Challenge Participant


Saturday, 23 March 2019

Books on Tour - Heartlands by Kerry Watt

Today I am pleased to be taking part in Bookouture's Books on Tour to celebrate the publication of Kerry Watt's new release, Heartlands.

Call it mother’s intuition, but I knew she was dead the moment she was late home. As I listened to her phone ring and ring, that’s when I knew for sure. My little girl was gone. 

Twenty years ago, Sophie Nicoll never came home from school. Days later her body was found in a shallow grave on a remote farm a few miles from her hometown. Two boys from her school were found guilty. The press called the boys evil. Sophie’s family wanted them dead. The judge promised they’d never walk free.

Two decades later and schoolgirl Shannon Ross has vanished from a small town in the Scottish Highlands.

It’s Detective Jessie Blake’s first big case since she joined Perthshire Police. Having recently arrived from London, Jessie lives in fear of people finding out about her past and her reasons for moving north.

When Shannon’s body is found in the river on the outskirts of Inverlochty, Jessie discovers she’s not the only one with something to hide. As the small community begins to crack under pressure, people begin to point fingers. And soon, the big secrets hidden within the small town are revealed – with devastating consequences.

This shocking crime thriller set in the dramatic Scottish Highlands will have you reading well into the night. If you like LJ Ross, Cara Hunter or Robert Bryndza, you will absolutely love this.

Heartlands is Kerry Watts' first novel and in it she introduces us to Detective Jessie Blake, a character that I am already reading more about and learning more about her and her history as Heartlands is all about her first case as Detective but there appears to be things in her past that she would rather stay hidden.

I did enjoy Heartlands although at times it felt that Kerry was trying to pack the book with too many storylines and back history. I am looking forward to reading more by Kerry and watching her writing develop. The character of Detective Jessie Blake is an interesting one and I would love to read more about her and watch her grow as she continues to stamp her mark on the Perthshire Police and leaves London behind

Thank you to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the Books on Tour to celebrate teh publication of Heartlands and for a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Blog Tour - Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe

Today I am excited to be taking part in Penguin's Blog Tour to celebrate the publication of Nina Stibbe's fantastic new release, Reasons to be Cheerful.

Reasons to be CheerfuliWhen people in the village heard I was about to start working in the city they tried to unsettle me with tales of woe. The sun, blotted out by the tall buildings, couldn't shine and the rain was poisoned by the toxic fumes that poured from the sock factories. My skin would be covered in pimples from the hell of it all'

So begins a young woman's journey to adulthood. Lizzie Vogel leaves her alcoholic, novel-writing mother and heads for Leicester to work for a racist, barely competent dentist obsessed with joining the freemasons.

Soon Lizzie is heading reluctantly, if at top speed, into the murky depths of adult life: where her driving instructor becomes her best friend; her first boyfriend prefers birdwatching to sex and where independence for a teenage girl might just be another word for loneliness.

In Reasons to Be Cheerful Nina Stibbe shows her extraordinary gift for illuminating the vital details which make us human. She is that rare writer who makes us laugh whilst reminding us of the joy, and the pain, of being alive.

Nina Stibbe is a fantastic author - one that when I pick up, I know that I am in for a brilliant read and one which will leave me giggling away in the corner as I devour the book!

Reasons to be Cheerful is another brilliant read by Nina Stibbe. It is hilarious in a number of places, with a cast of great characters and is a book that many of its readers will identify with.

Set in the 1980s, Nina has included a number of fantastic observational moments which transports the reader straight back to the decade and I am sure many readers will identify and reimnise about way into the night! It is great to again meet with main character Lizzie Benson and in a time that I remember although I was slightly younger than her at the time.

A great book to throw into a bag to read in moments of quiet. I read lots of it while waiting for my bus to and from work and it lightened my mood many times.

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

Books on Tour - Escape to the Little French Cafe by Karen Clarke

On the beautiful French coast lies the Café Belle Vie, a peaceful haven offering a warm welcome and delicious pains au chocolat – and where Natalie’s quiet life is about to be turned upside down…

When thirty-one-year-old Natalie Bright’s boyfriend dumps her and immediately gets engaged to his ex-girlfriend, she escapes her heartbreak and moves to the charming village of Chamillon on the Île de Ré.

She’s determined to build a new life there: writing about farmer’s markets for a local magazine, exploring the local vineyards on her bike, and taking advantage of the sunshine. And in the Café Belle Vie she finds a bustling community – including new best friend Charlie – and a near-constant supply of cakes.

All in all, things are looking pretty good.

So when a blast from the past – her teenage crush Jay Merino – suddenly turns up in Chamillon, Natalie’s thrown. She’s sworn off men ever since she moved to France, but she and Jay have a connection that stretches back years.

But could taking a chance on an old flame complete her new life – or ruin everything she’s worked so hard for?

A gorgeous rom com full of sunshine, croissants and sparkling romance! Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson, Zara Stoneley and Debbie Macomber.

I really enjoy Karen Clarke's books. Karen has written a number of trilogies which are based in a fictional village or area and Karen gives us the opportunity to meet a number of the residents and feel part of the community.

Escape to the French Café is another great read by Karen Clarke. it is set in France and the setting sounds idyllic, a place I would love to visit! The cast of characters all sound great and by the end of the book I felt like part of the community within Café Belle Vie! 

In this book the reader meets Natalie Bright, who has escaped to Chamillon following the break down of her relationship with her boyfriend when he gets engaged to his ex girlfriend! Chamillon sounds like the ideal place to get over a break up and she looses herself in her new life. All is going well until her teenage crush also crashes into her new life - this is a slow burning romance and one which I enjoyed reading about, watching from afar as their relationship blooms.

As ever Karen includes great humour within her writing and in parts I was giggling and chuckling while reading and I just had to keep reading!

I really hope that Karen will be returning to Chamillon soon, there are some fantastic cast characters who I would love to find out more about.

This is the perfect book to load onto your kindle to read while relaxing over a long weekend, or to read while travelling away to sunnier climbs.

Thank you to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the Books on Tour to celebrate the publication of Escape to the Little French Café and a copy of the book in return for an honest review. 

Friday, 15 March 2019

Books on Tour - When You're Gone by Brooke Harris

Today I am pleased to be taking part in Bookouture's Books on Tour to celebrate the publication of Brooke Harris' 'When You're Gone'.

Holly was overjoyed to discover she was pregnant. But the baby is unwell, and her relationship is fracturing under the stress. Just when she is at her lowest, she receives the worst news of all: her beloved nana, Annie, is dying.

But Annie has one final wish before she leaves. She asks Holly to find a memory box in the attic, and to read the handwritten pages within it to her, the most precious things she owns.

It’s the story of Arthur ‘Sketch’ Talbot, Annie’s first – and last – love, and how much he sacrificed to save her from a home where she didn’t feel safe. It’s Annie’s promise to Holly that it doesn’t matter how long you love someone – but how much.

As Holly reads her nana’s story to her one last time, could it help her find the strength to face her own future? Is fulfilling her grandmother’s final wish really a gift for Holly?

Compelling, heart-breaking, and emotionally vivid, When You’re Gone will break your heart and fix it anew. A gripping and emotional novel about family, love and sacrifice, for fans of Diane Chamberlain, Susan Lewis and Kathryn Hughes’ The Letter.

Previously published as When It Rains. This edition contains significant editorial revisions.

When You're Gone is a book that is going to stay with  me for a long time. It is a book that has been beautifully written and definitely takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions. It gripped me from the very start and I did not want to put it down until I got to the very end. I often found myself with tears rolling down my face as I read.

There are some difficult themes throughout the book with Holly being pregnant with a sick baby and also facing the harsh reality that her nana is dying. Dealing with both at the same time is heart breaking but there is some light within the story as she is able to reminisce with her nana about her past and her first love.

When You're Gone is a fantastic read, a powerful story of love and lost and the strength of family and friendship.

Thank you to Bookouture for inviting me to be a part of Books on Tour and for a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Blog Tour - One Summer's Night by Kiley Dunbar

Today I am pleased to be taking part in the blog tour to celebrate the publication of Kiley Dunbar's debut novel 'One Summer's Night'.

One Summer's Night: An uplifting, gorgeously romantic, feel good readKelsey Anderson is stuck in a rut so big, she’ll need a 4-wheel drive to get out. She’s just been made redundant from her dead-end job, and boyfriend Fran is so busy climbing up the career ladder that he’s forgotten how to have fun. She needs to change her life – and fast.

Stumbling across an advert for tour guides in Stratford-Upon-Avon seems like the perfect way to bring the sunshine back. In an impulsive move, she moves from her small Scottish village to Shakespeare’s birthplace, armed only with a suitcase and her battered copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets.

Kelsey quickly falls in love with the place, her job as a tourist guide allowing her to explore every inch of the picture-perfect town, from cosy cafes to the picturesque banks of the river.

But it’s not just the town that captures her heart, as she finds herself torn between the actors Will and Jonathan who both vie for her affections.

But will beautiful Peony, the lead actress at the Oklahoma theatre company where Jonathan is playing Oberon in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, play a role in keeping Kelsey and Jonathan apart?

Or will flirtatious, charming Will, the fellow tour guide who has set his sights on Kelsey, keep the star-crossed lovers from finding their happy ending?

A gorgeously uplifting, feel good romance that will captivate readers of Holly Martin, Cathy Bramley and Milly Johnson.

I really enjoyed 'One Summer's Night'. It is set in Stratford Upon Avon, a town that I visited many times, although surprisingly never done the Shakespeare touristy bits. Having Kelsey Anderson as a tour guide meant that the author, Kiley Dunbar, was able to show the beautiful Stratford Upon Avon setting at its very best.

The book features a great cast of characters and I really empathised with Kelsey who had a lot going on in her life. She is very down to earth and I think that it is this that makes her likeable.

I also really liked Kiley's writing style, very laid back , easy to read and had an almost chatty style to it. At times I felt like I was listening to a conversation between friends telling each other of events of their days.  The storyline was believable and went at a steady pace.

I would recommend One Summer's Night to any of my blog readers who are looking for an easy to read, great story, set in a beautiful setting with a cast of characters that would be a great set of new friends.

Thank you to Hera Books and Tracy Fenton for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Books on Tour - New Starts and Cherry Tarts by Liz Eeles

Today I am pleased to be taking part in Bookouture's Books on Tour to celebrate the publication of Liz Eeles' new release 'New Starts and Cherry Tarts'.

Fans of Cathy Bramley, Debbie Johnson and Jenny Colgan will fall in love with the Cosy Kettle café, where slices of lemon meringue pie are served in the sun-dappled garden – and where Callie’s new beginning collides with an old flame…

After yet another failed romance, twenty-six-year-old Callie Fulbright is giving up on love. She’s determined to throw all her efforts into her very own, brand-new café: The Cosy Kettle. Serving hot tea, cherry tarts and a welcoming smile to the friendly locals proves to be the perfect distraction, and Callie feels a flush of pride at the fledging business she’s built.

But her new-found confidence is soon put to the test when her gorgeous ex reappears in the quaint little village. She’ll never forget the heartache Noah caused her years ago, but when they bump into each other on the cobbled streets of Honeyford she can’t help but feel a flutter in her chest…

As Callie and Noah share laughter and memories, she starts to wonder if this could be her second chance at happiness. But when Callie discovers that someone is mysteriously trying to ruin the café’s reputation… she has an awful suspicion that Noah knows who’s involved.

Was she wrong to ever trust him again? And can she find out who’s behind the lies and rumours, before it’s too late for the Cosy Kettle?

'New Starts and Cherry Tarts at the Cosy Kettle' is a delightful book from start to finish. Set in a book shop it is of course the perfect location for a book and add to that the introduction of a café and it is somewhere that I would love to spend hours.

The book has a great cast of characters and I would love to return their for a further book to find out more about some of the locals. It has the feeling of the hub of a traditional English village where everyone knows everyone else, look out for each other and a great community spirit.

I really enjoyed the book, it has a great storyline and one which I was totally immersed. I quickly devoured the book and will be recommending it to anyone who wants a recommendation for their next read.

'New Starts and Cherry Tarts at the Cosy Kettle' reminded me of Heidi Swain's novels and I hope that Liz Eeles writes more books that include the Cosy Kettle as I want to revisit the characters very soon.
Thank you to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in this Books on Tour promotion and for a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Blog Tour - The Age of Mis-Adventure by Judy Leigh

Today I am taking part in Avon Books blog tour to celebrate the publication of Judy Leigh's new release, The Age of Misadventure.

The Age of Misadventure (Paperback)

The gloriously funny new novel from the author of A Grand Old Time.
All Georgie Turner wants is to keep her family together. But with her daughter growing up fast, her sister married to a man Georgie hates, and their aging aunt getting more and more outrageous, nothing's simple.
So when her brother-in-law makes his biggest mistake yet, Georgie sees the chance to reunite the ladies in her life. And after a little persuasion, three generations of Turner women head off on a very unusual road trip. Georgie's confident that some sun, sea and a bottle or two of prosecco will make this an adventure they'll never forget.
What could possibly go wrong?

A gorgeously fun and uplifting novel about living your life to the full, whatever your age. Perfect for fans of Dawn French and Fern Britton.
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780008269227
'The Age of Mis-Adventure' is one of those books that leaves you laughing out loud, sympathising with the characters and wanting to give others a good talking to!

The characters are slightly older than me and also older than many included in books that I usually read and at the start I was worried that I wouldn't be able to relate to them however I soon forgot that worry as I became immersed in their lives and enjoyed the book.

'The Age of Mis-Adventure' is a great book for a long relaxing weekend or to through in a bag for a long journey.

Avon Books have given me an extract to share with my blog readers …………..

She settles in her chair and I set to making her lunch. The screen rattles in the background and Nan giggles, poised like a queen, waving the remote like a sceptre.

An hour passes quickly, plates clanging and Nan sucking gravy and demanding another Guinness. I glance at the phone screen as I clear away her lunch and wipe up the dishes. There’s still nothing from my sister or my daughter. Nanny’s performing one of her monologues in the next room, reminiscing, leaving me a split second to answer after each rant. She’s still in the armchair, in front of the television, a steaming cup of tea in her hands, warming her fingers.

‘Your mother wouldn’t have liked it, Georgina. I mean, Josie’s not here to see it but, God bless her, she’d have spoken her mind, that’s for sure.’

‘I know, Nan—’

‘In our day, we thought marriage was for life.’

‘Like a sentence for murder?’ I shout from the little kitchen. She doesn’t hear.

‘All this chopping and changing partners. Like a bloody barn dance. At least Bonnie’s stuck with her man.’

I mutter, ‘He’s sticking his arms round other women. She’s stuck it for over 
twenty-five years. It’s time they became unstuck, Nan.’ Again, she doesn’t hear.

‘Mind you, I don’t like that Adie Carrick. I liked Terry Wood, though. He was a nice lad. Your Jade’s just like him, you know.’

I’d been fond of him, too. I breathe out and glance at my phone again. 

‘Unreliable, you mean?’ No texts, no messages.

I dry my hands and go back to the lounge. She’s calling to me, her eyes on the television.

‘Good-looking, both of them, father and daughter. Fit, well made. She’s the image of him. Same violet eyes. You should have hung on to him, Georgina.’

I sit down and shrug. ‘He took off with another woman, Nan. Remember? Alison with the little rabbity face. Seriously, she even dresses like Jessica Rabbit. Tight outfits, silly posh voice. She thinks she’s sex on legs. He thinks so, too.’

‘Where did he move to?’

‘Ealing. Where the comedies come from.’

I’m looking at the back of her head. She’s still staring at the television.

‘He has a little lad now?’ she asks.

‘You know he does. He must be four years old or thereabouts.’

She turns to me and frowns.

Thank you to the publishers, Avon Books, for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for a copy of the book in return for an honest review.