#BlogTour! #Review – Reach for the Stars by Colleen Coleman (@collcolemanauth) @Bookouture

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Absolutely delighted to be kicking off Colleen Coleman’s blog tour for her brand new book, ‘Reach for the Stars’, and on publication day! Huge thanks to Kim Nash for giving me this honour. I am thrilled to be sharing my review with you all today:

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When Evelyn Dooley married her high-school sweetheart, James, she thought she was set for life. Now she’s twenty-eight, single, and fleeing to Dublin from her hometown to avoid the gossip surrounding their break-up. And all because of a test-your-relationship board game.

This was not in her five-year plan.

Then a chance encounter with gorgeous musician Danny leads to an unlikely friendship, and soon the pair are running music nights together in one of the oldest pubs in Dublin. For the first time Evelyn is following her dreams rather than someone else’s – and sparks are beginning to fly between her and Danny…

But when her savings run out and home beckons, Evelyn has to choose. The safe, comfortable life she left behind, or a new adventure with Danny? Will Evelyn flee back to the familiarity of her ex, or reach for the stars and take a leap into the unknown?

A laugh-out-loud, feel-good story of friendship, second chances, and romance, perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Lindsey Kelk and Marian Keyes.

What does TWG think?

Having read, devoured, and loved Colleen Coleman’s debut novel, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, I really had no idea how the author was going to top that book going forward. But folks, she did and by golly did she do it well!!!

The thing I love about Colleen Coleman’s novels, is how she takes real life, relatable situations and turns them into storylines that will either make you nodding in agreement, or reaching for a second box of Kleenex. Some of you might be thinking ‘why would I cry at a situation I have already endured once or twice before?’ and, whilst that is a pretty valid question, my comeback to that would be ‘well, why wouldn’t you?’. Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in situations we can’t seem to find our way out from, and then Colleen Coleman comes along with characters just like us, who go through situations just like us, allowing us to see a different way of coming out of that dark situation unscathed.

Evelyn’s life hasn’t exactly gone to plan and, instead of staying to shut down the gossips, she flees the nest to try to make a clean break. What Evelyn didn’t account for however, was meeting a musician who was more likely to tinkle her ivories (or ovaries) by allowing her to see her life as sweet, sweet music instead of what it was; a failed marriage.

Have you ever watched or read ‘Ps. I Love You’ by Cecelia Ahern? If you have, part of this storyline might remind you of the musician character from the movie. Well, unless it’s just me, obviously! As soon as ‘Danny’ was introduced into the storyline, I couldn’t help but think of the musician in the film played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. If you have read this book, please put me out of my misery and say you thought the same!

Anyway, back to this book (sorry!).

I couldn’t help but let the tears fall out of my eyes whilst I was reading ‘Reach for the Stars’. There was something incredibly magical about each individual character within the book, the ever so heart-warming storyline which made me think about my own life, and a question which made me open my eyes; stay safe or reach for the stars? I just love how the author manages to incorporate such meaningful and eye-opening messages into each of her storylines, making me think outside the box instead of going down the same old route.

‘Reach for the Stars’ is everything I hoped for, and more. I was quite unsure as to how Colleen Coleman was going to beat her previous novel as it gave me all the feels, but she did. Coleman has managed to raise the bar even higher with this heart-warming and extremely touching novel which will make you look at life in a completely different way. I really have no idea how the author does it, but she manages to make me laugh and cry, whilst also making me feel as though I can conquer the world in my sleep, all at the same time. Not only does it require a talented author to be able to do that, it also requires an author with a heart of gold. Colleen Coleman ticks both boxes and more.

‘Reach for the Stars’ is an absolutely phenomenal read. From start to finish I was glued to Evelyn’s story and the chances she could take. I wanted her to be brave and reach for the stars. I wanted her to live her life for herself, and not for anybody else. Watching the character get to that point, however, made me crumble in the most beautiful way.

This book is everything I could have wished for in a storyline and, if I had to choose a book to live my life by; I would certainly have ‘Reach for the Stars’ as my life bible.

Touching, emotional, relatable, and absolutely beautiful, Colleen Coleman has done it yet again with this outstanding novel. Beautifully written and full of girl power, ‘Reach for the Stars’ is the book which everyone needs to read….now.

I truly cannot wait to see what the author comes up with next. If it’s anything like her previous novel and this novel, I am going to have to stock up on the Kleenex! Easiest five stars ever!

Thanks Bookouture.

Buy now from Amazon UK 
Buy now from Amazon US

Author Bio:

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, her first book was released in March 2017. 

 Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CollColemanAuth

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CollColemanAuth

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/colleencoleman101/


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#BlogTour! #Review – Lonely Hearts by Gwyn GB (@gwyngb) @brookcottagebks

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Lonely Hearts cover
Brings a whole new meaning to killing with kindness.

Meet Rachel. She loves animals and works at a dating agency bringing lonely people together – only somebody is watching her every move and she’s scared…

Neil didn’t see who killed him – but his murder brings DI Claire Falle on the case. What she uncovers leads her to discover that a serial killer is preying on the clients of the dating agency where Rachel works.

Can Claire work out the connection between all the deaths before Rachel becomes the next victim? And what is it in Rachel’s past that haunts her?

As DI Claire Falle investigates the lives of the dating agency staff and clients, she is pulled into a tangled web of loneliness and deceit which will have devastating consequences for someone.

What does TWG think?

New author – check.
Intriguing cover – check.
New book serial – check.

Not a bad start really, eh? Meet the new book serial from author Gwyn GB; a crime thriller set within a dating agency…believe it or not. We all know dating agencies as places to meet our potential new soulmate, and not a place where hearts are broken and no longer allowed to pump blood around bodies.

To be honest, I really didn’t know what to make of this novel to begin with. I mean, a dating agency and a crime thriller in one? I can’t say I have ever come across that before.  It did take me several chapters to warm to the theme of the storyline as there was so much information for me to digest and learn, before I was able to truly enjoy the book itself.

Firstly, there are quite a lot of characters involved in ‘Lonely Hearts’ which, in my opinion, is a mixture of both bad and good. Bad because I got confused as to who did what and when, and good because the ‘whodunnit’ nature of the book was more likely to be kept hidden longer than if the storyline contained fewer characters.

Once I felt that I was able to distinguish between each character and what their role was within the book, I was able to truly enjoy this unique storyline. I thought that DI Claire Falle was such a relatable character to have are the forefront of the storyline, even if she did come across as a novice a lot of the time, the fact she wasn’t afraid to tune into her own personal thoughts and feelings made me like her even more. She listened to her gut and was determined to follow through with what her gut was trying to tell her, even though people around her were less likely to jump on board the same idea.

Personally, I am so glad that this book is part of a series and that a second book will be released as that ending made me go ‘grrrrr!!!!’. I wasn’t ready for the book to come to and end, and when it did I felt as though I was left hanging. Whilst endings like that irk me ever so slightly, it has also made me more excited about the next instalment from author Gwyn GB. I’m just hoping it won’t take too long to materialise as I want to find out what happens next!!

Unique, addictive, positively gripping, and thoroughly entertaining; ‘Lonely Hearts’ is a shocking, rollercoaster read which will make you think twice about wearing your heart on your sleeve. I cannot wait for the second book in the series!!

Thanks Brookcottage Books!

Buy now!

About the author.

Gwyn GB is a writer living in Jersey, Channel Islands. A native of the UK she moved to the
island with her Jersey-born husband, geriatric dog, two boys and goldfish.
Gwyn is a former national and international newsreader for BBC TV and ITN in London and Jersey. She’s also freelanced for national newspapers and magazines in the UK, once had her own magazine publishing business and has a PR diploma. She is currently working in the digital industry while writing in her spare time.
Gwyn is also the author of ‘Islands’.

Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads Author Page // Instagram // Website

Giveaway!!

To be in with the chance of winning a signed paperback copy of ‘Lonely Hearts’ click on the link below to enter! Open internationally!

Click here to enter the giveaway!

#BlogTour! #Review – Cold Blood by Robert Brynzda (@RobertBryndza) @Bookouture

Cold-Blood-Kindle
She fell in love with a killer, now she’s one too.

The suitcase was badly rusted, and took Erika several attempts, but it yielded and
sagged open as she unzipped it. Nothing could prepare her for what she would
find inside…

When a battered suitcase containing the dismembered body of a young man washes up on the shore of the river Thames, Detective Erika Foster is shocked. She’s worked on some terrifying cases but never seen anything like this before. 
As Erika and her team set to work, she makes the link with another victim – the body of a young woman dumped in an identical suitcase two weeks ago. 
Erika quickly realises she’s on the trail of a serial killer who’s already made their next move. Yet just as Erika starts to make headway with the investigation, she is the victim of a brutal attack.

But nothing will stop Erika. As the body count rises, the twin daughters of her colleague Commander Marsh are abducted, and the stakes are higher than ever before. Can Erika save the lives of two innocent children before it’s too late? She’s running out of time and about to make a disturbing discovery…there’s more than one killer.

Brilliantly gripping, Cold Blood will have you hooked from the first page and
holding your breath to the heart-stopping and shocking ending.

What does TWG think?

Despite only finding Robert Bryndza’s ‘Detective Erika Foster’ novels rather recently, I could not wait to get stuck into the latest from Detective Foster. Even though I was pretty shocked by the graphic nature of Bryndza’s previous novel, ‘Last Breath’, nothing could have prepared me for what lay behind the cover of ‘Cold Blood’…

People usually associate suitcases with going on holiday, moving home, or storing seasonal clothes up in the loft. Not many people would associate a suitcase with a dismembered body, let’s be honest! However, coming across situations like that are all in a days work for Detective Erika Foster. After all, she is used to seeing multiple dead bodies. Whilst it’s still incredibly shocking, adult dead bodies Erika can cope with but, as soon as a child becomes involved in a life or death situation, that’s when Erika Foster realises she is in fact human after all.

I’m not going to lie, I was on edge for the duration of this novel. I honestly thought my heart was going to force through my chest wall with the way it was pounding. One dead body is gritty enough, but more than one? Geeeez!!! There was so much meat on the bones of the storyline, I was able to sink my teeth into it straight away. I didn’t have time to go ‘ew’ when certain situations arose as I was far too occupied with the killer, as well as everything else that surrounded the investigation.

I’ve said this before and I have no qualms saying it again; Detective Erika Foster is by far one of my most favourite Detectives to read about. Her sassy, fiery and black and white nature is perfect for the storylines in which Robert Brynzda creates.

I wish I could sit here and go ‘OMG LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE PART WHERE…..’, but I can’t. All I will say is make sure you aren’t eating or drinking whilst reading this book, because your attention is guaranteed to be on the storyline and NOT you drink. Don’t do what I did….please; I ended up not paying attention to my cup of tea, it fell and it looked like I had wet myself. Now if a book can stop me paying attention to my nightly cup of tea, it MUST be doing something right.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Robert Bryndza’s latest offering, and the pace was absolutely spot on considering how full the storyline actually was. However, there was a part of the book which I found rather uncomfortable to read as it involved children of a similar age to my daughter. Don’t get me wrong, the premise worked with the rest of the storyline for sure, I just personally found it a teeny bit hard to read.

That said, I didn’t need to come off the rollercoaster ride I was on from the start of the book because of it, I held on for dear life until the very end. And yes folks….what a conclusion.

Fast paced, thrilling and totally jaw dropping; Robert Bryndza has written yet another spine tingling novel which will leave your blood running cold for a very long time. Intense, uncomfortable, yet absolutely spot on; ‘Cold Blood’ is such a fantastic read, and so not perfect for reading before a blood pressure test. Seriously; it’s that good.

Thanks Bookouture.

Happy publication day Robert!

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Author Bio:

Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestseller The Girl in the Ice. The
Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller is the first book in the Detective Erika
Foster series.

The Night Stalker, Dark Water and Last Breath are the second, third, and fourth books in
the series, and the fifth book, Cold Blood is now available to pre-order.
Robert’s books have sold over 2 million copies, and have been translated into 27
languages.

In addition to writing crime fiction, Robert has published a bestselling series of romantic
comedy novels. He is British and lives in Slovakia.

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Website

Cold Blood - Blog Blitz

#BlogTour! #Review – The Sinking Chef by Sylvia Ashby (@bysylvia_a) @NeverlandBT

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The Sinking Chef Cover
“Bridget Jones meets Burnt in this delightful comedy novel about a talented YouTuber and the guy who keeps trying to bring her down. Although part of a series this book is completely standalone, as are all other novels in the Pot Love Series.

In Belsize Park, London, Ashley works hard on her daily YouTube channel “The Sinking Chef”. It’s filmed right in her kitchen, so she doesn’t go out much.
James is a gruff British TV director, turned publisher, who Ashley had a crush on ages ago. She has moved on but when he calls with an offer to take her out to lunch she doesn’t say no. It’s only lunch – what can go wrong? The day Ashley meets James for lunch and he promises her a book deal, she makes the worse decision in her life – to hide the book deal from her boyfriend, Giacomo. As things progress Ashley’s secrets mount up
and other things in her life unravel. Is there a connection? And how is she going to get out of this without losing Giacomo and the life she loves? Set in the heart of fast-paced London, The Sinking Chef is a charming story of love, recipes, secrets, and the determination to do thinks right by those you love most in your life.”

What does TWG think?

Sometimes I get the urge to read something completely different. You know, not my ‘usual’ type of book. Sometimes I just want to read without my brain having to decipher character motives within the storyline. Sometimes I just want to lay on the sofa and lose myself in a book; no fuss, no hidden agenda, just me, myself and the storyline. With a title such as ‘The Sinking Chef’, I had high hopes that Sylvia Ashby’s novel would be just the book to fit my reading criteria of that night.

I just wanted to read….

Ashley seems to be going from strength to strength with her Youtube channel, ‘The Sinking Chef’. The only downside to her achievement is how most of her day consists of finding things to do. Literally. One day she may search her house for something to do. Or on another day she might trawl online and venture into chat rooms dedicated for certain types of people. The beauty of Ashley’s personality is that you really have no idea what bonkers idea she will think of, or do next. Despite holding my head in my hands and thinking; ‘oh my god she didn’t just do that’, I found myself becoming more and more entranced by her overall, addictive personality. What a memorable character!

As for the storyline itself, I rather enjoyed the overall feel of the book, including the homely nature of the recipes (as weird as that sounds). I’m not going to lie, the storyline didn’t blow me away but, seeing as I just wanted to read a book that I was able to lose myself in, enjoy and just….read, ‘The Sinking Chef’ allowed me to do exactly that. The storyline wasn’t hard going, over bearing or too intense. Instead it was just right.

I loved Ashley’s character and I whole heartedly agree that she is the modern-day Bridget Jones. Personally, she made the book for me.

As I had never read a Sylvia Ashby novel before now, I was looking forward to trying a new author to see if I would end up with another ‘go to author’.
Verdict: reader, I now have another go to author!

Fun, flirty and pretty bonkers; The Sinking Chef is perfect for folk who just want to read without getting sucked into a tug of war with your own mind.

Thanks NeverlandBT.

AMAZON LINKS
The book is exclusive for Amazon & in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US // Amazon UK // Amazon Australia // Amazon Canada

Author bio

Sylvia Ashby is fond of the written word: books, blog posts, recipes, even an explanation to the HM Revenue & Customs as to why she thinks skirts should be exempt from VAT – she’s written it all! She likes travelling and has lived all over Europe – London, Brussels, Amsterdam and Sofia, Bulgaria. Currently, she lives in Leuven, Belgium with her husband, daughter, son and a sparrow called Jack, who comes occasionally to peck the seeds she leaves for him on top of the garden shed.

Website: http://www.sylvia-ashby.com/
Twitter: @bysylvia_a

The Sinking Chef giveaway

1st prize: £25 Amazon voucher and an eCopy of the book
2nd and 3rd prize: ecopy of the book

INTERNATIONAL

To enter the giveaway: click here! Good luck!

#BlogTour! #Review – One Day in December by Shari Low (@ShariLow) @Aria_Fiction

One Day in December BLOG TOUR BANNER (1)

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By the stroke of midnight, a heart would be broken, a cruel truth revealed, a
devastating secret shared, and a love betrayed. Four lives would be changed
forever, One Day in December.

One morning in December…

Caro set off on a quest to find out if her relationship with her father had been based on a
lifetime of lies.

Lila decided today would be the day that she told her lover’s wife of their secret affair.

Cammy was on the way to pick up the ring for the surprise proposal to the woman he
loved.

And Bernadette vowed that this was the day she would walk away from her controlling
husband of 30 years and never look back.

One day, four lives on a collision course with destiny…

What does TWG think?

One thing I love about Shari Low’s novels is how she creates characters with relatable circumstances. The author doesn’t seem to think of a character and create its life based on an outlandish notion that would never happen in a million years – even if it is fictional. No, she creates her character with real life people in mind and, in my opinion, that makes Shari Low more relatable as an author. I get that some people read novels to escape from real life issues, but sometimes you just want to read a novel with a relatable storyline, just to see how someone else will cope in a situation similar to your own.

‘One Day in December’ is about four completely different people who’s lives become entwined in the strangest of ways. Caro; her gut instinct fears that her childhood wasn’t as it seemed. Lila; an Instagram addict who has one thing on the top of her agenda – herself. Cammy; a man who wears his heart on his sleeve and just wants to do the right thing. Bernadette; a woman who has been living in fear and resentment for far too long.

Reading ‘One Day in December’, my eyes were pricked with tears after the first couple of pages as the emotion that came tumbling out of such few words, was enough to melt a bit of my Ice Queen exterior. The further into the storyline I read, the clearer certain situations seemed to become. However, what I didn’t expect was the high level of intensity that seemed to come out of nowhere. This wasn’t a story about relationships being broken. No. It was a story about how things are not always what they seem. It was a story about learning to find true happiness and not being afraid to take that first step.

Despite the fact that ‘One Day in December’ contained some quite serious topics, Shari Low still managed to incorporate her brilliant humour alongside that. Yes this book is emotional, and yes it does stop and make you think. But, seeing as Shari Low is known for writing deep and meaningful storylines which will forever be imprinted in your mind, I wouldn’t expect anything less from this brilliant author.

‘One Day in December’ made me chuckle, whilst also opening my eyes to how social media focused we can be (if you use filters, you’ll be nodding your head round about now!). Not only that, the storyline moved me so much and made me stop and think about my own life, especially as I was able to relate to Caro’s situation a teeny bit.

I adore Shari Low’s novels and once again the author did not disappoint. Moving, intense, eye-opening and incredibly heart-warming; ‘One Day in December’ will leave you reaching for the tissues and a big bar of chocolate, whilst also warming your heart at the same time.

Thanks Aria Fiction & Netgalley.

Buy: Amazon // Kobo // iBooks // Google Play

About the author

Shari lives in Glasgow and writes a weekly opinion column and Book Club page for a
well-known newspaper. She is married to a very laid-back guy and has two athletic
teenage sons, who think she’s fairly embarrassing, except when they need a lift.

Follow Shari

Website: www.sharilow.com
Twitter: @ShariLow

#BlogTour! #Review – The Doll House by @Phoebe_A_Morgan @HQDigitalUK @HelenaSheffield

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I am beyond thrilled to be hosting day three of Phoebe Morgan’s blog tour for her debut novel, ‘The Doll House’, which was published on the 14th September by HQDigitalUK! Huge thanks to Helena Sheffield for personally selecting me to be involved in Phoebe’s blog tour, it is such an honour! I am delighted to share my review with you today, as well as a guest post from the lovely lady herself, Phoebe Morgan. Enjoy!!

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You never know who’s watching…

Corinne’s life might look perfect on the outside, but after three failed IVF attempts it’s her last chance to have a baby. And when she finds a tiny part of a doll house outside her flat, it feels as if it’s a sign.

But as more pieces begin to turn up, Corinne realises that they are far too familiar. Someone knows about the miniature rocking horse and the little doll with its red velvet dress. Someone has been inside her house…

How does the stranger know so much about her life? How long have they been watching? And what are they waiting for…?

A gripping debut psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Perfect for fans of I See You and The Widow.

What does TWG think?

You know when you REALLLYYYYYYYY want to read a book, but you leave it until the last-minute to finally read it just so you could savour every single detail, hoping it would be as good as you had envisioned, only to then read it in a few hours? Sound familiar? That was exactly what happened with Phoebe Morgan’s debut novel. No joke. I was sooooooo eager to grab a copy of the book so that I could finally read it, when what I actually did was leave it as long as possible because I wanted to savour the ‘first time reading a book’ for as long as humanly possible. If you call a couple of hours as long as possible then I did great!

Seriously folks, what a book!!!!!! I feel like crying because I am so jealous of everyone who gets to read it for the first time! How the hell is this a debut novel? Where has Phoebe Morgan been all my life? Why doesn’t she have her second book out already? WHEN CAN I READ MORE?! -wails-. I have never, EVER read a book like this one before and, if I’m perfectly honest, it’s going to take a lot to beat!

I’m not even going to outline my thoughts of the storyline in this review because I can’t without letting something slip. I may represent a female dog sometimes, but I’m not mean enough to write spoilers!

However, what I will say about the storyline is how gritty and complex it is. The amount of characters involved in the storyline is minimal, yet I still had absolutely no idea who was involved in what until the storyline got to that point. To be honest, I really don’t think that having minimal characters in a storyline is a bad thing. Yes the storyline needs to be extremely tight due to the lack of bodies to point the finger at, but in my opinion, if an author can write such a flawless storyline with a select few characters whilst also leaving me guessing, I can’t really see a reason to complain. Can you?

I just cannot believe how brilliant this book is! So many red herrings, wrong turns and questionable circumstances; I genuinely was on the edge of my seat with my eyes glued to the words on the page, trying to work out what on Earth everything meant. What was going to happen next. During the vital last chapters of the book, my dog selfishly decided he needed to have his midnight snack in the garden and, seeing as he can’t open the door for himself, I had to stop reading this book and let him out (there’s a point to this btw). What I didn’t expect was to walk into the garden, hear high-pitched wailing and then jump out of my skin as though there was someone behind me.

Note: DON’T ADULT WHEN YOU’RE READING THIS BOOK, YOU’LL END UP THINKING THE GARDEN GNOME IS ABOUT TO GET YOU. Or in my case, a daddy-long-legs and the pup’s tail. I know, I know….

I fluffing loved every single thing about this book! The pace was intense. The overall storyline was laced with so many unanswered questions. Each character seemed to have a question mark looming over their head from the get go, which meant that I ended up thinking everyone was guilty. The storyline was addictive. Gritty. Surreal. Shocking…everything you could want from a book.

Phoebe Morgan certainly is one to watch for the near future. Her writing style is unique and flawlessly presented, I really do believe that this author is going to spoil us with many more phenomenal books.

‘The Doll House’, ladies and gents, is EXACTLY how a psychological thriller should be written, and it is EXACTLY what the book world has been after without even knowing it.

2017 seems to be an exceptionally strong year where books are concerned, but I can safely say that when I write my ‘Top Books of 2017’ list at the end of the year, Phoebe Morgan’s ‘The Doll House’ will be flying high near the top, without a doubt.

Huge thanks to Phoebe Morgan and HQDigitalUK.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Before you go, I’ll leave you with a guest post from Phoebe Morgan, about how she chose which genre to write for!

What drew you to this genre?

My book actually had an interesting development and changed quite a bit through various drafts to the finished version that it is now – a process fuelled by a lot of coffee and late nights. My wonderful agent Camilla Wray was invaluable with this – she pulled out the darker suspense elements of the novel and helped me shape it into what it is today. I’d started off wanting to write about sisters – I don’t have a sister, I have two brothers – so I find that sisterly connection fascinating. I think there’s more opportunities for jealousy between sisters, because they’re more likely to have shared experiences, and I wanted to explore that with The Doll House.

The psychological thriller is a genre that has been booming for a while now, and it’s what I primarily love reading too so it made sense to write in that field. I knew I wanted to explore the idea of family and the secrets that lie within that nuclear unit, and I also wanted to make the reader think about memory. I think often our childhood memories can get distorted, and when we look back with new information we realise that things were maybe not quite as they seemed. That was the central point for starting this novel.
In my day job as an editor, I’m always watching market trends – checking the Amazon top 100 to see what people are reading, reading The Bookseller to hear about new acquisitions from other publishers (basically scouting out the competition!)

The psychological suspense genre is one that despite everyone’s initial scepticism has gone on to prove itself as a genre that just keeps on giving; there is still an appetite for these books and it’s all about pushing the boundaries of your novel to see if you can find a fresh take on the genre and surprise readers with something new. It is a popular
genre, but I think it’s popular for a reason and there’s room enough for everyone – as long as there are readers, that is! With The Doll House, I decided to make my central characters as likeable as possible – so that the reader is on their side when an external threat comes into play. The twist, though, is that the threat ends up being not quite as external as you’re led to believe – and the book really plays with those ideas of home, family and safety, which are not always what they seem…

#BlogTour! #Review – Too Damn Nice by @KathrynFreeman1 @BrookCottagebks @ChocLitUK

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TDN_FRONT_RGB150dpiNice guys don’t kiss like that …

Do nice guys stand a chance?

Lizzie Donavue went from being the sister of his best friend to the girl Nick Templeton most wants to kiss. On her birthday, he finally summons up the courage to make his move. But it looks like Nick’s missed his chance when he discovers that Lizzie has been offered a modelling contract, which will take her away to the glamorous fashion scenes of New York and Los Angeles. Nick is forced to watch from the sidelines as the gawky teenager he knew is transformed into Elizabeth Donavue: top model and ultimate English rose pin-up, forever caught in a whirlwind of celebrity parties with the next up-and- coming Hollywood bad boy by her side.

But then Lizzie’s star-studded life comes crashing down around her, and a guy like Nick could be just what she needs. Will she take a chance on him? Or is he just too damn nice?

What does TWG think?

There is nothing more satisfying than starting a new book and finding out that you’re able to curl up on the sofa with it in sweet bliss after the first few pages. When I started reading Kathryn Freeman’s ‘Too Damn Nice’, I had had the day from hell. Majorly stressed. Majorly exhausted, and all I wanted to do was hide. So what did I do instead of hiding? I read ‘Too Damn Nice’. A few chapters in, I began to feel a lot calmer and a lot less stressed. How on Earth can a book be such an antidote?

Lizzie Donavue and Nick Templeton go way back. Having been her brothers best friend for many, many years; Nick has been able to watch Lizzie grow up over the years (without being stalkerish) and his heart seems to like what he sees. Unfortunately, life isn’t as plain sailing as ‘boy meets girl – fall in love – live happily ever after’. Of course we would be lying if we said we didn’t want it to happen that way! Instead, life took Lizzie to  the USA whilst Nick stayed in the UK. Two hearts breaking. Except…Lizzie hasn’t the foggiest that Nick is head over heels in love with her. Whoopsie.

Let me just get this out the way first – I have to admit that at the beginning of the book, my first thought was ‘here comes the predictable love storyline’. HOWEVER, that thought soon disappeared as quickly as it entered my head as Lizzie Donavue is in no way a modern day ‘Juliet’, and Nick isn’t really feeling the modern day ‘Romeo’. With two ballsy main characters and a a storyline with more twists than a game of Twister, it didn’t take long at all for ‘predictable love storyline’ to fly out of my head and never return. Don’t get me wrong, romance features quite heavily in ‘Too Damn Nice’, yet it wasn’t the predictable sort. Look just trust me on this, go and nab the book yourself and you’ll see what I mean!

Even though romance IS featured a lot in this novel, Kathryn Freeman has also managed to incorporate some rather emotional and serious topics into the overall storyline, thus making me go from ‘awwwwwwww!!!’ to ‘what the chocolate cupcake?!’ to ‘oh no -sniffs-‘. I’m not even exaggerating either. If you think that Kathryn Freeman’s latest novel is just ‘too damn nice’, then you will be pleasantly surprised by the ‘too damn brilliant’ storyline your eyes will devour. Promptly.

I felt as though I was on a constant rollercoaster of emotions and turbulent circumstances! One minute the storyline was going through the motions at a leisurely pace, watching the flowers bloom and the romance soar, and then the next minute the pace had fast forward to the fastest speed on a Sky+ box and everything was all happening at once! Was I complaining? Was I heck! It was brilliant!!!! So much to sink my teeth into, yet not TOO much to make my already stressed brain have a power cut.

The characters were three dimensional, each slotting into the storyline perfectly. The serious topic which the author wrote into the book is incredibly eye-opening and it should not be taken lightly. Put it this way, it might make you re-think certain things…
As for the emotional value of the novel; it wasn’t too mushy, but it was heartbreaking and I felt that the author did it justice. Considering the mood I was in beforehand, I was glad that the emotional circumstances didn’t take-over the entire storyline as such, it was more of a beautiful and welcomed addition to an already cosy read.

So, I began ‘Too Damn Nice’ in an absolutely horrific mood, and I ended ‘Too Damn Nice’ feeling as though I had just been given THE biggest hug, a bar of chocolate and was told ‘everything will be okay’. Seriously. I couldn’t have asked for a better book to read at that moment in time. Granted I would have also loved the bar of chocolate whilst I was reading it, but I can’t be too greedy…eh ChocLituk ;).

‘Too Damn Nice’ is such a huggable, loveable, beautifully written and highly addictive read, one I will be recommending for a very long time to come. I hadn’t read Kathryn Freeman’s novels before, but I am so pleased to have found an author who’s next novel is making me excited already….and I have absolutely no idea what it’s about or when it’s coming out.

Thanks Brookcottagebooks and Netgalley.

Buy: Amazon UK // Amazon US // Choc Lit

About the author.

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.

With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to
buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads Author Page // Website

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#BlogTour! #Review – The Missing Girls by Carol Wyer (@carolewyer) @Bookouture

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One girl found dead. Another girl gone…

Long shadows danced on the tin walls. Inside the trunk lay Carrie Miller, wrapped in plastic, arms folded across her ribcage, lips sealed tight forever…

When a girl’s body is found at a Midlands storage unit, it is too decomposed for Detective Robyn Carter to read the signs left by the killer.

No one knows the woman in blue who rented the unit; her hire van can’t be traced. But as the leads run dry another body is uncovered. This time the killer’s distinctive mark is plain to see, and matching scratches on the first victim’s skeleton make Robyn suspect she’s searching for a serial-killer.

As Robyn closes in on the killer’s shocking hunting ground, another girl goes missing, and this time it’s someone close to her own heart.

Robyn can’t lose another loved one. Can she find the sickest individual she has ever faced, before it’s too late?

What does TWG think?

Usually my reviews consist of my interpretation of the storyline, whether I disliked any of the characters, which character(s) I adored…and so on. However, I am not going to do it that way today. Nope! I could spend ages doing a very detailed review, end up repeating myself, as well as trying my hardest not to give any of Carol Wyer’s hard work away. Not that I usually do, granted – but still.

So, what IS TWG going to say about ‘The Missing Girls’?

Easy;

THIS BOOK IS CAROL WYER’S BEST YET!!!! I have no idea how she does it, but she does and she completely nails it every single time. ‘The Missing Girls’ has such a gripping, intense, and highly shockable storyline which is set you make the hairs on your arms stand to attention for the entire duration. And yes, I am speaking from experience! Detective Robyn Carter has got to be one of my all-time favourite fictional Detectives because of her fiestiness obviously, but also the fact that she is relatable and, funnily enough, human!

Even though several parts of the storyline made me wish I hadn’t eaten my lunch beforehand, I JUST managed to keep my food where it belonged (safely in my stomach) whilst the storyline’s incredibility factor went up a notch because of that! Yes folks, the fact I felt incredibly nauseous made me enjoy the novel even more. I’m weird, I know.

This, ladies and gents, is how a book should be written. This, is exactly the type of book you should read when you want to feel so many things in such a space of time. Granted fear, nausea and shock aren’t the best feelings to have, but when you’re faced with a storyline as complex and gritty as Carol Wyer’s ‘The Missing Girls’, it is EXACTLY the reaction you need to have.

Carol Wyer is a phenomenal writer. If you don’t know that already, you are seriously missing out on some fantastic novels. I admit I was a bit apprehensive of the authors genre move to start with, but I really do think it’s the best move she could have made.

Absolutely flipping genius.

Thanks Bookouture

Buy now from Amazon UK

carolwyer

#BlogTour! #Review – Waking by Helen Richardson (@helen_r_writes) @AccentPress

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waking

There are dark corners in your mind that even you can’t get to. 

Anna Caldwell is terrified of falling asleep. A nightmare, her very own, will be there waiting for her. After sharing her bed with the same vision for fifteen years, she’s desperate to shake it. But it only holds on tighter.

Then Anna meets Jack. She’s drawn to the strange, alluring tension that she feels when she’s around him. It’s as though it’s meant to be. But creeping beneath the roots of their intimacy is darkness.

If you knew your dreams were trying to tell you something terrible, would you listen?

Waking is a dark and addictive read that will stay with you long after the final page. 

What does TWG think?

Hellooooooo intriguing cover!

Everyone at some point in their lives will say that they have had at least one nightmare. Just one. Can you imagine it? Waking up in a sweat, possibly screaming out loud. Feeling as though your nightmares are happening in real life. But, can you imagine that ONE nightmare turning into one every single night for over ten years? It sounds like a nightmare in itself! Unfortunately for Anna Caldwell, that is exactly what happens. She believes that her night visions are warning her of something. When she sees people in the street, it’s as though she has met them before yet she cannot remember where….or when.

I enjoyed the overall concept of Helen Richardson’s novel. The vivid nightmares and severe recognition of strangers is enough to make anyone question every day life. Based on that, I was extremely eager to find out what Anna’s nightmares meant. Why did she recognise Jack? What caused the nightmares? So many questions in such a short space of time. My fingers were crossed, hoping that the storyline would give me the answers my mind craved.

The way in which Anna’s dreams are pushed into the spotlight via her art gallery work, is quite clever. Unfortunately, as a person who sees art as being my daughters painted footprint on a piece of paper, those parts of the storyline went right over my head. I felt as though you were required to have some sort of interest in art to be able to relate and devour those parts of the storyline. For me, it didn’t really work. That said, I did feel that the author incorporated Anna’s nightmares into the storyline exceptionally well, even if I didn’t gel with the means of how it was written, I could still appreciate the way in which the author tied the events together.

I found it really interesting how deeply entwined our subconsciousness can be with our every day lives, and how our minds have the ability to protect ourselves from remembering certain things time and time again. I throughly enjoyed reading ‘Waking’ for that deeply insightful reason.

Even though I personally don’t see this novel as a ‘psychological thriller’ but more of a suspenseful romance, I fully appreciated the depth the author went to create such a suspenseful and intense novel. I was rather hooked on Anna Caldwell’s life and the lengths the character went to dissect her nightmares to get to the root cause. Personally, that was the highlight of the novel for me. I loved how raw certain parts of the storyline became and, for that reason alone, it is exactly why ‘Waking’ will be etched into my own subconscious for a very long time to come.

Thanks Accent Press.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Little White Lies and Butterflies by @SuzieTullett @Bombshellpub

BLOG BLITZ
Absolutely delighted to be one of the bloggers hosting day one of Suzie Tullett’s blog blitz! Huge thanks to Sarah Hardy from BombshellBooks for inviting me to take part today! Here is my review of Suzie Tullett’s novel, Little White Lies and Butterflies:

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Lydia knows first-hand that ‘having it all’ isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. As far as she’s concerned, when it comes to job versus family, it’s a case of one or the other. And whilst most women her age have spent years climbing the corporate ladder, she’s made a career out of bagging her perfect man. Now nearly thirty and still single, Lydia wonders if she’d made the right choice.

Realising the time has come to take stock, she goes against her family’s wishes and goes travelling in the hope of finding a new direction. At least that’s the plan.

So when Sam comes along, she decides to tell a little white lie, re-inventing herself as a professional chef – not exactly the best new identity for a woman who can’t cook. But the truth can’t stay hidden for long and when her family show up unexpectedly things go from bad to worse…

Can Lydia find love? Will she ever learn to cook?

Little White Lies and Butterflies is a heart-warming comedy about finding your place in the world.

What does TWG think?

Having fallen head over heels in love with Suzie Tullett’s previous novel, ‘The Trouble With Words’, I could not wait to get stuck into her latest release, ‘Little White Lies and Butterflies’. The only problem with loving an authors previous novel so much, is that you automatically have high hopes for the next book. I’m not going to lie, it was certainly the case here! As far as I was concerned, ‘The Trouble With Words’ was Suzie Tullett’s best book by far and I really didn’t know how she was going to beat it.

For Lydia, being a career minded mum is a definite no-no. She doesn’t quite understand how females can go out to work AND be a mum at the same time. I mean, as far as Lydia is concerned, it’s either one or the other. Not both. Bearing in mind Lydia doesn’t even have a partner yet as no male seems to tick every box on her ‘perfect man’ checklist. Most women make a career which involves a month pay check, but, as you will soon come to realise, Lydia isn’t ‘most women’ and, after dedicating most of her life to finding that all important ‘perfect man’, she’s not going to let the small issue of ‘wrong coloured eyes’ to come between her and her Mr.Right. Obsessed? Perhaps!

Wowee, what a character Lydia is! I must admit that at first, I couldn’t stand her. I found her to be such a kook…and not in a good way!I fully appreciate that women choose to live their lives as they see fit, but I did find Lydia’s path to be absolutely bonkers – especially as she came across as quite a selfish woman in the way she spoke to her family members and so on. But that’s just me!

What made me sit up and take notice of ‘Little White Lies and Butterflies’ storyline, was how the author took Lydia completely out of her comfort zone by going travelling. Lydia is the type of character who knows what she wants, as well as having to know what will happen in her life. Going travelling however, was a genius move on the authors behalf as it showed Lydia in a completely different light which meant I got to see a side to Lydia I actually quite liked. Instead of the hoity toity side to Lydia which came across at the beginning, I got to see Lydia completely unrefined, and my goodness it was brilliant (well, apart from when she was looking down her nose at folk!).

I loved how the storyline engulfed more of the characters personalities the more of it I read, especially when the whole cooking fiasco came to light. I enjoyed reading more about Lydia’s mum and found her to be such a hilarious character. For me, she certainly brightened up the storyline.

There were times during the storyline where I laughed and couldn’t stop smiling, but then there were also moments where I wished the spotlight could have been taken away from Lydia for once. Her character seemed to take over the book a bit too much for my liking. I loved the authors descriptions of Greece, that’s for sure! I felt as though i was being transported to a modern-day ‘Shirley Valentine’ movie! Brilliant!

‘Little White Lies and Butterflies’ is a light-hearted read with some truly wonderful, memorable characters. Sometimes we have no idea where we fit in life, but, after reading ‘Little White Lies and Butterflies’, you’ll know exactly where you fit – wherever your heart is.

Thanks Bombshell Books.

Buy now from Amazon UK