#BookReview – The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton (@Julietstories) @simonschusterUK

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Meet the residents of number 24 in the warm, witty and wonderful new novel from bestselling author Juliet Ashton.

When your marriage falls apart, the last place you’d want your husband to move to is downstairs. Unfortunately for Sarah, up in the eaves at number 24, her ex-husband now lives one floor beneath her with his new wife. Their happiness floats up through the floorboards, taunting her.

A child psychologist, Sarah has picked up great sadness from the little girl, Una, who lives with her careworn mother three floors below, but is Sarah emotionally equipped to reach out?

The Spring brings a new couple to the house. Jane and Tom‘s zest for life revives the flagging spirits, and Sarah can’t deny the instant attraction to handsome Tom. Having seen at first hand what infidelity does to people, she’ll never act on it … but the air fizzes with potential. The sunshine doesn’t reach every corner of number 24, however. Elderly Mavis, tucked away in the basement, has kept the world at bay for decades. She’s about to find out that she can’t hide forever.

Juliet Ashton weaves a story of love, friendship and community that will move you to laughter and to tears.

Think Cold Feet meets David Nicholls, with a dash of the joy of Jill Mansell added for good measure.

What does TWG think?

When writing my reviews, I usually write my overall thoughts of the book towards the end, using the top half of the review as a suspenseful build up to my oh-so-important views ;). This time however, I cannot review it that way. I’ve tried, but I just cannot write the build up to my views. I need to air them straight away, a bit like ripping off a plaster. I apologise in advance, I really do….but I have to be honest…

OMG I BLOOMIN’ LOVED THIS BOOK!!! HELLO NEW FAVOURITE BOOK!!!!!

Oh em gee!!!! I adore Juliet Ashton and her alter egos, she is an incredibly talented author and I have never read a book of hers that I didn’t like. I just knew that her newest book, The Woman at Number 24, would be included in my loved list alongside the others.

The first main character we meet at the start of the book is Sarah, a child psychologist whose own life has taken a tumble, leaving her feel unsure of her own self-worth. Not only that, a certain ex-husband of hers is living in the flat below hers, swanning about in his own egotistical bubble. My views on the ex? He’s a doorbell-end. There are a lot of colourful main characters in the housing block and the arrival of Jane and Tom, make the characters of the T.V. show, ‘Rainbow’, seem completely bland. Seriously. Jane is a HOOT! She is so real and has such an unhinged mouth which makes for excellent (and hilarious) reading. Honestly, she became one of my favourite characters rather quickly.

Hiding away from everyone else was yet another character, Mavis. She reminded me of a ‘wild card’ as she seemed to be the odd one out, giving off such marmite vibes. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be changing your opinion on Mavis the whole way through. Do you like her? Do you hate her?

I have never come across a selection of mismatched characters such as these, before. The only way I can describe the overall house is by thinking of ‘Big Brother’, the T.V. show; although on an extremely loose basis (I said they were mismatched not completely barmy)! Each character (or miniature household) came with their own storyline and keeping up with several separate lifestyles wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I guess I expected to feel a little confused by the comings and goings, but I didn’t. In actual fact, I loved the complex storyline with the high energy situations, as well as the underlying hidden messages.

What really hit home for me with ‘The Woman at Number 24’, were the powerful and intense friendships and the lengths that the characters went to protect them. I guess it made me feel quite emotional as I have never had that kind of friendship before, yet each individual character ALWAYS thought of the ones that they held dear. If they didn’t seem them for a day or two, they would get worried and actively seek them out. If I went anywhere, would I be missed? Before I started reading this novel, my positivity about trust, friendships, and even feeling loved, was quite low. However, after I finished this novel, I found myself closing the book with a satisfied grin on my face and the feeling of hope surrounding me in a little bubble.

I am amazed that, despite the busy storyline and the multiple poignant situations, the storyline never lost its personality, nor was it stuck in limbo with any ‘blank’ moments.

‘The Woman at Number 24′ is a perfectly written, inspiring and heart warming novel which will leave you feeling like a puzzle; complete. Picture Mary Poppins’ never ending bag. Got that? Make that bag even bigger and you will have a clearer image of exactly how much Juliet Ashton’s novel kept on giving.

This book blew me away several times over. It made me incredibly emotional one moment and in hysterics the next. It opened my eyes to the true beauty of hope, true friendships and being loved for who you are.
More importantly, ‘The Woman at Number 24’ ended up being the puzzle piece that I didn’t even know was missing.
Outstanding and by far my most favourite book of 2017.

Huge thanks to Simon & Shuster.

Buy ‘The Woman at Number 24’ now from Amazon UK
Buy ‘The Woman at Number 24’ now from Amazon US

#Tour!#Review – White Lies & Wishes @CathyBramley @TransworldBooks @Beckyh1712 @penguinrandom

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Three days into week two of Cathy Bramley’s blog tour for her new book, White Lies & Wishes, and it’s MY turn to host! Being asked by Becky Hunter to be involved in this tour has got to be one of my biggest ‘pinch me’ moments so far. Cathy Bramley has won over millions of hearts with her previous releases; Conditional Love, Ivy Lane and most recently, The Plumberry School of Comfort Food; making her one of the top ‘go to’ authors within contemporary fiction right now.
Basically, I’m a HUGE fan of hers and I am truly honoured to help celebrate and promote such a talented and humble author, as well as her beautiful new book; White Lies & Wishes.
I hope you enjoy my review!

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Blurb.

What happens when what you wish for is only half the story…?

Flirtatious, straight-talking Jo Gold says she’s got no time for love; she’s determined to save her family’s failing footwear business.

New mother Sarah Hudson has cut short her maternity leave to return to work. She says she’ll do whatever it takes to make partner at the accountancy firm.

Bored, over-eating housewife Carrie Radley says she just wants to shift the pounds – she’d love to finally wear a bikini in public.

The unlikely trio meet by chance one winter’s day, and in a moment of ‘Carpe Diem’ madness, embark on a mission to make their wishes come true by September.

Easy. At least it would be, if they hadn’t been just the teensiest bit stingy with the truth…

With hidden issues, hidden talents, and hidden demons to overcome, new friends Jo, Carrie and Sarah must admit to what they really, really want, if they are ever to get their happy endings.

What does TWG think?

Three very unique women plus three bolshie wishes sounds quite straight forward, doesn’t it? After all, it’s ONLY one wish each that they are aiming to make a reality, how hard can it be? Well, considering the fact that Jo, Carrie and Sarah are virtually strangers and their wishes aren’t exactly black and white; they may be in for a bumpy ride before they get their happy endings!

To be honest, I’m sure Jo, Carrie and Sarah, are not the only ones who have made a positive ‘bucket list’, aiming to change something about their life that they haven’t had the confidence to do so before. I was going to say that it’s similar to a new years resolution, except that not many people keep theirs! The three ladies met at a time where making friendships would usually be the last thing on your mind. But for them, it seemed to be the ideal place to strike up a friendship, and put the world (well, their lives) to rights during their very first conversation! Some might say that it was a brave move on their part, or some might say that Cathy Bramley gets top marks for originality of friendship starting places. I say; BOTH!

I adored the unusual way the ladies met each other as it showed exactly how varied different lives can be. Not everyone meets at a bar or in a café; we have the chance to create friendships wherever we go and this scenario was no different. I struggled to associate with the main three characters to begin with as I didn’t warm to them as quickly as I had hoped. However, once the storyline grew and the characters let their guards down, I found that I was able to relate to them all in such very different ways. I actually can’t pick a favourite!

Describing what I enjoyed about Cathy Bramley’s new book is like having to choose a favourite pair of shoes; overwhelming and extremely difficult. I LOVED everything about this book; selecting a couple of positives to write about is really hard when there are so many (cough, the whole book, cough). The only way that I can sum up my thoughts of the book is by imagining a seedling; during the first chapter the seed was planted and the storyline began. As the storyline progressed, the seedling grew as did Jo, Carrie and Sarah. Every chapter saw the seedling gain strength, individuality and the want to weather the storm, and every chapter saw the storyline become something rather special.  So special in fact, I found myself smiling at the book multiple times as the warmth and love that was cushioned under Cathy Bramley’s words, jumped off the page and into my soul.

The seedling weathered quite a few storms, but it never lost hope, neither did the characters. Then, about three-quarters of the way into the novel my heart became full of pride and the seedling was no more. For me, three quarters of the way through the novel was a complete game changer. Cathy Bramley not only managed to fill my soul with warmth and love, she also filled my heart with hope, determination and a heart warming eye opener that left me stunned. The seedling blossomed into a beautiful flower; as beautiful as the storyline of White Lies & Wishes and the humbling message that it contains. If you feel as though your own life has a huge question marking hovering above it, get onto Amazon or pop into your local supermarket and buy this book. It won’t fix your life, but it most certainly will give you the laughter, hope and hunger to fulfill your own special dreams.

Cathy Bramley has once again written such an outstanding novel; I am in awe. A wonderful book that is full of true friendships, dreams and the desire to laugh. I think I may have just found one of my new favourite books. Wait, no, scrap that. I KNOW that I have found a new favourite book. Oh, and no, that isn’t a white lie.

White Lies & Wishes is available to buy now from Amazon.