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

swk

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!

aria_hogan_secrets-we-keep_e
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:

 

Advertisements

Blog Tour – TWG’s book review of ‘What Happens at the beach…’ by T.A.Williams.

taw
Blurb.

It’s finally time for Natalie Dryden to decide what she really wants! After ditching her sparkling engagement ring, and her ghastly fiancé, she jets off for the sun-kissed shores of Southern France – the only place that has ever truly felt like home. For the first time ever, Natalie is determined to forget all about men and follow her dreams!
…head to the French coast!
Only, avoiding the male population isn’t quite so easy, especially when she meets smooth-talking Philippe and gorgeous fisherman, Remy! But then Natalie, quite literally, bumps into brooding millionaire Mark whilst swimming in the glittering azure-blue bay – and her life is turned upside-down.
Love might be off the cards for Natalie, yet suddenly she finds herself in her dream job and working with her dream man! But is it all too good to be true…?

What does TWG think?

This is the third and final stop for TWG on this tour! Big thank you to Karan from #KEPRTours for having me involved in the tour three times and for having me take part in her other tours! Means a lot. Also, thank you to the publishers for letting me have an ARC of the book in return for my thoughts!

Have you ever felt as though you didn’t belong? You know, the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach as though something wasn’t right? A partner that considered you to be a ‘thing’, well, his family thinking that you’re a ‘using thing’. Sound familiar? Oh, just me then…

Natalie has been going with the flow with her fiancé for a few years, but then one day, after a casual sausage roll with the dog…in a pantry…she realised that the flow wasn’t enough. Natalie knows that the carpet can be pulled from under people all too quickly,  she was determined to not let that happen to her. She has worked hard in her studies and what better place to find herself again, than in France. Surely she will be able to take time for herself and be true to who she really is? You would think so, but when three eligible bachelors and a Labrador catch her eye, I’m sure even Natalie will begin to wonder ‘What happens at the beach….’.

Ever since I saw the cover and the title of this book I have been intrigued. I asked myself ‘what DID happen at the beach?’. I had no idea whether the book would be a ‘typical’ romantic comedy, and, if I’m honest, I was hoping it wouldn’t be.
I adored the fact that Natalie and her grandmother had such chequered pasts because it made them stand out as characters. Their pasts aren’t revealed completely in one go, so as the story progresses, you get to find out more about them and are able to connect with them on multiple levels. ‘What happens at the beach…’ was such an easy book to read, despite several emotional circumstances, it didn’t involve too much of my brain power. That, is definitely a bonus, (if I think too much my head hurts 😉 ).

My favourite part of the whole book was taking a walk down memory lane with Natalie, literally. The amount of history that oozes from the book is mind-blowing. Every place that was visited by Natalie and her new boss, was laced with vivid description. I felt as though I was right there, in France, soaking up the historic atmosphere. Phenomenal.

One thing I have to sit on the fence for where the book is concerned, is the situation of the three guys and Natalie. I couldn’t believe that part as much as I believed the rest of the book. Now, I could be a cynic, maybe it’s because I have never had three guys take a shine to me at once, or maybe Natalie was incredibly lucky. That is just my personal opinion though, and despite my reservations on that situation, it didn’t ruin the book for me. I just didn’t gel with it. I did gel with the dog though, now he’s a keeper! At least I wouldn’t need a foot warmer!

I did say at the beginning of the review that I wondered if I was going to be reading a ‘typical’ romance novel, and I didn’t. However, I did cry like a baby and feel the urge to eat masses of chocolate. In my eyes that didn’t make it a typical romance read because none of the three guys were involved in my snot induced weeping. Ah, I can see why I have never had three males taking a shine to me now….. ;).

‘What happens at the beach’ is a book about finding your feet and doing what is right for you no matter what hurdles you have to jump over. It’s also a book that I felt as though it hugged me, it captured part of me from within and opened my eyes to the fact that there is a whole world out there. All you need is a Labrador, and hope…

What happens at the beach… by T.A.Williams, published by Carina, was released 11th July 2016, and is available to buy from Amazon UK now.

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday by A.L.Michael. Book Tour!

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday by A.L.Michael.
Published: 29th April 2016 by Carina UK.
Available to buy from Amazon UK.

The #houseoncamdensquare tour bus has stopped by my blog today! Super excited to be taking part in my very first book tour for such a talented author! First all of all I would like to say a big thank you to A.L.Michael and Sara for keeping me right with the information for this tour! Think it’s time I put A.L.Michael out of her misery and let you all know what I thought of Goodbye Ruby Tuesday! You comfortable? I shall begin…..

‘Ruby, Evie, Mollie and Chelsea were the bad girls at school. But Ruby was the baddest. Evie fought her anger, Mollie fought her mother and Chelsea…well, Chelsea just fought. But Ruby set her sights on a bigger stage. And together, they dreamed of a future where Ruby could sing, Evie could make art, Mollie could bake, Chelsea could dance – and all of them could finally feel at home.A decade later, the girls are reunited for the funeral of Ruby, who took the world – and the charts – by storm, before fading too soon. And Evie doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry when she learns that Ruby has left them a house on Camden Square – the perfect place for them to fulfil their dreams. But does she dare take the plunge, and risk it all for one last shot at the stars?’

Remember having a group of close friends at school? A group of people with extremely different backgrounds and very different personalities? Meet Ruby, Evie, Mollie and Chelsea, four girls each with their own distinct pasts.  Unfortunately, not all of their pasts were as ‘ruby’ as they might have hoped. To be fair, who’s are? After many years of lost contact and growing up, the girls get to reunite in sad circumstances, for Ruby’s final ‘party’. The remaining girls; Evie, Mollie and Chelsea have taken very different paths in their lives, but all paths have led them back to each other. But why? Because of their friend, Ruby. Will Ruby’s death bring the girls closer again? Or will the girls leave their memories and their old friendships in the past?

In a couple of hours I had read 135 pages, I couldn’t put it down! The only thing that forced me to put the kindle away was the fact it was gone midnight and I had to be a grown up. What.a.book! Oh my goodness. A story of four childhood friends, each with their own very different personalities, disliked each other sometimes, but were still best friends no matter what. A.L.Michael, can I join the gang?! Pleaseeeee!! I felt quite sad that they had lost contact over the years though and that it took an unfortunate circumstance to reunite them. I found all of the characters to be very likeable, well, the main ones anyway! That rarely happens. I do have a favourite character though, little Esme. A little girl with on point humour and talks sense. Wait, I’ll rephrase that. She talks. The sort of person you would go to advice about, apart from she’s little and that’s probably not ideal, but you know what I’m saying. Anyway!
Throughout the story you learn about each of the girls individual pasts, and I found that to be such a clever way of writing as you could see for yourself how much they have grown over the years. They always fought for what they believed in, and they might have the opportunity to fight again…in more ways than one! Despite some of the deep subjects within the book, I found it to be such a light-hearted and very entertaining read. It contains humour, stupid mistakes, men, but most importantly, dreams. If you believe in it, it’s worth it.
I hadn’t read A.L.Michael’s previous books (even though I have one in my ‘to read’ pile) and now I am rather sad that I didn’t find her work sooner. That said, she has set the bar quite high with Goodbye Ruby Tuesday. Every page had me wondering what was going to happen, what else were they going to find out, and what one liners will Esme come out with next. For me personally, that makes a brilliant book to read because not only was it captivating, it had me snorting like a pig and laughing like a dolphin at the same time. I especially loved the bookish references throughout. If you’re a book nerd, you will appreciate those even more so!
I am so honoured that I was given the opportunity to read such a relatable and outstanding book. Such high praise for A.L.Michael! Goodbye Ruby Tuesday is definitely a book that I will remember for a long time. One slight critique I do have……..I didn’t want it to end! I wanted more! I cannot wait to see what the girls get up to in the next book of the series, extremely excited already. I definitely recommend this, everyone needs to have a dream, and everyone needs to be able to fight for it. Goodbye Ruby Tuesday shows you how…

The years of loving you – Review

The years of loving you –  by Ella Harper.
Published
19th November 2015 by Harper Collins Publishers (Avon books)
ISBN: 978-0-00-758184-9
Available on Amazon in multiple formats (paperback and kindle).

‘What if your first love was your only love?

When Molly is diagnosed with a life-changing illness, it feels like her whole world has come crashing down. She hopes the news will make her marriage to Sam stronger. But why does Molly always call Ed in a crisis?

Ed, the very same Ed that Molly fell in love with at a party when they were teenagers, underneath a star-filled sky. Then life took them in different directions.

Molly starts to question every decision she has ever made. What if they could turn back the clock? When the only certainty they shared was each other….’

Stop for a moment and think about YOUR life. Have you ever had to break devastating news about yourself to any of your loved ones? Or have you been the one to receive the terrible news, getting told that lives will never be the same again? Yes? Thought so. Me too, except that I was the one breaking the horrible news…..multiple times. So was Molly…
The story begins in the present, lots of laughing, drinks and a hint of tension. Throughout the story you not only follow Molly’s life, you follow Ed’s life as well. Ed and Molly have known each other for many years, they share a history and a connection so deep that they have remained friends right into their adulthood. Ed has had a troubled life with secrets and problems he is too embarrassed to tell anyone, even Molly. Unfortunately for Ed, his life comes crashing down and he ends up making one of the biggest mistakes of his life….
Molly is married to Sam, a man who has his eyes firmly focused on the prize….his business. Molly has to compete with it, even when she has to sit down and break the news to him that she has a chronic illness. An illness that will not only change her life, but her loved ones lives too. They will see her grieving over a life she has lost, whilst also trying to adapt to a life that is unpredictable…very unpredictable. Unfortunately, Molly finds herself battling with extra problems and becomes lonelier than ever.
Who will come through for Molly in her darkest times? Sam, or Ed? Or nobody?
The book stood out for me because of the illness situation. I had to find out how other people reacted to life changing news. Why? Because I relate to it in more ways than one. I have multiple chronic illnesses. Reading about what Molly went through and how other people reacted to the news, had me in tears. It’s a topic that people don’t want to talk about and I am very pleased to find Ella Harper putting it in her story. It is real life. People go through it every single day. Personally I found that to be my connection to the storyline and to the characters. Also, I was hooked on finding out whether the girl got the guy, or the guy got the girl!
In every chapter there is something that will grab your attention, whether it’s something funny, or sad. Ella Harper’s style of writing is very engaging and I found myself in the story like I was someone watching everything unfold right in front of me. Depending on your beliefs about certain situations within the story, you might find yourself siding with a certain character and their own decisions. I know I did. ‘The years of loving you’ is an emotional rollercoaster of a book because it takes you on a journey of love, life and self discovery. Personally, I found the ending to just appear, like it was too short, and I think that is because I was incredibly engrossed in the gripping story that I didn’t realise it was coming up!
Ella Harper has managed to capture the soul of each character, bringing them to life in a way that I have never experienced before. A wonderful book that will bring out every emotion possible. A book that will open your eyes to different eventualities, good or bad. A book that will make you think anything is possible. Ella Harper, thank you. It has been an absolute pleasure to read and I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.