#BlogTour! #Review – Four Christmases and a Secret by Zara Stoneley (@ZaraStoneley) @0neMoreChapter_ @RaRaresources

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Happy publication day to Zara Stoneley and ‘Four Christmases and a Secret’! I’m excited to be kicking off the blog tour today – thank you to Rachel for inviting me to take part, and of course to the publisher for the ARC. Here is my review:

Four Christmases and a Secret Cover

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Except for Daisy Christmas means another of Uncle T’s dreaded Christmas parties, complete with Christmas jumper and flashing antlers.  And Oliver Cartwright.  Gorgeous Oliver Cartwright. Who she hates.

Every year Daisy has to face insufferable Ollie and hear all about how BRILLIANT he is.  Whereas Daisy has no job, no man and no idea how to fix things.

This Christmas however Daisy is determined things will be different.  There will be no snogging Ollie under the mistletoe like when they were teenagers.  No, this year she’ll show Ollie that she’s a Responsible Adult too.

But as the champagne corks pop, and the tinsel sparkles, Uncle T has news of his own to share…and it could change Daisy’s life forever…

What does TWG think?

If you’re not getting ready for Christmas now….I want to know why! Surely Zara Stoneley’s new book has put you in the Christmas spirit in erm….September?! By the way, this cover is SO pretty!!! Simple yet extremely effective – I love it!

Now, I am a massive fan of Zara Stoneley’s books, so it absolutely pains me to say that I really struggled with 30-40% of this book. I thought the stepping stones to the story were there from the beginning, however I felt that the connection was very thin and the storyline didn’t have the same flawless, continuous vibe like many of her other books. I am well aware that there is a lot happening in the book, and often that can make things feel a little bit up in the air at times, that wasn’t the issue at all. In fact, I loved the randomness of Daisy’s character and the fact that she just dived head first into literally everything about her life. For me, it was the fact that there were snippets of events, issues, relationship drama etc, yet they seemed to lay there dormant and unconnected to the main storyline. That’s what I struggled with…..however….

wait for it……

Once I hit like 40% of the book, everything fell into place and I ended up falling head over heels in love with the book and what Zara Stoneley was trying to achieve. At the end of the book my cheeks were aching something chronic, and it turned out I was grinning like an absolute loon. I didn’t want Daisy’s story to end! I am so pleased that the jigsaw pieces came together eventually.

Daisy is such a bonkers character and I thought she was absolutely brilliant. She gave the book the element of surprise, the element of uniqueness, and ended up becoming a character I would love to meet again in another book. Honestly, she is hysterical and made ‘Four Christmases’ what it was. Well, her and Stanley….oh, and Uncle T. Oh my heart! Uncle T, what a legend! He reminded me of my Great Uncle Ted – a gentle giant who would do anything for anyone, yet also the type of person who would stand their ground if need be. I will hold my hands up and say that my eyes did leak a bit where he was concerned…..that’s all I’m saying on that matter though!

Back to Stanley. Another legend of the four legged variety! I love how Zara Stoneley always puts a doggy character in her books, and the way that she gives them such a memorable personality instead of being just a background ornament as it were. Stanley was as much of a character in the book as Daisy and Ollie were.

Daisy’s mum was a belter too – absolutely hilarious, cringeworthy and simply perfect! Even though there is a lot of hilarity in this book, there are also several discussions of topics on a deeper scale. That said, they are also written with a hint of hilarity….just to even things up a bit.

By the time I got to the end of the book, I couldn’t believe my reaction to the first part of it, but I am so glad that I trusted my judgement and Zara Stoneley’s writing as I ended up absolutely loving this book.

Zara Stoneley creates such hilarious, heartwarming storylines which are both memorable and unique; ‘Four Christmases and a Secret’ is no different. If you’re after a book which puts a unique spin on the festive season, bereavement and relationships, I would urge you to read this in a heartbeat. Another brilliant, brilliant book by an author who certainly knows her way around a pen and paper!

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

Zara Stoneley is the USA Today bestselling author of ‘The Wedding Date’.

She lives in a Cheshire village with her family, a lively cockapoo called Harry, and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat called Saffron.

Born in a small village in the UK, Zara wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up. After many (many) years, and many different jobs, her dream of writing a bestseller came true. She now writes about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hopes that her tales make you laugh a lot, cry a little, and occasionally say ‘ahhh’.

Zara’s bestselling novels include ‘Bridesmaids’, ‘No One Cancels Christmas’, ‘The Wedding Date’, ‘The Holiday Swap’, ‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’, ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ and the popular Tippermere series – ‘Stable Mates’, ‘Country Affairs’ and ‘Country Rivals’.

Visit Zara’s Website.

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#BlogTour! #Review – #FindingBlossomsintheDarkness by Simin Sarikhani (@FindingBlossoms) @Bookollective

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Bit of an emotional blog tour for you now, courtesy of Simin Sarikhani and ‘Finding Blossoms in the Darkness’. Thank you to Bookollective for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

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A deeply moving memoir of a mother’s journey through deepest loss to hope. Beautifully designed and produced, featuring the gorgeous illustrations of Lesley Buckingham. Publication supported by imaginative marketing and publicity campaigns from Cultureshock and Bookseller Rising Stars Bookollective.

A refugee from revolutionary Iran, Simin Sarikhani had fled her home, leaving all that she had to make a new life on the other side of the world. Although no stranger to life’s challenges, she would face none so great as the death of her only child, Zhubin, at the age of 21. This heartfelt account describes one mother’s journey through the unbearable pain of a child’s death to find what had seemed forever lost: hope, meaning, love and even joy.

Guided by the letters her son wrote to her to be read after his death, and his other insightful writings, Simin was able to find light in the darkness. In this book, she shares not only her own story but also Zhubin’s simple words, with the wish that they may also bring some comfort to other bereaved parents. Simin Sarikhani was born in Iran, and now divides her time between London and Montreal. Finding Blossoms in the Darkness is her first book.

What does TWG think?

Just as I was getting ready to write this blog post, ‘Footprints in the Sand’ by Leona Lewis, came on Youtube. I don’t think my background music, while I’m typing this, could be more apt!

I’m not going to sit here and say that this is an easy read, because it’s far from it. I’m also not going to sit here and say that I read it in one fell swoop either, because I didn’t. To be honest with you all, ‘Finding Blossoms in the Darkness’ isn’t a book that can be read cover to cover, not unless you’re going to read through eyes like waterfalls and a nose like a fountain. Not a pretty image really, is it! However, this book is pretty….pretty emotive and pretty poignant. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain that Simin felt when she lost her son, Zhubin, It takes a lot of courage, and a lot of strength to be able to put those emotions into words for other people, especially strangers, to read.

I won’t lie, I became incredibly emotional reading ‘Finding Blossoms’, both for Simin, the boy she lost, and for all of the other people in the world who have had to deal with something similar. Life isn’t fair at all, but the fact that Simin chose to share her grief alongside feelings of hope, love, and poignancy was incredibly moving. A breath of fresh air if you will. Everyone deals with grief in different ways, there’s no right or wrong way of how somebody approaches and digests those feelings. I want to thank Simin for choosing to share her story with the world. I want to thank her for sharing the heartache, the loss, the feelings of despair. I want to thank her for sharing the love for her son, a love that will never, ever go away.

‘Finding Blossoms in the Darkness’ may be a memoir about Simin’s own personal loss, however it is also a book which will no doubt give other bereaved parents, or members of the family, the strength to breathe.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review – #TheBearInTheFifthFloorFlat by #JohnFoley, illusion by Alice Hawthorn @quizzicalworks @Midaspr @mencap_charity

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Many thanks to Amber from Midas Pr for the invitation to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Bear in the Fifth Floor Flat’ by John Foley, illustrated by Alice Hawthorn. All profits from the sales of this book will be donated to Mencap. Here is my review:

Book Jacket

All profits from sales of this book will go to Mencap, the UK’s leading charity for people with a learning disability.

The Bear in the Fifth Floor Flat is a moving, magical and charming tale exploring love, loss and happiness through the lens of a little girl and her extraordinary bear, teaching children the importance of change and how to recognise complex notions like grief.

For young Ruthie and her dog Scruffy the days are full of fun and laughter – until certain events change everything, and it seems that Ruthie will never be happy again. But fate can also be kind, and the sudden arrival of an extraordinary teddy bear begins to restore her happiness – and to save her life just in time for Christmas.

Inspired by a rather strange-looking teddy bear gifted to his wife by her 97-year-old father, so she had something to hug when he was gone, John will donate all profits from this book to charity. As the son of a neurologist who specialised in cerebral palsy, John often heard his father speak about Mencap and their invaluable work for people with a learning disability. Also, a very close friend who encouraged John to start writing, was, as a result of a deadly illness at an early age, deeply affected by a learning disability.

What does TWG think?

It makes a change to be reviewing a children’s book on the blog today, it’s not something that happens very often! As soon as I heard that John Foley’s book was associated with learning disability charity, Mencap, I knew that I wanted to put the book on my blog as it’s for such a brilliant cause.

I read ‘The Bear in the Fifth Floor Flat’ to my daughter before bed, however I never excepted her to burst into tears at the loss of a particular four legged character. Now, my little girl is an animal lover and was over the moon to find that the book contained a scruffy little dog called, erm, Scruffy. I had absolutely no idea that the poor pooch would have a limited staring role in the book! Personally, I cannot see the association between Scruffy and the rest of the book and, whilst I am very well aware that learning about grief is a very important part of life, I did feel as though that was a little bit too cut throat…especially as there are different types of grief and Ruthie was about to embark on a journey which contained one of those types.

Now I’ve expressed that, Measly was a lovely little addition to the story, as was the character ‘Mrs Nosey’ which had my daughter giggling as she loved the name! I thought the storyline involving the teddy was incredibly cosy and enjoyable bedtime read. Kudos to John Foley for including the topic of separation also. A topic that was very sensitively dealt with, and simply written for children to get their heads around in their own little way.

‘The Bear in the Fifth Floor Flat’ also included a little short story at the end called ‘Once bitten…Twice’. I know that this review isn’t about the short story, but can I just say what a hilarious little read that was!

Overall, my little girl Eva, enjoyed the story of ‘The Bear in the Fifth Floor Flat’, and now wants her own stripey hat like Uncle Ted!

Buy from Amazon UK.

#BlogTour! #AuthorInterview with Carol Rivers, author of #ChristmasChild (@carol_rivers) @rararesources

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This afternoon I am delighted to be chatting to the author of ‘Christmas Child’, Carol Rivers. Before we get down to business, here is a little bit more about Carol’s book, as well as the all important ‘to buy’ links:

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Christmas Day, London 1880
Snow falls … a dying Irish girl clutching her new-born baby drags herself to the sanctuary of an East End orphanage and throws herself on the mercy of the Sisters of Clemency. The nuns raise little Ettie O’Reilly as their own and provide her with the love and education she might never have had. But the lives of the nuns and orphans are soon crushed by a powerful and greedy bishop.

The heart-breaking outcome separates Ettie from her friends and family, luring her into a world of male dominance and the fickle nature of intimate relationships. In her naivety, with her faith in the goodness of human nature severely tested, she doesn’t know who to trust. And when the boy who has promised his undying love and loyalty betrays her, Ettie’s world starts to crumble.

She must finally accept the hard-hitting truth – happiness comes at a cost! Does she have the courage and wisdom to face the demons she long ago learned about from the Sisters of Clemency? Will the resolution of an undiscovered and painful secret be her making – or breaking?

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

“Were there’s muck there’s money!” If my family had a royal crest I’m sure those are
the words that would have been hewn into the stone above it.
Mum and Dad were both East Enders who were born on the famous or should I say the then infamous Isle of Dogs. They were costermongers selling fruit, veg and anything else that would stand still long enough!

Their family were immigrants who travelled to the UK from Ireland and France, while others emigrated to America. As a child I would listen to the adults spinning their colourful stories, as my cousins and I drank pop under the table.

I know the seeds of all my stories come from those far off times that feel like only yesterday. So I would like to say a big heartfelt thank you to all my family and ancestors wherever you are now …UK, Ireland, France or America, as you’ve handed down to me the magic and love of story telling.

Carol’s Website

TWG sits down to talk to Carol Rivers….

 Have you always been a writer?
I think it’s safe to say I’ve always been a storyteller. It’s in the
genes! A huge cockney family, a tribe of East Enders, survivors
of the Blitz, evacuees, totters, costermongers, seamstresses,
dockers, factory workers, you name it – the stories were told! I
gradually transferred the family secrets to the writing, then to
technology and then to books.

 Have you been published for long?
I’m lucky enough to have been part of the traditional publishing
industry for many years. Hales, D.C. Thompson, Mills and
Boon, the lovely Magna who publish my books in audio and
large print and my current traditional publisher Simon &
Schuster. However, I’m now known as a hybrid author,
independently publishing in a brand new world on Amazon –
and loving it!

You say “the lovely Magna” – why is this?
I’ve been with Magna for well over a decade and have never
known them to produce less than the perfect product. Their
liaison with authors is second to none, the artwork and covers
exemplary. But above all, these wonderful publishers provide
books and audios for our precious libraries, the lifeblood of our
reading communities. The ailing or blind can listen to audio, the
short-sighted like me can read large print. What a joy!

What are your most memorable books?
Without doubt, Christmas to Come, my single ebook, and Lizzie
Flowers and the Family Firm. Two (as the late great Jackie
Collins would say) feisty heroines who kick ass! Though I qualify that by saying this year’s book CHRISTMAS CHILD has
blown me away. My first Victorian novel, a coming of age saga
that I have so enjoyed writing. I plan to take the heroine, Ettie
O’Reilly, into a series.

What made you decide to write in the Victorian era?
I wanted a fresh challenge and a new kind of leading character
and when Ettie O’Reilly made her presence known in a dream –
many writers will tell you a dream spurs them on – and I saw her
little figure almost lost on the streets of the East End, calling out
for life and love, that was it. I was off!

 Do you write a certain amount of words in a day and have
you a strict regime of writing?
I’m often asked this, but all I can say is, I begin writing by
reading a fav book, just a few minutes – Edwin Drood at the
moment and I’m lost in an opium den! Inspired, refreshed and
invigorated, I’m off into my own story. I couldn’t tell you how
much or how long I write – I don’t like rules and don’t stick to
them. But I always write a book in nine months and publish one
a year. Slow in comparison to some, but I get there.

Can you give a description of CHRISTMAS CHILD?
Indeed I can.
CHRISTMAS CHILD is my 2019 Victorian romance, a perfect
Dickensian saga for Christmas.
The story begins: Christmas Day, London 1880. Snow falls … a
dying Irish girl clutching her new-born baby drags herself to the
sanctuary of an East End orphanage and throws herself on the
mercy of the Sisters of Clemency. The nuns raise little Ettie
O’Reilly as their own, but the lives of the nuns and orphans are soon crushed by an unscrupulous bishop. The heart-breaking
outcome turns Ettie’s life upside down and Christmas will never
mean the same again.

So you’re back on the mean Streets of East London?
The story opens in Poplar, East London, but takes a turn to
Soho, another absolutely fascinating hamlet of the city in the
late 1800’s. I loved the diversion, but fate has a way of
interrupting the best laid plans and it’s no different for my lovely
leading lady, little orphan, Ettie O’Reilly, who finds herself
caught up in a desperate flight for survival.

 If you could give advice to anyone wanting to write, what
would it be?
One word – read! If your read lots you can write lots. Read every
spare moment. Get into the heads of the characters. Examine
the plots. Notice the crunchy dialogue and how the writer uses it
to convey information that doesn’t end up in long boring
paragraphs of narrative. Lean new words, punchy, fresh
adjectives, hard-hitting verbs and watch for the stomach-
blipping tension. Have hundreds of holes for your main
character to fall into, just as in the books you read that turn you
on. READ. READ MORE. READ EVERY DAY and love
reading.

And last of all, Carol, what do you do to relax?
Other than reading, it’s all about nature. Walking, watching
birds, being part of this amazing universe and breathing the
fresh air. We live by a river and walk its banks or go to the sea
and the cliffs. The water, the fields, the trees, the wild animals,
the sky and the great beyond; bring it all on I say!

Good luck with CHRISTMAS CHILD Carol.

Thank you so much TWG for this
opportunity to connect! Love Carol XX

#CoverReveal! #IDareYou by Sam Carrington (@sam_carrington1) @AvonBooksUK

Are you a fan of the ‘Bad Sister’ that is, Sam Carrington? Of course you are!! ‘I Dare You’ to read her books….

Especially as her newest one is called ‘I Dare You’, and I am delighted to be helping Sam and Avon to reveal the cover this afternoon!

Take a look at this!!!

AN INNOCENT GAME. A SHOCKING CRIME. A COMMUNITY FULL OF SECRETS.

Mapledon, 1989
Two little girls were out playing a game of dares. Only one returned home.
The ten-year-old told police what she saw: village loner Bill ‘Creepy’ Cawley dragged her friend into his truck and disappeared.
No body was found, but her testimony sent Cawley to prison for murder. An open and shut case, the right man behind bars.
The village could sleep safe once again.

Now…
Anna thought she had left Mapledon and her nightmares behind but a distraught phone call brings her back to face her past.
30 years ago, someone lied. 30 years ago, the man convicted wasn’t the only guilty party.
Now he’s out of prison and looking for revenge. The question is, who will he start with?

Geez!! Anyone else get goosebumps on their arms after this?! You can pre-order your copy right now from Amazon! Publication date is the 12th December!

#BlogTour! #Review – Coming Home to Glendale Hall by Victoria Walters (@Vicky_Walters) @HeraBooks @rararesources #PublicationDay

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Many congratulations to Victoria Walters on the publication of ‘Coming Home to Glendale Hall’! For those people who aren’t sure about reading Christmas books before December, I can assure you that this book is worth that commitment! Thank you to Hera for the ARC and to Rachel for the blog tour invite, here is my review:

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No matter how far you go, home is where the heart is…

Beth Williams hasn’t been home for ten years. After falling pregnant at sixteen, she ran away from the imposing Scottish estate where she grew up rather than risk her family’s disapproval, working hard to build a life for herself and daughter Isabelle – but now she’s finally returning to Glendale Hall.

As Beth tries to mend her broken family ties, and fights to bring the community of Glendale back together, she realises that the story she has told herself for a decade might well be a very different one from the truth. Even though she ran from Glendale it has never left her heart. And, she soon realises, neither has Drew – Beth’s first love.

Will Beth be able to forgive her mother and grandmother (and herself) for what happened ten years ago? What will Drew say when he discovers the secret she’s been keeping from him for so long? Can a festive trail bring the village back together?

Will Christmas work its magic on Glendale – or will Beth be forced to run away from it all over again?

What does TWG think?

Do not be fooled by the incredibly beautiful, festive, cosy looking cover on this book! I’m not saying that the book isn’t any of that, it is, it’s just I underestimated just how much the story would pack a punch due to the cover. I was expecting a calm, rockin’ round the Christmas tree type of book, and instead I got a story which resonated with me on multiple levels and had my eyes feeling like snowflakes had melted on them. In other words, I ended up quite emotional towards the end.

Can you honestly tell me that you don’t feel the same when you look at the cover?! Massive kudos to the cover designer at Hera for their wonderful job though, it is such a stunner. Like I say, don’t be fooled though, there is so much more to ‘Coming Home to Glendale Hall’ than snow and snowmen. Trust me!

The author set the scene by describing Beth’s predicament, as she made her way back to her childhood home after ten long years away. What made Beth stay away for ten years? Why was she so nervous to cross the threshold again? The author divulged the answers to those questions quite slowly throughout the book, and at the same time we are made aware that the cracks in various relationships run a lot deeper than originally thought. Again, readers don’t know the reason for that until a little later on in the story. Of course, I won’t lie, I found it frustrating to be drip fed the information, however that was my own impatience letting me down. There was a very good reason as to why the author planned the story that way, and it did work. It made the truth have more of an intense impact that I don’t think would have been there had things been revealed earlier on.

I said above that I resonated with the story, and that is definitely true. Beth is a single mum, like me, and usually when single parents are mentioned in books, I get rather nervous due to the way that they are represented. Seriously, are we still in medieval times?! Thankfully (and I could hug the author for this), she wrote about single mothers like they should be written; like humans. We aren’t horrible people. We don’t deserve to be ridiculed for bringing up our children single handedly, whether its our choice to or not. I really appreciated how Beth was portrayed both as a mother and as a woman in her own right, and I’m sure that a lot of single parents will agree with me when I say THANK YOU for doing that.

‘Coming Home to Glendale Hall’ is a bit like Pandora’s box, except Christmassy….maybe it’s like a Christmas Eve Box. Anyway, several of the characters seemed to be holding the keys to their own boxes which held the answers to their secrets, and I’m sure that deep down, all of them knew that once those boxes were open, there would be no turning back.

There really wasn’t. I was shocked by the actions of several of the characters – I was angry for Beth and Isabelle! I know that my anger towards certain actions means absolutely diddly squat, but I just couldn’t help it. I really don’t know how the particular characters involved (yes, I’m not naming names) lived with themselves. I know that they had their own reasons, but just like the author makes abundantly clear via Beth, it wasn’t their choice to make. Not in the slightest.

‘Coming Home to Glendale Hall’ really gave me the chills (and no, I don’t mean because it was snowing in the book!), and it certainly gave me all the feels! Throughout the book I felt like I was at home, joining forces with a family who only wanted the best for each other, yet their communication left a lot to be desired. I loved being able to lose myself in the community spirit and being able to find my inner child again as Isabelle got excited for Christmas. You cannot beat the excitement of a child at Christmas, watching their eyes light up when seeing snow or the pretty lights. It may be something small, however things like that really do put things in perspective and I was so pleased to see that happen for Beth.

Victoria Walters, once again, writes a story with so much heart in it, I couldn’t help but wonder how much of the book had been inspired by her own life. I adored the beautiful story telling, the outstanding seasonal descriptions and attention to detail, but most of all I adored the poignant and emotional underlying message of the entire story. We only die once, yet we live every single day – don’t live with regrets. Oh, and you can never have too many Christmas lights! Just beautiful.

Buy now from Amazon.
Buy from Apple.
Buy from Kobo

About the author.

Victoria Walters writes up-lifting and inspiring stories. Her moving debut novel THE SECOND LOVE OF MY LIFE was chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent and shortlisted for an RNA award. Victoria was also picked as an Amazon Rising Star. Her heart-warming new novel SUMMER AT THE KINDNESS CAFE is available to download now.

As well as being an author, Victoria also works as a Waterstones bookseller and buys far too many books there. She lives in Surrey with her cat Harry (named after Harry Potter). Victoria is not only obsessed with books but loves buying slogan tops, mugs and notebooks, and posting them all on Instagram.

You can discover more about Victoria – and find pictures of Harry the cat – by following her on Instagram at @vickyjwalters, on Twitter at @Vicky_Walters or by visiting her blog at:https://victoria-writes.com/.

#BlogTour! #Review – #IntimateStrangers by Lasairiona McMaster (@QueenOfFireLas) @RaRaResources

Many thanks to RaRaResources for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘Intimate Strangers’, as well as the ARC. I am delighted to be kicking off the tour with a review.

Is there such a thing as too perfect?

Lisa Millar wasn’t supposed to fall in love with a guy on the Internet. But she did.

Other than living over five thousand miles away in America, AJ Williams is seemingly her perfect match. Strikingly handsome, musically talented, plays hockey and has a typical college-guy life.

In a moment of carpe diem, Lisa flies from Ireland to Alabama to surprise her internet-beau and finds herself face to face with an inconceivable reality that she couldn’t possibly have prepared for.

How well can you truly know someone you meet online?

Will true love win out, or will AJ’s secret life be too much for Lisa to bear?

What does TWG think?

I don’t quite know what I was expecting with ‘Intimate Strangers’, but what I got certainly wasn’t it, and no I don’t mean that negatively! This isn’t your ‘typical’ romance novel by any means, yet it has a lot of lovey dovey situations throughout the book which again, completely surprised me by the route they took.

‘Intimate Strangers’ has that YA vibe about it due to the ages of the main characters and where they are in their lives, ie college and what not. With that in mind, I was a little bit confused by how the storyline went from having a YA vibe, to having the adult vibe with a lot more mature decisions being made. Now I’m not saying that young adults are immature, not at all. In fact, some can actually be more mature than a lot of adults. What I’m meaning is that the intended audience varied instead of staying consistent with the characters. This meant that at times I felt that the main characters were coming across rather immature with the way that they presented themselves and their choices. If the storyline had remained a bit consistent, I dont think I would have thought that.

As I said before, there is a lot of love in this story! Long distance love and one that is found online of all places. Lisa plucks up the courage to travel to the other side of the world to meet a guy she has only spoken to online, never met. She put her trust in what AJ said, hoping that he was indeed telling the truth, and he had put his trust in Lisa. What happens next is a journey of life discovery, self discovery, and finding out just how deep their love for one another is.

I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed reading ‘Intimate Strangers’! Despite feeling as though several parts of the story were a bit top far fetched, I ended up becoming hooked on Lisa and AJ’s story, especially when their new relationship went through something no-one should ever have to witness, or go through themselves. The friendship groups both Lisa and AJ had were simply wonderful to see so, whilst the storyline had romance in it, the author was also telling the story of another kind of love, the type you only find in friendships.

‘Intimate Strangers’ has such a hilarious vibe to it and, all in all, I thoroughly enjoyed walking alongside Lisa and AJ on their various journeys. Im so looking forward to seeing what else is in store for this couple!

Buy from Amazon UK

Buy from Amazon US

#BlogTour! #Review – #ChristmasEveryDay by Beth Moran (@BethCMoran) @BoldwoodBooks

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Thank you so much to Boldwood Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for this festive delight, ‘Christmas Every Day’ by Beth Moran, and for an ARC of the book as well. Christmas seems to be getting earlier and earlier each year but if you’re anything like Beth Moran and her characters, would you wish that it could be ‘Christmas Every Day’? I hope you enjoy my review as much as I enjoyed the book:

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When Jenny inherits her estranged grandmother’s cottage in Sherwood Forest, she has nothing to lose – no money, no job, no friends, no family to speak of, and zero self-respect. Things can only get better…

Her grumpy, but decidedly handsome new neighbour, Mack, has a habit of bestowing unsolicited good deeds on her. And when Jenny is welcomed into a rather unusual book club, life seems to finally be getting more interesting.

Instead of reading, the members pledge to complete individual challenges before Christmas: from finding new love, learning to bake, to completing a daredevil bucket list. Jenny can’t resist joining in, and soon a year of friendship and laughter, tears and regrets unfolds in the most unexpected ways.

What does TWG think?

‘Oh I wish it could be Christmas, every dayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.’

Do you? Do you really? I couldn’t handle the expense or the amount of food! Surely there would need to be some ground rules put in place before things got out of hand? Or am I thinking too deeply about something that actually won’t happen…..

Anyway, Jenny has to start her life again. Well, not quite. I mean, she can’t exactly go back where she came from and ask her mother to give birth to her again now can she? She does require a brand new start though after things got severely out of hand in her old job. I so wish I could divulge what happened as it is an absolute BELTER! But I can’t, because I would be in trouble. Soz……

So, in the quest to find her new start, Jenny goes to live in a cottage which hasn’t seen anyone live in it for many, many years. Seriously, you cannot count the copious amounts of rats that have taken over the house!

Jenny is STUBBORN! Not just a teensy bit stubborn so it’s slightly endearing, she’s stubborn to the point where you want to shout at her to accept help. I know that there are people who prefer to do things themselves without feeling like they owe anybody anything if they received help, I get that, I’m a stubborn ahem too. But come on, how often would you get a neighbour who seems to be a Jack of all trades, offering his services? Mind out of the gutter…

The community spirit in this book is phenomenal. I loved how everyone was there for one another, whether they had known them briefly or not, they just didn’t turn anybody away. If one person had something they no longer needed but someone so desperately needed that item, they would give it to them no questions asked. How lovely is that? I can’t even get my brother to share his cheese and onion crisps with me and I’ve known him 29 years! RUDE!

I lapped up every inch of this book, losing myself in the wonderful personalities of the characters, the emotive actions of certain characters, Jenny included, and the hilarity behind the overall storyline.

I went into ‘Christmas Every Day’ thinking that I was going to be faced with a typical romantic novel (not that there’s anything wrong with that of course), but instead I ended up reading a book which not only has romance by the bucketloads, it also has a subplot which literally moved me to tears. I wasn’t expecting to be blindsided by the details of bullying, health, regrets, secrets, and strength, however that is exactly what happened and wow, all of it completely blew me away.

I LOVED how unique the storyline was, and I adored how every little path came together to create a storyline that was full of multiple, beautiful journeys all incased under one umbrella; hope.

‘Christmas Every Day’ is as glittery as a Christmas tree after your three year old has decorated it.
As funny as your family member channelling their inner Santa Claus for the younger families (ridiculous Ho-Ho-Ho included).
As emotive as hearing yet another Cliff Richard Christmas song on the radio….
And as brilliant as watching young children get excited about their presents on Christmas morning.

Whether you’ll find yourself on the ‘Naughty’ or ‘Nice’ list this Christmas, ‘Christmas Every Day’ has found itself on my ‘top reads of 2019’ list. I absolutely adored it.

Buy now!

#MorcambeandVice #BlogTour! #Review – #WhatLiesBuried by Margaret Kirk (@HighlandWriter) @BOTBSPublicity @MorecambeVice

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Many thanks to Sarah at BOTBSPublicity for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘Morcambe and Vice’, where I will be reviewing ‘What Lies Buried’ from one of the attendees to the festival, Margaret Kirk. Thanks go to the author for the copy to read also. Before I begin my review, here is a link to the Morecambe and Vice website, where you’ll be able to find out more about the crime writing festival, as well as the details about tickets and such:

Midland Announce
Click here to find out more:

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A missing child. A seventy-year-old murder. And a killer who’s still on the loose.

Ten year-old Erin is missing; taken in broad daylight during a friend’s birthday party. With no witnesses and no leads, DI Lukas Mahler races against time to find her. But is it already too late for Erin – and will her abductor stop at one stolen child?

And the discovery of human remains on a construction site near Inverness confronts Mahler’s team with a cold case from the 1940s. Was Aeneas Grant’s murder linked to a nearby POW camp, or is there an even darker story to be uncovered?

With his team stretched to the limit, Mahler’s hunt for Erin’s abductor takes him from Inverness to the Lake District. And decades-old family secrets link both cases in a shocking final twist.

What does TWG think?

‘What Lies Buried’ is the second instalment in the DI Lukas Mahler series. I haven’t read the first book, ‘Shadow Man’, but I found this book alright to read as a standalone. That said, I think I probably would have benefited from knowing more of the backstory of the characters before reading the second book.

With the storyline being centred around the disappearance of a young child, the entire book has such a dark and uncertain vibe to it which made me both uncomfortable and weirdly addicted. It’s always difficult to read storylines where young children go missing or are murdered, I’m not going to lie!

‘What Lies Buried’ is my first book by Margaret Kirk and I have to say that I was very impressed by the authors attention to detail when it came to describing the case, as well as the emotions of all of those involved.

I thoroughly enjoyed following the police procedural side of the book, and I found the characters to be such a colourful and gregarious bunch. This isn’t a fast paced novel at all due to the content of the book, however the slow and steady pace works.

Definitely an intriguing and dark Scottish thriller!

Buy now.

I cannot believe I’m on the blog tour for THE @Cecelia_Ahern and #Postscript! Check out my review here! @HCinIreland @fictionpubteam #PSILoveYou

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I cannot believe that I am today’s stop on the blog tour for THE Cecelia Ahern! Wow, it is such an honour to be involved in the tour – thank you so much to FictionPubTeam for the blog tour invite, and for the utterly beautiful proof copy (I even ordered myself a signed copy from Waterstones!! Order your own signed copy here.). I have no idea whether I will be able to do this book justice, but here is my review of the sequel to PS.I Love You, Postscript:

Postscript
It’s been seven years since Holly Kennedy’s husband died – six since she read his final letter, urging Holly to find the courage to forge a new life.
 
She’s proud of all the ways in which she has grown and evolved. But when a group inspired by Gerry’s letters, calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, approaches Holly asking for help, she finds herself drawn back into a world that she worked so hard to leave behind.
 
Reluctantly, Holly beings a relationship with the club, even as their friendship threatens to destroy the peace she believes she has achieved. As each of these people calls upon Holly to help them leave something meaningful behind for their loved ones, Holly will embark on a remarkable journey – one that will challenge her to ask whether embracing the future means betraying the past, and what it means to love someone forever…

What does TWG think?

Oh my goodness me. It’s been fifteen years since ‘PS.I Love You’ was originally published. Never in a million years did I think that fifteen years down the line, Cecelia Ahern would write a sequel to the book that became a number one bestseller in multiple countries, AND end up being made into a major film starring Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, Harry Connick JR, and Kathy Bates…to name a few. I cannot even remember when I first sat down to read ‘Ps.I Love You’, however it is one of the few books that I have read more than twice.

When it became public knowledge that a sequel was in the works, I literally could no contain my excitement! I mean, the first book broke my heart – how could Cecelia Ahern up the ante on that? Plus, with sequels, it’s often a worry that they can end up ruining the vibe of the serial – Postscript did not ruin anything. In fact, I would even go as far to say that it was even more incredible than its predecessor.

If you haven’t read ‘Ps.I Love You’, I would highly recommend reading it before you get stuck into ‘Postscript’ as a lot of things will not make sense if you just go into the second book blind.

So, to ‘Postscript’….

I was advised to keep tissues by my side whilst I read the book. I ignored the advice.
I was told that I would probably cry. I shrugged my shoulders and thought ‘no way’.
I was told to be prepared for an emotional read. Again, I ignored that.
Again, I was told to have a pack of tissues handy because I would be needing them. I didn’t think that I would need them…

I bloody needed them. I needed a gigantic pack of tissues and then some. I honestly thought that I would be able to read the entire book unscathed – how wrong was I! By the time I had 56 pages of the book left, I had sobbed my heart out FOUR TIMES, yet I had also burst out laughing several times too. Yes, ‘Postscript’ is an extremely emotional read. Yes, it’s devastating in parts, and yes, it smashed my heart into smithereens. However, it was also beautiful. Poignant. Powerful.

‘Postscript’ tells the story of Holly’s life after Gerry’s death seven years prior. To the outside world, Holly has moved on. To Holly, she feels guilty for living her life without Gerry by her side, even though she has no choice. When her sister, Ciara, asks for her help with her podcast, Holly can’t quite shift the sinking feeling in her gut. Part of her thinks that she shouldn’t delve into the emotions that have taken seven years to come to terms with, yet another part of her thinks that it would do her good to talk about Gerry’s death. Never in a million years did Holly ever think that Gerry’s actions would end up inspiring other people, yet they did. They ended up inspiring a group of strangers who begin to embark on their own journeys with different expiry dates; expiry dates that are currently unknown but they all have one thing in common – they want to leave a part of themselves for their loved ones…with Holly’s help.

Obviously I’m not going to go into detail about those journeys, Holly’s included, however I will say that all of the characters in this book had their own stories to tell which completely blew me away on various different levels. The poignancy behind their lives, who they loved, and what they wanted to achieve, was just so emotional and moving. It was so hard to just sit and watch certain things happening to people who didn’t deserve it. I wanted to reach inside of the book and make everything okay, but I couldn’t. Clearly. The thing is, even if I could have done something to make it all okay, it wouldn’t have been realistic. Thousands upon thousands of people go through things similar to the characters in this book, and thousands upon thousands of people wish they could become a superhero and make everything okay. The reality of that though, is that it isn’t reality and often that can be the hardest thing to accept.

As I said above, I sobbed my heart out a total of FIVE times by the end of the book. I was so overwhelmed by Cecelia Ahern’s beautiful words and the way in which she made every character have a voice. Ahern didn’t gloss over anything, pretending that life was all rosy and that everything would magically be fine. Instead, she told the story of life for what it was; a journey of existence. A journey of power. A journey of emotional. A journey of constant memories.

It doesn’t feel as though fifteen years have passed since Holly and Gerry entered our lives, especially as ‘Postscript’ just continues the story as though there has never been a break between books.

‘Postscript’ is the most humbling, empowering, beautifully written novel I have EVER read. Cecelia Ahern has a timeless beauty about her, with a writing style that goes beyond anything I have ever come across before.

There comes a point in your life where you read a book which fills your body with fizzy emotion, empowering knowledge, poignant hope, and the ability to witness life in all of its glory – ‘PostScript’, for me, is that book.

Buy now from Amazon.