#BlogTour! #Review – The Pact by S.E.Lynes (@SELynesAuthor) @Bookouture

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Excited to be one of the bloggers kicking off S.E.Lynes’ blog tour today for ‘The Pact’. As always, thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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You made a promise to your sister. It could destroy your daughter.

The Daughter 
15-year-old Rosie lies in hospital fighting for her life. She’s trying to tell her mother what happened to her, and how she got there, but she can’t speak the words out loud. 

The Mother
Rosie’s mother Toni has a secret. She had a traumatic childhood, and she and her sister Bridget made each other a promise thirty years ago: that they could never speak the truth about what they went through as children, and that they would protect each other without asking for help from others, no matter what…

Rosie was Toni’s second chance to get things right: a happy, talented girl with her whole life ahead of her. Having lost her husband in a tragic accident, Toni has dedicated her life to keeping Rosie safe from harm. 

But Rosie has plans that her mother doesn’t know about. She has dreams and ambitions – of love, of a career, of a life beyond the sheltered existence that her mother has created for her. But the secrets Rosie has been keeping have now put her life in danger. 

The Pact
In order to save Rosie, Toni may have to break her lifelong promise to her sister… and open doors to her past she hoped would remain closed forever.

What does TWG think?

Have you ever read a book and thought to yourself; ‘YES! THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR FROM THIS AUTHOR!’? Because I have, and it was this exact book which made those thoughts enter my mind like a great, big foghorn.

As parents, our children are our world. The lengths we would go to, to protect them are utterly insane. I’m sure that a lot of parents reading this review right now are probably sitting there, nodding their heads in agreement. Right? But what has all of this, got to do with S.E.Lynes’ new book? Easy….

I would love to be able to sit here and write my opinion on every single eventuality within this book, but, sorry to disappoint, I am not that mean. I urge every single one of you to go onto to Amazon right now, purchase this book, and be prepared to ignore the world whilst you sit and read this. I’m not even joking. Never in a million years have I read a book which made me stagger my breathing, reaching a point several percent later, where I seriously needed to get a rather large intake of breath.

‘The Pact’ is severely twisted as S.E.Lynes has the knack to remove logical thinking from the  brains of her readers. I didn’t know what to believe, or who to believe. I didn’t know who to trust. Could I even trust the author or was she one of the bad guys as well? WHO WAS THE BAD GUY? Was there even a bad guy? Every page I read, a truck load more questions dropped into my lap. Is Rosie being a ‘typical teenager’? Is Toni being an overprotective mum? Are any of the characters who they say they are? I DON’T KNOW!

All I know is that ‘The Pact’ is an absolutely, flipping compelling read which ignited a fire in my belly from the very first page. S.E.Lynes took me on a journey I will never forget, that’s for sure.

I’ll say it again, this book is twisted. Psychologically twisted. Am I complaining? Am I heck! I cannot believe how well crafted each individual character in the storyline was! I was blown away by how their personalities fit in with the overall theme of the book, whilst still allowing the reader to form their own opinion of each characters decisions, making each person show various sides to their personalities in such an incredible manner.

Personally, I cannot fault this book at all – I have been waiting for the author to bring a book like this to the table, and by golly did she bring it!

Seriously, this book needs to come with a free oxygen mask or something, or reminders that readers need to breathe!!

Such a highly charged, spine tingling, fast paced novel which brought me out in such a cold sweat, I thought I was coming down with the flu. Absolutely phenomenal.

Buy now!

About the author.

After graduating from Leeds University, S E Lynes lived in London before moving to Aberdeen to be with her husband. In Aberdeen, she worked as a producer at BBC Radio Scotland before moving with her husband and two young children to Rome. There, she began to write while her children attended nursery. After the birth of her third child and upon her return to the UK, she gained an MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University. She now combines writing with lecturing at Richmond Adult Community College and bringing up her three children. She lives in Teddington. 
 
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#BlogTour! #Review – Summer in San Remo by Evonne Wareham (@EvonneWareham) @BrookCottageBKS @ChocLitUK

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What perfect timing to be able to lose yourself in a summery read, just when the snow is about to hit! I am delighted to welcome Evonne Wareham back to TWG as I review ‘Summer in San Remo’. Thank you, as always, to the publisher for a copy of the book, as well as BrookCottageBooks for the blog tour invite. Here is my review:

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Anything could happen when you spend summer in San Remo …

Running her busy concierge service usually keeps Cassie Travers fully occupied. But when a new client offers her the strangest commission she’s ever handled she suddenly finds herself on the cusp of an Italian adventure, with a man she thought she would never see again.

Jake McQuire has returned from the States to his family-run detective agency. When old flame Cassie appears in need of help with her mysterious client, who better than Jake to step in?

Events take the pair across Europe to a luxurious villa on the Italian Riviera. There, Cassie finds that the mystery she pursues pales into insignificance, when compared to another discovery made along the way …

What does TWG think?

There are days when life decides to throw you a big, stinking curveball, making your mood plummet quicker than your favourite sports team losing their game. There are also days when you’re able to pick up a book and lose yourself in the storyline, completely tuning out to everything outside of the fictional world you now inhabit. ‘Summer in San Remo’ is one of those books.

Just like many people, I use books to escape my daily hell. Not only was I able to escape said hell with Evonne Wareham’s novel, my mind was able to stop over thinking everything. How magic is that? I’m not even being dramatic!

Cassie Travers runs her own business doing ‘odd jobs’ for clients who either can’t find the time to do them, or they have no idea where to even begin. Her work load changes direction when a unique job comes in, causing Cassie to call for extra help outside of her business. Unfortunately, that was where Cassie’s past came back to bite her on the behind. That said, I think her past LITERALLY wanted to bite her on her behind…

I thought ‘Summer in San Remo’ was such a fun book to read, mixing a fast paced storyline with oodles of cracking one liners, touching situations, and a storyline which threatened to give me a sun tan from the pages alone. Oh if only!! Whilst the cover of this book highlights the summery feel, there really was a lot more to this book that meets the eye, a lot of which is found out over the course of the novel. What I’m trying to say is, if you’re unsure of this book due to the simplistic cover, still pick it up and give it a go – you will not be disappointed.

The perfect antidote for anyone in a foul mood, ‘Summer in San Remo’ is the book that will give you the respite your mind needs. Full of summer lovin’, picturesque setting, tons of drama, and characters who are incredibly fun, with a storyline that you’re able to lose yourself in. What more could you want?

Buy: Amazon UK // Amazon US // Apple // Kobo // Google // Nook

About the author.

Evonne Wareham was born in Barry on the South Wales coast, but spent most of her working life in London. Now home again in Wales she is studying for a PhD in History and writing romance.

She was a finalist in two reality writing contests in the United States and had a great time, even if she didn’t win. When not studying or writing, she loves to travel, go to the theatre, walk on the beach and sleep. She has won and been nominated for awards for her romantic suspense novels on both sides of the Atlantic, but Summer in San Remo is something different – a romantic comedy with a light dusting of crime – which is a change of pace from writing the dark scary stuff. She is a member of both the Crime Writers’ Association and the Romantic Novelists’ Association, which means she gets to go to twice as many literary parties.

Author links: Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Blog // Website

#BlogTour! #Review – #ComingHome by Fern Britton (@Fern_Britton) @fictionpubteam

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Last but not least, I have the pleasure (once again) to host Fern Britton on the 5th day of her blog tour for her brand new novel, ‘Coming Home’. Big thanks to the publishers for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. I am so excited to share my review with you all today:

Coming Home book jacket
Three women.
A lifetime of secrets.
The only place to be is home.

Ella comes back to the beautiful Cornish coast to heal her heart after the death of her beloved grandmother, Adela. There she finds her home again and discovers a new life, but she also opens a treasure trove of secrets.

Twenty years ago Ella’s mother Sennen ran away from Cornwall. Sennen had been a young single mum and, unable to cope, had left their children with her mother Adela…and a part of her with them. She’s spent the years since hiding from her past, hiding from herself.

Now it’s time to come back to Cornwall. To face her mistakes. To pray for forgiveness. And to hope for a future with her long-lost daughter and son. Will she be welcomed back with open hearts?

They say home is where the heart is. It’s time to come home…

What does TWG think?

Do you agree with the phrase; ‘Home is where the heart is’? Or do you agree with the song lyric; ‘Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home’? And anyway, what is the true meaning of ‘home’? Every single person will have their own definition, especially Ella. She’s lost the woman who brought her up, yet the idea of finding the woman who gave her up, is even closer than she originally thought. Should Ella try to fight for her right to get in contact with the woman who hasn’t watched her grow up? Or should Ella side with her brother, a man whose anger is 100 percent directed to the woman who walked out on them as children. The difference being, he remembers their mother; Ella doesn’t.

If you’ve read ‘The Postcard’ by Fern Britton, a couple of the characters may be incredibly familiar for you when you read this book. Don’t worry, you’re not going crazy!

All families have drama, it’s the way of life. Fern Britton has focused on the concept of family dramas, highlighting one of the reasons which cause families to drift apart to begin with – parents not being around. When Sennen fell pregnant, she was facing motherhood as a single mum. When Sennen fell pregnant for the second time, the thought of coping on her own with two young children, became far too much for Sennen to deal with (even if she did have her parents to help). ‘Coming Home’ is a story which explores the aftermath of Sennen’s decision, as well as finding out how the innocent parties of the situation, the children, grew up knowing the truth of what their mother did. Is their anger justified? Was Sennen right to leave her two young children with her mother, disappearing into the night?

I would be lying if I said that ‘Coming Home’ was an easy read, because it wasn’t. The overall theme of the book is incredibly intense and, if like me, you’ve had a parent walk out on you as a child, you’ll be able to sympathise with the characters in a whole different way. You may find you echo the characters anger as well – I know I did!

The storyline is very well written, engaging readers from the get go, allowing them to form their own opinion of every eventuality the author describes. Whilst I had to remember to not judge the mother on her decision, seeing as I wasn’t in her position, I still found it hard to just sit on the fence where she was concerned. Obviously, seeing as I don’t wish to sway anyone with my own opinion, I’ll keep that part of it to myself. Just be prepared to go on an emotional journey.

Once again Fern Britton has captured the true essence, in my eyes, of the word ‘home’ and what it means. Even though I found parts of the storyline quite emotional to read, I was still able to appreciate what the author was trying to convey where Sennen was concerned. I may not have agreed with Sennen’s decision, but I enjoyed being able to read the book from her point of view, whilst also being able to see both sides of such a heart-wrenching situation.

Written from the heart, ‘Coming Home’ is guaranteed to warm you from the inside out. Beautifully written and incredibly touching, Fern Britton has written a novel which is so in tune with every day circumstances, it really would be difficult to not relate to the book in any way. Why? Because the themes covered in this book ARE real life, and it’s about time someone wasn’t afraid to write it in black and white. Beautiful.

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – The Memory Chamber by Holly Cave (@HollyACave) @QuercusBooks #MemoryChamber

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I am thrilled to be today’s stop on Holly Cave’s blog tour for ‘The Memory Chamber’. I really wasn’t sure about this book at first, but I am so glad I persevered! Huge thanks to Quercus Books for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.
YOU CAN PRESERVE A HANDFUL OF SPECIAL MEMORIES FOR EVER.
WHICH ONES WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

True death is a thing of the past. Now you can spend the rest of eternity re-living your happiest memories: that first kiss, falling in love, the birth of your children, enjoyed on loop for ever and ever.

Isobel is a Heaven Architect, and she helps dying people create afterlives from these memories. So when she falls for Jarek, one of her terminal – and married – clients, she knows that while she cannot save him, she can create the most beautiful of heavens, just for him.

But when Jarek’s wife is found dead, Isobel uncovers a darker side of the world she works within, and she can trust no one with what she finds…

What does TWG think?

‘The Memory Chamber’ is a read which was so far out of my comfort zone, I honestly felt like I was on a different planet at times! Whilst I am all for psychological thrillers and crime, I have never really been a fan of science fiction, finding them far too outlandish for my tastes. However, Holly Cave’s new novel not only includes themes of a thrilling nature, it also includes themes which had a hint of Matrix versus Men in Black running through them. Like I said right at the beginning of this review, I wasn’t sure about ‘The Memory Chamber’ to start with because of the science involved. But, let me just say that I am so, SO glad that I decided to persevere with the book, stepping outside of my comfort zone to read something totally different. I would definitely recommend reading something you would never have picked up before – you might end up liking it!

I didn’t just LIKE ‘The Memory Chamber’, no. I absolutely loved it! Yes, I know, I surprised myself!! First of all, you have a main character who is a ‘Heaven Architect’, creating an afterlife for people with their memories and a good use of technology. You want a yellow, Bumblebee type Transformer car in your memories? Call Isobel. You want a selected few people to join you in your afterlife? No problem – Isobel can do that! Of course there are a lot of rules and permissions need to be granted, making the entire thing of a personally created afterlife, seem the norm. For the characters of this book, it is the norm. But that isn’t the be all end all of this book!

‘The Memory Chamber’ has such a jam-packed storyline, exploring clients personally built heavens, as well as finding out the true meaning of hell. Well, Isobel does anyway. As the storyline progresses, Isobel’s life becomes extremely difficult. If she thought her job was a matter of life and death before, she has absolutely no idea what she is about to be faced with.

I loved how the storyline was able to switch between the fluffy heaven, and the ever so dark ‘hell’, as it took me on a rollercoaster ride which was so unique, I couldn’t help but be addicted to every single page I was reading.

Yes this book is highly unusual, and yes, the storyline has a lot of themes which, written anywhere else, would seem incredibly outlandish and utterly bonkers – but it works, it really does. If you were to ask me what I disliked about this book, I would answer you with ‘absolutely nothing’, and I’m being completely honest. I could not put this book down, reading it in one sitting and feeling like I had lost my right arm when I had finished reading it.

Holly Cave turned my world upside down with her highly compelling, addictive and brilliant story telling. Reading ‘The Memory Chamber’ made me feel as though I was looking down on the Earth and everyone in it – a feeling which I have never experienced before whilst reading a book. This book blew my mind and left me wanting a truck load more, I honestly cannot recommend this enough.

Such a unique, thrilling, eye-opening, and brilliant book which will test your perseverance like never before. Bloomin’ brilliant!

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

#BlogTour! #Review – Ottercombe Bay (Part Two) – Gin and Trouble by Bella Osborne (@Osborne_Bella) @AvonBooksUK

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Next up on the blog today is my review of ‘Part Two’ of Bella Osborne’s latest serial, Ottercombe Bay – Gin & Trouble. Huge thanks to AvonBooks for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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Escape to the Devon coast, with Part Two of a brand-new four-part serial from the author of Willow Cottage.

Daisy Wickens has returned to Ottercombe Bay, the picturesque Devon town where her mother died when she was a girl. She plans to leave as soon as her great uncle’s funeral is over, but Great Uncle Reg had other ideas. He’s left Daisy a significant inheritance – an old building in a state of disrepair, which could offer exciting possibilities, but to get it she must stay in Ottercombe Bay for twelve whole months.

With the help of a cast of quirky locals, a few gin cocktails and a black pug with plenty of attitude, Daisy might just turn this into something special. But can she ever hope to be happy among the ghosts of her past?

What does TWG think?

Can I just start by saying that I wholeheartedly recommend that you DO read the Ottercombe Bay series in order, as you WILL miss vital pieces of information if you just start the series from book two. I even went out and bought book one before I started this one, just so I had a bit more background about the characters. Plus, you can’t really blame an author for the fact you didn’t understand the book, if you didn’t read them in order now, can you?

Each part of the serial are short and sweet, so I will keep this vague as to not give anything away! Part Two of the Ottercombe Bay series was such a joy to read, making me giggle more times than I probably should admit. In such a short space of time I was able to relate to a certain character, as well as form a not so lively opinion of another one. I certainly am impressed by the authors writing style for allowing me to do that.

I have to say that, whilst the theme of inheritances within storylines are very popular at the moment, veering on becoming ‘over done’, Bella Osborne didn’t shove the theme down my neck like previous books I have read. In fact, the author highlighted the general consensus of the book, yet paved way for the characters to make the storyline their own, keeping the inheritance issue in the background instead of being the be all and end all. Personally, I appreciated that solely because of how many books said theme has featured in recently. I am SO glad that the author has done it differently, it really did make all of the difference to my overall opinion on Part Two.

I am really looking forward to Part Three and seeing what is next in store for Daisy, and Great Uncle Reg’s memories. Daisy is such a fun character to read about, that’s for sure!

A joy to read and, seeing as this part ended with me dropping my jaw down the floor, Part Three is going to be an absolute corker! I just need to find the patience to wait for the third instalment!!

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review – Bring Me Flowers by D.K.Hood (DKHood_Author) @Bookouture

Bring Me Flowers - Blog tour
Delighted to be kicking off D.K.Hood’s blog tour today for her new release, ‘Bring Me Flowers’. Big thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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She didn’t know he was watching. Until it was too late.

She’d walked this path hundreds of times before, she knew every twist and turn. But today was different. She didn’t know someone was waiting for her, hidden away from view. She didn’t know this was the last time she’d walk this path.

Hidden deep in the forest, schoolgirl Felicity Parker is found carefully laid out on a rock with nothing but a freshly picked bunch of flowers next to her lifeless form. Detective Jenna Alton is called in to investigate the gruesome discovery.

With the body found just off a popular hiking route, Jenna believes the killer is a visitor to the town… until a second local girl is discovered.

Within days, Kate Bright, a school friend of Felicity’s, is found brutally murdered at the local swimming pool and once again, the killer has displayed his victim in a terrifying manner and left flowers at the scene.

The town is gripped with fear and Jenna and her deputy, David Kane, now know that the killer is living amongst them, and that he’s picking off school girls one by one. But they don’t know who is next on the list.

As the trail goes cold, Kane and Alton are forced to sit and wait for the killer to make his next move. But now he has a new victim in his sights, and he’s looking much closer to home …

What does TWG think?

Oh my flipping goodness!! Just to make you aware, ‘Bring Me Flowers is the second book in the series and I do recommend that you read the books in order, otherwise some of the character personalities won’t make much sense without a little bit more of background information.

DK Hood’s latest book is another novel which I just want to shout ‘OMG DID YOU READ THE PART WHERE….’ or ‘WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING WHEN THEY….’. But I can’t as I really don’t want to give anything away. Be prepared for some gruesome scenes though, that’s for sure!

Now, I have read the first book in the series and I have to say, ‘Bring Me Flowers’ is even better than the first! I love Kane and Alton’s relationship throughout the story, they really do work well together considering how things were when they first met. In this book, we get to find out a little more about each of them and why they’re there. Not fully mind, but enough to fill the hole of curiosity for a little bit longer.

I think a lot of people forget that Detectives, paramedics, or anyone in the emergency services, are in fact real human beings with feelings. Until now, I perceived Alton as a hard-nosed, determined, fire cracker of a character and, whilst she still holds those traits, I was able to see a different side of her when it came to the murders in this book. What do I mean? Well, she actually came across human when the murders affected her in various ways. It probably sounds harsh to say, but her reaction actually surprised me! That said, I am glad that she let her guard down enough to show a different side to her personality.

‘Bring Me Flowers’ is such an addictive, fast paced and gruesome read which kept me guessing until the very last page. I was adamant I knew who the culprit was, but I was wrong. So very wrong! I am so impressed by how many red herrings the author managed to incorporate into her storyline without making them too obvious. It isn’t until you’ve finished reading the book that the red herrings become blindly obvious because you know the truth. Whilst you are reading the book however, the author has written the storyline in such a way that if she were to tell you that the sky was pink with green polka dots, the chance of you believing her are incredibly high.

I cannot fault this book at all – if I could read it all over again for the very first time, I would jump at the chance!! In my opinion, ‘Bring Me Flowers’ is the best book of the series so far and I absolutely cannot WAIT to see what the detectives are up against next.

Hard hitting, addictive, and incredibly chilling, you will be begging someone to NOT ‘Bring You Flowers’ by the end of this book. A truly toe curling read – fantastic!

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

I’ve always had a wicked sense of humour, and was the kid who told the ghost stories around the campfire. I am lucky to have family all over the world and have spent many vacations in places from Paris France to Montana USA and Australia. I use the wonderful memories from these visits to enhance my stories.

My interest in the development of forensic science to solve crime goes back many years. I enjoy writing crime, mystery and thrillers. With many stories, waiting for me to write I’ll look forward to sharing many spine tingling stories with you.

D.K. Hood is an active member of International Thriller Writers.

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DKHood_Author

Website: www.dkhood.com

#BlogTour! #GuestPost from author of #TheLastDay, Claire Dyer – ‘If Tomorrow Were My Last Day’ @ClaireDyer1 @DomePress

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What would you do if you knew your last day was imminent? Would you spend the day with your loved ones? Eat all of your favourite food until the point of being sick? Binge watch all the DVD’s you’ve been meaning to watch for goodness knows how long? For my stop on the blog tour today, I had asked author of ‘The Last Day’, Claire Dyer, what she would do if tomorrow was her ‘last day’ and thankfully, the author took the theme and has written such an emotive piece for us here at TWG. Just to make you aware, I have actually read the book, but my review will follow later on so please do keep your eyes peeled for that. In the mean time, grab a Kleenex and sit back to read Claire Dyer’s ‘Last Day’.

If tomorrow were my last day
by
Claire Dyer, author of ‘The Last Day’.

I’m assuming if I was facing my last day I would have made peace both with myself and with those I love and so would be free to spend the day how I wished.

I’ve thought about this a lot since being asked to write this blog and send my thoughts and prayers to all those who are really facing heartbreak of this sort.

However, when thinking about my novel and what happens to my characters in it I think, if I knew I could never do it again, I would like to go to Kalkan in Turkey and watch the sun track its path across the bay one last time.

According to one website Kalkan is ‘an enchanting place and one of the most beautiful
locations along Turkey’s gorgeous Lycian Coast. With the absence of mass tourism, Kalkan remains a charming and unspoiled haven of lush nature, brilliant blue crystal-clear sea, historic architecture, ancient history and warm traditional Turkish hospitality.’
I have spent fifteen happy holidays in Kalkan and can say that every statement of this quote is true. But what is more significant for me is the fact that when I’m there I can live a simple life, can sit and watch the boats in the bay, watch the sun sparkle on the water, eat delicious fresh food, swim and breathe a type of air I just can’t find in England.

What I’ve also done is track the sun’s path across the sky on each and every last day I’ve
been there; I’ve watched the sun set and turn the sky peach and pink and orange. I’ve heard the cicadas thrum their legs and seen bats flitter in and out of the eaves.
And then, after the sunset, come the stars – brilliant and sharp in amongst the black.
Another website tells me that ‘Herodotus: the best of the Greek historians said, ‘Kalkan is the closest place on Earth to the stars’. So, if you want to touch the stars, Kalkan is the best place you have even seen.’ Therefore, I’ve sat on the roof terrace of the villa where we stay and have stared in awe at the ever-changing night.

So far there has always been a next day when I’ve got up, packed my bag and started the
journey home, looking over my shoulder at the bay as the car climbs the hill out of town and turns the corner, leaving Kalkan behind me for a time.

I hope I am never faced with a final goodbye, I hope like in The Last Day, there will be a next day but if I am and there isn’t then this is where I would like to spend my last day.

For those of you who have already read Claire Dyer’s novel, a lump will probably be forming in your throat whilst you read the last sentence of the authors guest post – it did mine! Huge thanks to Claire Dyer for agreeing to write such a beautifully written guest post, and a big thank you to Dome Press for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Don’t forget that my review WILL follow at a later day – I’m not missing the chance to share my views on this thought-provoking novel.

For those of you who haven’t read the book and wish to find out more, and maybe even grab yourself a copy, here are all of the details of ‘The Last Day’:

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They say three’s a crowd but when Boyd moves back into the family home with his now amicably estranged wife, Vita, accompanied by his impossibly beautiful twenty-seven-year-old girlfriend, Honey, it seems the perfect solution: Boyd can get his finances back on track while he deals with his difficult, ailing mother; Honey can keep herself safe from her secret, troubled past; and Vita can carry on painting portraits of the pets she dislikes and telling herself she no longer minds her marriage is over. But the house in Albert Terrace is small and full of memories, and living together is unsettling. For Vita, Boyd and Honey love proves to be a surprising, dangerous thing and, one year on, their lives are changed forever.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review – My Mother, The Liar by Ann Troup (@TroupAnn) @HQDigitalUK

Despite the blog tour banner saying otherwise, today it is my turn to host Ann Troup and ‘My Mother, The Liar’, as I close the blog tour organised by HQDigitalUK. Thank you to the team for my ARC of the book, as well as the blog tour invite. Here is my review:

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Every family has a secret…

When Rachel Porter’s estranged mother dies, she returns to her family home filled with dread about having to face her past, and the people who populated it.

Little does she know that there are dead bodies waiting to be discovered, and a lifetime of secrets are about to unravel.

Secrets kept by her mother, the liar.

What does TWG think?

I don’t even know where to begin with this review! There is so much of the storyline which I could comment on, but due to the fact I may end dropping a spoiler, I am having to contain myself!

Let me just get this out of the way first – I struggled with the first part of the story. Yes there was a lot of ‘dundundun‘ moments, but it seemed to take a little while for the storyline to actually go anywhere with the information. So, for that reason, I really do think that the pace of the book could have been a lot faster. I wasn’t too keen on the hanging around waiting for things to happen, even though it was quite clear that the characters had already made things happen – I had to stop myself from saying ‘get on with it!’.

However, when the pace finally picked up, I found myself enjoying the nitty-gritty moments A LOT more! The entire storyline was laced with secrets, drama, psychological issues – you name it, it had it. And, weirdly enough, despite the being more jam-packed than a jam and cream scone, I wasn’t at all confused and relished the busy story as there was just so much for me to sink my teeth into.

Of course, like usual, there were a couple of characters who tugged on my heart-strings a little (naming no names!) – I wanted the truth to come out for their piece of mind, even though by the time it came to the book finishing, I was a little bit confused as to what the truth actually was. Part of me thought that the ending was a left a little open, and part of me felt like something was missing. Had something happened in the storyline which I had missed? I had gone back several pages to check, but I did still feel like there was a little gap in the storyline itself. 

Personally, ‘My Mother, The Liar’ held a lot of promise. The storyline has everything there to reel its readers in and keep them guessing; I just felt that the delivery could have done with a little more tweaking. I am sitting on the fence where this book is concerned because, whilst I was gripped by all of the eventualities, something for me was still missing.

Overall, I was impressed by the content and how the author had thought about each individual character, crafting them into someone you wouldn’t really want to come across down a dark alley (not all of them, just some). It is such a promising book, and an addictive one at that! I’m looking forward to seeing what the author comes up with next.

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Extract – The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom (@TracyBBloom) @Bookouture

The Last Laugh Blog Tour

Happy publication day to Tracy Bloom and ‘The Last Laugh’. Thank you to Bookouture for the blog tour invite. Here is an extract from Tracy’s new book, alongside the all important ‘to buy’ link should you want it!

The-Last-Laugh-Kindle
Jenny discovers her days are numbered at the same time she discovers her husband is having an affair… 

Frankly, her life was tough enough already. Two tricky teenagers, her mother’s constant complaints, friends who aren’t up to the job and a career which has been spiralling downwards since she won ‘Sunseeker Tour Rep of the Season’ twenty years ago. 

And now this: a cheating husband and a death sentence.

Enough is enough. Jenny vows to keep both catastrophes a secret. She takes her life – and death – into her own hands and decides to live as she did when she was happiest… in 1996. She plans a spectacular 1990s themed party in place of a wake that she herself will attend. But will she be able to keep her secrets for long enough to have the party of a lifetime?

Buy now from Amazon

Extract.

Prologue

25th June 1996

Bataria Beach, Kassiopi, Corfu

Somehow our bodies move as one, bouncing up and down to the beat, singing our hearts out, beer sloshing out of stubby bottles, broken plastic glasses crackling under our feet, air guitar solos occasionally breaking away momentarily before being brought back in the fold by hugs and kisses and the joy of feeling as one under the glorious champagne supernova that is the sky. There’s me in the middle of it, high on someone’s shoulders, long sun-kissed hair cascading down my back, smiling inanely down at Mark’s face bobbing up and down below me.

I’m so high.

Not because I couldn’t have dreamed of a better way to spend my twenty-fifth birthday, not even because of the quantity of tequila slammers I’ve inhaled.

I’m just high on life.

At least I managed it once.

Chapter One

Twenty years later… 

‘Table for three?’ asks the waitress, standing guard next to a cardboard cactus at the entrance to the restaurant.

‘No, four.’ I turn around. ‘Where’s Ellie?’ I ask Mark.

‘You really wanted to come here?’ he replies with a look so disdainful I whisk my head back round towards the waitress, ready to apologise for my husband’s rudeness, but she’s busy handing George a colouring-in menu and a pot of crayons.

‘He’s a very short fifteen!’ I say, thrusting my hand out to intercept the handover. It’s not George’s fault he’s still waiting for a growth spurt, but it might help if he didn’t hide his face in the depths of a hoody if he wants to avoid being mistaken for someone in need of artistic distraction during a meal. I am too eager in my protectiveness, however, and send the pot of crayons flying out of the idiotic waitress’ hands and all over the blue and white mosaic tiled floor.

George grunts.

Mark tuts.

The waitress gasps.

No one helps as I bend down to pick up the broken colouring sticks.

‘What’s Mum doing on the floor?’ I hear Ellie say as she emerges from whatever cover she was using to avoid being seen dead with her family.

‘She knocked the crayons out of her hand,’ I hear Mark reply with a sigh.

I can see the yellow one has rolled next to his foot ready to cause a potentially serious incident. I leave it there.

‘Sorry about that,’ I say, standing up and handing over a pile of broken coloured wax into the hand of the waitress. ‘He’s just a bit short,’ I add, pulling George’s hood off his head to reveal the back of his neck, which is bright pink.

‘Would you like to follow me?’ asks the waitress, grabbing four enormous menus as she escapes down the length of the restaurant towards the back.

I chase after her to ask if we could actually sit near the front. I need to be able to see the cactus fairy lights, you see. And I want to be near the bar where it’s livelier. Where I can sit and watch other people enjoying themselves even if I’m not.

‘We’re not actually serving food in that area,’ she replies as she carefully lays the enormous menus on a table in a dark corner with no view of anything.

‘But I would like to sit there,’ I say defiantly, looking round to see if there is any vague chance Mark will step in and back me up. Mark, Ellie and George have not even registered that I have moved, all engrossed in their phones or, in George’s case, his own mortification.

The waitress looks at me and puts her hands on her hips. Yes, her hips.

‘We are only serving food in this section,’ she says.

I stare back at her. Part of me wants to give up now, go home and write the night off as a bad idea. But it’s my birthday. I want to at least attempt an enjoyable meal with my family before… well, before things may never be the same again. Before I break the news to Mark on the twentieth anniversary of us getting together that, well… there might be something wrong with me. Catastrophically wrong with me.

‘I want a table where I can see the cactus fairy lights,’ I tell her with what I hope is an air of authority.

‘Yeah.’ She shrugs.

I realise I am in a stand-off in the back of a Mexican restaurant.

‘You let us have a table at the front or we will leave,’ I demand. My voice wobbles slightly, which may have given her the upper hand. I hold my breath.

She looks at me and sighs – yes, sighs.

‘I’ll have to go and ask the manager if we can open up another section,’ she says, strutting off and leaving me standing on my own.

I quickly gather up the enormous menus and begin a fast walk back up to the front of the restaurant. I’m thinking that if we’re seated before the waitress gets back she won’t be able to do anything about it.

‘What is Mum doing?’ I hear Ellie ask for the second time that night.

In my haste to win the race I have not spotted that the other three members of my family have finally deigned to join me and are walking in the opposite direction down the next aisle.

‘We’re sitting at the front,’ I say, barely slowing up. ‘Quick, this way,’ I shout over my shoulder.

‘But someone might see us if we sit there,’ I hear Ellie cry.

By the time Mark, Ellie and George join me, I’ve bagged, in my opinion, the best seat in the house. Back to the wall, right at the front, facing the bar, I can see everything going on. That is, until we all pick up our menus, blocking all of the view and a big chunk of light.

‘Why on earth did you want to come here?’ grumbles Mark from somewhere behind two layers of laminated card. ‘We could have gone to Sebastian’s. I said I’d treat you all. You don’t even have to book to come here. I can’t remember the last time I went to a restaurant where you could just turn up. Can you imagine if you did that at Sebastian’s?’

I remember the last time I’d agreed to go to Sebastian’s with Mark. It was his firm’s Christmas do. The lack of food (overblown and insipid) and terrible company (men: overblown, women: insipid) had led to an overindulgence in champagne on my part. When I loudly whispered into Mark’s ear that the only way the night could be salvaged was by a visit to a karaoke bar he’d given me a horrified glare followed by a large glass of water.

‘Do not drink any more champagne,’ he’d angrily whispered. ‘This is not the time nor the place to get drunk.’

But it’s a Christmas party, I thought. If there is any time and place to get completely pissed, surely it’s now. I watched as Mark leaned forward over his vanilla and basil posset with a hint of lavender foam to ask the Chairman’s wife about her plans for the holiday season. I leant back, sulked and never said another word. No one noticed.

The atmosphere between us was somewhat frosty for several days afterwards until he announced we were at the point in our marriage where we should no longer bother with Christmas presents. I declared I’d already purchased his and so he begrudgingly agreed we should do it one last time. The next day I went out and bought him a karaoke machine. He bought me a SodaStream.

            The enormous menus effectively prevent any eye contact until a waiter, thankfully not the scowling one, appears to take our order. All that can be heard is Mark huffing at the thought of nachos being the peak of today’s culinary experience. We even place our orders from behind our temporary barriers. I hear Mark ask for a chicken burrito like he’s agreed to eat regurgitated frogs’ testicles. Ellie asks for a taco salad but without the tacos, and the only indication that George has successfully ordered is the lowering of the menu and a wordless jab of the finger at an item, followed by a tremor of panic when the waiter asks how he wants his steak to be cooked.

            ‘Do you want it medium rare?’ I ask George.

            ‘For goodness’ sake, Jenny,’ snaps Mark. ‘Make him ask for it, if that’s what he wants.’

            George doesn’t raise his eyes from the menu but I know he is wounded.

‘Medium rare, please,’ he whispers without looking at the waiter.

            Then suddenly our barriers are whipped from us and we are all caught like rabbits in the headlights from the glare of our nearest and dearest.

            ‘Drinks?’ the waiter asks chirpily. Clearly he’s already completed the course on how to smile at a customer – unlike his colleague.

            ‘I’ll have a lime and soda,’ answers Mark before any consultation can take place.

            ‘I’ll have a large Chardonnay,’ says Ellie.

            ‘You will not,’ cries Mark.

            ‘All right then, a small one,’ she replies.

I smirk.

            ‘It’s a school night and you are seventeen,’ says Mark, looking at me as though I made the request.

            ‘Perhaps we could share a bottle?’ I say.

            He doesn’t say anything, just shakes his head in wonder.

            ‘I mean, you and me could share and perhaps let them have a small bit,’ I say.

            Mark looks at the waiter.

            ‘These two will both have a Diet Coke,’ he says, waggling his finger at Ellie and George.

            ‘I’ll have a margarita,’ I jump in.

            ‘It’s only six o’clock, Jenny,’ warns Mark.

            ‘On the rocks or frozen?’ the waiter asks, looking right at me with a smile. I like him.

            ‘Definitely on the rocks,’ I reply, grinning back. ‘It’s a special occasion.’

            I watch him cast his eyes around our party. Ellie has her elbows on the table, phone held at eye level, the screen illuminating her face as she taps away furiously. George has his head staring down in his lap, the air of concentration giving away the fact he has also turned to his phone for company. Mark is stroking his own phone, which is on the table in front of him, as though to reassure it of his constant presence.

            ‘And what is the occasion?’ the waiter asks, struggling to keep hold of the slippery menus clamped under his arm.

            ‘It’s my birthday.’ I swallow. We share a look. I could burst into tears but I hold them back. I stupidly bought cheap mascara that doesn’t mix well with tears, and I can’t cry yet.

            My gaze goes to the cactus fairy lights above the bar. I love them. They are so stupid and pointless but so bloody happy. How can you not smile at the sight of cactus fairy lights? There’s a couple sitting on high stools sipping fluorescent pink cocktails. Clearly not married. He’s trying really hard to entertain her and she’s trying really hard to be entertained. They are all smiles, hair flicks, body part touching and eye contact. Maybe it’s the promise of potential sex that is the only reason why people make eye contact these days, I think as I pull my eyes back to my fellow celebrators. Or to deliver bad news. I shudder.

I wonder how Mark will look at me when I tell him later that I’ve been prodded and poked to investigate my defects. What will he say when I tell him I need him to come and hold my hand when they deliver the verdict on what they have found? That it could be bad, really bad. They might say the C-word. How will my husband look at me then, I wonder.

            Mark gets up out of his bright green chair and wanders off, murmuring into his phone. George and Ellie… well, you can guess what they are doing.

            The drinks arrive. The margarita looks magnificent. I thank the waiter as he places it in front of me, then thank him individually for everyone else’s drink as they fail to acknowledge their arrival.

Mark takes his seat again and puts his phone face down on the table. It buzzes immediately, its glowing underside making it look like a mini rectangular UFO. Thankfully he ignores it and gulps down half his lime and soda. George and Ellie sip on their Cokes without tearing their eyes away from their screens. Mark picks his phone up again.

I sigh and lift my glass to my lips and mutter,  ‘Happy birthday, Jenny.’


About the author.

Tracy started writing when her cruel, heartless husband ripped her away from her dream job shopping for rollercoasters for the UK’s leading theme parks, to live in America with a brand new baby and no mates. In a cunning plan to avoid domestic duties and people who didn’t understand her Derbyshire accent, she wrote her romantic comedy, NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY. This debut novel went on to be successfully published internationally and became a #1 Best Seller.

You can follow Tracy on Twitter at @TracyBBloom, like her Facebook page on www.facebook.com/tracybloomwrites or get in touch via her website at www.tracybloom.com

#BlogTour! #Review – A Long Way From Home by Cathy Glass (@CathyGlassUK) @HarperNonFic @RosieMargesson

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It is such an honour to be taking part in yet another one of Cathy Glass’ blog tours – thank you to the team at HarperNonFic for the blog tour invite, it really does mean the world to me! Unfortunately, we have reached the end of the blog tour and it gives me great pleasure to close the tour with my review of Cathy Glass’ brand new novel, ‘A Long Way From Home’.

ALWFH Cathy Glass jacket
The true story of 2 year-old Anna, abandoned by her natural parents, left alone in a neglected orphanage.

Elaine and Ian had travelled half way round the world to adopt little Anna. She couldn’t have been more wanted, loved and cherished. So why was she now in foster care and living with me? It didn’t make sense.

Until I learned what had happened. …

Dressed only in nappies and ragged T-shirts the children were incarcerated in their cots. Their large eyes stared out blankly from emaciated faces. Some were obviously disabled, others not, but all were badly undernourished. Flies circled around the broken ceiling fans and buzzed against the grids covering the windows. The only toys were a few balls and a handful of building bricks, but no child played with them. The silence was deafening and unnatural. Not one of the thirty or so infants cried, let alone spoke.

What does TWG think?

Just like every other Cathy Glass novel, what is written is a true story with all of the important details (names, places etc) changed to protect the identity of those involved. If you think that you’re going to be reading a novel that tells you what you want to hear when it comes to adoption – think again. Whilst Cathy Glass does state multiple times throughout that adoption is fantastic, and how many adoptions are completed with no issues whatsoever, there are situations where adoption becomes the polar opposite to what you had originally thought. Unfortunately, this story is one of them.

Elaine and Ian were a couple who were determined to have a family of their own. You can’t really fault them for that now, can you? After going through all of the legal documentation, dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s, the couple chose to adopt outside of the UK. Naively, I had absolutely no idea that children were left to suffer in such neglected conditions due to the high level of poverty in various countries. Was this an eye-opener? Most definitely. By page 6 of the book, a lump had already formed in my throat – if children can go through such heartbreaking times, I can read the book until the end. The lump in my throat was nothing compared to what those children had to endure.

Elaine and Ian believed that they were doing the right thing by adopting out of the UK, potentially saving a child from a bleak future if they were to be left in the orphanage. Judging by the couples reactions to what they saw that day, I truly believe that their eyes were opened as well. I think that they knew things were bad overseas, but I don’t think that they were quite expecting what they saw with their very own eyes. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t expecting it either. Obviously, adoption overseas comes with a lot of barriers, with the most important one being language – would the staff in the orphanage understand what the couple were trying to say? Would the child they were going to adopt, learn to understand this new funny language? It isn’t as easy as filling out a few forms, ticking a few boxes and then going to pick up your new child like you were going to pick up a click and collect order from your local Argos. There is so much involved and what really opened my eyes, was the fact that bringing your new addition to the family home is just the tip of the iceberg.

When the storyline changed to Cathy’s viewpoint, my heart sank as I knew what was going to happen, but I couldn’t believe it. I think my heart broke for the child and everyone involved. I applaud Cathy for what she did with Anna and how she managed to turn a questionable situation into something more manageable. That said, part of me felt quite deflated in regards to the adoptive parents. Granted I wasn’t in their situation, nor was I there to witness Anna’s personality, but I couldn’t quite understand their reaction to an older Anna. Here was a child, screaming out to be loved in the only way she knew how, with her new mummy looking at her like a blank piece of paper. I am not judging the parents because like I say, I wasn’t in their situation so I cannot form an opinion on how they acted. However, I can form an opinion from what I read and I would be lying if I said it didn’t catch me, because it did.

‘A Long Way From Home’ really opened my eyes to the side of adoption which people fail to mention. Yes it broke my heart, and yes I found it quite difficult to read, but I needed to be educated about that sort of thing and I am glad that Cathy Glass was the person to do that. As a huge fan of this author for many years, Cathy Glass’ work never fails to let me down, nor does any new release make me less inclined to read another of her books – in fact, with every book I read of hers, I have to go and buy a new one straight away just so that I can get into the mindset of children who find themselves in a situation no child should ever be in.

This book is heart-wrenching, I’m not going to lie, but it is also beautifully written and something which everyone needs to learn about. Not everything is all sunshine and roses, but with Cathy Glass supporting children, I really do think that she is a special type of angel.

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