Challenge Participant


Friday, 23 March 2018

Blog Tour - Our Little Secret by Claudia Carroll

Our Little Secret (Paperback)
Sarah Keyes has the perfect life. A high-flying job in a law firm, a beautiful daughter and a house to die for. So how does she find herself looking in through the kitchen window while another woman enjoys it all?
When Sarah takes pity on a struggling young graduate who can't get a job, she thinks she's doing the right thing. She's being kind, generous and helpful to others, as she always is.
But as Sarah allows the younger woman into her home, her law firm and even her family, is there more to this pretty youngster than meets the eye? And how can Sarah reclaim the life she has built?
A sensational, page-turning read, perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Patricia Scanlan.
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780008140762
Claudia Carroll is a great author and I look forward to every new book. 'Our Little Secret' is another great book with a strong female lead character in Sarah Keyes.  A career woman who works hard but also has a lot to give, working hard in her legal career.  It is through her giving back in a legal aid clinic that she meets a young girl who Sarah helps to have a better life but is all as it seems.
As other reviewers have said, the cover is misleading. It looks like it will be a cosy read however it is really a book that grips the reader and keeps their attention to the very end.  It is a book which has great characters although there is something that unsettled me and left me wondering throughout. There is a definite message of take care of who you trust!
I have been given an extract to share with my blog readers to get you interested ....
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that when every other aspect of your life is ticking over nicely, something you least expect is bound to go belly-up. And in my case, by the end of May it was my already precarious financial situation.

No matter where I looked, and believe me, I went through every household expense with the finest of toothcombs, I could find absolutely nothing I could possibly cut back on. Darcy’s school fees? Forget it. I considered that money to be sacrosanct. She was actually doing well in school for the first time since Tom and I broke up. She was even hanging around with a lovely new friend, Sophie, who I liked enor­mously and, better still, who seemed to be a wonderful influence on her.

Not so long ago Darcy had seemed inseparable from Abi Kinsella who’d struck me as a troubled kid who trouble seemed to follow. On the other hand, this new pal Sophie was bright, intelligent and hard-working, but with the effortless knack of somehow making it all appear cool.

And, thankfully, by some miracle this was beginning to rub off on Darcy. Her grades were now as good as they’d ever been and she actually seemed happy to head off to school every morning, without my having to nag her out of bed, wrestle with her to eat a breakfast, then physically shove the girl out the hall door.

So yes, her school fees may well have been bloody extor­tion, but I’d rather have starved myself before ever cutting back on them.

The house was the other huge monthly expense that was now turning into a giant millstone around my neck. The mortgage payments were now a whopping 1500 a month and it seemed to gobble up most of my salary. To the extent that by the time that and Darcy’s fees were covered, not to mention grocery shopping/car insurance/petrol, there never seemed to be a single bean left to actu­ally live off.

By May, I was at my wits’ end. All I ever seemed to do was work, I thought in frustration, so how come by the end of each and every month, I was left counting the days till my next payment went through?

The answer hit me sharper than a chilli finger in the eye one quiet weekday morning in work. 8am and, as usual, I was late into the office (traffic) to be greeted by a disgruntled eye-roll from Bernie, which I chose to ignore. (Always, always the best policy with Bernie.)

Meanwhile I plonked down at my desk and frantically tried to get up to speed on the McKinsey brief, before a big meeting we were due to have later on that morning with the mighty George McKinsey himself. Or as he liked to style himself, George McKinsey III. Almost as if he was a character from Shakespeare.

To fill you in, ‘George McKinsey III’ was a self-described businessman and entrepreneur at the top of his game: a player who headed up one of those spidery global corpora­tions with offices that seemed to stretch from Birmingham to Belize and back again. But after an intricately thorough tax audit, he was now facing possible tax avoidance charges and that’s where Sloan Curtis came in.

However, as you can imagine with a company that expansive, the legal end of it was a never-ending nightmare. So it was effectively left to myself, Harry and Bernie to somehow stich together a defense that would hold water in court under cross-examination. We’d all been slaving away on the case for months by then, and the more we uncovered about McKinsey’s tax affairs, the more that seemed to lurk underneath.
Thank you to Avon for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Blog Blitz -The Undercover Mum by Emma Robinson

The Undercover Mother: A Laugh Out Loud Romantic Comedy about Love, Friendship and Parenting (Paperback)
Jenny has too much on her plate: literally – she’s only expecting one child but she’s eating for at least three. Not to mention trying to juggle her nightmare boss, a know-it-all sister, and an infuriatingly laid-back husband. 

She used to be known for her ‘Single Girl About Town’ column. But when her boss gives her job to a younger colleague, Jenny panics and proposes she blogs instead about being a clueless new mum. Surely people will find her new friendship group fascinating? (Even if the only thing they seem to have in common is that they all had sex around the same time 9 months ago...)

And if her readers aren’t quite hooked yet, maybe Jenny will just have to be more liberal with the truth. After all, none of the other mums will read it… will they? 

The Undercover Mother is a hilarious parenting page-turner that will make you laugh, cry and want to crack open the gin. Perfect for fans of Why Mummy Drinks and The Bad Mother’s Diary

This is a great book for any first time or new mum to be. Perfect for a gift to give at the start of maternity leave for a new mum to be to read before her 'mini me' enters the world. I love the front cover, it sets the scene for the book perfectly as a light hearted, funny look at love, friendship and parenting. The book covers antenatal classes, with funny stories including members of the classes

I really liked Jenny, she is, as I think I was, a pregnant mum to be who had a naïve outlook on her impending new role as a mum, that she would fall into the role and everything would go perfectly, with all her best laid plans in place ready for whatever her new bundle of joy needs when they slip seamlessly into her life. Of course, best laid plans with a newborn baby are never going to work as planned and Jenny has a steep learning curve to go on with her newborn to return to 'normal life' once the babymoon is over. 

I really liked the format of the book. Each chapter begins with Jenny's blog entry of her life with baby and in each one she shares anecdotes of ladies in her antenatal classes. Jenny has written her blog anonymously and she goes under the title of the Undercover Mother who shares secrets of the antenatal group, whom she has nicknamed the Spice Girls. These are great characters and I think Emma has included characters who everyone knows from their everyday lives. I know that I was laughing out loud while reading this book, recognising my own friends and family within the book. 

While there is a lot of humour in the book, Emma also addresses the important issues that pregnant mums will also encounter. Being pregnant and a new first time mum, ladies go through a roller coaster of emotion and Emma has very cleverly included a lot of emotions and talked about these. There is a great section on how she fees around her friends and also her partner - relationships change during pregnancy and some are never the same again.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a great read that had be laughing out loud. Perfect for first time mums but also for readers, like me, who has gone through the journey of pregnancy and babies and come out the other side.

Thank you to Bookouture, for inviting me to take part in this blog blitz in return for an honest review. 

Blog Tour - Hold My Hand by M J Ford

A horrible vanishing act...
When a young Josie Masters sees a boy wearing a red football shirt, Dylan Jones, being taken by a clown at a carnival, she tries to alert the crowds. But it's too late. Dylan has disappeared...
Thirty years later, Josie is working as a police officer in Bath. The remains of the body of a child have been found - complete with tatters of a torn red football shirt. Is it the boy she saw vanish in the clutches of the clown? Or is it someone else altogether?
And then another child disappears...
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780008258825
Today I am pleased to be in M J Ford's blog tour to celebrate the publication of 'Hold My Hand'. 
I really enjoyed this book, it was something different from my usual choice. It is a police procedural novel which follows Josie Masters as she tries to piece together a crime she saw thirty years previously following the discovery of a young boys body. The story is told from her voice and I really enjoyed this style of writing. 
The book does feature a difficult topic however it is sensitively approached and it is an addictive read. I really found it to be a book that built in intensity and the ending was fantastic. M J Ford is an author that I will be following and am eagerly awaiting their second release. 
I have been given an extract of the book to share with my blog readers, I hope you enjoy it ......
Bridges was sitting on the bonnet of his car, drinking tea from a Thermos cup. He handed her a piece of paper with an address on the north side of Oxford. There was a blue Audi parked across the road now, and a young woman sitting in the front seat on her phone.
‘Vultures are circling,’ he said.
‘Already?’ said Jo. ‘Who tipped them off?’
‘Probably one of the builders,’ said Bridges. ‘The official line is that we’ve found a body, but there’s no indication of foul play. Ben wants to keep it all under wraps, and I agree.’
‘Ben’s leading?’
‘Sure,’ said Bridges, smiling. ‘Got my best team on it.’ He tossed the remains of the tea across the ground, and dropped the cup into the skip. ‘Let me know how it goes with Mr and Mrs Jones.’
‘Can you send me the original case files?’ said Jo.
‘I’ll get Thames Valley to push it all over,’ said Bridges. ‘It’ll take a while to dig out.’
Then he was in his car and reversing out of the site entrance.
Jo folded the address and climbed into her own car, which had grown stuffy in the brief time she’d been on the crime scene. She switched on the air con. As Ferman lowered himself into the passenger seat, the car dipped noticeably.
‘You don’t like this Ben fella?’ he said.
Jo’s eyes were on the mirrors as she manoeuvred out. ‘It’s complicated,’ she said.
Thank you to Avon and M J Ford for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. 

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Blog Tour - Love Among the Treetops by Catherine Ferguson

Today I am pleased to be a part of Catherine Ferguson's blog tour to celebrate the publication of 'Love Among the Treetops'.

Can love flourish amongst the tree tops?
Love Among the Treetops (Paperback)
When pastry chef Twilight Wilson was a young girl, she would hide from school bullies up in the treehouse at the bottom of her garden in her family home in Sussex. It was her special place, and even as an adult she still loves it.
So when her family tell her they can't afford to live there any more, Twilight is devastated. Not only will they lose their home - but the treehouse too!
She comes up with a plan to save the family home - she'll start up a cafe in the treehouse! It's a brilliant idea, and excitement builds as she starts planning the menus, with the help of Theo - a rather attractive man from the gym. But when former school bully Lucy finds out the plan, she starts plotting - and opens her own rival cafe in the village!
Can Twilight save her family home? Will her friendship with Theo ever be anything more? And who will win the cafe wars?
Catherine Ferguson is back in this hilarious, heartwarming read perfect for summer.
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780008262082
I really enjoyed 'Love Among the Treetops'. The main character, Twilight, has been bullied and the book begins with a powerful prologue, in which Twilight describes an altercation with her bullies, an event which has had a lasting effect on her life. That is not the only heartache in the book as her father has cancer and Twilight makes it her mission to save the family home and comes up with a novel solution - to open a café in her treehouse. A great idea however one of the bullies hears of her plans and opens up a rival café in the village.
The story is a great read, there are sad moments but they all make Twilight stronger. I therefore think it would be a good book to pass onto friends and families who may have suffered at the hands of bullies in their past or are going through similar now. It is an emotional rollercoaster of a book but one which has a great message at the end - the bullies don't win! There are great laugh out loud moments in the book and these parts left me wanting to read just a few more chapters each time and i therefore flew through the book.
The publishers, Avon, have given me an extract from the book to share with my readers .....
‘I’ll go in the pub on one condition.’ I glare at Paloma, as if it’s entirely her fault that I have to psych myself up to brave the class reunion.
We’re perched on the car park wall round the back of The Three Blackbirds. Inside the pub, Lucy’s charity event is presumably already under way.
‘And the condition is?’ Paloma folds her arms and eyeballs me kindly. She’s being incredibly patient, considering we’ve been lurking here for the past ten minutes while I decide if I want to go in or not.
I hate myself for being such a cowardy custard, but I can’t seem to help it.
I narrow my eyes and mutter, ‘If skanky Lucy Slater looks at me in any way weirdly, I’m out of there immediately, no questions asked. Okay?’
Paloma nods. ‘Okay. And I’ll be right behind you. I promise.’
Attempting a smile, I jump down from the wall and brush imaginary leaf mould off my black trousers, impatience with myself resulting in me slapping my bum much harder than strictly necessary. I’m aware I must seem ridiculously neurotic, but I guess that’s the effect ten years of dodging a nasty bully like her will have on a person.
‘All set?’ asks Paloma. ‘Look, we don’t need to stay long.’
I brush off her concern. ‘It’s fine. Come on. Let’s go in.’
Thank you to the publishers, Avon, and Catherine Ferguson for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.

We walk through the bar to the function room at the back. And – oh joy of joys! – Lucy Slater herself is waiting in the doorway to greet us, along with another girl who I vaguely recognise.
‘Hello! How lovely to see you both,’ cries my archenemy, and it all floods back to me how Lucy’s voice used to grate on me, with its slightly high-pitched, whiny tone. I take in the slinky black dress, ripples of raven hair and gash of red lipstick, before she envelops me in a brief but enthusiastic hug. She smells, appropriately enough, of Poison.
As I’m crushed against her, I make eye contact with the other girl and my heart sinks. It’s that Olivia person from the train. The one who’s obsessed with ‘clean food’ and fancies the arse off Theo Steel. We acknowledge each other with a half-nod and a raise of eyebrows.
Lucy sets me aside so she can give the same treatment to Paloma. Then she beams at us in turn. ‘So … almost everyone is here. Such a fabuloso turnout! And this is Olivia, my right-hand woman, so to speak. She’s been totally invaluable with regards to raising local awareness of our charity 10k. Olivia, you’ve met Paloma, I think. But not Twilight?’
‘Oh, but I have. We’re almost old friends!’ cries Olivia, linking my arm. ‘We had quite a chat the other day on the train, didn’t we? How’s Theo?’ She beams at me expectantly

Friday, 16 March 2018

Blog Blitz - The Summer of Secrets by TIlly Tennant

The Summer of Secrets: A feel good romance novel perfect for holiday reading

Can new love grow when you dig up old secrets? Fall in love with this heart warming romantic comedy from Amazon chart bestseller Tilly Tennant.
Harper Woods wakes up every morning on Silver Hill Farm feeling like the luckiest woman in the world. She’s engaged to the tall, dark dreamy Shay and just downstairs are the gorgeous tea rooms she’s always dreamed of owning.

But Harper is about to discover something that will change her luck forever. For better or worse? She has no idea. Not until an expert can identify whether the stunning collection of jewellery she found hidden in the farm’s foundations is priceless, or more trouble than it’s worth…

As news of the discovery spreads through the Silver Hill, it seems everyone has a secret history making them the rightful owner. In particular, Will Frampton, stubborn and irritatingly handsome Lord of Silver Hill House, the crumbling stately home the other side of the hill. Too busy trying to untangle the truth, Harper doesn’t notice Shay getting rather close to his ex from the village.

Harper thought she had everything she ever wanted. If she solves the mystery of her sparkling prize, can she hold onto her dream, or will she lose it all, and be left broken-hearted?

An utterly gorgeous, heart-warming romance, full of love and laughter. Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Jenny Colgan.

Today I am pleased to be a part of Bookouture's Blog Blitz to celebrate the publication of Tilly Tennant's last release, The Summer of Secrets.

I loved the premise of this book, a collection of jewellery has been unearthed and Harper Woods decides she needs to find out more about it. What follows is a lovely story of discovery, filled with love, heartbreak and the odd baddie who wants to lay claim to the find and upset the story discovered so far. I don't want to give away too much of the storyline as I really enjoyed the journey of discovery and I am sure my blog readers will also love discovering it for themselves as Harper unfolds the layers of the history to the jewellery.

Tilly Tennant has written a great book. It is told at a great pace and follows Harper's attempts to unearth the truth behind the jewellery. She comes up against a number of hitches and it was great as a reader to follow all the twists and turns. Tilly has done a great job of leading the reader down a path only to backtrack and spring a surprise.

I didn't want this story to end and at the end I had a tear in my eye as I finished the epilogue. I will remember this story for some time to come. I really enjoyed it and the characters met along the way are definitely memorable.

Thank you to Bookouture for sending me the book to review in return for an honest review.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Blog Tour - The Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke

The Cafe at Seashell Cove: A heartwarming laugh out loud romantic comedy by [Clarke, Karen]
Today I am pleased to be part of Bookouture's Blog Blitz to celebrate the publication of Karen Clarke's latest great read, The Café at Seashell Cove.

Welcome to the Café at Seashell Cove, where you’ll find irresistible home-baked cakes, smiling friendly faces – and maybe even a second chance at love…
When Cassie Maitland needs a holiday from her glamorous but stressful job in event management, she escapes home to gorgeous Seashell Cove, where her family’s cosy café sits perched on the cliffs above sparkling waves and golden sand.

But a lot has changed while Cassie’s been away: her parents have transformed their tired café into a welcoming haven, her friends Meg and Tilly have whole new lives, and old flame Danny’s twinkling eyes and winning smile make Cassie feel even more flustered than they used to.

Keen to throw herself back into local life, Cassie starts to run themed events – including a not entirely successful cat-café day, complete with dozens of felines. Luckily Danny is always around to lend a helping hand, and Cassie soon begins to wonder if her life in London was really all she made it out to be…

Could a new start in Seashell Cove be exactly what Cassie needs?

A heart-warming and hilarious read about friendship, belonging and seaside living. Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson, Holly Martin and Jenny Oliver.

I am a big fan of Karen Clarke and loved The Beachside series of books. The Café at Seashell Cove introduces the reader to a new destination and again there is a great cast of characters within the book. 

Cassie is a great lead character and I think lots of people will be able to identify with her, a lady who returns to her parents home after leaving her job and home in London behind. Meeting back up with old school friends and appearing to have it all, whereas the truth is very different. Deciding to draw on her strengths (?) of event planning she decides to inject some new blood into her parents café and create a number of special evening events for the locals to enjoy. However she soon finds that her childhood hobby of painting and sketching can earn her more money and has to consider how her career will pan out.

I would love to pull up a chair at The Café at Seashell Cove and watch the world go by. The locals all sound a great bunch and the scenery sounds glorious. Karen Clarke has again created a great setting, with lovable characters and a story that takes the reader to a sunny seaside destination, where they can relax over a weekend and enjoy a great read.

Thank you to the publishers, Bookouture, for giving me a copy of the book in return for an honest review. 

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Blog Tour - The House of Hopes and Dreams by Trisha Ashley

Today I am really pleased to be taking part in Trisha Ashley's blog tour to celebrate the publication of the hardback and ebook of The House of Hopes and Dreams.

When Carey Revell unexpectedly becomes the heir to Mossby, his family's ancestral home, it's rather a mixed blessing. The house is large but rundown and comes with a pair of resentful relatives who can't be asked to leave.
Still, newly dumped by his girlfriend and also from his job as a TV interior designer, Carey needs somewhere to lick his wounds. And Mossby would be perfect for a renovation show. He already knows someone who could restore the stained glass windows in the older part of the house...
Angel Arrowsmith has spent the last ten years happily working and living with her artist mentor and partner. But suddenly bereaved, she finds herself heartbroken, without a home or a livelihood. Life will never be the same again - until old friend Carey Revell comes to the rescue.
They move in to Mossby with high hopes. But the house has a secret at its heart: an old legend concerning one of the famous windows. Will all their dreams for happiness be shattered? Or can Carey and Angel find a way to make this house a home?
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
ISBN: 9780593075609
Starting with the front cover of the hardback, I love the cover! The illustration is gorgeous - it looks like a dream home I would choose. Marry that with the synopsis and I know that, yet again, Trisha Ashley has a best seller on her hands, a fantastic read that I will devour very quickly (which is a good job as my copy got caught up in the snow delay) and I will love it and keep thinking about the characters, the location and the storyline for weeks to come. And, of course, I was not disappointed!
The House of Hopes and Dreams is a combination of two stories; where the narrative swaps between the past and the present as we hear the history of Mossby, the home recently inherited by Carey Revell, and the story of Angelica Arrowsmith, a life long friend of Carey.  I don't want to tell anymore of the story as I was my blog readers to pick up a copy of 'The House of Hope and Dreams' and enjoy the story as it evolves. You will not be disappointed. 
I am a huge fan of Trisha Ashley, I have loved all of her books and often recommend them to friends and family who have also become fans. This story has everything, there is Trisha's great humour, but it is all within a great story, one that will stand the test of time. The characters are lovable. At the start, I felt sorry for Angel, who has recently lost her long term partner, however because they were not married, she was not entitled to a share of his estate, and his relatives did not want to share, however Angel soon takes matters in her own hands and walks away with her assets (including her own portfolio of stained glass work using traditional techniques) and shapes her own destiny with the help of Carey. I really liked the second voice of this story, the historical characters, where we learnt lots about Mossby and also the traditional glass workers techniques.

I recommend this book to all my blog readers as a must read and thank Trisha Ashley and Black Swan, the publishers, for sending me the book to review and the invite to be part of the blog tour.