#BlogTour! #Extract – What Happened to Us by Faith Hogan (@GerHogan) @aria_fiction

I am delighted to be on the blog tour for Faith Hogan’s new novel today. Unfortunately I couldn’t do my review due to a technical difficulty in getting the book, but I am able to share an extract from the book instead. Do watch this space as I intend to read it ASAP though!!

Carrie Nolan is devastated when she is dumped by Kevin Mulvey after more than a decade without even a backwards glance! On reflection, she has sacrificed her own long term happiness establishing their critically acclaimed Dublin restaurant and pandering to his excessive ego. 

 Meanwhile Kevin can’t believe his luck. Valentina, their new waitress is a stunner, the kind of girl that turns heads when she walks in a room and surprise, surprise she has chosen him! He is living the dream!

 Carrie seeks solace from a circle of mismatched friends who need her as much as she needs them. Jane, who struggles to run the pub on the opposite side of the street, Luke, who has stopped drifting while his father settles in a nearby nursing home and Teddy, a dog who asks for nothing more than the chance to stay by Carrie’s side. 

 With Christmas just around the corner, all is not quite as it seems and a catastrophic sequence of events leads to the unthinkable… 

 How far do you need to fall before you learn the true value of family and friends? And is it ever too late to start again…

 Buy links

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2Pv3cCJ 
iBooks: https://apple.co/2BBjSpp

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2o3aMrV 
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2OHDsSO

Extract.

Carrie eyed her stocky frame critically in the mirror. She had washed her hair and attempted to brush it out straight, but of course, as always, it disobediently fell back into a mass of curls. In the end, she pinned it up in a messy bun and pulled a few tendrils free, in case she needed to hide behind them. She had just spent an hour crying about the way things had turned out, so she hoped there were no more tears left. Her shift in the restaurant started in less than forty-five minutes. The last thing she wanted was a replay of the previous evening. She may be an emotional wreck; it didn’t mean that all sense of herself had to be obviously lost.

She pulled out an emerald wrap dress she’d bought in New York a few years earlier. It was made of the softest wool and always garnered a compliment when she wore it. It worked quite well with patent heels and her black lacy bolero. She needed a splash of Manhattan in her life now. The wrap top managed to hold in her ample boobs. The skirt though narrow didn’t make as much of her peasant thighs as some clinging skirts did. It was the best she could do, and she wasn’t sure who she was trying to impress anyway, she could never match Valentina for looks.

‘Right, Teddy, how do I look?’ she quizzed the little dog when she went back into the kitchen. He looked at her curiously, she was not sure if she passed the appearance test, but she had a feeling he saw something in her that went deeper than her figure. She bent down and scratched his head gently. He seemed content to slumber in the same spot in her kitchen, so she left him there.

She was dreading going into The Sea Pear. There, she’d said it. How long had she felt like that? She shook her head, not long, probably only since Kevin made his announcement. God, it was almost a full fifteen minutes since she gave him a thought. Now the dread filled her again. There was no point going through the thoughts that were cramming her mind: What was she supposed to do now? What was Kevin going to do? Was he going to shack up permanently with Valentina? Carrie couldn’t allow her mind to go there, not yet. For now, she had to get through working in the same building as the pair of them. For now, that would be as much as she would demand of herself.

The restaurant felt warm and fresh when she arrived. It wasn’t four hours since she walked through here with Teddy and Luke. Yet, knowing that Kevin was going to be here now, the place felt different. As though its familiarity was jarring with what it should be. She hadn’t been at work since yesterday evening, when she’d run out of here distraught. No one had checked up on her and the business had not come crashing down without her. Actually, the place looked fine. Everything was exactly as it should be.

The smell, familiar, trailing before her was Kevin – a mixture of Calvin Klein and hair products to make his wiry hair appear sleek. They had not spoken, not really, since he had trotted out of her office with Valentina at his side. Oh, they’d exchanged orders from the kitchen to the front of house. They’d worked around each other in careful silence for almost two days, until finally the hollowness inside her had given way last night. He, she knew, was much more cowardly than she. Had she always known that? Was he actually spineless? She thought about it for a moment, then she threw her shoulders back, her ample chest out and marched into the kitchen. She was not afraid. Broken, but not afraid.

‘I can’t believe you left my mother high and dry.’ Kevin’s voice reached a pitch she hadn’t heard in years.

How are you Carrie? How are you doing? I was worried about you?’ Carrie said the words sarcastically; after all, they were what she imagined she would say to him if things were reversed.

‘Of course, I was worried about you, we both were, but…’ He ran his long fingers through his thick hair and she noticed it seemed greyer now than it was before. Could he have aged overnight or was it really so long since she’d actually properly looked at him? ‘But still, what was I supposed to do, drag you back to work. Valentina said you probably needed some time to get your head around things. We managed fine, by the way,’ he nodded towards the restaurant.

‘Really,’ Carrie said and she let the hurt of him talking to Valentina about her slide sideward on her consciousness. She couldn’t think about all the times they’d probably spoken about her these last few weeks or maybe months. ‘Well, good news for both of you. But I’m back now, so…’

‘Well, of course,’ Kevin bit his lip, a nervous habit he had worked hard to kick in college. ‘And…’

‘Yes?’ she said. Had he thought about the restaurant, had he thought about the house? She’d bet Valentina had thought of it.

‘Well, it’s just…’ He was too weak to move things forward and for that, perhaps, she was glad; she had enough to cope with for now.

‘You’ll need to tell your mother, Kevin. From now on you’re going to be bringing her to mass every Sunday.’ She grabbed an apple from the top of a newly delivered box and took a satisfying bite. God, but she’d love to be a fly on the wall when he told Maureen Mulvey about Valentina.

Working in the restaurant that evening was hard. There was no point lying to herself. Carrie sidestepped Valentina when she could, but they couldn’t avoid each other. Perhaps she could ask some of their friends to give Valentina work in their restaurant. Jim McGrath ran a little bistro on the north side; she’d make a bomb there in tips. She could suggest it to Kevin, maybe, in a few weeks, when they had time to cool down, all of them.

That was the funny thing though; they were all very cool about this. She hadn’t lost her temper, she hadn’t screamed or shouted, or thrown plates. Today, at least, she didn’t want to hit him or hurt him in any way and, maybe, that meant something. Maybe it meant something more than she’d have realised if this hadn’t happened. Oh, she was hurt. She was hurt beyond description, the kind of pain that goes deep into the core of you. Even when she thought she’d cried herself out, she felt a new current of grief rise within her, bringing waves of tears to her eyes that there was no stopping. Poor Teddy had leant against her leg, lapped up the tears and occasionally rested his head on her lap, as if to offer her his own brand of sympathy. It was a funny thing; there was something in the dog that made her feel he actually got her pain, he, by his very wish to console her, somehow made things better. She was so glad to have him in the house with her.

She looked up at the clock, almost ten p.m. She walked to the door. Across the road, The Marchant Inn was in darkness and its emptiness thrashed like a wave of lonesomeness through Carrie. She thought of Jane, so fragile and alone in the hospital. Through all those tears, Carrie had made a promise of sorts, even if she hadn’t put it into words – she was going to look out for Jane from now on. Somehow, she was going to help that lonely woman get back to a life that meant something. She sighed, perhaps it would do her good to think about someone else for a while and take her mind off Kevin and Valentina.

Sunday night was always quiet, very few bookings this evening and generally, everyone was seated by nine or half past and they managed to clear out by twelve. She was looking forward to getting out of here now. Funny, but she’d never felt like that before.

Carrie slipped upstairs to her office and turned on the computer. She logged into her Facebook account to catch up with what was happening with people she knew who were flung all over the world these days. For one more time, she could pretend that everything was normal. Then she’d call Anna and tomorrow she’d go and see her mother.

About the author.

Faith was born in Ireland and currently lives there with her husband, four children and two fussy cats. She gained an HonorsDegree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate from University College, Galway. She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair- an international competition for emerging writers. When she’s not writing, she’s an enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger. 

 Follow Faith

Twitter: @gerhogan

Facebook: @faithhoganauthor

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#BirthdayBookBlitz! #Review – Oh! What a Pavlova by Isabella May (@IsabellaMayBks) @RaRaResources

We do like a celebration here at TWG! We take birthdays very seriously!! Happy book birthday to ‘Oh! What a Pavlova’ by Isabella May! Massive congratulations. To celebrate, I am super excited to be reviewing the book as part of the book birthday blitz organised by RaRaResources – many thanks for having me on board!

Kate Clothier is leading a double life: a successful jet-setting businesswoman to the outside world, but behind closed doors, life with Daniel and his volcanic temper is anything but rosy.

Some days – heck, make that EVERY day – cake is her only salvation. 

Slowly but surely, the cities she visits – and the men she meets – help her to realise there IS a better future.

And the ley lines of Glastonbury are certainly doing their best to impart their mystical wisdom…

But will she escape before it’s too late?

What does TWG think?

With the theme of domestic abuse running through this storyline, there were times where I felt a little bad for enjoying the book because of what Kate was dealing with. I would like to take my hat off (well, if I was wearing one) to the author for covering a topic which is both devastating and relatable, without losing the vulnerability of the situation. I won’t lie, it is incredibly difficult to read at times because I ended up relating to it due to my own past, but I was glad for the upbeat and humorous one liners to break up that dark vibe.

Isabella May is brilliant at playing on words, and what better to showcase that talent than with food!

For me personally, I did enjoy the storyline and found myself giggling multiple times, however, the dark vibe was incredibly difficult to shuggle off and I couldn’t seem to go with the flow of the storyline as much as I would have liked. Like I said before, maybe that’s down to the fact that I was able to relate to Kate’s situation because I had been through similar, therefore becoming deeper invested than a reader who may not have experienced the similarities first hand. Either way, I was glad that the topic had been put in the spotlight!

‘Oh! What a Pavlova’ is a tantalising treat which mixes pleasure and pain together like a rocky road traybake.

Buy now!

Giveaway!! Win a signed copy of The Cocktail Bar (Open Internationally) 

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passedto the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Enter the giveaway now!

About the author.

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing. As a co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One). She has recently become a Book Fairy, andis having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’! Costa del Churros is her third novel with Crooked Cat Books, following on from the hit sensations, Oh! What a Pavlova and The Cocktail Bar. 

Social Media Links

www.isabellamayauthor.com

Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMayAuthor/

Instagram – @isabella_may_author

#BlogTour! #Review – ‘Tis the Season to be Single by Laura Ziepe (@lauraziepe) @HQDigitalUK

As soon as I saw the cover of Laura Ziepe’s novel, ‘Tis the season to be Single, on social media, I just knew I had to read it! Many thanks to HQDigitalUK for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

Rachel is in shock. She was sure that her boyfriend was about to propose – not break up with her! Even worse, it turns out he’s been cheating on her…

Grace can’t bear the thought of spending another Christmas with her lazy, unappreciative husband. Surely it’s time to shake things up a bit?

Amber knows she should be happy that her best friend Jack is getting married, but there’s a little part of her that can’t help think ‘it was always meant to be me’!

With Christmas fast approaching, surely there’s no better time to be single – yet will the three friends manage to keep their promise and ban all men until the New Year?

What does TWG think?

Oh this is super fun!! I have to admit that I was a little bit apprehensive at first because i just couldn’t work out what everyone’s fixation with being in a relationship was! I know that some people don’t like being single, but just because some don’t, it doesn’t mean that everyone is going to. Plus, why should there be emphasis on a woman needing a man to make her complete?

Anyway, before I go off on a rant, I am so pleased that Laura Ziepe allowed her characters to take a step back from relationships to find out where they truly fit in. Okay, one of her characters didn’t really have a choice (even if he did do her a favour, I mean what a bleeeeeep!!!), another character realised that she deserved better than to mother her husband who is more than capable of sticking his smelly boxers in the wash, and then there was the third character who would rather slap and tickle at an allotted time.

So you see, these three women all have their own outlooks on relationships, and they all have their own way of coping when things go baubles up. I adored the girl power element to the book and the whole sisterhood vibe – it certainly made a change rather than reading a book where all the women are knocking each other down with their Manolo Blahniks knock offs.

‘Tis the season to be single, is the type of story which doesn’t take itself seriously at all. Yes, it does have a few dramatic moments combined with some which require the reader to be a bit more empathetic than usual, but there is the perfect balance between all of that and the festivities.

Laura Ziepe made me giggle for a large portion of the book, certainly not disappointing me with her storyline that I was so excited to read. This is such a feel good, cosy Christmas read which shows readers that sometimes taking a step back and seeing things not covered in tinsel can help you realise that you too deserve to be the star of the Christmas tree.

A fun, festive and fabulous read – I cannot wait to read more from Laura Ziepe!!

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks (@nicholassparks) @LittleBrownUK @midaspr

It is an honour to be on the blog tour for an author who I have admired for years, Nicholas Sparks. Huge thanks to Midas for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review of ‘Every Breath’ which is due to be published on the 16th October:

Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. After six years with her boyfriend, she is no longer sure what she wants, and when her father becomes ill she heads to her family’s cottage at Sunset Beach in North Carolina to make some difficult decisions.

Tru Walls has been summoned across an ocean from where he was born and raised in Zimbabwe by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. In journeying to Sunset Beach, Tru hopes to unravel the mystery surrounding his mother’s life, but the letter will lead him in an unexpected direction. 

When these two strangers’ paths cross, their chance encounter sets in motion a heart-breaking story – one that will transcend decades, continents and the workings of fate. 

What does TWG think?

I have been a fan of Nicholas Sparks for as long as I can remember, with his older books such as ‘The Notebook’ and ‘A Walk to Remember’ being my ultimate favourites.

‘Every Breath’ tells the story of true love and soul mates, whilst also testing the characters to see how far they would go to cement their true happiness.

I actually found the storyline a little bit hard to follow at first as the intentions of the story weren’t exactly clear. I understood that a story had been found a the history of that story was one of a kind, but I couldn’t work out the why’s and how’s. I know that some storylines can take a while to pan out, but for me there wasn’t enough of a hook to get me excited about the rest of the book.

However, because my curiosity gets the better of me, I didn’t want to give up on the book and carried on reading with my fingers crossed. Sure enough, the storyline (in my eyes) had the lightbulb moment it requires to make me become invested in the characters lives. Yes, it was a lot later in the book, but I’m glad it happened!

Hope’s character is such a tender character to read about and I couldn’t help but root for her happiness. It was weird – she just had that aura about her and for me, she was my favourite character in the book.

Overall, Nicholas Sparks hasn’t lost his complex yet intricate way of story telling over the years, with his talent rearing it’s head in the storyline of ‘Every Breath’. I cannot fault the author on his romantic brilliance and his life affirming journey he took his characters on. Whilst the overall vibe of the storyline wasn’t totally my cup of tea, I still was able to appreciate the beauty of the characters stories, hoping that they would find their missing puzzle pieces with their ‘Every Breath’.

‘Every Breath’ will be published on the 16th October, but you can pre-order your copy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review – Autumn Antics (The Boardwalk by the Sea book 2) by Georgina Troy (@GeorginaTroy) @Rararesources

A late post tonight, apologies! I am delighted to be reviewing book number two in ‘The Boardwalk by the Sea’ series, Autumn Antics, by Georgina Troy. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite and a copy of the book. Here is my review:

Being a part-time hand model can be tricky, especially when you have to deal with prima donnas like Megan Knight, a reality star whose meteoric rise has surprised everyone. Bella is happiest running her tiny antique business from the front room of her cottage on the boardwalk. To ensure she has enough income coming in, she also rents out two of her bedrooms and is hiding a secret crush on one of her lodgers. His name is Jack and he also happens to be her best friend Sacha’s brother.

If life wasn’t complicated enough, her world-travelling mother appears on her doorstep on the same evening that Jack’s ex-fiancée arrives on the boardwalk determined to win him back. Bella has a lot of thinking to do and soon discovers that not all gems sparkle.

What does TWG think?

Oh I’m loving this series so far, I really hope there will be more books! I do like a bit of fictional drama, especially when it’s as popcorn worthy as this book!! Bella isn’t one for wearing her heart on her sleeve. In fact, she would rather not put anything too close to her immaculate hands just in case.

No, she isn’t one of those people who refuses to get their hands dirty – she’s a hand model and, whilst she enjoys the extra money, working with people who feel they are entitled to everything little thing in this world, really grinds her gears. Back in the little village she calls home, Bella is looking forward to indulging in a few home comforts and fun with her lodgers and best friend. Well, that was until she had a visitor…

The drama queen in this book, Megan Knight, reminded me of a real life reality star with the same name. One who I absolutely cannot stand! I’m not sure whether the author based the diva on a real life celeb or not, but in my head Georgina Troy did and she nailed it. Yes folks, I didn’t like the Megan in this book either!!

Look, I’m all for making the most of situations when they arise, but pushing people’s buttons in the process is guaranteed to lose fans rather than gain them, regardless of how old you are.

‘Autumn Antics’ wasn’t a taxing read at all and I loved being able to get stuck into the drama where Bella and Megan were concerned, without having to focus on a timeline of 2838484 characters with 284848484 issues. Slight exaggeration but you catch my drift I’m sure. Sometimes you just need to read a book which delivers on humour, romance, a bit of guts, and a bit moreish – ‘Autumn Antics’ ticked those boxes for me and more. I found it to be such an easy and delightful read, and the fact it was set in Jersey was such a breath of fresh air.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this little gem of a book. A book which was both modern and old school in terms of events and relationships. A book which made me giggle and my heart tingle as i followed Bella and Jack’s journey in this seasonal treat. I have everything crossed that there will be more books in this series! I don’t think I’m ready to say goodbye to them just yet!!

Buy from Amazon UK

Buy from Amazon US

About the author.

Georgina Troy is a pseudonym of author Deborah Carr. She recently signed with HarperCollins’ romance imprint HarperImpulse to write an historical romance to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War. The Poppy Field by Deborah Carr will be published in e-book format on 12 October 2018 and in paperback on 27 December 2018.

Georgina was a finalist in the Contemporary Romance Category of the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards 2016 (RoNAs) with A Jersey Kiss and a finalist in the Joan Hessayon Award for new writers 2015. Her first four-book series, The Jersey Scene and books 1 and 2 of her second series, The Boardwalk by the Sea are available.

She also writes thrillers as Ella Drummond and lives on the island of Jersey with her husband and three rescue dogs and is 1/3 of The Blonde Plotters.

Sign up to Georgina’s Newsletter at:deborahcarr.org/contact

Social Media Links – 

Website: https://www.deborahcarr.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GeorginaTroyAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GeorginaTroy

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/georginatroy/

Giveaway – Win an Autumn Antics Locket and Tote Bag (Open Internationally) 

Enter the giveaway now!

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Christmas Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke (@karenclarke123)

After seeing loads of pretty Christmas decorations in a shop today, I am very much in the Christmas spirit, just in time to review Karen Clarke’s newest novel. Thank you to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the café at Seashell Cove, where there’s hot chocolate to keep you warm – and the man of your dreams could be waiting…

Interior designer Tilly Campbell loves being carefree and single. But her latest job is redecorating the cosy local café for a Christmas party, and when her friends confess their plans for the big night – including a proposal, a declaration of love and a pregnancy announcement – Tilly starts to wonder if she might be missing out…

Transforming the café into a winter wonderland is more of a challenge than she thought, so when she bumps into gorgeous newcomer Seth, Tilly welcomes the distraction. Seth is a single father, struggling to settle his son Jack into their new cottage, and Tilly is determined to help them make their house into a home in time for Christmas.

But with the café still in chaos just days before the party it looks like it’s going to be a Christmas to remember for all the wrong reasons… With friends old and new relying on her, can Tilly save the Christmas party?

And could she finally find love waiting for her under the mistletoe?

What does TWG think?

It feels like ages since I was last in Seashell Cove! I was so excited to catch up with all of the characters and find out what they have been up to since I last ‘saw’ them. At first I didn’t recognise the place, probably because I half expected to be back with Meg as the main character. It was wonderful to see snippets of her story live on in this one though, that’s for sure.

I did find the book to be a little of a slow starter as I took a while to warm up to Tilly, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the overall vibe of the book. Once I got further into the storyline, my opinion of Tilly changed and I found myself warming to her like marshmallows to a fire. How the hell she put up with her sister, Bridget, without committing a murder is beyond me!! Romy, Bridget’s little girl, had me in hysterics! She reminded so much of my own little girl. If only we all went through life without a care in the world like children!!

Tilly is a very independent character who is so set on doing things for other people, she sometimes forgets just how much one person can hold on their shoulders. Fortunately for her, newcomer, Seth, helps her see otherwise. As for his mother though, geezzzzzz!!!!!! I don’t get why he didn’t stand up to his mother! I know that Felicity wanted to do right by her grandson, but surely she must have realised that alienating him wouldn’t be the answer?

Even though this is a Christmassy book, the festive theme isn’t overpowering for those who dislike Christmas in October. I do think that as festivities were an apparent part of the book, that there should have been more oomph with it. That said, Gwen’s antics with the Christmas pudding kept Christmas on the map.

All in all, The Christmas Cafe at Seashell Cove kept me thoroughly entertained from start to finish, with Romy being my star at the top of the Christmas tree. I really do hope we get to see more from the gang in Seashell Cove, as I can’t wait to find out what else others are hiding! A fun, light hearted and addictive read – a great follow up novel in an already fabulous series.

Buy now!

About the author.

Karen is the author of the popular BEACHSIDE and SEASHELL COVE series of romantic comedies, published by Bookouture. 

She’s also written three romcoms with a paranormal twist, all available to download

When she’s not working on her novels, Karen writes short stories for women’s magazines and has had over three hundred published globally. Some of them can be read in her short story collection ‘BEHIND CLOSED DOORS…and other Tales with a Twist’ 

Karen lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and three grown-up children, and when she’s not writing loves reading, walking, baking and eating cake.

 

Author Social Media Links: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karen.clarke.5682

Twitter:     https://twitter.com/karenclarke123

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Website: http://writewritingwritten.blogspot.co.uk/

#BlogTour! #Review – The Little Christmas Teashop of Second Chances by Donna Ashcroft (@donnashc) @Bookouture

I am thrilled to be able to share my thoughts of Donna Ashcroft’s latest novel with you all today, as I host today’s stop on the blog tour! Huge thanks, as always, to bookouture for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

Snow is beginning to fall around the cosy Castle Teashop, with its toasty log fire, scrumptious mince pies and delicious hot chocolates. Romance is in the air and Lily King is hoping some winter magic will help to make her dreams come true…

Twenty-five-year-old Lily King is wondering when her life is going to start. She adores working at the much-loved Castle Teashop, surrounded by familiar faces and delicious cakes. But she’s stuck in a rut. She’s just been dumped by her boyfriend and her dream job seems to be slipping through her fingers.

When her best friend Emily Campbell needs urgent help to organise her enchanting Christmas wedding, Lily realises it’s finally her moment to shine and reach for the opportunities she’s been wishing for. Can she pull off the biggest celebration Castle Cove has ever seen or will something – or someone – make things more complicated than she imagined?

Rebellious and handsome photographer Josh Havellin-Scott has always felt like an outsider, especially next to his perfect older brother, who is about to get married. At the last minute, Josh finds himself roped into plans for the Big Day, the very last thing he wants to do, until he is meets creative and quirky Lily King…

When Lily and Josh are thrown together, it’s clear they couldn’t be more different. But they begin to realise that opposites can attract – and sometimes when you’re not looking for love, it comes and finds you when you least expect it. With some festive magic, will they manage to work together and save the day?

And could they discover a winter romance of their very own along the way?

What does TWG think?

Oh my mince pies, could this book BE anymore fabulous?!?! I really did enjoy the first book in the series, but I have to say that this festive delight is something else! I was hooked from the very beginning, intrigued about Lily’s personal past as well as what made Josh tick. Yes, Josh is one of those characters who you should instantly dislike due to his arrogant nature, however I couldn’t help but be taken under his spell almost straight away. How the holly and ivy Lily managed to be immune to his charms for a little while was beyond me!

Even though this story is full of tantalising, stomach rumbling treats and friendships to last a life time, the thing that got right under my skin in such a beautiful manner , was the cleverly incorporated ‘hidden’ theme which made me relate to Lily on such a deep level. Take it from me, we have all felt as though we aren’t good enough, and I am sure we have always ensured other people were happy before ourselves. And, I am also sure that a lot of us have put our emotions aside and done something because of someone else, ignoring our own personal feelings about the situation. Yes? Of course we have – we are human. It’s not until you sit back and think about it or, in this case, read it in black and white, that you realise you have been living your life in the way that other people would prefer you to. Before anyone says anything, I know that it is our choice as to how we live our own life, but sometimes emotions get the better of us, just like Lily’s in this book.

Lily’s situation caught me off guard, despite seeing some of myself in the character. Weirdly, it was quite emotional. I also think that a certain family member of Lily’s needs to get caught by some holly and ivy. What a bleeping bleep bleep they are!!

I absolutely loved this book from reading about the yummy treats, to following the characters around as they plan nuptials, to watching Lily and Josh’s journey play out. Donna Ashcroft’s novel is such a feel good, life affirming, huggable and touching novel which will leave you wanting to plan your own nuptials to Josh. He’s definitely my sort of guy! Why are all the good ones fictional?!?! Pfft.

Honestly though, this book gave me the feels and I couldn’t have wished for anything more as Donna Ashcroft ticked every single box. In my eyes, she is now the Mrs Claus of Christmas reads.

Buy now!

About the author.

Donna Ashcroft was born in London and grew up in Buckinghamshire. She went to university in Lancashire and, among other things, worked as a copywriter, buyer, waitress, secretary and marketing manager. 

Donna wrote novels for over ten years before being published. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and was a joint winner of the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017. 
Donna loves a happy ending and is never happier than when she’s escaping into a romance novel or movie. When she’s not reading or writing she’ll probably be found hoovering … or negotiating with her teenagers about who is doing the washing up.

Author Social Media Links: 

Website: www.donna-writes.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DonnaAshcroftAuthor/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Donnashc

#BlogTour! #Review – Christmas on Lily Pond Lane by Emily Harvale (@emilyharvale) @rararesources

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I do like an Emily Harvale novel, so I am delighted to be getting ready for Christmas….ahem…as I review the latest instalment from the residents in Lily Pond Lane. Thank you to Rararesources for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

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Snow is falling in Little Pondale, lights are twinkling and the smell of pine trees and roasting chestnuts fills the air

But Mia Ward is in a bit of a jam. She’d planned to rent out Corner Cottage for Christmas but thanks to best friend, Ella Swann, it’s double-booked. Now Mia’s got to let one ‘party’ down, or find another cottage – fast.

Best friends and single mums, Cathy Cole and Christy Franks want their kids to have an old-fashioned Christmas. Ice-skating, carol singing, making decorations, and tobogganing are on their list of festive fun and Little Pondale is the perfect place. Especially as it has no mobile phone reception. That will make it harder for Cathy to be found.
City banker, Leo Hardman is wondering if renting a cottage for Christmas as an anniversary surprise for his parents, was such a good idea. Little Pondale may be where his parents met, but his mum doesn’t seem pleased to be back, and his brother, Hal isn’t happy that the village is so tiny and only has one pub.

Meanwhile, Jenny Lake is settling in at her cousin’s bakery, having left her (broken) heart in Florence, but Christmas was never her favourite time of year. And Reverend Glen Fox has taken over at St Michael and All Angels. He’s glad it’s a temporary post because village life is not for him.

But luckily, for locals and visitors alike, there’s a sleigh-load of Christmas magic heading for Lily Pond Lane; enough to put a sparkle in everyone’s festive season. Although Christmas may not go quite as each of them has planned.

What does TWG think?

Oh I could read this series all day everyday without getting bored!! Although saying that, I don’t think I could put up with Hettie every day of the week though, bless her cotton socks!

If you’re new to this series or are wondering where to begin, I wholeheartedly recommend that you begin with book one because if you started the series midway, a lot of the characters and their lives probably wouldn’t make much sense. Plus, they are all brilliant books so it’s a win win situation!

I sped through this Christmas edition a lot quicker than I would have liked! Once again, Mia and Ella are doing what they do best by getting the men to cook (Ella’s tuppenceworth), and by making new visitors feel part of the village even if it’s only temporary (clearly a Mia thing!). When some rather colourful characters turn up, it isn’t just a blizzard that’s causing a bit of drama in the village!!

I have to say that due to how complex the drama was between families, I did feel as though that part was a bit rushed and could have done with a bit more time in the spotlight. Personal opinion, obviously!! Aside from that, I thoroughly enjoyed this festive treat, with Emily Harvale tickling my Christmas taste buds already! Another joyful, free spirited read which puts the warmth in the word ‘cosy’.

Buy now!

About the author.

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.
Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.

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#Blogtour! #Review – Happily Ever After at the Dog and Duck by Jill Steeples (@jillesteeples) @Aria_Fiction

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I am both excited and devastated by this blog tour, as I cannot believe we have reached the final book in such a wonderful series! I am super honoured to be day two on the blog tour for ‘Happily Ever After at the Dog and Duck’ by Jill Steeples. Many thanks to Aria for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

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Life in Little Leyton is never quiet, and when handsome developer

Max and his bride-to-be Ellie, receive some sad news, he decides to whisk her away for a romantic break. The time away gives Ellie a new perspective, and she’s eager to get home to get on with planning their wedding.

But a devastating incident at the pub she runs, The Dog & Duck, puts everything in jeopardy. And, at their home Braithwaite Manor, tensions are heightened when Ellie’s future mother-in-law turns up with all her worldly belongings, much to Max’s sister Katy’s despair.

With Max preoccupied with problems at work, Ellie’s left literally holding the baby, while dealing with a seemingly endless list of dramas. And as Christmas approaches, Ellie begins to wonder if she’ll ever get her happily ever after…

What does TWG think?

If you’ve been following the ‘Dog & Duck’ series since the beginning, you’ll be well aware of the issues Little Leyton has had to face. Don’t panic if you’re new to the series though – I would highly recommend reading the books in order so that you can fully appreciate each book, even though the author does a grand job of writing them as standalone. Can ‘The Dog and Duck’ really have the happily ever after it deserves?

I was not mentally prepared for this series to end AT ALL. I wanted to start the book yet I knew that when I did, I would be closer to the series ending than ever before. Sniff. I have been with this series since the first book and I cannot believe how much the main character, Ellie, has grown since she first stepped foot in Little Leyton. I feel as though I have come to know all of the characters individually, becoming part of the village myself.

I am well aware that all good things must come to an end, but with such wonderful characters as Max, Ellie and all the folks in Little Leyton, I would be more than happy to continue following their journey for a very long time.

Once again Ellie is faced with enough stresses to make her hair go grey. Not only is she keeping something from her parents, she also ends up slap bang in the middle of the drama between her boyfriends mother and sister. Families eh, who’d have them? Even so, that isn’t all. The village of Little Leyton have their world knocked when a focal point of the village becomes an uncertainty, highlighting the fact that nobody knows what is around the corner. Money may be on their side, but time and weather clearly aren’t.

I couldn’t help wishing for Ellie to be cut some slack. I mean, how much rubbish can one person take? Yes, she is an incredibly strong character, and yes she has a very good support network, but even so, sometimes even the strongest people need a moment to let the tears fall.

Jill Steeples’ ‘Dog and Duck’ series has got to be one of my all-time serials I have ever read. There is just something so warming about all of the characters and situations within the book, that it never seemed to matter whether the sun shined or the rain fell, as long as the villagers had each other. I am so honoured to have been part of the characters journey indirectly by reading each book. It has been an absolute pleasure and, even though I am utterly devastated that the series has come to an end, I cannot fault ‘Happily Ever After at the Dog and Duck’ at all. What a perfect end to a perfect series.

What a finale, seriously. I smiled. I laughed. My eyes leaked. And my soul felt complete. This book warmed me up quicker than a hot water bottle, quicker than a winter duvet on a cold night, and even quicker than a shower on the highest setting. If you’ve ever read a book where you end up feeling calm and serene as though all of the puzzle pieces slotted into place, you’ll understand my feelings where this book is concerned because I felt exactly that.

A truly beautifully written, outstanding, humbling, addictive, cosy and heartwarming novel which made me feel as though I was part of Little Leyton and loved by everyone in it. Jill Steeples has done all of her characters proud throughout the series, but most importantly she has definitely done her readers proud by writing such a perfect ending to a perfect series.

‘The Dog and Duck’, it has been a pleasure. Jill Steeples, I have everything crossed that a new series will be coming soon as, after reading the final installment of this series, i have even more proof as to why you are one of my all time favourite authors.

Absolutely wonderful.

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Jill lives with her husband, two children and an English Pointer named Amber in the Bedfordshire countryside. Her short stories have appeared in women’s magazines around the world aswell as in charity anthologies. When she’s not writing, Jill loves spending time with family and friends, reading, films, musical theatre, walking, baking and eating cakes, and drinking wine.

Follow Jill

Twitter handle: @jillesteeples

Any blogs/website: www.jillsteeples.co.uk

#BlogTour! #Review – The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse (@MrsAmandaProwse) @Ed_Pr


Happy October everybody! I can’t believe how fast 2018 is flying by! To kick off the new month, I am delighted to be on the blog tour for best selling author, Amanda Prowse. Many thanks to Ed Pr for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

When Rachel Croft wakes up on her family’s boat in Bermuda, it’s to sunshine and yet another perfect day…until she goes to wake her seven-year-old son, Oscar. Because the worst thing imaginable has happened. He isn’t there.

In the dark and desperate days that follow, Rachel struggles to navigate her grief. And while her husband, James, wants them to face the tragedy together, Rachel feels that the life they once shared is over. Convinced that their happy marriage is now a sham, and unable to remain in the place where she lost her son, she goes home to Bristol alone.

Only when she starts receiving letters from Cee-Cee, her housekeeper in Bermuda, does light begin to return to Rachel’s soul. She and James both want to learn to live again—but is it too late for them to find a way through together?

What does TWG think?

Amanda Prowse has been one of my all-time favourite authors for many, many years. I just adore the way in which the author is able to write about such devastating subjects with great poise and sensitivity.

For me personally, reading ‘The Coordinates of Loss’ didn’t feel like I was reading an Amanda Prowse novel as usually I connect to the storylines pretty much straight away, whereas this time I didn’t. I’m not saying that the storyline wasn’t emotive, because it was. Clearly! A child had gone missing, that’s enough to make anyone go stir crazy and want to break down! The thing for me though is that as readers, we didn’t meet Rachel’s little boy, Oscar, so I wasn’t able to connect with Rachel’s loss on the same level as to me, he didn’t enter the storyline to begin with. Does that make sense? I felt empathy towards Rachel and James. Goodness, I would have been ashamed with myself if I didn’t! It was just that all important connection that I found to be missing.

Amanda Prowse’s beautifully descriptive writing is once again on point as she describes the setting where Oscar went missing, enabling her readers to recreated the imagery in their own minds. I love that about this author as she never fails to bring her stories to life, despite just being ‘mere’ words on a page.

I thought that Cee-Cee’s input to the storyline was incredibly touching, highlighting the fact that people feel loss in a multitude of ways, with no way being ‘better’ than the others. The way in which the character reached out to the emotional parents was very heartwarming, and I truly felt that the understated housekeeper kept the storyline above water in a very magical way.

I cannot fault the emotional intent in this book as, even though I couldn’t connect with the meaningful emotion towards the situation itself, I was still able to feel empathy towards the characters, with their sadness and fear moving me time and time again. Personally, ‘The Coordinates of Loss’ wasn’t my favourite book by this author, but if I were to comment on the book as a whole without singling out the connection, I would say that Amanda Prowse has done herself, and the theme, very proud indeed.

A beautifully unique, emotive, and life affirming read which will highlight the importance of dealing with grief, as well as the different stages of loss. A powerful, powerful read.

Buy now!