Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Idea of You
by 
Amanda Prowse


Happy Publication Day to Amanda Prowse with her new novel The Idea of You. I have a guest review by Julie Williams for you.


Review

5* Release day 21/03/2017


This latest book by Amanda Prowse tackles the often unspoken subject of miscarriage with both sensitivity and realism. It is written from the heart and as usual Amanda has tugged at my heart strings. 

I read The Idea Of You very quickly as I was hooked from page one. The characters in this story are totally believable and created with compassion.

Lucy and Jonah Carpenter are delighted when Lucy discovers that she is pregnant but unfortunately it is not meant to be and she experiences a miscarriage and with more that follows Lucy just wants to know why this is happening to her and what she can do to prevent it happening again and again. With Lucy’s biological clock ticking as she is approaching 40 and with a demanding successful career, she becomes desperate to carry a baby to full term and bring home their child. 

This story is at times extremely emotional and painful to read as we discover the impact miscarriage can have on a family. Lucy’s journey to be a Mum is at times heart wrenching and not only has she to cope with her loss every month but also past secrets and a stroppy teenage step daughter.

Get a box of tissues ready and hang on to your hat as this story takes you on a roller coaster ride that stays with you. 

Thank you to Netgalley, Lake Union Publishing and Amanda for getting me approved for the ARC of this book.


To order a copy of this book click here



Sunday, 19 March 2017

Born Bad
by
Marnie Riches
Blog Tour


I'm delighted to be a part of this blog tour. I love Marnie's George McKenzie series, so am eager to read this one. I have an extract for you today, but hopefully will have a review for you soon.


Extract

Conky pulled Sheila from Gloria as gently as possible, though the two women fought against him with balled fists and venomous slaps.
‘About time too! Get her out of here!’ Sheila said.
‘You’re making a big mistake!’ Gloria shouted. Normally so primly dressed, Conky was surprised by the defined, almost manly musculature of her arms. She was grabbing at Sheila again. Shaking her like a wayward child. ‘I need this final deal to go through. I need money. It’s all right for you.’
But the diminutive Sheila was no pushover. She pummelled Gloria towards the door like a mini-Sumo pushing her opponent to the chalk line. ‘All these years, we worked as business partners and you’re still thinking it’s all right for me? You cheeky, chippy cow! You were my cleaner and I made you rich.’
Gloria halted in her offensive. Stepped back suddenly, her hands in the air, her neck at an awkward, sassy angle. Blinking hard like the Ricki Lake show had never been taken off air. ‘You made me rich? I’m sorry. I cleaned your mess up for the first ten years of your marriage and have all but run your business single handedly. But you. Made me. Rich. You. In your frigging mansion.’ She gasped. ‘Look at that. You made me swear, you terrible woman.’
Sheila poked the taller woman in her chest with a manicured fingernail. ‘You were nothing until we started the agency together. Nowt. An old washed-up scrubber from Sweeney Hall with a Boddlington scumbag for a son.’
Conky sucked the air in between his teeth. Ready to step between the women yet again but privately relishing seeing the feisty side to Sheila come out.
‘Now, come on girls. Don’t be saying anything you’re going to regret tomorrow.’
‘Too late for that,’ Gloria said. ‘There’s no coming back from this. All the things I could say about you, you overindulged, anorexic white cow.’
‘Oh, I’m really losing sleep,’ Sheila said, hand on hip in her satin bathrobe. Sarcasm dripping thickly from every syllable.
‘My future’s ruined, thanks to you!’ Gloria shouted. ‘All because you couldn’t be bothered to do one more lousy job, you heartless hussy. A false witness will not go unpunished. Proverbs 19:5!’
‘Gloria!’ Conky snapped, grabbing her by the upper arm. ‘Time you went home.’ He had only got the gist of the conversation but could see from the tears standing in Gloria’s eyes that things weren’t good for her. He felt a pang of unexpected sympathy.
‘And you think my life’s easy, do you?’ Sheila opened her mouth, as though there was much more to say. But the question simply hung in the air between them – rhetorical and loaded with insinuation. Sheila put her hand over her own mouth. Gathered her robe about her and hugged herself. Spoke in a quiet voice. ‘I’m sorry you feel this way, Gloria, but a promise is a promise. Me and Paddy are packing up and going to Thailand. You want to start your own cleaning company, go ahead. But you can’t have mine. I have the majority share, and Pad says it’s over. All of it.’
Gloria snatched up her handbag. Glared at Conky as though this contretemps were somehow his fault. ‘Fine,’ she said, throwing her coat over her arm. ‘Leave all those women in the lurch. Forget about the likes of little Efe. Forget about me. Forget about your own hopes and dreams. I’ll see you around.’
As the front door slammed shut, Sheila burst into tears. A small woman who suddenly looked like a vulnerable scrap of a girl. Conky put his arm around her tentatively. Stroked her hair, wondering if it would be appropriate to plant a gentle kiss on her head. He decided against it.
‘She’s so tight,’ Sheila said. ‘Calling me a heartless bitch!’ She hiccoughed the words out, beside herself, now. ‘I never thought it would be so hard just to down tools and step away from all this.’
Feeling that she was holding onto him with a little too much vigour and not sure if he could trust himself, Conky ushered her to a bar stool and bade her sit down.
‘I’ll make some tea,’ he said. Started to rifle through the convenience food in the kitchen cupboard; rummaging behind the packets of Smash, the tins of beef stew and Patak’s jars to find what he sought. A packet of chamomile tea he had bought Sheila at a time when she had complained that she wasn’t sleeping. He prepared the infusion in silence, allowing Sheila to process her hurt. She blew her nose heavily on some kitchen roll and took the vodka bottle out of the cupboard.
‘No need for that,’ he said, taking it from her and stowing it away again. ‘It’ll keep you awake all night. Have this hot drink I’ve made you instead.’
He watched with some satisfaction as Sheila sipped from the cup. Her hiccoughs slowed before stopping altogether.
‘What do you want to do?’ he asked her finally.
Sheila shook her head. Looked as if she were about to share her innermost thoughts. Placed her hand on top of his, then thought better of it. ‘I do whatever my Paddy wants me to do. And you need to go home, Conks.’


To order a copy of Born Bad click here

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Before the Rains
by
Dinah Jefferies


Guest Review
by
Julie Williams



I want to say a huge thank you once again to Julie Williams, who jumped at the chance to review this new one by Dinah Jeffries!


REVIEW

I was treated to another terrific novel by this wonderful author. Before The Rains is a historical romantic story that explores a whole host of emotions including: tragedy, heartache, manipulation, passion and love. These are beautifully displayed with a range of superbly written characters.

Having witnessed the awful death of her beloved father as a child, Eliza and her mother decide to leave India and return to England. But as time passes and now widowed herself, Eliza returns to India alone to pursue her passion of photography.

Eliza arrives in this colourful vibrant country as an insecure, vulnerable young woman but during her time here, she not only discovers the real captivating India, but also herself.

Dinah Jefferies brings this book to life with mesmerising details of the sights, sounds and smells that make you feel that you are actually there! 

Dinah shows that India under British rule is so different to now, with the then traditions and customs which are explained and detailed appropriately.

Thanks to NetGalley and Julie for posting this review.


Friday, 24 February 2017

The Silent Wife
by
Kerry Fisher

Guest review
by
Julie Williams




Today, I have a guest review by Julie Williams, who by the sounds of it, thoroughly enjoyed this one by the very lovely Kerry Fisher!


Review

The Silent Wife had me engrossed from page one which is always a good sign when starting a new book. This is an intriguing tale of a family where appearances are definitely deceiving.

The controlling Farinelli’s show just how second wives can complicate and upset the family unit and also reveal hidden skeletons in the closet.

Head of the family is Anna who totally rules them all with an iron rod. She looks down her nose at the wives of her two beloved sons Massimo and Nico. I found her manner appalling as she had no problem in sharing her opinions with no thought to the hurt it may cause. Anna even has keys to all their homes, letting herself in whenever she pleases. The mother in law from hell comes to mind!

I enjoyed finding out about the secrets this family held both past and present. It is no surprise to find that Massimo is a bully and how he manipulates Lara his second wife is heart breaking at times. Nico on the other hand, is a lot more respectful and kinder to everyone including his lovely wife Maggie.

This book shows that second marriages have to be worked at, especially where children are involved as a mother will always protect her child, whatever the cost.

This is Kerry Fishers 4th novel and dare I say that her writing gets better with each new one . I gave this book a 5 star rating as I just didn’t want to put it down.


Thanks to Net Galley for the copy and to Julie for kindly allowing me to share my review on her blog.


Thursday, 23 February 2017

Through The Barricades
by
Denise Deegan
BLOG TOUR
&
GIVEAWAY


I'm delighted to be hosting the Blog Tour for Through the Barricades by Denise Deegan. The author very kindly sent me a copy of the book after I commented about the lovely cover on Twitter. I love a wartime saga and this one didn't disappoint, even if I kept singing part of a certain song from Spandau Ballet, every time I picked up the book!! I have an extract for you and my review, oh and don't forget the giveaway! Good luck 


Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: 8th December 2016-12-08
She was willing to sacrifice everything for her country. He was willing to sacrifice everything for her.

‘Make a difference in the world,’ are the last words Maggie Gilligan’s father ever says to her. They form a legacy that she carries in her heart, years later when, at the age of fifteen, she tries to better the lives of Dublin’s largely forgotten poor. 

‘Don’t go getting distracted, now,’ is what Daniel Healy’s father says to him after seeing him talking to the same Maggie Gilligan. Daniel is more than distracted. He is intrigued. Never has he met anyone as dismissive, argumentative… as downright infuriating. 

A dare from Maggie is all it takes. Daniel volunteers at a food kitchen. There, his eyes are opened to the plight of the poor. It is 1913 and Dublin’s striking workers have been locked out of their jobs. Their families are going hungry. Daniel and Maggie do what they can. Soon, however, Maggie realises that the only way to make a difference is to take up arms. 

The story of Maggie and Daniel is one of friendship, love, war and revolution, of two people who are prepared to sacrifice their lives: Maggie for her country, Daniel for Maggie. Their mutual sacrifices put them on opposite sides of a revolution. Can their love survive? 



EXCERPT

Prologue
1906

Maggie woke coughing. It was dark but there was something other than darkness in the air, something that climbed into her mouth, scratched at her throat and stole her breath. It made her eyes sting and tear. And it made her heart stall. Flames burst through the doorway like dragon breath. Maggie tried to scream but more coughs came, one after the other, after the other. She backed up in the bed, eyes wide, as the blaze began to engulf the room. She thought of her family, asleep in their beds. She had to waken them – with something other than her voice.
She hurried from her bed, peering through flame-lit smoke in search of her jug and washbasin. Reaching them, she flung water in the direction of the fire and began to slam enamel against enamel, fast and loud. She had to back away as flames lapped and roared and licked at her. But she kept on slamming.
Her arms grew tired. Her breath began to fail her. And she felt the heavy pull of sleep. She might have given in had she been alone in the house. But there was her father. There was her mother. There was Tom. And there was David. She could not give up.
Then like a miracle of black shadow, her father burst through the flames, his head tossing and turning. His frenzied gaze met hers.
‘Maggie!’
She began to cry with relief but relief changed to guilt as she realised that she had only drawn him further into the fire.
‘No! You were meant to take the stairs. You were meant to-’
‘It’s all right, Maggie Mae. It’s all right,’ he said, hurrying to her. He scooped her up and held her tight as he carried her away from a heat that burned without touching.
She felt cool air on her back as he opened the window. Wind rushed in, blowing the drapes aside. The flames roared louder, rose higher. But her father only looked out at the night sky. And down.
‘Missus O’Neill! I’m dropping Maggie down to you!’ he called. ‘Catch her now, mind. Catch my little girl.’ Then he looked deep into Maggie’s eyes. ‘Missus O’Neill is down below with her arms out for you. I’m going to drop you down to her.’
‘Will she catch you too?’
But he just smiled and kissed her forehead. ‘Make a difference in the world, Maggie.’
The sadness in his eyes filled her with a new terror. ‘But you’re coming too?’
He smiled once more. ‘I am, as soon as I get the others out. Now keep your eyes on mine, Maggie Mae. Keep your eyes on mine all the way down.’


MY REVIEW

Maggie and Daniel couldn’t have come from different backgrounds. Daniel comes from a privileged background and is shielded from what is going on in Ireland in early 1900s, but Maggie on the other hand, knows only too well how people are struggling to stay alive. She helps in soup kitchens every day and sees the plight of the homeless and helpless of Dublin.

When Daniel first claps eyes on Maggie, he knows she will always hold a special place in his heart, but Maggie is hot headed, stubborn and even though she feels the same for Daniel as he does for her, she will not let her guard down and always hears her dearly departed Dad’s voice saying "always make a difference".

As Daniel and Maggie get older they see themselves go in different directions and when Daniel is sent away to war, Maggie fights battles of her own with great guts and determination. The pair grow closer and reading the letters they write to one another whilst they are apart are beautiful and endearing.

A beautifully written novel and I hope the author continues to write such thought provoking, descriptive, informative novels that bring a smile to your face and a tear to your eye!


Thank you to the author for sending me a copy and of course JB Johnston of Brook Cottage Books for letting me host this lovely book. 


BUY LINKS

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/2gn8DnD


About Denise Deegan


Denise Deegan is author of several best-selling novels for adults and teens. She has been a nurse, a china restorer, a pharmaceutical sales rep, a public relations officer, an entrepreneur and a college lecturer. Her most difficult job was checkout girl, though ultimately this ‘experience’ did inspire a short story…
Denise’s writing for Young Adults includes The Butterfly Novels: And By The Way, And For Your Information and And Actually.
Denise writes women’s fiction as Aimee Alexander including Pause to RewindThe Accidental Life of Greg Millar and All We Have Lost.
Most recently, Denise has written an historical novel of love and revolution, Through the Barricades.
Denise is represented by the East West Literary Agency and Barry Krost Management. She is a member of the SCBWI.


Goodreads Author Page:
Instagram:
LinkedIn:
Blog and Website:



GIVEAWAY

To win a signed copy of Through the Barricades enter below.


  




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 19 February 2017

** COVER REVEAL **

The Secrets of Ivy Garden
by
Catherine Ferguson



It's feeling as though Spring might finally be in the air, so what a gorgeous cover to start making us feel a bit warmer!



PUBLISHING 3RD APRIL IN EBOOK

When Holly breaks up with her boyfriend Dean, she’s at a loss as to what to do next. But things go from bad to worse when her beloved grandmother Ivy dies – and Holly is left in charge of sorting out Ivy’s house and garden. As she sorts through her grandmother’s belongings and makes her way through the wilderness outside, Holly soon finds that there is more to Ivy than meets the eye, and uncovers a surprising family secret that changes everything…

This is a heart-warming and hilarious story from Catherine Ferguson about starting over, learning to garden and most of all learning to love.


** COVER REVEAL **

LOST FOR WORDS
by
Stephanie Butland



You can trust a book to keep your secret . . .

Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look closely, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are things she'll never show you.

Fifteen years ago Loveday lost all she knew and loved in one unspeakable night. Now, she finds refuge in the unique little York bookshop where she works.

Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past. Someone is trying to send her a message. And she can't hide any longer.

Lost for Words is a compelling, irresistible and heart-rending novel, with the emotional intensity of The Shock of the Fall and all the charm of The Little Paris Bookshop and 84 Charing Cross Road.



Published in paperback on 20th April
To order a copy click here