Thursday, 17 August 2017

Crazy Stupid Love by Cassie Rocca #BlogTour #Review @aria_fiction

Thank you for joining me on the blog tour for Crazy Stupid Love by Cassie Rocca. You can catch my review today but first of all let's take a look at the description for the book...

Are there written rules on how to find a soulmate? Or is it better to trust the hands of fate? A hilarious romance perfect for the fans of Debbie Johnson and Holly Martin.

After enduring a string of dead-end relationships, Zoe Mathison has made a decision – to find a man who truly appreciates her. But this is turning out to be more complicated than she expected. Fed up of being surrounded by insufferably happy couples in love, her mission to find the perfect man starts to become an obsession.

Eric Morgan is pushed to his limits. Hopelessly in love with Zoe, who sees him as nothing more than a best friend to lean on, he can’t bear seeing his hopes of romance crushed every time the sculpted pecs of a younger man comes along. But when a new girl appears on the scene, he is determined to prove that he can push his infatuation aside and move on. But is it as easy as it seems?

In the romantic and bustling city of New York, will Zoe and Eric’s hilarious misadventures attract Cupid's arrow?

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I have to admit that it took me a little while to warm up to Zoe although I think it was mainly down to the fact that I knew about Eric's feelings and she didn't. So I guess I naturally had a little more sympathy for Eric but to be fair to Zoe she is completely in the dark as to his feelings. I really enjoyed their friendship and how comfortable they were with each other.

Crazy Stupid Love is book two in a series so it may be worthwhile reading them in order just so it's easier to get a feel for the characters straight away. Although after a while I got caught up in the story and found myself drawn into their lives. I have to say that I loved the idea of Giftland and the fact that they all worked together and were all friends.

I think that the second half comes into it's own and I did find myself rooting for the characters. The pacing is good although at times could have had a more faster pace. However it did build up the friendship side and that way you really hope the characters will get their happy ending. On the whole I enjoyed the relationships in this story especially how Eric is always there for Zoe even if it's just as her friend. If you like a friends to lovers story then it maybe perfect for you. 

With thanks to Aria Fiction & Netgalley for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Cassie Rocca is a writer of Sicilian origin who has lived in Genoa since the age of three. In everyday life she is a child-minder, a job which gives her plenty of ideas for her modern fairy tales. 

Author Links

Facebook: @CassieRoccaWriter

Twitter: @CassieRocca

The Good Sister by Jess Ryder @jessryderauthor #Review @bookouture

 Thank you for joining me I'm taking part in a blog blitz for The Good Sister by Jess Ryder and you can catch my review today. If you get chance why not check out the other stops too. First of all let's take a look at the description for the book...

There are two sides to every secret.
When her beloved father dies, Josie is devastated to uncover a secret life he has led with another family: another house, another woman and a half-sister, Valentina.
Born in the same week, in the same hospital, they look so physically alike they could be mistaken for twins. But the similarities end there…
Josie is sweet and reserved, a counsellor with the perfect boyfriend and the perfect life. Valentina is damaged and reckless, and she always gets what she wants.
But what she wants is Josie’s life, and she’ll stop at nothing until she has it.

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The opening completely grabbed me and it's safe to say I was intrigued. It was just like a twisty mystery as Josie tries to discover her father's secrets. You can feel her shock over how big the lies he told are. It's hard enough when a loved one dies but to discover the things that Josie finds out are really tough.

I really enjoyed reading the facts at the start of each chapter they were fun and I loved how they tied in with the story. The fact that you got both points of view was perfect for me it almost gave an off balanced feeling to the story that made it pretty addictive. The transition from the two perspectives for the most part was done well and helped move the story along as you saw the two sides to the story. The relationship between Josie and Valentina is written very well and as they get to know each other you can see a dark and disturbing undercurrent just waiting beneath the surface.

The Good Sister is pretty fast moving especially as the truth unravels and the fallout starts. Tense at times with lots of twists and revelations that had me wondering what to believe. Jess Ryder has written a vivid story that just seemed to come to life as I read meaning I was completely dragged into this crazy and nightmarish situation. I read this in one go as I just had to know how it would all play out.

 A story packed full of secrets and lies that left me in a continual spin.

With thanks to Bookouture & Netgalley for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Jess Ryder is the pseudonym of Jan Page, author, screenwriter, playwright and award-winning television producer.  After many years working in children’s media, she has recently embarked on a life of crime.  Writing, that is. Her other big love is making pots.

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The Queen of New Beginnings by Therese Loreskar #GuestPost @bombshellpub @loreskar

Thank you for joining me today I am delighted to be one of the stops on the blog tour for The Queen of New Beginnings by Therese Loreskar. I have a fun guest post today written by Therese where she shares her working day. First of all though let's take a look at the description for the book...

Kajsa lives in a large house in Stockholm along with her three children and their dog. Since coming clean about lying on her popular blog she no longer has any work. Not only that but she has kicked her husband out because of his sex addiction.

While her husband is in rehab trying to fix his little problem, Kajsa's mother in law is thrown out of her retirement home and comes to live with her daughter in law.

Then Kajsa receives an unexpected offer to move to a fashionable part of London. But having to look after her mother in law makes life complicated.  

Can Kajsa rid herself of her baggage and make a fresh start with her children in England?

This laugh-out-loud comedy looks at the daily struggles we all face with our families and asks if starting again is ever really possible. 

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Guest Post

A working day of the fabulously, amazingly glamorous best seller Therese Loreskar’s life:

6:30     The alarm bell sounds.

6:31     My husband snoozes the alarm. I am still sleeping, so not really bothered.

6:50     I wake up, wondering why we’re all still sleeping?

6:51     The cat, husband, two kids and four dwarf hamsters are now all awake.

7:00     Breakfast is served for everyone including the hungry pets.

7:30               Get everything and everyone ready for school. Realize we forgot some important paper or homework and rush to fix it before jetting off.

7:45               Bike to school.

8:00               Make some strong, black tea. Indulge on the day’s first piece of dark chocolate.

8:01               Another bit of dark chocolate. Everyone know it’s good for you, right?

8:15               Computer is started; checking out more social media than I should. Answering lots of emails. Attempting to organize my day, just to realize I’ve forgotten something important that needs immediate attention.

9:00               I share office with my husband. And now his daily (and extremely chatty) conference call starts. Put on my headphones and listen to Glee or Out of the blue Oxford.

9:01               Turn up the volume and try to not get dragged into his crazy, ingenious conference call about things I can’t even spell. The problem is that his call is in English and I try to write in Swedish today.

9:03               Need more chocolate. Realizing I wrote my last email in Swenglish. Not again. Turn up the volume even further. Need to keep the English out for now.

10:00             Time to start to writing on that bestseller I’ve been thinking about for a while.

10:18             For real this time, need to start writing…

11:08             Lunch?

11:09             No, not yet, need to write at least 110 words or so first…

11:17             I’m starving! I need food now!

12:00             Back at the computer. Let see, need to start writing …but wait…four new emails? Just going to answer them…and maybe have a look at Facebook.

14:30             Hello? Look at the clock, how could this have happened? Our son and four of his friends are raiding the kitchen for snacks. Is the workday over already?

14:31             Turn off the computer, time to bike to school and pick up my daughter from her after school club. Tomorrow, I’ll start writing on that bestseller. Right?

Thank you to Therese for this fab guest post.

Therese Loreskär started her carrier in 2010 as a Swedish author. She self-published her first novel which was very well received and quickly sold out!

In 2014 she signed up to a publishing house. Her novel called “The Queen of Blogging” was released and the feedback was overwhelming! People referred to the book as a modern “Bridget Jones” and couldn’t get enough of the main character, Kajsa. The next book “The Queen of Blogging 2” was released shortly after to all the reader’s delight.

Therese has since then published 4 bestselling children’s books as well. She often does tours at different schools and talks about her books. The children love her visits and Therese always enjoys talking to her little readers.

“The Queen of Blogging 1 & 2” have also been recorded and launched as audiobooks in addition to paper backs in Sweden. Her biggest dream is to have “The Queen of Blogging series” made into films, and she secretly keeps a list in an old drawer of presumptive actors that would do the characters in her books justice.

Her never-ending energy for writing and entertaining people with her characters is her biggest trait.

Therese lives in the countryside along the west coast of Sweden. She has a rather big and busy household, with (one) husband, two children, one deaf cat, five hamsters and a grandmother.

When she’s not busy making up stories and writing silly things, she enjoys the nature, people, history, redecorating the house without asking anyone for permission, and all other kinds of creativity.
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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Q&A with Charlie Laidlaw @claidlawauthor

Thank you for stopping by I have a little Q&A with Charlie Laidlaw today. 

First of all let's take a look at his book The Things We Learn When We're Dead. I will be reviewing this book at the beginning of October as at the moment my TBR pile is way out of control!

On the way home from a dinner party she didn't want to attend, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions.

It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident. Or does God have a higher purpose after all?

At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decisions to make and that she needs to find a way home…

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Q&A – Charlie Laidlaw

1 - Can you choose three words that best describe your personality?

Introverted, extroverted, confused.

2 - Is there a book you wish you could have written?

Like many authors, One Day by David Nicholls.

3 - What was the last book you read?

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson, and Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift.  Both, in different ways, are beautifully written.

4 - If you were stranded on a desert island what three books would you want with you?

Ideally, any book that would burn well.  However, I’d settle for anything that could teach me how to fish, grow stuff, or build an aeroplane. 

5 - Do you have any strange writing habits?

I find that writing is the easy bit.  Deciding what to write is the hard bit.  Strangely, I find my best inspiration when driving or on a long train journey.

6 - Is there a specific place where you write?

I have a home-office, and that’s the only place I write.

7 - What is your favourite personality trait of your main character from The Things We Learn When We're Dead?

She’s a young women so, like many young people, she’s an idealist.  In a sense, the book is about how she comes to balance idealism with reality – something, I guess, that we all have to do.

8 - What did you enjoy most about writing The Things We Learn When We're Dead?

Getting to know my main character, finding out what she liked, and the things she didn’t like.  Although it doesn’t come into the book, I know what TV programmes she likes, the kind of music she enjoys, and the books she reads.  For me, my fictional characters become real people, and it’s them who (almost) tell me what to write.

9 - Are you working on anything now?

A book called Darker Matters which is about love, loss, and a dollop of astrophysics.  It’s a dark comedy about the unintended consequences of celebrity, and how a young woman grows up in the long shadow of her film star father.  It’s poignant and fun.

Quick fire questions - Which do you prefer?

Paperback or eBook

Paperback.  Do you know how little authors are paid for eBooks?

Classic novel or Contemporary

Contemporary.  I like to support living authors (see above).

Cinema or Theatre

With regret, cinema, because I love the theatre. 

Crisps or Chocolate

Chocolate.  I don’t like crisps.

Tea or Coffee

Coffee.  Tea is the work of the Devil.

Night out or Day out

Either.  It depends on the who and the where.

Thank you again for taking the time to answer the Q&A!

I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault.  That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father.  That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland (quite near Paisley, but thankfully not too close) and graduated from the University of Edinburgh.  I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist.  I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics.  I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.

I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries.  Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa.  What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember.

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then.  However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.

Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in East Lothian.   And that’s about it.

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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Fox in the Box by Amanda Gee #Review

When Lydia finds a lost baby fox outside her back door, they set off together to look for his family. But on the way, they discover a terrible disaster is about to overtake their village. Can they stop it.....and will the cub find what he's looking for?

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I have to talk about the front cover as it's just perfect and my children immediately started talking about the Fox and my son asked if he was ok which I thought was very sweet. The illustrations are wonderfully eye catching and really helped to engage my children as they talked about what they saw as well as listening to the story. I really enjoyed reading the story to my children the rhyming style worked well and it flowed perfectly.

It has a lovely sweet and loving feel to it as Lydia the little girl finds the fox and tries to comfort him then deciding to help him find his way home. Within the story there is also a lovely message to convey about caring for our environment. The story is easy to understand whether it's about being kind and helpful but also that working together can sometimes work. The ending was perfect and as a family we were all delighted with the way things turned out in the end.

The length of the story is just about right as my two year old can sometimes lose interest if a story is too long. However she sat and listened to it all along with her brother where they happily pointed out all the different animals that Lydia and the fox encounter along the way.

A sweet and delightful story!

With thanks to Amanda Gee for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion

Unforgivable by Mike Thomas @ItDaFiveOh #BlogTour #Review @BonnierZaffre

Thank you for joining me on the blog tour for Unforgivable by Mike Thomas I'm delighted to be sharing my review today along with an extract. 

First of all though let's take a look at the description for the book...

Bombs detonate in a busy souk, causing massive devastation. 

An explosion rips apart a mosque, killing and injuring those inside. 

But this isn't the Middle East - this is Cardiff . . . 

In a city where tensions are already running high, DC Will MacReady and his colleagues begin the desperate hunt for the attacker. If they knew the 'why', then surely they can find the 'who'? But that isn't so easy, and time is fast running out . . . 

MacReady is still trying to prove himself after the horrific events of the previous year, which left his sergeant injured and his job in jeopardy, so he feels sidelined when he's asked to investigate a vicious knife attack on a young woman. 

But all is not as it seems with his new case, and soon MacReady must put everything on the line in order to do what is right.

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Just two days after the market and mosque attacks, the city is slowly returning to normal despite the fact the bomber is still on the loose. As MacReady and the team start to make a couple of small breakthroughs in the case, a lone figure walks towards the biggest shopping centre in Cardiff – and he’s carrying a rucksack full of homemade pipe bombs…

So heavy, all this clothing. This rucksack. So hot.
Under cloudless sky he strides towards the entrance, across sculpted lawn and immaculate block pathways, the open space peppered with bag-laden shoppers, with Pret-stuffing businessmen, with giggling teens who sit beneath trees and sup on lattes, on iced drinks, smartphones never more than a few inches from their faces. People forget so quickly. Yesterday, the day after Bessemer, the Al Mahdi, they were fearful. Of enclosed areas, of large gatherings. He saw it on their faces: in railway stations, on buses, in the city centre’s pubs and bars and clubs. A tension there. Anxiety fizzing beneath the surface. Casting sideways glances. Watchful. Nervous. Trying not to appear so.
Now not one of them looks at him. Widens their eyes as they take in his appearance. Reels backward in terror as they push themselves away from him. Even after the news reports this morning, the photograph that is everywhere. There is nothing. Not a flicker of recognition, of anything remotely close to vigilance. Just ignorance and apathy and self-absorption, shocking in their measure, and deserving of punishment.
The skin between his shoulder blades prickles, a square of cold sweat. Head low, tucked into the raised collar. Baseball cap too tight on his head, pinching at hair and scalp. Sunglasses heavy across the bridge of his nose. Hands wrinkled and sopping inside leather gloves that he has jammed into the pockets of his jacket. The hiss of white noise in his ears, growing louder with every step.
This heat. Unbearable. He pauses after pushing through the glass doors, as the temperature-controlled air envelops him. Cools him a little. He savours it, checking about as he stands in his outfit. The jacket one he used to wear when tasked with stopping anyone seeking to do the very thing he was about to. When protecting the public. Serving them. The jacket is the only thing that might identify him. It’s a minor oversight, he realises now. Just like the market, the mosque, there have been no warnings, no coded telephone calls. He has nothing else on him. No wallet. No phone. No ID of any kind, other than what they might take from his fingertips, from his mouth for DNA, if they captured him. If they took him alive.
Again, not a single head turns towards him as he stands, motionless bar the rise and fall of his chest, at the entrance to the shopping centre’s café quarter. Restaurants, eateries. Two entire floors of chain brands selling their overpriced, reheated wares to consumer zombies with their bags crammed full of expensive tat. Mouths chew at egg noodles, pasta, overpriced funky chips and pulse-ridden Super fucking Foods. The sight of it almost makes him do it right here, right now. He closes his eyes behind the sunglasses. Breathes deeply, listens to the white noise, the thump of his heart just-about-audible beneath.
Removes the security card. Congratulates himself again on his foresight. How he removed it long before they removed him. Swipe at the pad, the Staff Only door giving a slight tremor as its locks disable. A quick shift of the rucksack, higher onto his back, and he pushes through.
He’s in.

I have to talk about the opening chapter it's safe to say that it grabbed hold of me and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. It's gritty and dark at times but this just made the story all the more gripping and addictive. The main point that I found was that the events in this book can and do take place which made it all the more chilling, from protest marches to actual bombs being detonated. The story feels very real almost as if you are a fly on the wall experiencing the events with the characters.

Will isn't perfect and for me it made his character much more believable. I always seem to appreciate a character more if they have flaws. Will makes mistakes but don't we all it's just all the more dangerous and significant if Will does. Even though this is the second Will MacReady story it didn't really feel as if there was any confusion from not reading the first story Ash and Bones. Although as with any series it does help to start at the beginning I guess just so you get more of the back story. I felt that I was given enough information to get a feel for Will's character without it being too much at once. There are a wide range of supporting characters who vary in how likeable they are. 

It was great to see a couple of plot strands take place along with the bombings and it was interesting to see the investigations play out. The pacing of the story is pretty good with a good mix of high adrenaline scenes then seeing how they go about investigating the crimes. Mike Thomas has written an intriguing character and story that left me wanting more.

Unforgivable is tense, fast paced with plenty of heart stopping moments!

With thanks to Emily at Bonnier Zaffre for my copy. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

His teenage years were spent breakdancing, spraying graffiti around the town’s walls and office blocks and just about staying on the right side of the law, until his early twenties when, inexplicably, he joined the local constabulary and began locking people up for spraying graffiti around the town’s walls and office blocks.
“…inexplicably, he joined the local constabulary and began locking people up for spraying graffiti around the town’s walls and office blocks…”
While working as a plod in Wales’ capital city of Cardiff, Thomas continued with his childhood passion: writing. As a freelance he produced articles for local newspapers, various websites and national travel magazines, while in 2007 he was one of the winners in the annual Rhys Davies Short Story Competition organised by Literature Wales. After completing a Master’s degree in Creative Writing at the University of Wales between 2007 and 2009, Thomas published his debut novel, Pocket Notebook, in 2010 with William Heinemann/Penguin Random House.

The author was on the prestigious list of Waterstones’ ‘New Voices’ for that year, while Pocket Notebook was longlisted for the Wales Book of the Year and optioned for television by Carnival Films, the producers of Downton Abbey. His second novel, Ugly Bus, was released by Heinemann in 2014 and is currently in development as a six part television series with the BBC. Both novels deal with the uglier side of policing.
“…He currently lives in the wilds of Portugal with his wife and children…”
Thomas left the police in the spring of 2015 and grew his hair and a pathetic attempt at a beard. He currently lives in the wilds of Portugal with his wife and children. Alongside chopping wood, cementing crumbling house walls and trying to find somewhere that sells his beloved Marmite, he continues to write articles and web pieces for a variety of sites and publications, and is contracted to London’s Bonnier Publishing for three new novels, the first of which – Ash and Bones – was released August 2016. The second in the series, Splinter, is due for publication in the summer of 2017.

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