Shhhh….#ItStartedWithASecret @jillmansell @headlinepg @annecater #blogtour

Many thanks to Anne Cater and Headline for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Jill Mansell’s new novel, ‘It Started With a Secret’, which is published 23rd January (and for the ARC of course). Here is my review:

The trouble with secrets is that you can’t guess what the consequences will be . . .

Lainey has lost everything. Luckily one little fib (OK, quite a big fib) helps nail her dream job. Soon she’s living in a stunning house by the sea, fending off obsessed fans for a retired – if far-from-retiring – actor and organising his charming but chaotic family. It’s definitely worth the challenge of keeping her secret.

At least Lainey isn’t looking for love. It’s time for a break from all that. And yet . . . Seth, the actor’s grandson, really is rather attractive. There’s growing chemistry and a definite connection between them. But how would he react if he knew she hadn’t been honest with him?

Lainey’s not the only one with a secret, though. Seth has one of his own. And everything’s about to start unravelling . .

What does TWG think?

Jill Mansell has done it AGAIN!!! Flawlessly written, intriguing beyond belief, with the most intricately crafted characters I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know.

Lainey is the type of character who does the wrong things so you dont have to. If you’ve ever wondered what happens if you tell a gigantic porky when trying to get a new job, thanks to Lainey you get to know the outcome! Obviously fibbing isnt advantageous and more trouble than it’s worth, yet it makes an excellent starting point to Jill Mansell’s new novel!

Just like other Jill Mansell novels, a gentleman makes himself known and leaves a lasting impression on Lainey. However due to her bad, bad move, he ends up slipping through her fingers a tad and she ends up kicking herself. So, moral of the story is – if you want a hot guy, dont ruin it for yourself by fibbing!!!

I adored getting myself involved in the drama of this book and the aftermath of the characters decisions! I found the entire thing so addictive and so moreish, i could have kept on reading! How dare the book have to end!!

Entertaining, relatable, cosy and romantic, Jill Mansell delivers once again as she uses her incredible talent to her advantage and ours, with this outstanding novel. Looooooved it!!

Buy now.

#TheFirstTimeISawYou – do you ever wonder what people think about the first time they saw you? @Headlinepg @ItsEmmaCooper @AnneCater #Review

Huge thanks to Anne and Headline Books for the blog tour invite and ARC of Emma Cooper’s new novel, ‘The First Time I Saw You’. Here is my review:

Lost:

Six-foot-two Irish man who answers to the name Samuel McLaughlin. Has weak shins and enjoys show tunes.If found, please return to Sophie Williams.

Before Sophie met Samuel she saw the world in grey. Before Samuel met Sophie, he never believed in love at first sight.

When they first meet, something tells them they are meant to be. But fate has other ideas.

Now they have lost each other and can’t see a way back.
But they’ve already changed each other’s lives in more ways than they ever expected…

What does TWG think?

Having been blown away by Emma Cooper’s previous novel, ‘The Songs of Us’, I had very high hopes for this book and omg it did NOT disappoint!

The way that Emma Cooper describes her settings, characters, and even the little details of the story, is outstanding! This author doesnt just write a story, she tells the story and owns it in every single way possible.

I loved the unique, romantic journey that the characters embarked on. It was so refreshing to see a book carved out in this way yet still be full of the same, strong romance elements that regular readers of this genre will appreciate.

Be prepared for many laugh out loud moments and many heartbreaking situations. That said, be prepared to be taken on a journey of hope and poignancy.

Sophie and Samuel are two, incredible characters who have made this story the fantastic read it is. As stupid as this sounds, they were made for this book and I think that Emma Cooper has done her characters very proud indeed.

I ADORED getting to know Samuel and Sophie, and I adored being able to lose myself in their story.

Such a beautifully written, cosy, poignant read which will lift you up higher than the balloons from the movie, ‘UP’.

Buy now.

It’s getting hot in here!! #CoverReveal #HeatstrokeBook @BarkworthHazel @Headlinepg #comingsoon

Oh I am looking forward to reading ‘Heatstroke’! Thanks so much to Headline for asking me to take part in the cover reveal today! It’s an honour to be involved.

So, without further ado, here is the cover for ‘Heatstroke’ by Hazel Barkworth:

The summer burns with secrets…

It is too hot to sleep. To work. To be questioned time and again by the police.

At the beginning of a stifling, sultry summer, everything shifts irrevocably when Lily doesn’t come home one afternoon.

Rachel is Lily’s teacher. Her daughter Mia is Lily’s best friend. The girls are fifteen – almost women, still children.

As Rachel becomes increasingly fixated on Lily’s absence, she finds herself breaking fragile trusts and confronting impossible choices she never thought she’d face.

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.

Intoxicating and compulsive, Heatstroke is a darkly gripping, thought-provoking novel of crossed boundaries, power and betrayal, that plays with expectations at every turn.

 

Is anyone else intrigued by this?! I cannot wait! I’m sorry to say that this book isnt being published until May 2020, but if you wish to preorder a copy you can do now via Amazon!

Are you a #WomanOnTheEdge? @SBaileyBooks @headlinepg @AnneCater

Many thanks to Anne Cater and Headline for the blog tour invite and ARC, here is my review of ‘Woman on the Edge’ by Samantha.M.Bailey:

A moment on the platform changes two lives for ever. But nothing is as it seems…

In a split second, Morgan’s life changes for ever. A stranger hands her a baby, then jumps in front of a train.

Morgan has never seen the woman before and she can’t understand what would cause a person to give away her child and take her own life.

When the police question Morgan, she discovers none of the witnesses can corroborate her version of events. And when they learn Morgan longs for a baby of her own, she becomes a suspect.

To prove her innocence, Morgan frantically tries to retrace the last days of the woman’s life. She begins to understand that Nicole Markham believed she and her baby were in danger. Now Morgan might be in danger, too.

Was Nicole a new mother struggling with paranoia?

Or is something much darker going on?

What does TWG think?

OMG!!! What on Earth did I read? I’m just going to come out and say it….

I fluffing loved this!!!

What would you do if a stranger approached you, handed you their baby and then proceeded to jump in front of a moving train? Well, apart from being in severe shock of course! Funnily enough, Morgan didn’t quite know what to do either, yet there she was, standing on the platform with someone else’s baby in her arms.

‘Woman on the Edge’ is a psychological mind funk! We know WHAT happened, yet we dont know WHY. We know WHO the lady on the platform is, yet we dont know the name of the stranger or why they chose to do what they did. Would we ever know the truth? Are we only being told what we want to know?

The plot of this book is a very uncomfortable read and, like many things in life, there is a lot more to the story that meets the eye. Set in the present day as well as a couple of weeks prior, ‘Woman on the Edge’ focuses on the emotional side of being a new parent, as well as highlighting how past decisions have a way of coming back to bite you on the backside if not dealt with properly.

I sped through this novel like a dog on heat! I wanted to find out the truth and attempt to understand what exactly happened on that day on the platform. I wasnt expecting to be taken on a journey where I was left questioning every detail including my own name, however I will definitely take that as a good thing as it shows that the author, and her storyline, got right under my skin.

This is such an addictive, psychologically brilliant, complex and compulsive read that had mu jaw unhinged from the get go. I loved how the author created many suspenseful situations, racking up the intensity as she went. Everything about this book worked and the only thing I can say bad about it, was the fact the darn thing had to end!

Love, love, love!!!

Buy now.

I can’t even begin to think about how emotional it would have been to see #TheChildOnPlatformOne @headlinepg @AnneCater @wordkindling #GillThompson

Many thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Headline for the ARC. I am delighted to host day two of the blog tour for ‘The Child On Platform One’ by Gill Thompson.

Prague 1939. Young mother Eva has a secret from her past. When the Nazis invade, Eva knows the only way to keep her daughter Miriam safe is to send her away – even if it means never seeing her again. But when Eva is taken to a concentration camp, her secret is at risk of being exposed.

In London, Pamela volunteers to help find places for the Jewish children arrived from Europe. Befriending one unclaimed little girl, Pamela brings her home. It is only when her young son enlists in the RAF that Pamela realises how easily her own world could come crashing down.

What does TWG think?

Oh my heart!

I am a huge fan of historical fiction novels. I find the topic of history a very important subject to learn as, without it, our lives wouldn’t have been paved the same.

‘The Child on Platform One’ is emotionally draining in the most poignant and beautiful way. I cannot even begin to fathom how heartbreaking it would have been for Eva, to send her child away to keep her safe. She knew that she may never see her little girl again, yet she still made the selfless decision to put Miriam’s safety first. Pretty much what mothers do anyway, yet the thought of sending your child into the unknown, away from your own safe and loving arms, must have absolutely broken Eva.

Inspired by true events, this book highlights just how devastating life was for Jewish people, and the lengths that they went to to protect themselves and other children around them. Like I said above, I was emotionally drained by the end of this book, yet i had also learnt valuable things from a time where the only valuables people had was their love.

Gill Thompson is an incredible, incredible author who wrote with such power and passion. I really felt the underlying emotion from the author herself, and I appreciated the fact that this wouldn’t have been an easy one to write.

‘The Child On Platform One’ is what historical fiction is all about, as authors become the voice of the people who are no longer able to tell their story. Full of emotion, devastating situations, and powerful historic notions, Thompson’s novel spoke volumes and moved me from deep within. I cannot recommend it enough.

The e-Book is due to be published on the 1st December.

Pre-order now

Put the kettle on, I’m #ComingHomeToWinterIsland! @jo_thomas01 @AnneCater @headlinepg

I am delighted to welcome back, Jo Thomas, to TWG today as I review her latest novel, Coming Home to Winter Island. Many thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and many thanks to the publisher, Headline, for the ARC.

Do you need to find out where you’ve come from before you can know what the future holds?

Ruby’s singing career is on the verge of hitting the big time, when her voice breaks. Fearing her career is over, she signs up for a retreat in Tenerife to recover.

But an unexpected call from a stranger on a remote Scottish island takes her on a short trip to sort out some family business. It’s time to go and see the grandfather she’s never met.

City girl Ruby knows she will be happy to leave the windswept beaches behind as quickly as she can, especially as a years-old family rift means she knows she won’t be welcome at Teach Mhor.

But as she arrives at the big house overlooking the bay, she finds things are not as straightforward as she might have thought.

There’s an unexpected guest in the house and he’s not planning on going anywhere any time soon …

What does TWG think?

Absolutely beautiful – if emotion doesn’t make itself known in any shape of form throughout this book, I’d want to know why!

Ruby has a life plan. Wait, I’ll rephrase that…her boyfriend, Joe, has a life plan and Ruby just happens to be the one doing all of the hard grafting. I know, I know – it didn’t make much sense to me either, but what do I know?

Thanks to Ruby’s voice not working as well as she needs it to, what with her being a professional singer and everything, Ruby decides to take a break to Tenerife for some well deserved relaxation. However, due to an out of the blue phone call, Ruby’s plans are now scuppered and shes needed elsewhere. Personally, I thought she got more out of her visit to Scotland than Tenerife!

I loved how we got to know more about Ruby in Scotland. She seemed to fit into her grandfathers way of living, even if she had never met him before. I wasn’t entirely keen on the community though! I know that people are protective about newcomers, especially in a close knit community, but they didn’t do themselves much favours by coming across stuck up. Like I say, I can see why they were like it as their loyalties laid with Ruby’s grandfather, but then again, Ruby didn’t exactly help herself though!

As I said at the start, the storyline is full to the brim with such heartfelt and poignant emotion, I dont think I could have stopped the tears pricking my eyes if I had tried. It was so lovely to watch memories being reunited, families having their dreams come true, and legacies leaving their marks.

Coming Home to Winter Island, is the perfect read to lose yourself in, and escape to a realm that only Jo Thomas can create. This is a story that captures the true essence of dreams, and the powerful mark that memories can leave for multiple generations.

I loved visiting Winter Island, and I think that Jo Thomas has written yet another beautiful, inspiring novel that will leave it’s own mark on readers from all walks of life.

Buy now.

Have you ever written an accidental love letter? #TheAccidentalLoveLetter @olivia_beirne @headlinepg @annecater #blogtour #review

Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Olivia Beirne’s ‘The Accidental Love Letter’. Also thanks to the publisher for the ARC.

What would you do if you received a love letter that wasn’t meant for you?

Bea used to feel confident, outgoing and fun, but she’s not sure where that person went.

Over the last few months, she’s found herself becoming reclusive and withdrawn. And despite living with her two best friends, she’s never felt lonelier. To make things worse, she’s become so dependent on her daily routine, she’s started to slip out of everyone else’s.

But when a mysterious battered envelope covered in stars lands on her doormat, Bea wonders if she could find the courage to open it.

It isn’t addressed to her, but it could be… if you squinted…

What does TWG think?

I really did enjoy the premise of this book. Olivia Beirne did a brilliant job at bringing her characters together utilising the theme of ‘family’. Whilst a lot of people associate relatives with who they are blood related to, there are a lot of people who include people who aren’t related to them. Sometimes they find themselves closer to the family members that they chose themselves as opposed to the ones that they were given.

Throughout the storyline, the focus on relationships and loneliness is incredibly rife. Bea didn’t seem to think much of herself, and her confidence both in her professional life and personal life, really held her back in terms of just ‘going for it’. Even though her personality was endearing, I did feel as though the author missed a trick as we didn’t really know much about her, only where she worked, who she lived with, what she was afraid of and her mum. There wasnt much of a backstory given about her and I felt that I was unable to connect with her as well as I would have liked, meaning that, even near the end of the story, Bea still felt like a stranger.

Like I said at the beginning, the premise of the book was enjoyable, and there were many strong elements to it which the author executed brilliantly, namely the care home. I wasnt too convinced that Bea’s flatmate issues had a necessary part in the story as they didn’t seem to fit with the overall consensus of the book. That said, I loved the warmth of the storyline and the journey it took in the latter half of the book – Olivia Beirne’s talents really shone through for me then.

‘The Accidental Love Letter’ is a heartwarming and hopeful novel, one that I wasnt putting down until the very end.

The Accidental Love Letter by Olivia Beirne, is published on the 17th October by Headline.

Pre-order now.

#BlogTour! #Review – Her Last Promise by Kathryn Hughes (@KHughesAuthor) @HeadlinePG @AnneCater

Apologies for the delay in posting my review today, I have been at Edinburgh Book Festival! Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Kathryn Hughes’ latest novel, ‘Her Last Promise’. Also, many thanks to Headline for the ARC. Here is my review:

Tara Richards was just a girl when she lost her mother. Years later when Tara receives a letter from a London solicitor its contents shake her to the core. Someone has left her a key to a safe deposit box. In the box lies an object that will change everything Tara thought she knew and lead her on a journey to deepest Spain in search of the answers that have haunted her for forty years.

Violet Skye regrets her decision to travel abroad leaving her young daughter behind. As the sun dips below the mountains, she reminds herself she is doing this for their future. Tonight, 4th June 1978, will be the start of a new life for them. This night will indeed change Violet’s destiny, in the most unexpected of ways…

What does TWG think?

Ever since I lost myself in Kathryn Hughes’, ‘The Letter’, I just knew that this was an author to watch and, after reading ‘Her Last Promise’, my opinion of the authors talent was cemented on a whole new level.

As far as I am concerned, Kathryn Hughes is the queen of historical fiction who also knows how to incorporate the dramatic realism, with the hint of broken family ties that readers have come to know and love.

‘Her Last Promise’ focuses on the devastating effect that harboured regret and guilt can have on one person and families alike.

The gentleness of Tara’s personality alongside Violet’s lack of confidence, could easily have been a recipe for disaster, yet their characters spoke volumes and made the story, and their own personal journeys, come to life beautifully.

I loved how Kathryn Hughes emphasised the importance of living life to the full as best as you are able, as well as highlighting the fact that a lot of people get scared when they are faced with life changing decisions, just like both Tara and Violet.

‘Her Last Promise’ is such a beautifully written and thought provoking novel which made the hair on my arms stand to attention due to the power of the written word.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #TheJulyGirls by Phoebe Locke (@phoebe_locke) @HeadlinePG @AnneCater

Its TWG’s turn on the blog tour for ‘The July Girls’ by Phoebe Locke, author of ‘The Tall Man’. Huge thanks to Anne Cater and Headline for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

Every year, on the same night in July, a woman is taken from the streets of London; snatched by a killer who moves through the city like a ghost.

Addie has a secret. On the morning of her tenth birthday, four bombs were detonated across the capital. That night her dad came home covered in blood. She thought he was hurt in the attacks – but then her sister Jessie found a missing woman’s purse hidden in his room.

Jessie says they mustn’t tell. She says there’s nothing to worry about. But when she takes a job looking after the woman’s baby daughter, Addie starts to realise that her big sister doesn’t always tell her the whole story. And that the secrets they’re keeping may start costing lives . . .

What does TWG think?

-claps- YASSSSSS!!!!!! What a book!!!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes! Everything I thought was true, wasn’t, and everything I thought was a lie, was the truth. ‘The July Girls’ is brilliant at taking you under its wing very early on in the book. I actually struggled to put the book down, and before I knew it it was 1am and I had a mere 100 pages left to read!

The author, Phoebe Locke, very cleverly honed in on what a magpie does, yet it didn’t seem to hit home until the book nearly came to an end as all of the puzzle pieces leading up to the conclusion weren’t all there yet.

This book follows the life of Addie, Jessie, and a magpie. What do the three of them have in common? That is the big question. I chose to look past what was right in front of me the whole time, over complicating the storyline for myself. Was there a need to do that? Not in the slightest. Don’t overthink ‘The July Girls’ and just go with the flow, you’ll thank me later!!

I loved the chilling vibe to the book, and I thought that everything was combined brilliantly over the course of the books timeline. Honestly, this is a bloody brilliant book and I was hooked. Addie’s naivety gave the storyline a pinch of innocence, whilst also making all of the suspenseful situations all the more darker. The subject of ‘trust’ is prominent throughout the book, and I must say that that definitely made me think about family ties and whether you can trust those you are actually meant to trust because of who they are.

‘The July Girls’ is dark, devious, and darn right gripping. Whilst I enjoyed Phoebe Locke’s previous novel, the author has come up trumps with this book and has delivered an absolute blinder. I want to read it all over again!

‘The July Girls’ will be published in hardcover by Headline on the 25th July. Pre-order now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Extract from #CallMeALiar by @ColetteMcbeth @HeadlinePG @AnneCater

‘Call Me A Liar’ is on my TBR and I hope I can get round to it soon, however I am delighted to be hosting an extract of the book for my stop on the blog tour today. Thank you to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite. Before we get to the extract, here is a bit more about ‘Call Me A Liar’:

You could say it started with vanity. We believed we were special. But the truth is we were simply vulnerable.

Months after landing their dream job, five brilliant young minds are sent on a remote retreat.

But when one of them disappears, they’re forced to question why they were brought there in the first place.

And for the first time in their lives, they realise too much knowledge can be deadly . . .

One of them is lying.
One of them is guilty.
No one is safe.

Buy now.

Extract.

Joe

Lewes Police Station

October 2017

Let me say this: cracking Libby’s skull was not part of the plan. I can’t even remember hitting her; it was more of a violent push in the deep heat of an argument and before I could do anything to change the outcome, she was flying backwards, her head making a strange metallic sound as it connected with the stone floor. Ting! That’s the only way I can describe it, like one of those instrumental triangles we used to play in school. It was a shame about the floor too – if it had been a shag pile carpet rather than porcelain, Libby might not be unconscious in hospital. But I’m certain safety was not uppermost in their minds when they were designing that house. It was all sharp angles and hard surfaces and glinting, gleaming glass that allowed your own reflection to stalk you.

I don’t mention any of these misgivings to the police, though. My solicitor has advised me it’s not a good line of defence. They’re hardly going to charge a floor covering with a violent crime, he says.

It’s me they have in their sights, at any rate. Every question is angled towards my guilt. What I did. What I failed to do. My shortcomings – of which there are many – have been itemised and catalogued, and while individually they appear harmless enough, their combined effect in the harsh light of the interview room creates an unsettling picture. I don’t doubt this is the ploy, the web the officers are spinning around me. But it is an effective one nevertheless. Having listened to their accusations and character assassinations for the best part of eight hours, I’m beginning to scare myself.

The main issue appears to be my scant adherence to the rules. Yes, it’s true, there are rules of engagement when you find your self in such situations. Say your wife or child goes missing, say you stumble across a body, or in my case, you happen to knock out a loved one, there are set procedures and scripts to follow. Firstly, you raise the alarm. You call 999. You attempt to help the victim. You account for every second spent before help arrives. Officer, I passed wind at 2.02 p.m. You display the correct mixture of horror, fear and sadness. You cry the requisite amount of tears. Basically, you’re aiming for high levels of authenticity in every single action. Anything too forced or overly dramatic will arouse suspicion. Anything too casual and you are cold and callous. It’s a balancing act and I’m no circus entertainer. I’m failing spectacularly.

I did nothing. Try explaining that one away. I tell them I panicked but even that’s not true. I wasted precious minutes standing over Libby unable to compute what had happened. There was nothing left inside me, no nerves or sensory receptors to send messages to my brain. Even when finally I leant over her to assess the level of damage, I became instead mesmerised by my own face, gawping at me from the polished brilliance of the porcelain floor.

Well, look what you’ve done.

You thought you were special.

Turns out you’re every bit as bad as the rest.

The officers say they want to know everything, but this is a lie. They want to know everything around the narrow field of their investigation, scavenging for morsels of extraneous information that will get us nowhere while blocking out the bigger picture. I have no intention of pandering to them. I could tell them Amy Winehouse was playing on the karaoke system at the party downstairs, not Amy herself, obviously, but Will’s brutal destruction of ‘I’m No Good’, but that would be pointless scene­setting, nothing more. I could make a stab at describing the hurt Libby inflicted upon me. Her revelation chiselling into my bones. I don’t love you, I never did. How she stood in front of me and delivered this nugget of truth. I could tell them how it burnt through the epidermis right down to the subcutis, how I thought the pain might send me mad with grief, but this would provide them with a motive, allow them to craft a neat narrative around revenge.

And this is not a story about revenge.

It’s about ambition and greed, and love, I suppose, and what we do in the name of them.

I tell the officers I looked out of the window and saw the car and the two men getting into it and driving off. I tell them I ran into the hallway and that’s when I saw the smoke and felt the blistering heat.

Have I mentioned the fire?

It has been suggested several times that I started it deliberately to cover up my crime, as if an assault wasn’t enough for one evening and I decided to go the whole hog and burn the place down.

Let me say this clearly: I did not start the fire but someone else did.

Everyone invited to the party was meant to die in that fire.

And just because we survived doesn’t mean we’re safe.

Not even Libby, if she ever wakes up.