The Family by Louise Jensen #BlogTourReview

ONCE YOU’RE IN, THEY’LL NEVER LET YOU LEAVE.

Laura is grieving after the sudden death of her husband. Struggling to cope emotionally and financially, Laura is grateful when a local community, Oak Leaf Organics, offer her and her 17-year-old daughter Tilly a home.

But as Laura and Tilly settle into life with their new ‘family’, sinister things begin to happen. When one of the community dies in suspicious circumstances Laura wants to leave but Tilly, enthralled by the charismatic leader, Alex, refuses to go.

Desperately searching for a way to save her daughter, Laura uncovers a horrifying secret but Alex and his family aren’t the only ones with something to hide. Just as Laura has been digging into their past, they’ve been digging into hers and she discovers the terrifying reason they invited her and Tilly in, and why they’ll never let them leave…

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My thoughts 

This author is a guarantee to an exciting and thoroughly gripping thriller, in my experience.

A sense of tension accompanied by my own sense of unease, grew and grew as I was lured deeper into “The Family”.

I was already intrigued after reading the blurb and that intrigue never once dissipated. If anything, it grew as I turned the pages which led further into the story.

It is a very well-written, atmospheric and complex thriller, which is a recipe to keep you guessing! My heart was in my mouth at times and I do think that anyone who enjoys this genre of book will lap it up.

Louise Jensen’s writing style is superb. She is an incredibly talented author and I think her real talent lies in the subtlety she often uses.

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Thanks so much to Jess at HQ Stories for including me on this Blog Tour.

The Christmas Calendar Girls by Samantha Tonge #BlogTourReview

About the book 

This Christmas fall in love with the town of Chesterwood.

Christmas is meant to be a time of giving, so with Chesterwood food bank under risk of closure Fern knows just what to do to save it.  She’s going to get the town to create a living advent calendar.

Fern, and her best friends, call for help from the local community to bring this calendar to life.  When Kit, the new man in town, offers his assistance Fern’s heart can’t help but skip a beat (or two).

As they grow ever closer, Fern must admit that Kit’s breaking down the barriers she built after the death of her husband.  But his past is holding him back and Fern doesn’t know how to reach him.  No matter how hard she tries.

In this town, Kit’s not the only one with secrets.  Domestic goddess Cara is behaving oddly, burning meals in the oven and clothes whilst ironing, and Davina’s perfect children are causing trouble at school leaving her son, Jasper, desperately unhappy.

Can the Christmas Calendar Girls find a way to bring the community together in time to save the food bank, while still supporting their families and each other?  Can Dern find love again with Kit?

This is a story about kindness and letting go of the past.  It’s about looking out for your neighbours and about making every day feel like Christmas.

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My thoughts

Firstly, let me just say how much I really like this author and her style of storytelling.  I get so excited when I see her name on the front of a very cute book cover.  This cover is no different.  I adore the colours and the whole winter/Christmas vibe.

The main character, Fern, is a pretty special woman.  I took to her instantly and was rooting for her all the way through.  In fact, all of the characters are really fantastic and I could absolutely see myself being friends with most of them.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Samantha for Kit … What’s not to love about Kit? (In my head he’s incredibly HOT!)

This book an uplifting tale of friendship, new beginnings and some really lovely Christmas community spirit.  It’s a lovely, easy read to open up in a cosy room with a hot chocolate in hand.

I think you’ll really enjoy it and walk away with so much more than just a story.

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Thanks so much to Aria Fiction and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book for review.  I appreciate it so very much!

Follow Samantha

Website: http://samanthatonge.co.uk/
Twitter: @SamTongeWriter
Facebook: @SamanthaTongeAuthor

You can purchase The Christmas Calendar Girls at the following:
Amazon
Kobo
iBooks

Snowflakes over Holly Cove by Lucy Coleman

Today, with thanks to Aria Fiction, I’ve got a great extract from this book to share with you.  I really hope you love it!

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About the book 

As the snowflakes start to fall, Holly Cove welcomes a new tenant to the beautiful old cottage on the beach…

For lifestyle magazine journalist Tia Armstrong, relationships, as well as Christmas, have lost all their magic. Yet Tia is up against a Christmas deadline for her latest article ‘Love is, actually, all around…’

So, Tia heads to Holly Cove where the restorative sea air and rugged stranger, Nic, slowly but surely start mending her broken heart.

Tia didn’t expect a white Christmas, and she certainly never dared dream that all her Christmas wishes might just come true…

Set in Caswell Bay on the stunningly beautiful Gower Coast, the cottage nestles amid the limestone cliffs and the woodlands, where the emotions run as turbulently as the wind-swept sea.

As cosy as a marshmallow-topped mug of cocoa, fall in love with a heart-warming festive story from the bestselling author of The French Adventure.

Extract

I can’t trust myself to utter another word, so I plaster on the widest smile I can muster and grab the folder she thrusts in my direction. Already her attention is elsewhere and she doesn’t even look up as I turn and run.

Clearly, Clarissa has never lost a close loved one. Come to think of it, does Clarissa actually have any close loved ones? All she ever talks about is work, but although she doesn’t wear a wedding ring I suppose that it’s not inconceivable she has a partner. Or is it? It’s hard to think of a sentence in which the words Clarissa and emotion would sit well together. For cool, read icy. For efficient, read microchip processor. It’s an incredible skill, obviously, but there has to be something more, something that touches the soul. The only people she appears to make time for are from the publishing world too, because it’s all about being seen with the right people and making contacts. She does spend quite a lot of time accompanying Oliver Sinclair to drinks parties, but then he is her boss and I suppose she is a little different around him. But whether that’s a softer side creeping in, or the result of her well-practised social skills, who can tell?

I’m being a little unkind and I know it. What did I expect? The world goes on and whether I like it or not I have to earn a salary to pay the bills. Despite the fact that, at the moment, every morning it’s a struggle to drag myself out of bed and face the new day ahead. Life will never be the same again and now, as someone very kindly pointed out to me at the funeral, I’m an orphan. I remember recoiling, wondering how on earth anyone could ever think that was an appropriate thing to mention. The word was like a bullet through my heart, but I had to agree it was true. My father died many years ago, but for some stupidly naive reason, I thought Mum would go on forever.

The one inevitable thing in life is death. And I’ve just been reminded of that. What made it even harder is that I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. She died in her sleep; a heart-attack they said and a peaceful way to go. But even after seeing her coffin disappear behind those curtains, I still can’t take it in. OK, so I’m grieving and it’s pretty obvious I’m having trouble moving on from the denial and isolation phase. Maybe that’s because I’m not sure I can handle the anger phase.

It’s as if I’m living in a bad dream and when I wake up everything will be back to normal. Time to face up to reality, Tia, this is no dream and you have to snap out of it. Your career-hungry peers are snapping at your heels and shadowing Clarissa is a privilege you must never take for granted. That hunger to continue climbing the ladder and be the one sitting in the editor’s chair will return. When it does you need to be prepared to do battle again and fight off your opponents, sorry – colleagues. Allow yourself this one assignment to ease yourself back in and prove you can come out triumphant. Don’t just do a good job, do a brilliant job and make everyone realise you’re more than ready for the next step.

Jeez, am I really giving myself a pep talk here? Or am I scared that none of it means anything to me anymore? That’s nonsense, I tell myself. And Clarissa’s one of the best, so you are lucky to be able to chase the dream. Stop moaning, Tia, it’s not your style and get on with it.

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You can find Snowflakes Over Holly Cove for purchase at the below links:
Amazon
Kobo
Google Play
iBooks

Follow Lucy

Twitter: @LucyColemanAuth  Facebook: @LinnBHaltonAuthor

Follow Aria
Website: http://www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

 

 

The Last Day of Winter by Shari Low #BlogTourReview

About the book 

One December wedding. One runaway bride. One winter’s day to bring everyone together again.

Today is the day Caro and Cammy are due to walk up the aisle. But Caro’s too caught up in the trauma of her past to contemplate their happy ever after.

Stacey’s decision to return from L.A. is fuelled by one thing – telling Cammy how she feels, before it’s too late.

Wedding planner, Josie, needs to sort the whole mess out, but she’s just been dealt some devastating news. Can she get through the day without spilling her secret?

On a chilly winter’s day, they have twenty-four hours to prove that love can lead the way to a brighter future…

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My thoughts

I’m lucky enough to have read a few books by this author recently, none of which have disappointed.  The Last Day of Winter is no different.

Shari writes writes a very easy-read due to a combination of writing from the heart and seamless storylines.  Her characters are people we all know and a realistic charisma is present at all times.

This book is a story about life and all that comes with it – love, friendship, family and, with that, the inevitable loss and broken hearts.

I laughed as much as I cried and, because of that, I know I won’t forget this in a hurry.

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Thank you Aria Fiction for not only this book, but for introducing me to this author.  Her books have opened up a whole new world for me.

Buy links:
Amazon
Kobo
iBooks
Google Play
Follow Shari

Website: http://www.sharilow.com
Twitter: @ShariLow
Facebook: @sharilowbooks
Follow Aria

Website: http://www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

 

Let It Snow by Sue Moorcroft #BlogTourReview

About the book

Family means everything to Lily and Zinnia Cortez and, growing up in their non-conventional family unit, they and their two mums couldn’t have been closer.

So it’s a bolt out of the blue when Lily finds her father wasn’t the anonymous one-night stand she’s always believed. She is in fact the result of her mum’s reckless affair with a married man.

Confused, but determined to discover her true roots, Lily sets out to find the family she’s never known – an adventure that takes her from the frosted, thatched cottages of Middledip to the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, via a Christmas market or two along the way…

My thoughts

I loved this book and not only did I feel super festive while reading it, it also hit me right in the heart. What’s not to love about that?

It’s a really, really well written book with realistic, charming characters.

If you’re after a Christmas romance with a beautiful village setting and the atmosphere to accompany all of that then this is the book for you.

It was particularly lovely to watch the relationship between Lily and Isaac progress from employer-employee to something more. Their connection is gorgeous and it was a joy to watch it unfold.

The descriptions of Switzerland are stunning. I have a friend who visits Switzerland a few times a year and I can understand why, if these descriptions are even halfway to accurate!

It is October 1st and I’m very much starting to feel the Christmas love already thanks, in part, to Let It Snow.

Thanks so much to Avon Books for my copy of this book in return for an honest review.

I really think you’ll love it x

The Day We Meet Again by Miranda Dickinson #BlogTourReview

About the book

‘We’ll meet again at St Pancras station, a year from today. If we’re meant to be together, we’ll both be there. If we’re not, it was never meant to be . . .’

Phoebe and Sam meet by chance at St Pancras station. Heading in opposite directions, both seeking their own adventures, meeting the love of their lives wasn’t part of the plan. So they make a promise: to meet again in the same place in twelve months’ time if they still want to be together.

But is life ever as simple as that?

This is a story of what-ifs and maybes – and how one decision can change your life forever…

My thoughts 

With chapters switching between the viewpoints and feelings of Phoebe and Sam, this book is a really beautiful and engrossing love story.

The idea itself isn’t all that unfamiliar but the journey this book takes us on is brand new to me, which I loved. I had convinced myself it would feel very similar to a couple of other books I had read this summer but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’m very glad about that!

It’s a quick read with a ‘will they won’t they’ vibe, which accompanies a story about friendship, taking chances in life and gratitude.  It kept me guessing until the end.

What more could you want?

There is some absolutely amazing location imagery too, which was a real bonus and much appreciated by this reader!

Thanks so much to Lily at Harper Collins Publishers for a copy of this book and for including me on this fabulous book tour.

Christmas Every Day by Beth Moran #Extract

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Extract

 

Prologue

22 December

It was finally here.  The highlight of the Dougal and Duff calendar.  Everyone would be there, from the lowliest admin assistant to the senior partners.  The oak bannisters were draped with ivy, dotted with twinkling red and white fairy lights.  The doorway leading into the designated party room was framed with pine branches, a cheeky sprig of mistletoe hanging in the centre.  Inside, the room looked even more spectacular than last year.  Hundreds of sparkling snowflakes dangled from the wood-panelled ceiling, more fairy lights and greenery adorned every surface.  The Christmas tree in the centre of the back wall stood festooned with baubles and ribbons.

Waiting staff slipped between the clusters of office cliques with trays of champagne and crumbly canapés, their black uniforms in sharp contrast to the glittering party dresses and tartan finery. A swing quartet thrummed, but it couldn’t beat the buzz of festive gossip.

Rumours had been flying that the newest partner, Richard Abernethy, freshly returned from yet another victory in the Paris office, had been dropping hints about an important announcement.  And when a locally renowned jeweller delivered a ring-shaped box to Reception that morning, every one of the sixty-three employees knew within minutes.

The only question was who.  Nobody had a clue.  That was, except me.  The other PAs assumed I must have some insight to the mystery woman, given that I’d almost unlimited access to his emails and diary.  They spent most of the evening trying to badger me into giving them a name.  Or at least a list of suspects.  I smoothed down my ridiculously expensive dress, patted my hair, took another fake-nonchalant swig of champagne and said nothing.  Not because of loyalty to my boss.  Although that would have been reason enough.

Taut with nerves, heart fluttering, resisting the urge to wash the dryness from my mouth with another drink, I not so surreptitiously watched my secret boyfriend and soon to be fiancé from across the room and wished he’d hurry up and get on with it.

I had always dreaded Christmas.  Particularly these last few years when it had simply been another day alone, opening the same gift card sent  by my dad and watching someone else’s television.  Waiting to hear from Richard, despite him telling me that he’d probably not get a moment to call.

But this year – surely I’d be spending it on his family’s estate in the Highlands?  I had already planned the clothes I would pack, and spent a frantic afternoon searching for the perfect ‘last-minute’ gifts for his parents and younger brother.

For the first time, in so long that it made my heart ache just thinking about it, I would be spending Christmas with a loving, happy family.

I took a deep breath, smothered my smile and, for the millionth time that day, silently practised my surprised, thrilled and senior-partner’s wife worthy ‘yes’.

Chapter One

When the house had been described as like something out of a fairy tale, I’d been picturing Snow White’s cottage, or a quaint gingerbread house (minus the evil witch, whom I’d left behind in Edinburgh), not a shrunken, grottier version of Sleeping Beauty’s derelict outhouse. And, in my storybook, there hadn’t been an old pram, two sagging armchairs and a turquoise toilet blocking the driveway.

I peered through the taxi window, trying to kid myself it would look better once I was out of the car. Or it had stopped raining. Or if I took my glasses off. The driver pulled up in front of a rusted mangle.

‘Could you get any closer to the door?’ I asked, tugging the zip a bit higher on my jacket.

He swivelled his head to look at me, one eyebrow raised. ‘What about parking on the lawn?’

‘That ain’t a lawn. It’s a jungle. I ain’t risking my tyres on that.’

I blew out a sigh, and unbuckled the seat belt.

‘Fifty pound. What?’ My hand froze halfway to my purse. ‘We agreed thirty.’

‘That was before the ford, the mud pit and the overgrown branches scratching my paintwork. The car needs a full-on valet and the extra won’t even cover it. I’ve got standards to uphold.’

I cast my eyes around the faded upholstery, scuffed trimmings and air freshener designed as a topless woman.

‘You knew the address was on an unnamed road in the middle of a forest and you still said thirty.’ I tried to keep the tremble out of my voice. The extra twenty pounds mightnot pay for a car valet but it would help me not starve for the next couple of weeks.

‘I’m the only taxi-driver round ‘ere who’ll come out this far.’ He grinned. The big bad wolf. ‘I’m the only taxi full stop. If you want out of ‘ere any time soon, best stay in my good books.’ He tipped his head towards the house. ‘And, trust me, you won’t be wanting to ‘ang around.

‘Are you threatening me?’ I did my best to channel some of the experience I’d gained working for sharks who’d sell your own baby back to you, and straightened my shoulders.

After enduring a lifetime of being treated like a worthless wimp, this was supposed to be a fresh start. The new, improved, over-it, Jenny.

I opened my purse, and deliberately placed three notes on the plastic ledge between the front and back seats. ‘I’m giving you the thirty pounds you asked for, and not a penny more.’ He curled up one side of his lip, leant towards me and growled. ‘Are you sure about that?’ Letting out a squeak, I unclasped my purse again. ‘And a tip! Of course. Here. I’ll make it twenty.’ Yanking open the door, I tumbled out into the freezing January rain, slipping and sliding round to the car boot. Hauling out my suitcase, followed by a rucksack, I stumbled out of the way just in time to avoid injury, but not a generous splattering of filthy spray from the revving wheels.

Wiping a smear of mud off my glasses with a sodden sleeve, I stared at my new home.

A semi-detached old woodsman’s cottage; the grey plaster frontage streaked with grime, slumped chimney and patchy roof confirmed it hadn’t worn the years well.

I squelched through the puddles, rucksack on my back, hand-me-down Mulberry suitcase dragging behind, and peered in through the ivy-smothered front window. Rummaging in my jacket pocket for the key, I gave up attempting to make out shapes in the gloom beyond.

‘Right. Might as well get it over with. Get out of this rain and put the kettle on.’ I wiped the worst of the dirt from the keyhole, congratulating myself for having had the foresight to have the utilities reconnected before I arrived, and forced the key in, slowly wiggling it until it unlocked.

I pushed against the door. Nothing. Not even a rattle.

Christmas Every Day Blog Tour

Thanks so much to Boldwood Books for including me in this fabulous blog tour for Christmas Every Day by Beth Moran.  I’m very happy to be bringing you all this exciting extract to close out the tour.

I hope you all enjoy Christmas Every Day as much as I did x

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Postscript by Cecelia Ahern

About the book 

When Holly Kennedy is approached by a group calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, her safe existence is turned on its head. Inspired by hearing about her late husband Gerry’s letters, the club wants Holly to help them with their own parting messages for their loved ones to discover after they’re gone.

Holly is sure of one thing – no way is she being dragged back to the grief she has left behind. It’s taken seven years to reinvent herself, and she’s ready to move on with her life.

But Holly comes to realize that when you love someone, there’s always one more thing to say…

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It’s Postscript day – at last! Excitement around this new book has been building ever since we all heard it was definitely happening.  I feel like I’ve been waiting for this sequel forever.

I read PS I Love You in one sitting and this was no different.  It was a late night/early morning situation!  Holly is still a remarkable woman but to see how she’s grown over the period of time since we’ve last met her was really special.

It’s a beautiful, emotional and very moving novel.  Cecelia’s love for her characters is as obvious as ever.

Why not come along to Stella Rathmines on Saturday morning to celebrate publication of Postscript with Cecelia Ahern and Image Magazine?  You can book your ticket here.  It’s set to be a pretty special morning.

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I really hope you enjoy Postscript as much as I did.  Let me know – I’ve been dying to chat about it for weeks now!

xoxo

 

 

The Quiet Ones by Theresa Talbot #BlogTourReview

About the book

If only someone had listened.

When the supposed suicide of famous Scottish football coach Harry Nugent hits the headlines, the tabloids are filled with tributes to a charitable pillar of the community that gave so much back to sport and to those less fortunate.

But something isn’t right.  Normally celebrities are queuing up to claim to have had a very special relationship with the deceased, but investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil is getting the distinct impression that people are trying to distance themselves from Harry.

Oonagh’s investigation leads her to uncover a heartbreakingly haunting cover-up that chills her to the core … and places her in mortal danger from those willing to protect their sadistic and dark secrets at every cost.

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My thoughts

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that you read this book.  The premise of the novel had me hooked before I’d even read a page of the actual book.

It’s not an easy read and in fact, I’d go as far as to say some people will find it a tough read.  The subject matter is written with a great amount of sensitivity and there’s nothing gratuitous about it.  If you can get past the sensitivity of the issues featured, you’re in for a super read.

This is the third book in the Oonagh O’Neil series from Theresa Talbot.  It’s a thriller that is so full of atmosphere and the very darkest of secrets that you won’t want to put it down for a minute.

Although there are references here and there to the two previous books, I would point out that this book reads perfectly as a standalone.  Although, it may cause you to want to go purchase the other books too – you have been warned!

The character development is really excellent and if you add to that the incredibly fast pace the plot takes, you’re onto a winner with this book.

Thanks so much to Aria Fiction and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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Follow Theresa:
Facebook: @TheresaTalbotBooks
Twitter: @Theresa_Talbot

Buy links:
Amazon
Kobo
iBooks
Google Play
Follow Aria
Website: http://www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

One Christmas Star by Mandy Baggot #BlogTourReview

About the book

Emily Parker is set to have the worst Christmas ever!

Her flatmate’s moved out, she’s closed her heart to love and she’s been put in charge of the school original Christmas show – with zero musical ability.

Disgraced superstar, Ray Stone is in desperate need of a quick PR turnaround. Waking up from a drunken stupor to a class of ten-year-olds snapping pics and Emily looking at him was not what he had in mind.

Ray needs Emily’s help to delete the photos, and she needs his with the show. As they learn to work together they may just open their hearts to more than a second chance…

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My thoughts

I’ve had the honour of reading a summer novel and a Christmas novel by Mandy this year.  I’ve loved them both equally.

One Christmas Star put me straight in the Christmas spirit the minute I saw the cover.

I adored all of the characters in this book but none more so than the class of kids that Emily teaches. They were an adorable addition bringing Nativity movies and (some scenes from) Love Actually to mind straightaway!

Mandy writes romance as I want it to be written – lots of love, fun and flirting.  There’s a great storyline and the two main characters have their own stuff to deal with before they can learn to live again.  It’s emotional and sensitively written but then I’ve come to expect nothing less from this author.

If you’re looking to get in the Christmas season mood, I’d highly recommend you pre-order One Christmas Star.

Thanks so much to Aria Fiction and Netgalley for my copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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Follow Mandy:
Facebook: @mandybaggotauthor
Twitter: @mandybaggot

Pre-order links:

Amazon
Kobo
Google Play
iBooks

Follow Aria:

Website: http://www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

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