#BlogTour! #Extract – Escape to the Country by Alison Sherlock (@AlisonSherlock) @Aria_Fiction

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I am delighted to be today’s stop on Alison Sherlock’s blog tour for ‘Escape to the Country’. I am a bit annoyed with myself as I ended up getting to the ARC a bit late which meant that it was no longer available. However, I will be ensuring that I buy it to read as soon as I can. I do have an extract for you all to read though, enjoy!

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Journalist Eleanor McCartney leads a glamorous life in London exposing the sordid secrets of famous celebrities for Hot Gossip! magazine. But her perfect life is a sham. So when her world collapses, she has to reluctantly head home to her mum and friends in the quiet country village of Cranley.

Willow Tree Hall is still in the midst of extensive renovations under the careful eye of Eleanor’s best friend Annie and her fiancé, record producer and future Earl of Cranley, Sam Harris. With a recording studio now in the grounds of the estate, it should be the perfect place for global singing sensation Tom Kingsley to hang out.

But Tom is burnt out after a gruelling worldwide tour and is escaping the paparazzi after yet another scandal. Eleanor cannot believe her luck. A story on the world’s biggest superstar would be the ticket that gets her job and glamorous life back in London.

But soon both Eleanor and Tom begin to fall under the spell of Willow Tree Hall. Eleanor begins to wonder whether she can really betray his trust. And does she really want her old life back or is home really where the heart lies?

As a heatwave soars, friendships are made, truths are told and, with the help of a stray dog, perhaps love can be found as hearts are healed. By escaping to the country, maybe Eleanor and Tom have found their new beginning.

Extract.

Eleanor sank onto the ground, barely registering the wet grass soaking through her jeans. She couldn’t believe it. She had just lost her job. What was she going to do? What was she going to tell everyone back home in Cranley? Her Mum and best friends, Annie and Megan, actually believed in the fake lifestyle that she had created for them so many years a go. The fiction she had told them bore no resemblance to her real job.

They would all be horrified if they knew that she had been lying over and over to them. And now, at the end of so many wasted years, it turned out that her gut instinct had been right all along. That she wasn’t the big success in the city that she had pretended to be. That deep down beneath the expectations of her friends and family, she really was just a big, fat failure after all.

On the opposite side of the street, the front door opened to Tuesday Tavistock’s apartment just as a taxi drew up outside. Eleanor watched in a daze as Tuesday kissed 

an elegant woman on the cheek. They looked so alike it could only have been her mother. The tip-off had turned out to be nothing. Just like the rest of her career. Eleanor slowly became aware that she was still holding the rose, clutching the petals so hard that as she let go, they floated down to the sodden ground next to her, along with her dreams.

Whatever the future held, it was unlikely that her very own Superman was going to show up and rescue her. Tights, cape or otherwise.


Buy now!

About the author.

Alison Sherlock enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Alison lives in Surrey with her husband and a daft golden retriever.

 

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#BlogTour! #Extract – Secrets and Tea at Rosie Lee’s by Jane Lacey-Crane (@JaneLaceyCrane) @Aria_Fiction

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Today is my stop on the blog tour for Jane Lacey-Crane where I get to share an extract from the book! Enjoy!

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Welcome to Rosie Lee’s cafe in the heart of the East End – where there’s not an avocado, slice of sour dough or double-shot no-foam soy milk caramel latte on the menu!

Rosie-Lee’s owner Abby is a woman without a plan….and her beloved little cafe is a business with a serious lack of customers. The Rosie Lee’s fry-up is legendary, but cooked breakfasts alone – however perfectly sizzled the bacon – aren’t going to pay the bills.

Fast approaching forty and fighting a serious case of empty nest syndrome, Abby realises it’s not just her menu that needs a makeover. And when Jack Chance, her The One That Got Away, saunters through the cafe doors and back into her life things definitely look set to change…

Abby has always believed a cup of strong builders tea makes everything better, but Jack’s reappearance is a complication even the trusty sausage sarnie can’t resolve….

Extract.

I looked back out to the café. It was true; business hadn’t been brisk. I had been hoping that a glowing review in the local paper might drum up a bit more trade, but there was no chance of that now. The development of the nearby market had been great for anyone in its immediate vicinity, but not for us.

We were just that little bit too far outside the ‘development zone’. It wasn’t just my café either – all the shops in this little forgotten corner of East London were struggling to stay afloat. I pushed those thoughts to the back of my mind. There’d be plenty of time to obsess about my failing business later, hopefully whilst relaxing in a hot bath with a glass or three of wine.

‘Are you sure you’ll be all right on your own?’

I didn’t want to take liberties; Flo might be mighty, but she was still seventy years old after all.

‘Positive. You’ve worked hard on all this.’

She gestured at the last batch of boxes I’d wrestled into my arms.

‘You deserve a few hours off.’

‘Okay. I might go and see if I can find a nice going-away present for Lucy.’

‘Lovely. Off you go, then, and I’ll see you in the morning. And tell Liz I said she got you cheap.’

I took the boxes and pushed my way through the back door. Flo was right of course; Liz had got me cheap, but she was my best friend. What was I supposed to do? She’d begged me to help her out after her other caterers had let her down; I wasn’t going to say no, was I?

Amazon // Kobo // Google Play // iBooks

About the author.

Born in London, Jane’s writing career began in cable TV, writing true crime documentaries. More recently, Jane has contributed to an anthology of short stories and written two weekly crime serials. When she’s not writing, Jane loves to read good books, binge watch TV boxsets and drink tea. And wine.

Twitter: @JaneLaceyCrane

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jane.crane.33

 

#TWGDiscusses – Please STOP saying that e-books aren’t REAL books – it’s offensive! #authors #publishers #ebooks #paperbacks #lovebooks

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I feel like I’m stuck on repeat where this topic is concerned, yet STILL people continue to offend hundreds of authors, and readers, out there with comments such as ‘e-books aren’t real books’. How aren’t they real? An author spends the same amount if time writing a book whether it’s published in e-book, paperback, hardback or on a slate -eye roll-, so why do people continue to say that other formats of books aren’t real?

Let me ask you this….

You know those ‘friends’ you’ve made online yet haven’t currently met offline, would you say that they weren’t ‘real friends’ because they were made online? Probably not, so why is it okay to say that a book, published in a digital format, isn’t as real as those friends you have made using technology?

Think about it.

Authors can spend anything from a few months to a few years, perfecting their manuscript ready for publication, going through various steps such as multiple edits, restructures and so forth – it’s not like they wake up one morning, sit at their computer for an hour and produce a book. It takes time and a lot of patience. Once that manuscript is given to their publisher, it’s then digitalised and printed. Yes, contrary to popular belief, the same manuscript is used for a digital book AND a print book. Who would have thought it?! Obviously with a paperback/hardback you are physically turning the pages and holding the book with two hands, yet with a kindle you’re holding it differently and using one finger to change a page. BUT, have you thought about the different types of readers that are out there in the world? No?

Well you should.

Some readers can’t hold paperbacks/hardbacks due to illnesses.
Some readers can’t read books full stop because they’re blind and rely on audio.
Some readers are chronically ill and they require various different options, depending on their pain on that particular day.
Some readers have various different reasons as to why they would choose one format over another.

All of the above have one thing in common – they all want to read!!

I’ll be honest with you here. Several years ago I would have given you a filthy look if you had said about reading an e-book, but after realising that I was missing out on such fabulous books, I decided to give it a go. Not only that, several years ago I became a lot more ill and holding things for a long period of time was becoming impossible. E-books helped me to feel ‘normal’ and read books just like everyone else, on days where I felt like I couldn’t do anything like everyone else.

I appreciate that not everyone likes e-books and that they prefer paperbacks/hardbacks – that is totally fine! But what isn’t okay is when people say that they prefer ‘real’ books which is insinuating that a digital version of an authors book, is in fact fake. Can’t you see how offensive that is to the author? Just because a book is digitalised instead of being printed on paper, it doesn’t make it any less of a book!

Those ‘real book’ comments are not only offensive to the author who has written them, it’s also offensive to a reader reading them as if the 100 kindle books read last year shouldn’t be included in their Goodreads challenge because they’re ‘not real’. And yes, someone has said that before. If you don’t like e-books, fine! If you don’t like paperbacks, that’s also fine!

But please, please, please STOP saying that e-books aren’t real when they’re as real as the money you paid for them.

Oh, and as those comments are being made on a DIGITAL website, I can’t help but think ‘well isn’t that ironic’. Put your nose where it belongs, remove your snobbery and let people read the books they choose, in the format that they choose without offending a truck load of people in the process.

ALL books are real.
Instead of bashing people with the stupid ‘they aren’t real books’ comments, be happy that people are actually reading and supporting authors in any way they can. Surely that is more important than your snobbery?

#BlogTour! #Review – The Single Girl’s Calendar by @ErinGreenAuthor @Brookcottagebks #Extract

The Single Girls Calendar Tour Banner
Today I have the pleasure of re-posting my review of Erin Green’s ‘The Single Girl’s Calendar’ for the blog tour hosted by BrookCottageBooks. Alongside my review I have an extract and a giveaway. Enjoy!

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A task a day to cure a broken heart.

Esmé Peel is approaching thirty with some trepidation, but hope in her heart. If she can just get her long-term boyfriend Andrew to propose, she will have ticked everything off her things to do by the time you’re 30′ list. She didn͛t reckon on finding another woman͛s earring in her bed however, and soon she finds herself single, homeless and in need of a new plan. Her best friend Carys gives her the perfect present – The Single Girl͛s Calendar – which has a different cure for heartbreak every day:

Day 1: Look and feel fabulous with a new hair style.

Day 2: Step out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Day 3: Reconnect with friends and enjoy!

Despite thinking it͛s a bit of a gimmick, Esmé hasn͛t got any better ideas, so she puts the plan into action. By the end of week one she has four new male housemates, and despite a broken heart she is determined to show Andrew she can do more than survive, she can thrive.

What does TWG think?

Esme has her own plan in life – get married, have children, and settle down. As far as she is concerned, anything other than those three means she has failed. Yes, I know, you’re probably sitting there rolling your eyes. I have to admit, I did think that Esme was a little high maintenance to begin with – it took me a little while to see the character for who she truly was underneath all of the military planning bravado. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having a plan in life – especially where your relationship is concerned. However, if the other person in the relationship doesn’t seem to be on the same page as you, you can’t really claim that you have failed when it wasn’t actually YOU. Whilst I appreciate that it is incredibly easy for me to say that, trying to convince Esme of that fact was a whole other ball game. So much so, her best friend gives her a gift that will either give her a well needed kick up the backside, or would give her a reason to hide herself underneath her duvet for the immediate future.

I thought the whole premise of the ‘single girl’s calendar’ was absolute genius. It was the thing which made the real Esme shine bright like a diamond, instead of coming across like a spoilt princess. I preferred the real Esme as she was a lot more relatable than the one we met at first. There were times where I thought Esme was off her rocker with the rash decisions she made, but in a weird way, I guess part of me found it be quite endearing. At least she was trying to fix her life, right?

‘The Single Girl’s’ calendar pleasantly surprised me! I thoroughly enjoyed this laugh out loud, relatable, heart-warming and addictive novel. It made me realise that if things don’t end up going to plan in your life, just put on your big girl pants and own the change like the diamond that you are. Well, until shops decide to sell a real life ‘single girl’s’ or ‘time to sort your life out’ calendar!

Definitely a fun-filled, memorable new novel from author Erin Green.

Links to Buy:Amazon // Kobo // iBooks

Extract.

Carys reached for Esmé’s hand and gently squeezed it.
‘So, what have you done all morning?’
‘Apart from visit cafes, I’ve walked around the city, stared in shop windows and had a
meltdown when I found myself in the crime section at Waterstones…’ Esmé coughed as a
wave of nausea lifted to her throat. ‘I felt fine until then. How many times has that store
saved my skin with his birthday presents or stocking fillers? Not anymore. Those days are gone.’
‘In that case, I have just the thing,’ announced Carys, releasing Esmé’s hand before
rummaging in the plastic bag beneath her chair. ‘Don’t laugh, but this actually helped me
through the break-up with Myles.’
‘I thought I helped you get through that.’
Carys raised her head mid-rummage, her corkscrew curls bouncing as she disagreed.
‘Nope! You know nothing about break-ups, Esmé. Seriously, your relationship has been
so long-term you haven’t a clue. But this…’ Carys lifted a pink boxed object onto the table
top. ‘This might help.’
‘What the hell?’ said Esmé, staring at the advent calendar styled object with its tiny
perforated doors.
‘It’s 100 per cent tack and it only cost a fiver but—’
‘Carys?’
‘Hear me out, Esmé… it’s worth a laugh if nothing else.’
‘Yeah, sure,’ said Esmé, lifting the calendar to read the blurb on the reverse.
Want a sassy new way to overcome a break-up? Or simply an opportunity to
focus on your life? The Single Girl’s Calendar is made for you! Behind every
door is a task that will help you focus on you, and you only! A whole month of
pampering, mindfulness activities, caring and sharing ideas which in just four
short weeks will have you feeling on top of the world! An insightful way to put a
spring back into your step as a strong, independent woman!
‘Are you serious?’
Carys nodded.

Giveaway!

Win an Erin Green Ceramic Mug! (UK only) x3

Enter now!

About the author.

Erin was born and raised in Warwickshire, where she resides with her husband. An avid reader since childhood, her imagination was instinctively drawn to creative writing as she grew older. Erin has two Hons degrees: BA English literature and another BSc Psychology – her previous careers have ranged from part-time waitress, the retail industry, fitness industry and education. She has an obsession about time, owns several tortoises and an infectious laugh!
Erin’s writes contemporary novels focusing on love, life and laughter. Erin is an active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and was delighted to be awarded The Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017. An ideal day for Erin involves writing, people watching and drinking copious amounts of tea.

Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads Author Page // Instagram // Website

#BlogTour! #Extract – The Candle Factory Girl by Tania Crosse (@TaniaCrosse) @Aria_Fiction

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Today I am delighted to be taking part in Tania Crosse’s blog tour for ‘The Candle Factory Girl’. Thank you to Aria Fiction for the blog tour invite. Here is an extract from Tania’s novel:

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1930’s London – A backstreet saga full of hopes, dreams and the fight for survival.

Work at Price’s Candle Factory in Battersea is tedious for intelligent, seventeen-year-old Hillie Hardwick, but she knows she is lucky to have a job at all. Her home life is no better, as she constantly battles with her exacting and bullying father in order to protect her mother and five younger siblings from his abuse.

Her only solace is her loving relationship with the chaotic Parker family and her best friend, Gert Parker. When matters violently escalate for Hillie, smitten Jack-the-Lad Jimmy Baxter seems her only salvation.

But could this be the biggest mistake of her life, and should she be looking for protection nearer home?

A story that crackles with unease where courage and friendship are the only hope.

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

Extract.

Chapter One

A Friday Morning in June 1932

‘Blooming heck, Hillie! Can’t you wait for us?’
As she neared the corner of the street, Hilda Hardwick heard the hurrying footfall
of her lifelong friend scurrying up behind her, and she slowed her own step. She
turned round, and though she itched with exasperation, she couldn’t help but smile.
Gert was rushing towards her, pulling on her old, fraying cardigan over her work
dress as she went. Hillie could see that one of her hastily tied shoelaces had already
come undone and was threatening to trip her up. To complete the chaotic image,
Gert’s naturally frizzy auburn hair stood around her head in a blazing halo, flying
about her shoulders in a fiery cloud. She always reminded Hillie of one of the Titian
paintings they had admired together on a rare trip to the National Gallery in Trafalgar
Square. It was 1932 and members of the fairer sex had been cutting their hair short for
nearly two decades. However, these two factory girls from the backstreets of
London’s Battersea had yet to catch up with the fashion.
‘I have been waiting for you,’ Hillie chided, pulling her lips back into a displeased
line and resuming her brisk pace now that Gert had caught her up. ‘If I’d waited any
longer, it would’ve made me late for work and I wouldn’t want to risk the
consequences of that. And some of us can’t afford to catch the tram. And my dad’s
already… well…’ She pulled herself up short, knowing she’d said too much. So
instead she finished the sentence with, ‘Gone on ahead.’
Gert’s jaw dropped as she guessed what Hillie had nearly let slip. ‘Oh, Hillie, you
don’t mean…? ’Cos I kept you waiting?’
Hillie instinctively turned to her with a brief, wistful grimace as they half ran along
Battersea Park Road.
Gert caught her breath as she glimpsed the tell-tale pink hand mark on Hillie’s
cheek, and she flushed with remorse. ‘Oh, Hillie, I’m so sorry.’
‘It’s not your fault my dad’s like he is,’ Hillie mumbled under her breath.

But Gert obviously still felt guilty. ‘You shouldn’t have waited for us, not when
you know what he’s like.’
‘Someone’s got to stand up to him.’
Hillie said it quietly, but Gert knew there’d be no arguing. They’d had the same
discussion on umpteen occasions before. Harold Hardwick was a bully and there’d
never be any changing him.
Gert knew the story by heart.
‘Me and Hillie’s mum’d been friends for years,’ her mother had told her, so many
times that Gert could repeat it virtually word for word. ‘She was the timid little thing
from the grocers’ round the corner, and I was the big girl trusted to do the shopping
for me mum. Used to make Nell laugh, I did. Always said it should’ve been the other
way around. She should’ve had the posh name of Evangeline, not me! Anyway, the
years went by, and when things got tough for her and she married that Harold, I got
them the house on the street. 1914 it was, just as the war broke out. Nell found she
was preggers the same time as I did, and you two popped out within days of each
other, May the next year, 1915. Both of you girls, too, except that Hillie was Nell’s
first and I already had Kit.
‘So you two was friends from the cradle. Just learning to walk, the both of you,
when they brought in conscription. Your dad and Harold found themselves together in
the same Pals’ Regiment as they called them. Only Harold’d always been a bully,
keeping poor Nell under his thumb. But he was just what they was looking for in the
army, someone to keep order. So he quickly rose through the ranks to sergeant.
Inflicted his rigid discipline on every poor bugger what came under his command, so
your dad says. Never got a scratch on him. Mind you, you know your dad only got a
bit of shrapnel in his leg in all the two years they was in the trenches. Kept his head
down did your dad, and I was grateful for that. And when he came home, he was his
old, lovely self. But Harold, huh! Remained a sergeant ever since, even if he was back
on civvy street. If he was strict with poor Nell before the war – and with Hillie, too –
he’s been a blooming tyrant ever since.’
Gert released a bitter, desperate sigh. A tyrant and a bully were good ways to
describe her best friend’s dad! But as Hillie had grown up, instead of giving in to him
like her mum did – anything for a quiet life – she’d started challenging him. The
consequences of Harold’s resulting temper were often dire. Gert so often wished, as she did now, that Hillie would hold back, but no end of persuasion could change her
mind.

Author bio

Delaying her childhood dream of writing historical novels until her family had grown up, Tania eventually completed a series of published stories based on her beloved Dartmoor. She is now setting her future sagas in London and the south east.

Website: http://www.tania-crosse.co.uk/

Twitter: @TaniaCrosse

Facebook: @TaniaCrosseAuthor

 

#BlogTour! #Review – Finding Dreams by Lauren Westwood (@Lwestwoodwriter) @Aria_Fiction

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Today I am delighted to be kicking off Lauren Westwood’s blog tour for ‘Finding Dreams’. Thank you to Aria for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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When Lizzie Green opens up her house to be used as a set for a film based on a bestselling romance novel, she has no idea how her life will change. A heartwarming story of love and second chances.

Lizzie Greene is about to lose everything when her husband suddenly dies and his debts come to light. To make ends meet she opens up her quirky old house to be used as a set for a film based on a bestselling romance novel. Her life and household are turned upside down when a whole cast of colourful characters enters her family’s lives: from an enigmatic author, a handsome location scout, a brooding director, to a heart-throb leading man, never mind her now ex-mother-in-law camped out in her drive. As Lizzie delves deeper into the film’s book, all is not as it seems.

Will her desire to save her house and unravel the secrets of the past lead to new love, or to mortal danger?

What does TWG think?

Oh my flipping goodness – what an opening!! As soon as I started to read the first chapter, I had no idea what was going to be in store for me as the story progressed. Lizzie had just been hit by one of the biggest curveballs in her life (and unfortunately, not the last either!). How is she going to move on with her life with two young children; a life which has been based on more lies than an episode of Jeremy Kyle? You would be made of ice if you didn’t at least show some empathy towards Lizzie and her situation!

I thoroughly enjoyed every single page of ‘Finding Dreams’, with some pages warming my heart a lot more than others. Lizzie’s two children are unbelievably cute. I just wanted to pick up the youngest and give him a big cuddle, so when Lizzie’s ex mother in law came back on the scene and started, in my opinion, sticking her nose in, my hackles went up and I found myself becoming extremely irate at what was coming out of her mouth in regards to that little boy. Maybe I was being over sensitive, or maybe it was because I had had similar comments made to me when my little girl was the same age. I don’t know. Either way, it got to me. I also thought she patronised Lizzie a lot too and, even though Lizzie seemed to be rather accommodating towards the end, I did feel like she was letting her ex MIL walk all over her without standing up for herself. I mean, Lizzie was perfectly capable to tell someone else that she wasn’t happy with something, why not tell the monster in law as well?

What I loved most about this book was how it had a little story within the fictional story itself. Confused? Don’t be! I spent a lot of timing wishing that Lauren Westwood would publish the novel within the novel, as her next book – I was rather hooked! It was so different and so engaging, I couldn’t help but be transfixed by what I was reading.

Having read Lauren Westwood’s previous novels (and loved them, obviously), I have to say that even though the author had set the bar incredibly high for herself, she blew the bar out of the water where this book was concerned. In my eyes, ‘Finding Dreams’ is Lauren Westwood’s book yet. Everything about the storyline was magnetic, majestic, and utterly moreish. Okay, the romance section was a little predictable, BUT, because the rest of the storyline was very strong and full of guts, thankfully it didn’t lower my opinion of the overall book.

I loved how the author chose a unique route with her book, how she didn’t get confused by the endless flow of characters, I do not know – how impressive!

‘Finding Dreams’ is full to the brim of everything anyone could ever want from a contemporary fiction novel, and more. A cleverly crafted storyline, rock solid characters, and enough drama to rival the biggest soap opera on T.V just now – seriously, what more could you want?

This book may be called ‘Finding Dreams’, but it is safe to say that I had found my dream book in this. Absolutely brilliant! Now, how is Ms.Westwood going to top this with her next novel? To be honest, I have a lot of faith that she will blow the bar out of the water once again.

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

About the author.

Lauren Westwood is also a prize winning debut YA novelist and a solicitor for a renewable energy company. Originally from California, she now lives in a rickety 400- year-old house in Surrey, with her partner Ian and their three young daughters.

Follow Lauren Westwood

Website:

laurenwestwoodwriter.com

Twitter: @Lwestwoodwriter

Facebook: Laurenwestwood

#BlogTour! #Review – Wedding Bells at the Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples (@JilleSteeples) @Aria_Fiction

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Being asked to kick off the blog tour for the next instalment in one of your most favourite book serials, is an honour. But, being asked to kick off the blog tour for a favourite book serial by one of your all-time favourite authors, is not only an honour, it is an absolute joy. It gives me great pleasure to welcome Jill Steeples back to TWG, as I review the latest book in the ‘Dog and Duck’ series. Big thank you to Aria for both the blog tour invite, and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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Ellie Browne, landlady of The Dog & Duck, is looking forward to a relaxing Christmas Day before the arrival of her and her partner Max’s baby in the New Year. But with a snowstorm brewing outside, it seems that things might not go quite to plan.

After the dramatic events of the holiday season, Ellie settles into her new life at Max’s huge country mansion Braithwaite Manor, juggling work and family as best she can. When she’s asked to help organise a summer wedding for one of her best friends it’s only natural that her mind turns to her own, non-existent, wedding plans!

But with Max decidedly lukewarm on the subject and other family complications threatening to disrupt life further, Ellie fears there’ll never be wedding bells at the Dog & Duck after all.

What does TWG think?

If you haven’t read a book from this series yet, where the hell have you been? If you were feeling rebellious, you could probably get away with reading the books in a haphazard order, but, having read all of the books in order myself, I fully recommend that you start with book one. Not only is the series brilliant, I really do think that if you read the books out of sync, you’ll be missing out on some character information which you might find useful later on in the series.

According to Ellie’s dates, Dog and Duck Jnr isn’t set to arrive for a couple of weeks, but, as I’m sure those with babies know, they pretty much come when they want! Of course after being told that by a friend of hers, Ellie is convinced that she still has time. Ahem, but does she? I mean, it’s a snowstorm outside, traffic has come to a halt, OH and the fact it’s Christmas. Surely baby will take that into consideration before attempting to arrive, right?

That said, a new baby is the least of Ellie’s concerns….if you can call having a baby a concern, obviously, but I’m sure you know what I mean. A lot of family drama is threatening to unfold – NOW that is a typical Christmas!

I really didn’t think that this series could get any better! It’s not that I didn’t have faith in the author to produce an even better book, I just had no idea how Jill Steeples was going to top her previous storyline! Little did I know just exactly how much Ms.Steeples was going to top her previous book!

Despite having a little break between books, it didn’t take me long to get back in the swing of things with Ellie and Max. In fact, it was as though I had never left them! I was able to pick up where we left off in the previous book, falling in love with every character all over again.

From the very beginning, my heart felt as though it was being cuddled, warming my soul better than any fire could ever do. ‘Wedding Bells at the Dog and Duck’ was an absolute joy to read – a series which I am devastated about coming to an end.

Not only was I able to lose myself in the storyline, I was also able to connect to several characters on an emotional level. It’s not often that happens because I can be a little bit of an ice queen, but when it does, it means something incredibly special has allowed me to do so.

‘Wedding Bells at the Dog and Duck’ left me wanting so much more, yet reaching the end of the novel made me feel like I was about to say goodbye to some fantastic new ‘friends’.

Jill Steeples has written a book which captured my heart, made me laugh out loud, filled my heart with immense joy, and made me feel as though I was reading something incredibly precious. Like a precious stone, or a gem. Something which you would do anything to protect, yet you just want to keep hold of it and keep it near you for eternity. Honestly? ‘Wedding Bells at the Dog and Duck’ is exactly like that.

This series didn’t just get better, no. The series went to a whole new level, one which I am incredibly honoured to have been a part of. I really do wish that I could bottle the feelings that this book, and the entire series, have allowed me to feel. Why? Because when you find yourself in reaching distance of something so beautiful, you would do absolutely anything to keep hold of it.

Jill Steeples really has outdone herself with ‘Wedding Bells at the Dog and Duck’ and, in my opinion, this is the best book of the series so far. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in the series, even though it will be incredibly bittersweet also being the last.

Such a heart-warming, laugh out loud, magnetic and joyous addition to the already fantastic, Dog and Duck series. I cannot recommend this book enough – if I could give it a million and one stars just to show how much I loved this book, I would. Unfortunately I cannot do that, so I just hope that my word is enough.

Amazon // Kobo // Google Play // iBooks

Author bio

Jill Steeples lives in a small market town in Bedfordshire with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, baking cakes, eating them and drinking wine.

Website: http://www.jillsteeples.co.uk/

Twitter: @Jillesteeples

Facebook: @JillSteeplesWriter

#BlogTour! #Review – The French Adventure by Lucy Coleman (@LucyColemanAuth) @Aria_Fiction @BrookCottageBKS

French
Bit late to the party tonight, but it’s here now! I am super excited to be sharing my review of Lucy Coleman’s ‘The French Adventure’. Big thanks to BrookCottageBks for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC. Here is my review:

The French Adventure
Suddenly unemployed and single, Anna escapes to her parents’ beautiful house in France for a much-needed recharge – and to work out what she wants to do next with her life now her carefully mapped out plan has gone out the window.

Anna gives herself 6 months to recuperate, all the while helping renovate her parents’ adjoining gites into picturesque B&Bs. But working alongside the ruggedly handsome Sam on the renovation project, she didn’t expect for life to take an unexpected, if not unwelcome, twist…

What does TWG think?

Right, I pride myself on being honest, so I need to lay my cards out on the table right here, right now. Personally, the beginning of this book grated on me, coming across as a bit too ‘Dear Diary’ for my liking. Now I’m not too sure whether that was the storyline, or whether it was the way the main character, Anna, came across, but it did make it a lot harder for me to completely gel with the storyline.

HOWEVER, at around the halfway mark, the authors writing style became more prominent, showcasing her true talent in all its glory. It was from that moment when I started to gel with the storyline and its characters, looking forward to what was coming up next. The ‘Dear Diary’ feeling had gone, and Anna came across as being more defined as a character. Please don’t think I’m being harsh by what I said above, I’m not at all. All of my comments in this review are solely based on my opinion and are in no way personally directed at the author…..and breathe!

When the storyline changed its location to France, I found myself becoming a lot more empathic to Anna and the situation she had found herself in. Of course I had a few choice words to say about the other ‘person’ in the equation, but I’ll let you find that out for yourself when you read it! I was so pleased to see her personality grow as the storyline went on, as it blossomed her confidence with made her seem a lot more likeable and a lot more ‘you know what, I see myself in her’.

Even though ‘The French Adventure’ does contain a romantic element, the story itself is a mixture of thought-provoking situations, dramatic scenes, and a good daffy of mystery. The romance didn’t overpower the gritty parts of the storyline, and the gritty parts didn’t overpower the romance. All in all, for me, I found the storyline to be rather well-balanced – I mean, it had everything you could want!

Despite not getting off to a good start with ‘The French Adventure’, I am so, SO glad that I listened to my gut an persevered with the book as I ended up thoroughly enjoying it, with my cheeks hurting due to a big beamer I had on my face. I loved how different the vibe of the story was, especially the uniqueness of the characters themselves and what the author got them doing. It wasn’t samey, it was completely refreshing.

Such a delightful, magnetic, enchanting and smile inducing read from the fabulously talented, Lucy Coleman. If you’re fed up with seeing snow every time you open the curtains in the morning, what better way to escape all of that than by going on ‘The French Adventure’ of a lifetime.

Buy now!

Excerpt.

The L Word
Two weeks today will be the first anniversary of our first real date. Being wined and
dined in a chic little French restaurant was a gigantic step forward; it signalled the
beginning of a new era in my relationship with Karl. Even though at least half of the
meal was spent talking about work, his intentions were clear – we were no longer
simply colleagues and romance was in the air.
Since then, Karl must have told me that he loves me more than a thousand times.
You might think I’m exaggerating, but I can assure you that’s not the case. He
usually manages to slip it into the conversation at least three times a day. The first
time he said the L word to me, it slid off his tongue so easily I could almost have
missed it. It wasn’t a staring into each other’s eyes moment of discovery, just a
casual ‘love you, babe’.
As the months rolled by, I pushed aside my growing fear that it was only a word to
him. Because it means so much more to me, I freeze whenever he tacks it onto a
sentence.
And, yes, I’m very aware that my air of disapproval does make me sound ungrateful
and undeserving. But it’s all about self-preservation, you see. I’ll never utter that
word again until I’m one hundred per cent certain that the man I’m saying it to
believes I’m their soul mate too – the perfect fit.
The last time I uttered the L word, was six years ago. It was to a guy I’d known since
childhood and the man I genuinely believed I would marry when the time was right.
He was handsome in a rugged way, fired up with ambition and exciting to be around.
Sadly, everyone we knew thought we were the perfect couple too, except the guy in
question, as it turned out…

About the author.

Lucy Coleman always knew that one day she would write, but first life took her on a
wonderful journey of self-discovery for which she is very grateful. Family life and two very diverse careers later she now spends most days glued to a keyboard, which she refers to as her personal quality time.

‘It’s only when you know who you are that you truly understand what makes you
happy – and writing about love, life and relationships makes me leap out of bed
every morning!’

If she isn’t online she’s either playing with the kids, whose imaginations seem to
know no bounds, or painting something. As a serial house mover together with her
lovely husband, there is always a new challenge to keep her occupied!
Lucy also writes under the name Linn B. Halton.

Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads Author Page // Website

Competition!

Prize
To be in with a chance of winning the French coffee set pictured above, all you need to do is click the link below. Good luck!

Please note that the giveaway is UK only!

Enter now!

#BlogTour! #Review – Springtime at the Cider Kitchen by @FayKeenan @Aria_fiction

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Having fallen in love with the first book in this series, ‘The Second Chance Tea Shop’ when it was released last year (and it making my #TopBooksof2017 list), I couldn’t WAIT to get stuck into Fay Keenan’s latest novel. I have the honour of kicking off the blog tour for ‘Springtime at the Cider Kitchen’ today – huge thanks to Melanie from Aria Fiction for the ARC of the novel, AND for asking me to kick start the tour. Such a pleasure! I hope you enjoy reading my review as much as I enjoyed reading this book.

ARIA_Keenan_SPRINGTIME AT THE CIDER KITCHEN_E
Caroline Hemingway can’t help but feel a little strange watching her ex sister-in-law marrying the owner of Carter’s Cider Farm, but she’s delighted Anna’s found happiness after the death of her late husband, and Caroline’s brother, James. If only Caroline could find her own love story…

Desperate to escape the rat race, Caroline decides to take the plunge and move to the idyllic village of Little Somerby, where she is given the task of opening and running a restaurant in one of the forgotten barns on the Cider Farm.

Opening and running The Cider Kitchen is no easy task, and there are many challenges on the way, but slowly Caroline feels she’s being accepted into the local community, and starts to believe she may have found her forever home. But secrets from her past seem destined to haunt her, and not even the attentions of the very dishy Jonathan Carter can distract her from all she’s left behind…

What does TWG think?

Don’t be fooled by the rocks that I got…..

Oops, sorry…wrong thing.

Do not be fooled by the colourful and refreshing book cover. If you’re looking at it now thinking that the storyline is just going to be ‘yet another love story’ or ‘predictable’, then you will be one hundred percent wrong. Well, I think you would be anyway.

I did something I don’t usually do before reading a new book, and that was read some of the reviews on Goodreads. At first it wasn’t intentional, but, seeing as I was on there anyway to put the book as my ‘currently reading’, I couldn’t help but notice what the average rating was sitting at. Before anyone says anything, I know – everyone is entitled to their opinion, but, thinking about some of those reviews AFTER I had finished read it, I couldn’t help but wonder if I had actually read the same book as them because I certainly  didn’t think it was low!

There is a lot more to ‘Springtime at the Cider Kitchen’ that meets the eye! The storyline isn’t all fluffy and predictable. It’s more intense, addictive and unbelievably heart-warming. I used to think that ‘knights in shining armour’ were for fairy tales, especially as I have always expected mine to turn up in Tesco basics tinfoil! However, after the whole ‘knight’ situation was brought to my attention in this book, I had to cross my fingers that knights were as amazing as the one which Fay Keenan crafted. Only time will tell!

As I’m sure you have worked it out by now, there is a cider theme throughout the book. If you know (or are a fan of) cider, you’ll love the attention to detail which comes with the cider territory in this book. If, like me, you can’t stand cider and think that the only thing apples should be made into is a pie, do not fret – you don’t have to be a cider connoisseur to appreciate the characters and their lifestyles. Hell, Caroline has enough of her own dramas to steer you away from thinking about cider!

I really enjoyed the rollercoaster ride which the author took me on from start to finish. The levels of emotion pouring out multiple characters were incredibly well thought out, raw, and very, very intense. It was those moments during the book where I felt the storyline come alive. I don’t think I will be forgetting Caroline or her situation in a hurry, that’s for sure.

A gritty, heart-warming, and memorable book from the delightful, Fay Keenan. ‘Springtime at the Cider Kitchen’ left me with a smile on my face and hope in my heart – you can’t really ask for more than that from a book, now can you? A truly wonderful addition to the ‘Little Somerby’ series.

‘Springtime at the Cider Kitchen’ is available to buy now in e-book from Amazon.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Single Girl’s Calendar by @ErinGreenAuthor @Aria_Fiction

ARIA_Green_The Single Girl's Calendar_E
A task a day to cure a broken heart.

Esmé Peel is approaching thirty with some trepidation, but hope in her heart. If she can just get her long-term boyfriend Andrew to propose, she will have ticked everything off her things to do by the time you’re 30′ list. She didn͛t reckon on finding another woman͛s earring in her bed however, and soon she finds herself single, homeless and in need of a new plan. Her best friend Carys gives her the perfect present – The Single Girl͛s Calendar – which has a different cure for heartbreak every day:

Day 1: Look and feel fabulous with a new hair style.

Day 2: Step out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Day 3: Reconnect with friends and enjoy!

Despite thinking it͛s a bit of a gimmick, Esmé hasn͛t got any better ideas, so she puts the plan into action. By the end of week one she has four new male housemates, and despite a broken heart she is determined to show Andrew she can do more than survive, she can thrive.

What does TWG think?

First blog tour of 2018 and what better way to kick the tours off than with a book about a  calendar! Many of us flipped over the start of our 2018 calendars yesterday but, if you’re anything like Esme, you’ll be doing a lot more than merely flipping a page of a calendar over!

Esme has her own plan in life – get married, have children, and settle down. As far as she is concerned, anything other than those three means she has failed. Yes, I know, you’re probably sitting there rolling your eyes. I have to admit, I did think that Esme was a little high maintenance to begin with – it took me a little while to see the character for who she truly was underneath all of the military planning bravado. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having a plan in life – especially where your relationship is concerned. However, if the other person in the relationship doesn’t seem to be on the same page as you, you can’t really claim that you have failed when it wasn’t actually YOU. Whilst I appreciate that it is incredibly easy for me to say that, trying to convince Esme of that fact was a whole other ball game. So much so, her best friend gives her a gift that will either give her a well needed kick up the backside, or would give her a reason to hide herself underneath her duvet for the immediate future.

I thought the whole premise of the ‘single girl’s calendar’ was absolute genius. It was the thing which made the real Esme shine bright like a diamond, instead of coming across like a spoilt princess. I preferred the real Esme as she was a lot more relatable than the one we met at first. There were times where I thought Esme was off her rocker with the rash decisions she made, but in a weird way, I guess part of me found it be quite endearing. At least she was trying to fix her life, right?

‘The Single Girl’s’ calendar pleasantly surprised me! I thoroughly enjoyed this laugh out loud, relatable, heart-warming and addictive novel. It made me realise that if things don’t end up going to plan in your life, just put on your big girl pants and own the change like the diamond that you are. Well, until shops decide to sell a real life ‘single girl’s’ or ‘time to sort your life out’ calendar!

Definitely a fun-filled, memorable new novel from author Erin Green.

Thanks Aria!

Links to Buy:

Amazon // Kobo // iBooks

The blog tour is only just beginning! You can find all of the stops of the blog tour on the graphic below – make sure you check them out!

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