#suspense · blog tour · book blogger · guest spotlight · lifestyle · Rararesources · real life

#BlogTour! #GuestPost from the author of ‘The Little Gate-Crasher’ Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer (@GabKaplanMayer) @RaRaResources

I am beginning to catch up with my delayed blog posts from the past week – apologies once again to RaRaResources, and the author, for my delay in posting this, but thank you for having me on the blog tour nonetheless. I have a guest post from author of ‘The Little Gate-Crasher’, Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer. Enjoy.

Mace Bugen might have been an achondroplastic dwarf, 43 inches tall with an average size head and
torso set on small, twisted legs—but that didn’t mean he was an idiot or a pushover. In truth, he was
smarter than most; over the years, he learned to effectively turn what society in those days called a
handicap into a powerful tool he could use to his advantage.

“When I was a kid,” he once said, “I’d ask myself, Why is that guy on the football team? Why can’t I
be on the team? Why didn’t God give me the height so I could be the hero?”
“Then at some point I figured it out: I gotta do something special to let ’em know I’m me.”
In The Little Gate Crasher: The Life And Photos Of Mace Bugen, I remember my amazing great-Uncle
Mace Bugen through his journey as a first-generation Jewish-American kid in working class
Philipsburg, NJ to becoming the first celebrity selfie-artist—way ahead of his time.

Featuring vintage photos of Mace with his exploits, The Little Gate Crasher captures three decades of
American pop culture, seen through the unique lens of Mace and his gate-crashing exploits.
Underneath his antics, we meet a complex man who continually defies others expectations and
meets life on his own terms. Mace becomes a successful businessman and devoted son to his aging
parents. But in his gate-crashing antics, we best get to see Mace’s unique combination of guile,
cunning and sense of entitlement, which he used to engineer photos of himself with some of the
biggest celebrities of his day. If people were going to stare at him all of his life, he would give them
something to see.

The Little Gate Crasher features over 50 vintage photos of Mace with celebrities, athletes and
politicians, including Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Muhammed Ali, Richard Nixon, Jane Russel, Joe
DiMaggio and more.

Buy: Amazon US  // Amazon UK

 Guest Post.

Understanding Through Memoir
By Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

1 in 5 human beings has some kind of disability – including learning,
developmental, physical, emotional or a combination of disabilities. And yet,
while disability is such a common part of the human experience, some people are
uncomfortable and even afraid around people with disabilities. As a mom raising
a teenage son whose autism is very visible, I have reflected since his early
childhood on why disability can trigger this kind of reaction. I think it’s in part a
natural human fear of the unknown experience. Disability pushes our buttons
around vulnerability – it makes us wonder how would we react if someone in our
family – or we ourselves – needed supports or accommodations for daily living?
Society has largely allowed us to keep people with disabilities at arms length –
it’s only in the last generation or two that public schools have been mandated to
provide public education for all. Many adults with disabilities in the US don’t live
in community settings or work in places where the public gets to interact and
know them – they remain set apart.

This separation is changing – but it’s slow and requires all of us to move out of
our comfort zone to know about and respect the lives of human beings we may
have never seen as a natural part of our community. I believe that as educators,
we have a responsibility to nurture in our students a willingness and curiosity to
learn about life experiences that are different from their own and engage in
conversations and activities that help them to understand more about what living
with a disability is like.

My new memoir The Little Gate-Crasher  shares the story of another family
member who has a disability—and the incredible life that he lived.
The Little Gate-Crasher features the amazing story of my Great-Uncle Mace
Bugen – an unstoppable spirit, first generation Jewish American, self-made
millionaire, celebrity gate-crasher – who was 43 inches tall. Mace’s unstoppable
spirit defied the challenges of his own physical limitations and society’s
prejudices towards people with dwarfism. The book features Mace’s photos of
himself with the greatest celebrities of his era, including Muhammad Ali, Joe
DiMaggio, Sammy David, Jr. and more.

Books are powerful tools to help us understand lives that are very different from
our own—and in many ways, also very similar. I encourage you to use The Little
Gate-Crasher  to inspire conversation in your community through:
 Parent/Teen Dialogue: If a family isn’t personally touched by disability, parents
and kids may have never had an opportunity to discuss their feelings, fears and insights about Invite them to read together and use my discussion guide to
create interactive conversations for parents and teens.

 Partner with your Adult Book Club: are you part of a a book group or club? If so,
suggest reading The Little Gate-Crasher and I’ll be happy to Skype into your book
club to do a reading and lead a discussion with you! It’s lots of fun for us and
makes your job easy. Contact me to schedule.

My hope is that memoir can make life with disability feel not as far away or scary
from most of our lives, so that when we encounter disability personally, we can
be present with friendship, kindness and caring.

Many thanks to the author for the guest post. Purchase links are above.

About the author.

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer is an experienced educator, author and speaker. At
Jewish Learning Venture, she works as Director of Whole Community Inclusion and
leads disability awareness programs for the Philadelphia Jewish community. Her most
recent book The Little Gate Crasher, a memoir of her Great-Uncle, who overcame
society’s prejudices about dwarfism to lead a remarkable life, was one of the national
book selections for 2017 Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month. Gabby writes
for and edits The New York Jewish Week’s The New Normal: Blogging Disability and is
also a featured Philly parenting blogger for WHYY’s newsworks. Gabby holds a B.F.A. in
theatre and creative writing from Emerson College and an M.A. in Jewish Studies from
the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.



arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · historical fiction · Rararesources

#BlogTour! #Review – The Mistress of Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble (@RachelBrimble) @RaRaResources

Very happy to be able to re-share my review for Rachel Brimble’s ‘The Mistress of Pennington’s’. Thank you to RaRaResources for asking me to be involved in the blog tour as I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Here is my review:

1910 – A compelling tale of female empowerment in Bath’s leading department store. Perfect for
the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.

Elizabeth Pennington should be the rightful heir of Bath’s premier department store through her
enterprising schemes and dogged hard work. Her father, Edward Pennington believes his daughter
lacks the business acumen to run his empire and is resolute a man will succeed him.

Determined to break from her father’s iron-clad hold and prove she is worthy of inheriting the store,
Elizabeth forms an unlikely alliance with ambitious and charismatic master glove-maker Joseph
Carter. United they forge forward to bring Pennington’s into a new decade, embracing woman’s
equality and progression whilst trying not to mix business and pleasure.

Can this dream team thwart Edward Pennington’s plans for the store? Or will Edward prove himself
an unshakeable force who will ultimately ruin both Elizabeth and Joseph?

What does TWG think?

I absolutely adore books like this! I have to say that this reminded me so much of the BBC drama, ‘Mr Selfridge’, and there were times where the storyline was incredibly similar to said drama, I found it difficult to separate the two. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the premise of ‘The Mistress of Pennington’s’. I found the entire storyline captivating and enticing, with certain characters personalities making me react in various different ways. Whilst I loved watching ‘Mr Selfridge’ and I did enjoy this book, what let it down for me was just how similar the book was to the drama.

However, I thought that Elizabeth Pennington was such a wonderful character to read about, with her determination becoming the star of the entire novel due to how inspirational it was. I couldn’t help but find myself becoming emotional in regards to her history and the disastrous choices of her father, Edward Pennington. I realise that it took a while before women were allowed to be heard in the work place and at home, but it definitely hit home reading about the differences in gender equality through this storyline. I am incredibly honoured that I now live in a time where equality is nowhere near as bad as it was, yet I cannot forget the history of our female ancestors and the challenges they faced trying to get their voices heard. I really did appreciate just how Rachel Brimble got that historical message across through her characters. Times are changing, but it is very important to keep that history alive.

Overall, ‘The Mistress of Pennington’s’ was right up my street due to the historical elements themselves. Rachel Brimble has captured the story brilliantly, and I think that women of the 1900’s would be pleased with how the author made their voices come alive with her words.

Amazon UK // Amazon US // Barnes and Noble // Kobo

About the author.

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Since
2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin
Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.
In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a brand new Edwardian series set
in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s released July 2018.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and
was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest.
When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English
countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

Website // Blog // Twitter // Facebook

arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · contemporary fiction · lifestyle · netgalley · romance · womens fiction

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Return to the Little Cottage on the Hill by Emma Davies (@EmDaviesAuthor) @Bookouture

Warmest wishes to Emma Davies on the publication day for ‘Return to the Little Cottage on the Hill’. Thank you to Bookouture for the blog blitz invite and the ARC of the book – here is my review:

The climb up the hill takes her past sweet-smelling pink roses in full bloom and leads her to an utterly breathtaking view. Megan is happy to be home at last, but will her relationship have survived the journey? 

It has been a difficult few years for thirty-year-old Megan Forrester, completing her apprenticeship and trying to maintain a long-distance relationship with her gorgeous boyfriend, Liam.

She’s returned home to compete in a local craft competition. The prize is the chance to design beautiful new gates for the estate at the bottom of the hill, a job which could secure her future in the village forever.

As the contest gets underway, Megan is devastated when a rival design turns out to be almost identical to hers. Someone in the close-knit community must have leaked her sketches, but who? Is it the same person spreading heartbreaking rumours about Liam?

Down to the last few left in the competition, Megan throws her heart and soul into a show-stopping final piece… but will winning even matter when the truth about Liam is finally revealed?

What does TWG think?

‘Return to the Little Cottage on the Hill’ is book number three in the ‘Little Cottage’ series, and to be perfectly honest with you all, I don’t think I will ever get bored with this series. Selfishly, I wish it would continue as there is just something uber special about all of the characters in this series. This time round however, newcomer, Megan, is the star of the show as she attempts to fulfil her lifelong dream whilst also being faced with a very green competitor. To others, winning the competition would be a lovely thing, but to Megan, winning the competition will set her up for the rest of her life – especially as it will enable her to halt her long distance relationship by turning it into a regular distance one.

Megan may be the star of the show, but as ever, Clara and the rest of the gang make their presence known in a way that made my toes curl with warmth. Don’t get me wrong, this book is filled with drama, shattered relationships, newfound irregular heartbeats, and copious amounts of calorific treats, yet all of that makes ‘Return to the Little Cottage on the Hill’, my most favourite book of the series so far.

It became clear to me early on in the book that the author had written this book from her heart. I mean, you can’t just google emotions like the ones conveyed in this book and expect them to come across relatable if you don’t truly believe in them. Emma Davies clearly did and that meant that I was also able to believe in the heartache, the raw emotion, the loving relationships as well. Having read the series from the very first book, my opinion of Agatha wasn’t very positive. In fact I’d go as far to say that it was highly negative. However, without giving too much away, I will hold my hands up and say that my opinion has completely changed. Funny how things change, isn’t it?

This might sound daft, but it made a nice change to see relationships at Joy’s Acre turn upside down a little bit. Obviously I don’t wish sadness upon anyone, but I couldn’t quite help feeling as though the relationships between Maddie, Trixie and co, were too good to be true. Perhaps that’s even jealously on my part having never had such a close-knit bond like that before. Either way, the fact that several of the characters ended up being at loggerheads made their bond a lot more realistic and very relatable.

Like I said above, ‘Return to the Little Cottage on the Hill’ is my most favourite book of the series. I felt the warmth from the authors words. I felt the hugs being transferred between the words. But, most importantly, I felt the peace fall down over Joy’s Acre. None of that would have been possible if Emma Davies hadn’t believed in her characters, her storyline, or her words.

Full of warmth, love and a constant bought of hunger, ‘Return to the Little Cottage on the Hill’ is beautifully written, compassionate, and a book that can hug you from the inside out. Perfection.

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

After a varied career, Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous (and not necessarily true) anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: ‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty something mother of three.’ Well the job in the design studio didn’t work out but she’s now a forty something mother of three and is happy to report the rest of her dream came true.

After many years as a finance manager she now writes full time, and is far happier playing with words than numbers. She lives with her husband, three children, and two guinea pigs in rural Shropshire where she writes in all the gaps in between real life. It’s a county she adores, her love of its beautiful people and landscapes providing endless inspiration for her books, and in fact the only thing that would make Shropshire more idyllic is if it were by the sea. 

Pop over to her website www.emmadaviesauthor.com where, amongst other things, you can read about her passion for Pringles and singing loudly in the car. You can also wave to her on twitter @EmDaviesAuthor or find her on Facebook

arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · childrens books · Rararesources

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Beedog by Addie Broussard (@TwoUmbrellasPls), Illustrated by Joyeeta Neogi @RaRaResources

I would like to extend my apologies to RaRaResources and the author for the delay in my review, but a massive thank you for your patience. As part of the blog blitz, I am very excited to be reviewing ‘The Beedog’, a children’s educational book by Addie Broussard, illustrated by Joyeeta Neogi. Here is my review:


An award-winning picture book that will get little ones excited about science.

While building a unique sandcastle, Cora and Manny spot a rather curious insect.
Soon, the little scientists keep a watchful eye on the insect’s movements, while learning about the
natural environment along the way.

A great book for STEM education and home-school projects or just curious little ones who love
science. Book extras include fun, printable activities related to science learning and research.

What does TWG think?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this with my little girl, Eva, who has just turned five! Here is what Eva thought:

‘I thought it was funny when Manny fell on top of Luna! I wish my dog could dig as fast in the sand as the beedog did. I liked finding out about the beedog and all of the different wasps that are about – my favourite is the cuckoo wasp because its rainbowy ‘.

Hearing my little girl laugh out loud because of the sand and watching her eyes go wide when she realised that the beedog, or bembix rostrata as it’s scientifically called, was in fact a real thing. The illustrations were very clear, supporting the story with such colourful pictures, bringing the story to life one pixel at a time. I am going to be homeschooling my daughter and I will be using this book in her studies as thats how much I enjoyed it – I really do think children will benefit from the book as it isn’t overpowering at all. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that even I learnt something. I really do hope that I am able to find the other books to help further my daughter’s education when she starts homeschooling.

Such a lovely, educational book for children and parents alike.

Buy now from Amazon US
Buy now from Amazon UK

About the author.

Addie is an avid traveler, and once went on a solo journey to fifteen countries in one
year. When she encounters something unique, she writes about it. Her first published picture book,
The Beedog, is about a curious insect that she found in southern Portugal.
Addie began her writing journey when she was just nine years old, with a book called Doggienauts.
That book has been updated and is set for publication in 2018. Addie is originally from the United
States and is currently a full-time traveler. Home is where her suitcase is.

Illustrator Bio, Joyeeta Neogi

Joyeeta is a children’s book illustrator who has worked with international authors and publishers.
Her engagement with worldwide clients and multicultural themes has allowed her to create
captivating original animal and child characters. Her art captures the expressions, movements and
vibrancy of life within simple compositions to bring the author’s story to life. In her free time,
Joyeeta is busy with painting and music. She loves to paint in oil and acrylic, and has also developed
a passion for watercolor.

Social Media Links

Book resources at https://twoumbrellasplease.com

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

#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Wife Before Me by Laura Elliot (@Elliot_Laura) @Bookouture

A late one from TWG this evening, but I am delighted to be closing the blog tour for Laura Elliot and ‘The Wife Before Me’. Thank you to Bookouture for the blog blitz invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

One evening as the sun is setting, Amelia Madison’s car slides into the sea off Mason’s Pier. Her body is never found.

Two years later, Elena Langdon meets Nicholas Madison. She is grieving the loss of her mother, he is grieving for his wife. Together they can help each other.

Now Elena is living with Nicholas. But Elena doesn’t really know him. She doesn’t know what he is capable of.

And she doesn’t know what really happened to Amelia.

Until the day she discovers the torn page of a letter and the words she reads chill her to the bone. 

Elena must find the person who wrote these letters if she is to save herself.

What does TWG think?

Have you ever lived in someone’s shadow? No, I don’t mean setting up camp in a shadow of someone standing in front of you, I mean living your life with the past of an ex, looming over your head like a noose. Have you? I have, but not in the same extent as Elena. For one, the shadow I was living in was still breathing, whereas the shadow Elena is living in is, as far as everyone knows, is dead. Dealing with her own personal grief, Elena is trying very hard to come to terms with the loss of her mum, whilst also managing to catch the eye of a man who would later become her husband. A nice ending to a sad situation, right? Wrong….

‘The Wife Before Me’ has an incredibly hard-hitting theme running through it from start to finish. It isn’t pleasant, yet the author has done well by putting this particular topic at the forefront of her storyline. Yes, it will no doubt fill your body with goosebumps, and yes, some readers may find that they’re able to relate to it directly or indirectly, but its the sort of topic which needs to be discussed so that more people feel comfortable to open up about it without getting victimised when they do. I was very impressed by the way in which Laura Elliot handled the theme in her storyline, very impressed indeed.

I have to say that I was a little bit confused as one moment the storyline felt like a romantic novel, and then the next it was like WHAM, and the intensity went through the roof. I know that that might not sound so confusing to others, but the cross over between genre’s was tough to get my head around as there was no in between – it was either one or t’other. However, I thought the overall novel was very suspenseful and kept me on the edge of my seat. There was certainly a lot of grit to sink my teeth into, especially where Nicholas’ character was concerned.

All in all, ‘The Wife Before Me’ is an extremely promising read which highlights a very emotional subject. Even though I would have preferred the pace to be a little bit faster and not so staggered, I really did appreciate this page turner of a read due to the strong elements of suspense and intensity. Personally, this is my favourite book by Laura Elliot.

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Laura Elliot is an Irish novelist who writes psychological thrillers and lives in Dublin, Ireland. Her novels are: The Wife Before Me, Guilty, Sleep Sister, The Betrayal, Fragile Lies, Stolen Child and The Prodigal Sister. She has worked as a journalist and magazine editor

For more details check http://lauraelliotauthor.com/

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

#BlogTour! #Review – Keep Her Silent by Theresa Talbot (@theresa_talbot) @Aria_Fiction

I am very excited to be taking part in the blog tour for Theresa Talbot’s latest novel, Keep Her Silent. Now before anyone says about the date, I do apologise that I am a day late with my review as my illnesses rendered me unable to move last night. However, the review is here now so thank you Aria Fiction for the blog tour invite and the ARC.

Ooonagh ONeil is back with another dark and chilling investigation

“Do that which is good and no evil shall touch you”

That was the note the so-called Raphael killer left on each of his victims. Everyone in Glasgow investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil included remember the murder of three women in Glasgow which sent a wave of terror through the city. They also remember that he is still at large…

When the police investigation into the Raphael killings reopens, Oonagh is given a tip off that leads her straight to the heart of a complex and deadly cover-up. When history starts to repeat itself, it seems the killer is closer than she thinks. Could Oonagh be the next target…?

What does TWG think?

I am probably going to sound completely uneducated here, but until I had read ‘Keep Her Silent’, I had absolutely no idea about the blood scandal that went on in the seventies. Seeing as it literally was a world-wide scandal, I am rather shocked with myself for not knowing (okay, I wasn’t born then but still!). ‘Keep Her Silent’ may be predominantly fiction, but the author has used a real life, historical event in her storyline, which means that those parts of the book are based on true event that happened to real people. To be perfectly honest, that alone is shocking enough. I mean, I was absolutely gobsmacked by what the author was teaching me – how on Earth did it manage to stay under the radar for so long, and why hasn’t anyone got justice?

Aside from the blood element, ‘Keep Her Silent’ has a lot of things to keep readers interested! I won’t give anything away but Oonagh O’Neil is certainly a memorable and larger than life character, that’s for sure!

I adored the opening to ‘Keep Her Silent’! The seed was planted, the hook had done its job, and the seatbelt was secured ready to keep me safe on a ride of a lifetime. I’ll even go as far as saying that that opening was my favourite part of the book!

However (sorry!), I couldn’t help but feel as though the pace of the storyline dropped dramatically as the storyline progressed, before reaching its peak again towards the end. I thought that Theresa Talbot wrote about the scandal very well, being very clear and concise with all of the facts, whilst also keeping to the timeline of events. Very impressive. I also thought that the storyline contained such colourful characters who made the storyline weirdly entertaining. Whilst I enjoyed the overall premise of ‘Keep Her Silent’, I couldn’t help but feel as though there were too many pregnant pauses which were being padded out, even though the author was very clever at keeping her readers eyes glued to the page.

Overall, I found ‘Keep Her Silent’ to be an incredibly promising, interesting, and shocking read and, despite getting teased with little snippets of high intensity, I have everything crossed that Theresa Talbot goes even darker and full of more twists with her next novel – I’m looking forward to it!

Buy from Amazon // Kobo // iBooks

About the author.

Theresa Talbot is a BBC broadcaster and freelance producer. A former radio news editor, she also hosted The Beechgrove Potting Shed on BBC Radio Scotland, but for many she will be most familiar as the voice of the station’s Traffic & Travel. Late 2014 saw the publication of her first book, This Is What I Look Like, a humorous memoir covering everything from working with Andy Williams to rescuing chickens and discovering nuns hidden in gardens. She’s much in demand at book festivals, both as an author and as a chairperson.

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

#BlogTour! #Review – Keep You Safe by Rona Halsall (@RonaHalsallAuth) @Bookouture

Final day of the blog tour and I am delighted to be one of the bloggers closing the tour today. Big thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite. Here is my review:

What if trying to protect your child only put them in danger?

Natalie is desperate to find her little boy. It has been more than three years since she saw Harry. Three long years in prison for a crime she knows she didn’t commit.

But her husband believed the police, and took their son.

Who has gone to such great lengths to destroy Natalie’s life? Everyone she once trusted – friends, family, all the people close to her – what secrets do they hide?

If Natalie finds the truth, will she get Harry back, or lose him forever?

What does TWG think?

For a debut novel, ‘Keep You Safe’ is quite an impressive read. Natalie hasn’t seen her little boy since he was a baby, the very night the police came and arrested her in relation to the loss of a large sum of money. With no-one left in her corner to support her, Natalie leaves prison with only one thing on her mind – to find her boy. But, seeing as her husband is no longer fulfilling the ‘until death do us part’ line from his wedding vows, Natalie has to think outside of the box to try and get reunited with her son. However, someone is determined to make Natalie’s life a misery; who, and why?

‘Keep You Safe’ alternates between the past and the present, using Natalie’s voice to tell her story both before she was arrested, and afterwards. Like I said at the start, I was impressed by the book as I felt that the author did a brilliant job at sowing seeds of doubt, paranoia, and everything in-between. However, I did feel as though the storyline was awfully predictable which meant that I reached the climax long before the story had ended. Don’t get me wrong, I was still able to appreciate the intensity which lasted until the very last page, and I definitely appreciated the fact that the author incorporated both likeable and unlikeable characters into her storyline to keep things even more interesting.

Rona Halsall clearly knows what she is doing when it comes to writing, and for that reason alone I am very excited to see what the author brings out next.

A very promising, intense novel which, despite having the element of predictability, still left me looking over my shoulder with goosebumps all over my arms.

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Rona’s debut psychological thriller, Keep You Safe is out on 17th August and her second novelrona_halsall-095 copy will be out in November 2018.

Rona lives on the Isle of Man with her husband, two dogs and three guinea pigs. She has been a bookworm since she was a child and now she’s actually creating stories of her own, which still feels like a dream come true.

She is an outdoorsy person and loves stomping up a mountain, walking the coastal paths and exploring the wonderful beaches on the Island while she’s plotting how to kill off her next victim. She also makes sure she deletes her Google history on a regular basis, because… well, you can’t be too careful when you spend your life researching new and ingenious ways for people to die.

She has three children and two step-children who are now grown up and leading varied and interesting lives, which provides plenty of ideas for new stories!

Social Media Links:

To find out more about Rona’s novels, go to www.facebook.com/RonaHalsallAuthor or follow @RonaHalsallAuth on Twitter.

arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · headline books · lifestyle · RandomThingsTours

#BlogTour! #Review – How to Find Love in the Little Things by Virginie Grimaldi (@GinieGrimaldi) @HeadlinePG @AnneCater #LittleThings

I am very excited to be today’s stop on the #LittleThings blog tour. ‘How To Find Love in the Little Things’ by Virginie Grimaldi, is being published in paperback tomorrow. Big thank you to Anne Cater from #RandomThingsTours for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Headline for the ARC. Here is my review:

‘Welcome to Ocean View. You don’t know it yet, but you’ll be happy here…’

Julia’s not running away. Not exactly. She just needs a break from Paris and Marc and all the sad stuff that’s been going on lately. A little time to pull herself together.

The job offer felt like a lifeline. But now she’s back in Biarritz, suitcase in hand, she hasn’t the faintest idea what she was thinking.

What Julia doesn’t yet know is there’s more to the odds and ends of Ocean View than meet the eye. Behind the double doors lie broken hearts, lifelong secrets, a touch of romance and an unwavering passion for life. And sometimes it’s the most unlikely of places and people who help you find your way.

What does TWG think?

Oh! What a lovely little book this is! I had high for ‘How to Find Love in the Little Things’ as I fell in love with the cover straight away, and I had everything crossed that the inside of the book was going to be as captivating as the outside. I was right!

Julia has hit a point in her life where she either fights for something that’s not right, or she takes flight and starts afresh somewhere else in hope that she can find her true happiness again. I know, it does sound very easy, doesn’t it! With several months of heartbreak under her belt alongside a psychology degree, Julia thinks that she should be able to cope because her education says so, and because other people around her who are dealing with the same grief, are moseying on with their lives as though nothing compared. Like I say, Julia ‘THINKS’ that. Of course we all know that what we think isn’t always what’s actually happening. People deal with grief in completely different ways, and the only think that Julia should be telling herself instead of ‘deal with it’, is that ‘everyone is different’. Surely as a psychologist she must tell her clients that on a regular basis? Do as I say, not as I do, has never been more apt.

Ocean View – what a lovely name for a residential home! Even before the author allowed her readers to meet the residents of Ocean View, I couldn’t help but giggle as I hoped there would be a character just like my great-grandmother. You know, the sort of older lady who couldn’t give a flying youknowwhat, would do everything she wasn’t supposed to do, and would cause so much mischief it became what they were known for. THAT was my great-grandmother. A force to be reckoned with if you will. Whilst I’m not going to confirm or deny whether there was a character like my great-grandmother, Waddy, I couldn’t help but feel closer to her in the company of all of the residents at Ocean View.

Every single resident has their own story to tell, some with more devastation than others, yet each one relighting the fire in Julia’s belly with their outlook on life itself. I won’t lie, their stories certainly made me sit up and take notice. We all have a habit of worrying about things. We all have a habit of looking at a picture piece by piece, without taking a moment to stand back and look at the bigger picture. Is that bad? No, it’s not – we are all different. But, after listening to Louise, Miss Granny 2004, and even Clara, a little piece of me was able to find love in the little things. Some people may go and by a 50″ TV and be over the moon, despite shelling out several hundred pounds for the honour. Whereas someone else may receive a letter in the post from a friend, telling them that they were thinking of them. Two different outlooks of happiness, yet both are at different ends of the scale. It really is the little things in life that people remember the most. The memories. The smells. The smiles. The laughter. How many of us can honestly say that, when we think about our pasts, we think about all of the material gifts we received?

Virginie Grimaldi made me giggle with her wonderful character creations, but most importantly, this author made me feel humbled. She made me feel as though I was rich as the way in which she told her story, the author took things back to basics, making her readers feel with their hearts instead of their heads.

I really enjoyed ‘How to Find Love in the Little Things’, and I really do feel that a lot of people will be able to benefit from the heart-warming message that Virginie Grimaldi conveys throughout her book. If you’re ever in need of a hug, a confidence boost, or a kick up the tooshmanoosh – ‘How to Find Love in the Little Things’ will certainly point you in the right direction for all of that…and more.

An insightful, heart-warming, and poignant novel – everyone needs a little bit of Ocean View in their lives.

Buy now!

About the author.

Virginie Grimaldi grew up in Bordeaux and has wanted to be a writer
for as long as she can remember. She wrote her first novel aged eight in a green notebook with
multiplication tables in the back. It was about love and the sea and featured a thirty-page-long
sunset . . .

How to Find Love in the Little Things was first published in France in May 2016 and became an
instant bestseller, translated into multiple languages.

You can follow Virginie on Twitter: @GinieGrimaldi

aria fiction · book blogger · Coming Soon · cover reveal

#CoverReveal! ‘A Way Back Home’ by Alison Sherlock (@AlisonSherlock) @Aria_ Fiction

Weekly Wrap Up! (1)
First cover reveal of the week! Big thanks to Aria Fiction for asking me to be involved in the cover reveal for Alison Sherlock’s upcoming novel, ‘A Way Back Home’. I think that this is a beautiful little cover, and I hope you will like it too.

Here is the cover as well as a little bit more about the book incase you’re a blurb reader:

After recent heartbreak, Skye Jackson finds herself homeless and on the road with
only a classic Airstream trailer to her name. A surprise inheritance of a rundown little
lodge in the grounds of beautiful Willow Tree Hall forces her to change her plans.
However there is a problem…

The lodge is co-owned by care-free, playboy Will Harris, who finds himself
unemployed after a recent tabloid scandal. Syke desperately wants a home to call
her own and needs to move on as quickly as possible. Will doesn’t want to stay at his
family home either to face the ghosts of his past. So they decide to put aside their
differences and renovate the cottage together.

But when a storm hits, Skye and Will are forced to stay on to ensure that an
important wedding goes ahead. Can Skye finally find a home of her own? Can Will
stop running from his past and help out his family when they need him the most?
The magic of winter at Willow Tree Hall is about to change everything …

See, didn’t I tell you it was pretty!!? I don’t know about you, but I am rather looking forward to reading this one!

Weekly Wrap Up! (1)

#Simon & Schuster · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · lifestyle · real life · romance · womens fiction

#BlogTour! #MiniReview – #WhileIWasSleeping by Dani Atkins (@AtkinsDani) @simonschusteruk @TeamBATC

While I Was Sleeping Blog Tour Banner
Today is my stop on the #WhileIWasSleeping blog tour! It is very rare that I do this, but today instead of writing a full review for Dani Atkins’ soon to be published novel, I am writing a mini review. Why? Because I completely underestimated how much this book would shred my emotions, so much so I actually haven’t finished reading the book yet because I have had to take time to pause and gather my thoughts before continuing. Now, before anyone says anything about me reviewing a book that I haven’t finished, I would like to state that I am reviewing the parts of the book I have read, aka Part 1 and Part 2, therefore turning this into a mini review. I will also be writing another mini review once the book is completed. Thank you to Simon and Schuster for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my mini review for part one and part two:

What if someone else was living your happy ever after?

When Maddie wakes up in a hospital bed, she can’t remember anything about what happened to her or what has changed.

She just remembers she was about to be married and had everything to look forward to.
But it seems life has become a lot more complicated while she has been asleep …

What does TWG think?

I feel like I should be crying. I feel like I should be curled up in the foetus position, cuddling into my tear soaked pillow, waiting for someone to tell me, ‘it’s okay, it was only a dream’. Should I be concerned that when I look at my reflection in the mirror, a tear stained face isn’t staring back at me? You want to know something though? I am utterly, utterly broken. My emotions are a bit backwards, lets be honest. When I am devastated, heartbroken or similar, my body doesn’t release tears. In fact it doesn’t release anything. Why? Because it shuts down. My body shuts down to protect the rest of my emotions, my soul, and everything in-between. I guess to anyone who hasn’t read this book yet, or any of Dani Atkins’ other novels, you may think that I am being melodramatic. I’m not. Dan Atkins doesn’t just write stories about people who go to bed, wake up for work, and then go out on Friday nights to meet a partner of their dreams, just so that they can sit together every Saturday night to watch ‘oh what’s their name?!’ competing in Strictly Come Dancing. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that at all, yet this author fills her stories with raw, poignant, and naked emotion which will leave readers shivering due to unshed tears…

A bit like ‘While I Was Sleeping’.

Maddie was full of excitement. Hope. Love.

She had her whole future in front of her. Her marriage to her fiancé literally round the corner. A new life waiting for her to begin as the new ‘Mrs Turner’. Life can be cruel though, can’t it?

Forgive me for being vague here, but I owe it to the authors complex and beautiful storyline to be just that. Having been a fan of Dani Atkins’ writing for quite a while, nothing could have prepared me for what lay beneath the front cover of ‘While I Was Sleeping’. Nothing at all. And, you know what? I am so pleased that that happened as not only did I get a jaw dropping surprise, my reactions to the events within the story were one hundred percent natural and unguarded. We may think we know an authors writing style if we have read many of their books, but we don’t, and Dani Atkins proves that theory as, whilst her previous books were beautifully written, the calibre of ‘While I Was Sleeping’ went from strength to strength with every turn of the page.

You know, I struggled to even work out where real life ended and fiction began. Maddie’s life reached deep into my soul, allowing me to invest myself completely to her trials and tribulations, her fears, her worries, her hopes. ‘While I Was Sleeping’ wasn’t just a story to me, it was way more than that. I wanted to reach into the page and give Maddie a big hug, telling her that everything will be okay even though I had no idea if it would. I had high hopes that the puzzle pieces of her life will be put back together again – who wouldn’t? Dani Atkins, despite making me completely heartbroken, ensured that I kept the faith as the story progressed, sowing tiny seeds in other characters actions, ready for them to bloom in a later chapter.

‘While I Was Sleeping’ puts you in a position which you can only hope you would never, ever find yourself in, yet it also puts the reader in a safe, beautiful, and peaceful bubble thanks to the authors magnetic and enchanting story telling.

Dani Atkins is a one of a kind author who goes from strength to strength with every novel she writes, but with ‘While I Was Sleeping’, she has completely outdone herself and created a poignant, life affirming masterpiece which will not only stay in my mind for a considerably long time, it will also have a special place in my heart for the rest of my days. THIS is what its all about. THIS is why I love books. And THIS is definitely a one of a kind read – mesmerising and inspiring, ‘While I Was Sleeping’ is a book that I will forever treasure dearly.

Buy now!