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

One Day in December BLOG TOUR BANNER (1)

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

One morning in December…

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

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

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

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

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

What does TWG think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks Aria Fiction & Netgalley.

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

About the author

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

Follow Shari

Website: www.sharilow.com
Twitter: @ShariLow

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#BlogTour! #Review – The Girls of Mulberry Lane by Rosie Clarke @Aria_Fiction

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1938, Mulberry Lane, London. War is looming, but on Mulberry Lane there are
different battles being fought… Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries and Cathy Sharp.

Maureen Jackson is a prisoner of her father’s blackmail. Three years earlier, she’d
been hoping to marry Rory, the man of her dreams. However, after her mother’s
death, she was left to care for her overbearing father. Now Rory is back in London
with a pregnant wife in tow to remind Maureen of the life that should have been
hers.

As war threatens, Janet Ashley hopes to marry her sweetheart Mike, but her father
refuses to grant them his blessing. Defying his wishes, Janet finds herself pregnant
and her mother Peggy is determined to hold her family together at all costs. Will the girls of Mulberry Lane manage to snatch happiness before the darkness of WorldWar II descends?

What does TWG think?

Rosie Clarke is back with a brand new book! Not only is it a new book, it’s also start of a brand new series, how exciting! I have only read one of Rosie Clarke’s previous books, so I was looking forward to seeing how ‘The Girls of Mulberry Lane’ would make me feel seeing as I just adore historical fiction. Set in London during war-time, life was extremely difficult for the residents of Mulberry Lane.

All Maureen wanted was to marry the love of her life, but seeing as life doesn’t always go the way we want it to, Maureen’s dream was unable to come true due to having to care for her father. With Rory moving on with his life, Maureen finds it hard to let go of what should have been.

Local girl, Janet, decided to choose her own path in life, going against the head of the family (her father) but wanting to marry her sweetheart Mike, the father of her soon-to-be child. Will she regret going against her fathers wishes?

Having struggled a tad with Rosie Clarke’s previous novel, I was over the moon to find myself falling head over heels in love with the Mulberry girls! For me, there is nothing I like more than delving into historic London during wartime. It’s fascinating. Eye-opening. Heart-breaking. I mean, historical fiction is based around real life events which a lot of us were not on this planet to witness, and for us it can be quite heart-breaking to read. Yet on the other side of the coin, readers who were brought up during those years will be able to resonate and remember certain events as though they happened yesterday. I cannot imagine what anyone felt during those distressing years, I can only guess thanks to Rosie Clarke’s poignant and realistic writing which managed to find its way into my soul from the get go.

I loved how unique each of the characters were, as they all brought something different to the overall feel of the storyline which, for me, kept my attention a lot more. In my eyes, there is nothing worse than reading a book with flat and boring characters. Luckily in this book, that was not the case. Because of how much I liked the characters, I found myself becoming far too attached to their journeys which meant I ended up feeling quite emotional when something happened to them, or someone close to them.

By the end of ‘The Girls of Mulberry Lane’, I realised that I had found some new fictional friends, and I cannot wait to take a trip down Mulberry Lane with book number two.

A heart-wrenching, beautifully written, addictive novel from Rosie Clarke,

Thanks Aria Fiction.

Amazon
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The blog tour isn’t over yet, so make sure you stop by all of the other hosts:

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#BlogTour! #Review – Dead Girls Can’t Lie – Carys Jones (@tiny_dancer85) @aria_fiction

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Best friends tell each other the truth – don’t they?

When North Stone’s best friend Kelly Orton is found hanging lifeless in a tree, North knows for certain it wasn’t suicide. Kelly had everything to live for – a loving boyfriend, a happy life, and most importantly of all, Kelly would never leave North all by herself.

The girls have been friends since childhood, devoted to each other, soul sisters, or at least that’s what North has always believed. But did Kelly feel the same way, or was she keeping secrets from her ‘best friend’ – deadly secrets…

When the police refuse to take North’s suspicions seriously, she sets out to investigate for herself. But her search soon takes her to a glamorous world with a seedy underbelly, and before long North is out of her depth and getting ever closer to danger. Determined to find the truth, she soon wishes that dead girls could lie, because the truth is too painful to believe…

What does TWG think?

I’ll be honest, after reading Carys Jones’ previous novel, I was a bit apprehensive about starting ‘Dead Girls Can’t lie’. But, seeing as curiosity got the better of me, I knew I had to see what this book was about, making my decision based on this book alone and nothing else.

Well, I really hoped my plan would work. After all, the overall concept of ‘Dead Girls Can’t Lie’ is a belter! So many sticky situations for the characters to find themselves in. So many potential red herrings for us readers to lose ourselves in. I was really excited about the shell of book. But for me, once again there was just something missing.

Whilst Kerry’s death is a shocker in itself, the circumstances surrounding it with her best friend, North, seemed to make me go ‘hmmmm’ more often than going ‘oh my god, really?’ Weirdly enough though, there must have been something rather engaging about the authors writing as I still managed to finish the novel.

I would love to say that ‘Dead Girls Can’t Lie’ had me hanging off the edge of my seat, but honestly, it didn’t. Carys Jones quite clearly knows her audience and knows how to pique interest via  a situation alone, BUT for me, it didn’t make me quaker in my boots.

I don’t dislike the authors writing in the slightest, I actually quite like it. To be honest, I didn’t even dislike the book. What got to me more was the frustration at how the author is quite capable of thinking up these ‘oh em gee’ storylines, but ‘Dead Girls Can’t Lie’ could really have done with extra bite and grit when it came to the execution.

Another promising novel from Carys Jones. Fingers crossed it’s third time lucky!

Thanks Aria.

Buy links

                           Buy Dead Girls Can’t Lie from Amazon

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2rJb1sl

iTunes: http://apple.co/2sYfdba

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2s2P3Ql

#BlogTour! #Extract – Crazy Stupid Love by Cassie Rocca (@cassierocca) @Aria_Fiction

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Crazy Stupid Love - jacket
Are there written rules on how to find a soulmate? Or is it better to trust the hands of fate? A hilarious romance perfect for the fans of Debbie Johnson and Holly Martin.

After enduring a string of dead-end relationships, Zoe Mathison has made a decision – to find a man who truly appreciates her. But this is turning out to be more complicated than she expected. Fed up of being surrounded by insufferably happy couples in love, her mission to find the perfect man starts to become an obsession.

Eric Morgan is pushed to his limits. Hopelessly in love with Zoe, who sees him as nothing more than a best friend to lean on, he can’t bear seeing his hopes of romance crushed every time the sculpted pecs of a younger man comes along. But when a new girl appears on the scene, he is determined to prove that he can push his infatuation aside and move on. But is it as easy as it seems?

In the romantic and bustling city of New York, will Zoe and Eric’s hilarious misadventures attract Cupid’s arrow?

Buy links:

Amazon // Kobo // iBooks // Google Play

Extract.

Eric was right. Who knew her better than him, anyway? He had been listening to all her complaints and putting up with her outbursts since university. Lately, though, he’d been a lot less patient with her and they seemed to be arguing for no reason at all.

Sometimes she thought it was strange that their relationship had lasted so long. They couldn’t have been more different from one another! But they had bonded immediately, no matter how strange it seemed: she was a pretty waitress, always surrounded by suitors, while he was a lonesome physics and informatics student, taciturn and shy. He had quickly become her best friend and the only one who had supported her on every occasion. He had consoled her when Stuart Harris, the only guy she had ever fallen in love with in her whole life, had broken her heart by cheating on her repeatedly with her best friend and since then had been putting up with her, and especially with her hysterical hunt for a man – an obsession that had led her into ruinous relationships with the wrong men.

Maybe he had finally had enough and didn’t want to babysit her any more. Was that the reason why he had been so touchy lately?

The idea was terrifying to her: Eric was the only person she trusted unconditionally. She didn’t get on particularly well with other women and apart from Clover and Liberty she didn’t have many friends, so losing Eric’s affection and support would have left her feeling desperately alone.

His unusual coldness and distance were hurting her. It wasn’t normal for him to be like that, and he would never usually have spoken about such delicate matters in public.

He seemed to have read her mind and gave her a rather contrite look. “Hey, sorry – I went too far.”

That made Zoe feel a lot better – how could she feel hurt by someone who would apologize for just telling the truth? Her good mood restored, she smiled at him brightly the way she always did – and the way that allowed her to conquer the heart of any man of any age. “I’ll accept your apologies when you do something for me,” she joked.

Eric suddenly raised his brown eyebrows. “Something like what?”

“Well, if I can’t find anyone to go out with in the next few days, you could take me to dinner on Valentine’s Day.”

Eric looked up to the sky. “Right, like I’ve never done that before.”

“Hey, don’t act so smart, it would be a mutual favor. It’d be a fun evening between friends and people would think that we were a couple, and that way we’d both save face.”

It was almost a tradition: when both of them found themselves single, they spent their time together. Zoe couldn’t remember how many times Eric had stepped in to stop her getting drunk alone. He had put up with accompanying her to family celebrations, stepping in for dates to take over from some partner who had stood her up at the last minute, to Valentine’s dinners all those years when they were both single, and they had even gone on holiday together! In other words, Eric Morgan was the man she had spent the most time with – he was her longest lasting relationship… and they hadn’t even slept together!

She felt the need to demonstrate her affection to him, so leaned down to kiss him on the cheek. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

Eric pushed his glasses up his nose the way he always did when he was embarrassed.

“You don’t need to sweet-talk me – I’ll take you to dinner.”

Their conversation was interrupted by the sound of the bell indicating that someone had come into the shop.

Zoe raised her eyes and smiled at the new client, and when she saw that it was a handsome blond guy of about six feet tall, she immediately smoothed out her wool skirt and primped her dark bob haircut.

“God, look how cute he is! I’ll deal with him.”

Liberty sneaked out from behind the counter and headed to the upper floor. “We had no doubt that you would,” she giggled with a weird smile.

Zoe turned to the client. “Welcome to Giftland! How can I help you?”

The man looked her over from head to toe and smiled. “There are a lot of things you could help me with, but right now your smile will do just fine,” he said playfully.

Zoe chuckled and went into seduction mode.

“So I guess I’m going to be free the evening of Valentine ‘s Day after all,” muttered Eric as he walked past her on the way to his office.

Clover followed him.

“Let’s not make snap judgements – maybe she won’t like him.” But at the sight of the look Eric shot her, she sighed. “OK, I’ll just shut up.”

Zoe ignored her colleagues’ comments and stood in front of the new customer, smiling all the time. It had become a habit for her: she would feign interest in any attractive men who happened to enter the shop, flirting with them and doing her best to appear attractive. It was almost like a sort of hobby and a way of boosting her self-confidence. Lately, she’d really needed it.

The New Year hadn’t started out great, to be honest, and over the last few days she had felt really agitated and restless. New couples seemed to appear out of nowhere and seeing them everywhere made her feel lonely. And what was worse was that her relatives couldn’t stop congratulating her on the ‘fantastic new boyfriend she had found’, and it felt like an unbearable weight in her stomach.

#BlogTour! #Review – It Was Always You by Georgie Capron (@GeorgieCapron) @Aria_Fiction

IT WAS ALWAYS YOU - jacket
Libby has been drifting through life for too long and, now in her early 30’s, it’s time to grow up. She decides to have one last summer of fun before buckling down, so heads off to beautiful Positano in Italy.

There, despite all her good intentions, she can’t help but fall a little in love with the very
handsome, but rather naughty, Luca and, as the summer draws to a close, Libby has some big decisions to make. Should she head back home and face up to her responsibilities? Is Luca really the right man to start a family with, or has the perfect man been right in front of her eyes all this time?

And, when it comes to affairs of the heart, is it really better to have loved and lost than
never to have loved at all?

What does TWG think?

-swoons- That cover!!!! I’m actually surprised I managed to open the book and start reading seeing as I couldn’t stop staring at Georgie Capron’s book cover! 10/10 to the cover designers at Aria Fiction! You should start selling wall art! -hands over blank cheque-.

Anyway, how the monkeys are we in August already?! It’s insane! On a brighter note, I have the honour of kicking off Georgie Capron’s blog tour for her new book, ‘It Was Always You’, which is released TODAY! Congratulations!

Having fallen in love with Ms.Capron’s previous novel, Just The Two of Us’, I couldn’t wait to be put under the authors spell once again. Libby is skating through life on a fluffy cloud with no responsibilities, nobody else to worry about, yet fluent in giving the young-uns a run for their money on a Saturday night. Did I mention that Libby was in her thirties?

Libby has come to realise that she is at the age where settling down and having babies, is more popular than waking up on a Sunday morning with a hangover from hell, and a mouth like an ashtray. On her last jaunt for ‘old times sake’, Libby’s head has been turned by a ‘bad boy’ Italian, Luca. Despite giving off the vibe that monogamy isn’t his strongest point, Libby is still unsure as to whether her future lies with Luca on a more permanent basis. ‘Hah!’ is all I’ll say to that! Whilst I could appreciate that Libby wants to settle down and have a family, I couldn’t help think that she was putting all of her eggs in one basket, unable to think maturely unless she had a man on her arm. She came across as the type of person who need a man in her life, and wasn’t happy 100% until she had that. Whatever happened to be a bit of girl power and self loving?

I really enjoyed how the storyline was set in three different places, as it kept my attention a lot more than one single setting. I ended up going on my jollies three times over in one novel, thanks Georgie Capron!

I’ll be honest, I adore Georgie Capron’s writing style, regardless of the circumstances at the time, Ms.Capron way with words is incredibly magical; so much so, I wouldn’t be surprised if she ended up selling snow to an Eskimo at some point! However, It Was Always You, had a storyline which ended up being more predictable than fulfilling, especially as the main character didn’t really make me want to enter into a relationship anytime soon. I just couldn’t gel with Libby, and her high level of immaturity and selfishness. In my eyes, and not meant with any malice whatsoever, I feel that Georgie Capron has played it safe with ‘It Was Always You’. I was hoping that this storyline would have pushed boundaries like the authors previous novel did. I know that Georgie Capron is capable of making my jaw drop, eyes leak and my heart swell; she’s done it before!

I’m not saying that I hated this book by the way, not at all! In fact, I loved the authors story telling as a shell, and the way in which Georgie Capron delivered the bare bones of her storyline, as she is an exceptionally talented author; I just needed that little bit extra, the bite.

Light-hearted, care-free and beautifully written, Georgie Capron delivers an easy, quick read in her own trademark way. I cannot wait to see what the author brings out next!

Thanks Aria.

Buy links

Amazon // Kobo // iBooks // Google Play

Georgie’s previous now, JUST THE TWO OF US is out now:

Amazon // Kobo // iBooks // Google Play

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#BlogTour! #Review – Born Bad by Heather Burnside (@HeatherBWriter) @Aria_Fiction

Born Bad - jacket

Book 1 in this new, gritty Manchester crime trilogy. When your enemies get close, family loyalty is all you can trust.

Brother and sister Peter and Adele Robinson never stood a chance. Dragged up by an
alcoholic, violent father, and a weak, beaten mother, their childhood in Manchester only
prepared them for a life of crime and struggle. But Adele is determined to break the mould. She studies hard at school and, inspired by her beloved grandmother Joyce, she finally makes a successful life for herself on her own.

Peter is not so lucky. Getting more and more immersed in the murky world of crime and
gangs, his close bonds with Adele gradually loosen until they look set to break altogether.
But old habits die hard, and one devastating night, Adele is forced to confront her violent
past. Dragged back into her worst nightmares, there’s only one person she can turn to when her life is on the line – her brother Peter. After all, blood is thicker than water…

What does TWG think?

Oh my god, what a book!! Despite being siblings and bring brought up in the same home environment, Peter and Adele couldn’t be more different if they tried. In his spare time, Peter enjoys doing anything that he SHOULDN’T do, aka, anything that’s against the law. Whereas Adele is seen as the ‘goody two shoes’, a hard worker who is severely misunderstood. Well, if your father was beating you to a pulp as well, I reckon you might be a smudge misunderstood too. A mother is meant to protect her children; Adele and Peter’s mother didn’t, even though she too was used as a punchbag by her violent husband.

Again, OH MY GOD, WHAT A BOOK!!!! I couldn’t stop reading this book! From the very first page until the very last page, my eyes didn’t move from the book in case I missed something important. The things which Peter got up to, shocked me to the core. The things which their father did, also shook me to the core. As for Adele’s anger, did that shake me to my core? No. Why? Because she was hardly going to turn into a calm, anger free type of person considering the environment in which she was brought up! Just to clarify, I don’t condone the results of her anger, but I can see WHY she was so angry.

Peter’s choice of lifestyle didn’t shock me at all, whereas the specifics did. I think that was because I had only watched Peter grow up in one way; the bad way, therefore it probably would have shocked me more if he had turned into a priest.

‘Born Bad’ has such a fast paced storyline which works well with the overall plot. If the pace had turned out to be a bit of a slow burner, I feel like that would have ruined the vibe. Luckily, the pace was spot on and so was the vibe. Heather Burnside has written about such chilling, devastating subjects, whilst still keeping them realistic. I’m not going to lie, the vivid imagery my mind conjured up thanks to the authors incredible descriptive story telling, gave me goosebumps and made me wince. I really was on the edge of my seat with this book as each and every situation seemed to get amplified as the story went on. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any more cut throat; it did.

I am so pleased that ‘Born Bad’ is book one in a new series, as I cannot wait to find out how Adele’s story unfolds in the next book. The only irk I have with this book is the conclusion being left severely hanging – annoying!! I just hope that we don’t have too long to wait for book two.

A chilling, realistic, intense, and addictive storyline which will not only have you on the edge of your seat, it will also stay in your mind a long while after completing the book. Absolutely brilliant, highly recommended!

Thanks Aria.

Buy links:

Amazon // Kobo // Google Play // iBooks

About the author

Heather Burnside is a Manchester-based author who, after taking a career break to raise a family, swapped credit control for writing and decided to study for a writing diploma.
Heather had articles featured in several popular UK magazines before publishing her first Manchester-based crime thriller in 2014.

Follow Heather

Facebook: @HeatherBurnsideAuthor
Twitter: @HeatherBWriter
Website: http://www.heatherburnside.com

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#BlogTour! #Review – Brothers & Sisters by Adele O’Neill (@AdelesBooks) @Aria_fiction

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Do you have the Friday feeling? No? Well you should as today is the start of Adele O’Neill’s blog tour for her debut novel, Brothers & Sisters! What more could you want on a Friday? Well, except my review of the book of course….

Brothers & Sisters - jacket
Nothing remains buried forever… What would you do to protect the ones you love?
A gripping, highly emotive story of love, survival, dark family secrets and sibling loyalty.
Perfect for the fans of Kathryn Hughes and Dorothy Koomson.
When human remains are found on Fitzpatrick Estate, Detective Kelly is drawn deep into the complex web of Fitzpatrick family secrets as Timothy and his sister Rose, now in their sixties, are catapulted into the centre of the investigation.
When the pathology report identifies the remains as that of their uncle, Patrick Fitzpatrick, missing from Fitzpatrick Estate since 1970, they scramble to protect their past.

What would you do to protect the ones you love?

What does TWG think?

Geezus! Nothing like entering the book world with a debut novel like ‘Brothers & Sisters’, is there? A family with a devastating back story. A murder. A dead body. A murder investigation. Enough family secrets to secure a lifetime spot on Jeremy Kyle. It’s safe to say that this debut author hasn’t written the novel by halves – just look at what the book contains!

So much information crammed into such a relatively short space, ‘Brothers & Sisters’ is the type of novel which requires the reader to be focused, especially as the storyline switches between 1970 and 2016, concentration is vital where this book is concerned. Usually books like that confuse me. Thankfully I was able to work out what type of storyline I was dealing with, long before I could get confused.

I have to say, this book contains such a devastating topic which made me feel sick to my stomach. I found it incredibly, incredibly difficult to read due to reasons which aren’t suitable for this review. I understand that the author needed to create an authentic vibe for the overall plot, I just felt that that situation in particular was written in such a black and white manner, thus lowering the sensitivity level of the topic in question. In my eyes, it was too vivid and extremely hard to switch off from.

As for the murder investigation, I enjoyed getting involved in the nitty-gritty parts of that! Perhaps that portion of the story could have been extended to give the readers more of a feel to the murder instead of the family history. That said, the investigation on its own kept my entertained. Simple, yet effective.

‘Brothers and Sisters’ kept me on my toes, enabling my heart to jump into my mouth due to its chilling, shocking, and stomach churning timeline of events. Looking at the shell of the novel; I was entertained to a certain degree, as well as being kept guessing about the conclusion, therefore making the overall premise of the novel a promising read.

However, the horrific subject matter within the storyline was too much to swallow, and extremely difficult to read. For me, those parts of the book made me realise that this book wasn’t my cup of tea, yet Adele O’Neill shows such promise in regards to her writing.

Looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

Thanks Aria.

Buy links:

Amazon
Kobo
iBooks
Google Play

#BlogTour! #Review – Second Chances by Minna Howard (@Adelica) @Aria_Fiction

Ba da ba da da da
Monday Monday so good to meeeee
Monday mornin’ it was all I hoped it would beeeeee.

Nothing like a bit of Mama’s and Papa’s on a Monday, especially as it’s a brand new week and, as you should know by now, that only means one thing – TWG kicks off a blog tour! I am delighted that Aria Fiction give me this honorary spot most weeks, so thank you!

This Monday morning will be all that you hoped it would be as it’s the start of Minna Howard’s blog tour for the aptly named; ‘Second Chances’. Here is my review:

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Succumbing to a rather clichéd midlife crisis, Dan Haywood swaps his family for an expensive red sports car and a younger woman. After 24 years of marriage, his wife Sarah is left to pick up the pieces.

Trying her best to re-style her life, comfort hurt children, make time for ‘helpful’ friends and maintain her burgeoning career as a dress designer, Sarah feels pulled in a hundred directions. And it doesn’t help that obstacles – mostly in the form of other middle-aged men – seem to conspire against her.

Proud of herself for moving house and starting to build an independent life, she is shocked when Robert Maynard, her rather dashing new next-door neighbour, insists that the house was promised to him. Now she is destined to be pulled into his life by events beyond her control.

After one failed marriage, will she be able to find happiness again? And do second chances really come to those who wait?

What does TWG think?

Minna Howard is back with a brand new book, Second Chances, which fits in well with the author’s style of her previous novels. I have to admit, whilst I enjoyed the majority of this book, I finished reading it with mixed feelings.

Sarah Haywood had her life turned upside down when her husband decided to trade his lifestyle in for a younger model. Yes, I am talking about his car, AND his wife. As far as Sarah was concerned, their relationship was no different to other married couples, so Dan Haywood’s change of heart came as a shock. Sarah had the chance to make a new life for herself, but, thanks to a bit of neighbourly assumption with their genitalia, Sarah has reached her limit.

How many of you agree with second chances? Are you a once chance only type of person, if they screw that up then everything is done for? Or do you believe that every single person deserves a second chance? Just to be difficult, I believe in a mixture of both as it all depends on the circumstance. However, I don’t agree that EVERYONE deserves a second chance. As for Sarah Haywood, do I believe that she deserves a second chance at happiness? Of course I do.

The storyline itself wasn’t overly original, I’ll be honest, BUT, whilst that didn’t annoy me too much, it did mean that I hoping to be wow-ed by the book. To a point, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Second Chances’, it was such an easy and straightforward read with no serious surprises. I managed to finish Minna Howard’s book in a couple of hours so it mustn’t have been that bad!

All of the characters made me laugh in their own individual ways. Well, except Robert. I didn’t really warm to him that much – an acquired taste! I liked how the pace flowed rather nicely and did its own thing without too much weighing it down; that meant that I could switch off and just enjoy the storyline without a care in the world. Bliss!

As I said above, I really did enjoy this book, but there was something within the storyline that made me wince on a personal level. Sarah Haywood’s job is a dress designer and she works in her friends shop, selling said designs. However, both Sarah and her friend seemed to zoom in on slim people, making quite harsh comments about women with slender figures. Whilst I fully appreciate that this is a work of fiction, as someone who always gets belittled due to their slender size, I felt that those comments in the storyline weren’t really warranted and were a bit uncalled for. Maybe I am being a little over sensitive, but I personally didn’t like those parts.

‘Second Chances’ didn’t blow me away due to the above, but, I did enjoy the lightness of the storyline as a whole.

Thanks Aria.

Buy links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2qjQTyP

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2qkiUGs

iBooks: http://apple.co/2r9dnUl

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2qJWSxY

About the author

Minna has had an exciting career in fashion journalism and now writes full time, whilst enjoying time with her grandsons and working as an occasional film and TV extra. She lives in London.

Follow Minna

Facebook: @MinnaHowardBooks

Twitter: @Adelica

Second Chances - The Blog Tour

#TWGGetsTalking – How to tell the difference between being nasty & being constructive #reviews

Twg gets talking
You should all know by now that I like to talk, ESPECIALLY when I am passionate about something and believe that it needs to be spoken about.

Once again, opinions have been thrust into the limelight and definitions have been questioned. Before I explain further, I’m just going to paste the Oxford dictionary definitions of two words; nasty, and constructive.

Nasty: very bad, or unpleasant.
(definition of unpleasant is: Causing discomfort, unhappiness, or revulsion; disagreeable.)

Constructive: Having or intended to have a useful or beneficial purpose.

constructive

Two completely different word with extremely clear definitions, yet people are still getting confused by the two words.

Why?

As a reviewer, I have always been made aware that authors (or anyone who gets critiqued) tend to appreciate CONSTRUCTIVE reviews as opposed to NASTY reviews. With both types of reviews your opinion is given – that is NOT the issue. After all, every person on this Earth is entitled to their opinion. We are allowed to dislike something. We are allowed to express our dislike of something. We are allowed to jump for joy about something. What the issue is, however, is the WAY those points are put across.

Believe me, I open my trap before my brain connects sometimes, ending up with goodness knows what flying out of my mouth. But when it comes to reviews, I am extremely careful about how I voice my opinion.

For example; ‘Omg I hated that book, it was absolutely shit, the author bored me to tears.’

What’s wrong with that sentence?

Okay, so, the example above is someones opinion. They’re entitled to that. Answer me this; was it constructive, or nasty?

If you said that the example was a constructive comment: seriously? How does saying that a book was ‘shit’, come across as beneficial to the author?
It doesn’t.

It’s rude and it’s nasty. Imagine if you cooked a meal for a group of people and someone came up to you afterwards and said that they thought your cooking was absolutely vile, would you benefit from that?

To turn the above example into a constructive opinion, here’s an example:
‘Personally, this book wasn’t really my cup of tea as I couldn’t quite gel with the storyline. I felt that it came across as quite over the top and unrealistic, which in turn made me switch off.’

The different between the two examples is substantial. The example above still highlights your dislike, yet it also explains WHY you felt that way. It’s also not personally attacking the person who wrote the book, whilst still keeping your opinion entitlement intact.

Whilst authors are painfully aware that their books could end up with negative reviews and their book babies critiqued, it doesn’t mean that just because they have put something in the public eye, that they should expect nasty comments or personal attacks.

YES, they have written something which will get critiqued.
YES, everyones opinion does differ.
YES, readers are entitled to dislike their book.

Just DON’T be nasty about it!

In book clubs, you’re going to have the perfect opportunity to talk about various books whether it’s an online or offline. But, do you think that it’s respectful to openly blast and author and their book, in an online book club which they could be a member of?
Yes or no?

No it’s not!!! Go ahead and state your opinion about a book, but if you’re going to sit there and say that a book is so bad and how you wanted to ‘light a match under it’; that’s not stating your opinion, it’s called being nasty.

As we hear all the time, not everyone will like the same book. Well duh! I fully admit that I have read a book and disliked it. But instead of reviewing it nastily, I gave it a constructive review as there will always be something in a book that you’ll like. I explained what I didn’t like about the book, I also explained WHY I didn’t like those parts, how it made me feel, and so on. I also explained what I DID like about the book. I still managed to express my opinion on the book, without insulting a human being with feelings in the process.

So, if you’re ever in an online book group where the admin have asked you to talk about books in a constructive manner; respectfully do it. They aren’t taking away your freedom of speech. They aren’t banishing you from stating your opinion. They are just asking you to express your opinion respectfully and constructively. Authors have feelings too.

It really isn’t that difficult to do..

#BlogTour! #Review – A House to Mend a Broken Heart by @AlisonSherlock @Aria_Fiction

A House to Mend a Broken Heart - blog tour banner

Wahey!!! Brand new week of a brand new month and Aria Fiction have me kicking off Alison Sherlock’s blog tour for her new book, A House to Mend a Broken Heart! Woo, thanks Aria Fiction!

A House to Mend a Broken Heart - jacket

Everyone is hiding from something…

Full of warmth, laughter, tears and heartache. Find out if there is a happy-ever-after at Willow Tree Hall. Perfect for the fans of Milly Johnson and Lucy Diamond.

Willow Tree Hall has seen much better days and has been the proud ancestral home of the Earl and Countess of Cranley for centuries.

With no qualifications and escaping her past Annie Rogers takes the job as housekeeper to widowed Arthur, the charming current Earl of Cranley. After a bad fall puts Arthur in hospital, it’s up to a reluctant heir apparent Sam Harris, to lend a helping hand and try to find a sustainable future for the Estate.

With the house requiring a full renovation Annie suddenly finds herself completely out of her depth with a team of dodgy builders and Sam watching critically from the side-lines.

With Sam running from his past and Annie hiding from hers, just maybe together they can bring Willow Tree Hall back to life.

The start of a beautiful new series focusing on the lives and loves, trial and tribulations of all those who live and work at Willow Tree Hall.

 

What does TWG think?

First Alison Sherlock book I have read and I have to say, I was quite pleasantly surprised! It’s a bit hard to know what to expect from a book when you haven’t read any of the authors work, however, the cover of ‘A House to Mend a Broken Heart’ caught my eye when it was first put onto social media as I found it rather pristine looking. Obviously I was intrigued by the title, after all, how can a house mend a broken heart! Who’s heart was broken? Why did it need mending? What did the house do to fix the broken heart?

So many questions.

The house in question is Willow Tree Hall; a stately home which has housed generations of Earls and Countess’s of Cranley for years. However, Willow Tree Hall isn’t looking its best, it’s feeling a little sorry for itself. The current Earl of Cranley, Arthur, has been doing the best that he can with very little help as his grandsons are too busy in their own lives. Well, some say too busy, I say too selfish, but who am I to judge!

Poor old Arthur has a fall and finds himself in hospital, whilst his housekeeper, Annie, tries to keep Willow Tree Hall above water. Not literally.

If you’re a fan of watching Grand Designs, you’ll adore this book. When Arthur’s grandson appeared on the scene, he decided to take it upon himself to hire a builder who seemed to think himself qualified after watching ‘Bob the Builder’ on T.V..
‘It will be fine’ he said
But it wasn’t fine.

I’ll be honest, after the first couple of chapters, this storyline had ‘predictable’ written all over it. It wouldn’t have taken a genius to work out who, if any, were going to get their happily ever after. However, does it honestly matter whether it’s guessed or not?
No it does not!

It didn’t bother me. I wanted to read a happy ending style book. A story where all of the characters involved go through some form of heartache, uncertainty, disappointment and regret, before they realise which new route takes them down the path to happiness. After all, everyone finds happiness in different ways, right?

‘A House to Mend a Broken Heart’ is predominantly a light read, with some rather quirky characters making themselves known along the way. Before I began Alison Sherlock’s novel I was feeling rough, no energy and my brain had decided to go on standby. After reading Alison Sherlock’s novel I felt cosy, relaxed, and calm, with a smile upon my face. I didn’t have to over think the storyline. I didn’t have to try to work out any of the characters. I didn’t find myself getting too annoyed with any of the characters like usual. Reading ‘AHTMABH’ I was able to just….be. I was able to enjoy the re-birth of Willow Tree Hall. I was able to imagine Rose and Beryl’s fashion sense. I was able to feel the chemistry between certain characters. I was able to envision the design work on all of the rooms. I was able to imagine sliding down the banister of the staircase like Sam and Will.

I never knew that a house could mend a broken heart. I never knew that a book had the power to make me feel calm. Until now. Not only is ‘A House to Mend a Broken Heart’ true to its title storyline wise; for the duration of this novel it became A Story to Soothe a Painful Body.

Thank You Alison Sherlock, you most certainly have a way with words.
Thanks Aria Fiction.

Buy links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2o5GQx8

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2nH94x4

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2nvjCPG

iBooks: http://apple.co/2pEA9SH

Follow Aria 

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction