read a chapter and suddenly had ‘something in my eye’, or situations became a lot grittier than before. But that wasn’t a bad thing at all, it wasn’t all dancing around the clock house at your leisure and I really enjoyed the diversity. I ended up laughing out loud multiple times too!

There is a lot to Eve Devon’s novel that meets the eye; a treasure chest of literary beauty if you will. I adored this novel from start to finish, not only did the book flow extremely well, it really did have everything that I could ever have wanted from a book.

‘The Little Clock House on the Green’ was beautifully written, full of raw and powerful emotion and housed in-depth and charismatic characters, each with very unique personalities. Not only that it was the proud owner of poignant and thought-provoking messages that are likely to stay in your heart long after you finish reading. To say I was gutted when I came to the end of the book would be understatement of the year. I am just so thankful that this was book one and we have more to come. If the next book in the series is anything like this then we are in for an absolutely treat and I cannot wait.

Huge thanks to HarperImpulse.

Buy your own copy of Eve Devon’s novel now, from Amazon UK

There are more stops on the blog tour! Make sure you follow all of the other bloggers on the picture below:

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book blogger · Book Review · Panmacmillan

#Review – A Not Quite Perfect Family – Claire Sandy day Part 2 @julietstories @panmacmillan

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Funny, feisty and all-too-true, A Not Quite Perfect Family by Claire Sandy is for anyone who loves their family so much they’d just like a weekend away from them.

Fern Carlile has a lot on her plate. It’s a good thing she loves her big, imperfectly perfect family, because she’s the one who washes their pants, de-fleas the dog and runs her own business. A hearty meal is the one thing that brings the Carliles together – but over the course of a year, the various courses also pull them apart.

Around the table sits an eight-year-old militant feminist, a pair of teenage accidental parents, and a cantankerous OAP. Fern’s husband needs an extra seat for his spectacular midlife crisis.

Will Fern’s marriage be over by the time coffee is served? Perhaps she’ll give in and have the hot new dish that looks so tempting. Decisions, decisions . . .

What does TWG think?

Part two of Claire Sandy’s publication day review posts has arrived! If you are only just joining in and are wondering what the fudge cake I’m on about head over to part one here, and then come back okay? Happy publication day to the hilarious Claire Sandy and her brand new novel, A Not Quite Perfect Family, which was published today by Panmacmillan. Enjoy my review!

As soon I my e-mail inbox pinged and Jess Duffy’s name appeared with the words ‘Claire…Sandy’, I ended up dancing around my kitchen like an absolute ding dong (and yes, the same happened when the book came through my letterbox). Huge fan much? It felt like ages ago since I last picked up a Claire Sandy novel so I was incredibly eager to start reading this little beauty.

Ahhh, mums, the glue that holds the family together when it comes to doing the laundry, cooking the dinner, sorting out birthdays, walking the dog, looking after the children, housework, dealing with family members you just cannot say no to…..sound familiar?! (Apologies if you’re a male and the glue to your family, but this novel has a mummy as the glue so don’t get your marigolds in a twist.)
For Fern Carlile it all sounds TOO familiar seeing as it’s pretty much her own self summed up in a nutshell! Her children, Ollie and Tallulah, couldn’t be more different if they tried; one of them is all for woman power and creating an insect hospital whereas the other is all for doing…WELL, y’know…
As for the man of the house, well, his midlife crisis seems to have taken away his sense of clarity! Adam wants excitement, a life without any ties; so he gets a face that cannot move and a penthouse..

My first impressions of the storyline after reading the first chapter were a bit jaded. I couldn’t seem to work out what made the Carlile family’s life book worthy. After all, they’re a totally dysfunctional and bonkers family just like a lot of the population are! But then, all of a sudden Tallulah came to life in the storyline, much like a Tasmanian devil with strong, feminist views which wouldn’t have looked out of place with the rest of the Suffragists. Tallulah is absolutely hilarious and because she is only eight years old, her views of the world are so innocent, she makes the toughest of situations ‘awww’ worthy. Plus, her interpretation of certain words and how they’re pronounced is award worthy in itself. I sniggered more than once! I probably shouldn’t have seeing as my three year old is venturing down Tallulah’s route already and I probably won’t be laughing when she turns eight, BUT, I can because it’s Claire Sandy’s book and…oh hell, it was hilarious.

Which reminds me, what would YOU call one of your dolls (if you had one)? Ford? Micra? Hatchback? Hm…

Just when I thought that the storyline had reached its peak in terms of bonkers-ness, Nora appears, then another colourful character appears and it’s all like ‘WOAH’. So many different personalities, beliefs and lifestyles all under one roof; it was like asking Dolly Parton, Status Quo, Korn, Steps and Justin Bieber to a party and asking them to talk about the elements!
In other words, it was rather comical to read!

I’m not going to say that I enjoyed every characters antics throughout the book because I would be lying. Yes, some of the situations did seem a little petty, BUT, it didn’t make me think any less of the storyline or the overall theme of the novel at all. I think that because I invest a lot of myself into the storylines I read, I sometimes forget that the characters aren’t real and I end up assessing them as though they are real. You can tell I’m a book nerd, right?

Despite the laugh out loud moments and the ‘cover face with hands’ cringey (yet funny) moments, Claire Sandy’s novel covers quite a lot of relatable and poignant issues. Obviously I can’t tell you what those issues are as it would be classed as a spoiler, however, adding those issues into the storyline has highlighted the fact that not all families are perfect. It also highlighted that not all families follow the same paths as their peers, they may end up making mistakes and deal with them in a way that will aggravate their family members. But that’s life. It was incredibly refreshing to read a storyline which contained more than one ‘taboo’ situation and owns it like it’s the ‘right’ way to live. Why SHOULD we be ashamed if our lifestyles aren’t like the rich and famous? Why SHOULD we be ashamed for bringing up our children differently to the Royal Family? Why SHOULD we be ashamed?

‘A Not Quite Perfect Family’ is a hilarious, refreshing and relatable read which completely modernises situations which society chooses not to. Not only that, the novel also has the power to fill you with a type of warmth you never realised you required.

A snort-worthy, side-splitting, hysterical read from start to finish, ‘A Not Quite Perfect Family’ is THE perfect book to lose yourself in, forget all your troubles c’mon get happy with, and read over and over again. Such a fantastic read, Claire Sandy is my go to author when I am in need of a pick me up and a giggle. She never disappoints…well…only when she writes ‘The End’ but I’ll left her off..

Big thanks to Jess Duffy & Panmacmillan.

Buy now from Amazon UK

blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · contemporary fiction

#BlogTour! #Review – The Cornish Escape by Lily Graham (@lilygrahambooks) @bookouture

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Get swept away along the beautiful Cornish coast, where a love story in a long forgotten diary has the power to change one woman’s life forever.

Victoria Langley’s world crumbles when her husband leaves, but she knows exactly where to go to mend her broken heart. The rugged shores of Cornwall will be her perfect sanctuary. 

In the quaint, little village of Tregollan, nestled in the sea cliffs, Victoria is drawn to Seafall Cottage, covered in vines and gracefully falling apart. Inside she finds a diary full of secrets, from 1905.

Victoria is determined to unravel the diary’s mystery, but the residents of Tregollan are tight-lipped about Tilly Asprey, the cottage’s last owner. Just as she reaches a dead end, Victoria meets Adam Waters, the lawyer handling the cottage’s sale. He’s handsome, charming, and has a missing piece of the puzzle.

Tilly’s diary tells a devastating love story that mirrors Victoria’s own. Can Victoria learn from Tilly’s mistakes, and give herself a second chance at love? Or is history doomed to repeat itself?

An unputdownable and gorgeously romantic read about lost love and new beginnings set in the green hills and rocky cliffs of the breath-taking Cornish coast.

What does TWG think?

I am SOOOOO excited to be kicking off the blog tour for the AMAZING Lily Graham, alongside the also fabulous, Linda from Books Of All Kinds! What a way to kick off the tour!! Today is doubly special as it’s also Lily’s publication day for her new book, The Cornish Escape (published by Bookouture), from all the readers and I, a HUGE congratulations Lily! Kicking off a blog tour for one of your favourite authors is incredibly nerve-wracking (and an honour), as you want to do them proud. So, if you see this post around social media today please do share it everywhere (and Linda’s) so that we can create a huge buzz for Lily and her book. Thank you!
I hope you enjoy my review of Lily’s brand new book, The Cornish Escape.

When things in our personal lives don’t go to plan, we often feel the need to flee. ‘Why run away from your problems?’ you might ask, but when your heart has been broken and a life you thought you knew very well was no more, why NOT flee? Change of scenery, time to think; what’s so wrong about that? Who are we to judge, we aren’t Victoria.

Victoria’s marriage had come to an abrupt end, and instead of staying around to deal with pitying looks and bad memories, she takes off to a small village in Cornwall, Tregollan. Victoria has bitten the bullet and started her life anew, but what happens now? Well, it seems as though Victoria is in the mind-set that her life cannot get any worse than it is now so she decides to use that to her advantage by thinking with her heart instead of her head. Yes, yes, I know. I held my head in my hands as well! Such a BOLD move to think with your heart when logistics tell you something completely different, after all, we have all done it, right? -reminds self to not think with my heart for the last piece of cake….-

You know, I have never read a book of Lily Graham’s that I didn’t enjoy, yet with every new book you begin to wonder how on Earth will the author top the last novel. I’m not going to lie, I did wonder that seeing as I had given Lily’s previous novels 5*’s each and I had my fingers crossed for her newest one.

When I began reading the novel I knew straight away that it wasn’t going to be like her others. ‘The Cornish Escape’ had a lot more grit and power attached to it from an independent character point of view, as opposed to an emotional overall storyline. Two rather different storyline examples yet both brilliant.

Yes my friends, Lily Graham has done it yet again. Not only has she created a main character who is sticking her two fingers up at heart ache, heart break…and her husband, Lily has turned that character into a sassy fireball who still wears her heart on her sleeve and isn’t afraid to think with it either.

As the storyline unfolds, Victoria unearths an old diary which had been written by a lady called, Tilly. A lady who, (after careful detective work by Victoria and her new friend), has had her own fair share of heart-break. Be warned, you may need a tissue or two (or the whole box). Tilly’s story is, wow, beautifully sad. Is that even a thing? I’m sure you know what I mean, I was mesmerised by the whole diary if I’m honest.

Putting Victoria’s and Tilly’s stories together to create a heart warming, waterfall of emotion, was an absolute genius idea. It was different, poignant and totally relatable. Not every story will have the candy floss vibe to it and if I’m honest, ‘The Cornish Escape’ did not require any additional bulking out by fluff of the candy floss nature. This storyline has the power behind it to stand tall and fly the flag for real life situations, with REAL emotional values.

Once again I cannot fault a single thing of Lily Graham’s novel; she has written an outstanding storyline which may even end up being a heart-broken woman’s mantra.

A beautiful novel written from a beautiful heart. Outstanding.

A cosy, heart warming and beautiful read which transports you to a majestic Cornwall, all by the turn of a page. In my eyes, Lily Graham can do no wrong; this is her best book yet (and all hers are fab!).

Thank you Bookouture.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author

Lily has been telling stories since she was a child, starting with her imaginary rabbit, Stephanus, and their adventures in the enchanted peach tree in her garden, which she envisioned as a magical portal to Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree. She’s never really got out of the habit of making things up, and still thinks of Stephanus rather fondly.

She lives with her husband and her English bulldog, Fudge, and brings her love for the sea and country-living to her fiction.

https://www.facebook.com/LilyRoseGrahamAuthor
https://twitter.com/lilygrahambooks

Today was only the beginning! Make sure you follow the other bloggers on Lily Graham’s tour! Details below:

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book blogger · Book Review · Panmacmillan

Claire Sandy #TBT vs New book! Reblog – What Would Mary Berry Do?@julietstories @panmacmillan

I’m doing something a tad different today as I am sure you have guessed by the title, yes? Well, let me explain. A year ago last month when TWG was still a nipper and the GBBO was the nations feast for a Wednesday, I reviewed ‘What Would Mary Berry Do?’ by Claire Sandy, on my blog around that time. I’m not sure if you’re aware but Claire Sandy has a brand new book published TODAY!  Yes, I know, I nearly peed myself in excitement too when I found out, but it’s all good because I will be reviewing her brand new book on my blog later on today (1.30pm GMT to be precise), so make sure you check back for that later!
Before that though, to celebrate Claire’s publication day, I had the ultimate light bulb moment of re-blogging a review of one of her older books in one post, and then reviewing her brand new book in another. Double whammy y’see. So, that is exactly what I’m doing!
Please note that I have not changed anything about the way I wrote the review, I have literally copied and pasted it from its original post. Definitely an authentic book #tbt!! I hope you enjoy & make sure you’re back at 1.30pm for my review of Claire Sandy’s book baby!

What Would Mary Berry Do? was originally posted on my blog a year ago here: What would Mary Berry do?

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What would Mary Berry do? by Claire Sandy.
Published: 31st July 2014 by Panmacmillan.
ISBN: 978-1-4472-5349-5.
Available on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats.

Marie Dunwoody doesn’t want for much in life. She has a lovely husband, three wonderful children, and a business of her own. But her cupcakes are crap. Her meringues are runny and her biscuits are rock-hard. She cannot bake for toffee. Or, for that matter, make toffee.

Marie can’t ignore the disappointed looks anymore, or continue to be shamed by neighbour and nemesis, Lucy Gray. Lucy whips up profiteroles with one hand, while ironing her bed sheets with the other. Marie’s had enough: this is the year it all changes. She vows to follow – to the letter – recipes from the Queen of Baking, and at all times ask, ‘What would Mary Berry do?’

Husband Robert has noticed that his boss takes crumb structure as seriously as budget cuts and with redundancies on the horizon, he too puts on a pinny. Twins Rose and Iris are happy to eat all the half-baked mistakes that come their way, but big brother Angus is more distant than usual, as if something is troubling him. And there is no one as nosey as a matching pair of nine-year old girls…

Marie starts to realise that the wise words of Mary Berry can help her with more than just a Victoria sponge. But can Robert save the wobbling soufflé that is his career? And is Lucy’s sweet demeanour hiding something secretly sour?

What does TWG think?

I must admit, I have asked the question ‘what would Mary Berry do?’ in my head multiple times, and not just for baking! What would she do? Maybe she is the sort of person that would go rock climbing! No, not rock cake climbing, actual rock walls. Oh never mind! Maybe I should tweet her and ask? Probably not a good idea. Don’t want Maz Bez to think I’m taking the mickey out of her buns…
Several readers over on my Facebook page: The Writing Garnet – Facebook Page. were curious about this book because of the cover. It’s cake, how can you NOT be curious about it. So I said that I would do them a humongous favour and read it for them! I’m nice like that.

Claire Sandy begins the book by introducing you to Marie’s fail-stopper….sorry, show-stopper. You got a rough idea from the blurb that Marie’s buns weren’t all that squishy, so she proves it in public, at the children’s school. Oh dear. Throughout the story you will meet characters from all walks of life in their cosy little neighbourhood. As always, not all neighbours get along with each other. Some things don’t sit quite right with a couple of the neighbours, they seem to be hiding something, but what is it?

Marie decides that it is time to actually use her kitchen and invites Mary Berry to join her. No, not the real Mary Berry; her cook book! Due to Marie’s nose being buried in copious amounts of flour and icing, she doesn’t notice that her husband and her son have their own personal anguish. Robert faces problems at his work and realises that it’s going to be make or bake…sorry, break, and he could face losing his job. Angus, her son, has his own trouble with the ‘clones’.  So out comes Mary Berry’s pal in book form, and fighting for the kitchen begins.  As you read more of the novel, you will find out the troubles that are under Marie’s nose. But is it too late for her to fix them all? Or should she just focus on fixing her buns?

Like my Facebook readers, this book had me curious straight away because of the cover and title. Everyone loves Mary Berry! Claire Sandy writes about a ‘typical’ mum in the kitchen, and I mean ‘typical’ in a good way because many of us have been standing cursing at our failed attempts in the kitchen. Just like Marie. Because she does curse, and so does Aileen. You will meet Aileen when you visit Marie’s work, you will love her. Just don’t have a drink in your hand when you read about her. She is probably one of my favourite characters in the book because she doesn’t give a donut! ‘What would Mary Berry do?’ is such a laugh out loud and warm book which tells the story of ‘friends’ coming together, and maybe soul mates being found. On more than one occasion I was laughing so hard (high-pitched squealing sort of laughter), that I thought my house was surrounded by dogs. They respond to high pitched noises don’t they? Hilarious and modern (because of the swearing) it was an absolute treat to read. High praise for Claire Sandy because it’s BRILLIANT! From start to finish it had me hooked and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that loves Maz Bez and the GBBO. You will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to read it again!

Luckily I can read it again whenever I wish as I have my own paperback copy -smug-. I hope you enjoyed TWG’s first book #TBT. Don’t forget that ‘What Would Mary Berry Do?’ is out to buy now here. Claire Sandy and I will be back at 1.30pm with ‘A Not Quite Perfect Family’. You really don’t want to miss it.

#Avon · #Harpercollins · blog tour · book blogger · guest spotlight

#BlogTour! Author @Catherine_ann_f shares her views on writer life @avonbooksUK #guestpost

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Author of the incredible novel; Four Weddings and a Fiasco, Catherine Ferguson, is back and she is bringing her brand new novel with her! ‘The Secrets of Ivy Garden’ was published on the 3rd April 2017 by Avon Books and is currently sporting a ‘Best Seller’ banner on Amazon UK already!! Today is day three of Catherine’s blog tour with me, TWG. I have a guest post from the lady herself where she shares her own personal thoughts about writer life, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.
Please follow the blog post until the end where there will be the all important new book details and to buy link for you!

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Fab and scary things about being a writer
by Catherine Ferguson.

Let’s get the scary things out of the way first …

That horrible first draft.

There’s a brilliant book on writing by Ann Lamott called Bird by Bird that explores all the high and lows of writing for a living – and her assertion that ‘all first drafts are shitty’ was a real relief moment when I read it. Because I realised it’s absolutely true – for me, at any rate. My first drafts are embarrassingly bad, and it can be quite scary when you’re right in the middle of it all and wondering why your sentences seem so dull and uninspiring this time round. You panic, thinking you’ve lost the knack altogether and you’ll never again be able to write a book that some people might actually enjoy.

                I used to agonise for ages over the opening chapter, polishing the same few thousand words over and over, aiming for perfection. But I’ve since realised that the trick, for me, is to just get it all down on the page, without stopping to read it back, no matter how childish it seems or how many holes in the plot I might suspect there are.

                Then, when I’ve got the words down (but not necessarily in the right order), I can go back to the beginning and transform my shambolic load of horse manure into something that makes sense and might even be emotionally engaging!

Self-motivation

You need this in spades to be a writer. As you’re usually working at home (with easy access to fridge, TV and social media, without a boss looking over your shoulder), it can be very hard to rev the engine and get motoring. I envy people who can be stern with themselves (no stopping until I’ve written a thousand words!) and actually carry through with it. I’ve found it helps to set a realistic word-count target that you know you can easily meet. Then, if you manage to actually exceed your target, you feel very pleased with yourself, which puts you in a helpfully positive frame of mind for the next day’s writing session!

            Reviews (bad)

It doesn’t matter how many great reviews you might already have, it’s the single bad one you will end up obsessing about. Scary!

And the fab things?

Light-bulb moments

These are the times I love best of all about being a writer.

                Light-bulb moments happen most often when I’m out walking to escape the screen for an hour. It can be anything from suddenly thinking of the most brilliant name for a character, to realising in a flash of inspiration exactly why I introduced the friendly post woman in chapter three. (When characters first come along, they’re not fully formed and it can take a while to get to know them and to find out what their motivation is.) I love it when a piece of the plot jigsaw suddenly falls into place and I realise, for example, that the friendly post woman would pair up perfectly with one of my male characters!

Publication day

There are butterflies in the stomach on publication day, when all your months of hard work are about to be revealed to the public. But they’re the deliciously scary kind rather than the exam-day dread type. Publication day is always exciting. And the perfect excuse for opening the champagne. I’m currently writing my sixth book but I know that when publication day arrives, I’ll be just as excited for this one as I was three years ago for my very first book …

Reviews (good)

Reviews mean so much to a writer – especially if they’re glowing! It can really make your day like nothing else if a reader takes the time to go on Amazon and tell the world that they really enjoyed reading your book. It makes you feel all months of the hard work were worth it.

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Whilst Catherine’s post made me chuckle, it was lovely to get an insight into a writer’s mind. If you thought that your one sentence opinion on a book (constructive) was irrelevant, think again. Reviews are what help authors get seen in a very busy market, although make sure your review is actually for the correct thing. I mean, you don’t want to review Catherine’s book with a line that should belong somewhere else now do you?

Thank you to Catherine Ferguson for the fabby-tastic guest post!
If Catherine’s Ivy Garden intrigues you with its secrets; here is the important ‘to buy’ link and the book information!

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The ebook bestseller is back with her next hilarious read – a fun, fresh tale of love, friendship and family secrets…

When Holly breaks up with her boyfriend Dean, she’s at a loss as to what to do next. But things go from bad to worse when her beloved grandmother Ivy dies – and Holly is left in charge of sorting out Ivy’s house and garden. As she sorts through her grandmother’s belongings and makes her way through the wilderness outside, Holly soon finds that there is more to Ivy than meets the eye, and uncovers a surprising family secret that changes everything…

This is a heart-warming and hilarious story from Catherine Ferguson about starting over, learning to garden and most of all learning to love.

Buy now from Amazon UK

aria fiction · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review

#BlogTour! #Review – The Second Chance Tea Shop by Fay Keenan (@FayKeenan) @Aria_Fiction

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Second chances, new loves and scrumptious cakes, in this heart-warming novel. Perfect for all fans of Fern Britton, Katie Fforde and Cathy Bramley.

Following the tragic death of her beloved husband, Anna Hemingway decides it’s time for a fresh start. So Anna and her three-year-old daughter Ellie move to a picture-perfect cottage in the beautiful village of Little Somerby, and when she takes over the running of the village tea shop, Ellie and Anna start to find happiness again.

But things get complicated when Matthew Carter, the owner of the local cider farm, enters their lives. Throughout a whirlwind year of village fetes and ancient wassails, love, laughter, apple pie and new memories, life slowly blossoms again. But when tragedy strikes and history seems to be repeating itself, Anna must find the strength to hold onto the new life she has built.

This beautiful, life-affirming debut novel marks the beginning of the Little Somerby series, and promises to make you smile, cry, reach for a cream tea, and long for a life in the perfect English countryside.

What does TWG think?

It’s TWG’s stop on Fay Kennan’s blog tour today! I hope you enjoy my review of her debut book, The Second Chance Tea Shop.

Okay, okay, I’ll hold my hands up; I have to admit that I did groan when I saw that this was yet another novel with yet another tea shop/café in the storyline. At least I admit it though, right? Seeing as this book is Fay Kennan’s debut novel (and the cover is a tad more-ish), I decided to put my teashop/café vendetta to one side and feed my curiosity by actually reading it. Yes, as soon as I saw the cover I was intrigued by it, definitely not going to lie about that. I was just throwing a little wobbly about the overuse of a particular setting.

Anyway, needed to get my little grumble out of the way before I started singing Fay Kennan’s book baby’s praises! I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Second Chance Tea Shop’ from start to finish! For a couple of seconds max, the thought of the storyline heading down the candyfloss route did enter my mind, when in actual fact, it was the complete opposite!

After the heart ache that Anna has been through recently, she decides that a fresh start with her daughter, Ellie, would be the ideal solution to regaining control of her life. Whilst the village of Little Somerby may be brand new to Ellie, it isn’t for Anna and as she starts settling into village life yet again, she ends up recognising A LOT more than she bargained for. Will Little Somerby give Anna the second chance at life which she desperately craves? Or could certain pasts end up colliding and ruin her fresh start before it’s even begun?

I have been wracking my brain trying to think of what Fay Keenan’s novel reminds me of; a multiple layered cake, that’s what it reminds me of! Don’t laugh, hear me out. By looking at the cake (the book) we would assume that it’s just a book about a little tea shop, yet by reading every chapter and going through each individual layer of the storyline and the character’s personalities, it was just like enjoying all of the different layers of a cake. Each layer contained different hurdles, different characters and different emotions, allowing us to surrender to the storyline and the magic between the words. Just like a multi-layered cake layers, no two layers, (or chapters), were the same and that is what made Fay Keenan’s book baby stand out for me.

As I said above, a lot of books at the moment are set in the oh-so-popular tea shop or café, which can make it harder for a brand new author to find a way of standing out amongst the crowd. What could ‘The Second Chance Tea Shop’ bring to the table that was completely unique? A bit like ‘what’s your tea shop got that mine aint got’, kinda thing. But you know what, ‘The Second Chance Tea Shop’ is unlike all of the other similar books in its market and I’ll tell you why.

Firstly, the main character has already built up a life previously which didn’t contain any premises involving mini sandwiches. Unfortunately her life got turned upside down in a devastating way.

Secondly, the tea shop featured in this novel is already an established business, which means that Anna isn’t doing her own version of ‘Changing Rooms’ on the building.

Thirdly, there is A LOT more to this storyline that meets the eye; complex characters, devastating secrets, village gossip, heart breaking secrets, and enough warmth to keep your own house warm over the winter. No joke. Emotional it may be at times yet the heart warming factor trumps any sadness and uncertainty.

Fourthly, the little tea shop is portrayed as a character within the book, instead of being the hub of the storyline. It’s a fantastic addition to an already brilliant storyline, instead of being the centre of attention.

Personally? This novel has got to be one of my most favourite tea shop books out there. It has been brilliantly written (hard to believe it’s a debut book to be honest!), nicely structured with just the right amount of contrasting characters.

‘The Second Chance Tea Shop’ is just like drinking the perfectly made cup of tea; warm enough, sweet enough, not too strong and not too weak. In other words; perfection.

Thank you Aria.

Buy now: Amazon // Kobo // iBooks // Googleplay

Author bio

Fay Keenan was born in Surrey and raised in Hampshire, before finally settling back
in the West Country. When Fay is not chasing her children around or writing, she
teaches English at a local secondary school. She lives with her husband of fourteen
years, two daughters, a cat, two chickens and a Weimaraner called Bertie in a village
in Somerset, which may or may not have provided the inspiration for Little Somerby.

Follow Fay:
Facebook: FayKeenanAuthor
Twitter: @FayKeenan
Instagram: @FayKeenan
Website: www.faykeenan.com

Make sure you pop into the tea shop as the tour continues with the bloggers below!

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