#Review! A Year Of Being Single by Fiona Collins (@FionaJaneBooks) @UKCarina

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Blurb.

Three friends. One year. Absolutely no men…

Imogen is supposed to be on the most romantic weekend of her life and instead she’s quickly realised that her current boyfriend definitely isn’t ‘The One’ and actually One Big Mistake.

Frankie is fed up. Fed up of her good-for-nothing husband and her four, unappreciative children. Well, they hardly notice her anyway, maybe it’s time to shake it up a little…

Grace thought she had the perfect life. Gorgeous little boy and perfect, hardworking husband. Or rather, she did, until she realised her husband was shagging his ‘work’.

These single ladies don’t need to put a ring on it…right?

What does TWG think?

I’ll be honest, as soon as I saw the title I thought to myself, ‘how hard can it be, being single for a year?’, after all, I have been single for OVER a year and I am owning that shizzmanizzle. However, I’m not Imogen, Frankie OR Grace. Three very different women with one main thing in common; they all have been surrounded by scumbag, male partners. A cheater, a lazy good for nothing and a ‘we are never, ever, getting back together’ type. To be honest, looking at the summary of the three men, you can see why the ladies think that the single will be for them!

Will all three ladies channel their inner Beyoncé and become ‘ALL THE SINGLE LADIES, PUT YOUR HANDS UP’?  Will they keep to their agreement and stay away from ‘what a man, what a man, what a might good man’? Only time will tell….

My first thoughts of Frankie’s lifestyle and her husband actually made me grit my teeth. I was surprised she put up with it for as long as she did as I got angry just be reading about it. Sheeeesh. That said, I found her far easier to gel with than the other two women. For me, Frankie came across more real and the most relatable character. I’m not saying that I disliked the other two characters, not at all, it just took me longer to warm up to their personalities.

Like many other reviewers, I thought that they would stay single for a whole year and reinstate the GIRL POWER. But, halfway through the book, I had absolutely no idea which way the storyline was headed. A few of the ladies choices left a lot to be desired and spoke volumes about their dedication to the infamous girl code. I mean, what did they expect living on the same street as each other, and all of them being as nosy as Norris Cole in Coronation Street!

TWG’s verdict? A refreshing take on the ‘typical’ chick lit storylines, with plenty of giggles thrown in for good measure. I enjoyed the bizarre choices in both men and lifestyles and the whole book kept me entertained the whole way through. A truly fabulous light read, perfect to cosy up with as the nights draw in.

A Year Of Being Single by Fiona Collins, published by Carina (HarperCollins), is available to buy from Amazon UK.


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Blog Tour! Review – Catherine Miller’s (@katylittlelady) ‘All That Is Left Of Us’ @UKCarina

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It is such an honour to be kicking off Catherine’s blog tour today for her newest book; ‘All That Is Left Of Us’! Before I make you cry again with my review, Catherine (sorry!), I just want to say a huge thank you for personally asking me to be on your tour, as well as giving me the honour to kick your tour off. I’m incredibly humbled.

Lets get the show on the road! Or the words on the post…whichever floats your boat….ahem.

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Blurb.

Dawn loves being a mother. No matter how Archie came into her life, or the fact he’s a little different from other children, he is precious and loved. He is hers, after all. Especially because she’s never told anyone who the father of her son is.

So when Dawn’s twin brother David and his wife Rebekah are struggling to have their own child, Dawn agrees to become their surrogate, as it is the one thing she can do to help.

However, creating the perfect family doesn’t always go to plan and when Dawn realises just how much her nephew needs his mother, she begins to wonder if the time has finally come to confront the past she has kept secret for so long.

From the author of Waiting for You comes a story of friendship, motherhood and hope.

What does TWG think?

Is there such a thing as the ‘perfect family’? One might have grown up in the era that saw the mum, dad and two children combination, and may class THAT as perfect. But what if the family consists of one parent, and one child? The child being ‘different’ from others his age, having specific ways of doing things as well as having no idea who his father is. Is that perfect? Bit of a daft question isn’t it? Who are we to judge where ‘perfect families’ are concerned, Dawn doesn’t. After all, she is the one living the single life with her child not many people can understand, but she loves him. He’s her son and that in itself is perfect. A perfect family is your family, whether that is biologically, or via other means; but it can take a pretty perfect person to volunteer their womb to fulfil another families dream. If only it was as straight forward as that. Is hope ‘All That Is Left Of Us’?

Catherine Miller is back with yet another intense and thought-provoking read, one I had high hopes for given the bar she had set with the previous novel.
As soon as the book starts, we meet Dawn, bump and a very excited sister-in-law getting themselves prepared for the upcoming birth. Sounds pretty straight forward doesn’t it? It isn’t. Dawn’s twin brother and wife have been through multiple heartaches and unfortunately, the chance of them becoming pregnant are incredibly slim. That’s why Dawn has stepped in, she is being a surrogate for her brother and is pretty close to giving birth to her brother and his wife’s baby.

I must admit, I am in awe of surrogacy; it is such a selfless thing to do and I cannot imagine the amount of inner strength you would need to be able to fulfil the duty at the end. When the circumstances surrounding the new baby go a bit oopsy daisy, I share Dawn’s train of thought and my liking for Rebekah went down a notch.

I was gripped by this book from the very beginning, there was something so warm and enticing about Catherine’s writing of the situation, I felt as though it would be rude of me not to venture into the realm of ‘All That Is Left Of Us’. I felt as though I had got taken on a journey with every chapter being like a little village; opening my eyes to intense situations and beautiful personalities of the characters. Multiple times I was taken aback by the rawness that surfaced in Catherine’s words. To read about how much hurt and anguish one person has faced over the years and kept it under lock and key is one thing, but to read about a child struggling to understand himself, nevermind others, really took my breath away. I sat staring at the pages of the book in complete awe of the strong message that was coming through the words, they left me quite emotional. Well, quite is an understatement if I’m honest.

Usually, to get me quite emotional and less of an ice queen, books need to have something rather damaging happen that can easily be pinpointed afterwards. But this book didn’t, there wasn’t just one set event or situation that I can say ‘well this part had me more emotional than that part’. It caught me off guard. I have never experienced a book to have such a hold on me emotionally, and physically, as ‘All That Is Left Of Us’ did. The book contains multiple poignant and relatable situations that will no doubt have many readers crying because they can see themselves in the story. It also has powerful characters that will show you that it is okay to feel the way that you do with a baby, that it is okay to grieve over heartache, and that it is OKAY to be you…different.

I am actually tearing up writing this review, dafty I know. I just cannot get over how one authors words can create such a powerful, moving, eye opener of a story. When you go to read this book, make sure you’re comfortable and that you have copious amounts of chocolate with you when you begin reading as it will take you on a rollercoaster ride (and even stop at the zoo!).

‘All That Is Left Of You’ is an emotional work of art which emphasises the power behind love and life, as well as celebrating YOU for who YOU are, regardless of what differences you may have. Catherine Miller writes with such feeling and warmth, it is hard not to be drawn into the comfort of her words, knowing you will be safe wherever they may take you.
An extraordinary, memorable read that will open your eyes to devastating, yet life changing moments.
‘All That Is Left Of Us’ is a book that I will never forget because, as of right now, it is all that is left of me.

‘All That Is Left Of Us’ by Catherine Miller, published by Carina, is published 15th September 2016 and is available to pre-order right now from Amazon UK

Which season do your secrets appear in? Apparently, Alice Ross has ‘A Summer of Secrets’!!

summer of secrets for JENNY
A Summer of Secrets (Countryside Dreams, Book 2) by Alice Ross.

Published: 9th May 2016 by Carina UK.
Available to buy from Amazon UK.
Add to GoodReads shelf.

Not read the first book in the series yet? Find out what I thought of ‘An Autumn Affair’ right here: An Autumn Affair by Alice Ross. Book Review.

‘A perfect, feel­ good summer read about love, life and family. 
One long hot summer. Secrets never stay buried for long…
Portia is determined to restore Buttersley Manor, her family’s crumbling ancestral home, to its former glory.
Yet she has a feeling that there are a few forgotten skeletons in the dust­ covered cupboards.
Jenny has put her life on hold for far too long. It’s time to finally start living and to dig up those hopes and dreams she’s kept hidden all these years – but is she brave enough? 
Rich is happily married with a beautiful wife and lovely daughter. In fact, his world is perfect until a very unexpected consequence of his past walks through the door…
Joe would like nothing more than to travel back in time to when he and Gina were happy. But is it too late to rescue what they once had?

One thing’s for sure, nothing’s ever quite what it seems when it comes to life in the country!’

Thank you to Jenny In Neverland for inviting me on the tour, and thank you to Carina UK and Alice Ross for allowing me to read the book pre-release!

Despite ‘A Summer of Secrets’ being part of the Countryside Dreams series, just like the previous story ‘An Autumn Affair’, it can be read as a standalone book. This means that each book can be read without reading the other books in the series prior, however, the stories are great reads so there wouldn’t be any reason not to read the rest!

We’re back in Buttersley meeting another four of its colourful residents, how many skeletons will be found in each of their closets?
Will Portia be able to restore Buttersley Manor to its former glory, or will her heart rule her head?
Can Jenny remove herself from her mother’s grasp, or will she continue to put her life on hold as that is all she has ever known?
The perfect wife, the perfect marriage, and the perfect child. But is Richard’s life as perfect as he thinks? Can anything ever be just…perfect?
Then there is Joe, oh how straightforward it is to be a window cleaner, everyone knowing who you are, reputation is a powerful thing. But is it just Joe’s reputation that he should be worried about?

Welcome to Buttersley! The place where anything and everything can happen, literally! As soon as I knew that I was going to be involved in this tour, I made sure that I had read the first book in the series, just incase. Yes, they can be read on their own, but seeing as this would have been the first book that I had read of Alice’s, I just had an excuse to read the first book beforehand.

Even though I knew that the story concentrates on four characters and their lives, it took me a couple of chapters to work out where it was all going. I did find it hard to keep up at first, but seeing as I am easily confused and find it hard to keep up with Bambi, then I expected myself to be a tad slow!

Each of the characters that you meet have their own story to tell and you get to find out about their personalities pretty quickly. I found myself warming to Portia and Richard quicker than I did Jenny and Joe. I think this was because I shouted at the book ‘grow up!’ and ‘grow a pair’, multiple times throughout Jenny and Joe’s stories. I sound harsh now don’t I? I think it’s my ice queen persona coming out there, either that or I am just…harsh! Once my confusion with the direction of the book subsided, I really got into the book and found myself enjoying the dramas that unfolded. There is always something to keep you thinking and eager to read more of the book, which for me personally, is a bonus. Sometimes when I have read books that cover multiple characters lives, the storyline can get a little bit clouded and can be a bit slow on getting to the nitty gritty parts. ‘A Summer of Secrets’ was definitely not one of those books. Each of the four characters have their own nitty gritty parts to sink your teeth into. I most certainly wasn’t bored when I was reading it. I mean, I read the book in one night!

Alice Ross has managed to give the book incredible depth in various ways. Within just one book she has evolved her characters and made them grow up right in front of your very eyes. I did change my opinion of each person as the story progressed, I wasn’t as judgemental of Jenny and Joe at the end, I did warm to them. Well, I suppose I had stop being too much of an ice queen and admit that I may have felt a tad sorry for Jenny, once or twice(!), the guilt that her mother has fed into her over the years is astonishing. How anyone can put up with that is beyond me. I’m talking about the characters as if I know them, just goes to show how talented Alice is as a writer if she can make me feel as though I have friends ;).
Alice Ross is a very clever writer. Not only did she make me feel as though I had friends, she made me wonder about what was in store, who had the secrets, and whether the secrets would finally be revealed. As well as all of that, she made me laugh with her witty writing. The sarcasm that oozes into the story with some of the one liners is brilliant, it added even more to the already enjoyable read.
‘A Summer of Secrets’ is a perfect read for sitting in your garden with your glass of pimms (or any beverage of your choice), and finding yourself disappearing into the tales that await for you in Buttersley. If you thought the countryside was going to be calm and serene, then you haven’t been to Buttersley, it’s a village you won’t ever forget…

About the author – Alice Ross.
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Follow Alice on Twitter
Alice’s Website
Alice Ross used to work in the financial services industry where she wrote riveting, enthralling brochures about pensions and ISAs that everyone read avidly and no one ever put straight into the bin.
One day, when nobody was looking, she managed to escape. Dragging her personal chef (aka her husband) along with her, she headed to Spain, where she began writing witty, sexy, romps designed to amuse slightly more than pension brochures. 
Missing Blighty (including the weather ­ but don’t tell anyone), she returned five years later and now works part­time in the tourism industry. 
When not writing, she can be found scratching out a tune on her violin, walking her dog in wellies two sizes too big (don’t ask!), or standing on her head in a yoga pose.

 

T-minus…how many days? TWG is still counting down!

It’s the final countdown!! Do do do dooooo do do do doooooo! Yes that’s right, ‘The Little Antique Shop Under the Eiffel Tower’ in a matter of days, and TWG will be shouting about it until the day of release!

Today is Friday 24th June 2016 which means….

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‘Anouk LaRue used to be a romantic, but since she had her heart well and truly broken her love life has dissolved into nothing more than daydreams of the perfect man. Retreating to her extraordinary Little Antique Shop has always been a way to escape, because who could feel alone in a shop bursting with memories and beautiful objects…
Until Tristan Black bursts into an auction and throws her ordered world into a spin.
Following your heart is a little like getting lost in Paris – sometimes confusing and always exciting! Except learning to trust her instincts is not something Anouk is ready to do when it comes to romance, but the city of love has other ideas…’

Like the sound of that and want to ensure you have your copy pre-ordered ready? You can pre-order it right now via Amazon UK!