#BlogTour! #Review – House of Spines by Michael J Malone (@MichaelJMalone1) @OrendaBooks

House of Spines front
Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, he finds that Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman … A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…

What does TWG think?

Please don’t shoot me, but this is the one and only Michael Malone book I have read. I know, I know, it’s bad right? It’s not that I haven’t WANTED to read any of his books, I just haven’t gotten round to them on the forever growing ‘TBR’ pile. Well, until now seeing as this blog tour kicked me up the backside to get one read. I have to admit though (yes, again), that ghost type stories aren’t really my usual ‘thing’. I have never found myself gravitating towards them (pardon the pun). Hell, the only ghost I have had dealings with is ‘Casper’ and that’s only because my pale nature resembles him!

Upon starting ‘House of Spines’, I knew my mind had to be kept open. Now, seeing as I finished this novel with the fear of christ put up me, I’m pretty sure I managed to keep my mind well and truly open!

I was severely intrigued by the level of mystery that the author dosed the storyline in, for me that was the star of the show. Michael Malone managed to keep my attention with the mystery alone – anything else after that was an added bonus. In the ‘House of Spines’, there was so much interesting themes that I was able to sink my teeth into, regardless of whether I enjoyed the ghost element or not, I wasn’t at all bored by the rest of the storyline. Malone certainly has a way with words and, seeing as I have nothing to compare it to – with his literary talent alone, Malone has definitely guaranteed himself another reader for his next novel.

Despite keeping my mind well and truly open and ending up proper freaked out, I still didn’t quite manage to gel with the gothic/ghosts element of the overall storyline. It’s creepy, there’s no doubt about that! But, for little ol’ me, it still isn’t my ‘thing’ if you will.

As a Michael Malone newbie, I am suitably impressed with the skills that this author possesses, especially seeing as he kept my interest the entire way through despite not gelling with part of the storyline. Why? Because the man knows how to write, that’s why. I wouldn’t be surprised if his secret talent is selling snow to an Eskimo…

Impressive, bewildering, and weirdly addictive; I am thrilled to find another author to add to my ‘read again’ pile.

Thanks Orenda Books.

Buy now from Amazon UK

House of Spines blog poster 2017

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#BlogTour! #Review of Skin Deep by Laura Wilkinson (@ScorpioScribble) @AccentPress

SKIN DEEP FINAL COVER

It’s what’s inside that counts…

 Art student and former model Diana has always been admired for her beauty but what use are good looks when you want to shine for your talent? Insecure and desperate for inspiration, Diana needs a muse.

Facially disfigured four-year-old Cal lives a life largely hidden from the world. But he was born to be looked at and he needs love too. A chance encounter changes everything; Cal becomes Diana’s muse. But as Diana’s reputation develops and Cal grows up, their relationship implodes.

Both struggle to be accepted for what lies within.
Is it possible to find acceptance in a society where what’s on the outside counts for so much?

What does TWG think?

I am delighted to be today’s stop on, Laura Wilkinson’s, blog tour for ‘Skin Deep’. This book hit home in many ways and I really hope I am able to explain why, and how, in this review.

Do you remember, as a child, constantly being told that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, or ‘it’s what’s inside that counts’, or ‘beauty is only skin deep’? I remember getting told them SO many times. I would always ‘pfft’ every time I heard those phrases, especially ‘if someone is nasty about your looks, it’s because they are jealous’. Reaaalllyyy? Take a moment and think back to your childhood; were you ever told those phrases? If you’re a parent, do you ever tell those phrases to your children? Keep those thoughts in your mind for now…

Diana had a childhood of being pulled from pillar to post, pouting for all and sundry, and being on the receiving end of angry outbursts; she was a child model. Unfortunately, due to her rocky childhood, the emotional scars still run deep and her insecurity level has reached its maximum. Will Diana decide to channel her thoughts into her latest artwork? Or will history end up repeating itself?

After finding out what Diana endured as a child, I truly felt like she would become the best person to stand up for others in the same boat, or that she would be able to stand up for those whose looks make people gasp in disgust. I wanted her to stand with those people who had been ridiculed for what they look like, instead of being accepted for who they are.

When the Laura Wilkinson introduced character, Cal, to the storyline, my heart shattered into tiny pieces. Instead of a young boy being exactly that, young, the fickle people around him couldn’t (and didn’t want to) see anything other than their judgemental thoughts. Cal was born disfigured.

Right at the very start, I asked you to think about certain phrases and whether you  remember being told them as a child, or whether you tell your children (if you’re a parent) those phrases. I used to get told them growing up, and as a parent myself, I tell my three-year old daughter something similar; ‘it doesn’t matter what we look like, as long as we are happy and we are loved, that’s all that matters’. With all of that in mind, reading Cal and Diana’s journey was incredibly heart breaking, eye-opening, and unfortunately bang on. Society is extremely judgemental, and extremely unforgiving. If someone is deemed ‘different’, like Cal, people aren’t able to cope. They feel the need to either hide those human beings away, or parade them around like a popular animal in the zoo. Whether you have been brought up to love people for who they are, ‘Skin Deep’ will require a big bar of chocolate and a cosy blanket whilst you read it. Trust me. Now, if you have been brought up to believe that anyone with different looks are freaks, and that they deserve nasty comments; I can promise you that you will end up thanking Laura Wilkinson for opening your eyes and making you realise that just because skin is thick, it doesn’t mean it can take abuse.

‘Skin Deep’ had me feeling so many emotions, in such a short space of time. Whilst a lot of this storyline is quite difficult to read due to the subject it is centred around, ‘Skin Deep’ really is the type of novel you just have to finish, no matter what state you’re in. My opinion of Diana kept changing; one minute I felt sorry for her, the next minute she absolutely disgusted me. I can’t tell you my reasons for that as it will definitely give something away, but I will be intrigued to see what other think of her in particular.

Don’t get me wrong, ‘Skin Deep’ contained multiple questionable characters, and I would be here ages discussing each and every one of them, BUT, whilst there were some characters who will no doubt receive a visit from the karma police in due course, there were a couple of beautiful characters who were worth their weight in gold.

Laura Wilkinson’s novel should be given out in schools, as a reminder of how much words can actually hurt. ‘Skin Deep’ is such a work of art; a beautifully written novel which literally speaks for itself.
Heart-breaking yet poignant, heart-warming yet powerful, emotional yet eye-opening; ‘Skin Deep’ needs to be read by everyone, and anyone.
This truly is a book to be remembered.

Thanks Accent Press.

Buy now: Amazon // Waterstones // WHSmith

About Laura

Liverpool born, Laura is a taff at heart. She has published six novels for adults (two under a pseudonym) and numerous short stories, some of which have made the short lists of international competitions. Public Battles, Private Wars, was a Welsh Books Council Book of the month; Redemption Song was a Kindle top twenty. The Family Line is a family drama set in the near future, looking at identity and parenting. Her latest is Skin Deep. Alongside writing, Laura works as an editor & mentor for literary consultancies and runs workshops on aspects of craft. She’s spoken at festivals and events nationwide, including the Frome Festival, Gladfest, University of Kingston, The Women’s Library and Museum in Docklands. She lives in Brighton with her husband and sons.

Contact Laura Wilkinson:
Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Goodreads

 

Huge thanks to Accent Press for asking me to be involved in this blog tour, I am truly honoured to be part of the celebration for such a beautiful book. If you’re only just joining the blog tour, all of the previous bloggers, as well as the bloggers still to come, are all listed on the graphic below:

skin deep blog tour

#CoverReveal! Waking by Helen Richardson (@helen_r_writes) @AccentPress

Weekly Wrap Up! (1)
It’s c-c-c-c-over reveal time!!

Debut author, cover reveal and Accent Press – what’s NOT to like? The book cover I am about to show you, sounds ah-MAZING! Unfortunately we have to wait until September to get it -cries-, but it sure sounds worth the wait!

It is with great pleasure that I reveal to you……

Waking
Title: Waking
Author: Helen Richardson
Publication date: September 14th 2017
Publisher: Accent Press
ISBN: 9781786153449 (paperback) – 9781786153227 (ebook)

There are dark corners in your mind that even you can’t get to.

Anna Caldwell is terrified of falling asleep. A nightmare, her very own, will be there waiting for her. After sharing her bed with the same vision for fifteen years, she’s desperate to shake it. But it only holds on tighter.

Then Anna meets Jack. She’s drawn to the strange, alluring tension that she feels when she’s around him. It’s as though it’s meant to be. But creeping beneath the roots of their intimacy is darkness.

If you knew your dreams were trying to tell you something terrible, would you listen?

Helen Richardson is a producer for branded content and documentary productions. She lives in London. This is her first novel.

Pre-order link: PB http://amzn.to/2qYcQFe  EB: http://amzn.eu/8c5Wngz

Just want to say thank you to Accent Press for asking me to help reveal Helen Richardson’s book cover!

Does this book sound right up your street? Are you intrigued by the cover? Like always, let me know!!

Weekly Wrap Up! (1)

#TWG’s Wondering Wednesday – To pay for a review or not to pay? Erm, seriously? #reviews

OnlineReviews(pic credit – Design Extensions)

It’s Wednesday, which means TWG is back with another ‘Wondering Wednesday’! Last week saw the first instalment of the brand new feature, where I was discussing honest reviews. In case you missed it, you can check it out here: #TWG’s Wondering Wednesday – How far is TOO FAR when reviewing ‘honestly’? #review

Decided on a topic for this weeks post wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. No, really! All I had to do was look on social media, and, thanks to one of the book groups I am in on Facebook, I was able to get some inspiration for today’s discussion. So, I am fully aware that this topic could be deemed a little controversial. My bad.

Today I am asking you:

Should authors pay for book reviews?
&
Should bloggers ask for payment for writing a book review?

Without getting too personal, last week this topic was brought to light in a book group on Facebook. BOTH authors and bloggers said their piece, however, it’s one of those topics that will always be remembered as unfortunately, a lot of bloggers could be tarred with the same brush as the ‘culprit’. Let me just clarify one thing before I begin ranting; if you’re an author who wishes to pay for book reviews, that is your choice and I’m not going to stand in judgement of that at all. After all it’s your money, your book; your decision. Also, please remember that I am not talking about reviews written by people whose day job is to actually write reviews and publish them in magazines etc. That is completely different as it is their job and no doubt it would have been a marketing strategy decided by the authors publisher.

However, this post is aimed at Amazon reviews/Goodreads reviews/supermarket or bookshops reviews, written by bloggers. Not bloggers who get paid to blog; people who blog as their hobby which sidelines any existing external job. -breathes-.

As a blogger myself, I would never in a million years contact an author or a publisher and go; ‘Hi! I will review your books for you, but it’s going to cost you £££’. Don’t get me wrong, I am confident in my review writing abilities, but to ask someone to pay me for writing my opinion on Amazon? Where’s your conscience?! If any of my reviews prompted people to click the ‘to buy’ link at the end, and go and purchase the book in question; great! But asking for money for writing a book review, is pretty much guaranteeing the author sales. Yes? How can you guarantee an author sales? Well, unless you go cold calling and sit by strangers whilst they log onto their Amazon account, click on the book and purchase it right in front of your very eyes; I don’t see how sales can be guaranteed for paid reviews.

When I write reviews, as much as people seem to think that bloggers give glowing reviews ALL the time on blog tours, I write my honest opinion in a respectful manner. Of course there will be times where I dislike a book! If I loved every single book, I would be extremely poor. Therefore, my reviews aren’t always going to be 100% positive. They will be 100% constructive where necessary, but I cannot guarantee a fully glowing review. I also don’t charge authors for my reviews. If a blogger charges for their book reviews, how can they guarantee a certain type of review that is going to make someone buy the book? You might be sitting there thinking ‘but no-one said that they can guarantee sales’, which is true. They haven’t. BUT, if you’re paying someone for something, you are in theory paying for a service. You’re paying for results. You’re paying that person to write reviews for you, to generate a higher amount of sales as opposed to bloggers who don’t charge.

Here’s another question for you; what if a blogger who reviews due to their passion for books, creates more of a buzz about a book and generates more sales? Would you say that was luck? Or would you still prefer to pay your hard-earned money, for a book review, just because it’s ‘paid for’?

I just don’t get it. If you’re a blogger who writes reviews for payment and you’re reading this now; each to their own. But, why pay for something when there are tons of reputable bloggers out there, who review with their hearts and not their wallets? Personally, I would trust passion, heart and dedication over the size of someones wallet.

Up until recently, I had no idea that people were charging for their book reviews, nor did I have any idea that not all of those bloggers are upfront about the costs. Sneaky sneaky. What realllyyyyyyyy irks me about the whole situation is how the underhandedness of those types of people tars passionate bloggers with the same brush. Just because Joe Bloggs from BooksRUS* decides to be underhanded, charge for their reviews, not alert the author or make it clear on their blog about the costs, it doesn’t mean that ALL bloggers are like that. We aren’t. We are out there wanting to review your book because WE LOVE BOOKS, you just need to find us.
(*note: blog name was made up to serve a purpose and not to put a blogger in the firing line).

think

Authors, what are YOUR reviews about paid book reviews? Have you ever paid for a book review? If you have and are willing to share, please do! If you have; how much did it cost? Did it generate a lot of sales? Positive/negative points. Plus, would you ever pay for a book review?

Bloggers, do YOU charge for your book reviews? What are your thoughts on the whole situation? Could you ever see yourself asking for money for the reviews you write?

I don’t think I will ever get my read around all of this. To me it just doesn’t make any sense, although this quote from Litreactor.com made me laugh: ‘One theory is the moral issue, that paying for reviews is like paying for sex. The perception being that, if you’re a good person with a good…product, you should be able to find sex/reviews without paying, and that this is the morally superior way of doing things.’

I dunno about you but if I’m not selling sex, I sure as hell won’t be selling my reviews!

Let me know your thoughts, I can’t wait to hear what your feelings are on this subject! If you have a topic that you would like me to wonder about next Wednesday, give me a shout!

#Review of Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon (@bryony_gordon) @headlinepg #MentalHealth

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THE NUMBER 1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER AND RICHARD & JUDY BOOK CLUB 2017 PICK

A new Sunday Times bestseller from Bryony Gordon, Telegraph columnist and author of the bestselling The Wrong Knickers. For readers who enjoyed Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive and Ruby Wax’s Sane New World, Mad Girl is a shocking, funny, unpredictable, heart-wrenching, raw and jaw-droppingly truthful celebration of life with mental illness.

‘I loved it. A brilliant fast and funny and frank look at something that absolutely needs to be talked about in this way’ Matt Haig

Bryony Gordon has OCD.

It’s the snake in her brain that has told her ever since she was a teenager that her world is about to come crashing down: that her family might die if she doesn’t repeat a phrase 5 times, or that she might have murdered someone and forgotten about it. It’s caused alopecia, bulimia, and drug dependency. And Bryony is sick of it. Keeping silent about her illness has given it a cachet it simply does not deserve, so here she shares her story with trademark wit and dazzling honesty.

A hugely successful columnist for the Telegraph, a bestselling author, and a happily married mother of an adorable daughter, Bryony has managed to laugh and live well while simultaneously grappling with her illness. Now it’s time for her to speak out. Writing with her characteristic warmth and dark humour, Bryony explores her relationship with her OCD and depression as only she can.

Mad Girl is a shocking, funny, unpredictable, heart-wrenching, raw and jaw-droppingly truthful celebration of life with mental illness.

What does TWG think?

As I’m sure you’re all aware of by now, if I review a book that is based on real life or personal experiences, my review style changes dramatically. After all, I can’t exactly start saying that the book has an ‘uneventful storyline’ if it’s about the author’s life, it’s not like they’re going to tweet me back and say ‘OH SOZ that my life wasn’t exciting enough for YOU’. I mean, REALLY?!

I bought ‘Mad Girl’ from my local Tesco as I had just popped in for a few necessities (some might say milk, some might say books), and I was at the point in my life where I was an absolute mess with constant bad news related to my health. I needed some help and clarification without being judged, that’s where ‘Mad Girl’ came in.

Bryony Gordon has really had her fair share of shitake; OCD, drugs, depression…you name it, she has probably been through it. ‘Mad Girl’ seemed to be Bryony’s chosen platform to open up about issues that are often seen as ‘taboo’, misunderstood and are frequently hidden away (not through choice). In her novel, Bryony explains just how she felt when she was faced with a trigger or a judgemental person, absolutely perfectly and I am in awe of how black and white that she vocalises those emotions.

‘Mad Girl’ struck a chord with me as I have had to battle similar things as Bryony, just like a lot of people no doubt. But, on a personal level, the novel made me return to a time in my past and face it. Let’s just say that I now consider Bryony Gordon to be my new therapist! Bloody cheap therapy though!

Bryony’s writing is incredibly honest, real and exactly what everyone needs to hear. She says it how it is. She doesn’t feel the need to apologise for her thoughts and feelings or troublesome moments, even though a lot of us feel like we have to apologise to others for being unwell. What I loved the most about this novel was how the author challenged that notion and made me feel as though she was rooting for every single person with a mental illness, whether she knew them or not. It was like she turned into a little angel to sit on our shoulders, spraffing profanities to the judgemental bar-stewards that crossed our paths, or the nasty individuals who tried to make it their mission to make us feel smaller than what we already are.

I am in awe at Bryony Gordon’s story, and the amount of hurdles that she has had to jump over so far in her life time. Not only that, she has brought those extremely difficult moments to light, for thousands of people to read and relate to. The amount of strength that that must have taken to do…

Just like many (if not all) of us, there are sure to have been moments when we have felt worthless, unloved and misunderstood; I know that I have, and thanks to depression, anxiety and five other chronic illnesses, it is a regular occurrence.

Bryony Gordon and ‘Mad Girl’ made me feel as though I had someone rooting for me and wanting me to succeed. That probably sounds stupid seeing as she has never spoken to me personally, yet her written words spoke to me in a way that I will never forget.

The world needs a lot more people like Bryony Gordon, and your bookshelf needs a copy of ‘Mad Girl’ on it. Such an honest, eye-opening and inspirational story of one woman’s journey of self discovery and celebration. Full of hilarious moments and on point truths, ‘Mad Girl’ sticks two fingers up to the word ‘taboo’, whilst also being your best friend in a book.

Bryony Gordon, you are an inspirational, hilarious bad ass. If Marvel don’t make you into a super hero then there is something SERIOUSLY wrong!!

Buy ‘Mad Girl’ now from Amazon UK
Buy ‘Mad Girl’ from Amazon US

A little heads up on why I ‘disappeared’ for a week, as well as special thanks to a few folk.

noteI have a lot to say in this blog post, but I will aim to condense and attempt to ramble much less than usual. However, if I fail miserably, please accept my apology now and know that I tried my hardest, but I’m a rambler!

Little over a week ago I decided to take a take a step back from social media whilst I went to visit a very good friend of mine, after 14 years. You’re probably thinking ‘ooo big deal’, BUT, there was a reason why I decided to coincide my social media break with my break away. Well, if I’m being honest, the decision was only half mine. You see, for the last four or so months I have been on the receiving end of cyber bullying and my tolerance level had been smashed to smithereens. Not only that, it brought back horrendous memories of the bullying I endured as a child. Memories that I already hold the scars for to this day and really didn’t want to have surfaced once again. But they did. After weeks of constant bad news from the doctors and issues with my house, a break away could not have come at a better time, it was just a shame about social media.

Before I went away I scheduled all of my book reviews to go live whilst I was away which probably made it look like I was still about. I need to say a MASSIVE thank you to every single one of you who shared, liked, commented, tweeted and so on, my blog posts whilst I was away. The response to each review posted was incredible and it means a lot that you were all willing to keep sharing them for me. I also want to say sorry to all of you as I haven’t done any blog post sharing, but rest assured I will be playing catch up so if you find your notifications creeping up, you know it’s me.

As I mentioned above, I have been on the receiving end of cyber bullying and it started to make me resent everything I had worked my butt off for. The belittling comments, snidey posts, immature posts from people who should know better and a lot more that only a selected few know. It hurt, and it still does hurt, I’m not going to lie. No-one should be bullied whether it’s in person or online, it really is diabolical.

Whilst I was MIA I had one, very special lady message me to ensure that I was okay as I hadn’t been active online. That gesture itself made me well up as nobody has ever really done that for me, and it meant a lot that my presence was missed. Lucie Wheeler, you are a truly wonderful, inspirational and kind-hearted lady, and from the bottom of my heart I thank you for being there for me this week and every time before. You were (and are) the person I knew I could trust to message when I was feeling concerned, knowing full well you wouldn’t judge and just be the friend and support network you obviously knew that I needed. You truly are worth your weight in gold and I love you lots, thank you <3.

So yes, I am back. I received over 1,500 e-mails in the last week so if you have sent me an e-mail and I haven’t replied yet, sit tight and I will get to you. Thank you all again for the shares and fingers crossed the bully leaves me alone. Much love to you all <3.

#CoverReveal! Just For The Holidays by Sue Moorcroft (@SueMoorcroft) @avonbooksuk

Sue Moorcroft is BACK! It only feels like yesterday that we were helping to reveal the cover of Sue’s previous novel, ‘The Christmas Promise’! Getting us all ready for any upcoming sun, sea, sand and….err, shoes, Sue Moorcroft is set to release her summer treat, Just For The Holidays, in May, and I am delighted to be able to help reveal her beautiful new book cover!

Ready?

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PUBLISHING IN EBOOK AND PAPERBACK: 18THMAY 2017

The #1 bestselling author returns for summer! Grab your sun hat, a cool glass of wine, and the only book you need on holiday…

In theory, nothing could be better than a summer spent basking in the French sun. That is, until you add in three teenagers, two love interests, one divorcing couple, and a very unexpected pregnancy.

Admittedly, this isn’t exactly the relaxing holiday Leah Beaumont was hoping for – but it’s the one she’s got. With her sister Michele’s family falling apart at the seams, it’s up to Leah to pick up the pieces and try to hold them all together.

But with a handsome helicopter pilot staying next door, Leah can’t help but think she might have a few distractions of her own to deal with…

A glorious summer read, for you to devour in one sitting – perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Trisha Ashley.

If Sue’s new book will follow in the same vein as her previous novels, we are in for an absolute treat. Looks like this is going to be yet another book for my TBR pile!!!

#BlogTour! #Review – The Difference Between You & Me by Celia Hayes @Aria_Fiction

dbyam
It’s Monday again, how did we get here so quickly?! Seeing as it IS Monday though, it can only mean one thing on TWG, any guesses? TWG is kicking off the week by kicking off a blog tour for Aria Fiction and Celia Hayes! It seems to be a standard Monday thing eh! On  the picture above, you can see all the names of the fabulous bloggers involved in Celia Haye’s blog tour so make sure you check in with them daily!
So, seeing as it’s me today, I will be sharing my review of ‘The Difference Between You and Me’, by Celia Hayes, published by Aria Fiction on the 1st March 2017. Enjoy!

dbyam1

Trudy Watts has everything she’s ever dreamed of: a job that she loves, a successful boyfriend and an ultra-modern apartment in one of the most fashionable parts of London. With a long-awaited promotion due to come her way and her wedding just around the corner, Trudy’s life is just perfect…

That is until catastrophe strikes and her life is turned upside down. She’s transferred to Turriff, a remote Scottish town to manage a small, struggling bank branch.

Her arrival is traumatic and she wishes she was anywhere but here… Until she sees him – Ethan, the charming pub landlord, who seems to enjoy nothing more than to tease her. And it’s right there, in that pub, that her life will suddenly change…

What does TWG think?

Have you ever come across the type of person who cares more for their manicured nails than clean dishes (just an example)? Or a person who likes to have the best a man can get (AND SOME),  nor would they settle for anything less than the best, without a fight? Well, when you read this book you’ll come across ALL of the above.
Trudy Watts has a life that even poor Cinderella would envy (and even she has the shoes!), so I am sure you can guess her reaction when she got transferred to a remote Scottish town, to work.

Drama.Drama.Drama.Drama.

& that is even BEFORE she finds out that she can’t upload her pouting selfies to Instagram du to no Wi-Fi! Her over reactions were absolutely hilarious and whilst her amateur dramatics performance came across as more ‘oh no she didn’t!’ instead of ‘oh yes she did!’, the way Trudy went about things was brilliant. Comedy gold. All is not lost for Ms.Watts as she comes across Ethan, a pub landlord. A man who likes to reel his lady friends by teasing them. Oh wait, no, sorry, border line insulting them was what I should have said! Trudy and Ethan’s relationship was like watching a game of ping-pong; one would throw an insult or tease (ping!) and then straight away, the other will return those insults and take them up a notch (pong!). Quite entertaining to be honest! I couldn’t work out if the two of them would realise their chemistry was boiling over like a pan of pasta, though. It was refreshing to read about two people with the fine line banter, I found it more realistic than a female fluttering her eyelashes at a man one day, and then being married the next (or something like that anyway).

For me, Trudy and Ethan were really the only two memorable characters in the book. The residents of Turrif were pleasant enough don’t get me wrong, I just felt that we didn’t spend enough time getting to know them. I would have liked that. I have seen a few of the reviews for Celia Hayes’ novel online already and it seems to be falling under the ‘marmite’ type of book. Some may find Trudy over bearing and Ethan arrogant, or, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find the pair of them over the top in such an entertaining and comical way.

If you’re after a storyline with a bit of a difference, then, between you and me, I recommend this book, ‘The Difference Between You and Me’. It’s different, it’s memorable, it’s vibrant and you’ll probably have many ‘what the….’ moments, or shake your head in disbelief at Trudy’s antics; BUT, it really is the remedy for a stressful day.

Thank you Aria Fiction.

Links to buy
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2kWuGov

Celia’s previous book, DON’T MARRY THOMAS CLARK is out now!
Follow Aria
Facebook: @ariafiction
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Instagram: @ariafiction
Sign up to the Aria newsletter: http://bit.ly/2jQxVtV

#BlogTour! Secrets We Keep by Faith Hogan (@GerHogan) @Aria_Fiction #Review & #Q&A

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Today is Sunday 5th Feb which can only mean one thing; ITS MY STOP ON FAITH’S BLOG TOURRRRRR! Can you tell that I’m excited? I was GUTTED that I couldn’t be part of Faith’s previous tour as I was still the new kid on the block. However, I’m here now and what a stop I have for you! Not only am I reviewing Faith’s new book ‘Secrets We Keep’, I was also given permission to interrogate the lovely author herself AND keep both spoiler free. I hope you enjoy!

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Blurb.

Two distant relatives, drawn together in companionship are forced to confront their pasts
and learn that some people are good at keeping secrets and some secrets are never
meant to be kept..
A bittersweet story of love, loss and life. Perfect for the fans of Patricia Scanlan and Adele
Parks.
The beautiful old Bath House in Ballytokeep has lain empty and abandoned for decades.
For devoted pensioners Archie and Iris, it holds too many conflicting memories of their
adolescent dalliances and tragic consequences – sometimes it’s better to leave the past
where it belongs.
For highflying, top London divorce lawyer Kate Hunt, it’s a fresh start – maybe even her
future. On a winter visit to see her estranged Aunt Iris she falls in love with the Bath
House. Inspired, she moves to Ballytokeep leaving her past heartache 600 miles away –
but can you ever escape your past or your destiny?

What does TWG think?

At first I did wonder whether the novel was going to go down the old life = new start route, with the character rejigging their life and having a happy ending. Predictable, so I am sure you can sense my relief when it became clear that the main characters life wasn’t that straight forward…in the slightest. Kate Hunt had done a bit of to-ing and fro-ing over the years, but little did she know that she was going to clock up even more miles on her return to Ireland. Heartbroken and emotional, Kate has multiple decisions ahead of her, none of which can be solved over a cup of tea and a jammy dodger.

I couldn’t get enough of this storyline! Yes, I was a bit concerned that it was going to end up predictable, however, ‘Secrets We Keep’ is a storyline with incredible depth. The highlight for me was the historical influence. Not only did we delve into the characters past, we were also made aware of the history behind certain points in Ireland. Being part Irish myself and having never been, the insight to the history of certain buildings and areas was mind-blowing.

Everything flowed really well overall, although I did find myself becoming a bit impatient when males came on the scene as I wanted to get back to Kate’s family history! I sound a geek now eh!
I really do think that ‘Secrets We Keep’ is Faith’s best novel so far as its shown a different side to her writing  without having to add a severely drastic situation to the overall storyline. It kept me on my toes, had me wondering ‘what ifs?’ and even had me sitting there with my mouth open trying to catch fish (that’s shocked to you and me by the way). There is something incredibly special about ‘Secrets We Keep’ and I really believe that that special something is the fact it was written from the authors heart.

Gripping, heart warming and positively eye-opening; ‘Secrets We Keep’ goes above and beyond with such an enchanting and emotional storyline. It is pretty clear that a lot of research went into the novel as well as a lot of effort. Faith Hogan, you’ve done yourself proud; a truly wonderful read.

Thank you Aria!

Buy Links.

Amazon UK // Amazon US // Kobo // Google Play // iBooks

Q & A with the lady herself, Faith Hogan!

Welcome back to TWG, Faith Hogan!

First off, thanks for having me Kaisha! It’s lovely to be back dropping in on TWG!

TWG: For those that aren’t overly familiar with your work, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be a published author?

Well, like you, I’m a Mammy first (Irish mothers are always Mammy’s!!) I live with my husband, four children and a fat cat called Norris in the beautiful, if somewhat windswept west of Ireland. I just love books, always have and once I discovered eBooks, well let’s just say I’m a seriously happy bunny. I’m one of those people who has always written, whether it was sitting in a waiting room or wrestling with a longer piece of fiction. The road to publication was what it was – I think we get to where we’re going when we’re ready to be there. I’ve been lucky, my agent is the best and Aria Fiction are a seriously dedicated and lovely bunch – I can honestly say, I’ve loved every minute. Now, I get to talk to bookish types like yourself all the time and it’s even better than I could have hoped for!

TWG: Your first novel, My Husbands Wives (published by Aria in May 2016), has got such a deep and dark feel to it in comparison to your new novel, The Secrets We Keep. Was it intentional to write two books with storylines verging on both ends of the spectrum, as it were?

I’m not sure any book is intentional – they just sort of need to be written! I always believed I’d write crime and My Husbands’ Wives grew from the question of ‘What If…; My agent felt I had a women’s fiction book in me, if we could just get it out! Now, it’s flowing out of me and the words are just flying onto the pages – it’s amazing to love what for so long you resisted.

Secrets We Keep was born of the place – Ballytokeep is based on a small seaside town near where I Iive. The characters are from my imagination, but there is an old Bath House dug into black stone cliffs and I’m sure I’m not alone in having looked at it and maybe asking that same question once more – What if…

TWG: How hard has it been to write two novels and get them both published, in under a year? I am in awe! What’s your secret?

Well, the writing is actually the easy bit! Aria Fiction are the wizards who got them out there. I had started Secrets We Keep once I sent off My Husbands’ Wives – it was a way of keeping my nerves even! Really, it’s down to time and making the most of it. We have a busy house, but I’m lucky – I have a husband who is happy to dig in and a family around me who are all rooting for me, in all the best practical ways.

TWG: Having read both of your books (and thoroughly enjoyed them), were there any parts of the storylines that you find quite difficult to write, on a personal level?

In the first draft of Secrets We Keep we had a tragic death and to be honest, I’m really glad that I changed that in a later draft, the change was actually more emotional than the death. It felt as though I could touch on the notion of soul mates. Secrets We Keep had a working title of MFEO – Meant For Each Other and I think that was the bit that kind of got me!

As regards things that would cause me sleepless nights – I never write about children in peril, never write about children as victims – I know, I couldn’t cope with that at all – in fact, I love a good thriller, but I won’t read anything with a child victim – I think it affects me more now I have children of my own. Life is too short to go reading things that make you sad or upset!

TWG: Your second novel, Secrets We Keep, has just been released, congratulations! How did publication day feel the second time around?

To be honest, the night I got the news that Aria were interested in taking me on was the best night ever. We announced to family and opened a bottle of champagne – I’m not a drinker, but even I had a glass of bubbly that night!

On the night of publication,(My Husbands’ Wives,) I thought I’d explode with excitement. I lay in bed for hours, spinning everything from the text to the blog tour over in my mind. It dawned on me, that I was going to bed as a writer, but I would waken as an author and in some profound way, I felt it changed me from what I always wanted to become to who I was meant to be!

For Secret’s We Keep, the party was planned well in advance, just a very nice meal out with my nearest and dearest, well, it’s not every day you publish your second book, is it?

TWG: Secrets We Keep seemed to be centred on genealogy, which I found extremely interesting. Have you ever had (or wanted) to delve further into your own family history?

I think every family has secrets – sometimes, there better left alone!

In Secrets We Keep it all turned out for the best, but in real life, what’s good for one can be disastrous for another. I live in the same area that my family has lived in for generations. Recently, my husband visited a graveyard about twenty miles from where we live and he stumbled across my great, great, great grandparents graves, by chance more than by design. I knew they were there, but I’ve only been there twice. The man with him remembered the ‘old master’ (my father’s family were all teachers) and he sang a song that had been written about him in the village where he taught. It’s nice to hear things like that, but I’m sure that there are many other ditties written about school masters back in the day that were not so very complimentary!

TWG: Were there any characters from your books that you found yourself disliking?

Now, let me see – would you fancy Duncan Delaney?

TWG: Those that are familiar with your work know that you have joined the ever growing list of Irish authors. I have Irish heritage yet I have never been there! How important was it to you that you set, The Secrets We Keep, in Ireland? Is that a theme you will use for your other books going forward?

I suppose I’m inspired by the landscape – by the wind and rain, maybe more than by the sunshine. There is nothing to compare with the autumn sound of the wind raging through the trees and the scatter of tawny leaves at your feet. Perhaps one day, I’ll decide that I just love sun, sand and sangria and move to… you see, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d want to be. So, probably yes, for now I’ll be writing about what fills my soul – those bright and breezy days, walking along the coast or through shaded woods, far from that ‘madding crowd.’

TWG: This is a question that gets asked in every single interview that I do: what was your favourite book(s) as a child? Oh, I’m quite boring that way, I grew up on a diet of Enid Blyton. I could blame her for my love of crime fiction, but the truth is, I graduated from her, probably too early to Agatha Christie and then I ended up getting a compendium of Arthur Conan Doyle and I was hooked forever. Thankfully, my reading cache has widened somewhat, but that’s where I started!

With the kids I’ve gone back and read Roald Dahl and I’m probably the biggest Harry Potter fan in the house. Now, I’m loving David Walliams too – he’s funny, current and brave.

TWG: If you could walk into a book shop, pick up any book and have the author name change to yours, which book would it be and why?

It would have to be Kate Atkinson – I love her style of prose.

Then, I’ve also gotten lost in quite a few Kate Morton books and everything about them is just dreamy as a writer – I’ve even bought some of them in hard back – although I’ve read them on my kindle! They’re just the right mix of women’s fiction, historical fiction and intrigue. 

TWG: When you’re not busy writing books for me to read (I’ll share them, honest), what would we find you doing?

Did I mention that I have four children, a husband and very fat cat…

Seriously, I love the simple things, going for a walk, meeting up with friends, hanging out with the kids. My oldest is partial to a Netflix binge, so although I’m hopelessly behind on anything cool I love to sit late into the night with him for that (occasionally)!

And of course, there’s always chocolate…

TWG: As you know, TWG LOVES an exclusive (or two), do you have a little something that you can tell me about any upcoming books? It’ll be ‘The Secret We Keep’, honest ;).

Well, there is talk of a trade paperback for My Husbands Wives in May, now that’s been a well-kept secret for a while…

TWG: It is still very early in 2017, how is the rest of the year looking for you, book wise? Are there any new books on the horizon? Different genres?

I have something very close to finished. It’s a story about three women who decide to strike out and change their lives and we all know how easy that is!! Let’s just say, it’s not as straight forward as they thought 😉

TWG: One last question; in ONE sentence only, what advice would you give someone who wants to enter the world of authors, and publish a book?

I’d say first, write because you want to write, not because you want to get published. Write because it’s what you do, because it’s who you are.

Then, I’d say read, read, read. Read books like you want to write, good books and terrible books, they all have something to teach. Read books that show you specifically how to write, there are lots of them out there.

Finally, the most important thing, buy, get or borrow a very comfortable chair – you may be sitting in it for a very long time!

Thanks again, Kaisha for having me on the blog –I love TWG!!

Faith x

Thank you so much for letting me interrogate you!
If you wish to keep up to date with Faith’s books, here are a few author links for you to nosey at:

 

TWG’s Top 24 Books of 2016! @Bookouture @headlinepg @HQStories @canelo_co @littlebrownuk &more

Seeing as the end of 2016 is nearly upon us, it seems to be the ‘in thing’ to share your top books from 2016, so of course I had to do it too! I have even come out of hiding to share just some of my top reads this year. I’m not going to lie, having read 153 books this year (will be 154 by the end of tonight!), narrowing it down proved to be such a difficult task! Let me know if one of your top reads of 2016 appear in this list! So many fantastic books were published this year, and already 2017 is looking dazzling in the book world!

In no particular order, here are SOME of my top reads for 2016:

A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love by Linn.B.Halton, published by Choc Lit.
Review: Blog Tour! ‘A Little Sugar, A Lot of Love’ by Linn B Halton (@LinnBHalton) @BrookCottagebks

Melody Bittersweet and the Girls Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty French, published by Bookouture.
Review: Book review of ‘Melody Bittersweet and The Girls Ghostbusting Agency’ by Kitty French.

Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan, published by HQ.
Review: #Review! Miracle On 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan (@SarahMorgan_) @HQStories

A Life Without You by Katie Marsh.
I realised that I hadn’t written a review for this one, BUT, I will change that asap.

All That Is Left Of Us by Catherine Miller, published by HQ.
Review: Blog Tour! Review – Catherine Miller’s (@katylittlelady) ‘All That Is Left Of Us’ @UKCarina

A Very Manhattan Christmas by Darcie Boleyn, published by Canelo.
Review: #Review! A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas by @DarcieBoleyn @canelo_co @fayerogersuk

The Christmas Project by Maxine Morrey, published by HQ.
Review: Release day frenzy for Maxine Morrey & The Christmas Project! (@Scribbler_Maxi) @HQStories

The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower by Rebecca Raisin, published by HQ.
Review: Book review of ‘The Little Antique Shop Under the Eiffel Tower’ by Rebecca Raisin.

The Paris Effect by K.S.R.Burns.
Review: #Bookreview – The Paris Effect by Karen Burns.

A Mother’s Confession by Kelly Rimmer, published by Bookouture.
Review: Publication day #review! A Mother’s Confession by Kelly Rimmer (@KelRimmerWrites) @Bookouture

The Day I Lost You by Fionnuala Kearney, published by HQ.
Review: Review: ‘The Day I Lost You’ by Fionnuala Kearney (@fionnualatweets) @HQstories

Mistletoe on 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson, published by Little Brown Books.
Review: It’s publication day for Lisa Dickenson(@LisaWritesStuff) & ‘Mistletoe on 34th Street’!#Review

A Year and a Day by Isabelle Broom, published by Penguin.
Review: #Review! A Year and a Day by Isabelle Broom (@Isabelle_Broom) @MichaelJBooks

We Were On A Break by Lindsey Kelk, published by HQ.
Review: Review! ‘We Were On A Break’ by Lindsey Kelk (@LindseyKelk) @HarperCollinsUK

The Gift by Louise Jensen, published by Bookouture.
Review: #Review of The Gift by Louise Jensen (@Fab_fiction) @Bookouture #psychologicalthriller

The Stepmother by Claire Seeber, published by Bookouture.
Review: #Blogtour – The Stepmother by Claire Seeber.

My Husbands Wife by Amanda Prowse, published by Head of Zeus.
Review: Book review – My Husband’s Wife by Amanda Prowse (@MrsAmandaProwse) @HoZ_Books

Christmas at the Little Knitting Box by Helen Rolfe.
Review: #Review of Christmas at The Little Knitting Box by @HJRolfe @RNATweets #tuesnews #RNA

The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir by Lesley Allen, published by Bonnier Zaffre.
Review: #Review! The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir – (@Lesley_Allen_) @BonnierZaffre #antibullyingmonth
Also linked to the book is my personal story: How @Lesley_Allen_ & Biddy Weir gave me courage to tell my own story – #BullyingAwarenessWeek

The Perfect Gift by Emma Hannigan, published by Headline Books
Review: #Review – The Perfect Gift by Emma Hannigan (@MsEmmaHannigan) @HachetteIRE @headlinepg

Take A Chance On Me by Carol Wyer, published by Bookouture.
Review: Review – ‘Take A Chance On Me’ by Carol Wyer (@carolewyer) @bookouture #publicationday

Waiting For You by Catherine Miller, published by HQ.
Review: Book review – ‘Waiting For You’ by Catherine Miller (@katylittlelady) @UKCarina

Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington, published by Avon Books.
Review: Guess who’s back, back again…TWG is! Review of ‘Saving Sophie’ by Sam Carrington.

Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty, published by Penguin.
Review: Book review! Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty. @PenguinUKBooks #LianeMoriarty

24 books out of a 153 read is nothing. My list, like others, could have carried on and I would have been here for ages. However, if you didn’t end up on this list, doesn’t mean I disliked your book! Special shout out to Sue Moorcroft, Sue Watson and Heidi Swain for their fantastic books and fantastic friendship. All three of you would have ended up with ALL your books in the list.

Also, big thanks to all of the publishers and authors for allowing me to read their fantastic books (some of them early!)  Roll on 2017!