#psychological · #suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · Crime/thriller · netgalley

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Choice by Jake Cross (@JakeCrossAuthor) @Bookouture

The Choice - Blog Tour
First up on TWG is my review of ‘The Choice’ by Jake Cross. As always, thanks to Bookouture for the blitz invite, as well as the ARC of the book.

The-Choice-Kindle

You’ve got to help me,’ she pleads.

On a wet road in the black of night, Karl Seabury is driving home to his pregnant wife. Suddenly, caught in his headlights in the middle of the road is a woman shaking with fright.

The woman says her name is Liz Smith, that her home was attacked, and that she was the only one to escape.

In a split-second decision, Karl decides to help her to safety. But Liz is hiding a dark secret and now his good deed has put his family in terrible danger…

What does TWG think?

Straight after reading this book, I found myself setting up camp on the nearest fence as it took me a little while to process what I had just read. However, 24 hours after reading ‘The Choice’, the puzzle pieces started to fit together and my overall opinion of the book changed. I’ll be honest, as I was reading I did think ‘what on Earth’ on more than one occasion due to how incredibly farfetched the storyline was. But, despite all of that, I still couldn’t tear my eyes away and, even though it was very farfetched, ‘The Choice’ was incredibly fast paced and full of intensity.

Karl Seabury finds himself in a bit of a sticky situation one evening when he goes to help a stranger at the side of the road. Even though Seabury chose to do the right thing and assist the woman, it didn’t take too long to backfire, putting both his life and the strangers life in severe danger. While the saying ‘ignorance is bliss’ is very apt in this situation, it soon becomes apparent that ignoring the situation won’t make it go away, especially if the threat is now with Karl’s wife and his unborn child.

This book is bonkers, and not in a bad way! The storyline is jam packed with drama, crime, murder, and the odd secret for good measure. It just goes to show that you shouldn’t put your trust in the wrong person, even if they seem to come across like they’re on your side!!

I did actually think that this book was quite clever! So many things kept happening in the book that I wasn’t expecting, and due to the way I was reading certain situations, I had made myself believe one thing, when the storyline decided to change its path at the very last minute, making me think ‘WHERE THE FLUFF DID THAT COME FROM?!’.

I advise you to read ‘The Choice’ with an open mind and not to overthink the storyline, otherwise there would be a high chance of the storyline not making much sense.

Jake Cross surprised me and entertained me with each page of ‘The Cross’ and, even though I couldn’t work with several parts of the book, I was still hooked by the overall vibe and complexity of the storyline and each of its characters. Definitely a win win situation for me!

Buy now!

About the author.

Jake has been making stuff up from a real early age. His parents never believed his silly lies when he was young, so he still has no idea why he thought he could invent a decent story as an adult. But he kept trying, and here we are. THE CHOICE is his first novel, the first of three thrillers to be published by Bookouture, and he hopes you like it. If you don’t, he at least hopes you don’t ask for a refund.

 Author Social Media Links

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JakeCrossAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17625443.Jake_Cross

#psychological · #suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · Crime/thriller · release blitz

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Murder List by Chris Merritt (@DrCJMerritt) @Bookouture

The Murder List - Blog Tour
Are you on ‘The Murder List’? I’m on the blogger list! I am thrilled to be taking part in the second, and final day of Chris Merritt’s blog blitz for ‘The Murder List’. Huge thanks to Bookouture for the blitz invite!

The-Murder-List-Kindle
The lifeless body sat, hands bound, silver tape over his mouth. Patches of blood had soaked into the cheap carpet around him. Zac had spent years gaining scientific insight into the mind: human motivation and behaviour. And this scene wasn’t right…

It’s been five years since Detective Zac Boateng’s daughter was murdered and her killer was never found. Now Zac is back working for the Metropolitan Police and is more determined than ever to bring the city’s killers to justice.

When a man is found brutally murdered in a rundown south London shop, all fingers point to the highly intelligent and manipulative Darian Wallace. Two years ago, the victim helped send him to prison. And he’s just been released.

Still grieving, Zac knows it will take everything he’s got to catch this dangerously clever killer. But just as he feels he’s getting closer, he realises all is not quite as it seems and he makes a devastating personal discovery.

Zac has a choice to make – risk letting this killer escape or watch his daughter’s murderer get away again…

What does TWG think?

When Zac Boateng’s daughter took her last breath right in front of his very own eyes, the Detective’s life changed. How can you move on from losing your child? How can you move on from the death of your child if the murderer hadn’t been caught? Zac wants justice for his daughter but, seeing as he has the investigations file at his fingertips, Zac is very close to playing with fire. Does he take a closer look into the unsolved murder of his daughter? Or does he accept the fact that it has been five years and the chances of catching the killer now, would be rather slim?

This is a debut novel. I repeat, this is a debut novel! I want to know why Chris Merritt hasn’t written a book before now! ‘The Murder List’ is the first part in a brand new series, and already I am having withdrawal symptoms. I want the next book now!!

I will admit that this storyline gave me the heebie jeebies, but oh my gosh was it a belter! Incredibly dark, intense, and full of spine tingling moments, ‘The Murder List’ held me hostage from the very first page until the last. Even if I wanted to move my eyes away, I couldn’t. As soon as I had read the prologue, I knew that I was in this for long haul.

What I loved about Zac’s character was how real he came across. Yes he was a detective, but he still showed that he had feelings and that he wasn’t afraid to display them. It was quite refreshing, especially as some of the other characters were rather unhinged and weirdly addictive. Nobody can sit there and say that the author hasn’t incorporated all walks of life into his storyline, that’s for sure!!

‘The Murder List’ is definitely a rollercoaster of a read, having the ability to leave me breathless on more than one occasion. I cannot get over the strength of this storyline and the way in which the author executed it. If this is how Chris Merritt writes his DEBUT novel, we are going to be in for a treat with the other books in the series!!

Buy now!

About the author.

Chris Merritt is a Clinical Psychologist and former diplomat based in London, who has been writing on psychology since 2010. In 2014 he decided to combine his passion for writing with his love of crime fiction, and eventually came up with The Murder List, his debut novel. He currently works on a mental health research project at King’s College London, and part-time as a psychologist in the NHS. When not working or writing, he loves climbing and basketball, and dreams of one day being able to work from home enough to own a whippet.

 Author Social Media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrCJMerritt

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17558172.Chris_Merritt

 

#psychological · #suspense · arc · blog tour · bloodhoundbooks · book blogger · Book Review · Crime/thriller · netgalley

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Midday by David Lyons (@MrDBLyons) @BloodHoundBook

B L O G B L I T Z-3
Happy publication day to David Lyons and ‘Midday’! I am thrilled to be one of the bloggers kicking off the blog today – huge thanks to BloodHoundBooks for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

David Lyons - Midday_cover_high res
When his alarm goes off at 7am, successful bank manager Vincent assumes he is waking up to an ordinary working day. He couldn’t be more wrong. Darragh, a young man with aspirations to become a gangster, forces his way into the Dublin penthouse Vincent shares with his lover Ryan, telling Vincent he has until midday to steal eight million euros from the banks he manages. If he doesn’t return by the deadline, his boyfriend will receive a bullet to the head.
But all is not as it seems.
When the clock strikes midday, will they all be alive?
And who is really in danger?

What does TWG think?

Vincent is a sucker for routine. Every day his alarm goes off at the same time, and every day his routine includes some sort of music while he is in the shower (much to his partners annoyance). However, one man decides to change his routine and soon the life that Vincent knew, is about to disappear from sight. Well, at midday give or take…

I really wasn’t sure about this book at first, so many questions were rolling around my mind. Why did that man target Vincent’s house? How did he know Vincent’s routine? Why was Vincent’s partner in the hot seat to be killed? Even though I knew that the more of the book I read the more answers I would get to my questions, I still couldn’t help feeling rather impatient as I worried that I wouldn’t be able to make sense of the storyline.

Sure enough, the further into the storyline I got, the more information I found out about the situation. That said, I didn’t find out everything but, due to the way the author wrote the book, I knew that this storyline had me hooked line and sinker. It didn’t take me long to realise that ‘Midday’ is an extremely addictive read, whether I completely followed the storyline or not, my eyes just couldn’t look away from the book.

Seeing as Vincent’s deadline was midday, the closer it got to that time, the more on edge I felt. I didn’t know what was going to happen. Would he make it? Would his partner get killed? Would the bad guys take off with the money? It was so intense!

Oh my god….that conclusion! What a clever, clever outcome! I really had no idea! I am so impressed at how flawlessly the author delivered the change of direction without giving away any hints or by making his characters appear weak. I was teetering on the edge of my sofa the entire time, I am genuinely surprised that I didn’t fall off in surprise! Instead, my jaw had dropped so much, I am surprised a train didn’t assume it was a tunnel!

Despite my earlier reservations, David Lyons and ‘Midday’ turned it around completely! What a fantastic, intense, addictive, and incredibly clever read which definitely left me guessing until the very last page. I really do think that David Lyons has a very bright future ahead of him and I for one cannot wait to see what this author produces next.

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Dublin-born author David B. Lyons has a new twist on the psychological thriller. His debut, Midday, will be released on March 22nd and promises readers a thrilling ride. It’s the story of the same extraordinary morning, told from the perspective of four different characters.

David comes from a journalistic background. He worked, mainly, in the areas of football and music reporting for over 12-years, notching a few awards along the way. He tried to write creatively in his spare time, but found the formulaic writing nature of his day job a hindrance. He met with producers about both a play and a TV pilot he had written, but both fell short of being green lit, much to his disappointed. However, it gave him the opportunity to fulfil a life-log dream of finally penning a novel. He completed a BA Hons Degree in Creative Writing and soon after, completed Midday. Three months later, that debut was picked up by Bloodhound Books and early buzz suggests a promising writing career lies ahead for the thirty-nine-year-old.

He now lives in Birmingham, UK with his wife Kerry and daughter Lola. He has read fiction all of his life and notes Dean Koontz as a real inspiration. He is also a big fan of Gillian Flynn as well as rising star Liz Nugent.

Author links

www.facebook.com/AuthorDavidBLyons

https://twitter.com/MrDBLyons

#Avon · #extract · #Harpercollins · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · netgalley

#BlogTour! #Review and #Extract of ‘Love Among the Treetops’ by Catherine Ferguson (@_cathferguson) @AvonBooksUK

Love Among the Treetops - Blog Tour
Next up on TWG is a review of Catherine Ferguson’s ‘Love Among the Treetops’, as well as an extract from the book itself! Thank you as always to the lovely Sabah from Avon Books for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book!

image003-4
Can love flourish amongst the tree tops?

When pastry chef Twilight Wilson was a young girl, she would hide from school bullies up in the treehouse at the bottom of her garden in her family home in Sussex. It was her special place, and even as an adult she still loves it.

So when her family tell her they can’t afford to live there any more, Twilight is devastated. Not only will they lose their home – but the treehouse too!

She comes up with a plan to save the family home – she’ll start up a cafe in the treehouse! It’s a brilliant idea, and excitement builds as she starts planning the menus, with the help of Theo – a rather attractive man from the gym. But when former school bully Lucy finds out the plan, she starts plotting – and opens her own rival cafe in the village!

Can Twilight save her family home? Will her friendship with Theo ever be anything more? And who will win the cafe wars?

Catherine Ferguson is back in this hilarious, heart-warming read perfect for summer.

Extract.

Friday rolls around – the morning before Saturday’s big café opening – and I bound out of bed. Standing in the shower, I tick jobs off on a mental list. The cakes and scones need to be perfectly fresh, so I’ll be baking and icing all the cakes today, then getting up very early tomorrow morning to bake the three different flavours of scone. Adrenalin is already pouring through my system, making me feel nervous, excited, apprehensive and
ecstatic all at the same time. I can’t believe my dream of owning my own café is finally coming true! I suppose I always thought of it as just a lovely fantasy, but now circumstances have conspired to turn that dream into a reality.

I think of my parents and the excitement subsides. If only those circumstances didn’t involve my lovely dad’s fight for survival. A lump fills my throat. I need to phone Mum when I’ve got a minute, so they can feel involved in tomorrow’s big opening. I know Mum really wishes they could be here, but it just wouldn’t be wise for Dad to make the tiring and uncomfortable journey to Hart’s End. In any case, I don’t think the hospital would allow it.
Paloma comes over soon after eleven. When I open the door, she walks in sniffing the air
appreciatively. ‘I could smell the aroma of baking frenzy just walking up the garden path.’
We go straight into the kitchen, where my two Cherry Bakewells in the big, shiny new flan cases I bought are almost ready. I peer into the oven. They’re beautifully golden on top and I reckon they’re done, so I grab the pink gingham oven gloves Paloma presented me with yesterday and take them out. My brand-new mesh trays are lined up on the bench, ready to be laden with cooling bakes.

I go to my list and tick off ‘Cherry Bakewells’. So far, so good. I need to work steadily and methodically today and keep a cool head. Then, hopefully, I’ll be all prepared for tomorrow at ten a.m. Tomorrow at ten a.m.! It seems a long way off. I might actually expire with excitement before then! Before I start on the next bake, I grab the keys and we head over to the café to admire the work we did the previous afternoon.

Now that you have had extract to whet your appetite, it’s time to find out what TWG thinks!

What does TWG think?

I want to start this review by saying a massive thank you to the author for including a topic in her story which, to this day, still affects me, and it’s a topic which people still aren’t taking seriously. Bullying. I have known this authors books to be hilarious, so as soon as I realised that this book contained a rather stigmatic theme, I had absolutely no idea how she was going to pull it off without losing her trademark story telling, whilst also creating awareness for such a sensitive subject.

I needn’t have worried in the slightest because Catherine Ferguson not only pulled it off, she baked it perfectly.

Twilight’s dream for as long as she can remember, has been to own her own cafe by baking for a living. Due to the fact that her father is facing an uncertain future, Twilight has taken it upon herself to do what she can to keep the family cafe in the family where it belongs. Unfortunately for Twilight, a bully from her school days still lives in the village and, even though Twilight is fully aware that many years have passed, she can’t seem to forget what the school bully did to her.

On a personal level, this book was hard to read due to my own history with bullying, but I am so, SO glad that this subject is being put under people’s notice in hope that someone finally takes notice, and realises that bullying can ruin people’s lives.

As always, ‘Love Among the Treetops’ contains such wonderful humour which keeps the storyline on an even keel. Twilight is such a brilliant character who, whilst being quite naive, has a heart of gold (maybe even a little feisty!). I did feel sorry for her whilst I was reading the book, I just wanted to give her a big hug and tell her that she could do it.

I really did enjoy reading ‘Love Among the Treetops’ as it made me laugh, it made me smile, and it seemed to be the perfect antidote when I needed a little pick me up. I loved the fact that the book was an easy read as it allowed me to lose myself in it completely, feeling as though I was part of the storyline instead of an outsider looking in.

Cakes, laughter, cakes, friendship, fun, and cakes, what more could you want?

I truly think that this is an ideal book to curl up with when the skies are grey and you’re feeling blue as, when the book is finished, I can guarantee that you will be feeling as golden as a Victoria sponge cake – perfect amount of layers, right amount of bitterness in the jam, and just sweet enough.

Buy now from Amazon

arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · lifestyle · Transworld/Penguin · womens fiction

#BlogTour! #Review – #HouseofHopesandDreams by Trisha Ashley (@TrishaAshley) @TransworldBooks @PoppyStimpson

The House of Hopes and Dreams blog tour
It is such an honour to be closing the #HouseofHopesandDreams blog tour today! Thank you to Poppy and Transworld Books for the ARC, and thank you to Trisha for wanting me on the blog tour! Here is my review:

51YVX+PXsBL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_
The new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling Trisha Ashley will more than satisfy romantic comedy fans. And it also contains recipes!

When Carey Revell unexpectedly becomes the heir to Mossby, his family’s ancestral home, it’s rather a mixed blessing. The house is large but rundown and comes with a pair of resentful relatives who can’t be asked to leave.
Still, newly dumped by his girlfriend and also from his job as a TV interior designer, Carey needs somewhere to lick his wounds. And Mossby would be perfect for a renovation show. He already knows someone who could restore the stained glass windows in the older part of the house…

Angel Arrowsmith has spent the last ten years happily working and living with her artist mentor and partner. But suddenly bereaved, she finds herself heartbroken, without a home or a livelihood. Life will never be the same again – until old friend Carey Revell comes to the rescue.

They move in to Mossby with high hopes. But the house has a secret at its heart: an old legend concerning one of the famous windows. Will all their dreams for happiness be shattered? Or can Carey and Angel find a way to make this house a home?

Heart-warming, witty and quirkily original, Trisha Ashley’s THE HOUSE OF HOPES AND DREAMS will delight both old fans and new readers alike.

What does TWG think?

Oh this book is amazing!! As soon as the story begins, we are shoved straight into the deep end when Carey finds himself in a situation he never thought he would be in….well, two of them! That was it, I was hooked, how could you not be? A character finds out a piece of information which is likely to change his life, yet you know fine well it will rub people up the wrong way – surely that is bound to get anyone wanting more?

‘The House of Hopes and Dreams’ follows the lives of Angel and Carey, both attempting to rebuild their lives after a bout of unfortunate events, hoping that their future will be drama free sooner rather than later. Of course that isn’t what happens, but I couldn’t really fault them for the positive outlook!

My heart went out to Angel. What a devastating situation to be in, and what a cockerel Nat is! I won’t say too much about that character apart from the fact that they are an absolute bumwipe! Even though I was glad that Angel had someone to lean on, I couldn’t help but feel devastated for her. Nobody should ever be treated the way that she was treated, ever!

I couldn’t stop myself from falling in love with ‘The House of Hopes and Dreams’. The storyline captured my heart as soon as Mossby because the main feature of the story, enabling me to think about my own hopes and dreams for the future. Every turn of the page had me feeling as though I was getting hugged from the inside out, mostly down to the amount of love the majority of the characters showed each other, as well as the overall cosy feel of the storyline.

Trisha Ashley’s latest book contains oodles of romance, several ounces of friendship, a pound of mystery, as well as a pinch of salty characters – a recipe which made for a perfect read with no soggy bottom.

As far as I am concerned, this is Trisha Ashley’s best book yet, and I feel she has outdone herself with her strong and feisty heroine, her ‘one to watch’ hero, as well as her incredible story telling which goes from strength to strength with every book.

A heart-warming, cosy, and perfectly ‘baked’ read that will leave you feeling like a cat who has got the cream. Or, in Fang’s case, a dog who has got the ankle.

Buy now from Amazon

#suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · historical fiction · lifestyle · Panmacmillan · Saga

#BlogTour! #Review – The Allotment Girls by Kate Thompson (@KateThompson380) @panmacmillan @JessDuffyy #Publicationday

Allotment Girls Blog Tour
Happy paperback publication day to Kate Thompson and ‘The Allotment Girls’! It is such an honour to be given the publication day slot on the blog tour, so I hope I do the author and PanMacmillan proud with my review. You may remember me reviewing Kate’s previous novel, ‘The Wedding Girls’, on my blog last year (#Tour! #Review – The Wedding Girls -Kate Thompson (@katethompson380) @panmacmillan @jessduffyy) which also made my ‘Top Books of 2017’ list, so of course I jumped at the chance to review her latest offerings. Please read on to see what I thought of ‘The Allotment Girls’, and whether this book will be making any lists of mine again this year:

THE ALLOTMENT GIRLS

The Allotment Girls is an inspiring and heartwarming novel of wartime hardship, friendship and fortitude from Kate Thompson, author of the Secrets of the Sewing Bee.

During the Second World War, life in the iconic Bryant & May match factory is grimy and tough. Annie, Rose, Pearl and Millie carry on making matches for the British Army, with bombs raining down around them.

Inspired by the Dig for Victory campaign, Annie persuades the owners to start Bryant & May allotment in the factory grounds. With plenty of sweat and toil, the girls eventually carve out a corner of the yard into a green plot full of life and colour.

In the darkest of times, the girls find their allotment a tranquil, happy escape. Using pierced dustbin lids to sieve through the shrapnel and debris, they bring about a powerful change, not just in the factory, but their own lives.

As the war rages on, the garden becomes a place of community, friendship – and deceit. As the garden thrives and grows, so do the girls’ secrets . . .

What does TWG think?

‘The Allotment Girls’ had me hooked straight away when the story begins with a jaw dropping situation which, if you’re into history, you will find that it is actually based on a real life event. Considering the nature of said circumstance, because I knew it was based on an event which happened many years ago, I found my heart hurting just that little bit more.

If you think this book is just about sowing seeds and tending to carrots, I would think again quite quickly. Whilst it is clear that several characters wish to sow their own ‘seeds’, there is a lot more to this storyline than fertiliser and potatoes. Set during the Second World War in a match factory, the author tells the story of the lives of four girls, Annie, Millie, Rose and Pearl. All girls with such different outlooks on life, yet all connected by one incredibly important thing – friendship. During the war, rationing was incredibly important, which meant that growing your own crops to help feed other families worse off than your own, became the focus of a lot of businesses around London at that time. How can growing your own crops change your life? Well, when it becomes the middle man between eating or starving, you would probably find that you would do anything for food. Or, in the four girls’ case, doing anything for friendship.

Out of all of them, I found myself warming to Millie a lot quicker than the others, as I am a lot like her in terms of her loose mouth! I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Rose and, once you read the book, you’ll understand why. As for Annie, I found her a lot more guarded than the other characters, yet she came across as the one with more common sense. Millie’s situation made me feel nauseous, I won’t lie! Then there’s Pearl – a character who I am having to sit on the fence for!

When I was reading this book, I became incredibly invested in all of the ‘minor’ details, allowing myself to be transported back to such a memorable moment in history. Because of those ‘minor’ details, when the book nearly finished I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to a certain item in the storyline. I have no idea why I thought about that particular item, but I did and I knew I wouldn’t rest until I had found out what happened. Thankfully, when all of the loose ends were tied up in the story, the item turned up which left me with a huge smile on my face. Even though it was such a small detail in the big scheme of things, it was a detail which brought such warmth to my soul when it became apparent what had happened to it. Very, very clever.

I honestly thought that Kate Thompson couldn’t outdo her previous novel, ‘The Wedding Girls’, with this book, but you know what? She absolutely did. The attention to detail throughout the entire storyline was absolutely incredible – I felt like I could smell what the characters were smelling. I felt like I could see the allotment where the girls had been working. I felt like I could sense the terror amongst the families, wondering whether their houses would get bombed in the night. There were times throughout the book where I felt that I could have cut the tension with a knife, and rightly so! A lot of this story was heartbreaking to read – I couldn’t even begin to imagine what those people went through during the war, yet Kate Thompson keeps the memory alive without making a mockery of it.

‘The Allotment Girls’, in my eyes, is exactly how books in this genre should be written. Full of intense situations, emotional moments, flashbacks to the past whilst hoping for the future, Kate Thompson has completely outdone herself where this book is concerned.  I am so tempted to plant something in my garden, just so that I can watch it blossom like the author has blossomed in front of my very own eyes.

‘The Allotment Girls’ is a phenomenal portrayal of lives once lost, futures being crafted, and memories living on. Beautiful, poignant, heart-breaking yet exceptionally written, this book is by far one of my most favourite books of all time.

And you know what? I would give Kate Thompson a big hug if I could, but most importantly, I would give her the most beautiful packet of seeds….just because.

Buy now from Amazon

#psychological · #suspense · book blogger · Bookouture · Coming Soon · cover reveal

Are you one of ‘The Chosen Ones’? Or are you just a ‘Little Girl Lost’ with ‘Secrets of the Dead’? This isn’t a ‘Life Swap’, it’s a #CoverReveal! @carolewyer @bookouture

Weekly Wrap Up! (1)
-bounces- Carol Wyer is back with the FIFTH book in the ‘Detective Robyn Carter’ series. Fifth!! I am impressed! With the publication day looming…..in 2 months, I am beyond excited to be helping to reveal the cover of Carol’s upcoming novel, ‘The Chosen Ones’!

But, before I do that, here is a little bit more about the book just to whet your appetite:

The Chosen Ones by Carol Wyer

Out on 24th May

They had not been forgiven. And they would never be forgotten ….

When a doting young father is murdered and his body discovered in a cornfield for his family to see, it’s a harrowing new case for Detective Robyn Carter.  But just as Robyn starts to investigate, a popular local doctor and young mother, is found dead outside her surgery.

As Robyn tries to find the link between the victims, she uncovers a dark web of secrets.  Were these much-loved members of the community as innocent as they seemed? 

The killer has a message for Robyn and the carefully chosen victims.  Can Robyn get to the truth before she becomes the next target?

Doesn’t that just sound fab? I cannot wait to read it!! Right, cover time! You ready?

carolwyer2

Ta-daaaa!!! Definitely catches your eye, eh?! If you wish to pre-order your copy of ‘The Chosen Ones’ so it can ping onto your kindle at just gone midnight on the 24th May, you can do so right now via Amazon!! Roll on May is what I say!!

Weekly Wrap Up! (1)

arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · contemporary fiction · lifestyle · netgalley · real life

#BlogTour! #Review – The Undercover Mother by Emma Robinson (@emmarobinsonuk) @Bookouture

tum
This book……wow. Thank you to Bookouture for the blog tour invite as well as the ARC of ‘The Undercover Mother’. Here is my review:

tum1

Jenny has too much on her plate: literally – she’s only expecting one child but she’s eating for at least three. Not to mention trying to juggle her nightmare boss, a know-it-all sister, and an infuriatingly laid-back husband.

She used to be known for her ‘Single Girl About Town’ column. But when her boss gives her job to a younger colleague, Jenny panics and proposes she blogs instead about being a clueless new mum. Surely people will find her new friendship group fascinating? (Even if the only thing they seem to have in common is that they all had sex around the same time 9 months ago…)

And if her readers aren’t quite hooked yet, maybe Jenny will just have to be more liberal with the truth. After all, none of the other mums will read it… will they? 

The Undercover Mother is a hilarious parenting page-turner that will make you laugh, cry and want to crack open the gin. Perfect for fans of Why Mummy Drinks and The Bad Mother’s Diary.

What does TWG think?

Where do I even begin with my review! Bearing in mind that I had absolutely no idea that Emma Robinson had children of her own, it didn’t take me long to reach the conclusion that she just had to be a mother where this storyline is concerned. I mean come on, even good ol’ Google wouldn’t be able to tell you that shizzle unless it was a parent itself!

As a mum myself I laughed out loud, grimaced, and cringe, whilst also nodding along to every single thing in this story. If after having a baby you can fit into the same pair of jeans you wore when you were 16 years old, then ace! If after having a baby you decide that you want to wear the same pair of knickers for one week straight and lock yourself in your home, crack on! What did I do? Well, I was in the middle! Seeing as I couldn’t fit into any of my own clothes right after, I found myself resembling a smaller version of my mother as I wore her clothes instead. Am I ashamed? Hell no! Was I embarrassed at the time? Most definitely, that is why I wish that Emma Robinson’s ‘The Undercover Mother’ was around when I had my daughter in 2013.

This book lays parenthood bare from the thoughts of disgust (each to their own, obviously!) at watching someone giving birth, to a mother thinking that she cannot give birth or look after a baby. Not only that, it follows the lives of several different women, all with their own interpretations of parenthood and what it means for them. What was even better for me personally, was the fact that not all of the characters were married with some of the women living the life of a single mum. As a single mum myself, I found this incredibly refreshing as a lot of books I have read lately seem to enjoy slamming single mums, yet Emma Robinson doesn’t do that. Yes, she is honest with a lot of eventualities which parents could face, including the single ones, yet she didn’t throw any shade to single mums at all. To be honest, I actually felt like crying at that because I was like ‘FINALLY!!!!!!! An author who isn’t slamming single mummies!!’. Even though I know that this book wasn’t written for me personally, obviously, it really did mean a lot that it didn’t seem to matter whether Robinson’s characters were single, divorced, dating, married mums. All that mattered was the most important thing – being a mum.

I saw a lot of myself in Jenny in the way she reacted to pregnancy classes, and how the other women approached motherhood. Yes, I laughed a lot!

‘The Undercover Mother’ made me laugh out loud, snort my coffee up my nose (I wouldn’t advise it) and slap my hand on my forehead going ‘omfg I did that!’ (multiple times!). But, whilst the storyline is hilarious and the author writes about parenthood in a way that a lot of people would be too ashamed to admit, the overall storyline does highlight several important messages. Personally, the message that hit home for me was how important it is to NOT beat yourself up every day, reminding yourself that you are doing the best that you can and, whilst it is only natural to compare yourself to other mothers, you shouldn’t let their choices dictate how you raise YOUR child. I am fully aware that that is far easier to say than it is to actually do, but its something I feel the author conveyed absolutely brilliant with her characters. Seriously, they are all so different, yet they all found themselves feeling exactly the same as each other. They just managed to hide it differently in case anyone looked down their nose at their parenting skills, or saw them in a bad light.

Hell, we are in charge of keeping another human bean alive, and us women either managed to squeeze a large watermelon out of our foof, or we delivered a baby out of the sunroof which left us with a scar longer than the actual baby!!

I loved this book and everything it stands for. The honesty is empowering, the hidden messages are like little hugs every few pages, and the hilarity makes the hard times seem less….daunting. We may find ourselves covered in baby poo and baby sick right after getting our cherubs into clean clothes and feeling annoyed at the time, but that’s what being a mummy is all about. Mummyhood isn’t all about cuddles in front of the tv, or sleeping through the night from the moment you find the blue line on the pregnancy stick. No. Mummyhood is all of that and more. It’s the good days and the bad days. It’s the sad tears, the happy tears and everything in-between, and ‘The Undercover Mother’ showcases that like the Queen’s jewels. If you feel like you need a cheerleader, Emma Robinson is your woman.

Hand on heart, this book is everything I could have wished for and more. If I wasn’t already extremely proud of being a mumma, I am even more proud of being a mumma after reading this book.

A phenomenal debut novel which is totally trophy worthy – Emma Robinson has certainly got a fan for life where I am concerned!

Buy now!!

About the author: 
Emma Robinson thinks of herself as one of the ‘Bridget Jones generation’ – who are now grown up and having children – and writes novels for women who feel the same.

She also has a blog, Motherhood for Slackers, which takes a humorous look at parenthood, and includes poems such as ‘Dear Teacher’ about her son starting school which has been shared around the world. Emma is an English teacher and lives in Essex with a patient husband and two children who are an endless source of material.

arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · lifestyle · Quercus

#BlogTour! #Review – The Love Factory by Elaine Proctor (@ElaineProctor2) @QuercusBooks

Thank you to Quercus for the blog tour invite, as well as an ARC of Elaine Proctor’s ‘The Love Factory’. Today, for my stop on the blog, I will be sharing my review of Elaine’s new novel. Enjoy!

tlf
You can control want, but desire controls you

A smart, sexy, witty novel about love and desire, and how losing everything can sometimes be the best thing that ever happened to you

Anna is a writer whose small but perfectly formed novels sell zip. When she falls on hard times and tries her hand at erotic fiction, she faces an uncomfortable truth. Though she’s a wife and mother of two, her stories fail to fly because she’s never experienced true sexual desire. Even her Sicilian grandmother – wearer of diamante sunglasses and knock-off Louis Vuitton – knows more than she does about true passion.

A romance-writing workshop doesn’t help, so Anna turns to her friends for inspiration. As secrets and desires are revealed, Anna discovers more about the people close to her than she ever knew. When Cordelia, a romance-writing classmate, suggests she borrows an alter ego to banish her inhibitions, a new world opens up to Anna and The Love Factory – a group of writers penning ever more successful sexy stories – is born.

And yet Anna knows that she can’t rely on borrowed passion and an alter ego forever. For her tales to truly sizzle, she needs to find a proper love of her own.

What does TWG think?

‘The Love Factory’ is one of the most unique books I have read so far this year. Set around the concept of erotic fiction and being true to your own sexual desires, Elaine Proctor has told a story which I truly believe a lot of people are afraid to tell themselves. After all, who wants to openly admit that they have never experience true, burning desires when it comes to delving between the sheets? Or, on the other side of the coin, how do we know that those who are too quick to spill the secrets of their nightly antics, aren’t merely creating their own fictional world to keep up with what society believes women should have experienced?

I wasn’t entirely fussed on the first half of this book, because I couldn’t see what the author was trying to achieve to begin with. For me, there seemed to be a lot of ‘filling out’, with no true understanding of where the storyline was heading, or what Anna’s true intentions were. All I could understand was how unhappy Anna was and, until the latter half of the book where everything clicked, I unfortunately saw Anna as such a whinging soul.

Some people might say, ‘why didn’t you give up with the book there and then?’ and, whilst that is a valid question, there was a part of me deep down, that knew the storyline was going to come into its own with everything becoming a lot clearer. I needed to persevere with the book so that I could find out what the authors true intentions were, as well as attempting to understand Anna’s true personality.

Thankfully, my patience paid off as, like I said above, everything started to click in the second half of the book. It was as though the author became more comfortable in her own offerings, enabling her characters to shine with the confidence Proctor brought to the table subconsciously.

‘The Love Factory’ is extremely sexually oriented, but not in a seedy way. The theme was written in a way which was able to highlight a woman’s fantasies, without coming across as too sordid. Don’t get me wrong, the fiction which Anna and her friends wrote certainly made the air around me blue, but if writing fictional characters helped Anna realise that there was more to life than laying underneath her partner like a sack of spuds, who am I to argue?

‘The Love Factory’ isn’t a quick read as it requires readers to think outside the box and walk alongside the characters as they blossom whilst the storyline progresses. All the characters in this book are from all walks of life, with completely different beliefs to everyday situations. Personally, I loved the variation where the characters were concerned as it opened my eyes to how things are portrayed in different countries, or in different belief systems. Plus, with Anna being friends with such colourful people, friendships became a lot more firework like which, in turn, made for a very entertaining read.

I have to say that, despite my earlier reservations of ‘The Love Factory’, I did end up enjoying this book in the end. It’s pretty clear that a lot of heart and soul went into writing this book, and I really do hope that people read this with an open mind, taking in the message which the author is trying to convey. I saw that message to be ‘Be true to yourself, your beliefs, your fantasies, and don’t stop trying until you have the life you want. No matter what.’

If I can unleash that sort of message from such a complex and intense read, I think the author has done her job tenfold.

‘The Love Factory’ will be released on the 22nd March. You can pre-order your copy now from Amazon

#suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · guest spotlight · historical fiction

#BlogTour! Author of ‘Last Letter Home’ Rachel Hore (@RachelHore) joins #TWG for a chat! #AuthorInterview @simonschusteruk @HaysMcMullan

rachel1
It gives me great pleasure to welcome author of ‘Last Letter Home’, Rachel Hore, to TWG today as I put her in the hot seat by asking her a few questions! Before we begin, here is a little bit about Rachel’s new book, as well as the all important ‘buy now’ link should you want it!

rachelh
From the bestselling author of A Week in Paris, and the Richard & Judy Bookclub pick A Place of Secrets, comes a gripping and moving story spanning 70 years, set in Italy and in Norfolk.

On holiday with friends, young historian Briony Andrews becomes fascinated with a wartime story of a ruined villa in the hills behind Naples. There is a family connection: her grandfather had been a British soldier during the Italian campaign of 1943 in that very area. Handed a bundle of letters that were found after the war, Briony sets off to trace the fate of their sender, Sarah Bailey.

In 1939, Sarah returns with her mother and sister from India, in mourning, to take up residence in the Norfolk village of Westbury. There she forms a firm friendship with Paul Hartmann, a young German who has found sanctuary in the local manor house, Westbury Hall. With the outbreak of war, conflicts of loyalty in Westbury deepen.

When, 70 years later, Briony begins to uncover Sarah and Paul’s story, she encounters resentments and secrets still tightly guarded. What happened long ago in the villa in the shadow of Vesuvius, she suspects, still has the power to give terrible pain …

‘Last Letter Home’ will be published by Simon & Schuster on the 22nd March. You can pre-order your copy in all formats, right now, from Amazon UK.

TWG – Hi Rachel, thank you so much for joining me today! Could you tell us a bit about you and your background before you began writing?
If you’d asked me when I was very young whether I wanted to become a published writer I’d have been bemused. It would never have occurred to me. I didn’t know any authors or anyone who aspired to be one. I’ve always read endlessly, though. I studied History at university, and got into publishing after taking a secretarial course. Later, as an editor, working with novelists such as Barbara Erskine and Jenny Colgan, I learned a great deal about the techniques of writing fiction. Actually doing it was much more challenging. After nine books I still feel I’m learning.

TWG – What made you decide to write your new novel?
I love walking round old walled gardens where flowers, fruit and vegetables used to be grown for the Big House. They feel safe and secret, and the perfect place to set a love story. During World War II many were destroyed or abandoned. In LAST LETTER HOME, my pair of lovers, the gardener and the land girl, are separated by the war, but the garden re-mains a symbol of their relationship.

TWG – How hard was it to find the inspiration for your book?
Ideas for stories are everywhere if you start looking – in a newspaper, a nonfiction book, a pub-sign, a real-life situation that you hear about. The atmosphere of an interesting place often gets me started. I begin to brood about the people who might have lived there. The problem I have is one of focus. It can be hard to decide who will be the central characters and what their backgrounds should be. Deceptively small details such as a parent’s occupation can affect aspects of the plot later on. When I actually start writing scenes these things tend to iron themselves out because the characters come to life – it’s the planning stage I’m bad at.

TWG – If you could pick a favourite character from your novel, who would it be and why?
I am very fond of Sarah Bailey, the focus of my past story. She’s a sensible type, but has to manage her icy and manipulative widowed mother and a vulnerable young sister. All the time I was writing I was wondering what had originally happened to this family to make them this way, and why it was that Sarah was able to be the strong one.

TWG – Did you ever regret writing a character into your story after it was published?
What an interesting question! Not a character as such, but the name of a character in THE HOUSE ON BELLEVUE GARDENS. After it was published a woman I met at my Pilates class came up to me and told me I’d called a central character by her name and it had upset her. She thought I’d done it deliberately, yet I hadn’t met her until the book was written and still didn’t know her surname. We avoided each other for a while after that!
(TWG – omg! what are the chances of that!!)

TWG – Did you find yourself under any personal pressure for your debut novel to succeed and be liked by many?
Yes, definitely. For my publisher (I wanted them to commission more books) but also for myself, to feel that I’d succeeded. When I was actually writing it my ambitions were much more modest. I’d be pleased if I could finish the book, I’d be pleased if I could find an agent, then a publisher. The trouble is that the more you get the more you want. It’s im-portant to stand back occasionally and be pleased simply to be yourself.

TWG – Time for a tough one, if you could choose any book that has already been published to be the author of, which one would you choose and why?
Ah, that negates what I’ve just said about being yourself! That said, I’d love to write as delicately and powerfully as Tracy Chevalier. My favourite book of hers is The Lady and the Unicorn, which conveys such a convincing sense of being an ordinary mediaeval woman.

TWG – What does your ‘writing space’ look like?
Very messy, I’m afraid! I have an Edwardian attic that has never been done up and is only heated by a portable electric fire. Books that I’m consulting lie in piles everywhere and I also have a lot of postcards and pictures from magazines pinned up on a board to inspire my charac-ters and settings. Were there any authors you wanted to be like, when you were a child? No authors, but I desperately wanted to go to boarding school like Enid Blyton’s Twins at St Clare’s. What I wanted, of course, was the fun bits and once I’d read Tom Brown’s Schooldays I changed my mind.

TWG – If you had to sum up your book to a stranger in five words, what would they be and why?
Love, war, family and relationships. All my books are about love, family and relationships and the conflict that separates us from one another.

TWG – What’s coming up next for you?
I’m in the middle of writing the next novel, which is set in the interwar period and doesn’t yet have a title.

TWG – One final question. What advice would you give to a writer that wants to be published? Any words of wisdom?
Make the work as polished as you can before you show it to a professional (such as an agent or publisher). Research literary agencies and publishers to make sure that you approach one who publishes work in your chosen genre. Check their websites to make sure that you are sending your work in the way that they ask. Some agents want a synopsis, for instance, others only want the first three chapters.

Big thank you to Rachel Hore for answering my questions like a pro! I am actually cringing for her about regretting a character! My goodness!!!

Don’t forget that Rachel’s novel, ‘Last Letter Home’ will be published on the 22nd March and is available to pre-order right now from Amazon.