#BlogTour #BookReview Sisterly Love by Michelle Vernal

Today I’m beyond excited to be part of the blog tour for the brilliant ‘Sisterly Love’ by Michelle Vernal!

Sisterly Love

Sisterly Love - High Resolution - Version 2

Length: 349 pages

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

What they say:

Nobody’s Perfect Are They?

Rebecca Loughton’s bumbled her way through her thirty-something years making a few cock-ups along the way. Of course, these wouldn’t be so obvious if it wasn’t for her golden haired, older sister Jennifer.

In a bid to escape Jennifer’s lengthy shadow and to find her happy ever after Rebecca, high-tails it out of her hometown of Christchurch to the other side of the world landing a legal secretary job in the buzzing city of Dublin. A few drinks later, all she has to show for her new life is an embarrassing one-night stand and a dollop of flirtatious banter with her boss Ciaran, who just happens to have a predatory receptionist in hot pursuit of him.

Amidst plans of preventing such a merger, Rebecca receives news that Jennifer’s picture perfect life has a big, fat crack down the middle of it in the form of a philandering husband. Summoned home to look after her sister’s children and cooking school while she works on her marriage, Rebecca finds the reality of looking after two young children along with the bizarre array of guests booked into the cooking school grim. The only bright spot on her horizon are Ciaran’s e-mails but then she meets David Seagar whom she thinks might just be the ending to her happy ever after but will he prove to be far from perfect too?

The Review

So we meet Rebecca, who’s been drafted in by her sister to look after the kids after said sister’s marriage breaks down to fly back to their home town (Rebecca moved to Ireland some time ago) in Cristchurch.  I have to start by saying all settings were excellent, in particular the finer details, her home household with it’s Addam’s family type portrait, her apartment in Dublin (me: yay-it’s set in Dublin!), or her sister’s decadent family house.

The comedy and smart remarks were totally me, the fact that there was two kids present to send everything in a spin and that her and her ‘try-to-get-out-of-anything’ friend, Melissa, was helping mind them? Just brilliant.

Now I’ll admit I had tiny issues, Rebecca wasn’t always the world’s most likeable protagonist and I’d say the book was more comedy than romance (I didn’t totally believe any of the romance to be honest), but all in all I loved this book, with it’s non stop pacing and bam, bam, bam approach to everything that happened. Any issues I found in terms of believably were miniscule and didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for a book I absolutely DEVOURED, nodding along and smiling, in just a few hours. I’ll most definitely look forward to making my way through this author’s back catalogue.

I’ll never forget when Cher Lloyd was first on the X Factor, and after one of her particularly amazing performances, Cheryl said (puts on Cheryl accent:)”You’re right up my street you are” (or something close to that anyhoo!). THAT is how I feel about this book.

Thanks so much to Rachel’s Random Resources for this book in return for an honest review and of course for allowing me to be part of the blog tour.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the author

bty

Hello, my name is Michelle Vernal, and by way of introduction, I’m Mum to Josh and Daniel and am married to the super supportive Paul. We live in the garden city of Christchurch, New Zealand with our three-legged, black cat called Blue. BC (before children) Paul and I lived and worked in Ireland, the experiences we had there have flavoured my books.

I’ve always written, but it was only after my first son was born that I decided to attend a creative writing course at Canterbury University. Oh the guilt dropping him at pre-school so I could learn the basics of story writing, but oh the joy of having conversation to contribute other than the price of nappies that week! The first piece I ever penned post course was published by a New Zealand parenting magazine. I went on to write humorous; opinion styled pieces of my take on parenting, but when the necessity for being politically correct got too much, I set myself the challenge of writing a novel. Six books later and a publishing deal with Harper Impulse here I am. These days I write for a North Canterbury lifestyle magazine and my latest book Sweet Home Summer has just been released by Harper Impulse.

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#BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway One Summer Weekend by Juliet Archer

Apologies to everyone I let down yesterday when I failed to post this, my blog post for the tour of One Summer Weekend by Juliet Archer.

One Summer Weekend

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Purchase from Amazon UK

What they say:  One summer weekend can change everything …

Alicia Marlowe’s life as an executive coach is well under control – until she meets her new client, Jack Smith. Jack’s reputation precedes him and Alicia knows immediately that he spells trouble. Not least because he reminds her of someone else – a man who broke her heart and made her resolve never to lower her guard again.

Taking Jack on as a client is a risk, but one that Alicia decides to take for the good of her career. As long as she keeps him in his place, she might just make it through unscathed. But Jack has other ideas – including a ‘business’ trip to the Lake District. One summer weekend with him is all it takes to put Alicia’s carefully organised world in a spin …

The Review: We meet Alicia Marlowe as she meets a new potential client for ‘Coaches for Growth,’ and she is not impressed by what she sees. I was straight in, straight away as we also met Jack Smith, whose reputation as single handedly turning around a company that was in severe difficulty preceded him. I knew I liked Jack straight off the bat, and enjoyed how they interacted with each other, even though Alicia did at times come across as being slightly over dramatic, jumping to every cliche conclusion about him not being serious, and being a womanizer. I enjoyed their time in the office, but it was after the twenty percent mark, where Jack took Alicia to the beautiful Lake District, that things really kicked off for me as they pretended to be a couple for the lovely Bill and Midge. I enjoyed the scenery and settings, although for once I wished I could have gotten even more of a feel for both, given the beauty of this cover (isn’t it gorgeous?)and the location.

The romance in this book is impeccible, turning a couple who I wasn’t sure of the chemistry of, into a partnership that I willed to work. With both struggling from past hurts, we got some drama that I really enjoyed. I flew through this book in one lovely Summer’s afternoon and it was perfect for this. Thanks so much to Rachel’s Random Resources for the book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

And now for the giveaway!!!

Win PB Copies of The Importance of Being Emma and Persuade Me (Open Internationally)

Giveaway – Win PB Copies of The Importance of Being Emma and Persuade Me (Open Internationally)

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To enter simply click here

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

About the author

Juliet Archer 2

Juliet Archer writes award-winning romantic comedy for Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction. She has been known to spend many happy hours matching irresistible heroes with their equally irresistible chocolate counterparts – watch out for the dark nutty ones!

Her debut novel, The Importance of Being Emma, won the Big Red Read Book of the Year 2011 Fiction Award and was shortlisted for the 2009 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. Her second novel, Persuade Me, was shortlisted for the 2011 Festival of Romance Best Romantic Read Award.

Juliet’s third book, One Summer Weekend, is out in June 2018. You can also read her short stories: Incense & Insensibility in the Choc Lit Love Match anthology, and Love Rules in Choc Lit’s Kisses & Cupcakes anthology.

Juliet was born and bred in North-East England and now lives in Hertfordshire. She gives talks all over the UK and in the USA about the classic authors who inspire her work. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Jane Austen Society. Her non-writing career has spanned IT, acquisitions analysis, copy editing, marketing and project management, providing plenty of first-hand research for her novels.

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The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard

theliarsgirl

Length: 336 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

Her first love confessed to five murders. But the truth was so much worse.

Dublin’s notorious Canal Killer, Will Hurley, is ten years into his life sentence when the body of a young woman is fished out of the Grand Canal. Though detectives suspect they are dealing with a copycat, they turn to Will for help. He claims he has the information the police need, but will only give it to one person – the girl he was dating when he committed his horrific crimes.

Alison Smith has spent the last decade abroad, putting her shattered life in Ireland far behind her. But when she gets a request from Dublin imploring her to help prevent another senseless murder, she is pulled back to face the past – and the man – she’s worked so hard to forget.

The Review: I had read Distress Signals (review here) and really enjoyed but I have to admit when I read the opening chapter of this I was hopping around. Because this was fully up my street, heading more into the territory of everyday psychological thriller (kinda Kathryn Crofty for anyone who read her, for those of you who are fed up of me comparing everyone to her, I’m sorry, but she’s my holy grail in psychological thrillers to date).

Our protagonist, Alison Smith, has been called back to Dublin to talk to her ex boyfriend, who is in a psychiatric hospital after admitting to the murder of female students of St John’s University, ten years ago.  With a new killer repeating history Will is saying he has information that he will only tell her. Here is a book that sends you around in circles and back again. You wonder via both Will and the detective on the scene (who actually I wouldn’t mind seeing more of) if there is any chance at all that Will could be innocent and your eyes search out every single word trying to figure out if you’re right or wrong. You also have to take into account that at the time Alison and her best friend Liz, were going through tumultuous times and we wonder why we need to know this ( I guessed why totally wrongly a number of times!!).

I loved both the detective aspect of the book-the perfection found in the expertly done ins and outs of the system (expected of course, from someone who wrote the mecca of all writing manuals, the ‘Self Printed’ spoken of here ) and also the cautionary aspects in terms of social media and student life too (a number of ‘what the frig’ moments in terms of getting information really got me). I hated/ loved following victims knowing where it was leading and wanting to help them, but being unable to (um, because it’s a book and not real life;)).

I have to admit one part that I didn’t quite need was the dark voice of the ‘baddie,’ but that’s just because in general I feel that unless they’re adding something significant to the book by showing us either an actual justification for the crime, or how they do it in a way the protagonist/ police can’t, then they’re just adding a ‘scary’ voice that isn’t necessary (this is more than likely totally me though!). The other thing was the last portion of the book which wasn’t quite for me, after the slow burn the sudden crazy drama just didn’t resonate and when I realised there was so much more to go I guessed the ending. Saying that I loved the book, the everyday, the twists, the turns, setting, marking Catherine Ryan Howard for me as a definite ‘straight onto the to be read list’ author. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Lost Child (Detective Lottie Parker book 3) by Patricia Gibney

thelostchild

Length: 448 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say: ‘Let me out! Please…’ My tiny fists pound the door, but my voice reverberates off the stone walls and hangs in the air as if suspended by spider’s webs. No one comes…

Years later, a woman is found face-down in a pool of blood. Detective Lottie Parker is called to the remote farmhouse in the bleak Irish countryside. Inside, she finds a scene that speaks of uncontrollable rage: glasses smashed, chairs ripped apart, the woman’s body broken.

A black rain jacket makes Lottie think she knows the killer’s identity, but then she finds a disturbing clue: is the murder linked to an old case at St Declan’s asylum? A case investigated by her own father, just before he took his life.

When another victim is left without her tongue on the hospital steps, and a young girl goes missing, Lottie knows she has to act fast. Can she face her own demons and uncover the truth before another life is taken?

An absolutely gripping page-turner from the bestselling author of The Missing Ones and The Stolen Girls. If you love Rachel Abbott, Angela Marsons or Robert Dugoni, you’ll be completely hooked.

The Review: I have to admit one of the greatest thing I’m finding about this series is that all the books are so different (Previous gushes on Ms. Gibney’s books-The Missing Ones is here and The Stolen Girls here ) and memorable. Also from the second I pick one up, and put it down, just hours/ a day or two later, I’m looking forward to the next. Again a Lottie Parker that never disappointed.

There’s so much going on in this book, with Lottie floundering as she struggles with her mother (who I love by the way) and a tough back story of neglect and abuse of a girl we don’t know as well as the startings of domestic abuse now, in Lottie’s juristiction. This meant there were various threads going on at the same time, stories that you couldn’t fathom would all end up being connected and my eyes ingested every last word.

We are of course back in Ragmullin (makes zippy uppy action with fingers-I will not say it;)), and in the brilliantly done police station where there’s general chaos and sometimes disinterest too and I beyond savoured these pages.

I will admit that firstly, this was a little bit of a tougher read for me in terms of descriptions and secondly that there was the odd time near the start of the book that I had to re-read as I found it confusing. Saying that, well, look, 448 pages and as a book blogger I generally head to the shorter books quicker than the longer ones (I know-Lengthest, but I do do it), but this is a series I will ALWAYS go to first and if the others and this one are anything to go by, I will always be gutted when I’m done. Excellent book, perfection in setting, characters, mystery, and the now trademark sarcasm and comedy thrown in by Parker and Boyd. Loved it.

Thanks so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

 

 

 

 

Our Little Secret by Claudia Carroll

ourlittle

Length: 416 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

What they say:

Sarah Keyes has the perfect life. A high-flying job in a law firm, a beautiful daughter and a house to die for. So how does she find herself looking in through the kitchen window while another woman enjoys it all?

When Sarah takes pity on a struggling young graduate who can’t get a job, she thinks she’s doing the right thing. She’s being kind, generous and helpful to others, as she always is.

But as Sarah allows the younger woman into her home, her law firm and even her family, is there more to this pretty youngster than meets the eye? And how can Sarah reclaim the life she has built?

A sensational, page-turning read, perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Patricia Scanlan.

The Review: I have to admit when I picked this up my first worry was that Claudia Carroll was heading into psychological thriller territory (I always worry when authors I enjoy are changing genre), and was thrilled to find that actually this was listed simply under ‘legal’ (it’s in the book!) and humour. And yet this is a nice feathery little foray into thriller territory for the people out there that say they don’t like anything too scary or creepy.

It is the story of Sarah Keyes who has an excellent job in a law firm. I have to say this is where the book excelled for me. I loved hearing about her daily life, the excellent settings and also about the cases she did, both pro bono and her current case working for a hotel that have allegedly wronged a wedding client.

So Sarah meets Lauren, who has a legal background but can’t catch a break. Before she knows it Lauren is right on top of things, putting it mildly. It was excellent that Ms. Carroll never alienated her character, so when things start to unravel and she figures that Lauren may not be all sweet and niceness, she’s already got the brilliantly suspicious Liz in her corner, who used to not only work in the firm, but who has a husband there too. This is the genius part, as you don’t know when people go down, who’s  going down too.

The book is told from many different voices, my favourite being without a doubt Liz’s, my least being Darcy’s who actually made me find the first part of the book difficult, with her attitude and hashtags, although I made my peace with her later on. The comedy wasn’t totally for me, and there was bad language that I kind of have to mention, but other than that I most definitely enjoyed this light all encompassing and definitely recommend. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Avon Books for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

#GuestPost Age by Gail Ward Olmsted

I was so sure I had already posted this, then found to my disgust and horror that I hadn’t actually, so the Greatest of Apologies to the author (previous reviews of her books here) and I hope you all enjoy

secondguess

Length: 218 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book

Age

What’s Age Got to Do with It?

“It’s just a number” “Age doesn’t matter” “You’re only as young as you feel”

You hear comments like this all the time.

But when it comes to two people in a romantic relationship, apparently age does matter. Specifically the difference in ages between the two people in the relationship. According to a recent study by Emory University in Atlanta, the wider the age gap in partners, the lower their chances are of relationship success. They polled 3000 married and recently divorced couples and found that a one year discrepancy in a couple’s ages makes them 3% more likely to divorce when compared to their same-aged counterparts. A five-year age gap makes them 18% more likely to split up. A ten-year difference makes them 39% more likely and when the gap is over ten years, the odds of divorce are huge! Uh-oh…In my latest contemporary romance Second Guessing, songwriter Jill is fourteen years older than boyband singer turned solo artist Ben. Despite the sizzling hot chemistry between them, did I set their romance up for failure? In my ‘happy ever after’ view, I pictured them together forever.

What about in real life? My oldest friend was married to a man thirteen years younger than her. Note that the marriage is in the past tense. According to her, age was not a factor in their breakup, but when you really start to think about it, issues like whether or not to have children, how to balance and manage careers and figuring out finances would seem to be even more challenging when there is a wide gap in age. A 30 year old might not be in a hurry to start a family or a retirement fund, but what about their 45 year old partner? Our needs and priorities change over time. Is it reasonable to assume that we’ll be in sync with our partner if we are in truly different stages in our lives?

Emory University didn’t indicate if same sex couples were included in the study or if the majority of the couples with the wide gap tended to be of the older man/younger woman variety. Society appears to continue to have a double standard when it comes to a difference in age between romantic partners. It seems perfectly acceptable for an older man to date and marry younger women, but the reverse? Not so much. Otherwise the term ‘cougar’ wouldn’t exist. I mean what do you call a man who dates younger women, besides ‘lucky’ that is?

In my wild twenties, I dated a few men significantly older than me but married a man born just 3 ½ years before me. It’s been 35 years, so I’m thinking that we’ve beaten the odds.

About the author

gail

Like JEEP TOUR’s main character Jackie Sullivan, I am a professor of marketing. I have taught at the college level for twenty years.  A hopeless romantic, I am married to the love of my life. I am a mom to two young adults and two cats and enjoy reading, music and travel.

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Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

skindeep

Length:  373 pages

Please note that the cover image leads to a universal Amazon buy link for the book which is out this week!

What they say:

The deliciously sinister new novel from the No 1 bestselling author of Richard and Judy Book Club pick, Lying in Wait

‘I could probably have been an actress.
It is not difficult to pretend to be somebody else.
Isn’t that what I’ve been doing for most of my life?’

Cordelia Russell has been living on the French Riviera for twenty-five years, passing herself off as an English socialite. But her luck, and the kindness of strangers, have run out.

The arrival of a visitor from her distant past shocks Cordelia. She reacts violently to the intrusion and flees her flat to spend a drunken night at a glittering party. As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. She did not expect the corpse inside to start decomposing quite so quickly . . .

The Review: This for me, was probably one of the books I’ve ‘seen’ the most this year, with so many excited to get their hands on it, after the legendary ‘Unravelling Oliver,’ which contains, for me, one of the best characters I’ve ever read, and also Lying in Wait, which I really really enjoyed too (review here) .

We meet our lead, Cordelia, wandering about the French Riviera, and get a shock as we realise that she’s wandering about to avoid the corpse that’s back in her flat. Okay. So the blurb is an ickle bit misleading (just a smidgen!) It could tell you that this book is less about what happens in the current time, and more of a trip back to Ireland, where we are told the story of someone who has had just the most tragic circumstances befall them, not always to their knowledge. We hear of a mum and dad and their tug of war, we experience one sidedness on it’s greatest level, which gives way to heartbreak and cynicism and anger and all kinds of betrayal (you’ll guess that I don’t really care about the blurb thing, I’m just warning you really!!), bundled together in an amazing way with many tales of folklore told by a father to his daughter leading to lessons and morals, on an Irish island that’s as far removed from civilisation as you can guess.

In general I read with a morbid fascination ( although I do have to admit at some times the pacing waned a little for me) unable to believe that such cruelty and manipulation could go on, both by the family and people of the island, and of course our lead. Liz Nugent’s stories are great at making me a better mum, because geney mac I totally believe ALL of her lead characters would have had a different path in life had they not had parents who they believed (and in most cases who had), wronged them/given up on them (oh lord, I’m reading this out loud in my Carrie from SATC voice again!).

The arrival to the epic (epic epic, in the proper sense of the word, not the way it’s thrown about nowadays!) conclusion is exemplary, shocking and fantastic, with pieces slotting into place seconds before the events happen (for people not as slow as me, perhaps it’s before this;)), and the ending is simply shocking, and one that’ll stay with you. Thanks so much to Penguin Ireland and Netgalley for this book in return for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5/5