#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

 

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#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

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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

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.

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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)