#BlogTour! #Extract – The Last Laugh by Tracy Bloom (@TracyBBloom) @Bookouture

The Last Laugh Blog Tour

Happy publication day to Tracy Bloom and ‘The Last Laugh’. Thank you to Bookouture for the blog tour invite. Here is an extract from Tracy’s new book, alongside the all important ‘to buy’ link should you want it!

The-Last-Laugh-Kindle
Jenny discovers her days are numbered at the same time she discovers her husband is having an affair… 

Frankly, her life was tough enough already. Two tricky teenagers, her mother’s constant complaints, friends who aren’t up to the job and a career which has been spiralling downwards since she won ‘Sunseeker Tour Rep of the Season’ twenty years ago. 

And now this: a cheating husband and a death sentence.

Enough is enough. Jenny vows to keep both catastrophes a secret. She takes her life – and death – into her own hands and decides to live as she did when she was happiest… in 1996. She plans a spectacular 1990s themed party in place of a wake that she herself will attend. But will she be able to keep her secrets for long enough to have the party of a lifetime?

Buy now from Amazon

Extract.

Prologue

25th June 1996

Bataria Beach, Kassiopi, Corfu

Somehow our bodies move as one, bouncing up and down to the beat, singing our hearts out, beer sloshing out of stubby bottles, broken plastic glasses crackling under our feet, air guitar solos occasionally breaking away momentarily before being brought back in the fold by hugs and kisses and the joy of feeling as one under the glorious champagne supernova that is the sky. There’s me in the middle of it, high on someone’s shoulders, long sun-kissed hair cascading down my back, smiling inanely down at Mark’s face bobbing up and down below me.

I’m so high.

Not because I couldn’t have dreamed of a better way to spend my twenty-fifth birthday, not even because of the quantity of tequila slammers I’ve inhaled.

I’m just high on life.

At least I managed it once.

Chapter One

Twenty years later… 

‘Table for three?’ asks the waitress, standing guard next to a cardboard cactus at the entrance to the restaurant.

‘No, four.’ I turn around. ‘Where’s Ellie?’ I ask Mark.

‘You really wanted to come here?’ he replies with a look so disdainful I whisk my head back round towards the waitress, ready to apologise for my husband’s rudeness, but she’s busy handing George a colouring-in menu and a pot of crayons.

‘He’s a very short fifteen!’ I say, thrusting my hand out to intercept the handover. It’s not George’s fault he’s still waiting for a growth spurt, but it might help if he didn’t hide his face in the depths of a hoody if he wants to avoid being mistaken for someone in need of artistic distraction during a meal. I am too eager in my protectiveness, however, and send the pot of crayons flying out of the idiotic waitress’ hands and all over the blue and white mosaic tiled floor.

George grunts.

Mark tuts.

The waitress gasps.

No one helps as I bend down to pick up the broken colouring sticks.

‘What’s Mum doing on the floor?’ I hear Ellie say as she emerges from whatever cover she was using to avoid being seen dead with her family.

‘She knocked the crayons out of her hand,’ I hear Mark reply with a sigh.

I can see the yellow one has rolled next to his foot ready to cause a potentially serious incident. I leave it there.

‘Sorry about that,’ I say, standing up and handing over a pile of broken coloured wax into the hand of the waitress. ‘He’s just a bit short,’ I add, pulling George’s hood off his head to reveal the back of his neck, which is bright pink.

‘Would you like to follow me?’ asks the waitress, grabbing four enormous menus as she escapes down the length of the restaurant towards the back.

I chase after her to ask if we could actually sit near the front. I need to be able to see the cactus fairy lights, you see. And I want to be near the bar where it’s livelier. Where I can sit and watch other people enjoying themselves even if I’m not.

‘We’re not actually serving food in that area,’ she replies as she carefully lays the enormous menus on a table in a dark corner with no view of anything.

‘But I would like to sit there,’ I say defiantly, looking round to see if there is any vague chance Mark will step in and back me up. Mark, Ellie and George have not even registered that I have moved, all engrossed in their phones or, in George’s case, his own mortification.

The waitress looks at me and puts her hands on her hips. Yes, her hips.

‘We are only serving food in this section,’ she says.

I stare back at her. Part of me wants to give up now, go home and write the night off as a bad idea. But it’s my birthday. I want to at least attempt an enjoyable meal with my family before… well, before things may never be the same again. Before I break the news to Mark on the twentieth anniversary of us getting together that, well… there might be something wrong with me. Catastrophically wrong with me.

‘I want a table where I can see the cactus fairy lights,’ I tell her with what I hope is an air of authority.

‘Yeah.’ She shrugs.

I realise I am in a stand-off in the back of a Mexican restaurant.

‘You let us have a table at the front or we will leave,’ I demand. My voice wobbles slightly, which may have given her the upper hand. I hold my breath.

She looks at me and sighs – yes, sighs.

‘I’ll have to go and ask the manager if we can open up another section,’ she says, strutting off and leaving me standing on my own.

I quickly gather up the enormous menus and begin a fast walk back up to the front of the restaurant. I’m thinking that if we’re seated before the waitress gets back she won’t be able to do anything about it.

‘What is Mum doing?’ I hear Ellie ask for the second time that night.

In my haste to win the race I have not spotted that the other three members of my family have finally deigned to join me and are walking in the opposite direction down the next aisle.

‘We’re sitting at the front,’ I say, barely slowing up. ‘Quick, this way,’ I shout over my shoulder.

‘But someone might see us if we sit there,’ I hear Ellie cry.

By the time Mark, Ellie and George join me, I’ve bagged, in my opinion, the best seat in the house. Back to the wall, right at the front, facing the bar, I can see everything going on. That is, until we all pick up our menus, blocking all of the view and a big chunk of light.

‘Why on earth did you want to come here?’ grumbles Mark from somewhere behind two layers of laminated card. ‘We could have gone to Sebastian’s. I said I’d treat you all. You don’t even have to book to come here. I can’t remember the last time I went to a restaurant where you could just turn up. Can you imagine if you did that at Sebastian’s?’

I remember the last time I’d agreed to go to Sebastian’s with Mark. It was his firm’s Christmas do. The lack of food (overblown and insipid) and terrible company (men: overblown, women: insipid) had led to an overindulgence in champagne on my part. When I loudly whispered into Mark’s ear that the only way the night could be salvaged was by a visit to a karaoke bar he’d given me a horrified glare followed by a large glass of water.

‘Do not drink any more champagne,’ he’d angrily whispered. ‘This is not the time nor the place to get drunk.’

But it’s a Christmas party, I thought. If there is any time and place to get completely pissed, surely it’s now. I watched as Mark leaned forward over his vanilla and basil posset with a hint of lavender foam to ask the Chairman’s wife about her plans for the holiday season. I leant back, sulked and never said another word. No one noticed.

The atmosphere between us was somewhat frosty for several days afterwards until he announced we were at the point in our marriage where we should no longer bother with Christmas presents. I declared I’d already purchased his and so he begrudgingly agreed we should do it one last time. The next day I went out and bought him a karaoke machine. He bought me a SodaStream.

            The enormous menus effectively prevent any eye contact until a waiter, thankfully not the scowling one, appears to take our order. All that can be heard is Mark huffing at the thought of nachos being the peak of today’s culinary experience. We even place our orders from behind our temporary barriers. I hear Mark ask for a chicken burrito like he’s agreed to eat regurgitated frogs’ testicles. Ellie asks for a taco salad but without the tacos, and the only indication that George has successfully ordered is the lowering of the menu and a wordless jab of the finger at an item, followed by a tremor of panic when the waiter asks how he wants his steak to be cooked.

            ‘Do you want it medium rare?’ I ask George.

            ‘For goodness’ sake, Jenny,’ snaps Mark. ‘Make him ask for it, if that’s what he wants.’

            George doesn’t raise his eyes from the menu but I know he is wounded.

‘Medium rare, please,’ he whispers without looking at the waiter.

            Then suddenly our barriers are whipped from us and we are all caught like rabbits in the headlights from the glare of our nearest and dearest.

            ‘Drinks?’ the waiter asks chirpily. Clearly he’s already completed the course on how to smile at a customer – unlike his colleague.

            ‘I’ll have a lime and soda,’ answers Mark before any consultation can take place.

            ‘I’ll have a large Chardonnay,’ says Ellie.

            ‘You will not,’ cries Mark.

            ‘All right then, a small one,’ she replies.

I smirk.

            ‘It’s a school night and you are seventeen,’ says Mark, looking at me as though I made the request.

            ‘Perhaps we could share a bottle?’ I say.

            He doesn’t say anything, just shakes his head in wonder.

            ‘I mean, you and me could share and perhaps let them have a small bit,’ I say.

            Mark looks at the waiter.

            ‘These two will both have a Diet Coke,’ he says, waggling his finger at Ellie and George.

            ‘I’ll have a margarita,’ I jump in.

            ‘It’s only six o’clock, Jenny,’ warns Mark.

            ‘On the rocks or frozen?’ the waiter asks, looking right at me with a smile. I like him.

            ‘Definitely on the rocks,’ I reply, grinning back. ‘It’s a special occasion.’

            I watch him cast his eyes around our party. Ellie has her elbows on the table, phone held at eye level, the screen illuminating her face as she taps away furiously. George has his head staring down in his lap, the air of concentration giving away the fact he has also turned to his phone for company. Mark is stroking his own phone, which is on the table in front of him, as though to reassure it of his constant presence.

            ‘And what is the occasion?’ the waiter asks, struggling to keep hold of the slippery menus clamped under his arm.

            ‘It’s my birthday.’ I swallow. We share a look. I could burst into tears but I hold them back. I stupidly bought cheap mascara that doesn’t mix well with tears, and I can’t cry yet.

            My gaze goes to the cactus fairy lights above the bar. I love them. They are so stupid and pointless but so bloody happy. How can you not smile at the sight of cactus fairy lights? There’s a couple sitting on high stools sipping fluorescent pink cocktails. Clearly not married. He’s trying really hard to entertain her and she’s trying really hard to be entertained. They are all smiles, hair flicks, body part touching and eye contact. Maybe it’s the promise of potential sex that is the only reason why people make eye contact these days, I think as I pull my eyes back to my fellow celebrators. Or to deliver bad news. I shudder.

I wonder how Mark will look at me when I tell him later that I’ve been prodded and poked to investigate my defects. What will he say when I tell him I need him to come and hold my hand when they deliver the verdict on what they have found? That it could be bad, really bad. They might say the C-word. How will my husband look at me then, I wonder.

            Mark gets up out of his bright green chair and wanders off, murmuring into his phone. George and Ellie… well, you can guess what they are doing.

            The drinks arrive. The margarita looks magnificent. I thank the waiter as he places it in front of me, then thank him individually for everyone else’s drink as they fail to acknowledge their arrival.

Mark takes his seat again and puts his phone face down on the table. It buzzes immediately, its glowing underside making it look like a mini rectangular UFO. Thankfully he ignores it and gulps down half his lime and soda. George and Ellie sip on their Cokes without tearing their eyes away from their screens. Mark picks his phone up again.

I sigh and lift my glass to my lips and mutter,  ‘Happy birthday, Jenny.’


About the author.

Tracy started writing when her cruel, heartless husband ripped her away from her dream job shopping for rollercoasters for the UK’s leading theme parks, to live in America with a brand new baby and no mates. In a cunning plan to avoid domestic duties and people who didn’t understand her Derbyshire accent, she wrote her romantic comedy, NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY. This debut novel went on to be successfully published internationally and became a #1 Best Seller.

You can follow Tracy on Twitter at @TracyBBloom, like her Facebook page on www.facebook.com/tracybloomwrites or get in touch via her website at www.tracybloom.com

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#BlogBlitz! #Review – The Broken by Casey Kelleher (@CaseyKelleher) @Bookouture

The Broken Blog Tour
Happy publication day, Casey Kelleher!! I am so excited to be bringing you my review of Casey’s brand new novel, ‘The Broken’, as part of her blog blitz today. Big thank you to Bookouture for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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They took her dad, but she won’t let them take her.

Nancy Byrne was the apple of her daddy’s eye. He might have been one of the most-feared gangsters in London, yet Jimmy Byrne idolised his little Nancy. But now Jimmy is dead, gunned down in cold blood – and Nancy vows to avenge his death.

She’s only twenty years old, but as the new head of the ruthless Byrne gang, running a lucrative world of drugs, sex and violence, she’s in over her head. Keeping her family together while her beloved grandma falls apart and her brother Daniel goes off the rails forces Nancy to grow up – fast.

But while Nancy takes the men on at their own game, there’s a greater danger hiding on the dark streets. Jimmy’s killer is on her trail – and will stop at nothing to shut her up.

Blood might be thicker than water, but soon, Nancy realises she can’t trust anyone. Not even her own family.

Especially her own family.

What does TWG think?

What I want to know is how an author so innocent looking, can write such jaw-droppingly twisted novels?! Personally, I would hate to get on the wrong side of Casey Kelleher, because I have no doubts in my mind that she would put me in her book, not letting me get away with murder…and then some.

‘The Broken’, thankfully, didn’t break me but I did spend time wondering if my jaw was going to ever pick itself up off the floor, or whether I was going to have to get used to walking around with my gob wide open and my jaw hanging low. Seriously.

I am in awe at Casey Kelleher’s talents. Yes her storylines are gritty and highly chilling, but she writes them in such a way which makes you become addicted to the intense gore and the twisted characters. Many times whilst reading ‘The Broken’, I found myself thinking ‘holy shizzle that’s ugh –  WHAT HAPPENS NOW?!?’. I was quite shocked with my own response to this book, that’s for sure. I’m certainly not complaining though – this book is brilliant!!

The entire storyline was full of grit, with the characters each digging themselves much larger holes as the story progresses. I didn’t have a clue who was going to be in the firing line, and because I was so fixated on the overall book, I didn’t want to spend time trying to find out as I was happy to let the story take its own course.

Nancy, despite often being an absolute female dog, was such a vibrant character to read about. I loved how determined she came across, refusing to let the ‘issue’ of her gender stop her from doing her job. She took no prisoners and she let everyone know who was boss. I also think the author wrote Nancy’s personality really well because we were able to see a different side of her to the one she showed at work.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Broken’! It took me a little while to come down off the high from the intense and chilling storyline I had just been reading. Again, I’m not complaining – the entire novel was worth the goosebumps, slight nausea and raised heart rate!

Fast paced, addictive, and most definitely one to read – ‘The Broken’ will test your reactions in a way you never thought possible. Brilliant!

Buy now!

About the author.

Born in Cuckfield, West Sussex, Casey Kelleher grew up as an avid reader and a huge fan of author Martina Cole. 

Whilst working as a beauty therapist and bringing up her three children together with her husband, Casey penned her debut novel Rotten to the Core. Its success meant that she could give up her day job and concentrate on writing full time. 

She has since published Rise and Fall, Heartless, Bad Blood, The Taken, The Promise, The Betrayed and her latest release The Broken is due for publication on the 22nd February 2018.

www.caseykelleher.co.uk

www.facebook.com/officialcaseykelleher

http://caseykelleher.wordpress.com

Twitter: @caseykelleher

#BlogTour! #Review – The Little Cottage on the Hill by Emma Davies (@EmDaviesauthor) @Bookouture #PublicationDay

LCOTH - Blog Blitz
Delighted to be kicking of Emma Davies blog tour today, and on publication day!! Huge congratulations to the lovely, Emma, on the release of her new novel, ‘The Little Cottage on the Hill’. Thank you to Bookouture for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC. Here is my review:

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There’s blossom in the trees and daffodils as far as the eye can see. Maddie is looking forward to a fresh start in the countryside, but there’s just one little problem…

Following a scandal at her high-flying PR agency, twenty-six-year-old Maddie flees London to help promote what she thinks is going to be a luxurious holiday retreat in the countryside. Everything is riding on her making a success of this new job…

Yet when she arrives, Maddie is horrified to find a rundown old farm in a terrible state. The brooding and secretive owner, Seth, spent all his money on leasing the land when he fell in love with the beautiful, dishevelled farm cottages and the very romantic story behind them.

When Maddie discovers an old oil painting by the original owner’s wife, she unlocks the secret of the farm’s history and quickly realises she must start getting her hands dirty if this very special place is going to have any chance of survival. As she and Seth begin working together, the stunning view from the top of the hill is not the only thing that’s leaving her breathless…

After weeks of hard work the dream looks like it might become a reality, until a secret from Maddie’s past threatens to snatch it all away again.
Can Maddie find a way to save the business and herself? Will she finally find a place to keep her heart within the crumbling walls of the little cottage on the hill?

What does TWG think?

What a quaint little book! I have to admit that I wasn’t really keen on the first part of the book as it seemed quite the way away from the usual writing style of Emma Davies’, a style which I have come to love. Thankfully the further into the storyline I got, the more the author seemed to go back to her usual way of story telling, which meant that I was able to enjoy the rest of the novel. Personally, I really don’t think that this author needs to change the way she writes at all!

I was very relieved when I found myself being unable to put the book down. Emma Davies really knows how to capture her readers hearts with every word she writes. Me and Maddie didn’t see eye to eye at first, let’s just say that I didn’t like her at all. I thought she came across as such a jumped up, self-absorbed woman and, whilst I began to resign myself to the fact that this character wasn’t going to be changing anytime soon; she actually did! I know, I know – I was shocked too. I was convinced that this leopard wasn’t going to change its spots, yet Maddie made me completely change my opinion of her, finishing the book actually liking her! Why doesn’t this sort of stuff happen in real life?!

Poor Seth is such a troubled man. If you take him by first impressions, you would probably think that he was a rude, obnoxious and bad-tempered man. Honestly? You would be right! I thought it too at first yet there was a little piece of me that refused to give up hope. A man like Seth had to have been through hell to end up being that bad tempered!

Whilst I hold my hands up and say that the first part of the book wasn’t my cup of tea at all, I could not be more happier to say that the rest of the book was like walking on cloud 9. Everything about the storyline and the characters just seemed to work, the more of the book I read. The heart-warming friendships actually brought tears to my eyes because of what lengths certain characters went to, to save the ones they held dear. It’s things like that which get you thinking, eh?

‘The Little Cottage on the Hill’ is a touching, thought-provoking novel which had me grinning like the Cheshire Cat. If you ever find yourself doubting your abilities when it comes to jumping over the hurdles in life, remember that everyone has to start from somewhere. Whilst bricks and thatching may crumble and come loose, Emma Davies’ novel reminded me that a lot of things can be fixed with a little TLC, a few wooden spars, and a good daffy of love and support. Or in my case, by reading a book which managed to hug me from the inside out. I absolutely adore this author!

Buy now!

About the author: 

After a varied career, Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous (and not necessarily true) anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: ‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty something mother of three.’ Well the job in the design studio didn’t work out but she’s now a forty something mother of three and is happy to report the rest of her dream came true.

After many years as a finance manager she now writes full time, and is far happier playing with words than numbers. She lives with her husband, three children, and two guinea pigs in rural Shropshire where she writes in all the gaps in between real life. It’s a county she adores, her love of its beautiful people and landscapes providing endless inspiration for her books, and in fact the only thing that would make Shropshire more idyllic is if it were by the sea. 

Pop over to her website www.emmadaviesauthor.com where, amongst other things, you can read about her passion for Pringles and singing loudly in the car. You can also wave to her on twitter @EmDaviesAuthor or find her on Facebook (a little too often than is good for her).

#BlogTour! #Review – The Mother’s Secret by Clare Swatman (@ClareSwatman) @Panmacmillan @Rosiewilsreads

The Mother's Secret Blog Tour Feb 2018
Having fallen head over heels in love with Clare Swatman’s debut novel, ‘Before You Go’, I am delighted to be sharing my review of the authors much awaited second novel, ‘The Mother’s Secret’, which will be published by PanMacmillan on the 22nd February. Huge thanks to the publisher for the blog tour invite as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review as part of the blog tour:

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The Mother’s Secret is a powerful story about family, secrets and devastating lies

Love keeps us together

Sisters Kate and Georgie have always shared a close bond. While Kate enjoyed the freedoms of youth, Georgie remained at home. But now Georgie is grown up, it’s time she started exploring.

Love can tear us apart

Their mother Jan loves her daughters with all her heart. So what if she kept them out of sight when they were young? She just cared for them so much. She wanted to protect them.

What if your life was based on a lie?

Maybe there was another reason for Jan’s protective behaviour? If they ventured too far afield, it might destroy the facade of their childhood. This family’s about to discover that while lies can cause pain, the truth could destroy them all.

What does TWG think?

We all expect our mothers to tell us the truth no matter what, right? We also put our faith into them from the moment we entered this world, relying on them to guide us and help us blossom as we grow up. But what if you found out that your entire life had been a lie? What if you found out that your mother had been keeping a secret from you all of your life? What if everything you’ve always known, ends up revealing that in actual fact, you’ve known absolutely nothing?

It doesn’t bear thinking about really, does it? I mean, our mothers wouldn’t do that to us….would they?

It feels like I’ve been waiting AGES for Clare Swatman to release her second novel, especially seeing as her debut was one of my top reads of 2017 – how was she going to top that?! Reader, she topped it in a completely different way. Whilst both books are exceptional stories, they are also written completely differently which means that comparing them would be highly unfair. I have fallen in love with both books for various reasons, and by golly Clare Swatman certainly does NOT disappoint with her highly anticipated second novel.

I am genuinely surprised that my heart is now in one piece, given the amount of times it broke in two whilst reading this book! Even though it was pretty clear from the onset where the storyline was heading, including what the big ‘dun dun dun’ moment was that was going to be revealed in due course, it didn’t change my opinion of the book at all. It soon became clear that whilst the heartbreak was made clear early on, the author wrote the book in such a way which was guaranteed to make the reader wish the heartbreak wasn’t true at all. It was as though the entire situation had a big question mark looming overhead – was it true? Or was one of the sisters making a mountain out of a molehill?

I had no idea what to think or what to believe. If the situation ended up being true after all, why did it happen? What reason did they have to go to such lengths to cause long-lasting devastation? I was surprised at a couple of the character’s reactions when the truth came out because of how lenient their response appeared. I even asked myself whether I would respond in the same way if I were in their shoes and, to be perfectly honest, whilst my gut and heart says ‘no’, my mind is saying something completely different.

‘The Mother’s Secret’ has such a high level of complexity throughout the entire storyline, lasting until the very last page. Each individual character had its place within the book, adding another dimension to an already colourful storyline with their vivacious personalities. Unfortunately, those vivacious personalities didn’t last long, though I saw it as a positive as I was able to see an alternative side to the character, finding out a little bit more about what made them tick. For me, the change in the characters meant that I was able to see them as realistic, two-dimensional characters instead of one with a chip on their shoulder. I knew Clare Swatman could write her characters well, but goodness me – this author has really outdone herself.

I absolutely loved this book, even with its shocking, devastating and emotional scenes, it still managed to warm my heart in a way I had never thought possible. ‘The Mother’s Secret’ may be based around one big event, but it also contains a lot of themes which I believe multiple readers will be able to relate to and find comfort in. I really don’t wish to divulge what those themes are in fear of spoilers, so please do trust me.

‘The Mother’s Secret’ opened my eyes to a world of endless possibilities, showing me how to get to the sunshine through the rain. My emotions were tested, my strength was challenged, yet my trust in Clare Swatman’s writing grew even more.

This author can write that’s for sure; she certainly proves that with this heart-wrenching, beautifully written, thought-provoking and absolutely stunning novel about life, loss, lies, trust, and forgiveness, teaching her readers that whilst not everything is ever as it seems, a flower can blossom even during a storm.

Probably one of the best books I have read so far this year, I am in awe at Clare Swatman’s literary skills and the way in which she not only writes to feed the mind, she also writes to feed the soul.

Devastatingly beautiful – I urge each and every one of you to read this book.

Pre-order now.

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Next To Die by T.J.Brearton (@breartontj) @Bookouture

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It’s a #BlogBlitz kinda day today, so if you have been sitting there wondering who will be ‘Next To Die’, carry on reading! Well, I won’t tell you the answer to that, obviously, but hopefully I might be able to persuade you to find out for yourself. Here is my review of ‘Next To Die’ by T.J.Brearton. Big thank you to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book.

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Bobbi caught a glimpse of the car, saw the blood splashed across the front seats, and felt the nausea rise up. It should have been her who was working last night, not Harriet. It should have been her.

When a social worker is brutally murdered, Detectives Mike Nelson and Lena Overton are straight on the scene. But with a long list of potential suspects, can they work out who’s next before the killer strikes again?

It’s Lake Haven’s first murder in eighteen years, and the community is terrified – especially Bobbi, who was not only supposed to be on duty that night, but also has the same long dark hair as Harriet and drives the same blue car. Now Bobbi lives in constant fear that the murderer will be back for her

When Mike and Lena make a link to a missing-persons case and uncover a wide-spread grudge against social services, they know they’re close to uncovering the killer – but can they connect the last few dots and stop him before he takes another victim?

What does TWG think?

How intriguing is this book title! Of course every reader will be wondering who is the next one to die and why. I mean, I wondered that AND who was the first one to die. How could I not?

To begin with, me and T.J.Brearton’s novel weren’t exactly BFF’s as, despite the chilling start, I couldn’t help but feel a bit deflated at the lack of pace. However, once the book had reached the halfway point, I found myself drawn into the complex and secretive storyline like there’s no tomorrow. Yes, ‘Next To Die’ and I may have gotten off on the wrong foot, but boy did we have a firework finish!

There’s been a murder. The first murder Lake Haven had seen in eighteen years – is anyone safe? The social work community are scared out of their wits, wondering if anyone else from their line of work will be targeted, but, if they are – WHY?! Who are they? Why did they choose to kill a social worker and leave the body in full view of colleagues? Something extremely fishy is going on – thank goodness for Mike Nelson and Lena Overton….I think.

I think I may have giggled at the unlikely pairing of the two detectives as they really are chalk and cheese! One of them seems to enjoy passing the buck and leaving the hard graft to the other one, yet one of them seems to be working at 60MPH and moving nowhere. Lena Overton was my favourite! Her confident and hard-nosed persona made for fine reading, yet she still came across as such a relatable and likeable character. Mike Nelson however, well, I’m still on the fence with that one!!

Overall, I really did enjoy reading ‘Next To Die’, the storyline kept on shocking me with every page I turned, delivering the gritty situations with such ease and unexpectedness. I am very glad I preserved with this book as it ended up ticking a lot of my boxes.

Unexpectedly thrilling, ‘Next To Die’ kept me on my toes until the very end.

Buy now from Amazon

Author Bio:

 T.J. Brearton is the author of thirteen published novels of crime fiction, including detective thrillers, police procedurals, psychological suspense, and one paranormal crime story. His eBooks have been best-sellers on the Amazon kindle fiction Top 100 list. He lives in the Adirondacks with his wife and three children where he writes full time.

 Author Social Media Links

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/tjbreartonauthor/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/BreartonTJ

WEBSITE: http://tjbrearton.net/

#BlogTour! #Review – #WeOwnTheSky by Luke Allnutt (@lukeallnutt) @TrapezeBooks

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Apologies for how late in the day this is, BUT, I am super excited to be closing Luke Allnutt’s blog tour for ‘We Own The Sky’ today. Here is my review:

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A story about love, loss and finding hope – against all odds.

Rob Coates can’t believe his luck. There is Anna, his incredible wife, and most precious of all, Jack, their son, who makes every day an extraordinary adventure. Rob feels like he’s won the lottery of life. Or rather – he did. Until the day it all changes when Anna becomes convinced there is something wrong with Jack.

Now Rob sleepwalks through his days, unable to bridge the gulf that separates him from his wife, his son and the business of living. But he’s determined to come to terms with what’s happened-and find a way back to life, and forgiveness.

We Own the Sky will resonate with anyone who has ever suffered loss or experienced great love. Luke Allnutt shows that the journey from hope to despair and back is never as simple as we think, and that even the most thoroughly broken heart can learn to beat again

What does TWG think?

How far would you go to save the one you love?
What if there was no guarantee of anyone being saved, how far would you go then?
Now, if you were told that a situation was out of your hands, would you try to find an alternative route, or would you accept the inevitable?

Three rather easy questions….but are they really that easy?

Rob and his wife, Anna, have had their lives turned upside down. Both handling the situation in completely different ways, and both having different opinions on which route should be taken. But is there a correct route to go down in circumstances like these? To be perfectly honest, it doesn’t bear thinking about, yet families DO have to think about it as it’s real life. People like Rob and Anna are all over the world, trying to come to terms with circumstances which you always think would never happen to you, and why wouldn’t you think that?

It’s quite clear that the storyline is incredibly complex, seeing as my review is incredible vague and so is the blurb. Even though I had an inkling where the storyline was heading, I crossed my fingers in hope that I was wrong. I had been told before reading ‘We Own The Sky’, that there would be truck loads of tears shed – did I believe them? No, I didn’t. In actual fact I started thinking that nothing in this book would make me cry. Boy how wrong was I….

There was a point during the book where, after reading one particular sentence, my heart broke in two and the flood gates opened. I have never, EVER cried at a book like I cried at this one. It wasn’t your usual ugly crying, or snot induced crying (lovely). No. I was absolutely heartbroken which made the tears just fall out of my eyes like a waterfall. Having become invested in the storyline and its powerful characters, I found the emotion a lot harder to absorb as I felt like part of me had been lost. Never mind the fact that I was in no way involved in the storyline – I still felt like a close friend. I know that sounds daft, but once you read this book you might understand where I was coming from.

‘We Own The Sky’ describes every loved ones nightmare….and then some. There were times where I felt like I couldn’t carry on reading, that it was too hard to bear, but if I had done that, I probably would have felt like I had let down the characters. I mean, if you’re in that situation yourself you can’t really sit there and say ‘SOZ, I can’t cope, I’m giving up. Call me when it’s all done’. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people will think that I’m sure!

Not only was the storyline heartbreakingly beautiful, the information I read about the author was heartbreaking in itself. I have absolutely no idea how the author managed to write this book considering the theme was incredibly close to Luke Allnutt personally, but he did and I am in awe. What an absolute superstar this author is, and what a phenomenal author he is as well.

‘We Own The Sky’ absolutely blew me away and became the shining star in my own sky at night. This book reminded me that even when times are hard and you have no idea where to turn, there is always, ALWAYS someone willing to be your shoulder to cry on. Whether that is in human contact, or online forums – it doesn’t matter. All that matters is someone being present. This book also highlighted the lengths in which people would go to if someone they love were in danger, even if some of those lengths were incredibly stupid…

‘We Own The Sky’ reminded me that in difficult situations, we often become someone we don’t like due to defence mechanisms and, no matter how much you try to fight it, you’re always going to do something you would rather forget. Luke Allnutt showed the importance of going through the motions because, if you can’t go through the grief, guilt, depressive state, alcoholic tendencies etc, you won’t be able to come out the other side with your heart covered in Elastoplast. Those steps are vital and it isn’t until they’re told to you in black and white, that that message is drummed into your mind.

A heartbreakingly beautiful, well written, emotional, delicate, and highly poignant novel from an author whose own life was in somebody else’s hands, and yet he owned it. Just like he, you, I, and we….own the sky.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – The Reunion by Samantha Hayes (@SamHayes) @Bookouture

The Reunion - Blog Tour
I cannot tell you how excited I am to be sharing my review of ‘The Reunion’ by Samantha Hayes, today!! Thank you to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review, squeal!!!

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THEN – In charge of her little sister at the beach, Claire allowed Eleanor to walk to the shop alone to buy an ice cream. Placing a coin into her hand, Claire told her to be quick, knowing how much she wanted the freedom.

Eleanor never came back.

NOW – The time has finally come to sell the family farm and Claire is organising a reunion of her dearest friends, the same friends who were present the day her sister went missing.

When another girl disappears, long-buried secrets begin to surface. One of the group hides the darkest secret of them all…

What does TWG think?

Oh how I am glad that I didn’t read the blurb of this book beforehand!! If I could get away with it, my review for this book would be:

‘OH MY BLEEPING GOODNESS THIS BOOK IS BLEEPING GOOD. BLEEP ME I HAVE NEVER READ ANYTHING LIKE IT.’

But, whilst I think the above sentence is worthy of literary awards everywhere (cough), it does not do the book justice at all.

Hand on heart, I absolutely fluffing loved this book!!! From the very beginning I was absolutely hooked, even though I had no idea what was going to come next. I had no inkling apart from what I was being told in black and white.

Where did Eleanor go? Why is her case now a cold case?

Believe me, there will be a lot more questions needing answered along the way! Claire’s family have been through the ringer where Eleanor is concerned, and due to an idea set to help her dad with his health, the past is about to come back and haunt the family. Every time Claire looks at her brother, or one of her friends, her mind can’t help wandering back to the day of Eleanor’s (her sister) disappearance. Why didn’t she go with her to get the ice-cream? What else could Claire have done differently to ensure Eleanor would still be with them today? So much guilt for one person to harbour, and even more questions remaining unanswered.

I really do wish that I could find the right words to do this book justice, but I just can’t. I really have no read anything like this before – my legs turned to jelly! I was a quivering mess!! I formed opinions of the characters rather quickly (when do I not), with one coming under my radar (in a bad way) far too quickly. I won’t say who that person was because it’s connected to a major part of the book, but all I will say is that this person is an absolute fudgemuffin. At the time I couldn’t work out what it was that I disliked about them. They hadn’t done anything major, yet the vibe they gave off was enough to make my hackles rise. As far as I was concerned, this character’s cards were marked.

Whilst reading ‘The Reunion’, there were many moments where I thought I knew what was going to happen and who I thought was guaranteed to be involved. I hold my hands up now – I was wrong on both accounts, so not only does the author pull you into the storyline with a minimal amount of effort; she also has the talent of drip feeding you clues about who could be involved, before taking the storyline in a completely different direction. Yes, it screwed with my head, but oh my goodness Samantha Hayes can screw with my head anytime because by golly can this woman write!!!

I cannot recommend this book enough! The pace was absolutely spot-on, the characters were extremely well developed and in tune with the storyline, the plot was very well crafted and thought out, and the entire storyline was phenomenally written. I mean, how could you NOT like this book? I loved how the entire story was laced with grit, intensity and extremely high levels of shock – Samantha Hayes really has done no wrong with ‘The Reunion’, that’s for sure!

I struggle to choose what a want for breakfast most days, but I am certain about one thing – ‘The Reunion’ is a book which needs to be read pronto! The whole thing blew me away and left me wanting more, so much so, I actually want to read it again!

‘The Reunion’ is definitely one of my top reads of 2018 so far, thanks to its powerful and addictive storyline. Samantha Hayes is certainly an author to watch, and ‘The Reunion’ is certainly a book to be read – you will NOT be disappointed!!

Buy now!

About the author: 

Samantha Hayes grew up in a creative family where her love of writing began as a child. Samantha has written eight thrillers in total, including the bestselling Until You’re Mine. The Independent said “fantastically written and very tense” while Good Housekeeping said “Her believable psychological thrillers are completely gripping.” Samantha’s books are published in 22 languages at the last count.

When not writing, Samantha loves to cook, go to the gym, see friends and drink nice wine. She is also studying for a degree in psychotherapy. She has three grown-up children and lives in Warwickshire.

www.samanthahayes.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaHayesAuthor/

#BlogTour! #Review – A Year of New Adventures by Maddie Please (@MaddiePlease1) @AvonBooksUK

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This afternoon I am delighted to bring you my review of Maddie Please’s brand new novel, ‘A Year of New Adventures’. Big thank you to AvonBooks for the blog tour invite and the ARC.

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It’s time for Billie Summers to have an adventure … but it might not be exactly what she expected.

Billie Summers has always been quite content in her little cottage in the Cotswolds, sure half the house hasn’t been renovated, but what’s the point when it’s only her! Working part-time at her uncle’s bookshop and planning 3-4 writer retreats with her best friend allows her to pay the bills. What more could anyone want?

That is until Oliver Forest, the bad boy of the book world, turns up to one of her retreats and points out that Billie hasn’t done anything very adventurous. Couple that with her best friend falling head over heels and beginning to drift away from their Friday night wine and dinner plans, Billie is starting to wonder if it isn’t time she take control of her life.

So she starts a list: get fitted (properly) for a bra, fix up rest of house, find a ‘career’ and well, get a tattoo … Her life might just get the makeover it needs, too bad irritating and far-too-attractive for his own good, Oliver keeps showing up …

Because sometimes you need an adventure!

What does TWG think?

I’m just going to get straight to the point – no need to beat around the bush now is there?

At the moment it takes a lot to make me smile. Now, before you go thinking that I am like a certain farmyard animal of the moooooooody variety, it takes a lot to make me smile because of many, many things. So, when I find myself with a massive grin on my face upon finishing a book, it’s safe to say that that particular storyline was something special. Yes, ‘A Year of New Adventures’ really is that ‘special something‘.

From getting to know Billie’s hilarious and addictive personality, to watching another farmyard animal of the mooooday variety attempt to take on someone with Billie’s personality. That alone was worth reading the book for, I mean come on! You don’t get on the wrong side of someone like Billie – she would eat you for breakfast!! (Once she’s cooked you first of course!).

Oliver Forest came across as the typical, self obsessed male who thought his poo didn’t stink, alongside having opinions which, according to Mr ‘I Have No Manners’, were far more important than those of the people around him. Yes, I did think to myself on more than one occasion, ‘what an absolute twonk’. However, I gave him another chance because I’m such a nosy reader, and left his memorable personality try to win me over.

I saw a lot of myself in Billie, and at times, that was quite difficult to read. I admired her get up and go, yet I felt sad because of the way she viewed herself, deeming herself unworthy of happiness just like everybody else. Along the way it was made clear that Billie thought a lot about what other people thought of her, yet wasn’t able to take into consideration what she loved about her own self, despite being willing to make changes due to other people’s comments. That made me sad. Why? Because we all know someone like that, even if it’s ourselves, but to read it black and white hits home a lot harder than just thinking about it whilst you brush your teeth.

I absolutely loved everything about this book – it made me laugh, made me smile, ignited a fire in my belly which I thought had been put out a long time ago, whilst also making me believe.

If I could give this book more than 5 stars I would, and not just because it made me laugh, but because it gave me hope that through the rain, the sun is always bound to shine.

A beautiful, heartfelt and touching novel – I recommend this to everyone and anyone who wishes to have their face aching through smiling. Just fantastic.

Available in e-book now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Review – The Lying Kind by Alison James (@AlisonJBooks) @Bookouture

The Lying Kind - Blog Tour
Day two of ‘The Lying Kind’ blog tour and the tour bus stops with me, TWG! Please note that this book was previously titled ‘The Missing Child’. Thank you to Bookouture for the tour invite and the ARC.

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The little girl stirred and opened her eyes. A light from the landing played a shadow across her toy cupboard. It was then she realised… There was someone else in the room. 

Six-year-old Lola Jade Harper has gone missing from her bedroom on a safe, suburban street. 

Her mother says her ex-husband has stolen their daughter. Lola’s father denies it was him.

Family, friends and neighbours all say they didn’t see a thing. But someone must know where the little girl is. Who is lying? And who is telling the truth?

Detective Rachel Prince knows the longer a child is unaccounted for, the less likely they are to be found alive. 

The clock is ticking. It’s up to Rachel to find Lola Jade, before it’s too late.

And then another little girl is taken…

What does TWG think?

Have you ever had the urge to read a book which makes you feel as though you are actually in amongst the hubbub?

Have you ever read a book which makes you feel as though your hair is standing on end like you have just had an electric shock?

Have you ever been so engrossed in a story that the chances of you becoming a killer should anyone even dare to disturb you, went from 0-60 in the matter of seconds?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to the above questions, hold on tight folks because OHMYGOD you’re in for the ride of lifetime. I have been waiting for a police procedural just like this one, which focused on the investigation side more than the gore of the crime – ‘The Lying Kind’ did not disappoint.

What an intense, rollercoaster ride of a read this is! If there were prizes for the amount of times you said the same word whilst reading a book, I would probably win hands down for my multiple use of ‘OHMYGOD’. As soon as something happened, a rather loud ‘OHMYGOD’ followed shortly after – I’m not even joking!

‘The Lying Kind’ is phenomenal, and I don’t use that word often!!! The only thing I could fault about the book was the fact that it had ended. The theme itself was brilliantly written, psychologically twisting, with a perfect pace which kept its momentum for the duration of the novel.

Each character, in my eyes, was well thought out as they all had a part to play in the book without coming across like they were just filling empty spaces (if that makes sense). I thought Detective Rachel Prince was incredibly ballsy and, even though she did come across as a bit of a wet blanket sometimes, her personality was more realistic because of it.

I honestly felt as though I was involved in a high-speed chase every time I turned the page of ‘The Lying Kind’ – I kept waiting with bated breath every time I thought the investigation was going to be concluded! In my head I was shouting ‘HURRY UP!!!!’ because I was just so gripped by what I was reading.

Can you tell that I loved this book? I cannot stress it enough – you HAVE to go and read Alison James’ novel as it blew me away at the speed of lightning.
Such a fast paced, gripping, highly detailed read which left me begging for more. Oh I am so glad that this is the start of a brand new series otherwise you guys would be needing to peel me off the floor and stop me crying. I need more….now!!

Fluffing, fluffing brilliant. Seriously. What a corker!

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – The Promise by Sally Jenkins (@sallyjenkinsuk) @RaRaResources

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Today on TWG, I have the pleasure of reviewing Sally Jenkins’ ‘The Promise’ as part of the blog tour organised by RaRaResources. Big thank you for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

The Promise by Sally Jenkins
A man has been stabbed. A woman is bloodstained. The nightmares from her teenage years have begun again for Olivia Field – just as she is preparing to marry.

Ex-convict, Tina is terminally ill. Before she dies, the care of her younger, psychologically unwell brother, Wayne must be ensured. So Tina calls in a promise made to her thirty years ago in a prison cell. A promise that was written down and placed with crucial evidence illustrating a miscarriage of justice in a murder case.

Tina believes Olivia is perfectly placed to provide the care Wayne needs, but to do so, Olivia must be forced to cancel her own wedding and wreck the lives of those close to her. Tina’s terrible blackmail demands put Olivia’s entire future and, ultimately, her freedom under threat.

The Promise is a fast-paced psychological thriller told from several third person viewpoints. The novel explores the lengths to which people are prepared go in order to protect those they love and the impossibility of ever fully escaping our past actions.

What does TWG think?

Cor blimey – this book is intense!!

Not that I should feel sorry for a couple of the main characters in this book, but they are a bunch which seem to attract a lot of negativity. I mean, how many bad things can one person endure?

Olivia is such a one tracked minded type of character, often coming across as quite self obsessed. Tina, well, it’s hard NOT to feel sympathetic to her….well, that is until you get to know her character then any sort of empathy goes out of the window. And then there’s Wayne, Tina’s brother. I really don’t think it would be useful to you if I gave my opinion on this character, as there is a high chance I may end up giving something away. Who knows, other readers may view his character in a completely different way as I did, but a lot of my opinions were formed on his actions throughout the novel. Intrigued? Understandable!

Whilst ‘The Promise’ gripped me as much as I would grip someone if I saw cookies, I have to be honest and say that the last portion of the book really didn’t do it for me as there was far too many loose ends still loose. I really do think that ‘The Promise’ has room for a sequel and, due to the extremely open ending, I would welcome another book  just so that I could get answers.

All in all, I did enjoy the storyline and the way in which the chilling themes engulfed me right from the very beginning. The author has cleverly entwined several devastating events with the minimal amount of effort, resulting in such a shocking reaction from myself. Like I said at the beginning of this review – this book is extremely intense, make sure you remember to breathe!!

Buy now from Amazon UK
Google Play
Nook

Author Bio –
Sally Jenkins lives in the West Midlands. She is a member of a Speakers’ Club, a volunteer library reading group coordinator and a church bell ringer. Sally’s first psychological thriller, Bedsit Three won the Ian Govan Award.

Social Media Links –

Facebook // Twitter // Website/blog