#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!

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

Springtime at the Cider Kitchen blog banner
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!

The Single Girl's Calendar banner

TWG’s #TopBooksof2017! @Bookouture @TeamBATC @Headlinepg @HQDigitalUK @AvonBooksUK @ChoclitUK

The Writing Garnet's
It’s that time of year again when most publishers, bloggers, readers, publicists, (you catch my drift) go through their ‘read’ books of the year, ready to compile a list of their most favourite books. A yearly ritual which sees ‘TBR’ piles growing even bigger, lists being compared, and readers finding new books they wouldn’t have dared to pick up until they read that particular list. A ritual where all the fabulous books us readers/bloggers have fallen in love with over the past year, get celebrated once again.

In lament terms, we get to gush. Having read a total of 318 books in 2017, I knew my #TopBooks list wasn’t going to be small. Have you SEEN the books published this year!? 2017 has been an outstanding year for books. So many debut authors have shone with their debut novels, whilst other authors many already love have upped their game with yet another novel. I have managed to get my list down to a Top 40 otherwise we would have been here until next year going through them, but, in all honesty, I could have happily put most of those 318 books on this list!

In absolutely NO particular order, here are TWG’s #TopBooksof2017!

 

1. A Song for Tomorrow by Alice Peterson
(You can read my review here)
2. The Legacy of Lucy Harte by Emma Heatherington
(You can read my review here)
3. Before You Go by Clare Swatman
(You can read my review here)
4. Sister, Sister by Sue Fortin
(You can read my review here)
5. The Quiet Man by James Carol
(You can read my review here)
6. The Second Chance Tea Shop by Fay Kennan
(You can read my review here)
7. The Year of Saying Yes by Hannah Doyle
(I am still due a full review for all parts of this book – watch this space!)
8. Lost For Words by Stephanie Butland
(You can read my review here)
9. The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton
(You can read my review here)
10. The Wedding Girls by Kate Thompson.
(You can read my review here)

11. Blink by K.L.Slater
(You can read my review here)
12. A Time to Change by Callie Langridge
(You can read my review here)
13. The Doll House by Phoebe Morgan
(You can read my review here)
14. Too Damn Nice by Kathryn Freeman
(You can read my review here)
15. Another Woman’s Husband by Gill Paul
(You can read my review here)
16. The Law of Attraction by Roxie Cooper
(You can read my review here)
17. I’m Still Standing (previously titled ‘Reach For the Stars) by Colleen Coleman
(You can read my review here)
18. 37 Hours by J.F.Kirwan
(You can read my review here)
19. If You Could See Me Now by Keris Stainton
(You can read my review here)
20. Til The Dust Settles by Pat Young
(You can read my review here)

21. The Betrayed by Casey Kelleher
(You can read my review here)
22. The Detriment by David Videcette
(You can read my review here)
23. The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters by Jaimie Admans
(You can read my review here)
24. Skin Deep by Laura Wilkinson
(You can read my review here)
25. Trust Me by Angela Clarke
(You can read my review here)
26. Summer at the Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples
(You can read my review here)
27. Hot Mess by Lucy Vine
(You can read my review here)
28. It Started With a Tweet by Anna Bell
(You can read my review here)
29. A Little Christmas Faith by Kathryn Freeman
(You can read my review here)
30. A Little Luck, A Lot of Faith by Linn.B.Halton
(You can read my review here)

31. Dying Breath by Helen Phifer
(You can read my review here)
32. Dying Day by Stephen Edgar
(You can read my review here)
33. Scream Blue Murder by Tony.J.Forder
(You can read my review here)
34. The Little Clock House series (book 1&2) by Eve Devon
(Reviews can be found here and here)
35. Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell
(You can find my review here)
36. The Lost Child by Patricia Gibney
(You can find my review here)
37. The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen
(You can read my review here)
38. How To Be Champion by Sarah Millican
(I still need to write my review for this book – watch this space!)
39. Bad Sister by Sam Carrington
(You can read my review here)
40. The Other Mother by Judith Baker
(You can read my review here)

Phew! I’m knackered now! If any of the above books tickle your fancy, all purchase links can be found on the review link below each title. So many incredible books written by such fantastic authors – it has been an absolute honour to have been given ARC’s of a majority of the above books. I would like to say a huge thank you to:

Simon&Shuster // ChocLitUK // Harper Impulse // PanMacMillan // Bookouture // Aria
Headline // Bombshell Books/Bloodhound Books // HQDigitalUK // Faber Books 
Accent Press // Avon // Orion // Orenda & Bonnier Zaffre

for giving me the opportunity to read all of the above books. I would also like to thank all of the authors above for writing such jaw dropping and emotional reads! I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – this year has been a fantastic year for books and I want to extend another thank you to every author and publisher behind each and every one of the 318 books I have read this year. Just like many readers, I use books to escape and without you writing/publishing those books, I truly don’t think that I would be able to cope.

Whilst 2017 has blown me away, 2018 is set to be another brilliant year for books as well – my number one novel to watch out for in 2018 is ‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ by Sarah Vaughan which is due to be published on the 11th January 2018. I was very lucky to receive an ARC of this book before publication and you can read my review (as well as pre-order the book) by clicking here.

Did any of YOUR favourites pop up in my #TopBooksof2017? Let me know in the comments if any have, or whether you have decided to nab a few of these books for your own TBR piles!

2017, it has been a bookish pleasure. I cannot WAIT to see what 2018 brings in terms of books!

#BlogTour! #Review – The Girl I Used To Know by Faith Hogan (@GerHogan) @Aria_Fiction

TGIUTK Blog tour banner
It feels like ages ago since I last welcomed this author to TWG, BUT, I am super excited to welcome Faith Hogan back to TWG once again as I review her brand new novel, ‘The Girl I Used To Know’ as part of the blog tour! Huge thanks to Aria for both the invite for the tour and the ARC. Here is my review:

9781786692863
Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn’t be more different.

Amanda seems to have it all, absolute perfection. She projects all the accoutrements of a lady who lunches. Sadly, the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.

By comparison, in the basement flat, unwanted tenant Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.

It takes a bossy doctor, a handsome gardener, a pushy teenager and an abandoned cat to show these two women that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.

What does TWG think?

Have you ever had an opinion about someone, despite not knowing their true personality?
Have you ever disregarded someone as a friend because a spouse, family member or friend, didn’t like them?
Have you ever been stuck in a rut so deep, you lost sight of who you truly were?
Have you ever thought ‘enough is enough’ and felt empowered to change all of the above?

Yes? Me too. Amanda and Tess too, funnily enough.

Tess Cuffe has always believed that her life was destined for stardom. However, even a well thought out idea doesn’t always go to plan and, instead of Tess rubbing shoulders with singers from all walks of life, she has spent many years being too afraid to live her own life.

And then there’s Amanda King. A woman who, from the outside, has everything she could ever dream of; an endless pot of gold in the bank, a pigeon pair (boy and a girl), and a life of luxury. Although is it REALLY a life of luxury? From spending her time painting, to being married and surrounding herself with two-faced, backstabbing people, Amanda starts to question her choices in life.

What a jam-packed, thought-provoking novel! We wouldn’t be human if we hadn’t spent a little time stuck in a rut at some point in our lifetime, right? It’s never too late to get ourselves out of that particular rut, but often we find that we need a little bit of help to do so, even if we aren’t aware of it at the time. As far as Tess Cuffe is concerned, Amanda King lives a life most people could only dream of and, as far as Amanda King’s husband is concerned, Tess Cuffe is a waste of space who is ruining the look of their house. Of course, just like the house, nothing is ever quite what it seems, is it?

Firstly, Amanda’s husband, Richard, needs his nether regions taken off. From the first moment he appeared in the storyline, I knew straight away that I would have an issue with the character. He just oozed arrogance and came across as the biggest end of a bell I have ever met. Seriously. A little piece of me felt sorry for Amanda, but then another piece of me felt a little bit miffed that she didn’t kick him from here to kingdom come. But I can say that, obviously, I’m not in the situation like Amanda is.

Secondly, I had a feeling that there was more to Tess Cuffe that met the eye. She really was like a diamond in the rough who just needed a little bit of TLC to realise that she does, in fact, deserve her spot on this Earth. I just wanted to give her a big hug and tell her that everything was okay. It was clear that this character had spent many, many years building a wall for herself, she had absolutely no idea how to act anymore.

Thirdly, Faith Hogan has written her best book yet. Fact. Even though I found the first couple of chapters a little on the slow side, I soon fell in love with the message which the author was able to put across via her characters. I guess I found it a little emotional because just like Amanda, I have spent years living in people’s shadows, being afraid to bring the real me out again in case it didn’t live up to other people’s expectations. Whilst part of me felt that Amanda should have told her husband where to go, I can fully appreciate how low her self-esteem was and having being ‘safe’ in a marriage for so many years, living the life that Richard wanted was all Amanda has ever known. From the outside looking in, it is far too easy to sit and judge a situation without knowing all of the facts, yet having a smidgen of faith in someone can mean more than you could ever realise. For Amanda, Tess was that faith. For Tess, Amanda and her daughter, Robyn, was that faith. They just had to make themselves known to each other.

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t find parts of this storyline a little emotional, because I did. I felt like each of the characters were talking to my soul, being that faith for me like they are to each other. I loved watching the characters find their wings and fly in a life which they believed in with every ounce of their being.

‘The Girl I Used To Know’ is a poignant, life affirming tale of faith, belief and being true to yourself. Taking that leap to say ‘you know what, I do believe in my self’ takes more courage than anyone could ever imagine, which from the bottom of my heart, I truly believe that Faith Hogan has conveyed with every ounce of her being. I adored this book and everything it stands for. Everyone needs a Tess and Amanda in their lives, and everyone needs to read this book as it truly is beautifully.

Faith Hogan’s best book ever, ‘The Girl I Used To Know’ is a beautifully written, heart-warming and touching novel which is guaranteed to stay in your heart for a very, very long time.

Thanks Aria.

Buy now: Amazon // Kobo // iBooks

About the author.

Faith Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector. She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.

Faith Hogan Contact:

Twitter (her favourite) https://twitter.com/GerHogan
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/faithhoganauthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/faithhoganauthor/?hl=en
Web Page. http://faithhogan.com/

#BlogTour! #Review – Stuck With You by Anna Premoli @Aria_fiction

STUCK WITH YOU
I am delighted to be kicking off Anna Premoli’s blog tour today for ‘Stuck With You’! Having nosed at the reviews before reading it myself, I have to say that I was genuinely surprised by what I read! Thanks to Aria Fiction for the ARC. Here is my review:

Stuck with you3
A smart, romantic comedy about how finding The One doesn’t always have to be love at first sight…

Lavinia Ferrari is in her fifth year at Bocconi University where she studies Economics when she is introduced to a new project that will guarantee her extra credits. She’s intrigued… but it means the class must team up with students from the Computer Engineering course. Lavinia has absolutely no interest in the project, and to top things off, she’s paired with Seb Marconi who is less than
enthusiastic.

When the work begins, her friends seem to be making great progress with their partners, but Lavinia isn’t having the same luck… Seb is making it quite clear that he’s not interested in the project, or Lavinia, fuelling her frustration.
She has no choice – they’re stuck in this, and besides, she won’t receive her extra credits unless they work together. Lavinia must come up with a way to convince the guy who drives her crazy to put the work in… but how?

From the author of LOVE TO HATE YOU, YOU DRIVE ME CRAZY and UNTIL LOVE DO US PART.

What does TWG think?

I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised with ‘Stuck With You’ by Anna Premoli! Some of the reviews I had read before I began reading the book myself weren’t the greatest. However, I ensured I kept my mind open whilst forming my own opinion on the book. 

Set in Italy with students, ‘Stuck With You’ follows the story of an Italian economics student who has to step over into the dark side and pair up with a computer engineering student on a new project. It sounds pretty simple really doesn’t it? Unfortunately for Lavinia, the first day of her pairing didn’t exactly go to plan. Let’s just say that the guy she was paired up with refused to use his manners, meaning that Lavinia saw read. Not the greatest way to kick things off is it?

Now, seeing as Lavinia is the type of person who prefers to be liked, she wasn’t going to stand for Seb’s ignorance and rudeness – even if it did bug her to the point of getting in his face!

The romance part of the storyline, I have to say, was pretty predictable. It was lovely to see two people come together in a very unlikely way, don’t get me wrong, but I could see it a mile off. It probably doesn’t help that I’m not the most romantic person on the planet, but y’know.

Aside from that, the storyline kept me entertained whilst also being a well needed break from other heavier novels I have read previously. ‘Stuck With You’ wasn’t too overpowering which meant that I found it quite an easy read….and no not in a bad way. Okay, no, it didn’t blow me away, but I didn’t dislike it either. It was pleasant, nicely written and a refreshing change.

Thanks Aria.

Amazon // Kobo // iBooks // Google Play

Anna’s previous books, LOVE TO HATE YOU, YOU DRIVE ME CRAZY and UNTIL LOVE DO US PART are out now: Amazon

#BlogTour! #Extract – ‘If Only You Knew’ by Cynthia Clark (@cynthiaNYC) @Aria_fiction

ARIA_Clark_IF YOU ONLY KNEW_E
A wife, a mother, a killer.

One wrong decision, one terrifying night, leaves student Elizabeth with a stark choice – kill or be killed. And the consequences of that choice will shape her whole life.

Now a wife, a mother, and a lawyer, she must find a way to out run her past, protect her family and live with her secret. But is it really possible to live a happy life with such a huge shadow cast by the past? And as it becomes clear that someone else knows her secret and is hunting her down, time is running out for Elizabeth to keep her family safe.

In the bestselling tradition of Clare Mackintosh and Jenny Blackhurst, Cynthia Clark has written a heart-stopping story about the choices we make and how far we’d go to protect our families. Even if it means deceiving the people we love most…

Buy links:

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

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2xz8jeP

iBooks: http://apple.co/2xksqO0

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2wLIV19

Extract.

Hello, I’m Elizabeth and I’m a killer.

I’ve dreamed about saying those words. I’ve always thought that it would be a relief to finally say them out loud, to stop suppressing the one secret that haunts me every single night. Every single day. Every single second of my existence.

You see, secrets have a way of repressing your being, making you feel stifled, as if you’re not yourself any more. And the longer you keep a secret, the more it crushes your soul, making you want to scream, scratch at your skin, tear your hair out. It’s the desperation of being alone, of knowing that nobody else can be told, that you can’t share your secret with anyone, allow them to help you carry the burden. Because, after all, who would understand? You know that instead they would just see you as a monster. I know that’s what people would think about me if I ever dared to tell them.

Because it doesn’t matter why I did what I did. The bottom line is that I took a life. That was someone’s child, someone’s neighbour, someone’s friend.

I’ve thought about being able to tell at least one person what I’ve done. Test the waters and hope that they would understand. I’ve come close on a couple of occasions. But in the end, fear has always taken over and I’ve backtracked, my resolve to share my deepest, darkest confession shaken to the core. I’m too scared that the life I’ve built for myself will be shattered. I’m terrified of having to face the consequences of my actions, carried out in the heat of the moment.

No, I cannot tell anyone. I need to remain the sole custodian of the truth. My scary reality. Nobody can know that I’m Elizabeth and I’m a killer.

Chapter 1

2014

I’m clearing the remnants of this morning’s breakfast from the kitchen when my work phone rings, stopping me in my tracks. I see my assistant’s name flashing on the screen.

“Hi Jennifer, what’s up?”

“There’s this girl.” Her voice is coming in rapid pants. “She’s going to be slaughtered by the prosecution unless you take over her case.”

Cradling my phone between my ear and shoulder, I rinse Coco Pops from a cereal bowl. There’s no time to waste; I’m already running late. “Ok, I’m listening.”

“I got in early to file the Preston paperwork. I was waiting for the clerk to come in and heard Sarah, from the public defender’s office, talking about this case.”

Jennifer pauses for breath.

“So, what is it about?” I urge.

“There’s this girl, Chloe. She’s fifteen and is being charged with attempted murder.”

“What did she do?” Moving my phone to the other ear, I carry on clearing the kitchen, mentally urging her to give me the whole story rather than scraps of information.

“She ran over this guy and fled the scene.” Her voice is tinged with excitement.

“Hold on, how come she was driving? You said she’s only fifteen?”

“Yes, she is. She got into his car and reversed over him.”

“How did she get the keys? Did she steal them?”

“I’m not sure…” Jennifer’s voice trails off.

“Ok, we can find out later. Is he injured?”

“Oh yes.” She is suddenly animated. “He’s still in hospital. Both of his legs are broken, he has a couple of fractured ribs, a punctured lung, and severe internal haemorrhage. Doctors aren’t sure if he’ll ever walk again.”

“Ouch,” I wince; shuddering as I try to freeze out images of the unknown man’s wounded body.

“Sarah suggested running the case by you, to see if you have time to take it on,” Jennifer continues.

Taking a deep breath, I mentally run through my current workload. “I don’t know. You know how busy I am right now.”

“Yes, but you’re always looking to help young women, girls who don’t have anywhere else to turn. And you haven’t taken a pro-bono case in a few months.”

Jennifer’s right. Cases where the accused has a tough story, where others would have run a mile, always get to me and make me work my hardest.

“Are you still there?”

“Yes, yes,” I quickly answer, jolted back to reality. “I don’t know. It’s a hit-and-run. Is it worth the effort?”

“Well, it’s not like the usual cases you tend to take on. But just because she’s not the victim of abuse doesn’t mean that she doesn’t deserve a solid defence.”

“And you know how busy the public defenders are,” she presses. “Sarah is juggling eighteen other cases. She has no time to provide a proper defence. This girl is doomed.”

Something about Jennifer’s description of the case doesn’t tally. There’s a small voice inside me warning against wasting time, telling me to move on. “Can’t her parents find a good barrister?”

“I don’t know, but if she’s been referred to a public defendant, that’s probably her only choice. Just guessing.”

Despite my reservations, I’m intrigued. “Can you ask Sarah for the case file?”

“I got you a copy already. It’ll be on your desk when you get in.” A smile creeps onto my face. Jennifer’s extraordinary organisational skills allow me to focus on what really matters – defending clients.

IF YOU ONLY KNEW blog tour (1)

#BlogTour! #Review – The Accident by @DawnGoodwinAuthor @Aria_fiction

THE ACCIDENT blog tour

9781786699633

A tragic accident, an unbearable loss and a marriage in crisis – but who can she
trust or is she all alone? A gripping, debut psychological thriller that will keep you
hooked. Perfect for the fans of Paula Hawkins and S.J. Watson.

Veronica Pullman’s comfortable suburban life comes to a shuddering halt when her young daughter, Grace, tragically dies in a car accident.

Months later, unable to come to terms with her daughter’s death, detached from her husband and alienated from her friends and family, a chance encounter on a rainy street pushes her into an unlikely new friendship.

Scarlet is everything Veronica could’ve been: feisty, adventurous, unpredictable. But as she approaches what would have been Grace’s 10th birthday, it becomes clear to Veronica that the friendship she thought was saving her life could be costing her everything.

Consumed by grief and left questioning her own sanity, is there anyone she can really trust or is someone out to torment her as part of their twisted game?

What does TWG think?

Can I just start by saying that this book; ‘The Accident’, is Dawn Goodwin’s debut novel…DEBUT! Considering how well thought out the storyline was, the author came across as though she had been writing novels for a long time when in actual fact, it’s her first one!

Once again I need to be extremely careful with this review due to the amount of potential spoilers. There is a lot going on in this book – some expected, some not, but it certainly did its job by keeping me intrigued.

The theme of the storyline is based around something I found quite uncomfortable to read. Well crafted don’t get me wrong, but still uncomfortable. However as weird as this sounds, the author has used that theme to her advantage when it comes to setting the scene for the rest of the storyline.

There were moments where I was convinced I knew what was going to happen, but then there were moments where I hadn’t a clue what was going to happen. The mixture of both, whilst extremely confusing, kept me in suspense for the duration of the book. However, I did feel as though parts of the book were quite slow burning and lacking the oomph which the rest of the storyline possessed.

All in all, ‘The Accident’ kept me entertained most of the time, with the author creating a lot of well-timed suspense with their intriguing writing style. This book is certainly a promising start for novels in the future, and I am looking forward to seeing what this author brings out next!

Buy links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2xlkbky
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2toKRiq
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2tonJ3J
iBooks: http://apple.co/2yhH8C8

About the author

Dawn's career has spanned PR, advertising and publishing. Now, she loves to write
about the personalities hiding behind the masks, whether beautiful or ugly. Married,
she lives in London with her two daughters and a British bulldog called Geoffrey.

Follow Dawn
Facebook: @DGoodwinAuthor
Twitter: @DGoodwinAuthor

#BlogTour! #Extract from ‘The Note’ by Zoe Folbigg (@zolington) @aria_fiction

THE NOTE blog tour
It’s TWG’s turn to host Zoe Folbigg and her debut novel, ‘The Note’. For my post today I am delighted to share an extract with you. Enjoy!

9781786698070
As featured on ITV’s ‘This Morning’…

Based on Zoë Folbigg’s true story comes an unforgettable romance about how a little
note can change everything…

One very ordinary day, Maya Flowers sees a new commuter board her train to London,
and suddenly the day isn’t ordinary at all. Maya knows immediately and irrevocably,
that he is The One.

But the beautiful man on the train always has his head in a book and never seems to
notice Maya sitting just down the carriage from him every day. Eventually, though,
inspired by a very wise friend, Maya plucks up the courage to give the stranger a note
asking him out for a drink. Afterall, what’s the worst that can happen?
And so begins a story of sliding doors, missed opportunities and finding happiness
where you least expect it.

The Note is an uplifting, life-affirming reminder that taking a chance can change
everything…

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

Extract.

Chapter One

May 2014

Maya has done it. She has delivered three sentences and a friendly sign-off, and now
it is out of her hands. She struggles to walk the incline of the seemingly uphill train
carriage because her legs are shaking, her mouth is dry, and putting one foot in front
of the other takes effort and focus her racing heart isn’t capable of at the moment.
Her legs buckle as Maya slumps into a seat on the other side of a grubby internal
door. Which is just as well because she wanted to linger with the last straggles of
bedraggled Train People disembarking reluctantly; to make herself invisible to all the
commuters she just embarrassed herself in front of. So, Maya lies low with the sleepy
people. The people who can’t stand their jobs. The people who are lost in someone
else’s life, frantically turning or swiping pages to find out if the girl got the guy, the
adventurer made it back to London or the heretic was burned at the stake.

Train Man isn’t a straggler. Every day Maya sees him stand up confidently at the
same point on the track, somewhere between the football stadium and the tunnel, as
the train snakes towards a new day and a new terminus. Equine legs, strong arms. He
throws a grey backpack with two thin brown leather straps onto his back, stands in the
doorway and, as the train comes to a stop and orange lights ding, he steps off with
pace and purpose. Maya usually walks a healthy distance behind Train Man, tiny
sparks flying from her heels, down the platform and through the barriers under the
canopy of a reverse waterfall bubbling white and bright above them. The intimate
huddle of a metal umbrella for thousands of people who don’t even look up. Train
Man always walks straight through the station and Maya wonders what he’s listening
to, trying to guess from his gait, not realising he was at four of the six gigs she went to
in the past year. Every day she sees him turn right out of the station and walk swiftly,
resolutely, into a mist of people down the road. Until she can’t keep up with his long
stride, he in Converse, she in heels – or ballerina flats if she needs to be nimble and get to a meeting – and Maya tends to lose him around the big crossroads at the artery by the hospital. But not today. Today Train Man has long gone.

When Maya’s legs buckled and she fell into a dusty seat, she put distance between
where Train Man had been sitting, where she had awkwardly stood over him, and into
this sanctuary of a cringe-free carriage. Catching her breath, she waits for three
minutes until she, Maya Flowers, is the last of the stragglers. Hot face. Thumping
heart. I did it!
In the empty carriage, Maya’s legs stop shaking and she flattens her wavy hair in
an attempt to regain composure for no one’s benefit. She takes long deep breaths and
calms herself by putting her fingertips against her ribcage to feel her lungs fill slowly.
A tall man in a bright blue short-sleeved shirt that sits pleasingly against Somali
skin steps on and starts to throw newspapers into a sack before passengers board the
train that will take them north. Maya stands and tries to stride with Train Man’s purpose. She knows she won’t catch him up today, to see whether he is clutching her note to his heart, whether it’s crumpled in his pocket, or whether he tossed it into a bin. It doesn’t matter for now.
What matters is she did it.
Spring sunshine looks down gently and tempers rise noisily in the gridlock of an
underpass, but all Maya can hear among the birds and the horns are the words of an
American woman in her head.
‘What’s the worst that can happen?’
Maya smiles proudly as she passes a bin and gives a cursory glance into it.

About the author

Zoë Folbigg is a magazine journalist and digital editor, starting at Cosmopolitan in 2001
and since freelancing for titles including Glamour, Fabulous, Daily Mail, Healthy, LOOK,
Top Santé, Mother & Baby, ELLE, Sunday Times Style, and Style.com. In 2008 she had a weekly column in Fabulous magazine documenting her year-long round-the- world trip with ‘Train Man’ – a man she had met on her daily commute. She has since married Train Man and lives in Hertfordshire with him and their two young sons. This is her debut novel.

Follow Zoe

Website: http://www.zoefolbigg.com/
Twitter: @zolington
Facebook: @zoefolbiggauthor

 

#BlogTour! #Review – The Good Mother by Karen Osman (@KarenAuthor) @Aria_fiction

THE GOOD MOTHER BLOG TOUR.png
Can I start by saying sorry for the slight delay in this blog post, albeit a couple of hours I know, but technology isn’t liking me lately. Anyway, I am thrilled to be sharing my review of Karen Osman’s, ‘The Good Mother’ with you today:

ARIA_Osman_THE GOOD MOTHER_E
How far would you go to protect your children?
A gripping psychological suspense, with a shocking twist that will leave you reeling…

Catherine is a good mother and a good wife. The family home is immaculate, her
husband’s supper is cooked on time, but when she starts writing to Michael, a prisoner convicted of murder, she finds herself obsessing about his crime and whether he can ever truly be forgiven…

Kate has no time for herself.  Caught in the maelstrom of bringing up two young children with no money, and an out of work husband, she longs to escape the drudgery of being a wife and a mother. And she soon starts taking dangerous risks to feel alive…

Alison has flown the nest. But university life is not what she had hoped for, and she finds herself alone and unhappy. Until the day her professor takes a sudden interest in her.

Then everything changes…  
Three women – all with secrets. And as the days tick down to Michael’s release, those secrets can no longer be ignored.

What does TWG think?

Three women, three different view points, three different sides to the story. How far would YOU go to protect your children? As parents, do we really need to give an answer to the question? Is it blatantly obvious or would some of us not know until the situation ever arose? Catherine is an extremely organised person. Her home is run to perfection with every day knowing exactly what she is doing and when. But, Catherine is hiding a secret from her husband…need I say more? The second woman in the story is Kate. A young mum with two young children and a husband who is wouldn’t know how to be selfless if it came up and bit him on the toosh. Finding herself stuck in a rut, Kate vows to make slight adjustments to her life…whilst also keeping her husband in the dark. Once again, need I say more? Lastly is Alison, a university goer who has their whole future ahead of them. Independence. Exciting new prospects. A professor who isn’t sticking to the curriculum…..

I have to say, I struggled with this book at the beginning because I found myself getting confused due to the lack of information surrounding each viewpoint. The time span wasn’t always clear which meant I had slight difficulty in keeping up with the storyline as it wasn’t clearly set out. Now, all three woman bring something completely different to the story. Not only are they at different points in their lives, their characters and personalities stand out in their own individual ways. Did I find myself warming to any of the three main characters in particular? Not really, but that’s not to say that I didn’t like them. Granted I didn’t like some of their choices, but who does like everything someone else does? I had absolutely no idea where the storyline was heading, at all. The further into the book I read, the more comfortable I became with each viewpoint, yet I still couldn’t full guess what would become of ‘The Good Mother’.

As a parent myself, I related to the lioness elements with the constant worrying about making sure your child/ren are okay. My daughter is four yet she acts like a fourteen year old and already I worry about her. We wouldn’t be parents if we didn’t worry!

Without giving too much away, ‘The Good Mother’ contains some rather uncomfortable themes, eye-opening situations, as well as various antics which are most likely to make your skin crawl, whilst also becoming incredibly angry. Trust me, I became angry whilst reading certain parts. I felt sick to my stomach as well, I’m not going to lie, yet I just could not stop reading. Who on Earth was this monster?

The pace of this book overall was quite slow. There seemed to be a lot of background work and scene setting, before the nitty-gritty parts took over. At first I didn’t really appreciate that about the story, yet when ‘The Good Mother’ reached its conclusion, I appreciated the pace a whole lot better. Well, I did once I put my jaw back after it reaching the floor. Oh my god, seriously, what an ending! No I didn’t see it coming at all, but by golly was it worth the wait! Hats off to the author for such a nail-biting final part to the book. Brilliant craftsmanship.

Overall, ‘The Good Mother’ kept me intrigued and wanting more, whilst also igniting multiple emotions deep within, all at the same time. The storyline did keep me interested, but I did often find the pace to be a bit too slow burning. However, whilst each of the women had a lot of drama coming to light in their viewpoints (some more grittier than others), I did appreciate why the slow burning pace had to be like that.

Intense, suspenseful, and heart-breaking; ‘The Good Mother’ is a read that is guaranteed to keep you guessing until the very last moment, whilst also being unable to forget the storyline for a while upon completion. With the best conclusion I have read in a very long time, ‘The Good Mother’ may have a slow pace but it is certainly worth the wait when you come to that ending. A suspenseful showstopper in the ending alone. Definitely a well crafted part of the novel.

Thanks Aria.

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