What Happens in France by Carol Wyer | @carolewyer @canelo_ca @ElliePilcher95 | #blogtour #Biggie

It’s such a pleasure to join the blog tour for What Happens in France by Carol Wyer today! My thanks to the author and the publisher for the invitation to join and for the review copy!

Author : Carol Wyer
Title : What Happens in France
Pages : n/a
Publisher : Canelo
Publication date : January 28, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Bryony Masters has been looking for her long-lost sister, Hannah, for years, but when their father has a stroke her search takes on new urgency. So when primetime game show, What Happens in France, puts a call-out for new contestants, Bryony spots the ultimate public platform to find her reality TV-obsessed sister, and finally reunite their family.

With the help of handsome teammate Lewis, it’s not long before she’s on a private jet heading for the stunning beauty of rural France. With a social media star dog, a high maintenance quiz host and a cast of truly unique characters, Bryony and Lewis have their work cut out for them to stay on the show and in the public eye.

Yet as the audience grows and the grand prize beckons they find that the search that brought them together may just fulfil more than one heart’s wish… 

| MY THOUGHTS |

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Carol Wyer’s books. I’m pretty sure I mentioned at one point that I’ll read whatever she writes. And so that is why you now find me reviewing something I’d normally never pick up. Because Carol Wyer has apparently decided to put my words to the test by leaving the dark side of crime fiction momentarily behind to bring us a romantic comedy.

At the age of sixteen, Bryony’s sister Hannah ran away from home. Since then, there has been no word from her and her family don’t know if she’s still alive or not. When Bryony’s father suffers a stroke and keeps asking about his eldest daughter, Bryony decides to make one final push in trying to find her sister. Encouraged by her best friend, Bryony signs up for an audition for a new game show. She and her sister used to love watching them and Bryony hopes her exposure on the show might lead to news about Hannah’s whereabouts.

And so off to France we go for fun, games and some surprisingly difficult questions. If I had been a contestant on this show, I would have been sent home on day one! A week full of obstacle courses, general knowledge quizzes and even a treasure hunt in delightfully wee cars will change Bryony’s life forever. She meets the most fabulous characters : hot Lewis, the wonderful Jim, brilliant Oscar and let’s not forgot Biggie Smalls, a dog so famous he has his own Instagram account.

True to form in this genre, there are some ups and downs and misunderstandings along the way. But I guarantee you will be rooting for these characters throughout the story. We also get a great glimpse into all the behind the scenes action and it’s quite obvious Carol Wyer has done her research on this. All that waiting and redoing takes would drive me mental.

Will Bryony find love in France? Will she win the game show? But more importantly, will she finally find out what happened to her sister and why she left all those years ago? There’s only one way to find out. Buy yourself a copy and go on a delightful and entertaining adventure to France. Fans of this genre will not be disappointed!

What Happens in France is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

As a child Carol Wyer was always moving, and relied on humour to fit in at new schools. A funny short story won her popularity, planting the seed of becoming a writer. Her career spans dry cleaning, running a language teaching company, and boxercise coaching. Now writing full-time, Carol has several books published and journalism in many magazines.

Carol won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015), and can sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

Tell Me A Secret by Jane Fallon | @JaneFallon @MichaelJBooks @JennyPlatt90 | #blogtour

I’m absolutely delighted to join the blog tour for Tell Me A Secret by Jane Fallon today! My thanks to Jenny at Michael Joseph for the invitation to join and for my wonderful review copy!

Author : Jane Fallon
Title : Tell Me A Secret
Pages : 403
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Publication date : January 10, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Holly and Roz spend most of their days together. They like the same jokes, loathe the same people and tell each other everything. 

So when single mum Holly gets a shot at her dream job after putting everything on hold to raise her daughter, she assumes her friend will be dying to pop the champagne with her.

But is she just imagining things, or is Roz not quite as happy for her as she should be?

As Holly starts to take a closer look at Roz’s life outside their friendship, she begins to discover a few things that don’t add up. Who is the woman who claims to be her ally? 

Perhaps it was a mistake to tell Roz all her secrets.

Because it takes two to forge a friendship. 

But it only takes one to wage a war . . .

| MY THOUGHTS |

This is only the second novel I’ve read by Jane Fallon but I must say she’s fast becoming a firm favourite. When the reading mojo is dipping or I just need a break from all the crime fiction and psychological thrillers I tend to read, she is undoubtedly the perfect remedy.

Holly and Roz are colleagues and friends, working in the script department of a popular TV soap. They chat about anything and everything, gossiping the day away and aren’t averse to mocking their other colleagues from time to time. Then Holly gets a promotion and odd things start to happen. Who is trying to sabotage Holly and why? Holly is fairly confident she knows who is behind these shenanigans but proving it is an entirely different matter.

With its focus firmly on friendship and rivalry in the workplace, Tell Me A Secret had me engrossed from the very beginning. It annoyed me when I had to put the book down for whatever reason and I couldn’t wait to get back to it, which to me is always a sign of an excellent story. These characters are all immensely engaging and remarkably easy to relate to.

As much as the office mystery held my attention throughout, I was equally engrossed in Holly’s life outside of her work. There’s a healthy dash of humour, mostly provided by her best friend Dee, who is the most fabulous character! (With a name like that, how could she not be? 😉)

Tell Me A Secret is a delightfully entertaining and a thoroughly enjoyable tale of friendship, lies, deceit and rivalry. This light-hearted novel left me with a big smile on my face and provided the perfect antidote and escape for those dark and depressing January days. I will most definitely be making time this year to try and catch up on Jane Fallon’s other novels.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Jane Fallon is the multi-award-winning television producer behind shows such as This Life, Teachers and 20 Things To Do Before You’re 30.

Her Sunday Times bestselling books are Getting Rid of Matthew, Got You Back, Foursome, The Ugly Sister, Skeletons, Strictly Between Us, My Sweet Revenge and Faking Friends. They have sold over a million copies in the UK alone.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

One Way Ticket to Paris by Emma Robinson @emmarobinsonuk @bookouture #NetGalley #bookreview #blogblitz

It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to the first day of the blog blitz for One Way Ticket to Paris by Emma Robinson! My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the invite and for the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

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Author : Emma Robinson
Title : One Way Ticket to Paris
Pages : 279
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : October 31, 2018

aboutthebook

When I was a kid and I’d lost something, my dad always said ‘Go back to the place you last had it’. The problem is that what I’ve lost is… me.

Kate loves her family more than anything, but recently she has started to feel invisible. Lying awake at three a.m. as her husband snores, panicking about shopping lists, birthday parties, and the school bake sale…

She finds herself in the kitchen, gulping water, staring at a postcard of the Eiffel Tower from Shannon, her best friend.

Paris, with its red wine, slippery cobbles and curly lampposts. Where the scent of freshly-baked croissants hangs in the air, and Kate last remembers feeling like herself.

The postcard is a year old. It has just one line on it: When are you coming?

mythoughts

I’m sure many of us are familiar with sleepless nights, when the brain just won’t shut down long enough for you to relax, when you maybe start to feel a little punchy and even the most stupid idea suddenly seems like the best one ever.

It is during such a sleepless night that Kate realises she’s lost her way. Married to Luke and a stay-at-home mum to two children, she seems to have forgotten who she truly is. Her dad always told her that when you lost something, you needed to go back to the place where you last had it. So to find herself again, Kate books a one way ticket to Paris to see her best friend, Shannon.

Shannon is having problems of her own though and Kate couldn’t have picked a worse weekend to show up unannounced. Because Shannon suddenly finds herself in a position she’s desperately been trying to avoid. On the Eurostar to Paris, Kate meets Laura and thus, the scene is set for a memorable weekend.

These three women find themselves at a crossroads in their lives. Feelings need to be discussed, secrets need to come out in the open and decisions must be made. One Way Ticket to Paris is a wonderfully entertaining story about love, friendship and how sometimes in the midst of the chaos life throws at us, all you need is some time to just breathe and be yourself again.

This isn’t exactly the type of genre I normally go for but I do enjoy Emma Robinson’s writing. Her characters always come across realistic and believable and I have no doubt some of the things Kate, Shannon and Laura deal with are entirely relatable to some readers. From men with commitment phobias, to dealing with pushy mums at your children’s schools yapping on about bake sales and the like, to not having a minute to yourself, which means a clean and quiet bathroom in a hotel suddenly feels like paradise on earth.

With a few chuckles along the way, likeable characters to sympathise with and root for and a healthy dose of romance, this feel-good story is sure to warm your hearts.

One Way Ticket to Paris is out today!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Emma Robinson thinks of herself as one of the ‘Bridget Jones generation’ – who are now grown up and having children – and writes novels for women who feel the same.

She also has a blog, Motherhood for Slackers, which takes a humorous look at parenthood, and includes poems such as ‘Dear Teacher’ about her son starting school which has been shared around the world. Emma is an English teacher and lives in Essex with a patient husband and two children who are an endless source of material.

Author links : Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Website

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The Anniversary by Hilary Boyd @HilaryBoyd @MichaelJBooks @JennyPlatt90 #blogtour #TheAnniversary

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Author : Hilary Boyd
Title : The Anniversary
Pages : 403
Publisher : Michael Joseph / Penguin UK
Publication date :

aboutthebook

Stella once thought that if she never saw Jack again, it would be too soon.

But life has other plans for her and her stubborn, handsome ex-husband.

Looking after their daughter in a time of need, Stella finds herself unwillingly reunited with the man she shared the best years of her life with – followed by the worst.

Where tragedy once tore them apart, now Stella and Jack are being drawn back together. But each of them has a new partner and a new life.

Should they fight temptation? Should the past remain the past? Or are some loves simply meant to be?

mythoughts

Here is something I often wonder about. A relationship fails, people move on and live their separate lives, and then one day, sometimes even decades later, they find each other again and decide to give things another go. Why? Do people change that much? What happened to the thing that made them split up in the first place? Is it no longer an issue?

Meet Jack and Stella. Once happily married, they have now been divorced for over two decades. Jack has remarried, Stella has a longtime partner and they haven’t seen each other in years. But now their daughter needs help and Jack and Stella will be bumping into each other on a regular basis, whether they like it or not.

There’s an especially devastating event that caused their marriage to hit the rocks back in the day. Neither has dealt with it particularly well. This is definitely the case for Stella, who has built a rock solid wall around her heart to protect herself. But this behaviour has had an effect on a lot of people, including her daughter. And for myself, as the reader, I found her quite hard to warm to.

The Anniversary is an emotional story about family, grief and loss with complex characters trying to navigate through complicated relationships. Any child of divorced parents knows how difficult it can be to have both parental units in the same place but in this case, there is also a massive elephant in the room and a need to somehow let go of the past.

This novel has you rooting for the characters and wishing for a happy ending. Although maybe not all that surprising with regard to the plot, it’s the characters that make this a wonderfully immersive and poignant read.

The Anniversary is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Hilary Boyd was a nurse, marriage counsellor and ran a small cancer charity before becoming an author. She has written eight books, including Thursdays in the Park, her debut novel which sold over half a million copies and was an international bestseller. The film rights have been acquired by Charles Dance, who will be directing and starring.

Author links : Twitter | Website

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The Getaway Girls by Dee MacDonald @DMacDonaldAuth @bookouture #blogblitz

Delighted to join the blog blitz for The Getaway Girls by Dee MacDonald today! My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the invitation to join and for my review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

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Author : Dee MacDonald
Title : The Getaway Girls
Pages : 314
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : July 30, 2018

aboutthebook

Connie McColl is finally free to make her own decisions for the first time in decades. And when she meets glamorous Gill and downtrodden Maggie, at a rather dull flower arranging class, it seems that she’s not the only one dreaming of adventure. The three very different women all agree it’s about time they had a holiday to remember.

So they make a pact for this summer to be their best yet – and drive off into the sunset together…

As they meander their way along the beautiful beaches of France and onto the glorious delights of Italy in their luxury campervan, the new friends have plenty of fun and frolics in the sunshine. But the vacation isn’t quite what they expected…

Gill will do anything to have one last holiday romance, Connie has a surprise inheritance awaiting her in Italy, and Maggie has a secret that is going to catch up with them all…

In the end, all three women discover that the journey they thought would be their last really is just the beginning…

mythoughts

Three years after events from the previous book, The Runaway Wife, Connie is starting to feel a little restless. Time for another adventure then. So when she finds a box that seems to show her paternal grandmother originally came from Italy, Connie decides that’s where she will go.

Joining her on her road trip are two ladies she met in a flower arranging class, Maggie and Gill. These two couldn’t be more different if they tried. Gill is lonely and desperate for a new man after two failed marriages. Maggie would like nothing more but to feel free. Somehow these three ladies strike up the most amazing friendship on their journey to Italy in a motor home.

There will be lots of amazing experiences, new people to meet and even Cupid may make himself known at some point. The adventure isn’t all plain sailing though. Maggie is carrying a secret around with her that may catch up with them all. And what will Connie find out when they reach their destination? Whatever it is, this trip will change their lives forever.

This story made me incredibly nostalgic for all things Italy, which has always felt like home to me. It was huge fun to recognise so many places I’ve visited myself. But more than anything, it made me envious as I’d love to do something like this. Just jump in a motor home or a car and take off, not necessarily knowing where you’ll be spending the night or even if you’ll be coming back to the life you’ve left behind.

I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with these three amazing women. There’s something to admire and like about each and everyone of them. I can only hope that I’ll be as healthy, adventurous and fun as they are when I am that age. This is a truly inspirational, delightful and uplifting story with plenty of chuckles but also rather moving at times.

A heartwarming, entertaining and perfect summer read! I loved being a part of another one of Connie’s adventures and I do so hope there will be more to come. After all, it’s never too late for another adventure and you’re never too old to live life to the fullest!

The Getaway Girls is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | GoogleplayiBookstoreKobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

The Runaway Wife is Dee’s first (published) novel but in fact she wrote her very first book – at around seven years of age! This was a love story which she duly illustrated before sewing all the pages together up one side. Writing was what she ‘was good at’ in school and she won several essay competitions, but then life got in the way and she didn’t pick up a pen again until after retirement.

Dee left Scotland and headed for London at the beginning of the swinging sixties. After typing her way round the West End she became an air stewardess on long haul routes with BA (then BOAC) for eight years. After that she did market research at Heathrow for both the government statistics and for BA, she became a sales rep., and was the receptionist at the Thames Television Studios in Teddington when they had the franchise.

She then ran a small B&B for ten years in Cornwall, where she lives with her husband. Dee has one son and two grandsons who live locally.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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The Memories of Us by Vanessa Carnevale @v_carnevale @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K #blogtour

Delighted to join the blog tour for The Memories of Us by Vanessa Carnevale today! My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon UK for the invitation to join and the beautiful review copy!

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Author : Vanessa Carnevale
Title : The Memories of Us
Pages : 336
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : July 12, 2018

One moment can change your life.

When Gracie Ashcroft wakes after a crash with severe amnesia, she must choose whether to live a life through other people’s memories or to start a new life all her own.

Discovering her late mother left her an old flower farm, Gracie leaves her fiancé, best friend and the home full of forgotten memories behind, hoping to learn who she is now.

Torn between wishing she could remember and afraid of losing what she now has, Gracie starts to wonder: if you had your time over, would you live the same life twice?

If the past determines our present, what happens when we lose our memories of who we are? When you can’t remember what you like or love, from breakfast to the man you’re supposed to be marrying?

If memories are the delicate threads that knit our souls together and make us who we are, who can we be without them?

After being involved in a car accident, Gracie wakes up suffering from amnesia. She can’t remember her own name, her best friend or her fiancé. Gracie is adamant nobody should tell her anything about what her life was like. She wants to find things out on her own because suddenly her job as an interior designer, for instance, doesn’t sound so appealing. So with a clean slate, so to speak, will the choices Grace now makes bring her back to the life she used to have or will things turn out completely differently?

Gracie returns to the flower farm her mother used to own. A place that should feel familiar to her but does nothing of the sort. Yet, it’s through the language of flowers, the stunning power of Mother Nature, that Gracie finds out a bit more about herself and may even find love again. I must say, I really enjoyed spending time at Summerhill. The beautiful descriptions almost made it sound magical. I’d move there in a heartbeat!

The Memories of Us isn’t quite my typical sort of novel. But I was swayed by the beautiful cover and the intriguing description. I soon found myself completely immersed in Gracie’s circumstances and I think the author handled the issue of Retrograde Amnesia quite wonderfully. It was easy to sympathise with Gracie, to imagine what her life was now like, how frustrating it must be when you realise you can’t even remember how to tie your shoelaces. Of course, there’s a dash of romance. While this usually makes me cringe, I actually quite enjoyed this part of the story as well and found myself rooting for a happy ending.

A wonderfully warm and beautiful story about love, heartbreak and hope that even almost left me with a lump in my throat. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

The Memories of Us is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

Vanessa Carnevale is a freelance writer based in Australia, who has contributed to The Green Parent, The Huffington Post, Muse, and Italy magazine, among others. Her debut novel, The Florentine Bridge, was published in 2017 by HQ in Australia. She was a finalist in the Best New Author category for the AusRom Today Readers Choice Awards 2017.

Vanessa is also the host of Your Beautiful Writing Life Retreats held in Tuscany and Australia.

Author links : Facebook | Twitter

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Happily Never After by Emma Robinson @emmarobinsonuk @bookouture #blogblitz #HappilyNeverAfter

It’s a real pleasure to host one of the stops on the blog blitz for Happily Never After by Emma Robinson today! My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the opportunity to join and for the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

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Author : Emma Robinson
Title : Happily Never After
Pages : 296
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : July 10, 2018

aboutthebook

Rory doesn’t believe in love. She’s got far too many real problems to deal with.

She’s just bought a tumbledown house. Her mother is generally behaving like a wicked witch, insisting on calling her Aurora, and generally interfering in her (admittedly pitiful lack of) love life. And her 16-year-old daughter has finally grown out of Disney princesses and discovered dating…

But Rory’s adamant that she doesn’t need saving. In fact, the only thing she’s wishing on a star for is a bit of practical help. However, when she meets a builder whose name is John Prince and who seems to be in the habit of rescuing her (right down to finding her lost shoe one evening) she might have to face a truth as uncomfortable as hobbling home barefoot – that maybe there’s something enchanted in the air.

Her mother, daughter and friends are convinced her prince has come, but Rory just wishes everyone could let it go. Especially when she hears a story that makes her question whether he is really the hero everyone thinks he is.

mythoughts

No, you have not accidentally stumbled upon the wrong blog. I can see why you might think that as this is quite clearly not something I’d normally read. However, I rather enjoyed Emma Robinson’s previous book, The Undercover Mother, and sometimes it’s just nice to step away from all the dark and disturbing stories I usually read.

Rory has a lot on her plate. She’s just bought a rundown house that will surely make a fabulous home in time. But time is exactly something Rory doesn’t have in abundance. Her job as a teacher is increasingly demanding, not helped at all by the new deputy head, who’s more interested in statistics and spreadsheets than anything else. On top of that, her sixteen year old daughter Belle has just discovered dating. Rory doesn’t have time for anything, least of all finding love. She’s perfectly fine without a knight in shining armour coming to her rescue, even if his name happens to be Prince. Or is she?

These characters are all delightful and it was such a joy to get to know them. Rory is fiercely independent, to the point of being stubborn. Her colleagues Susi and Penny are very different as both seem to think the only thing that can make them happy is a man in their lives. Susi especially comes across as rather desperate. But the one who elicited some chuckles from me was Sheila, Rory’s mother, and her gossip about the retirement home she lives in.

Even though there are some funny moments, I wouldn’t exactly call this a laugh-out-loud comedy though, to be honest, but I did thoroughly enjoy it. It’s sweet and a little dramatic and sometimes even a little sad but also realistic as it tackles numerous topics from teenage drama to illness.

Not quite as light and fluffy as I expected it to be but a wonderfully entertaining summer read nonetheless, and for me, the perfect palette cleanser before diving back into the gruesome crime genre.

Happily Never After is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | GoogleplayiBookstoreKobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Emma Robinson thinks of herself as one of the ‘Bridget Jones generation’ – who are now grown up and having children – and writes novels for women who feel the same.

She also has a blog, Motherhood for Slackers, which takes a humorous look at parenthood, and includes poems such as ‘Dear Teacher’ about her son starting school which has been shared around the world. Emma is an English teacher and lives in Essex with a patient husband and two children who are an endless source of material.

Author links : Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Website

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Missing Pieces by Laura Pearson @LauraPAuthor @AgoraBooksLDN #blogtour #MissingPieces

Delighted to host a stop on the blog tour for Missing Pieces by Laura Pearson today! My thanks to Lucy Irvine at Agora Books for the invitation to join and the wonderful review copy!

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Author : Laura Pearson
Title : Missing Pieces
Pages : 277
Publisher : Agora Books
Publication date : June 21, 2018

aboutthebook

All Linda wants to do is sleep. She won’t look at her husband. She can’t stand her daughter. And she doesn’t want to have this baby. Having this baby means moving on, and she just wants to go back to before. Before their family was torn apart, before the blame was placed.

Alienated by their own guilt and struggling to cope, the Sadler family unravels. They grow up, grow apart, never talking about their terrible secret.

That is until Linda’s daughter finds out she’s pregnant. Before she brings another Sadler into the world, Bea needs to know what happened twenty-five years ago. What did they keep from her? What happened that couldn’t be fixed?

A devastating mistake, a lifetime of consequences. How can you repair something broken if pieces are missing?

mythoughts

Good grief. I am broken. Absolutely in bits.

The lovely ladies at Agora Books were kind enough to include the most thoughtful care package with this review copy, intent on dealing with your emotions while reading the debut novel by Laura Pearson. Now, I consider myself quite tough as boots so I laughed in the face of the “might make you ugly cry” warning. However, after reading just a few pages I already panicked, realising the tissues that were provided would not be sufficient at all.

Missing Pieces is written in two parts. Part one is set in the 1980’s. A time when Tom and his wife Linda are supposed to be happily awaiting the birth of their new baby. But something has happened and Linda is not the woman she used to be. She can’t stand her daughter, won’t even look at her husband and really, really doesn’t want this baby to be born at all.

Part two is set decades later, when daughter Bea discovers she’s pregnant. This prompts her to try and find out what happened all those years ago because the secrets and the guilt have affected this entire family. Even Bea, who has no memories of those days at all. And no, I’m not telling you why this family was torn apart. You don’t have to wait long to find out and I’m sure, like me and the Sadler family, you too will feel the impact to your very core.

This is an absolutely heartbreaking and devastating story about family, love, loss, grief and guilt. The Sadler family are highly realistic and believable characters and there is no hardship at all in becoming invested in them and feeling utterly bereft right alongside them. It’s hard to talk about them without giving anything away. My heart broke for Linda as she struggled to cope. Tom, who has his own issues to deal with, somehow manages to keep going, to take care of his family and despite showing he’s not at all perfect, he is the most wonderful father and the stories he tells his children managed to put a smile on my face, which was much needed!

Missing Pieces is beautifully written, highly moving and emotional. Even when I couldn’t see properly as the tears streamed down my face rivalling the force of the Niagara Falls, I couldn’t put this novel down. It is raw, it is devastating (yes, I’m aware I’ve used that word before but it is!) and yet, it’s wonderful and I absolutely loved it!

I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to get to know this family and even more so, to discover what an amazing new talent Laura Pearson is.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Laura Pearson lives in Leicestershire with her husband and their two children. Missing Pieces is her first novel.

Author link : Twitter

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Gracie’s Secret by Jill Childs @bookouture #blogblitz

It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog blitz for Gracie’s Secret by Jill Childs today! My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the invitation to join and the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

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Author : Jill Childs
Title : Gracie’s Secret
Pages : 324
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : June 15, 2018

aboutthebook

Time stops for Jen when her beloved daughter, Gracie, is involved in a terrible car crash. Pronounced dead at the scene, it’s a miracle when paramedics manage to then resuscitate the little girl.

The relief Jen feels at Gracie’s recovery is matched only by her fury at the driver of the car – her ex-husband’s new girlfriend Ella. Jen has never trusted Ella, and now her worst fears have been confirmed.

But then Gracie begins to tell strange stories about what she heard in the car that day, and what she saw in those moments near death. It’s clear that there’s something shocking hidden in Ella’s past… but exposing it could tear all their lives apart.

mythoughts

Jen receives a phone call all mothers dread. Her three year old daughter Gracie has been in a traffic accident and is in a coma. Now, you can see from the book description that Gracie recovers but she’s a bit different as she seems to be able to remember things she shouldn’t. Everything points to Ella, the woman who stole Jen’s husband and the driver of the car Gracie was in.

I must say I wasn’t entirely prepared for how this story unfolded and I think a lot of your enjoyment will depend on whether or not you believe in that big, bright light at the end of the tunnel and angels. If you put that aside though, Gracie’s Secret is centred around a mystery and a mother’s love. There’s no hardship in sympathising with Jen when her daughter starts saying all kinds of weird things. As a single mother, she has nowhere to turn to. Her ex-husband is far too busy keeping his new girlfriend happy.

The story is mostly told through Jen but sometimes we get a few glimpses from Ella’s point of view. Obviously, Jen hates the woman who took her husband from her and is quick to jump onto anything that will prove her point. I must say I didn’t really take to Ella myself and while there is a moment where I felt I should have at least sympathised with her, by that point I was a bit tired of her playing the “victim card”. I’m putting that in between quotation marks because that may just be me and she may not come across like that to other readers.

What starts out rather emotionally quickly takes a more sinister turn. There are lies and secrets to uncover and Jen will discover not all is at it seems. Personally I found a few things to be a bit on the predictable side but ultimately, Gracie’s Secret is about the things a mother will do to keep her child safe.

This is a story about deceit, manipulation, betrayal and the unbreakable bond between mother and child. Sometimes moving, sometimes suspenseful and with quite the unexpected ending that, while somehow perfect, also made me rather sad.

Gracie’s Secret is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Jill has always loved writing – real and imaginary – and spent 30 years travelling the world as a journalist, living overseas and reporting wherever the news took her. She’s now made her home in London with her husband and twin girls who love stories as much as she does. Although she’s covered everything from earthquakes and floods, riots and wars, she’s found some of the most extraordinary stories right here at home – in the secrets and lies she imagines behind closed doors on ordinary streets, just like yours.

Author links : Twitter

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A Posy of Promises by Sharon Dempsey @Bloodhoundbook #blogblitz #extract

Welcome to the final day of the blog blitz for A Posy of Promises by Sharon Dempsey! I have an extract to share with you all today. My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the invitation to join!

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Author : Sharon Dempsey
Title : A Posy of Promises
Pages : 196
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : June 13, 2018

aboutthebook

Ava Connors is comfortable with her life just as it is, still living in the tiny terrace house where she was brought up by her grandmother, Maggie, seeing her long-term boyfriend, Finlay, and working in a florists.

But Maggie’s health is declining and Finlay is fed up waiting for Ava to make a commitment.

Ava has never really known her mother, Scarlett, and when she inherits an old and dilapidated house it ignites an interest in the mother who had abandoned her as a child.

Why did Scarlett leave her to be brought up by her grandmother?
Soon Ava begins to ask this question and in turn sets off a series of events that will change her life forever.

extract

Chapter 1

Dating back to 1898, this handsome and individually designed house retains much of the original character, including decorative plasterwork to the ceilings, ornate mahogany staircase and sliding sash windows, and is set amidst mature gardens extending to circa half an acre.

The accommodation is of generous proportions and covers three floors, making it an excellent home for a growing family. On entrance, the wide hallway boasts the original wood block flooring, oak wood panelling, a cloakroom with high wall-mounted flush WC, pedestal wash hand basin, tiled floor, part-tiled walls and a built-in cupboard with ample space for storage.

The main drawing room offers an original marble fireplace with tiled hearth, inset and surround, picture rail, cornicing, and solid block wood floor. This room leads to a small bookcase-lined study with French patio doors to the side courtyard style garden.

The sitting room provides a view over the extensive rear gardens, with a window seating area, ceiling cornicing, fireplace with marble hearth, wood block flooring and door through to dining room.

Bedroom accommodation set out over two floors.

Master bedroom suite with period fireplace, separate dressing room and large en suite bathroom. Guest bedroom suite with separate sitting area and en suite shower room.

Two additional bedrooms on first floor and two further bedrooms are found on the second floor.

Outside there are exceptional gardens as well as a garage and ample parking. The property provides spacious family accommodation which retains many original characteristics and features, and is perfectly complemented by the generous and private site with delightful level gardens to the rear along with a sheltered patio area with southerly aspect.

Mount Pleasant Square is a mature leafy park off the popular Stranmillis Road and is recognised as one of the area’s most sought after residential locations. It is situated in a conservation area, and undoubtedly Belfast’s most desirable residential address. While this property enjoys considerable privacy and seclusion, the location could not be more convenient for access to Belfast City Centre, the vibrant Lisburn Road, main arterial routes, leading schools and academic institutions, parks and golf clubs.

Please note extensive modernisation required.

Ninety-seven Mount Pleasant Square. The address created a certain sense of contentment, as if to live there was to have reached a plateau of happiness and well-being.

Until that morning, when Ava received the estate agent particulars, she had it all sorted out in her head. She would sell up, pocket a mighty fortune and start her own business, or even go travelling, though she doubted she would go too far when she had her gran to consider. Realistically, Ava couldn’t go backpacking around the south of Ireland let alone New Zealand, knowing her gran was languishing in the Sisters of Mercy nursing home.

The point was, that for the first time in her life, Ava had possibilities, choices which only a significant sum of money could provide. She felt like a Jane Austen heroine, thinking of how money could turn one’s life around, except she didn’t have to hunt down a man of good standing to secure her financial future. Financial security had sought her out, and might as well have fallen straight out of the sky onto her lap for all she knew of how it had come about.

The paperwork had stated that she was now the sole beneficiary of the estate which comprised of number ninety-seven. She had no way of establishing the reason why she had been left the house. She certainly didn’t know of any rich relatives who would have left it to her and knew no reason why it should have remained a secret. It was unlikely her gran had known about the house, for surely, she would have told her that she had this inheritance to look forward to. Why had whoever owned the house chosen to neglect it and allow it to fall into such a poor sorry state? It was all a bit of a curiosity.

When she had received the initial letter requesting that she meet with Ms Boston of Hawkings Solicitors, Ava had assumed it was to do with her gran’s affairs and her move to the nursing home. She had even prepared for the meeting by digging out the deeds of her gran’s house along with social security numbers, her pension book and other such details.

The solicitor, a blonde elegant woman named Amanda, had expressed her delight at having tracked Ava down so easily. She had few details to go on, she explained. If Ava had moved, then the solicitor would have been stuck like a duck in a mudflat. She had extended her manicured hand to congratulate Ava on her good fortune, a diamond engagement ring winking in the sunlight as it cast prisms of light around the airless Ormeau Road office.

Ava sat there on the wine-coloured leather chair, dumbfounded, clutching the irrelevant paperwork, trying to process the information. A house? Left to her? Her initial reaction had been to assume that she had inherited the house from her mother. But firstly, as far as Ava knew, she hadn’t died, and secondly, she hadn’t visited Northern Ireland for many years, let alone owned a house here.

‘Yeah, I can see it’s a shock, but aren’t you the lucky one?’ Amanda had said, obviously happy to pocket the fee for tracking Ava down and finalising the details. It was clear to Ava that it wasn’t every day that Amanda got to play the fairy godmother role. She was probably more used to dealing with Disability Living Allowance fraud cases and chasing up legal aid paperwork on behalf of good-for-nothing joyriders and recreational summer time rioters, hell-bent on throwing petrol bombs at the emergency services, fire brigade and ambulances included.

‘This blue cardboard file has sat gathering dust for years. It must have been instructed well before my time,’ Amanda said. ‘Mr Hawking senior would have dealt with the original client way back in the seventies or eighties when the practice was in its heyday. We have a few leftover documents and cases to be tallied up from the days when Samuel Hawking ran the practice and this bequest file was one of them.’

Ava sat there, not really taking it all in, thinking that at some stage the solicitor would realise she had been mistaken and that she had the wrong Ava Connors. Ava could feel her skin prickle with the beginning of a heat rash – she always got over heated and itchy when she was nervous.

‘But why now? And who left it to me?’

‘All I can tell you is that the benefactor has requested that the house be signed over without disclosure of identity. Believe it or not, it isn’t all that uncommon. Sometimes people don’t wish for the whole world to know their business. You just got lucky.’

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I don’t know about you but I’d be totally okay with a house falling into my lap like that!

Will Ava ever find out who the mysterious benefactor is? Want to read more? Then you’re in luck as A Posy of Promises is available to buy!

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abouttheauthor

A Posy of Promises is Sharon Dempsey’s first contemporary women’s fiction novel.

Sharon is a Belfast based writer of fiction and non-fiction books, with four health books published. He crime debut Little Bird was released July 2017 with Bloodhound Books.

She facilitates therapeutic creative writing classes for people affected by cancer and other health challenges, and runs a creative writing group for young people, called Young Scribblers, at the Crescent Arts Centre. She is a creative writing tutor at Queen’s University and Stranmillis College. Sharon studied Politics and English at Queen’s University, and undertook a newspaper journalism post grad at City University, London.  She has written for a variety of publications and newspapers, including the Irish Times.

Sharon is working on the follow up to Little Bird and a collection of dark short stories.

A Posy of Promises is the first in a trilogy.

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