#BlogTour! #Review – The Doll House by @Phoebe_A_Morgan @HQDigitalUK @HelenaSheffield

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I am beyond thrilled to be hosting day three of Phoebe Morgan’s blog tour for her debut novel, ‘The Doll House’, which was published on the 14th September by HQDigitalUK! Huge thanks to Helena Sheffield for personally selecting me to be involved in Phoebe’s blog tour, it is such an honour! I am delighted to share my review with you today, as well as a guest post from the lovely lady herself, Phoebe Morgan. Enjoy!!

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You never know who’s watching…

Corinne’s life might look perfect on the outside, but after three failed IVF attempts it’s her last chance to have a baby. And when she finds a tiny part of a doll house outside her flat, it feels as if it’s a sign.

But as more pieces begin to turn up, Corinne realises that they are far too familiar. Someone knows about the miniature rocking horse and the little doll with its red velvet dress. Someone has been inside her house…

How does the stranger know so much about her life? How long have they been watching? And what are they waiting for…?

A gripping debut psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Perfect for fans of I See You and The Widow.

What does TWG think?

You know when you REALLLYYYYYYYY want to read a book, but you leave it until the last-minute to finally read it just so you could savour every single detail, hoping it would be as good as you had envisioned, only to then read it in a few hours? Sound familiar? That was exactly what happened with Phoebe Morgan’s debut novel. No joke. I was sooooooo eager to grab a copy of the book so that I could finally read it, when what I actually did was leave it as long as possible because I wanted to savour the ‘first time reading a book’ for as long as humanly possible. If you call a couple of hours as long as possible then I did great!

Seriously folks, what a book!!!!!! I feel like crying because I am so jealous of everyone who gets to read it for the first time! How the hell is this a debut novel? Where has Phoebe Morgan been all my life? Why doesn’t she have her second book out already? WHEN CAN I READ MORE?! -wails-. I have never, EVER read a book like this one before and, if I’m perfectly honest, it’s going to take a lot to beat!

I’m not even going to outline my thoughts of the storyline in this review because I can’t without letting something slip. I may represent a female dog sometimes, but I’m not mean enough to write spoilers!

However, what I will say about the storyline is how gritty and complex it is. The amount of characters involved in the storyline is minimal, yet I still had absolutely no idea who was involved in what until the storyline got to that point. To be honest, I really don’t think that having minimal characters in a storyline is a bad thing. Yes the storyline needs to be extremely tight due to the lack of bodies to point the finger at, but in my opinion, if an author can write such a flawless storyline with a select few characters whilst also leaving me guessing, I can’t really see a reason to complain. Can you?

I just cannot believe how brilliant this book is! So many red herrings, wrong turns and questionable circumstances; I genuinely was on the edge of my seat with my eyes glued to the words on the page, trying to work out what on Earth everything meant. What was going to happen next. During the vital last chapters of the book, my dog selfishly decided he needed to have his midnight snack in the garden and, seeing as he can’t open the door for himself, I had to stop reading this book and let him out (there’s a point to this btw). What I didn’t expect was to walk into the garden, hear high-pitched wailing and then jump out of my skin as though there was someone behind me.

Note: DON’T ADULT WHEN YOU’RE READING THIS BOOK, YOU’LL END UP THINKING THE GARDEN GNOME IS ABOUT TO GET YOU. Or in my case, a daddy-long-legs and the pup’s tail. I know, I know….

I fluffing loved every single thing about this book! The pace was intense. The overall storyline was laced with so many unanswered questions. Each character seemed to have a question mark looming over their head from the get go, which meant that I ended up thinking everyone was guilty. The storyline was addictive. Gritty. Surreal. Shocking…everything you could want from a book.

Phoebe Morgan certainly is one to watch for the near future. Her writing style is unique and flawlessly presented, I really do believe that this author is going to spoil us with many more phenomenal books.

‘The Doll House’, ladies and gents, is EXACTLY how a psychological thriller should be written, and it is EXACTLY what the book world has been after without even knowing it.

2017 seems to be an exceptionally strong year where books are concerned, but I can safely say that when I write my ‘Top Books of 2017’ list at the end of the year, Phoebe Morgan’s ‘The Doll House’ will be flying high near the top, without a doubt.

Huge thanks to Phoebe Morgan and HQDigitalUK.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Before you go, I’ll leave you with a guest post from Phoebe Morgan, about how she chose which genre to write for!

What drew you to this genre?

My book actually had an interesting development and changed quite a bit through various drafts to the finished version that it is now – a process fuelled by a lot of coffee and late nights. My wonderful agent Camilla Wray was invaluable with this – she pulled out the darker suspense elements of the novel and helped me shape it into what it is today. I’d started off wanting to write about sisters – I don’t have a sister, I have two brothers – so I find that sisterly connection fascinating. I think there’s more opportunities for jealousy between sisters, because they’re more likely to have shared experiences, and I wanted to explore that with The Doll House.

The psychological thriller is a genre that has been booming for a while now, and it’s what I primarily love reading too so it made sense to write in that field. I knew I wanted to explore the idea of family and the secrets that lie within that nuclear unit, and I also wanted to make the reader think about memory. I think often our childhood memories can get distorted, and when we look back with new information we realise that things were maybe not quite as they seemed. That was the central point for starting this novel.
In my day job as an editor, I’m always watching market trends – checking the Amazon top 100 to see what people are reading, reading The Bookseller to hear about new acquisitions from other publishers (basically scouting out the competition!)

The psychological suspense genre is one that despite everyone’s initial scepticism has gone on to prove itself as a genre that just keeps on giving; there is still an appetite for these books and it’s all about pushing the boundaries of your novel to see if you can find a fresh take on the genre and surprise readers with something new. It is a popular
genre, but I think it’s popular for a reason and there’s room enough for everyone – as long as there are readers, that is! With The Doll House, I decided to make my central characters as likeable as possible – so that the reader is on their side when an external threat comes into play. The twist, though, is that the threat ends up being not quite as external as you’re led to believe – and the book really plays with those ideas of home, family and safety, which are not always what they seem…

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#BlogTour! #Review – Meet Me at the Lighthouse by @MaryJayneBaker @HarperImpulse

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‘One of my top books of 2017… side-splittingly hilarious’ The Writing Garnet

’The day I turned 28, I bought a lighthouse and met the love of my life’

Bobbie Hannigan’s life in a cottage by the sea with her dog and her twin sister is perfectly fine … until she decides the logical thing is to buy a lighthouse and open a music venue with Ross Mason, the first boy she ever kissed.

Bobbie tries to be professional with Ross, but the happily-ever-after they’re working toward is too good to resist. That is until someone from his past crawls back to cause trouble. Can Bobbie look past the secrets Ross has been keeping from her? Or will the boy, the lighthouse, and the dream all slip away?

Escape to the Yorkshire coast this summer with this laugh out loud romantic comedy from Mary Jayne Baker!

What does TWG think?

FINALLY!!!!! I have been waiting AGES for Mary Jayne Baker’s new book to come out, and no, not just because I’m quoted on the cover. Although, that does help, obviously!

‘Meet Me at the Lighthouse’ is pure genius from start to finish. Not a page went by where I wasn’t snorting like pig, or wiping the tears off my face with the cuff of my sleeve. Yes folks, I could NOT stop laughing. You know how it goes when someone’s laugh is funnier than the joke itself? Well my laugh it pretty hilarious, but even MJB managed to blow that out of the water with her genius sense of humour.

The moment Bobbie Hannigan came face to face with the boy she first kissed, Ross, I didn’t know whether to sing ‘THIS SEX IS ON FIRE’ or ‘LET’S GET IT ON’. Seriously, the chemistry that they both had, was sizzling. I adore the fact that Mary Jayne Baker writes kick ass heroines, aka; ones that can stand on their own two feet without pining for a lovestick. There are so many books out there where the leading lady ends up resembling a red slush puppy, but MJB ensures her leading ladies are independent women with bucketfuls of sass.

This entire book is just unique and hilarious, right from page one. I mean, take the lighthouse for example; it plays a big part in the storyline and the author has incorporated it absolutely brilliantly, and in such a way that will get everyone talking. Well, or they might be looking at their freddo’s feeling as though they have been ripped off (what’s new there then!)!

If you’re already a fan of Mary Jayne Baker’s novels, you will know that she is able to get her readers hot under the collar in a matter of seconds; Meet Me at the Lighthouse is no exception! There are some rather sexy scenes in the storyline but they’re not written distastefully in the slightest. Put it this way, if the author can write a love scene with the correct terminology of a female’s anatomy, you’re on to a winner! What also helps, is that the characters involved in the love scene have incredible chemistry. It isn’t the cringey type of chemistry when there’s stroking of arms and gazing in each others eyes…all because the man pulled out your chair for you. No, the characters involved have the full shebang.

I could sit here and say how much I loved each individual character, but I can’t as it would spoil it for you. All I will say on the character front is that there are some rather memorable (and questionable) characters throughout the entire storyline, and they are all fabulous in their own ways.

For me, ‘Meet Me at the Lighthouse’ has everything I could ever want in a book. It has side-splitting humour, kick ass characters, a flawless plot, unique situations, and wit that is out of this world. Mary Jayne Baker is an author that just keeps on getting better and better, as she writes tales that are unique and memorable instead of ones that follow the crowd. The authors humour is unbelievable, it’s absolutely brilliant! I genuinely don’t think that I will ever stop laughing at her. Sorry, WITH her.

‘Meet Me at the Lighthouse’ made my sides hurt, my collar damp, as well as making me grin from ear to ear. This book is brilliant. It’s unique. It’s side-splittingly hilarious. It’s flawless. Mary Jayne Baker is an absolute genius. I absolutely adored this book; it truly is one of my top books of 2017 without a doubt. I cannot wait to read it over, and over, and over again. Hurry up with your new book please!!

Thanks so much to the author and HarperImpulse.

BUY NOW!!!

MJB

#Review – Hot Mess by Lucy Vine (@Lecv) @orionbooks @ElaineEgan_ #HotMess

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Hot Mess [n.] – someone attractive, who is often in disarray.

Have you ever shown up to Sunday brunch still smelling of Saturday night?
Chosen bed, Netflix and pizza over human contact?
Stayed in your mould-ridden flat because it’s cheap?

Meet your spirit animal, Ellie Knight.
Her life isn’t turning out exactly as she planned.
She hates her job, her friends are coupling up and settling down, and her flatmates are just plain weird.

Some people might say she’s a hot mess but who really has their sh*t together anyway? For fans of Fleabag and Girls, this is a fresh and funny coming-of-age story with a single-girl heroine that will speak to millennials everywhere.

What does TWG think?

OHMYGOD where has this book been all my life?!?! -puts back of hand to forehead dramatically-. I am over the moon that an author has taken one look at the ‘lovey dove sticking tongue down neck slurping bae’ type love stories, cleared them away like a totes dramatic clearing the desk scene in a Hollywood movie, and been all ‘just…no, time to get realistic!!’. Well, TECHNICALLY the author may not have done that, but in my mind she has (just to clarify before I get spanked).

I will reiterate; WHERE HAS THIS BOOK BEEN ALL MY LIFE?! Choosing to be single is the quickest way to get a bucket load of dirty looks, people don’t expect you to like your own company! Some folk just want to be selfish, get laid when they choose to and not when they get poked in the back with a morning love stick. Tell me, why is that so hard to believe?

Well ladies, times are about to change thanks to Lucy Vine and #HotMess! First of all let me just give you a little tip; don’t have a drink in your hand at the start of this book. Why? Because, (and trust me on this), you will no doubt laugh your booty off, end up spilling your drink onto your lap and watch it settle in the most unfortunate place. Yes,  you will look like you’ve done a little wee wee in your pants. Oh and yes, the first chapter (and the rest of the book tbh) is absolutely hilarious. I don’t mean ‘HAHA that’s funny’, I’m meaning full on snorting, tears streaming down your face, as well as realising that you have actual stomach muscles. It took me a while to stop laughing after that first chapter, even whilst cleaning up my fake piddle.

Ellie has had a few disastrous dates (understatement!). What makes it worse is how she doesn’t even WANT to be on the dating scene, but thanks to her best friends and the constant stream of pitying looks from all and sundry, she meets a few guys just to see if they can change her mind. If you hadn’t guessed it already, Ellie.Likes.Being.Single.
She doesn’t want to be tied down, but nobody seems to get that!

#HotMess is such a relatable read. Ellie’s antics will have readers covering their faces with embarrassment, laughing out loud, nodding in agreement, as well-being Ellie’s biggest cheerleaders. Not only that, the book contains several characters whose personalities are larger than life, and who are incredible to read about. Two words; Ellie’s dad. (Go and buy the book so you can find out what I’m on about!)

I absolutely loved everything about #HotMess! The humour was AMAZING. The storyline, in my opinion, is exactly what the book world has been missing. The relatable factor went above and beyond my expectations. The force of the girl-power was insane – fantastically written. Lucy Vine’s novel is like the modern-day Sex and the City, except the fact that there is only one woman and not four. See, modern day!!

If you’re the type of girl who would prefer to appear on Gladiators than Blind Date, #HotMess is your guardian angel. If you’re the type of girl who is all for the white picket fences, couple double denim, and pet names for each others private parts, then you’re going to see the side of the #singleladies in all its glory!

Laugh out loud hilarity from page one, through to page 304. #HotMess is filthy, fun, and effing fabulous, there is nothing about Lucy Vine’s book that I didn’t like. Honestly, this book is outstanding, I’m having withdrawal symptoms already. Roll on the next book from Lucy Vine, I want her as my new BFF! OHMGZ please -begs-.

Absolutely phenomenal. Hot Mess is the easiest 5 stars I have even given a book, even though it deserves the whole universe of stars!

One last thing, Hot Mess is 100% my MOST FAVOURITE BOOK EVERRRRRRR!!!!!
Go buy it, now!!!!!!

Buy right now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review – The Gin Shack by Catherine Miller (@katylittlelady) @HQDigitalUK

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As most of you are aware (well, if you’ve been a fan of TWG since the beginning), I am a huge fan of Catherine Miller’s work. Her two previous novels are such thought-provoking, beautiful reads which still resonate with me to this day. When Catherine Miller personally asked me to be involved with the blog tour for her new book, The Gin Shack, I was completely taken aback. Not only that, the author wanted little ol’ me to kick off her blog tour….ON her publication day, what an incredible honour! Thank you Ms.Miller for giving me the honour of supporting you and your brand new book today.

Let me kick off this tour by wishing Catherine Miller a truly amazing HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!

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You’re never too old to try something new!

When octogenarian Olive Turner is persuaded by her son to move into a retirement home, she congratulates herself on finding the secret to an easy life: no washing up, cooking or cleaning. But Olive isn’t one for mindless bingo with her fellow residents, and before the first day is over she’s already hatching a plan to escape back to her beloved beach hut and indulge in her secret passion for a very good gin & tonic.

Before long Olive’s secret is out and turning into something wonderful and new. Only a select few are invited, but word spreads quickly about the weekly meetings of The Gin Shack Club. Soon everybody on the beach wants to become a gin connoisseur and join Olive on her journey to never being forced to grow older than you feel.

A journey of friendship, defiance and a quest for the perfect G&T.

What does TWG think?

Finding out that Catherine Miller’s third novel was going to be about gin, really did surprise me; especially as her previous two novels had quite a serious topic for the storyline. I was aware that the author wanted to try something new, but, as someone who isn’t allowed to drink alcohol, I wasn’t sure what to make of the concept.

However…..

It  didn’t matter whether I drank alcohol, liked alcohol, didn’t like alcohol, or fancied dressing up as a llama whilst necking several tequila, the storyline of ‘The Gin Shack’ was absolutely brilliant! To be honest, the entire novel was cleverly written – it blew any umm-ing and ahh-ing of out of the water.

Olive has reached a time in her life where her mind thinks she’s 20, but her body tells her that she’s eighty-wonderful. Unfortunately, Olive’s son is concerned about leaving her sharp mind and her weakening body alone to care for herself. As far as Olive is concerned, moving into a care home is going to be bliss; no cooking!! There is one major downside to that move; no free access to her beach hut…..

I fell in love with Olive’s character straight away, whilst at the same time disliking her son’s character. He annoyed me big time! As for Olive, I’m surprised her beach hut was able to accommodate her personality, it’s larger than life! I adored her cheeky and free-spirited side, aka the ‘not giving a f….’ side, she couldn’t give two hoots whether people liked what she got up to, all that mattered was whether Olive was happy. What exactly is wrong with that?

There is so much more to Catherine Miller’s latest novel than just gin, and it’s very moving.
There were times throughout the storyline where I felt incredibly sorry for Olive. All she wanted to do was keep her hobbies, it wasn’t really asking for much yet for Olive it was as though she had lost part of her. Aside from the fact that this book is mostly about gin, the storyline does have a back story to it and most of the characters are more than what they seem. You’ll find out when you read it!

I wish I could sit here and explain my views a little better, but if I did that I wouldn’t be too popular due to spoilers. Soooo it means that this review is quite tricky to write. Apologies!

Olive is the sort of person that everyone should have in their lives; she has sparkle, confidence, a big heart, as well as a touching back story which will no doubt make you have ‘something in your eye’. I love her to pieces.

In my eyes, Catherine Miller has done it yet again! She has written such a memorable, heart-warming, soul-searching, addictive and magical novel which warmed my body from the tips of my toes, to the top of my head. Catherine Miller’s enticing words made me giggle, sigh, and for the first time ever, make me feel as though I was ‘one of the gang’ (even though I don’t drink). To an outsider, a Gin Shack may seem to be a waste of time or pointless. But, to Olive, her friends, and now the readers of Miller’s brand new book, ‘The Gin Shack’ is THE book to read and losing yourself in. Yes it’s funny at times. Yes it’s bonkers at times. Yes there is copious amounts of gin. But you know what? I have never, ever felt more at home in a storyline as I have with Catherine Miller’s.

Such a fantastic, fun, and moving novel, perfect for reminding you of what is TRULY important in life (alongside gin). Out-gin-standing. The Gin Shack is my top hug in a book, book ever.

Catherine Miller is definitely an author to watch in 2017; phenomenal work as always.

Huge thanks to HQ Digital UK & Catherine Miller!

Buy ‘The Gin Shack’ by Catherine Miller, NOW!

This is only day ONE of the tour don’t forget, so make sure you follow the other folk on Catherine Miller’s tour! Apparently there is a World Gin Day? Who knew!!

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#BlogTour! The Cafe in #FirTreePark – Katey Lovell @Katey5678 @fictionpubteam @Harperimpulse

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I am incredibly honoured to be kicking off Katey Lovell’s blog tour for her brand new book, The Cafe in Fir Tree Park! Being asked by the author, personally, to take part in her blog tour, really made me feel all fuzzy. It truly means a lot to me when I get asked by publishers etc to be part of blog tours, but there is also something incredibly moving about being asked to take part in a tour by the author themselves.
Totes emosh.

As you can see on the blog tour banner (how stunning is that btw!!) above, there are some pretty shamazing bloggers taking part in this tour, including Harper Impulse themselves! All of the bloggers listed are incredible so please make sure you take a peak at their stops on the relevant dates!

On my stop today, I have a guest post from author of #FirTreePark, Katey Lovell, AND I will be reviewing her book TWG style! I hope you enjoy reading my review as much as I adored reading this book.

First up is the guest post where Katey Lovell describes the ‘second book’ difficulties.

‘The Difficult Second Book’

By Katey Lovell

Although I’d heard authors mention the challenges of penning their second novels, until I started writing The Café in Fir Tree Park I’d never given it much thought.  In my mind I’d done everything right in the planning stages, making detailed notes for months in a brand new notepad bought especially for the project.  I thought I was prepared, but when it came to writing the actual novel I struggled.  

Being honest, I more than struggled.  I reached 10,000 words and seriously considered telling Harper Impulse I couldn’t fulfil my contract.  Every word I’d written seemed disjointed.  The characters were new and their dialogue sounded clunky to my ears.  Whenever I spoke about the novel with friends, I referred to it as ‘the bloody park book’. 

It wasn’t that I didn’t have passion for the project, because I did.  The problem was, I’d lost all faith in my writing ability.  I’d forgotten novels don’t arrived fully formed. What I’d drafted wasn’t as polished as the finished manuscript for The Singalong Society for Singletons.  Of course it wasn’t! First drafts are messy and clunky.  There will be gaping plot holes, and inconsistencies, and the finish line of ‘THE END’ will seem unreachable at times.  That’s the process of creating a novel, but I’d somehow managed to erase it from my mind in the months between novel one and novel two.  It completely crushed my confidence.

By the time The Singalong Society for Singletons was released in October, I had seven weeks left until my deadline and half the novel to write.  Thankfully, with the help of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which takes place in November) and a wonderful set of friends cheering me on, I wrote my heart out.  Lovely reviews for my first novel flooded in, and I believed I could do it again.  The characters came to life and I cared about their fates, which brought the heart back to what I was writing.  As a reader I’ve always been attracted to characters I can root for, and I’ve found that’s followed through to my writing too.  If I feel disconnected, it’s hard to find the motivation to sit down and write, but as soon as it all clicked, the excitement returned.  

The Café in Fir Tree Park took sweat and tears (no blood, thankfully), but I’m incredibly proud of the finished novel.  The pain it caused was necessary, because I believe it’s the best thing I’ve written.  I still get that unpleasant twisting in my stomach as I remember how overwhelmed I felt when writing it though.  The pressure I’d piled on myself was unreal!  

Funnily enough, although getting a first draft of my third novel Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown was a challenge, it was far less stressful overall.  Maybe I have learned lessons, after all…

Such an honest and insightful guest post, thank you Katey. Readers: the next time you consider posting online how ‘expensive’ an e-book is at 2.99, come back and read this. It takes months of hard work and dedication to get books written. Or, as Katey Lovell says; ‘sweat and tears’.

Read on for my review:

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Maggie’s café is at the very heart of Fir Tree Park. Business is booming, her lemon drizzle is the stuff of legend, her children are happy and life is good. But she hasn’t had it easy. When her husband Clint was sent to prison, she had to raise Josh and Kelly alone. But Clint can’t hurt them now, and there’s no denying that Paolo, the Italian football coach she spies every weekend out on the green, is more than easy on the eye.

It may be summer outside, but a new arrival in Fir Tree Park sends an icy chill through the café…

What does TWG think?

Ever since I had the pleasure of reading Katey Lovell’s previous novel, The Singalong Society for Singletons, I was impatiently waiting for her new book to be released into the wild. Katey Lovell’s books are like a legal addiction; as soon as you finished one, you want another! No pressure of course…

Unfortunately, this beauty didn’t stay in my hands for too long as I struggled to put it down once I started reading. Maggie runs her own cafe in Fir Tree Park; a place where everyone can come to relax and eat multiple slices of her legendary lemon drizzle cake. Although most of the treats Maggie baked I wouldn’t say no to. Food porn alert! Mmmmmmm cake. Maggie’s life hasn’t always been as fluffy as her muffins, risen like her Victoria sponge cake, or soft and addictive like her cookies. In fact, her life has been as flat as a pancake. Well, by life I mean her self-esteem (or lack of), thanks to her wonderful husband, more affairs than a baker’s dozen and a prison sentence. Heart throb eh!

Part of me was expecting a calm, leisurely paced novel with more cake than Mr Kipling, so when I realised that Katey Lovell’s novel had more turbulent situations than a coffee, walnut and cinnamon cake had ingredients, I truly was pleasantly surprised.

There is a lot of character swapping throughout the novel, with different chapters being led by various main characters. Usually I find that sort of thing far too confusing, however, #FirTreePark needed the differences in character point of view. It worked incredibly well, I wasn’t at all confused, but most importantly, it tied all the turbulent circumstances together whilst creating another level of intensity.

I am a sucker for a bit of drama, especially when there are skeletons in the closet (as long as they don’t involve me); #FirTreePark has enough skeletons for everyone. I had no idea that the storyline would reach the conclusion that it did. In all honesty, it caught me off guard a bit because it came out of nowhere, and I loved it!

The Cafe in Fir Tree Park is, without a doubt, one of my most favourite books so far this year. All of the intense moments blew me away, the characters were written absolutely brilliantly and so three-dimensional, the setting was described in such a relaxing manner, AND the different character viewpoints meant multiple shocking revelations. What more could anyone want from a book?

Unbelievable! I adored this book from start to finish, it kept me on my toes and warmed the ice from around my heart. I am in awe at Katey Lovell’s literary skills and her outstanding story telling; The Cafe in Fir Tree Park came to life and so did the characters in it.

A flawless, intense, and mesmerising novel that is full of emotion, secrets, heart-warming moments, the true meaning of love and learning how to make the most of your life before it’s too late.
Life is too short to live with regrets, and life is too short to not read The Cafe in Fir Tree Park. You just have to…like right now. I’m being serious.

Fabulously flawless, written with perfection, a showstopper of a conclusion; pretty much like Maggie’s lemon drizzle cake. Wow!

Thanks SO much Harper Impulse.

Buy NOW from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review of Nobody’s Girl by Tania Crosse (@TaniaCrosse) @Aria_Fiction

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Day three of Tania Crosse’s blog tour is with me, TWG! I have a review of Tania Crosse’s new novel, Nobody’s Girl, on my blog today and I hope you enjoy it! Make sure you keep following the rest of the blog tour via the hosts above.

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A compelling story that tingles with drama, tension and an overwhelming sense of love. Perfect for the fans of Jo Cox and Rosie Goodwin.

The boom years immediately after the Great War bring nothing but happiness for wealthy industrialist Wigmore Stratfield-Whyte and his wife Clarissa – until tragedy robs them of their greatest treasure.

Many years later, an horrific fatal accident brings young Meg Chandler, a spirited farmer’s daughter, into their lives. Meg wants nothing to do with them, but Clarissa is drawn irresistibly towards the bereaved girl and will move heaven and earth to help her. Will Meg allow Clarissa into her own shattered life, and can the two share a future happiness together? And will Meg’s new acquaintances bring her the contentment she craves – or seek to destroy her?

Set in the Kent countryside in the years leading up to the Second World War, this compelling saga tingles with drama, tension and an overwhelming sense of love.

What does TWG think?

Oh.My.Word! ‘Nobody’s Girl’ really isn’t the easiest book to read. I had read about a chapter when I became choked with silent emotion, and I had to pause, put the book down and try to reassemble my thoughts. Now, what’ve I’ve just said isn’t a negative thing at all, especially how I said that it wasn’t an easy book to read. In terms of language usage and storyline organisation, it WAS an easy book to read; in terms of the theme of that first chapter, no, it wasn’t an easy book to read. With other books I have read, we usually get a meet a greet type feeling at the beginning of the book, being eased into the storyline gently and completely unaware as to what may be around the corner (or, the next page). However, ‘Nobody’s Girl’ didn’t really do that, before I had even learnt the ins and outs of the main characters I had been caught off guard in such a heart-wrenching way. I so badly wanted to cry, but I couldn’t because the emotion was far too raw. Does that make sense? Sometimes you can read something in a book which upsets you drastically, to the point you’re stunned into silent emotion. It was that.

As I mentioned before, I had to put the book down and go do something else which didn’t require any of my emotions. But, the more I tried to calm my emotions, the more I struggled to forget the novel. I felt as though I was abandoning the characters by pausing the book. How stupid does that sound, but it’s true.

When I decided to pick the book back up, I needed to keep my emotions in check otherwise the book was going to take me an age to read, and that’s not TWG. ‘Nobody’s Girl’ is set in the years between the Great War and World War II, straight away it was as though I had stepped back in time due to the use of ‘motor vehicle’, for example. Those slight word variations throughout the novel may be overlooked by many readers, but it was brilliant to see the author use the language from the time in which her book was set. ‘Nobody’s Girl’ starts off with two main characters, Wigmore and Clarissa Stratfield-Whyte; and it didn’t seem too long before another character main character was added. Sigh. I just wish it was under better circumstances.

Meg Chandler, a character who I would give anything to talk about right now. A character who, unfortunately, I cannot say too much about due to spoilers. A character who, just like the characters at the start of the book, managed to stir up the silent emotion I had been trying to hide for most of the book. Every emotion, action, and description about Meg’s situation was written to the point I thought I was watching everything from the sidelines. The pain. The moment of being unable to do anything; I have no words about how a large portion of the storyline made me feel. Saying that I became emotional would be an incredible understatement, I mean, who wouldn’t get emotional over the entire novel?

Tania Crosse created firework situations for several of the characters, and they were all written with such poise, sincerity, devastation, yet undeniable beauty. Yes, I could no longer understand my own thoughts and feelings whilst finishing this book, but the authors story telling had me absolutely spellbound.

‘Nobody’s Girl’ was full to the brim of heart-wrenching moments; sometimes it felt as though the beginning of the book started off the domino effect for the rest of the book. It got to a point where I was reading so fast because I was so worried someone else in the book was going to end up emotional, or more sparks were going to fly. This book really was cut throat.

On one hand, Nobody’s Girl kept me on the edge of my seat with emotions even I couldn’t understand, but on the other hand, Nobody’s Girl gave me hope, a sense of belonging, a reason to love and the lesson in learning how to BE loved.

This book is by far the most intense, and emotive novel I have read so far this year. Tania Crosse has blown me away and I am still trying to work out how to put my feet back on the ground. I will not forget Nobody’s Girl in a hurry, Meg will always be the girl in my heart.

Absolutely outstanding.

Thanks Aria.

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

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

iBooks: http://apple.co/2o0Szcn

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2o0WFRK

 

#Review! One Endless Summer by @LaurieEllingham @HQDigitalUK @HQStories

Laurie Ellingham

Three best friends.

Three continents.

Three months to live.

How long can you keep a secret?

Three best friends are embarking on an all-expenses paid trip of their dreams. The only catch? Every moment will be documented on film.

Lizzie’s battle with cancer is coming to an end, and now she’s ready to embrace adventure for the very first time. There are only three months, but it is Lizzie’s time to finally start living!

Jaddi is known for her stunning looks, flirtatious attitude and many conquests. But Jaddi has a secret and on this last trip together she needs to decide whether her best friends will ever know the real her.

Samantha has always been the ‘grown up’ of the group, the one with a five year plan. What Lizzie and Jaddi don’t know is that Sam is trapped, and her perfect life isn’t quite what it seems…

As they trek across the globe Lizzie, Jaddi and Samantha must come to terms with loss, love and trusting one another. But will it all be too late…

What does TWG think?

I know I keep saying this, BUT, I am so glad that I tend to avoid reading the blurbs of novels before I read them. I have just read the blurb for Laurie Ellingham’s book; if I had read it before I started reading, I would have been a tad miffed as it gives a little too much away for my liking. I chose this book to read because of the three sentences on the front cover; ‘Three best friends. Three continents. Three months to live.’. Those words (and the beautiful cover itself), were enough to make me go and buy this book for myself. Why? Because Laurie Ellingham has written the type of book that needs to be left to do the talking, it needs to speak for itself. The magic needs to be read in the moment…and not before.

‘One Endless Summer’ pulled me in by my heart-strings nion straight away; there was absolutely nothing I could do to prepare myself for any eventuality within the storyline. Lizzie, Jaddi and Samantha are three completely different women in terms of personalities and beliefs. One thinks with her heart, one thinks with her head and the other one leaves decisions to ‘fate’. I’m sure you can guess how problematic that would have been!

It didn’t take me long to focus on Lizzie’s story and everything else that went with it, including the camera man. Now, because my mind was focused on Lizzie’s hurdles, when another character was involved in a secretive situation, it completely caught me off guard. I had assumed that this storyline was going to centre around one circumstance in particular, so when the storyline spread its wings and took various different paths all at once, goosebumps covered my body from head to toe.

To be able to write a storyline containing several shocking situations involving most of the characters, as well as being able to maintain the high level of suspense and intensity, really does take a considerable amount of talent – Laurie Ellingham has done exactly that. Outstanding.

Throughout the entire novel it felt as though every time I turned the page, there was going to be even more shocking events, or rifts between characters, or something else utterly unexpected and bewildering. It most certainly kept my on my toes, but let’s just say that my emotions were becoming even more difficult to control.

As I said above, I assumed that this storyline was going to follow one path from start to finish, it didn’t; I am so, so glad that my assumption was incorrect as ‘One Endless Summer’ just kept on giving.

It’s incredibly difficult to write a vague review for a book that I adored, as all I want to do is go ‘OMG! Did you read the part where….’, and I can’t say anything along those lines.

All I can say really is that your own eyes need to read this mind-blowing, enchanting, heart-breaking, moving, spell-binding and emotional novel. I have never, EVER read a book like ‘One Endless Summer’; to be honest, I hope that I never read another book like it because it really is one of a kind. In my eyes, it’s going to take something completely flawless (of a similar genre) to be able to knock Laurie Ellingham’s book off my favourites list.

Words cannot describe how much I loved ‘One Endless Summer’, it really is THAT beautiful as well as thousands of other adjectives. Laurie Ellingham has blown my mind with this phenomenal storyline that’s for sure!

‘One Endless Summer’ is one of my MUST READ books of 2017 without a doubt. It’s also a book that will stay in my heart for a very, very long time.

Buy ‘One Endless Summer’ NOW!

#BlogTour! #Review of Ella’s Ice-Cream Summer by Sue Watson (@suewatsonwriter) @Bookouture

Ellas-Ice-Cream-Summer-Kindle

Ella’s life just hit rock-bottom, but can a summer by the sea mend her broken heart? When life gives you lemons… make ice-cream!

Life hasn’t always been easy for single mum Ella, but she has just hit an all-time low; she’s jobless, loveless, very nearly homeless and, to make matters worse, now the owner of a pocket-sized pooch with a better wardrobe than her.

Packing her bags (and a bigger one for the dog), Ella sets off for the seaside town of Appledore in Devon to re-live the magical summers of her youth and claim her portion of the family ice-cream business: a clapped-out ice-cream van and a complicated mess of secrets.

There she meets gorgeous and free-spirited solicitor, Ben, who sees things differently: with a little bit of TLC he has a plan to get the van – and Ella – back up and running in no time.

Ella’s Ice-Cream Summer is a heart-warming and hilarious romance that will scoop you off your feet and prove it’s never too late for a fresh start. The ideal holiday read for fans of Lucy Diamond, Abby Clements and Debbie Johnson.

What does TWG think?

Eeeee!! Over the moon to be one of the stops today on Sue Watson’s blog tour for her brand new book, Ella’s Ice-Cream Summer! Love, love, LOVE HER! Hope you enjoy my review!

As soon as I find out that Sue Watson is due to release a brand new book, I begin to feel the excitement (quite similar to Christmas Day as a child) start stirring, deep within. Now, of course, if I have to wait a few weeks for a Sue Watson book and I know that it’s on its way, well, I do become rather impatient. Reading a Sue Watson book is quite similar to the feeling of getting into a freshly made bed; the calmness, comfort and soothing touch, feeling all of your worries disappear from your mind for the duration of the book (or, as soon as you snuggle into your brand new duvet). Bliss, right?

Almost every single time that I finish one of her novels, I always wonder how on Earth she will top that particular book with her next one. But you know what? She does! Sue ALWAYS manages to up the ante on her own storylines.

Take Ella’s Ice-Cream Summer for example; a deliciously enticing front cover don’t you think? A cover that is bound to bring back childhood memories of visits to the beach, 99’s and the good ol’ marmite opinion flavour; Neapolitan. I’m sure you’re probably nodding your head in agreement right now, because it IS true. Now, the thing about Ella and her Ice-Cream Summer, well, the storyline goes wayyyyy beyond the calm childhood memories and it delves a lot further than I could have anticipated. I too, thought that this book was going to be a tutti-frutti style storyline; colourful, sweet and completely one of a kind, based on the cover. But, this storyline isn’t just tutti-frutti. No. There were moments where the storyline had the depth of chocolate chip cookie dough ice-cream, the intensity of Karamel Sutra ice-cream, the vulnerability of raspberry ripple ice-cream and the uniqueness of a tiramisu ice-cream, topped with coffee sauce and a sprinkle of chopped nuts.

In a nutshell, Sue Watson’s novel contains everything you could ever dream of. Ella is stuck in a rut; her children are growing up and becoming less dependent, her living situation isn’t the most reliable, and a four-legged friend struggles to decide on a tutu or pjs for a lounge day. If Ella wanted a bit of excitement in her life, excitement is what she shall get (and no, I don’t mean that she bought an ice-cream with two flakes instead of one. Although….). Every family comes with their own collection of skeletons in closets, however, Ella had absolutely no idea about the amount of skeletons there were in her own family’s collection.

Road trip to Devon anyone?


Ella’s Ice-cream Summer tickled my taste buds from start to finish. I had only reached 5% completion on the Kindle when I had to put the book down to attractively snort in hysterics at the words in front of me. 5% was all it took to make that happen, imagine what the rest of the book must have been like! Oh, wait, I don’t need to imagine as I have read it, nerney ner ner! How mature of me…

I absolutely ADORED this book. The characters were incredibly written, full of surprises and incredibly memorable (Ben.cough.Ben), the overall theme of the novel uncovered itself really nicely throughout without rushing to a conclusion, and the hilarity really did continue until the very end of the book. Sublime.

When it comes to a Sue Watson novel, I usually feel sad that the story is coming to an end and I would have to wait a while for my fix; that was not the case this time (there’s another book in the series, but shhhhh). Don’t get me wrong, I felt like I was leaving my long-lost friends behind as they were amazing to get to know; their journey really was such an enticing read. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series, without a doubt.

Sue Watson has written yet another hilarious, heart-warming and utterly inviting read, full to the brim of surprises, delightful treats and one of a kind characters. Whilst I adore everything that this author writes, Ella’s Ice-cream Summer has got to be my most favourite book of Sue Watson’s, ever. I really have no idea how she does it, but she does. Every.Single.Time.

I cannot recommend this book enough! You will be a tool not to go and buy a copy of it; surrender yourself to Sue Watson’s beautiful and comforting words, with this addictive and memorable storyline. Absolutely divine (as always)!

Thanks Bookouture!

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author
 

Sue Watson was a journalist on women’s magazines and national newspapers before leaving it all behind for a career in TV. As a producer with the BBC she worked on garden makeovers, kitchen takeovers and daytime sofas – all the time making copious notes so that one day she might escape to the country and turn it all into a book.

After much deliberation and copious consumption of cake, Sue eventually left her life in TV to write.  After a very successful debut novel, Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes Sue signed with Bookouture.
 
 

#BlogTour! #Review – #TheQuietMan by James Carol (@JamesCarolBooks) @faberbooks

thequietman
Eeek!!! I am beyond excited to be the second tour stop on James Carol’s blog tour for his new book, The Quiet Man, which is out on the 4th May (paperback, e-book 2nd May). Big, big thank you to FaberBooks (Lauren) for inviting me to be part of this blog tour, here’s to many more! I really do hope you enjoy reading my review!

thequietman1

In Vancouver, the wife of a millionaire is dead following an explosion in her own home.

Everyone thinks her husband is responsible, but former FBI profiler Jefferson Winter isn’t so sure. The method is too perfect; the lack of mistakes, uncanny. He’s seen a series of carefully orchestrated murders – once a year, on exactly the same day, a woman dies in a situation just like this one.

That date is fast approaching and Winter knows another victim has been selected. Can he identify the quiet man before he strikes again?

What does TWG think?

Oh.My.Goodness!!!! Where on Earth do I begin?! I started James’ novel at the weekend, and I also finished it at the weekend! If you follow me on social media you would have noticed how animated another blogger and I were about this book (HI CLAIRE! P.S her tour stop is Friday!). Before now, I had only heard of James Carol’s books and unfortunately never read one; what a fool. What a major, major fool I am. WHY HAVE I NOT READ ANY OF HIS BOOKS BEFORE!?!?! If you know the answer to that please….don’t tell me as I feel utterly ashamed of myself -rocks backwards and forwards-.

Let me just clear one thing up – ‘The Quiet Man’ IS from the ‘Jefferson Winter Thriller’ series, however, you can read this novel as a standalone as it doesn’t require any knowledge of the previous books to enjoy the plot. That said, if you’re anything like me, you’ll read ‘The Quiet Man’ and head straight onto Amazon to binge buy his other novels. Yes, yes, I did do that. Lets just say I have found a new favourite author (& series) thanks to this book. OH, EM, GEE!

Jefferson Winter is AMAZING! Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of him or bump into him down a dark alley, but oh, he really is a phenomenal lead character. Not only does he have a charismatic personality, he also has an authoritative air about him which he adds humour to, A LOT. I don’t mean ‘knock knock, who’s there?’ type funny, I mean dry, sarcastic humour that makes you laugh out loud and think ‘burn!’. Ooops, pardon the pun…

As much as I would love to scream and shout about how amazing and complex the plot is with snippets, I really do not want to land myself in hot water by giving away spoilers. The storyline IS incredibly complex and every piece of information is linked to something else, which increases the suspense level with every turn of the page. Absolutely brilliant. What amazed me the most was the high level of detail throughout the entire storyline as every part of the investigation had been meticulously thought through by the author. I could tell that this storyline was a labour of love instead of a rush against time.

‘The Quiet Man’ is such a gripping, intense, and fast paced read which took me prisoner from the very beginning. Carol’s bold and addictive writing style had me hanging onto every word he wrote and every mood he described, whilst also pulling me into the storyline as though I was seeing things with my very own eyes.

Honestly, I could gush about this book all day, it really was THAT fantastic. I loved the entire book; there was absolutely nothing that I felt could have been done differently. Usually I find books like this to be out of my comfort zone, but with ‘The Quiet Man’, I honestly don’t think that I could have felt MORE in my comfort zone.

If you’re looking for a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat, forget how to breathe, and feel as though time is on fast forward; then this book is for you. Without Faber Books alerting me to this phenomenal read, I probably would have missed out on finding my brand new favourite book and series, just like ‘The Quiet Man’ and Jefferson Winter have become.

A truly unputdownable novel, I honestly cannot recommend this book enough.

Thank you so much Faber Books.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

#BookReview! The First Time Mums’ Club by Lucie Wheeler (@lucie_wheeler) @HarperImpulse

lw

A gorgeous, heartwarming debut for fans of Giovanna Fletcher, Paige Toon and The Unmumsy Mum!

Meet Pippa…

After years of trying and a failed IVF attempt, Pippa is thrilled to see two little lines appear on a pregnancy test. Finally a precious baby to call her own. This is all Pippa has ever wanted…if only husband Jason could show just a little excitement.

Imogen…

A baby is the icing on the cake for Imogen and Alice – proof that their love for each other can overcome any obstacle. But when Imogen starts receiving malicious texts, it’s clear that not everyone is thrilled about the girls’ good news.

And Ellie…

A drunken one-night stand and Ellie’s life is ruined! Pregnant, jobless and the relationship with her best friend, Chris, over- forever. Because Chris just happens to be the father of Ellie’s baby…and potentially the love of her life!

For these first time mums the road to motherhood is bumpier than most!

What does TWG think?

If I wasn’t broody before I read this novel, I sure as hell am now!!! Waiting for Lucie Wheeler’s book to land amongst the blogger community was quite similar to the last month of pregnancy; long and couldn’t come quick enough! The thing is though folks, I am rather disappointed. You know when you wait an absolute age for something whilst getting more and more excited as each day passes, the day finally arrives and you end up feeling ‘OH’, ever get that? I am at that point, so I am rather disappointed.

I mean, WHY THE MATERNITY DID THE BOOK HAVE TO END?!?!?! Nobody told me that it would end…I wasn’t prepared for the story to finish and be left sitting there. -cries eyes out- I WANTED TO STAY WITH IMOGENNNNNNNN, WAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Ohhhhhhh, sorry, did you think I was going to say that I was disappointed with the book? Er hell no! Being a mummy myself I was able to relate to a lot of the storyline, especially Ellie’s situation (to a point). Pippa, Imogen and Ellie all have babies on the brain, after all, all three ladies are expecting! At first the ladies are complete strangers yet they are all drawn to a certain café. Well, seeing as it’s Ellie’s sister who owns the café it would be a bit tricky for her not to be drawn to it…

Each lady has their own individual story; Pippa is married to husband Jason and after a failed attempt at IVF, they’re FINALLY going to be parents, Imogen is married to wife Alice and despite all of the hurdles their relationship has had to jump over, they are about to complete their family with a baby of their very own. Oh, and finally, there is Ellie who is probably the least maternal woman of the group, yet ta-daaaa she is about to become a mummy after a drunken sha….shenanigan left her eating for two. And you know what? They’re all unbelievably fabulous!

If you’re a pregnant, first time mum and are currently experiencing feelings such as the ones mentioned in this storyline, or if you have already had your baby(ies), you’ll know that finding out you’re pregnant has got to be one of the most phenomenal yet terrifying experiences. Yes, even if the pregnancy is planned! Lucie Wheeler has captured those fears, apprehension and sheer enjoyment, in every part of her storyline absolutely magnificently. A lot of people may think that pregnancy and impending parenthood will be a vision of white roses and bouncing rabbits (well, that was how you got there), when in reality it’s not always like that. Lucie Wheeler has taken the topic of pregnancy, laid it bare and written about it in such a black and white manner; aka realistically. Take Ellie for example; as soon as she found out she was pregnant she felt as though her whole world had nose-dived, yet that is quite a common reaction to pregnancy, especially if unplanned!

Falling pregnant isn’t a case of wham, bam, thank you mam and a baby is made. No. Some women may need additional help or may be classed as high risk, so their feelings are going to be completely different to women who do fall pregnant on the first sniff of the Sea Man. What really impressed me with the entire storyline was how nearly every avenue was explored; fertility issues, same-sex marriage, single parent, rocky marriage and so on. Hand on heart, how many storylines do you know of that cover all of the above in one sitting?

Even though I adored every character (bar one), I resonated more with Imogen’s personality and beliefs. She became my ‘go to’ character very quickly and it was her labour that caught me more than the others. Daft eh? On a very personal level what with being considered ‘higher risk’, just like Imogen I’ve always know that I wanted to be a mummy; her fears and levels of uncertainty was as though I was watching a video of myself pregnant. Maybe that’s why I found her to be my ‘go to’ character, I don’t know.

For me, ‘The First Time Mums’ Club’ was such a flawless representation of motherhood, even where the labour was concerned! I could go on and on about Lucie Wheeler’s book all night, it really is THAT good. But I won’t though!

It is incredibly rare to read a storyline which not only captures your heart, your soul and your ovaries, it also leaves you feeling a level of fulfilment that you have never, ever felt before; just like The First Time Mums’ Club. I cannot put into words how much I adored every word and every feeling that this storyline contained; every single thing was…perfection.
Personally, ‘The First Time Mums’ Club’ had the right amount of giggles, the right amount of solidarity and girl power, the right ratio of serious to light-hearted moments, and even the right way of showing all first time mums (and mums in general) that it’s more than okay to not have everything together ALL of the time.

Lucie Wheeler’s debut novel, ‘The First Time Mums’ Club’ is such an outstanding and beautifully written tale about motherhood and friendship; I cannot tell you how much I LOVED reading this belter of a book. I was absolutely devastated to reach the end of such an empowering and fantastic book, so much so I am debating whether to read it for a second time already!

Phenomenal debut novel from the inspirational, Lucie Wheeler. It’s safe to say that ‘The First Time Mums’ Club’ is ranking in TWG’s Top 5 books of 2017 so far; roll on book two!!

Thank you HarperImpulse!

‘The First Time Mums’ Club’ will be published by HarperImpulse on the 5th May 2017 – you can pre-order the novel now from Amazon UK.